The 21 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds (Including 4 That May Surprise You!)
We humans love to love our furry four-legged friends, and there’s no doubt that some of that love comes back in return. Certain dog breeds are well-known for their loyalty and affection, while others—while just as special—might not be so obviously cuddly. In this article, we’ll explore the breeds that have the strongest reputation for being extra affectionate, as well as some of the surprising choices that you may not have expected to find here.
When deciding which breeds of dog make the best companions, it’s hard to overlook the smaller ones such as terriers and pups from the toy breeds. But big dogs can also display tremendous amounts of affection, and among the large breeds, many of them can become surprisingly attached to their owners. The following are 21 of the top dog breeds that demonstrate these qualities of loyalty and affection, in all different shapes and sizes.
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is perhaps the most beloved dog breed on this list—and with good reason. As one of the most popular choices of family dogs, they demonstrate their consistent, boundless enthusiasm for life on a regular basis. They are graceful and gentle, devoting all their attention to the person they consider their best friend, which is usually their owner.
Those that have experienced the unconditional love of a Lab usually find it hard to forget quickly, and the breed’s popularity is growing in part due to their willingness to show so much affection.
2. Golden Retriever
The cousin of the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever has all the traits of its counterpart – plus a few extra special ones. No matter the age, this breed is incredibly loyal and loving with its family, making them an ideal companion for small children.
Interestingly, Golden Retrievers have a unique behavior which reflects their strong sense of companionship; they tend to lend a paw and offer comfort to those that look distressed. Combine this with their famously happy-go-lucky attitude, and it’s easy to see why they are one of the most commonly owned breeds of dog in the world.
The Beagle’s friendly and affectionate nature is one of their defining characteristics, and a major factor in why they are still popular to this day, even though they were already a long-established breed when Queen Victoria owned one back in the 19th century.
They have a much larger personality for such a small breed of dog. They have an independent side and a mischievous streak, making them lots of fun to be around. But that never stops this breed from showering you with hugs and cuddles when it’s time.
The Bulldog’s jowly exterior and big, dopey eyes may give the wrong impression at first, but don’t let that fool you. They have a strong loyalty and devotion to their owners, and despite their size and strength, these dogs are known for being gentle and loyal to their people—especially children.
The Bulldog’s expression evokes an emotion that even people who don’t particularly love dogs will find difficult to resist. Combine this with the breed’s willingness to please and protect, and it won’t be long before you have another faithful companion to love.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These toy breeds don’t seem to know they’re tiny, often displaying a larger-than-life outlook on life. Cavaliers tend to be relaxed, playful and cuddly, making them a favorite for apartment dwellers and city residents due to their small size.
Cavaliers have the perfect combination of being an independent spirit with a strong need for companionship and cuddles. They have a loving and trusting nature which usually makes them the center of attention for their family.
The Pug stands out from the “toy breed” bunch as a breed that is especially sociable, making them an excellent companion for children. Their big, pleading eyes and their warm, snuggly bodies makes them ideal for hugs and cuddles.
The Pug loves to be the center of attention, and their natural need to please makes them a great choice for those who want a pet that will always be there for them, no matter what.
This one may come as a surprise! Greyhounds may have the looks of an athlete, but they’re actually one of the most cuddly and cosseting large breeds of dog. They’re intelligent and loyal, low-maintenance and loving.
Greyhounds like to get involved in family conversations, often coming in between or staying close to different family members. Due to their strong sense of loyalty, they love when people show them attention and can easily become devoted to whomever they happen to bond with most.
8. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds in existence, believed to be a descendent of maltese or luminous dogs. Not surprisingly, they’ve been a favorite amongst royalty and courtiers for some time due to their loyalty and devoted nature.
Their safety is always top of mind and they’re always eager to please. Their affection is resilient and unreserved, and their owners can always count on them for a warm embrace.
9. Border Collie
The Border Collie is known to be one of the most trainable and compliant breeds, which is probably why they’re so popular in the show ring. But even when not in the spotlight, this breed can be a wonderful companion that’s ever ready to greet its family with a wagging tail.
Their strong sense of loyalty serves as the core of their personalities, and they also have an almost mystical bond with their owners, creating an affection that you can’t put into words.
As one of the smallest breeds of dogs, Chihuahuas believe that they can do anything, despite their size. They make an excellent companion, showering those they trust with their affection, love and loyalty. They’re also very brave and will defend their family if needed.
They may be small, but they’re not afraid to show off their big personalities, often jumping at the chance for playtime and cuddles anytime.
The Bullmastiff is a powerful breed, but its size belies its gentle and loving spirit. Their strength and intimidating demeanor hide a heart that’s full of love and affection for their family.
They have an inherent need to please their human, often getting great pleasure from any cuddles or snuggles from their loved ones. Because of their independent nature, they’re not the type to constantly demand attention, but they will show you their affection when they feel secure and comfortable.
12. Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier is a bold and independent breed, known for their strong sense of loyalty. They may be aloof with strangers, but they’re almost always friendly and devoted to their families.
Their strong sense of ability and tenacity make them willing to take on any task with gusto, and they’re also willing to show their softer side with those they trust. They’re fond of cuddling and they’re never too proud to show you their affection.
13. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog has a big personality for such a small breed. They love to make mischief and have a playfulness about them, but they also have a strong need for companionship and an unwavering loyalty.
They easily form deep connections with their owners, and they show their affections in many, many different ways. But their favorite has to be through snuggles and cuddles.
This odd-looking breed suffers no lack of confidence, displaying their bravery and a strong sense of loyalty to their owners. They’re especially good with small children and other pets, bullying their way in to be the center of attention.
Despite their small stature, they are always up for a good cuddle while they’re laying courteously next to you just to let you know they care.
15. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is an exceptionally intuitive breed that can easily sense their owner’s mood, often providing support during difficult times. They’re incredibly protective and welcoming to their family, displaying loyalty, faithfulness and affection without hesitation.
Shetland Sheepdogs are