When it comes to finding a new canine best friend you are probably wondering how to make sure you choose one of the most affectionate dog breeds. Some breeds such as the Labrador are highly known for being a wonderful and loving dog breed, while say a pitbull is unfortunately known for being aggressive. While in the pitbull’s case, a lot of it has to do with poor breeding, raising, and lots of bad media, the Labradors case is simple: they truly are a loving breed.
If you have recently been considering bringing a new puppy or dog into your home you should do a little bit of research first. Stop for a while and take into consideration your lifestyle when choosing a specific breed.
Some need big yards and just can’t handle small apartment living, while others are happy with a couple of daily walks and the occasional trip to the dog park. If you are not an extremely active person, then you won’t want an extremely active dog like a Dalmatian, but rather more of a couch potato like perhaps a bulldog.
No matter what your living situation or activity levels are, chances are you are going to be looking for an extremely lovely dog. So here’s a list of the top 10 most affectionate dog breeds!
Irish Wolfhound #10
If you don’t mind the large size, the Irish Wolfhound is a very affectionate breed to consider bringing home. They really do think they are a lap dog regardless of size. They will often want to lay their head in your lap or lean up against your legs or on your feet when everyone is relaxing. These dogs do not need a lot of early socialization around people – but they do for being around other animals.
They are happy to be around most humans, (though occasionally there is one who is timid and needs socialization) but when it comes to cats, squirrels and other small animals that move quickly they are likely to want to chase and pounce.
The Irish Wolfhound is also a dog that can live in many environments. Now while I will not suggest bringing one into a small apartment, most suburban homes will keep this hound just as happy as living out in the countryside. When it comes to exercise, they don’t need a ton of time to run, but they do need sufficient exercise to stay healthy.
An hour walk every day and a couple chances to run off his energy in a large yard or dog park should keep your Irish Wolfhound happy. These dogs are also known for being a little bit clumsy, so if you have a lot of breakables in your home, this may not be the dog for you. But if you are looking to bring home a gentle giant and you are prepared to go for a decent walk every day you might be very well suited for this breed.
You can learn more about this great breed in our article on the Wolfhound.
I bet every time you watched 101 Dalmatians as a little kid you begged and begged your parents for one of the adorable spotted puppies. Dalmatians are a very affectionate breed most of the time. They thrive on being a part of the family and don’t do well when they are left alone for too long.
They are hyperactive dogs and they need lots of exercises. If your family likes to take bike rides together, your dal will happily run alongside you the whole way. This dog was bred as a working dog and is prepared to run for hours on end. If you cannot supply at least close to this level of exercise time for your dog, you should consider a different breed.
Unfortunately, the affectionate side of the breed was lost in some bloodlines due to the boom in demand for Dalmatians every time the Disney movie is re-released. This has led to a lot of aggressive dogs that should not (and normally would not have) been bred. When you go shopping for a dal your best bet is to find a registered breeder that knows the health history of the dog’s bloodlines.
You should have a full list of questions about temperament and health when you visit a breeder to be sure you are getting the healthiest puppy possible. When it comes to training, these dogs can be very independent and stubborn. That is not to say that the breed is untrainable, simply that it takes a little more effort, time and patience to train with positive methods.
If you are prepared to go on some long runs or bike rides with your Dalmatian and are ready to get lots of love and affection in return, then head off to do some more research about health questions to ask your breeder!
You can find out what else this breed has to offer by reading up on the Dalmatian.
If you are looking for a larger dog, then you might want to consider a Bloodhound. These dogs are extremely loyal and loving towards their people. Though originally bred for hunting game, many of these dogs are now family pets. If your family likes to go on hiking trips, camping or are generally outdoorsy then a Bloodhound could be a great option for your family pet.
He has boundless energy, he will play for hours and hours and he needs plenty of space to run, so living in a home with a yard is a must. When these dogs are not properly exercised, they can become destructive, so making sure they get a chance to run off all their energy is not optional if you want to keep your things nice.
As a part of the hound breed, there is no way around two of the Bloodhounds (and any hounds) biggest downfall: their nose and the baying. All hounds have an incredible sense of smell and instincts to track that they simply cannot ignore. A hound will follow a scent for miles with no regard to carefully crossing busy roads. This has led to lots of unfortunate accidents involving hounds so if you get one, be sure to have a solid fence they will not be able to dig under!
As for the baying, all hounds howl and there is not much you can do about it. They are adorable when they are little and some still have their moments in adulthood – but your neighbors may not think so. This often makes a bloodhound or any type of hound a bad choice for apartment living unless you can train them to stop right away on command (and you are around often enough for this to help).
When it comes to the Mastiff, people might be a little put off by an intimidating size, but really they are lazy cuddle machines. That is not to say they don’t need exercise because they do – but as your mastiff gets older, he may be less and less excited about getting out for a walk. Really, these dogs just want to be home and around their owners.
They love to please and they would happily be a lap dog if you let them. Watch out for some drool though, these dogs are quite known for it and he’s likely to want to give you a doggy kiss! One of the benefits to these dogs is you have the large, intimidating body of a watchdog in a breed that is far more likely to roll his eyes at the intruder or jump on him in excitement.
These dogs are relatively low maintenance as they have a short and sleek coat. You will be able to get by with weekly brushings and bi-weekly or monthly baths depending on how much time is spent outside during the week! The ease of taking care of your mastiffs coat does come at a price – such a large dog can really pack away the food, so expect to go through quite a bit!
Along with the hefty appetite, these dogs are also not the easiest to train. Still with some time and patience and positive training methods, you will have a well behaved dog! Positive training sessions are actually great bonding time and it will bring you and your dog closer together in a relationship where your dog respects you as the pack leader.
Interested in bringing one home? You should definitely read up on the Mastiff first before you do.
The Collie is a very sensitive and loving breed of dog who craves human attention. These dogs can quickly become unhappy if left alone or away from their family for too long at a time. They enjoy being a part of the family and crave attention.
This makes them one of the best family breeds of dogs as well as one of the most affectionate breeds of dog around. They often do well with other humans and other family pets – the only thing you may need to watch out for is they can be somewhat territorial around other dogs of the same gender.
These dogs require a positive training technique – loud and angry voices can make them very scared and skittish which can lead to problems in any dog breed. They don’t need the excessive exercise that other dogs in their size group may require, though they do still need a decent walk a couple of times a day. There are not too many downsides of owning a collie considering their kind and gentle nature towards humans and other animals alike.
The biggest downfall to a collie (and this only applies to the rough collie) is the long fur that needs to be groomed often to be kept in nice shape. Their long hair will shed in large amounts no matter what time of the year it is and even daily brushing will not prevent this.
Daily brushing is on the other hand necessary in order to keep the collie’s fur from matting (creating knots that grow into themselves creating a tangled mess of fur). If you have the patience to train and brush this sensitive but loving breed, they will be your best friend for years to come.
Great Dane #5
These dogs really are best described as a gentle giant. They are very family and people oriented and just like the collies they expect socialization with their people regularly and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long at a time.
Great Danes may be a little intimidating because of their size but most of the time these dogs are just big goof-balls wanting to play. They may excitedly jump at someone or bark to let you know that there is someone at the door, but in all honesty they are more likely to bring in their tennis ball than anything else.
For such a large breed they really only need moderate exercise like a lengthy walk a couple of times a day – on the other hand they are still very large dogs and don’t do that well in apartment living type situations. If you are looking for a dog that would love to cuddle and lick your face but that really stands out in a crowd, a Great Dane is a great pet to choose. He is loyal, noble and loving regardless of his gigantic size.
On the other hand you can end up dealing with a hard-headed pup so obedience classes are necessary to make sure that you have a happy, respectful and obedient Great Dane. These dogs are also slow to mature so be prepared for you overly large dog to have the same attitude as a young pup for up to three years or so. Really though, a Great Dane is a loving family member that you will be glad you spent the time to train properly!
This breed can be a lot of work, so know what you’re getting into by reading about the Great Dane.
If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky kind of dog the then Boxer might be just the breed you are looking for. They are always happy to see their human family but they are also prone to jumping around and on people so that is something you need to watch out for if you have young children.
These dogs were bred as a working breed but their activity level can vary greatly, some being more on the couch potato side and some who need more than the average amount of exercise to be kept happy and from being destructive.
When you are considering a boxer you should know that they do not do well in warmer climates and can easily suffer from heat stroke. This means in more tropical climates you will want to consider another breed or be prepared to take very early and late walks to avoid your dog overheating.
They are a mid-sized to large breed and they are not really the best of watch dogs. Some boxers will greet guests enthusiastically and others will be more reserved but aggression is rare. (Even though they will bark – a lot – to let you know that someone is at the door!)
This breed does well with other pets and other dogs alike, though they may have a tendency to chase smaller animals. While in adulthood he will be hyperactive and ready for action but towards the end you will notice your dog finally starting to mellow out some. If you are prepared to have a new best friend that will happily greet you at the door whenever you come home and does not suffer from separation anxiety then a boxer is a great decision.
Considering a bulldog as one of the most affectionate breeds should be a no-brainer. These dogs are very loving and sweet but beware of food! Bulldogs should be fed separately from other pets and away from children who might try to get near them as they are very possessive over their food.
On the other hand, this is an advantage to those trying to train a bulldog as food motivation will get you farther than any punishment training might! These dogs are a rather stubborn breed so patience will be required while training them.
When it comes to having a watch-dog, you are probably on the wrong track with a bulldog and should go for a more outspoken breed because bulldogs hardly ever bark. They are known to be a bit of a couch potato too, which means they don’t need extensive amounts of exercise in order to keep them from being destructive.
Really a decent walk in the morning and the evening is enough to keep this breed happy all the time – and sometimes they may not even feel like doing that much! (still, it is necessary to keep them at an optimum healthy weight.)
If you are prepared to spend some money on a dog from a good breeder and some obedience classes, the bulldog will be a great companion for many families. They are great with small children because they are sturdy and able to handle a small child’s play. This affectionate and relatively lazy breed does well in both large homes and apartment living making him a great option for many families.
If you’ve been interested in bringing one home to the family, you’d best be prepared by checking out our article on the Bulldog.
Golden Retriever #2
A Golden Retriever is one of the most even tempered dogs you can get for your family (along with the Labrador, which we will discuss below). These dogs are very much a family dog – if you ever watched Full House in the 90’s you will recognize their dog Comet as one of these amazing dogs.
They are always welcoming you upon arrival with a happy wagging tail, possible jumping around and barking. Their barking is hardly ever threatening, meaning these dogs do not make the best watchdogs around, but if you are looking for affectionate you might have found a “golden” mine.
These dogs are relatively easy to train, though you will still want to take obedience classes to learn to control walking on leash and jumping habits. These dogs get along with pretty much everyone, your neighbor, your kids, you cat and yes, even the mail man!
A Golden is a prime family pet with a long beautiful coat that needs regular brushing and bathing to keep clean and tangle free. They are really just “big pups” for most of their lives, so be prepared for a puppy mentality for quite a while.
With a few walks throughout the day, a trip to the dog park to run and play once or twice a week these dogs can adjust to almost any lifestyle, even apartments. On the other hand they do have a tendency to chew and play with their mouths, which means you should always have a good supply of chew toys and raw hide bones on hand!
They will leave your shoes alone if you give them something they want more! All in all, this breed is a wonderfully affectionate family breed.
Labrador Retriever #1
The number one affectionate breed of dog has got to be the Labrador. Just like the Goldens these dogs are very loving and affectionate towards just about everyone they meet. They don’t make great watch dogs, but they do make a great companion pet which is why they are often used as guide and therapy dogs.
The Labrador does need a decent amount of exercise and they love to fetch things due to their nature – they were bred as a hunting dog. They do great in any type of living situation as long as they get a couple of long walks every day and chances to run and play during the week. (If you can take them swimming, all the better!)
If you are looking for a dog that will gladly stay by your side through thick and thin and give you all the love you expect out of a dog, the Lab is your breed! These dogs can get pretty large but as long as you don’t live in a size-restricted community, this breed is the best dog for families with children of all ages.
The lab will keep his spirited puppy attitude late into life which can be fun and adorable but can also require quite a bit of patience on the owners end. With some obedience classes and patience though you will have the best behaved dog on the block!
When you start looking for a dog to bring home to your family, make sure you do your research. If you want to bring home a puppy then you should highly consider going to a reputable breeder and preparing yourself with any health questions pertaining to the breed. If the breeder doesn’t want you to bring a vet or won’t answer your questions, go somewhere else! (Even if they have the best price!)
When it comes to buying a puppy you should rather pay more for a dog in good health than pay a cheaper, pet store price and get a sick pup from a puppy mill.
If you are not sure that your family has time to devote training a young pup, consider going to your local rescue and bringing home an adult dog. In many cases this works out well for the family, the dog is already trained and the people at the rescue will have a good idea of his or her personality already.