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The 21 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds (Including 4 That May Surprise You!)

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Breeds By Kate Brunotts 12 min read September 22, 2021 2 Comments

the most affectionate dog breeds

Are you seeking a Spot who’s a sweetheart? We certainly understand that desire! 

Many pooch parents want an adoring doggo, who’ll dole out the puppy kisses and enjoy snuggling on the couch. But while many dogs enjoy this kind of dog-human interaction, some are simply more affectionate than others.

So, you’ll want to make sure you pick out a pooch that’s as doting as you are. 

We’ll point out some of the most affectionate dog breeds below, so you have the best chance of ending up with the kind of canine relationship you want!

What Makes a Dog “Affectionate?”

Affection is essentially defined as “exhibiting fondness or tender attachment towards someone or something.” 

Some dogs simply bond more closely with their peeps than others, and many of the breeds discussed below tend to be incredibly affectionate.

There are many different ways in which dogs show us just how much the love us, such as

  • Snuggling with you
  • Giving out puppy kisses
  • Acting as your shadow
  • Being happy to see you
  • Spending time with you
  • Being sensitive to your emotions

You can expect some of the loyal lovebugs listed below to exhibit at least some of these qualities. Thankfully, there are plenty of affectionate best buddies to choose from so that you can find the ideal canine companion for your needs. 

The 21 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds (Including 4 Surprising Ones!) 

Without further ado, here are some of the most affectionate dogs you’ll come across.

Many of them are widely known to be sweet and affectionate, but stay tuned to the end of the list to hear about some loving best buddies you might not have expected

1. Great Dane

great danes are affectionate

Despite being super-sized and somewhat intimidating, Great Danes are actually complete cuddle bugs! Truly embodying the “gentle giant” label, Great Danes are big pooches (they’re actually the largest dog breed in the world by most measures) who often act like tiny little lap dogs, given the intense way they bond with their people. 

Great Danes may be suspicious of strangers at times, but they often trust their pet parents implicitly. Just be sure you’re ready to deal with lots of drool before adding one of these jowly four-footers to your pack! 

2. Labrador Retriever

Labs are affectionate dogs

It’s no surprise that loving Labs make our list as these sweet dogs are happy to bond with just about anyone that will toss them their favorite toy. Some of the smartest dog breeds around, these furry friends are eager to please and enjoy spending as much time with their family members as possible. 

Labs get along well with children and other pets, so they’re great family dogs, and they’re pretty easy to care for, so they also make great dogs for first-time owners. Just make sure these energized sweethearts get plenty of exercise and attention to prevent destructive habits. 

3. Golden Retriever

Goldens are affectionate dogs

Some say that a friend to all is a friend to none, but the golden retriever defies this axiom with grace. These friendly four-footers bond closely with their humans, and they are usually happy to follow you from one room to the next. 

You’ll find that goldens are eager to provide you with plenty of puppy kisses well into adulthood and will always put a smile on your face with their happy go lucky demeanor. Goldens want nothing more than to please their owners and will do well in a variety of situations — they even make great service and therapy dogs

4. Boxer

boxers are pretty affectionate

Are you seeking a permanent puppy? The rambunctious and loving boxer meets this classification with flying colors. These upbeat dogs are patient, caring, and are known to do well around children. Boxers are true family dogs that love to be a part of the action as much as possible. 

Pooch parents of boxers will swear that these devoted dogs are up for just about anything, as long as they get to be near their families. Just note that these doting doggos do best in homes where someone is usually around to keep them entertained. 

5. German Shepherd

GSDs are affectionate dogs

German shepherds not only bond closely with humans, but they’re also incredibly intelligent, making them excellent for rescue work or therapy. Even if your GSD isn’t expected to earn his keep, he is sure to approach your family with unwavering dedication, and he’s a dog breed known for his loyalty. These super sweethearts are willing to do anything for their families, and are sure to spend much of their days vying for your attention. 

German shepherds can be somewhat aloof around those they don’t know, so you’ll want to make sure these sometimes protective pups get plenty of socialization. 

6. Brussels Griffon 

Brussels Griffons are really affectionate doggos

They say that you don’t own a Brussels griffon, rather, these doggos own you. These pups pack quite a personality in a pint-sized frame, that’s equal parts comical, sensitive, and loyal. Brussels griffon pups are easily trained and love showing their humans just how much they care. 

This breed is known for its comedic antics and devoted nature — characteristics that have helped make the breed a famous star of the silver screen! They aren’t the ideal pooch for homes with small children, but they’re incredibly sweet and silly dogs for the right family. 

7. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is an affectionate breed

Bichon Frise pups are compact yet caring canine companions with a peppy, infectious attitude that will brighten even your darkest days. These little white dogs lend themselves to a wide variety of households with their fluffy, hypoallergenic coats. 

You’ll find that these furry friends are incredibly adaptable, and get along with just about everyone in the family. These loving dogs are sure to give you plenty of kisses and curl up next to you on the couch after an engaging play session. 

8. Bernese Mountain Dog

BMDs are an affectionate breed

These good-natured tri-colored dogs love spending time with their families, and they’re sure to show you with plenty of cuddles and kisses. Berners (as breed devotees call them) are placid, patient dogs that are eager to please their entire family, though they often become particularly attached to one lucky human. 

These kind canine companions do well with small kids and other dogs, so they’re great furry family members. Bernese mountain dogs can be somewhat aloof around outsiders, so you’ll want to make sure they get plenty of socialization as puppies. 

9. Newfoundland

newfies are really affectionate dogs

Don’t let the strikingly large figure fool you! Newfies (and most Newfie-mixes) are total softies, known for their notably gentle dispositions, especially around kids. These trusting dogs are easy to train and are super sweet towards their loved ones. 

Newfoundlands can be somewhat messy with their massive coats and occasional tendency to drool, but Newfie parents will assure you that these caring canines are more than worth it. Just make sure you have enough space to accommodate these big best buddies. 

10. Greyhound

greyhounds are affectionate dogs

The graceful greyhound is a gentle, noble, and loving pooch. These pups make surprisingly low maintenance dogs, as they have an adaptable personality, easy-to-satisfy grooming needs, and a quiet nature. 

Greyhound owners will tell you just how much these cool cuties appreciate cuddling up to their owners. As long as these dogs get enough time to run like the wind, they make amazing canine companions for apartment and homeowners alike. 

11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very affectionate

There’s just no getting around it: Cavaliers are total sweeties. These toy spaniels have an adorable face to melt your heart and an incredibly loving disposition to match. You’ll find that these compact canines are happy to spend time with you on the couch or an active afternoon outside, as long as they get to be near you. 

These gentle dogs do well with single owners as well as families (and they make fantastic dogs for senior citizens). Just make sure you have plenty of time for these pups as they don’t like being left out of the action for too long. 

12. Chihuahua

chihuahuas are really affectionate dogs

These small, spirited pups may present differently to outsiders, but they are super affectionate towards those they love. All types of Chihuahuas love spending time in the lap of their favorite human, and they adore attention. These fun-sized furry friends pack a lot of intelligence into their compact frames, though house training can be a challenge with these dogs. 

While these spunky canines  aren’t the best pick for homes with kids, they make amazing canine companions to owners who understand the unique needs of these small sweethearts. 

13. Pug

pugs are an affectionate breed

The incomparable pug is a favorite among many — and with good reason. These canine comedians are sure to provide you with endless laughs and cuddles in just about any environment. 

Pugs are super playful and are happy to find fun with anyone in the family. Plus, who can resist that adorable mug? These sweeties are sure to keep you entertained and make ideal couch companions (just be ready to run — these fart-tastic four-footers are one of the gassiest dog breeds around). 

14. Shih Tzus

I may be biased, but shih tzus are certainly affectionate furry friends. My dog Spicy (a shih tzu-poodle mix, pictured above for your viewing pleasure) is so sweet she’ll even lend me a smile after I put a terribly flashy floral studded collar on her. 

Spicy talk aside, shih tzus are known for being playful, affectionate pups that do well with adults and kids alike. These loving lap dogs enjoy an engaging playing session, but are also happy to kick back next to you on the couch. Shih tzus are charming characters that are happiest when they’re with their families. 

15. Jack Russell Terrier 

Jack Russell terriers are very affectionate

The tireless Jack Russell terrier is an intelligent, compact companion who is incredibly doting toward his pooch parents. Most Jack Russells (and Jack Russell mixes, for that matter) love spending time with their families and are sure to hop on your lap to provide some canine kisses. In classic terrier fashion, these dogs are highly active, alert, and like to stay engaged. 

These doting dogs are pretty adaptable, but they do best with families that can provide them with plenty of activities and exercise to keep their tails wagging. 

16. Brittany 

Brittany spaniels are affectionate dogs

If you’re searching for your future hiking buddy, the sweet Brittany is an excellent all-purpose pick that is ready to keep you companion on just about any adventure. Originally developed as bird-hunting dogs, these lively lovebugs bond closely with a handful of favorite humans. 

Brittanys are super smart and love bonding over agility sports or engaging training sessions. These active furry friends have no trouble showing you just how much you mean to them after a long day of excitement in the field. 

17. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terriers are very affectionate

These charming, loyal lovebugs make an appealing breed option for many due to their non-shedding coats and unique appearance (in fact, Bedlington terriers have ears unlike any other dog). The Bedlington terrier has much more to offer than just reduced canine cleanup, however. These sweet yet spirited dogs want nothing more than to be the center of the family’s attention. 

Bedlington terriers are full of fun and kisses for any family who can meet the breed’s exercise and energy needs. 

18. Pit Bulls and Staffies

pibbles are affectionate

We told you there were some surprises coming! Meet surprisingly affectionate breed #1: the American pit bull terrier (and we’re throwing in Staffies, because they’re so similar).

Let’s face it: Bully breeds simply get a bad rap. Despite their misleading reputation, pit bulls and staffies are incredibly loving dogs, with pit bulls being nicknames as “nanny dogs,” who serve as caring canine companions to everyone in the family. 

These good-natured dogs are highly sensitive, and need an owner who can provide them with plenty of patience and positive training to guide their sometimes strong-willed personalities. If you give a bully breed a chance, these deserving dogs are sure to shower you with love and affection. 

19. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are affectionate

Rottweilers are incredibly sweet and sensitive dogs, contrary to what you might believe. These loyal, loving dogs are prone to forget their large size and plop into your lap for a cuddle session at any point in time, so they definitely keep you on your toes. They’re also super intelligent dogs who bond closely with their humans and are highly attuned to our emotions — these dogs will support you through thick and thin. 

While they can be aloof around those they don’t know, proper guidance and socialization ensures that these furry friends are well-rounded, affectionate pups. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into with Rotties before bringing one home.

20. Doberman Pinscher

dobermans are very affectionate

While their intimidating appearance as a “scary” dog may fool you, Dobies are super sweet and sensitive dogs that care deeply about their families. Some may classify these pups as “Velcro dogs,” as these stunning furry friends like to stay close to your side as much as possible.

Alert and incredibly loyal, these doggos are happy to do just about anything for their families. Do understand that Doberman pinschers need owners who can provide gentle, positive training, given their sensitive natures. 

21. Mastiffs

mastiffs are affectionate

It’s easy to be intimidated by a mastiff. After all, they’re massive working dogs, clocking in at anywhere between 120 and 230 pounds. Nevertheless, their heart is proportionate to their large size, and these big best buddies are total sweeties. 

Mastiffs are good-natured family dogs that are loyal and confident guardians. That being said, they need an owner who is dedicated to consistent, positive training sessions to guide these gentle giants, as their large size comes with its own set of challenges. 

***

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other purebred pooches and marvelous mutts that make amazingly affectionate canine companions. These are just some of the most common breeds that come to mind when looking for a cuddle buddy, but every dog is different! 

Have fun searching for your sweetheart. 

Do you have any of these love bugs at home? How does your dog express affection? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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Maggie

I rescued an abused pit terrier who had been homed twice and returned because she was non responsive, afraid, etc. She hogs my bed and kisses me nonstop. It’s all about showing these dogs love and patience

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Ben Team

Glad things are working out well for you and your pooch, Maggie!
Thanks for sharing.
🙂

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