Dogs, like people, have a lot of different personality types. For example, some breeds are known for being tenacious hunters, protective guard dogs, or focused workaholics. And some dogs are known for being particularly loving and affectionate.
How do dogs show affection?
Ways dogs show affection
In general, dogs that are affectionate toward their families look for every opportunity to spend time with their people. That means they enjoy playtime, following your every move, and—best of all—snuggling close together.
How can you tell if your dog loves you?
Studies have shown that dogs do, in fact, love their people. In fact, there are a lot of ways that dogs show love. Look for cues in their body language, including wagging their tail and leaning into you.
Though every pup is different, here are some of the most loving dog breeds.
Most affectionate small dog breeds
- Brussels Griffon: These energetic little dogs earned the nickname "Velcro dogs" because they want to be with their humans all the time. Both playful and sensitive, Brussels Griffons make great pets for mature companions.
- Bichon Frise: Bichon Frise means "curly lapdog," and that’s exactly what this cuddly dog breed. Bichons are known for their peppy personalities, gentle natures, and unbridled affection.
- Pug: Pugs are outgoing, mischievous dogs that have very loving dispositions. They are equally happy to spend an afternoon playing with the kids as they are curling up on the sofa for a (snore-filled) snooze.
- Pomeranian: Pomeranians are extroverted, happy dogs that enjoy entertaining their humans with antics and tricks. Because of their small size, they need careful handling. For this reason, they tend to do best in homes with older kids.
- Dachshund: Though Dachshunds can be suspicious of strangers, they are very affectionate with their people and love to be surrounded by family.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Bred initially as lap dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are calm, attentive pups. But while they love to curl up next to their favorite person, they’re also playful and usually friendly with other dogs.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for being fearless working dogs, but herding cattle isn’t the only skill they’ve mastered. Corgis enjoy spending time with their families and make loyal (and royal) companions.
- Havanese: One of the sweetest dog breeds, Havanese are social, relaxed dogs that are eager to share their sunny dispositions with anyone they encounter. They are great with kids and—with a background as circus dogs—love to learn and perform tricks.
Most affectionate medium dog breeds
- Beagle: Bred to hunt in packs, Beagles are naturally inclined to enjoy the company of others. These loving dogs love to be the center of attention. They are generally friendly toward people (including kids and strangers) and other dogs.
- Boxer: Upbeat and gentle, Boxers make a great addition to families looking for an affectionate and loyal dog. Though they’re a very protective breed, Boxers can be friendly toward strangers.
- Bulldog: Bulldogs are friendly, sweet dogs that are as eager to soak up attention from their families as they are to curl up in a lap and snooze. These loyal pups are well-suited for both city living or rural environments.
- American Staffordshire Terrier: American Staffordshire Terriers are known for their courage and strength, but they’re also calm, loving companions. Sometimes called "nanny dogs," AmStaffs are usually great with kids (though interactions with young children should still be supervised) and make loyal, watchful pets.
Most affectionate large dog breeds
- Old English Sheepdog: These big fluff balls are both even-tempered and good-natured, making them an excellent fit for many families. Unlike many high-energy herding breeds, Old English Sheepdogs are more than happy to spend the day lounging around the house with their humans.
- Great Dane: Great Danes are both goofy, affectionate companions and devoted, protective guard dogs. These gentle giants bond closely with their families and make friends (and turn heads) wherever they go.
- Irish Wolfhound: Irish Wolfhounds’ calm, sweet-tempered natures make them comforting additions to any family. These dogs adore hanging out with their people and—if it were up to them—would spend every moment surrounded by those they love.
- Labrador Retriever: Labrador Retrievers are renowned for their friendly, outgoing personalities. These social pups bond closely with their people. They like to be involved in all aspects of family life, from playtime with the kids to outdoor adventures and vacations.
- Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are among the most loving dog breeds, thanks to their gentle temperaments and eager-to-please natures. They are playful, friendly, and keep their puppy-like attitudes well into adulthood.
- Newfoundland: The Newfoundland is a patient, loving breed. Their devoted natures and sweet dispositions have made them a favorite for any family looking for an oversized teddy bear to add to their pack.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs: Easygoing and confident, Bernese Mountain Dogs bond closely with their people. Though they love to spend as much time as possible with their beloved family members, they can sometimes be aloof with strangers.
- Greyhounds: Greyhounds may be built for speed, but they also enjoy plenty of relaxation time on the couch with their favorite humans. These sleek, graceful dogs are gentle, sweet-natured, and devoted to their families.