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Breed and Genetics August 16, 2023

Meet the most the loyal dog breeds

For centuries, dogs have stuck by their humans through thick and thin. Get to know some of the breeds with a well-known reputation for loyalty and devotion.

Over thousands of years, humans and dogs have formed a unique relationship built on mutual trust and companionship. Early humans provided food and shelter to wild dogs, while dogs assisted in hunting, guarding, and protecting. This partnership created a bond that has earned dogs their reputation as human’s best friend. And while any breed (or mixed breed!) can demonstrate devotion to their people, certain breeds stand out as among the most loyal.

Let’s review some behaviors that demonstrate loyalty and highlight several breeds that go above and beyond in their commitment to their favorite humans.

Woman lying on floor next to German Shepherd.

Signs of loyalty in dogs

Dogs express their loyalty in several ways. Some common signs that your dog has a deep connection with you include:

  • They follow you around. A loyal dog will always want to be near you, following you around the house and even waiting patiently outside the bathroom door (that is, if they aren’t actually in the bathroom with you).
  • They have protective instincts. Loyalty often shows up as a protective nature. Loyal dogs will sense potential threats against their people and do their best to keep them out of harm’s way.
  • They make eye contact. Dogs who maintain eye contact with their pet parents are often displaying loyalty and trust. It’s a sign that they consider their humans leaders and protectors.
  • They are eager to please. Loyal dogs are highly motivated to please their people. They readily respond to obedience cues and thrive on positive reinforcement.
  • They seek affection. Dogs that happily accept and enjoy physical affection from their humans demonstrate their deep bond.
Brittany lying on a bed with a young child.

Most loyal dog breeds

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a confident and devoted livestock guardian breed. They are fearless when watching over herds in the field and can be equally bonded and protective back home with their family.

German Shepherd

These intelligent and courageous dogs are highly devoted to their humans, often putting their lives on the line to protect them. This quality makes them a popular choice for police and military work.

Akita

Originally bred as guardians, Akitas are fiercely loyal to their owners. In fact, an Akita named Hachiko became known as the most loyal dog in the world after waiting at the train station for his owner for more than nine years after the owner had passed away.

Collie

The creators of Lassie chose the Collie for a reason. Intelligent and compassionate, Collies form strong bonds with their families and are particularly attentive to children.

Boxer

Boxers are protective dogs with a gentle, playful nature. They are affectionate with their people and typically great with kids and other animals.

Brittany

This sweet-natured, energetic birddog is always eager to please. They love to be by their human’s side and are always up for an adventure together.

Labrador Retriever

Known for their friendly and affectionate nature, Labradors are extremely loyal and make excellent family dogs.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies love being with their families and crave attention and affection. Despite their small size, they are fearless and determined when it comes to protecting their people.

Dachshund

With big personalities and big hearts, Doxies are affectionate pups that are protective of their families and make excellent (albeit small) watchdogs.

American Pit Bull Terrier

Nicknamed the "nanny dog," American Pit Bull Terriers are courageous, protective dogs that are loyal to their families and particularly good with children.

Man praising his Golden Retriever after teaching him to shake.

How to strengthen the bond with your pup

The dogs we’ve mentioned have a reputation for loyal behavior. But for these and other purebred or mixed-breed dogs, loyalty starts with trust and respect. To foster a strong relationship with your canine companion, consider the following tips:

  • Make time for quality time. Regularly engage in activities your dog enjoys, such as playing fetch, going for long walks, or cuddling on the couch.
  • Use positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and affection.
  • Train consistently. Consistent training establishes respect between you and your dog, strengthening your bond.
  • Socialize your dog. Expose your dog to different environments and people to boost their confidence and trust in you.

Interested in learning more about your one-of-a-kind dog? A Wisdom Panel dog DNA test will shed light on your pup’s breed mix, health, traits, and personality.