Friendliest Dog Breeds – 20 Happy Hounds You’ll Love
by Jessi Larson
If you’re in the process of looking for a new four-legged addition to your home and want an outgoing, happy hound, look no further than this guide to the friendliest dog breeds.
Here is a round-up of the most friendly breeds, each known for their amiable personality and sweet demeanor.
A Guide to the Friendliest Dog Breeds
Dogs by nature are friendly creatures. After all, there’s a reason why they’ve earned the nickname “man’s best friend.”
Some breeds, however, stand above the pack when it comes to friendliness. While by no means an exhaustive list, these 20 breeds are considered to be at the top for their sweet, sociable personalities.
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers have grown to epitomize friendliness. They were bred to be companions and absolutely adore human company, which is why they easily make the list of friendliest dog breeds.
Remarkably, the Labrador has topped the American Kennel Club (AKC) list of most popular dog breeds for nearly 30 years now. Owners love their outgoing personality, sweet nature and athletic physique.
Throughout their lifespan, they keep a sweet, friendly demeanor – but they do tend to be high-energy dogs that require plenty of daily exercise. If you have the time and energy to devote to training and exercise, a Labrador is a great choice when picking a dog breed.
Learn more about the Labrador Retriever
2. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are known to be confident and friendly with people and other animals. Their cheerful nature is contagious and they’re more than willing to offer themselves up for rubs and regular petting.
With these attributes, it’s no wonder that the Golden Retriever is the most popular service dog breed. They’re obedient, sweet, easy to train and ready to please.
The Golden needs regular exercise plus frequent grooming for its thick double coat, but otherwise is a pretty easy pet to take care of.
Learn more about the Golden Retriever
This playful and cheerful breed loves being around people. You can always rely on a Beagle to be up for a fun game or a playful snuggle. They especially enjoy playing fetch or going on long walks with their human.
Packing lots of personality into their 20-25 lb bodies, the Beagle is a sweet, funny dog who gets along with all members of the family and warms up to strangers quite quickly.
Learn more about the Beagle
4. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are silly and affectionate companions who love to play and make new friends. Their flexible, people-pleasing personality makes them easily adaptable to just about any situation and is a reason why they’re frequently noted as one of the friendliest dog breeds.
With their short, compact body, large, soulful eyes and big, pointy ears, the Boston Terrier is a unique-looking dog that takes cuteness to a whole other level.
As the name implies, this breed originated in Boston and is noted as a great pet choice for those living in big cities.
Learn more about the Boston Terrier
5. Irish Setter
Carefree and spunky are the best words to describe the personality of an Irish Setter. The breed is known for sporting a gorgeous red coat and for its combination of athleticism, speed and grace.
Sweet-tempered and full of life, the Irish Setter has been said to be a big kid at heart, a description that fits this breed perfectly!
Though extremely friendly, this is an active breed that needs to blow off extra energy to avoid destructive behavior, just like the Labrador Retriever. If you provide physical and mental stimulation, however, the Irish Setter will be a perfectly well-behaved dog that easily makes the list of friendliest dog breeds.
Learn more about the Irish Setter
6. Border Collie
Truly in tune with their owners, Border Collies always aim to please. And although they possess an independent spirit and high level of energy, they also like to be around people and are known to snuggle up on their owner’s lap.
You may have heard about this breed’s infamous herding instincts. Because they were bred as a herding dog, the Border Collie often tries to herd humans and other animals – often with hilarious results.
With their sharp intellect and need to stay busy, the Border Collie requires regular exercise and mental stimulation. If you’re able to provide that, this is one of the sweetest, friendliest dog breeds out there.
Learn more about the Border Collie
Boxers love being the center of attention, and the more positive attention and love you give them, the more you’ll get in return. They make for great family companions and can be wonderful with children!
Characteristically, Boxers are muscular and strong with a smooth and graceful athleticism. Just like any dog, they need to be trained in obedience, especially considering that this breed loves to jump on people in excitement.
Learn more about the Boxer
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Being a human companion has historically been the purpose for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. As such, this breed truly loves human company and requires a fair share of cuddling and affection.
With giant, twinkling eyes and a sweet, affectionate personality, this petite pup will quickly win your heart. Just look at that adorable face!
This breed may be subject to separation anxiety if left alone, so keep that in mind if you welcome this sweet four-legged friend into your home.
Learn more about the Cavalier King Charles
This easy going breed can be happy in nearly any setting. Whether you’re in a congested city or the sprawling countryside, a Pug will be a happy companion to you and your family.
One of the most recognizable breeds, the Pug has a distinctive look with a scrunched up face, defined coloring on his muzzle and tiny body with a curled tail.
Great with people of all ages, the Pug is extremely caring, loves to have fun and even has a bit of a mischievous streak.
Learn more about the Pug
Bulldogs are known for their loyalty and friendly demeanor. With their adorable appearance and charming personality, it’s no wonder why this breed has quickly risen the ranks among popular dog breeds.
These easy-going dogs can seem lazy to their human owners, but they still need regular exercise and proper diet to keep them healthy and their weight at an optimal level.
Learn more about the Bulldog
11. Shih Tzu
Continuing our look at friendliest dog breeds, the Shih Tzu is known for being a friendly dog with the ability to be happy just about anywhere. The breed is adaptable and gets along famously with people of all ages, especially the elderly.
Weighing a mere 9-15 lbs, this small dog serves as a tiny companion who loves to curl up in the comfort of your lap or follow you around at your heels.
Learn more about the Shih Tzu
12. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Corgis love spending time with their humans and are very sociable companions. With a pleasant personality and adorable, low-riding body, what’s not to love?
Due to their background and breeding, the Corgi is very attentive and focused on their owner. These dogs tend to be very playful and require lots of affection and attention from their humans.
Learn more about the Pembroke Welsh Corgi
You may have heard of the Poodle stereotype. An aloof, stuck-up dog peering down their snout at others. In actuality, however, the breed couldn’t be more different. They are eager to please, easy to train and love being around their humans.
Combining both brains and beauty, Poodles are known for their keen intellect and friendly demeanor toward humans. Although they can be shy with strangers, these dogs bond quickly to their owners and are a great family dog.
Learn more about the Poodle
The Newfoundland dog breed can be best defined as “gentle giant.” After all, the Newfoundland, or Newfie as their owners affectionately call them, stands up to 30 inches tall and weighs up to 150 pounds!
And as the gentle in “gentle giant” implies, the breed is calm, patient and eager to please. These dogs are highly trainable and great with children.
Learn more about the Newfoundland
15. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is small, sturdy, resilient and overflowing with personality. They have plenty of charm and intellect to win over any human and are known to be the comedians of the canine world.
Cheerful and curious, the Bichon Frise is ready to accompany you on walks, run around with other dogs or snuggle up in your lap.
As an added bonus, their coats rarely shed, which is wonderful news for those who need a hypoallergenic pet.
Learn more about the Bichon Frise
16. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A Bull Terrier’s sweet personality comes through instantly in their irresistible smile. These dogs are intensely loyal and loving to their humans – everything you’d want when looking for the friendliest dog breeds.
Unfortunately, some members of this breed were trained to fight. Yet, with proper care and nurture, even these Bull Terriers can return back to their loving, kind nature.
Learn more about the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
17. Saint Bernard
These huge softies are sure to bring lots of love to your home. The Saint Bernard’s personality is observant, patient and caring, making it a wonderful family dog.
Besides irresistible cuddles, this dog can offer protection for you and your family, but will require sufficient room to grow into its large size. (The breed stands up to 35 inches tall and weighs up to 140 pounds!)
Learn more about the Saint Bernard
Native to Cuba, as the name implies, the Havanese are known for their cheerful energy. These bubbly and genial companions are growing in popularity in the U.S., especially amongst city dwellers.
The Havanese is a great choice for those with allergies since they do not shed. Curious and friendly, they are moderately active, enjoying play time when they can.
Learn more about the Havanese
19. Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen is a spirited small hunting hound originating in France. This breed is known for a positive demeanor and sturdy charter.
Because they were bred to work in a pack, they love company and do well around other dogs as well as children.
Alert, chipper and very vivacious, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen has lots of energy and love to give!
Learn more about the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
Concluding our list of friendliest dog breeds is the Vizsla. This versatile breed was built for long hunting days in the field and makes an incredible human companion.
Vizslas originated in Hungary but have steadily been gaining popularity in the United States, which is just as much due to their affectionate, friendly nature as well as their elegant athleticism.
Learn more about the Vizsla
Conclusion: Friendliest Dog Breeds
We hope our list of the friendliest dog breeds helps you choose the perfect canine companion for you or your family.
Of course, don’t forget that no two dogs are alike. Your dog’s personality and idiosyncrasies will be completely unique to them.
As a whole, however, these dog breeds are genetically among the most friendly pups on the planet and sure to put a smile on your face every day.
Friendliest Dog Breeds: How to Pick the Right Dog
When you’re looking for a dog but don’t know what breed to get, these nine easy questions can help quickly narrow down your search and find a four-legged friend who perfectly fits your lifestyle.
1. Why Do You Want a Dog?
First things first, let’s talk about why you want a dog. This will guide you more than you realize!
For example, do you love cuddling up on the couch and want a tiny furball to curl up in your lap and keep you company? Or do you want an energetic and enthusiastic dog who fits your active lifestyle?
Stop for a minute, close your eyes and think about it.
2. What Type of Dog Did You Have Growing up?
Believe it or not, the dog (or dogs) you grew up with often have an impact on what type of dog you want when you’re older.
That’s certainly not to say you couldn’t pick a different type of dog by any means. It’s just that people often have a comfort level with the type of canine they were conditioned to growing up.
3. Do You Have Any Allergies?
Dogs can be awful for allergies. But fortunately, there are many hypoallergenic dog breeds that make it easier for allergies sufferers.
There are even a number in this guide to the friendliest dog breeds.
4. Who’s in Your Household?
Another important thing to think about is who is in your household.
Is it just you? Or do you have a partner? Roommates? Children?
This is incredibly important to consider. Especially if you have little ones in the household.
If you’re considering one of the friendliest dog breeds, however, you can rest assured that they’ll get along with everyone in your home.
5. Where Do You Live?
As you think about which dog breed is right for you, where you live is incredibly important.
It goes without saying that certain breeds just aren’t cut out for small spaces. For example, a Newfoundland in a tiny apartment would be a disaster!
Also, certain dogs need space and a yard to run and exercise. (Here’s looking at you, Border Collie.)
6. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have?
Dogs are A LOT of work. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But some dogs require much more effort than others.
Potential pup parents should always make sure they have the time, energy and resources to care for a dog, no matter what the breed. But that level of care can increase depending on the dog.
Before committing to a dog, make sure you understand the breed’s instincts and how much mental and physical stimulation they’ll require.
7. What is the Dog’s Temperament?
Just like appearance, a pup’s temperament can vary greatly by breed. And it’s absolutely critical to find out how a dog will act based on their breed instincts.
Fortunately, all of the options on this guide to the friendliest dog breeds have excellent temperaments.
8. How Much Does the Breed Cost?
Owning a dog isn’t cheap, but some breeds are more expensive than others. Cost is a consideration, and it’s always a good idea to understand the full picture before making a commitment.
Things to consider include the initial expense, vet bills, food, grooming and other expenses like daycare or boarding.
9. Breed Finder
And finally, try out our online breed selector and get a list of the best breeds for you and your lifestyle.
It allows you to enter details like where you live, who’s in your house, your climate, what size of dog you’re looking for and more. You’ll receive a list of breeds that will work for you.
Try it out and let us know what you think!