Every prospective dog owner wants something different from their pooch. High energy levels, perhaps, or a more laid-back nature to fit in with the couch potatoes among us. Some people want a low-maintenance breed who doesn’t require a lot of grooming and can tolerate being alone, while others are seeking a constant companion.
Whatever other boxes you want to tick, everyone wants a friendly dog. Just like amiable humans, good-natured dogs just make life a little sweeter. Here are some of the friendliest dog breeds to consider when you’re choosing your canine BFF.
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The highly sociable corgi could be described as the party animal of the dog world. Because it was bred as a companion dog, it’s always affectionate and attentive toward the humans it loves — and its friendliness extends to children and other dogs. The American Kennel Club counts it “among the most agreeable of all small house dogs.”
The Havanese (the only dog breed native to Cuba) is cheerful and sociable. It also has a propensity for acting the clown — think of it like the joker of the pack. Basically, you won’t find a better buddy than this canine clown, and they’ll do anything to make you laugh.
There are many reasons the labrador retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the U.S. for 29 years. One of them is that this breed is every bit as friendly as it looks. Another dog bred to be a companion, the lovable lab likes nothing more than spending time with people, and it generally gets on well with other dogs, too.
Another hugely popular dog in the U.S. is the golden retriever, who is arguably just as friendly as its labrador cousin. The golden’s confident, sweet nature and willingness to please makes it a rewarding addition to any family. It’s a breed that manages to maintain its playful puppy nature into adulthood — who can complain about that?
The goofy Boston terrier loves to make new friends (both of the canine and human varieties). It’s known as “the American gentleman” due to its impeccable manners. But it also has an innate gift for comedy and will never tire of making you laugh.
A huge part of the appeal of the Irish setter is its laid-back, friendly nature. Although plenty of exercise is required to prevent excessive barking, chewing and other undesirable behaviors, this cordial companion could win over anyone with its zest for life.
“They are famously good family dogs: Sweet-tempered companions for the folks, and rollicking playmates and tennis ball fetchers for the children,” says the American Kennel Club.
The cheerful, happy-go-lucky beagle enjoys spending time with people more than anything. What’s more, it’s a true all-rounder. It has enough energy for a game of fetch or a run around the park, but will also love snuggling with you on the couch at the end of the day.
A people-pleaser above all else, the border collie always has plenty of affection to dish out. This breed can be a little more reserved around strangers, but as soon as you get to know each other, you’ll definitely feel the love. Plus, it’s super intelligent, so it actually seems like it knows what you’re thinking. How many of your human friends can claim that skill?
A relationship with a boxer is definitely a two-way street. But if you give it the attention it needs, it will give you it back tenfold. This is partly why a boxer is such a great choice for families with kids that long for a lively playmate who’ll never get bored of playing fetch.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
A dog with a smile as big as the Staffordshire bull terrier’s can only make the world a friendlier place. Unfortunately, the Staffy’s reputation has been tainted by its connection to organized dog fighting. But the truth is, it has a seriously sweet nature, is quick to forgive and remains one of the most loyal breeds out there.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The smallest of the spaniel breeds, the Cavalier King Charles loves people and is great with children and other dogs. They don’t like being alone, so be prepared to give your Cavalier pup ample attention. That’s no hardship, really, when a dog is as friendly as this one.
The easygoing pug is an adorable addition to any home. Loving and adaptable, it fits in with adults, kids and other dogs. Its cheeky personality ensures that life with this canine chum is never dull.
The Keeshond, a breed of Dutch origin, is typically affectionate and sociable. It’s known for getting on with strangers, although it never wants to stray too far from its owner. According to DogTime, the Keeshond was known for years as the “Dutch barge dog” because it could often be found on barges and small boats on Holland’s numerous canals and rivers. But it will want to be your friend, even if you don’t have a barge.
Known for being super-smart and highly trainable, the poodle is also extremely friendly. Great with kids and receptive to other dogs, it may be shy around strangers initially. However, it is always gentle and good-natured with whomever it ends up befriending.
Always charming, the bearded collie can put anyone under its spell. It’s also a breed that is guaranteed to keep you on your toes. Described by the American Kennel Club as a “rambunctious comic,” it’s a bundle of fun. Early, consistent training is required to socialize the beardie, who will then get on well with other animals and children.
It’s tough to find a sweeter dog than the Newfoundland. This gentle giant deserves the nickname “nanny dog” — it’s incredibly patient with children. The Newfie may be one of the biggest dog breeds, but it’s also a trusting, loyal companion for life.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Apart from having the coolest name in the dog world, the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen is alert and good-natured. It has a lovable personality that helps it win over people and other animals alike. This strong, outgoing hound is happiest when it has company.
Tough-guy name aside, the English bulldog is friendlier than it looks. Despite its fierce appearance — harking back to its fighting past — you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog with a more loving nature. Loyal and dependable, the bulldog loves to be with its family, is great with kids and has patience with other dogs.
Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
The soft-coated wheaten terrier is so friendly, it has its own signature greeting — a routine of bouncing and twirling — for anyone who comes to visit. Known for being an amazing family dog, the wheaten is one of the best breeds for children. It will never get bored of playtime, and it’s less aggressive than other terrier breeds.
A soft heart in a large body, the Saint Bernard makes a great family dog. This breed is patient and protective, and calm and quiet when indoors. However, due to its large size, it’s not ideal for a home with small children, as it could accidentally cause injury.
The whippet is known for its athleticism and speed, but when it’s not on the run, it loves to take it easy. Down time with a whippet is all about relaxation and bonding. This super-friendly breed is great with other dogs, cats and kids.
An upbeat addition to your home is the Brittany, a friendly, fun-loving field dog. It will fit right in with an active, outdoorsy family who shares its zest for life. If you can meet its high-energy needs, you’ll have a happy Brittany.
A lot of small dog breeds can get a reputation for being snooty, but not the happy Shih Tzu. This “Chinese lion dog” is truly adaptable, and gets along with everyone. However, it’s particularly suitable for the elderly, as it loves nothing more than plenty of lap time.
One of the first “designer dogs,” the cockapoo is part cocker spaniel and part poodle. Arguably the most popular doodle breed, it makes a fabulous pet. Something magical happens when you mix a cocker with a poodle, and the result is a friendly, attentive, sociable dog who will never run out of love for its humans.
A close relative of the cockapoo, the Cavapoo combines the Cavalier King Charles spaniel with the toy or miniature poodle. Gentle and loving in looks as well as temperament, the Cavapoo is fantastic with children and happy joining in with whatever its humans are doing, whether that’s playing in the yard or curling up on the couch for snuggles.