From big dogs to small dogs, the most affectionate dog breeds run the gamut from popular dogs to more lesser-known breeds. While all dogs make great companion animals, there’s something about those that love to cuddle that makes them irresistible.
Every dog has their individual personality and temperament, so while it’s impossible to say that every pooch that falls within a certain breed will be highly affectionate, if you’re keen on a smoocher, selecting your furkid based on breed is a good place to start.
Many of the most popular small dog breeds are known for being cute and cuddly, but you might be surprised to learn that many of the canines we selected for our guide on the most obedient large dog breeds are serious softies at heart.
Some dogs are naturally more independent and need a little less snuggle time, while others are prone to sticking to their humans like velcro. Whatever the case, dogs crave connection just as much as we do and they need plenty of love and affection in order to thrive.
But with so many dog breeds to choose from, how can you tell which ones are more free-spirited and which ones are more likely to become like your second shadow? We’ve done some digging to find out which are the most affectionate dog breeds and the good news is that many of them make the best dog breeds for first time owners.
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PetsRadar’s most affectionate dog breeds
Pugs love their owners and can be very needy. They’ll often follow you around and want to sprawl out on the bed or in your lap. They love the attention and like to spend lots of time with their owners. They enjoy belly rubs, kisses, and cuddles and are the perfect snuggle buddy whenever you need a pick me up!
2. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are by far one of the most affectionate dog breeds out there, which makes them excellent family dogs. They’re great with children, they’re gentle, loving and kind and will never say no to a belly rub. They love to lay down and cuddle with you, and they’ll give you just as much affection as you give them. They’re loyal dogs that are loving and trustful.
3. Brussels Griffon
With funny faces and bags of personality, the pint-sized Brussels Griffon manages to pack a whole lot of love and devotion into their tiny frames. Smart and sensitive, alert and curious, the loyal and sociable Brussels Griffon has eyes that will make you melt.
Playful and rambunctious, this is a spirited breed who can’t get enough of those close to him. While they appear to be brimming with self-confidence, their bravado masks a tender heart that is unable to tolerate solitude or loneliness.
Their stubborn and mischievous natures can make them a handful at times and they can become terribly anxious when they don’t know where their humans are, but if you have the patience for training and you can tolerate having a second shadow, this breed will reward you with bucket loads of love.
These big chunks love to laze around with you. The Newfoundland is calm and friendly, and while they need a lot of exercise, they also enjoy snuggling up with you at the end of a long day. Their fur makes them just like a giant teddy bear so they're perfect for cuddling, and they’re incredibly sensitive around children too.
5. American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terriers are cuddly little meatballs! They may look muscular and strong, but they're naturally affectionate and sociable, and can be loyal companions in any home. In fact, the Little Rascals dog, Pete the Pup, is an AmStaff, and he was clearly great with kids. These stocky little pups are fantastic cuddlers, and with a short cut you won't be pulling a ton of fur out of your mouth!
6. Bichon Frise
This smaller breed of dog is too cute not to cuddle, and lucky for you, they love the attention. Their fluffy coat makes them the perfect little lap dog, and they will happily curl up in a ball on your lap or on the sofa next to you. They feel safe with their owners and enjoy the company, so you’ll often find them making themselves at home at the end of your bed.
Bulldogs are exceptionally cuddly and can often be big sleepyheads. They love attention and only get more relaxed as they get older, so if you bond with them when they're young expect a constant cuddle companion. They can be incredibly gentle and affectionate, and their short stature makes them especially cuddly.
8. Alaskan Klee Kai
The gorgeous Alaskan Klee Kai may be small but their large personalities and huge hearts make them the most loyal and affectionate of companions. Bonding deeply with their humans, this breed attaches quickly and will remain by your side for life.
Aside from their loving natures, this breed is also highly intelligent, picking up commands quickly and excelling in obedience and agility classes. They’re also a highly verbal breed who enjoys conversing with their humans.
The Alaskan Klee Kai makes the most wonderful companion animal, but they don’t do well with being left alone. Although there are steps you can take to reduce separation anxiety in dogs, this breed doesn’t enjoy being alone so they’re best adopted by people who can keep their new furkid with them 24/7.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
As cuddly as they look, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a calm dog that is very patient and makes a lovely companion. They’re highly adaptable and are great dogs to be around for people of all ages, and their sociable side makes them one of the most affectionate dog breeds you can get. They enjoy snuggling up in the warm and will show their owners a lot of love.
Another frequently misunderstood dog breed, Boxers are big bundles of joy who love nothing more than to show their owners some love. They’re loyal and like to stay by their owner's side, so you may notice your boxer following you wherever you go. They need a lot of reassurance in the form of cuddles and positive reinforcement but Boxers are friends for life.
11. Great Dane
Another gentle giant, the Great Dane adores humans. While they may seem intimidating to some, a Great Dane enjoys nothing more than a kiss and a cuddle to show them you care. They’re a great companion for chilling in bed or on the sofa watching Netflix, and they’ll watch over you while you sleep, keeping you safe and sound.
Warm, loving, and loyal, Labradoodles make great family dogs. Happy and easy to train, their delightful natures and love of humans often see them being used in pet therapy settings and they do well around both adults and children.
High-energy, this is a bundle of joy that needs plenty of exercise, but they'll happily reward you for all that running around with endless affection. They're people-pleasers at heart and love nothing more than a good snuggle at the end of the day when they're all tuckered out from play.
As well as being ideal for those with minimal living space due to their diminutive stature, Dachshunds are lovely, low-maintenance dogs. They are great with kids, and love nothing more than snuggling up to their owners. If you’re under a blanket or duvet, don’t be surprised to find them determined to join you underneath it at some point. They’re always ready to play, and can be very hyperactive should the moment strike them. They will sometimes act protective of their family around other dogs, but they’re far from an intimidating proposition, and are ideal for those with young families.
Beautiful, devoted, and loyal, Collies are renowned for being one of the most affectionate dog breeds around, and for good reason. While their heritage goes back to their time as sheep dogs, they’re happy to be laidback when the time comes, and they enjoy cuddling up with their owners just as much as they do being outside. Often, their affection is a means of self-medication – in the process they are relieving their own stress. Otherwise, their displays of affection can indicate they are trying to protect you, or keeping warm when they are feeling cold, making them relatable as well as affectionate.
Chihuahuas are perhaps one of the most misunderstood dog breeds around, with some attaching the so-called ‘small-dog syndrome’ to their personas. Some have complained of them being a bit snappy and prone to anger, but often this is linked to their strong sense of kinship to their owner – they’re very protective, and may sometimes attack if separated or perceiving a threat. While at home alone though, they are incredibly friendly, with those who own them being in no doubt that they are indeed one of the most affectionate dog breeds around. Don’t judge them by their label.
Akitas strong incredibly strong bonds with their family members, and can be incredibly affectionate towards humans they've bonded with. Remember, a Japanese Akita famously returned to the train station his owner used to commute home to long after his owner passed away - that's a pretty intense level of love, isn't it? Although Akitas can be aloof, they reserve their affection for close family members, and will be very cuddly and sweet with them.
17. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs are good-natured and incredibly affectionate dogs. these sweethearts are incredibly calm and patient, and make great companions for families with children. They're believed to be one of the least aggressive dogs and can be incredibly caring towards their human family members. Expect this big cuddlers to be great dogs to hang out and watch movies with, especially during colder months.
18. Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds are incredibly affectionate and love to be around their owners all the time. If you're a fan of personal space, the Italian Greyhound may not be the breed for you, as they clearly don't know what personal space is. The Italian Greyhound's small stature makes them great cuddle buddies who won't take up your entire bed. They form strong bonds with their family and can get lonely if left home alone for long periods of time.
Sarah is a freelance writer and marketer, covering a variety of topics from lifestyle and fitness to sustainability and travel. When she’s not writing, she can be found relaxing with a cuppa and a cute doggo snoozing on her lap!
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