10 of the most affectionate dog breeds that love to be loved

Girl hugging dog in autumn leaves
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Affectionate dog breeds are a joy to have in the home, especially if you’re someone who loves nothing more than lazy days spent lounging around with your canine companion.

Whether you’re engaging in a game using one of the best dog toys or you’re curled up together on the couch, affectionate dogs are always on the lookout for an opportunity to be close to you.

Wagging their tail, licking your face, jumping into your lap, or nuzzling you are all great signs that you have an affectionate pup on your hands. But is it only certain breeds that are eager to show their love?

Not at all. While it’s true that some breeds are naturally more affectionate than others, all dogs can be affectionate when they receive the right love and care from their humans.

With plenty of trust, patience, and consistency, almost all dogs can learn to feel relaxed, content, safe, and comfortable enough to show affection to their people on a regular basis. 

That being said, if you’re looking for a bundle of fluff that’s going to shower you with love, warmth, and cuddles right from the outset, here’s our roundup of the most affectionate dog breeds around. 

PetsRadar’s most affectionate dog breeds

1. Pug

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Pug being cradled in his owners arms

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Pugs love their owners and can be very needy, demanding attention from them nearly all the time. They’ll often follow you around and want to sprawl out on the bed or in your lap - anywhere near you will do. They enjoy belly rubs, kisses, and cuddles and are the perfect snuggle buddy whenever you need a pick me up!

2. Golden Retriever

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Golden Retriever cuddling woman

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Golden Retrievers are by far one of the most affectionate dog breeds, which makes them excellent family dogs. They’re great with children, they’re gentle, they're loving and they're kind  - and they'll 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

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Brussels Griffon being cuddled by smiling man

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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.  

4. American Staffordshire Terrier

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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 short hair, you won't be pulling a ton of fur out of your mouth!

5. Bichon Frise

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Bichon Frise being held by woman and looking over her shoulder to face camera

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This smaller breed of dog is too cute not to cuddle, and lucky for you, the Bichon Frise loves 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.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in owners lap

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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.  

7. Boxer

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Boxer dog in woman's arms

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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.

8. Great Dane

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, a Great Dane laying head in woman's lap

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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.

9. Labradoodle

One of the most affectionate dog breeds, Labradoodle being cuddled outside by young girl

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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. 

10. Bernese Mountain Dog

Best dogs for anxiety: Bernese Mountain Dog

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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. 

Want to learn more about your canine companions heritage? Check out our vet's guide to answer; what breed is my dog?

Sarah Butcher

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 for PetsRadar or other websites, she can be found looking after her pet chickens or relaxing with a cuppa and a cute doggo snoozing on her lap!