The most affectionate dog breeds make great companions for pet parents looking to cuddle with a canine no matter the size. These dogs love attention, snuggles, petting, and play sessions, and they make fantastic additions to your home whether you're a veteran or a new pet owner.
It's important to note that every dog has their own unique personality and temperament no matter their breed. Some dogs may be snugglier than others, some may be more prone to following you around, while others may value their space. But generally, the breeds you'll find listed below are all well known for being serial smoochers.
You may assume this list will be full of small dog breeds, as they're often seen as being the cute and cuddly ones, but you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out that big dogs can be just as sweet and affectionate as their smaller counterparts. In fact, some of the most obedient large dog breeds also happen to be total softies who think they're lapdogs despite their massive size. You'll get love and affection no matter how big or small the dogs are if you're considering a dog from this list!
When it comes to the most affectionate dog breeds, you really are spoilt for choice. We've gathered 19 of the most cuddly, snuggly and kissy dog breeds so that you can add some extra sweetness to your home. And don't worry if you're new to being a pet parent - many affectionate dog breeds also happen to make our list of the best dog breeds for first time owners. So while one or two dogs on this list will require a firm and confident hand (the Akita, for example), you'll find most are more than suitable for you if you're just starting out on your dog owning adventure. Affectionate and obedient? How could you say no?
Without further ado, here are the 19 of the most affectionate dog breeds that may have you reconsidering how many pets you want in the house.
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PetsRadar’s most affectionate dog breeds
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
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
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.
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, so expect to get a giant dog-shaped pillow out of these bubs. 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 short hair, 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, 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.
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, Border 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.
Akitas form incredibly strong bonds with their family members, and can be super 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.
Lively, inquisitive and bold, the Pomeranian is a little pocket rocket who delights in making their humans laugh. They adore companionship, love mastering new tricks, and make wonderful additions to the family. They're also hugely active in spite of their petite size, so if you like being outdoors, this breed makes a wonderful walking companion.
And the good news is that this little dog doesn't just look fluffy and cuddly, they truly are major snugglers who will paw at their owners to get hugs. Sassy, vocal and with a need to be the center of attention, these dogs can be demanding, but if you're looking for a pet that will smother you in affection, these spunky pups are hard to resist.
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!
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