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10 playful dog breeds that make the best companions

Playful dog breeds guide: Pure joy on the face of a young spaniel running free through a field
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Looking for a companion who's full of fun? These playful dog breeds just love to play in the park or frolic down the beach.

You may have already considered adding one of the friendliest dog breeds to your family, particularly if you have children or are a first-time dog owner. If you are additionally considering how playful a pooch is, it's important to think about how their temperament will fit into your lifestyle.

Dogs who are energetic and fun can be great company; their desire to embrace new activities makes them wonderful companions, but there are a few drawbacks. Playful dog breeds tend to require plenty of exercise to burn off all that energy. If you have a busy lifestyle or prefer to kick back and relax in your free time, consider a laidback, low-maintenance breed instead.

If you're looking to entertain one of these playful dogs, opt for a mixture of fun activities and have plenty of playthings on hand. The best dog toys for active pooches include balls, frisbees, and chew toys while common games for dogs include fetch and hide and seek.

PetsRadar’s guide to the most playful dog breeds

1. Labradoodle

Labradoodle

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Intelligent and loving, the Labradoodle has plenty of energy and loves to play. If you can spare at least an hour or two of exercise per day, this adorable hound will make a wonderful companion. 

Their high intelligence benefits from plenty of mental stimulation; it’s a good idea to play games and offer up plenty of dog toys in the home and garden to keep them busy.

If you have time on your hands, why not set up an agility course inside or outdoors? With their high energy, Labradoodles will love running over and under objects and leaping through the air to reach their goal.

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

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The Golden Retriever is a popular all-rounder. Known for their deep loyalty and friendly personality, they can appear laidback at first, but once you let them off the leash, they love nothing more than exhibiting their playful side.

Originally bred as hunting dogs, Golden Retrievers love to please their human owners. They have boundless energy that they need to expend to prevent them from becoming bored and destructive.

They need more than a big backyard to play in and should be exercised at least twice a day for a total of two hours.

3. English Springer Spaniel 

springer spaniel

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You don't get much more energetic than the English Springer Spaniel. These playful dogs are bounding with joy and frequently looking for the next activity to get involved in.

You'll want to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated; being left for too long alone can result in destructive behavior.

Bred as gun dogs, the English Springer Spaniel particularly relishes play that taps into their natural instincts to hunt. They love to show off, so consider fetch or flyball as a way to burn off that excess energy and meet your companion's desire to please.

4. Chorkie

Chorkie dog

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A Chorkie is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Yorkshire Terrier, so expect a bit of feisty personality from both breeds.

This lovely little rascal doesn't necessarily don’t require long frolics across the beach – they are quite content with one or two short-to-medium length walks per day – but they do have a playful side that loves to embrace a mix of activities. 

Their small size and stature lends itself well to the type of canine agility sports that you can set up at home.

5. Dalmation

playful dog breeds dalmation

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Fun-loving and full of character, a Dalmation is typically loyal, highly energetic, and loves to play. Ideal ways to entertain your spotty friend include taking them along with you while you jog, or burning off their high energy with a few rounds of fetch.

You could set up an obstacle course in your backyard or create a treasure walk on their next daily walk by incorporating toys, treats, or food along the trail.

Set aside at least two hours a day for exercise purposes. Dalmations particularly thrive in the countryside, where there's plenty of space to play and roam around.

6. Australian Shepherd Dog

Australian Shepherd dog running

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Best matched with owners who lead an active lifestyle, the Australian Shepherd dog is the perfect hiking companion. High-energy activities such as chasing frisbees and playing with interactive dog toys work well for this playful dog breed, but you'll also want to challenge them mentally. 

Fetch and tug-of-war are great options here; investing in a few of the best rope dog toys will help keep them occupied.

7. French Bulldog

Black French Bulldog

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With their miniature size and cheerful personalities, French Bulldogs make fantastic pets. Affectionate and attention-seeking, they are great with both adults and children.

It's this desire for attention and stimulation that makes them such a wonderfully playful dog breed to have around. 

Great games to play with your Frenchie include hide and seek, but they'll also love a round or two of tug-of-war. Don't forget to provide them plenty of chew toys, fetching sticks, and balls. A little playfighting can also go down well with these muscular mutts.

8. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier standing on the beach on a sunny day

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Curious about the world around them and full of cheeky personality, the Jack Russell Terrier is one of the most playful dog breeds around – you may be introduced to one as he's making off with your football in the local park!

They are great with people and keen to join in any fun activities happening in the moment. Flyball can be a great idea for entertaining your Jack Russell, while common games, such as fetch and hide and seek, are also ideal options. 

9. Labrador Retriever

A yellow Labrador Retriever dog smiles as it lays on a wooden bench outdoors on a sunny day.

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Labrador Retrievers are lively dogs with bags of energy to spare; look to keep them active every day, especially as they love to eat and are prone to piling on the pounds.

Fortunately, playing with your Labrador as a form of exercise could not be easier. As their name suggests, Labradors love to retrieve, so fetch or throwing a frisbee are fantastic options. Grab a ball and head to the park or simply have them accompany you on runs if you're feeling particularly energetic. 

These active canines also love to swim so setting up some water activities in your backyard, such as a swimming pool for dogs and a selection of floating dog toys, can really pique their interest.

10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgi lying in grass

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Most famous for being Queen Elizabeth II's choice of pooch, Corgis are also renowned for their cheerful spirit. They have big personalities for such tiny bodies, always looking to play and engage with the people around them.

Look to offer between 30-40 minutes of playtime to your Corgi every day and ensure they get plenty of exercise to burn off calories.

Good options for a Corgi include outdoor pursuits such as swimming, hiking, and jogging, while classics like fetch and hide and seek work well too.

If you fancy getting inventive, set up a sporting event in your backyard or simply teach your Corgi a few tricks to keep their active minds engaged.