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12 friendliest dog breeds that make perfect pets

A Border Collie is one of the friendliest dog breeds
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Looking for a mutt who loves to mingle? Our guide to the friendliest dog breeds will help give you the lowdown on some of the best well-natured pups you can add to your household.

Whether you're looking for the best dog for kids or are considering which dog is best for first-time owners, choosing a pooch that's loving and friendly is often the key consideration when it comes to welcoming a new pet into your life. 

It's likely that you already consider a few of the most popular small dog breeds as sweet natured and people-curious, but you may also be surprised to know that some of the friendliest dog breeds out there are the gentle giants, including a few from our most obedient large dog breeds list. Just because they're big, that's no reason to be intimidated by them.

If you're looking for a particularly snuggly pup too, why not consider our guide to affectionate dog breeds? You won't regret it.

Are you ready to meet your next cheerful companion? Read on to discover the gentle-natured canines that simply love to meet and greet!  

PetsRadar’s guide to the friendliest dog breeds…

1. Golden Retriever

One of the best dog breeds for first time owners: Close up of Golden Retriever outside looking at camera happily with tongue out

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With their gentle and calming temperament, a Golden Retriever is a wonderful pet to add to the family. Usually one of the first dogs you think of when considering the friendliest dog breeds, they're generally excellent with kids and are well-known for being particularly loyal and big-hearted.

These cuddly canines were bred to work with people and are always eager to please their owner, whether they're acting as a guide dog, a hunting dog, or used in therapy.

2. Pug

Pug sat outside

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With their adorable faces and wide grins, you can't help but smile yourself when you encounter a pug

They're rather mischievous; always looking to scope out the nearest thing that catches their eye, whether that be human or another pup.

Playful, cheerful, and affectionate, this canine class clown has only ever had one important role - that of a companion animal making them one of the friendliest dog breeds around. 

3. Border Collie

Border Collie outside holding a stick in its mouth with blue sky behind

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Loyal and eager to learn, the Border Collie loves being around people. They of course make excellent working dogs and are best-known for their work on the farm herding sheep but they also make for a highly affectionate family dog.

Border Collies are sociable animals who enjoy living inside with the family rather than being kept on their own. Alert and graceful, with a high stamina, these cheerful canines are full of boundless energy that loves greeting new people. 

4. Labradoodle


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Thanks to their kind and loving nature, cute appearance and high intelligence, the Labradoodle is a great addition to the family.

They're relatively easy to train and are both super cuddly and delightfully friendly to all who come into contact with them.

Just be sure you have plenty of space outside to let them roam. Labradoodles have plenty of energy and need at least an hour or two of exercise per day.

5. Dalmation

friendliest dog breeds dalmation

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Anyone who's ever seen or read 101 Dalmations is sure to immediately fall in love with these lovable spotty dogs.

A Dalmation is typically loyal, highly energetic, and loves to play. They're generally very good with kids and are typically friendly to people - just beware of their strength and size as their natural energy and enthusiasm can be difficult to reign in! 

6. French Bulldog

Black French Bulldog

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Typically a fun and playful breed, the French Bulldog has a hugely lovable personality, an adorable miniature size, and an ability to live in any home. 

These affectionate canines are generally welcoming to strangers invited into your home; they love people and are great with children. 

They are good around other pets, too, especially if they've been exposed to them from a very young age – good socialization as a puppy is therefore key.

7. Pomeranian

Close-up of Pomeranian stretching out their paw to touch human hand

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With their super fluffy coat and mischievous grin, who can resist the charm of the Pomeranian? Fortunately these adorable little dogs love to receive all the attention they get from their distinctive appearance.

 You can easily greet and pat a Pomeranian with no trouble at all; their curious minds are often eager to explore what's going on around them. 

They’re lively, perky, and adore making their humans laugh, so they make the perfect furry family friend for those in search of a spirited companion. 

8. Great Dane

Black and white Great Dane Dog staring at the camera

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Don't be fooled by their large appearance, these canines are the gentle giants of the dog world. 

A loving and sweet dog, Great Danes are affectionate and adore people. They are true indoor dogs who love being part of the family. They are both friendly and patient with both adults and children.

Contrary to their appearance, the Great Dane is typically a pretty laid-back dog. Not much ruffles the fur of this calm and placid pooch, making him suitable for a wide range of living situations. 

Great Danes make great companions - just be careful not to be accidentally bowled over by these impressively sized canines!

9. Bichon Frise

Two Bichon Frise dogs standing side by side outside

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The Bichon Frise has a sweet and loving nature that makes them wonderful family pets. Their cotton-like fur makes them ideal cuddle companions and their loving temperament means they're more than willing to accept them. 

One of the friendliest dog breeds that are also easy to train and highly adaptable, this breed does, however, require regular professional grooming to keep them looking stylish. 

With their gentle spirit and friendly demeanor, they're sure to relish the attention given to them, whether it be from within the family or outside of it. 

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Close up shot of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looking into camera with mouth open

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Gentle yet playful, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is renowned for its easy going nature and friendly smile.

Essentially a miniature spaniel, this adorable pup is one of the sweetest dogs around.  You'll often see them obediently trotting behind their owner loving every moment of life, showing kindness and compliance to every human and pooch they meet and greet in the park. 

11. Poodle

poodle esa dog

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Have you ever seen an aggressive poodle? Neither have we, and it seems that we're not the only ones. 

As well as being incredibly intelligent, they're loyal and easy to train, making short work out of learning commands and tricks if given the correct instructions. 

The aforementioned loyalty ties in with their inherent friendliness, as this allows them to quickly and easily create bonds with family members that last for a lifetime. Even with strangers they may bark occasionally, but are seldom anything approaching aggressive. 

12. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog lying on floor

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Newfoundland dogs are absolutely huge – they can grow in size from anywhere from 100 to 150 pounds – but don't let this put you off. While a dog of their size unsurprisingly requires special care and a good about of space in which to go out, they really are gentle giants; they aren't known as 'nanny dogs' for no reason.

They have previously been used as water rescue dogs, and this capacity for safeguarding life manifests itself in their behavior towards people. While they are protective of their owners – they are known to physically place themselves between their owners and strangers – they are incredibly gentle, especially towards children.

Housing such a huge dog is a big ask, but it's worth it for the love that they will bring to your household.