20 Affectionate Dog Breeds Because Puppy Love Is Just the Best

If you’re in the market for a dog who knows how to cheer you up with lots of love, you’ve come to the right list. These affectionate dog breeds are known for their sweet nature and unabashed displays of devotion. Some are definitely more independent than others (and will require more firm training). Others are adaptable and will fit in with just about any household. Finally, it’s always worth remembering that every dog is an individual and might not have the “breed standard” when it comes to personality. Love your dog for who they are! That’s how they love you.

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affectionate dog breeds akita
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1. Akita

Akitas hail from Japan, where they are known as the protectors of the family and appreciated for their unwavering loyalty. Once they’re part of the family, they tend to be wary of new people and unenthusiastic about new pets. They only have eyes for you!

affectionate dog breeds bernese mountain dog
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2. Bernese Mountain Dog

These dogs have a big, strong exterior and a soft, gentle heart. Known for their patience with kids, Bernese mountain dogs are also smart and easy to train. Did someone say perfect family dog?

affectionate dog breeds bichon frise
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3. Bichon Frise

There’s a lot of personality stuffed into the Bichon Frise’s tiny frame! These puff balls of joy make excellent companion dogs and are ready to follow their human anywhere she may roam. Unlike the Akita, they’re also extremely friendly with new faces—both people and animals.

affectionate dog breed border terrier
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4. Border Terrier

Though they’ve got that signature terrier prey drive, border terriers are always ready to snuggle up with their families at the end of a long, hard day. Their easy-going demeanor gels well with kids and big groups.

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5. Brussels Griffon

As the American Kennel Club puts it, the Brussels Griffon has a “low threshold for loneliness.” They love their humans so much, they want to be around you all the time! This also means they can be very sensitive, and though affectionate, aren’t great with little kids or other pets.

affectionate dog breeds english bulldog
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6. Bulldog

These friendly, loyal canines genuinely think they are lap dogs. Bulldogs will try to climb into your lap any chance they get. They’re friendly creatures, ready to give as much love as possible. Sloppy kisses, anyone?

affectionate dog breeds cavalier king charles spaniel
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7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

An adaptable breed who can truly brighten your day with their “smile,” the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is as adorable as they come. Plus, they love their families. Sure, they were initially bred by British royalty, but they have no problem rolling around in the dirt with a friend (or ten).

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8. Chow Chow

Similar to the Akita, the Chow Chow is incredibly affectionate with its own family but couldn’t care less about strangers or visitors. In fact, they may initially appear to be distant. That’s because they’re old souls (the breed dates back to 150 B.C.!). Establish cuddling sessions early and they’ll be hooked.

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9. Collie

Um, Lassie? Hello! Of course the Collie is an affectionate breed! They’ve got lots of energy and plenty of love to give. Families are often drawn to Collies for these reasons, not to mention their keen ability to learn and retain commands.

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10. German Shorthaired Pointer

Talk about a happy, friendly breed. The German shorthaired pointer definitely needs to burn energy throughout the day, but there’s never a lack of affection from these dogs. They love learning commands and fulfilling said commands to please their owners.

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11. Golden Retriever

Need proof that golden retrievers are affectionate dogs? Consider the fact that they make excellent therapy dogs, guide dogs, family dogs, rescue dogs, show dogs…should we keep going?

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12. Irish Setter

These sweet pups can party with the kids and lounge with the elderly. They love to hunt but are always down to chill. Irish setters are also pure stunners with their long, rust-colored coats. It’s all good though because they love attention.

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13. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers are happy-go-lucky pals up for whatever the day brings - as long as it means spending time with you. Athletic and easy-going, labs make great family pets. And nothing beats the tail-wagging welcome you’ll get every time you walk through the door.

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14. Maltese

Another ancient breed on our list, the Maltese might give off an air of superiority, but they are always down to clown with their loved ones. They make new friends easily and will happily follow their humans on any adventure.

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15. Newfoundland

Referred to as the “Nanny Dog,” Newfoundlands make great guard dogs and playmates. The combination of their enormous, fluffy bodies with their sweet-tempered personalities makes it easy to understand why.

affectionate dog breeds old english sheepdog

16. Old English Sheepdog

Talk about a fluffy body! The Old English sheepdog is a giant orb of fur with a kind soul peeking out from the inside. These dogs are excellent with kids because of their patience and playfulness. They also retain information well, making them obedient confidants.

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17. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Another dog that looks like it’s constantly smiling at you! Pembroke Welsh corgis are affectionate, lively and intelligent, which makes them perfect for active households and big personalities. They also consider themselves to be great watchdogs, so beware their bark! (It’s worse than their bite.)

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18. Pug

Pugs are small but mighty dogs who can go with the flow. As long as they have a loving, doting companion, they can thrive just about anywhere. A feisty streak isn’t unheard of in a pug, but love conquers all and they’re probably just trying to keep your attention.

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19. Vizsla

Friendly and courageous, Vizslas need plenty of outdoor time. As long as you can deliver that, they’ll shower you with affection and follow you to the ends of the earth.

affectionate dog breed whippet
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20. Whippet

A whippet’s ideal afternoon is lounging on a chaise with its favorite human, giving side eye to anyone who tries to intrude. They love their people! Training might be tricky because they can be stubborn little pups, but a little patience goes a long way.

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Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...