3 Dog Breeds That Play Well with Other Pups (& One That's More of a Loner)

Thinking about adding another dog to your family? We love it! Just make sure you choose a breed that plays well with other pups. Some dog breeds were bred to work with other dogs and enjoy having a playmate. Others, like the Japanese Shikoku, were bred to hunt and protect. Breed is a huge factor when it comes to your dog’s ability to get along with other dogs. We’ve listed three breeds below who are known for their affinity for puppy pals, and one you may want to embrace as an only (dog) child.

The pack myth

According to the Academic Journal of Canine Science, dogs are socially opportunistic animals. They are not actually pack animals. Packs have hierarchies, including an alpha animal (a dictator of sorts). Social animals work together towards a common goal (like a family might). As social opportunists, dogs leap at the chance to live alongside other dogs (or people) if it improves their situation, but are content to go through life solo if need be. If you’re as surprised as we were by this distinction, buckle up.

Popularized theories about canine pack life and training methods based on establishing dominance over your dog are complete hog wash! (Rewards-based training is always the best route to take.) In fact, researchers who have observed groups of wolves in the wild found they act cooperatively for the survival of all members. Domesticated pups do this and more. Not only do dogs work and play well with other dogs, they bond with other species like humans, cats and even horses.

So, what does this all mean? It means dogs are predisposed to live happily among other animals. However, some breeds are better suited for this lifestyle than others. The dogs on our list that get along with other dogs enjoy teamwork and know how to share resources (and your attention). Dogs that don’t enjoy other dogs tend to be territorial watch dogs with independent streaks.

At the end of the day, every dog has its own unique personality. There are certainly ways to socialize pups early in an effort to make them more congenial around other dogs, but sometimes nature wins and a dog’s ancestry gets the best of him.

25 Kid-Friendly Dog Breeds That Are Ideal for the Whole Family

3 Dog Breeds That Play Well with Other Pups

dog breeds that play well with other pups beagle
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1. Beagle

Average Height: 13-15 inches

Average Weight: 15-30 pounds

Temperament: Friendly, curious

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Activity Level: High

Life Expectancy: 10-15 years

Beagles have been hunting for centuries, often working in tandem with other dogs to track prey. They are truly at their happiest when surrounded by family and playmates. With a friendly disposition, expect them to make friends out on walks (but beware their high hunter’s prey drive!). Though they may not always be up for a cozy cuddle, they are great family pets and do well with kiddos.

dog breeds that play well with other pups cocker spaniel
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2. Cocker Spaniel

Average Height: 13-16 inches

Average Weight: 20-30 pounds

Temperament: Gentle, intelligent

Shedding Factor: Moderate

Activity Level: Moderate

Life Expectancy: 10-14 years

Cocker Spaniels are delightful pups with long, luxurious coats. They do require frequent brushing to avoid mats and tangles. Also bred to be hunters, Cocker Spaniels enjoy playtime but don’t require as much activity as Beagles. They love being in on the action and know how to tolerate and interact with children. These pups are eager to please and train well.

dog breeds that play well with other pups siberian husky
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3. Siberian Husky

Average Height: 20-24 inches

Average Weight: 35-60 pounds

Temperament: Loyal, energetic

Shedding Factor: High

Activity Level: High

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Siberian Huskies are social animals through and through. Not only do they slather their families with affection, they’re excited to meet new dogs and engage them in activities. Since these pups were bred as companion animals and used as sled dogs by the Chukchi people of northeast Asia, Siberian Huskies have centuries of teamwork in their bones. If you adopt a Husky, get ready for ample exercise, lots of shedding and some barking. Honestly, these pups train better with a pal, so why not get two right off the bat?

dog breeds that play well with other pups akita
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1 Dog Breed That's More Of A Loner


Average Height: 24-28 inches

Average Weight: 70-130 pounds

Temperament: Loyal, Brave

Shedding Factor: Seasonal

Activity Level: High

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Ah, the fluffy, giant Akita. These dogs hail from Japan and were bred to hunt big game. Described by the American Kennel Club as “profoundly loyal,” they bond with their families and are content leaving it at that. It’s not recommended to toss them into a dog park with a bunch of unfamiliar pups. Early socialization is key to ensuring a well-behaved Akita (you don’t want them going cuckoo on a walk if another dog passes by). Though independent and semi-aloof, they will do anything for their family members.

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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...