Yes, Your Dog Has a Love Language and Here’s How to Tell Which One It Is

In the popular book The 5 Love Languages, marriage counselor Gary Chapman argues that everyone has a love language; it’s the way in which you communicate love. But you knew this already. You’ve taken the quiz to figure out your love language (words of affirmation). And your partner did it, too. (Quality time. Duly noted.)

But did you know your dog has a love language? Yep, according to Dr. Angela Hughes, DVM, PhD, veterinary genetics research manager at canine genetics company Wisdom Health, different core breed groups show affection in different ways—aka their love language. “Breeds were created to have different behavioral traits and to serve various roles. Therefore, each breed group can have innately unique ways of showing their love and affection,” Hughes says.

While you can totally take a DNA test to figure out what your dog’s love language is likely to be based on breed (although, read this first), you can also just observe your dog IRL. Here are the five doggie love languages and what to look for.

dog wagging his tail
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1. Tail Wagging

“A dog can express many emotions through their tails, but a happy, relaxed dog will show it by a friendly tail wag often with a smile on their face,” Hughes explains. So, if your Doggy Pawton’s tail wags when she sees you, she’s probably thinking, “Man, I love ya.”

dog following his lady around the house
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2. Spending Time With You And/or Following You Everywhere

Hughes explains: “Dogs descended from wolves, which are known for their loyalty to the pack and sociability. Dogs are the same way, and they show it by wanting to be in our space—following us around from room to room as we move about the house.” So yes, if Fluffy’s at your feet all day, she’s probably a little in love with you.

dog licking his owners face
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3. Licking You

Does Hamilton lick your feet while you’re watching TV? Then he’s probably saying, “Love you, Dad!” Hughes tells us this is “another carryover from their wolf ancestors, who would lick their mother’s faces to indicate that they were hungry. The modern dog uses this instinct to let us know that they care about us and are not a threat. They will also do it as an act to groom you, which is another way to show intimacy.”

dog sitting on his owner
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4. Leaning On You/sitting In Your Lap/being In Contact

Have a lap dog living with you? Or what about a big guy who puts his entire body weight on you? Hughes notes that dogs will show their affection and attention by leaning against you, curling up in your lap or just resting a nose or paw on you. She also says, “They also often like to sleep with you (if allowed) similar to how wolf packs sleep together.” So, maybe it’s time to let Herman in the bed?

dog asking to play with his owner
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5. Play

Have you ever seen Potato without a tennis ball in mouth, begging you to play? This is probably her love language. Hughes explains, “Depending on the dog, this can take many forms from retrieving games to chasing games to rolling around on the ground together. Most dogs love to engage you in play as a means of showing affection and forming a bond, not to mention getting out a little of their energy.”


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...