15 Smiling Dog Breeds (or At Least These Pups Always Look Extra Happy)

Dogs are known for their happy-go-lucky playfulness and the joy they bring to people. While the verdict is still out on whether or not dogs actually smile (and there has been some research done on this topic), several breeds simply look extra happy based on their coloring and stature. It’s really easy to assume our dogs are happy if they appear to smile, but it’s imperative to remember we don’t really know what’s going on inside their heads. Interpreting a dog’s mentality and emotional state based on her behavior, vocalizations and body language is much more reliable. But, like, why not enjoy the smiles on these pups’ faces?

The 15 Best Companion Dogs to Be at Your Side When You Really Need It

smiling dog breeds alaskan malamute
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1. Alaskan Malamute

Average Height: 24 inches

Average Weight: 80 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, stubborn

Trainability: 6/10

These frisky dogs are here to work hard, then play hard. Incredibly loyal pack animals, Alaskan Malamutes seem to have a constant open-mouthed smile that says, “Here I am! Let’s have some fun!” Train early and firmly to instill obedience that lasts.

smiling dog breeds american eskimo dog
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2. American Eskimo Dog

Average Height: 10.5 inches (toy), 13.5 inches (miniature), 17 inches (standard)

Average Weight: 8 pounds (toy), 15 pounds (miniature), 30 pounds (standard)

Personality: Energetic, intelligent

Trainability: 10/10

Nestled inside an American Eskimo dog’s fluffy white fur is a black button nose and two smiling lips. These dogs are excellent students; they’re smart and require plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Plus, their easy-going nature makes Eskies great family and companion pets.

smiling dog breeds australian kelpie
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3. Australian Kelpie

Average Height: 18.5 inches

Average Weight: 38.5 pounds

Personality: Tireless, loyal

Trainability: 8/10

Another exceptional companion dog is the Australian Kelpie. These smarties can be black, brown, tan or a combination of the three. Bred to be herding dogs, they thrive in open fields where they can run. Kelpies also do well in hot climates.

smiling dog breeds belgian sheepdog
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4. Belgian Sheepdog

Average Height: 24 inches

Average Weight: 60 pounds

Personality: Sensitive, strong

Trainability: 8/10

The Belgian sheepdog almost looks like a larger version of the Australian Kelpie, with a more luxurious coat. True, both were born to work and wrangle sheep. However, the Belgian sheepdog is much more sensitive and needs more one-on-one time with its family members. These dogs also know how to smize (smile with their eyes, according to Tyra Banks).

smiling dog breeds bichon frise
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5. Bichon Frise

Average Height: 10.5 inches

Average Weight: 14 pounds

Personality: Goofy, Adaptable

Trainability: 9/10

Known for being tiny little clowns, it makes perfect sense that Bichon Frises appear to be smiling constantly. Again, those black noses and lips pop amidst that poufy white fur! They may be small, but they are mighty and very smart. Teach them tricks and you’ll all be smiling, all the time.

smiling dog breeds finnish spitz
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6. Finnish Spitz

Average Height: 18 inches

Average Weight: 26 pounds

Temperament: Happy, vocal

Trainability: 7/10

One of the rarer breeds available today is the Finnish Spitz. If you’re unfamiliar with the spitz canine family, we highly recommend getting to know these types of pups. They are energetic, sweet-natured and intelligent. What more could you want? Oh, a smile? Check.

7. German Spitz

Average Height: 13.5 inches

Average Weight: 25 pounds

Personality: Lively, affectionate

Trainability: 6/10

The German Spitz’s friendly demeanor and low prey drive make it an ideal family pet (especially if you’ve got tiny kids). These foxlike canines have a curiosity that gives them a constant inquisitive look—with a childlike smile always lurking underneath.

smiling dog breeds icelandic sheepdog
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8. Icelandic Sheepdog

Average Height: 17 inches

Average Weight: 27 pounds

Personality: Loyal, playful

Trainability: 9/10

Icelandic sheepdogs love nothing more than a day jam-packed with activities among their favorite humans. They’ll happily learn new tricks and commands in the morning and chill out for cuddles in the evening. These pups have been around for more than 1,000 years, so their old souls adapt easily to just about any environment.

smiling dog breeds japanese spitz
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9. Japanese Spitz

Average Height: 13.5 inches

Average Weight: 17.5 pounds

Personality: Charming, alert

Trainability: 9/10

As long as a Japanese Spitz is with its BFF (aka you), she’ll be happy. These dogs enjoy playtime and running errands—just don’t leave them home alone too often or too long! They’re eager to be in on the action. Pointy ears, goofy expressions and puppy dog eyes are their key features.

10. Lancashire Heeler

Average Height: 11 inches

Average Weight: 12.5 pounds

Personality: Courageous, affectionate

Trainability: 9/10

In 2003, Lancashire heelers were considered to be endangered by The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom! Since then, organizations like the United States Lancashire Heeler Club have worked hard to bring this breed to the forefront of dog lovers’ minds. Similar to terriers, these pups love to chase and are strong, hard workers. At the end of the day, they’re content to relax with their families.

smiling dog breeds papillon
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11. Papillon

Average Height: 10 inches

Average Weight: 7.5 pounds

Personality: Athletic, sweet

Trainability: 10/10

Papillons get their name from the French word for butterfly, because their ears look like wings! If they could, we bet Papillons would actually take flight. They love to spread love and enjoy running around with other dogs—no matter their tiny stature. Plus, obedience training comes very easily.

smiling dog breeds pomeranian
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12. Pomeranian

Average Height: 6.5 inches

Average Weight: 5 pounds

Personality: Outgoing, adaptable

Trainability: 6/10

The small but mighty Pomeranian is happy to meet anyone who crosses her path! They do well in small city apartments and large country estates, which is probably why they always look like they’re grinning ear to ear.

smiling dog breeds samoyed
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13. Samoyed

Average Height: 21 inches

Average Weight: 50 pounds

Personality: Mellow, social

Trainability: 6/10

Samoyeds thrive when surrounded by friends and family; if left alone, they’ll turn into destructive creatures. They just want love and attention! With super fluffy coats and bright, intelligent eyes, it’s no wonder they always look like they’re smiling at you.

smiling dog breeds shiba inu
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14. Shiba Inu

Average Height: 15 inches

Average Weight: 20 pounds

Personality: Confident, sweet

Trainability: 5/10

Shiba Inus are the most popular companion dogs in Japan. Their sweet personality means tons of affection coming your way. One thing all Shiba Inu owners have to work with is this dog’s high prey drive. Once they decide to chase a scent and follow their hearts, all bets are off.

smiling dog breeds white terrier
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15. West Highland White Terrier

Average Height: 10.5 inches

Average Weight: 17 pounds

Personality: Cheerful, eager

Trainability: 8/10

Doesn’t this dog look like a small, smiling gentleman?! With their wiry white coats and strong bodies, these terriers are game for anything. Often called Westies, this breed is an absolute delight and always eager to please you, your family and any new friends they meet.

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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...