A Golden Retriever and Pug puppy playing

A Golden Retriever and Pug puppy playing (Photo by Eric Isselee on Shutterstock)

Dogs, often referred to as man’s best friend, have an unparalleled ability to shower affection upon their human companions. While all dogs have the potential to be loving and loyal, certain breeds stand out for their exceptional affectionate nature. From gentle giants who crave cuddle sessions to small bundles of joy who thrive on being close to their owners, these breeds remind us daily of the incredible bond shared between humans and dogs. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most affectionate dog breeds, delving into what makes them so beloved by their families and why they’re often sought after as loyal companions. 

Affection with your pets is a two-way street. A recent study, however, shows just how affectionate dogs can be with their owners. According to the survey about dog ownership, 64 percent of respondents don’t know where they’d be without their dog’s love and support. In fact, nearly seven in 10 respondents believe their dog knows them better than they know themselves. The average respondent also agrees their dog has also helped them heal three broken hearts. The bond between a human and their pup is undeniably strong. 

Of course, it’s no secret people love their pets, but are pet owners really happier than the average person? Thanks to all the photos pet owners take with their furry friends, a new study finds the answer is yes! In a global analysis using artificial intelligence, researchers with Petplan have found that pet owners worldwide are significantly happier than their pet-free neighbors. In fact, pet ownership increases overall happiness by more than 22 percent globally. 

That being said, I think it’s about time we dive into today’s ranking, don’t you? As always, we at StudyFinds have researched across 10 expert sources to bring you today’s list of the most affectionate dogs. Don’t agree with our ranking or feel we missed a breed out? No worries, we realize there are dozens of breeds that could have made the list and we would love to hear your opinion in the comments below! Now, onto the list!

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The List: Most Affectionate Dogs, According to Canine Experts

1. Great Dane

a large brown dog laying on top of a couch
Great Dane (Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash)

I bet you thought number one was going to be a tiny little Toy Poodle or something. No, the Great Dane takes the number one spot on today’s list. As Farmer Pete’s points out, these gentle giants are known for their loving and affectionate nature, often unaware of their own impressive size. They’re more likely to see themselves as giant lap dogs, always eager to cuddle up close despite their physical stature.

A majestic and noble breed of dog that originated in Germany, Reader’s Digest reinforces their neediness, highlighting their love for snuggling and their dislike of being alone. Despite their towering presence, Great Danes are known for their patience and friendliness, making them wonderful companions.

While Great Danes may be the world’s biggest dog breed, their hearts are even bigger! K9 Of Mine says their size might be initially intimidating to some. However, these gentle giants are true cuddle monsters, often acting like small lap dogs due to their strong bonds with their humans. While they might be wary of strangers, their trust in their loved ones is unwavering. Just be prepared for some drool along the way!

2. Labrador Retriever 

adult yellow Labrador retriever
Labrador retriever (Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash)

Next up is the Labrador Retriever. It’s no wonder the American Kennel Club crowns Labrador Retrievers as America’s favorite dog! As Southern Living points out, their intelligence, even temperament, and eagerness to please make them ideal companions. Whether you’re exploring the outdoors or snuggling on the couch, Labs are happy to be by your side, always ready to learn and help (especially if treats are involved!).

Labs are a versatile and beloved breed known for their friendly and outgoing nature. Cosmopolitan emphasizes their irresistible charm, and the variety of coat colors (black, yellow, and chocolate) that make it impossible to choose just one. Their love for playtime, walks, and adventures is matched only by their love for their humans.

Daily Paws confirms their popularity and gentle nature, noting their constant tail wags and sweet demeanor. While sometimes confused with Golden Retrievers, both breeds share similar qualities of being good-natured and fantastic with families. Remember, these energetic pups need plenty of activity to keep them happy, but their a handful of good qualities makes training a breeze.

3. Pit Bull Terrier

short-coated gray dog near green leafed plants
Pit Bull Terrier (Photo by Stephen Bellocillo on Unsplash)

The Pit Bull Terrier (often referred to simply as a Pit Bull) is next on the ranking—a breed originating in the United States known for its muscular build. Despite their often negative portrayal, Pit Bulls are gaining recognition for their true personalities: loyal, affectionate, and even goofy.

Veterinary consultant Sara Ochoa highlights their loving nature for Reader’s Digest, stating, “Even though they usually get a bad rap, many of these dogs love to cuddle.” Similarly, Southern Living describes their playful side: “Their most egregious behavior can be hogging the entire bed or being convinced they are lap dogs, even though they can weigh up to 80 pounds!

While playful and cuddly, Pit Bulls also require proper care and training. Daily Paws emphasizes the importance of understanding their needs: “The key with pit bulls is to understand their care and exercise needs and to stay consistent with positive reinforcement training.” With proper socialization and training, pit bulls can thrive in families and become wonderful companions. Their affectionate and energetic nature makes them great playmates for both children and other well-socialized dogs.

So, the next time you encounter a Pit Bull, remember: their reputation may not always be accurate. With proper care and understanding, these goofy and loving pups can make incredible family members and loyal friends.

4. Newfoundland

A Newfoundland swimming
A Newfoundland swimming (Photo by rzoze19 on Shutterstock)

Next is the Canadian Newfoundland, known for its impressive strength and swimming abilities; this breed was historically used by fishermen to assist in water rescues and hauling nets. Newfoundlands are massive bundles of love, literally! “A hundred-plus pounds of straight love,” as Cosmopolitan puts it. These gentle giants are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, scoring “everyone is my best friend” on the AKC’s “openness to strangers” scale. Author J.M. Barrie, inspired by his own family’s Newfie, even entrusted the care of the Darling children in “Peter Pan” to one of these patient and loving dogs. As Southern Living states, “Even if you’re not in need of a nanny, these sweet-tempered pups make excellent pets.

And by “sweet-tempered,” they really mean it! Daily Paws describes them as “sweethearts with floof that a child could get lost in while cuddling.” Their love is undeniable, and they’ll happily shower you with affection, sometimes literally crushing any doubts with their sheer size and enthusiasm! So, if you’re looking for a gentle, loving companion and don’t mind a bit of cuddle-time weight, a Newfoundland might be the perfect match for you.

5. Golden Retriever

a dog lying in the grass
Golden Retriever (Photo by Faber Leonardo on Unsplash)

Retrievers are a popular breed known for their friendly and gentle nature, beautiful golden coats, intelligent eyes, and strong muscular build. As Cosmopolitan points out, these pups have a knack for melting hearts, reminiscent of movies like “Homeward Bound.” Their inherent friendliness extends to everyone, be it humans or other dogs.

Golden Retrievers: Sunshine personified in furry form! Parade Pets delves deeper into their eagerness to please, making them exceptional therapy and service dogs. Plus, they require ample attention and social interaction, which translates to fun for the whole family. Hepper paints a vivid picture of their boundless affection, noting they’ll happily shower anyone with love, be it children they play with or strangers they meet. So, if you’re looking for a dog who radiates sunshine and spreads joy wherever they go, a Golden Retriever might just be your perfect match!

6. Boxer

brown and black short coated dog
Boxer (Photo by Sinjin Thomas on Unsplash)

The Boxer dog is next up, known for its strong and muscular build; it’s a breed that captures the hearts of many dog lovers. With its expressive eyes, playful nature, and unwavering loyalty, Boxers are renowned cuddle champions! According to the American Kennel Club, their love for people is a defining characteristic, making them popular family dogs. Parade Pets echoes this sentiment, highlighting their affection for children. These playful goofballs thrive on human interaction and seek out attention, as noted by Farmer Pete’s. Imagine a happy shadow following you around, always eager for a cuddle or playtime!

But Boxers aren’t just couch potatoes. K9 Of Mine describes them as “permanent puppies,” playful and energetic companions who love being involved in family activities. Their loyalty and patience make them wonderful companions for children, and their zest for life is contagious. However, remember these energetic souls need someone around to keep them entertained, so ensure your lifestyle can accommodate their playful spirit.

Overall, Boxers offer a complete package: athleticism, loyalty, and unwavering affection. If you’re looking for a dog who craves cuddles, playtime, and family time, a Boxer might just be your perfect match!

7. Pug

fawn pug puppy laying on ground
Pug (Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash)

The last spot on our list goes to the Pug, also known as the “clown of the canine world,” it’s a small breed that originated in China over 2,000 years ago. With their distinctive wrinkled face, curly tail, and expressive eyes, Pugs have captured the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. “Recent studies which were published in the multidisciplinary science journal PLOS ONE found that short-nosed dogs tend to be more affectionate than their long-nosed counterparts. The Pug certainly fits in quite nicely with this description,” explains Pet Helpful.

Pugs wear their hearts (and need for attention) on their wrinkled sleeves. As Pets Radar points out, these loveable goofballs crave your presence, happily following you around and demanding cuddles at every opportunity. They’re masters of snuggling, whether sprawled on the bed, curled up in your lap, or simply smothering you with affection. Belly rubs, kisses, and cuddles are their love language, making them the perfect companions for a pick-me-up.

However, be warned: pug affection comes with a side of snoring and snorting. Hepper reminds us that their flat faces can lead to these adorable (and sometimes disruptive) noises. But don’t let that deter you! These couch potatoes are perfectly content snuggling by your side, showering you with love in return for yours. Remember, they know they’re adorable, and they’re not afraid to use it to their advantage (and your ultimate happiness)!


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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  1. AZ PA says:

    Pit bulls should not be in a house with small children. I work in an ER and the vast majority of dog bites are from pit bulls. Maybe they don’t bite more than any other breed, but their bites are most devastating. And don’t preach “it’s not the dog it’s the owner” when you have children who like to poke and prod dogs and get in their faces for “kisses and hugs”. And what if it’s the neighbors kid coming to play that has no experience with dogs?
    If you have kids at/near your home, do not keep a pit bull.

    1. Jason says:


    2. Maryann Shaw says:

      If I am correct, there is a difference between a pit bull and a pit bull terrier.

    3. Christi Ray says:

      Actually I also work in a trauma unit…. Pitbulls are actually extremely protective of their family…especially children….yes their bite is more dangerous because of their jaws locking….as many other breeds have also…almost all terriers. People make breeds dangerous, they are not born that way. I have a Boxer who scared of EVERYTHING…Fed Ex trucks, the boxes they deliver lol….but we rescued a Cur/Staffordshire mix that has a bark and protects us with her life but she would never bite anyone unless they were hurting us.

      1. Lisa Parzan says:

        You’re a total idiot . They are one of he most loving and affectionate breeds and it’s because of scum like you that they are mass killed daily . Wish it was you because you’re not the look I like. Just shut up. They protect and allow kids to do anything to them. It’s the scum that allow them to hurt them and they still allow it. Just shut up!

    4. Mz T says:

      I agree. We had to get rid of our pit bc he didn’t like small people (children) and yes children do exactly as you stated they pick, probe and will bully any dog but this breed is the exception. They don’t like it. Well said

  2. Rudolph Torrez says:

    A pit bull killed my cousin’s dogs out of the blue. How could you recommend them?

    1. Lisa Parizan says:

      That’s rarity and I bet happens with the sweetest known breed ( which one is the pitbull) maybe it was beaten and abused and baited. You don’t know the circumstances so shut your mouth. That other dog may have started it. You’re why they are mass killed.

  3. Tim McKinnon says:

    My daughter brought a six-month old female pit bull home and eventually she attacked my quite old male Chow/lab mix by the throat. Only the mass quantity of fur on the old guy’s neck saved him, and her smallish mouth made it difficult to get a better bite. After the third time it happened did I have to take her back to the animal shelter. As far as any mistreatment she may have received before we got her, I don’t know. She seemed fine with people, though. Totally unexpected and scary.

    1. Lisa Parizan says:

      Guaranteed she was a bait dog!!!

  4. Kay Laake says:

    Pit Bulls, and boxers are also on the list of most likely to bite. What are you thinking writing an article including these dogs? Yes they are great if well socialized and under control, but there are many better choices. (Brittany, setters, Boston terriers) Someone could easily misunderstand and approach one of these large and powerful dogs Was this AI?

    1. Christi Ray says:

      OMG are you LITERALLY labeling Boxers as an aggressive breed… You have obviously no clue about the breed lol. They originally were bred to nanny children in Europe in the 1800s. They are EXTREMELY alert to a child’s voice and will protect them as if it was its own. If a Boxer is aggressive to you you obviously are a threat to its human family. My Boxer is scared of EVERYTHING…but she may lack you to death….lol

  5. Dian says:

    The cuddliest dog I’ve ever owned is the Old English Sheepdog. They don’t make many lists because they’re not very common.

  6. Rae says:

    My Newfie, Cesar, is extremely affectionate. We’ve enjoyed eight years together thus far. I am excited to be taking him to Newfoundland to visit his Nanny (my Mom) in the near future. I want him to experience his true home. ❤️

    1. Peter Herridge says:

      I rescued two male newfys who were brothers. They are the most loving and lovable dogs!

  7. Anton Zillich says:

    This is such a Bull. It’s the same breeds in all of these. The best are Cairn Terriers and West Highland White Terriers.

  8. Janie says:

    Standard Poodles are THE BEST DOGS. They are rarely on any of these so called lists. They are excellent with children! When my Grndkids came my Standard was in heaven. When they left he tried to go out the door with them!!! Then when they left to go back to their home state he kept looking for them. They live people and want to be near their humans. Above all they are so smart and can learn something new in less than an hour. Amazing animals!!!

    1. Faye Henderson says:

      I agree Standard Poodles are amazing dogs. They are multiple personalities, cuddly, protective ,swimmers, hikers,no need to turn them into doodles. If you don’t want the fancy haircut don’t do it, I would shave mine down to short short and then let it grow! Beautiful dogs!

  9. Jerry says:

    What about Hound dogs? Very loving couch potatoes. Funny & goofy. Doesn’t seem to be a popular breed, but so friendly, & loving. We have a black & tan hound. Big & goofy.

  10. PAT says:

    I have a pit bull mix rescue dog. My first pit. I didn’t know is past. He was the most challenging dog to train. Now he’s the sweetest most affectionate dog. He’s 80 pounds and stays in make lap. He just doesn’t like other dogs. Pit bulls still get a bad rap. If you love them,they’ll love you.

  11. Kathy says:

    Standards are so loving! They are totally human in nature! They love life and they get along with every one.

  12. Joanne Ruttner-hollin says:

    I have a chihuahua who is a loving cuddler and loves my grandchildren when they visit. He gets very excited when I tell him they are coming. Also comforts me when I am sad. Very intuitive.
    Loves to cuddle

  13. Richie says:

    Pit Bulls time bombs, only a matter of time, even as nice as they may appear.
    Should be banned in this country.

  14. Virginia says:

    I have a Welch corgi. He is very affectionate and loves to.play. lots of energy. He is full of fun!

  15. RICHARD I COOK says:

    I have had dogs my entire life, I’m going on 70. Been around Chesapeakes, labs, Springers, Terriers, German Wirehairs, Poodles, atoy Pomeranian and for the past 7 years a Cocker Spaniel. By far and away the Cocker I have now is the most affectionate dog I’ve ever seen. Always wants to be around one of us. Sits by the door when one is gone. Most loveable animal in the world

  16. Sher says:

    Definitely a cavalier King Charles. They are the most affectionate loving dogs to people and other pets.

  17. Scott R Walters says:

    The velcro dog is the Hungarian Vizsla. We have a 4 year old boy and he has no concept of personal space. He has to be with you, on you. The most loving dog I have owned.