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. Kat says:

    Respectfully, you have neglected to put Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on your list. The most loving, sweet, snuggly Velcro dog ever!!

    1. Maria says:

      They didn’t mentioned the BASSET HOUND! Is the most patient and obedient! Smart but lazy Jajajajajaja I love my patitas!!

    2. Julia m Johnson says:

      What about the beagle. I have the golden .but the beagle is cuddly loyal smart and mama’s girl

  2. Nancy says:

    The most loving dog from my decades of experience with multiple canine pals is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Their human is all they live for, on the trail, at home or on the ride to town. Don’t under estimate their resilience because they are small. Mine would do 6 miles of hiking when we went out.

  3. Josh says:

    Probably left off due to their rarity, Alaskan Malamutes have been the most affectionate of the breeds I have ever owned, including Labs. Like the Great Dane write up, they think they are lap dogs and will curl up next to you for the entire day if they could (and they have when I was zonked with the flu). As a bonus they have been the most quiet dogs I have ever raised!

  4. AZ says:

    The BEAGLE !! I have had them for 50 years. Always wanting to give and receive hugs, kisses , and cuddles.

  5. Toni L Cunningham says:


  6. jerrell says:

    You failed to mention – English Springer Spaniels. One of the most loyal, affection, and smart dogs. We have had two over the last 26 years – one for 14 years and now we have a pup 1-1/2 years old. You won’t find more lovable dogs – with great personalities. My son has a golden retriever and it’s like a rock – no personality – just sits all day like a rock.

  7. Terri says:

    Our family dog was a toy poodle when I was a little girl and she was very loving and loved to cuddle, she was also very smart. My sister and her family got a pit bull lab mix and she was a medium built dog and she was also very loving and loved to cuddle but she also let other dogs know that she was the dominant one in the house. I personally believe that it’s also how a dog is raised with a family and how it’s taking care of. I love dogs!

  8. Noella B says:

    Oh, I miss my furry family. His name was sky he’s a Yorkie he was like a little human. He knew me so well I loved him unconditionally and he loved me so much. So for me Yorkies are number one

  9. Lindsay says:

    I’m so sorry your list is so wrong. All 4 of my Golden Retrievers (1 passed at 14 and my other 3 are 8 and 2 yr olds) are hands down the MOST affectionate dogs I’ve ever owned or been around. Don’t get me wrong, great Danes are cool. Pitbulls are awesome.Labs are okay. But NOTHING compares to the love and affection of a golden retriever. NOTHING.
    And a pug? I’ve never met a loving pug in my life.

  10. Michelle says:

    Can you site your sources? This list is about 1/3 right.

  11. Julia m Johnson says:

    What about the beagle. I have the golden .but the beagle is cuddly loyal smart and mama’s girl

  12. Brian Coppersmith says:

    I have had many dogs growing up from a baby and having lasa apso, Collie, German Shepard, pitbull, chocolate Lab, mini pinscher and Siberian Husky and the husky is my most lovable, loyal, intelligent, beautiful markings and soft furry coat, bluest eyes, can run fast and go for ever probably up to 5 miles or so and just want to keep going and yes they will gladly hog the couch or bed.!!!

  13. Jeff Logeman says:

    Well you people have obviously not spent much time with Bernese Mountain Dogs! 😄

  14. Teresa says:

    Saint Bernard!

  15. Sj says:

    Why would you ever put the #1 KILLER on this list? And at #3? That’s so totally irresponsible. Pits have killed an American at least once a week this year, with up to 8 deaths in just one week! 3 fatal attacks on Halloween alone.
    They kill more than ALL OTHERS combined.
    They leave damage requiring surgery more than all others x 2. They slaughter other pets and livestock en mass.
    Who cares bc they are affectionate?
    Is this a joke?
    The only thing a pit bull does better than all other dogs is KILL. Other dogs will love you, give you snuggles, but w out the risk of severe injury or death.

    People that would never think to buy a car with the lowest safety rating, who wouldn’t drive drunk, or use recalled products, throw out their care for safety over pit bulls.

    And no, being a “good owner” won’t save you. If a dog needs a perfect owner not to kill, maybe that’s not an appropriate pet?

    Over half of all fatalities are the OWNER or someone in the owners family/household. So good luck to you if you choose this awful type of dog.

  16. Becky says:


  17. Rick says:

    Good list. Pits should not be in there. They are responsible for 90% of attacks on children and people in the canine world. Don’t believe me….. get one.

    1. Deb says:

      Agreed. How about a sweet Basset Hound? I’ve owned 2 absolutely little snugglers ♥️🐶♥️

  18. Jessica says:

    You forgot the very definition of affectionate velcro dog, the Beagle. They are the most affectionate dogs. They literally always have to be in the same room as you and they pretty much watch every step you take.

  19. Laura Ethridge says:

    I am so happy Pitt bull made the list! I had one from 6 months old to 7 years old. He passed away due to cancer. He was truly an exceptional dog, loving, smart and great with my grandkids. He was my all!❤️. I am looking forward to owning another one as soon as my heart is ready. I will always love the Pitt bull breed!! If raised in a loving and social environment these dogs are the best!

  20. Jacy says:

    I am in love with Chihuahuas. I have had really good luck on them. Wonder why big dogs made the list. What about the small breed’s. I am disabled and my dogs help my anxiety and puts me in a good mood. They mean everything to me. I will say though they can be aggressive. Which I know isn’t a good thing. Don’t seem to like younger kids. I have experience with them. It’s really nice to hear people opinion on the animals. Animals seem to be taking over the world. There so precious.