German Shepherd

German Shepherd (Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash)

Dogs are friends, confidants, coworkers, and family members. Often prized pooches, our pups enjoy unconditional love from their humans. What is it that makes dogs so appealing to people? Many breeds exhibit an unwavering devotion to their owners. Their steadfast companionship and willingness to stand by their human counterparts through thick and thin exemplify a level of loyalty that often touches hearts and serves as a testament to the remarkable connections between humans and their canine companions. Our list of the top five most loyal dogs could lead readers to discover a new true-blue buddy.

The link of loyalty that can develop between some humans and canines is nothing short of remarkable. In fact, a recent study shows that half of American pet owners consider their pet to be their soulmate. Fifty-three percent believe their pet knows them better than anyone else in their life, including their best friends, family members, or even their significant others.

And it isn’t a one-way street in pet ownership. People are similarly loyal to their dogs just the same. A new survey reveals that one in four pet owners would sacrifice their own life to save their dog. A staggering 82 percent of Americans say it was “love at first sight” when they first met their dog. That’s more than the number of people who say it was love at first sight when they met their significant other (77%)!

With the overwhelmingly sweet give-and-take of love between dog and owner, it’s no wonder that pop culture is filled with tales of loyal beasts like Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin. All it takes is time and dedication to earn a hound’s undying devotion. Our sources helped us discover the top five most loyal breeds of dog. Let us know your favorite loyal pups in the comments below!

The List: Most Loyal Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Akita

Akitas are a high energy breed that exhibit fierce protective behavior for their human family. Akitas often seem cool and standoffish to non-family members, but they are widely lauded as one of the most loyal breeds of dog. “We’d be remiss to not start with the Akita, which the American Kennel Club describes as ‘profoundly loyal.’ They descend from ancient Japanese lineage and symbolize good health, happiness, and long life,” according to Southern Living.

black and white short coated dog
Akita (Photo by Charles Gaudreault on Unsplash)

The Spruce Pets adds, “This breed has existed in Japan for centuries where they were employed for hunting and guarding duties. Akitas bond very closely with their families and are extremely loyal, but they can be willful or stubborn at times, so they need a family with experienced dog owners. They are naturally protective but never aggressive toward people when properly socialized. Akitas do best with older children who are taught how to interact with the dog responsibly.”

Pure Wow claims, “If an Akita isn’t part of your household, don’t expect them to welcome you with open arms. They are incredibly protective and territorial dogs… Akitas are working dogs from Japan (where they are seen as symbols of health and happiness) who shed like the dickens. Socialize early to ensure well-behaved adults!”

2. German Shepherd

German Shepherd dogs are well-loved in the United States, and the across the world. These dogs can be seen as guards or with law enforcement officers because of their legendary loyalty. Country Living posits, “The most loyal dog breeds who will always stick by your side have been uncovered— and German Shepherds top the list. According to Rover’s study of 1,000 dog parents in the UK, almost half of British owners (57%) believe their four-legged friends are more loyal than their parents. Meanwhile, a further 38% confessed they value quality time with their dog more than their spouse because pups show more affection.”

black and tan german shepherd on green grass field during daytime
German Shepherds (Photo by Anna Dudkova on Unsplash)

“Like the Rottweiler and Boxer, the German Shepherd hails from Germany and makes an excellent service animal. From the police to the military, German Shepherds serve as search and rescue dogs, guard dogs and much more. They’re curious, intelligent, energetic and make great pets with the proper training and an active lifestyle,” according to Great Pet Care.

“You may recognize Rin Tin Tin from TV shows, but the original German shepherds were bred to be the perfect work dog for their human companions. These intelligent, well-trained, and confident pups are huge family dogs (great with kids!), and their loyalty definitely lies with their humans over other dogs,” offers The Pioneer Woman.

3. Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever is one of America’s most beloved breeds. Nearly all our sources have something positive to say about these hot dogs! The Pioneer Woman writes, “There’s a reason Lucy is so loyal! ‘A great choice for families with young kids or other dogs, Labs get along with everyone and love their owners endlessly,’ Munden [AKC Vice-President] says. According to the AKC [American Kennel Club], they are the number one most popular breed and are as high in happy energy as they are loyal.”

Dog with socks in its mouth
Black Labrador with socks (© Clifford Marker –

“According to the American Kennel Club, a Labrador Retriever is a listener, a keeper, a lover, and a devoted one. This is the reason it has topped the list of the most popular dog breeds since 1991. Initially bred to be loyal pups and for retrieval purposes, Labs can naturally bond with humans and develop a stronger connection with particular family members. Their loyalty is unshaken, and they are not timid about protecting the people they love,” adds Pet Keen.

“This list would not be complete without this quintessential family dog. They’re retrievers, after all. They always come back to you! Lab people know that these sociable, hardworking water dogs love their people to the point of wanting to lick their feet at all times,” writes The Dog People.

4. Chihuahua

These dogs might seem like yappy devils to some folks, but to others the Chihuahua is a deeply affectionate companion that will always be at their side. This small breed is highly affectionate and loving with their human companions. Daily Paws explains, “Oh sure, a Chihuahua will slip some sassy shade on you, but she’s also most content tucked into the crook of your arm. This pint-sized pooch looooves her humans, and expects nothing less than glam strollers and gourmet treats in return. Chis are also some of the longest-living dog breeds, so you’ll have plenty of time to treasure one another.”

tan chihuahua lying on couch
Chihuahua (Photo by Alicia Gauthier on Unsplash)

The Dog People also states, “Chihuahuas are with you ’til the end. According to legend, they’re the breed that guides you into heaven. And they live for so long it seems they’re determined to see their job through. Chihuahuas become very attached to their one person, causing many Chihuahua owners to cry, ‘he’s different when it’s just us!’”

Pure Wow writes “Out of Mexico comes the Chihuahua, a feisty, loyal pup who isn’t afraid to bark at someone they feel is encroaching on their territory (you). Meant to be lap dogs who go with you everywhere, Chihuahuas expect to be involved in everything you do. Be careful with these tiny canines around big dogs or rambunctious kiddos – and hold them close when it’s cold so they don’t freeze (they’ll love it).”

5. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees dogs are majestic giants that have the look and bearing of protectors. These herding dogs even remind one of our sources of the iconic white dragon from the 1984 fantasy film, “The Never-Ending Story.” The Dog People writes that, “Like many herding dogs, the Great Pyrenees is a loyal guardian with a protective instinct. They’re also basically your very own Luck Dragon—perfect for the name Falkor, perhaps? This breed, and the similar Kuvasz, are majestic, calm, smart, and extremely floofy. Both the Great Pyrenees and Kuvasz are great family breeds, as they are very patient. They do require plenty of early training and ongoing exercise and mental stimulation, like their sheep herding brethren.”

Great Pyrenees smiling
Great Pyrenees smiling (Photo by Tychon Krug on Pexels)

Reader’s Digest states in a whimsical first-doggie quote, “Just last week, I heard a little kid say, ‘Dad look at that big dog. It’s as big as a horse!’ The kid’s right. I am big! As one of the biggest dog breeds, I tip the scales at around 100 pounds, give or take. But hey, a lot of that is due to my abundant, super thick, and waterproof coat. I used to protect sheep from sneaky, sly wolves, so it’s in my blood to feel responsible for protecting my family and property. Yet, you could say I fall into the gentle giant category because I’m pretty mellow, gentle, and affectionate with my human’s family.”

“Great Pyrenees are large and in charge. They’ve spent centuries as guardians of the mountains, protecting both livestock and homesteads. Though incredibly even-keel, they willingly spring into action if they feel their families are threatened. Great Pyrenees are also notoriously patient with little kiddos,” says Pure Wow.

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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.

About Alan Corona

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  1. Renee says:

    I have always had rescue dogs. Except for my current dog (an English pointer), they have all been Lab- mixes. Both of these breeds are fantastic breeds to have!

  2. CONNIE CASH says:

    Spanish water dogs are the most loyal loving dogs ever!!!! non shedding.

  3. Andrew says:

    I have been blessed as an owner of five unrelated Akitas over the past 30 years. Their nature goes beyond loyalty and devotion…see the movie Hachi to understand this bond. As the saying goes…”Once an Akita, always an Akita”, as they have such enchanting personalities. According to my experience, they are the best on the planet.

  4. Giacomo says:

    In my opinion it was the Airedale that is most loyal, trainable, protective, obedient, loving, & playful, then the German Shepherd, Pitbull, Alaskan Husky, & Fox Terrier.

  5. Anita Shull says:

    One to leave off the list is the Chiweenie! Mine is almost 8 yrs old. She is very loving BUT the most difficult to train ever! I have spent more time researching this animal than I could ever figure! Barker, biter, stubborn. All these traits came out after we adopted her. Many times I wished we had not taken her! I could never give her up no matter what because we love one another so much. There will never be an end to my training with her as I always believe I can get the results I need to have peace in our home. She really does run our home and i fault myself for that 🐾🐾🥲

  6. Van says:

    Do some homework on Belgian Malinois.

  7. Cheryl says:

    It’s sad that pits are only on bad dog lists. I’ve found them to be smart, loyal, protective dogs. Like all dogs they need to be socialized to people, children and other animals. Also an owner who is responsible and knowledgeable to handling. I’ve raised and trained pits for 40 years and never had a problem.

    1. Janet Barrett says:

      My beautiful pit bull is my best friend. She loves me and my fiance, but sticks to me like glue. So loving, so smart; she understands at least 50 words and just as many phrases. Very obedient and always tries to please. Stays between me and the door so no “bad guys come in”. She knows that phrase! Could not ask for a better companion.

  8. Noel Murio says:

    Belgian Malinois are d best , all around

  9. Janet Barrett says:

    My beautiful pit bull is my best friend. She loves me and my fiance, but sticks to me like glue. So loving, so smart; she understands at least 50 words and just as many phrases. Very obedient and always tries to please. Stays between me and the door so no “bad guys come in”. She knows that phrase! Could not ask for a better companion.

  10. Kate says:

    The Akita
    I have have these amazing beauties as family members and bred them after we fell in love with them even more.
    They don’t SHED their coats.
    They BLOW them out 2 times a year. So the shedding is NOT like the article states! They have a double coat and love to be brushed.
    ALSO, after much research we brought our 1st pup into the family with small boys. The boys were raised as well as the pup together.
    If children are ready for a pet, meaning they have been taught respect and handling live animals, this is perfect as a pup. Great size

  11. Darrin says:

    Have had a lot of breeds and never knew the depth of loyalty a dog can show until I got a Cane Corso…..velcro

  12. Stefanie says:

    Noone ever mentions the Briard. I owned different breeds thru my life nothing can compare to my Briard. He doesn’t even need commands he just knows. No wonder they are called the breed with a heart of gold.

  13. Josh Hughes says:

    I say Golden retrievers are better than labs.

  14. loyal says:

    i have a stray dog…no breeds..but loyal too..she live longer than my neighbor’s breeded dog..

  15. Rose Hallahan says:

    what about the Shitzu i think they are one of the most affectionate and loyal small dogs you can find

  16. Christopher Frazee says:

    I have had many different breeds from German Shepards Saint Bernard Jack Russel Terriers and a beloved American Staffordshire whom I had for 13 out of his 16 years of life. Before his passing we made friends with a Veteran and began walking this blind service mans ” yellow Shepard” female who was around two years old and been in dog Pound few times prior to him adopting her. Well fast forward my Amstaff passed away and so did my veteran friend whom gifted me the ‘yellow Shepard” never would’ve thought but I got the precious energetic friendly loyalist sidekick ever and after a veteraniarian visit I got informed I have not a yellow Shepard but an American Dingo… She’s so intelligent she knows hand signals walks no leash stays three feet away at all times even wears her vest n goes grocery shopping. Not much is ever spoken of about this breed. Not easy to train without my senior Amstaff showing her the way as she is now five years old she has matured and even befriended my feline to point they’re inseparable as well. Love to hear feedback on the American Dingo If anyone has any insight or expertise with a Native Canine. Not the same as a Australian Dingo but they do not bark unless learned thru other canines Only thing mine does is a heart felt Howl when she gets excited. Thank you for reading my comment n appreciate your time.