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20 Best Companion Dog Breeds

Senior with pug beside

Bringing a dog into your life is not a small decision. Dogs are lifelong commitments, but wow, are they worth it! Companion dogs bring us multiple benefits, including easing anxiety, depression, stress and encouraging physical activity. Creatures of habit, our pooches add a vital sense of structure to our days, and their welcoming personalities help us meet people.

However, not all dogs are created equal! Each breed has a general personality, attitude, and energy level that we should try to match for a harmonious partnership. Whether your hobbies include crafting at home or hiking through forests, there’s a companion dog out there perfect for you! Check out our list of the 20 best companion dog breeds.

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The 20 Best Companion Dog Breeds:

1. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: Tina-Rencelj, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Sporting
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Personality: Friendly, outgoing

Labradors are one of the most popular dog breeds for companionship due to their adaptability. If you want a cuddle buddy, someone to watch Netflix with, a hiking partner, a watchdog, or a hunting dog, the humble Labrador will fit into your life.

These gentle dogs are often used as service dogs, whether in high-pressure situations, such as detectors or close companion emotional support dogs. Their intuition makes them excel at such a wide range of jobs. This also makes them a fantastic companion dog breed as they will pick up on your energy or emotions and know just what to do to be there for you!


2. Maltese

maltese dog walking on seashore
Image Credit: suju-foto, Pixabay
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Personality: Gentle, playful

This breed has a stunning white coat that makes its appearance striking, not to mention adorable! They are popular among those looking for a lapdog due to their low shedding and small stature.

While they are full of positive energy, they don’t require much exercise to keep them fit and healthy. Short walks and bounding playfully around the home are sufficient to suffice. Maltese is a breed that does not like being separated from its owner, so it is suited to a home where it can be a constant companion.


3. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on a wooden table
Image Credit: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 11-15 years
Personality: Affectionate, brave

If you are looking for a lot of personality in a small package, then the “Yorkie” is for you. Long before they were perfectly groomed lapdogs, they earned their keep hunting rats in mines and mills.

While they aren’t much used for pest control in modern times, their attitude remains fearless. While their small will limit them from protecting you, they make stellar watchdogs. Yorkies are loved for their never-ending devotion to their owners. They are also hypoallergenic, so they suit those with allergies.


4. Samoyed

Samoyed dog in the summer forest
Image Credit: Nik Tsvetkov, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Working
Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Personality: Friendly, social

Are you wondering what a marshmallow is doing on a list of dog breeds? Look again! This drop-dead gorgeous breed is the Samoyed. They are as soft on the inside as they are on the outside. Extremely gentle and friendly, the Samoyed has the distinguishing feature of a permanent smile. Samoyeds make great companions because they are pack dogs with sledding history.

But due to this social nature, they need a firm trainer to keep them in line. Otherwise, they can become mischievous. Their coat will offer you plenty of chances to bond over daily brushing and be a comforting presence in the home.


5. Pug

pug in a harness
Image Credit: maniablack18, Pixabay
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 13-15 years
Personality: Loving, charming

The famous pug is one of few breeds that wasn’t bred for a working purpose originally. They were bred into existence to be a lapdog. For this reason, they make incredibly awesome companion dogs. In fact, they are so desperate to be with you all the time you will be more of their companion than they are yours!

Given lots of love and affection, a pug will give you everlasting love in return. Their goofy personalities will provide you with plenty of laughs and amusement. They are also so universally loved that you’re bound to make some more human friends taking your pug for a walk!


6. Dachshund

Dachshund Sitting
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Personality: Energetic, friendly

Another famous cutie, lovingly coined the “wiener dog,” the Dachshund breed is a fun and adorable companion for many. However, this breed wasn’t named after the tasty hotdog, but vice versa, as the Doxie breed was around before the invention of hotdogs.

These little guys are rather energetic for such a small breed, so they probably would not suit a single sedentary person. Full of personality, these fearless pooches would make a great companion for active individuals or families with older children.


7. English Bulldog

english-bulldog_Black17BG_Pixabay
Image Credit: Black17BG, Pixabay
Breed Group: Non-sporting
Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Personality: Calm, brave

With some unmistakable qualities, the bulldog is a well-recognized breed. These mellow fellows are happy to relax at their owner’s feet in place of a place as a lapdog; try as they may! Their carefree demeanor is infectious, making them relaxing and comforting company in the home.

Don’t mistake this attitude for laziness, as a bulldog will still enjoy a romp around the neighborhood and accompanying you around town. If you are looking for a calm and patient force in your life, you won’t need to look much further than this bruiser of a breed.


8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Personality: Gentle, affectionate

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the perfect wingman companion. This patient breed gets along with almost everyone they come across and will be a lovely addition to your social events and day trips. Despite their posh-sounding name, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not high maintenance.

However, they are very people-oriented and prioritize time with their family above all else. Due to this, they often suffer from separation anxiety. Super adaptable dogs, your CKCS will match your energy whether you have a couch-potato nature or are a seasoned athlete.


9. Pomeranian

pomeranian
Image Credit: Kongrat, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Personality: Bold, spunky

Don’t be fooled by the outward appearance of this fluffy little thing. Pomeranians are a powerhouse in a tiny shell. Their bold personalities make up for all they lack in stature. Their fur resembling a lion’s mane fits their bravery and spirit.

An adaptable little dog, the Pomeranian is one of the most popular toy breeds. Pomeranians are energetic and need opportunities to burn it off. Due to their size, however, long walks are not required. Rather, regular short walks and playtimes. Their intelligence will have them master commands and tricks and provide lots of laughter and love for their companion.


10. Poodle

white and brown poodle dog sitting
Image Credit: Anna_Bondarenko, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Non-sporting
Average Lifespan: 10-18 years
Personality: Intelligent, active

Often thought of as aloof and posh, the reputation of poodles seems to stem from their serious persona of being champion show dogs. In reality, when kept as a pet, poodles are affectionate and supremely goofy.

Their intelligence and energy make them a well-suited companion for families and active people. Among the most intelligent dog breeds, the poodle’s intellect will keep you on your toes, and their attentiveness will bring you a lot of fulfillment.


11. American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier
Image Credit: k9arteu, Pixabay
Breed Group: Terrier
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Personality: Loyal, affectionate

This breed is a classic example of not judging a book by its cover. Often referred to as a dangerous breed and banned in some places, the Staffy is deeply misunderstood. Anyone who owns one of these stocky dogs will tell you they are giant gentle babies and have a sweet and friendly nature. Their extreme affection makes them a beloved companion for many, and their general alertness brings a sense of calm and security to those who live alone.

The Staffy is a great companion for an active person who wants a buddy to adventure with; whether it be hiking, swimming, or a road trip, a Staffy will enjoy getting out and about.


12. Greyhound

greyhound standing on sand
Image Credit: David Mark, Pixabay
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 10-13 years
Personality: Gentle, noble

It may come as a surprise to some to hear that the greyhound is an excellent choice for a companion dog. This breed is most often seen used for racing purposes, not at all resembling a pet. However, this breed is relatively relaxed and calm in a home setting. They are great in a family home due to their gentle and affectionate nature.

While they need some time put aside to run around a secured area every day, they are happy to laze around the home most of the time. They are even suited to apartment living and are very clean and polite roommates.


13. Saint Bernard

saint bernard dog outdoor
Image Credit: Bernell MacDonald, Pixabay
Breed Group: Working
Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Personality: Curious, calm

This gentle giant is a great choice for those looking for a kid-friendly companion. Nicknamed the “nanny dog,” Saint Bernards are exceptionally gentle and patient with unpredictable children. Their calm and quiet nature makes them a comfortable addition to the home, given you have enough space!

Their large stature would not suit tight spaces, and their immense tail can knock precious items over with ease. This watchful offers a comforting and loving presence as a companion.


14. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
Image Credit: Christel SAGNIEZ, Pixabay
Breed Group: Non-sporting
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Personality: Smart, playful

The charming attributes of the French Bulldog have seen them become increasingly popular, and now they top many charts of dog breeds. Their small size and easy-to-groom coat are loved for those looking for a low-maintenance companion.

They are friendly to strangers and children, a good “plus one” to any social activity. Their playful antics will bring joy to all they meet.


15. Chihuahua

pet owner with her chihuahua at home
Image Credit: zEdward_Indy, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 14-16 years
Personality: Sassy, charming

The smallest breed of dog cannot be passed over in this list! This pint-sized pooch is the ultimate companion for someone looking for their other half. Their devotion and loyalty to you will have them wanting to be always by your side.

Other than meeting their social needs, chihuahuas are low maintenance. They require little food, medium exercise, minimal grooming, and not much space. They can make the perfect compact companion!


16. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu standing on an ice floe
Image Credit: Tatiana Gasich, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 10-18 years
Personality: Outgoing, playful

The Shih Tzu is another rare breed that was bred for exclusively companionship. Because they don’t have many instinctual or working urges, they require little exercise, and their main priority is staying close by your side.

Shih Tzus have reasonable grooming demands, giving you many opportunities to bond and spoil your pup. This wee dog will offer you everlasting love and laughter, which is suitable for any lifestyle.


17. Beagle

beagle dog
Image Credit: Ross Stevenson, Shutterstock
Breed Group: Hound
Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
Personality: Friendly, curious

The Beagle is a brilliant all-rounder of a dog breed. This small to medium-sized dog fits into homes of any size, from large farms to small apartments. Their temperament is well-adjusted, relaxed, and affectionate.

They would be just as suited as a great companion for a single individual or a member of a large family. Extremely gentle, Beagles are great for families with children and are patient as they learn boundaries. Make sure to exercise your Beagle regularly as these easy-going dogs are prone to obesity due to their indifference to exercise.


18. American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel standing near lake
Image Credit: lkoimages, Shutterstock
Breed Group:
Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
Personality: Smart, gentle
  • Breed Group:
  • Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
  • Personality: Smart, gentle

The American Cocker Spaniel comes from an English Cocker Spaniel cross and an English Toy Spaniel. This breed brings the alluring qualities of both breeds into a small to medium-sized dog. These sweet dogs are a bit more reserved than some of the other breeds on our list. They can be mildly introverted and nervous, but they are happy and loving once comfortable.

They do enjoy a decent amount of activity, but like all good introverts, they adore their downtime in the comfort of their own home. A perfect companion for many of us that share that same energy.


19. Labradoodle

Golden labradoodle on a leash
Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock
Breed Group: None
Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Personality: Gentle, affectionate

Due to being “designer dogs,” not all Labradoodles are the same. This mix of a Poodle and a Labrador aims to bring together the best attributes of both breeds (both excellent companions) to create a hypoallergenic family dog.

Their intelligence, affection, and relaxed nature make them a great companion for owners of all experience levels and families of all sizes. These spunky dudes will be your best buddy and greatest adventure partner.


20. Papillion

Papillions
Image Credit: reabythebeach, Pixabay
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 14-16 years
Personality: Happy, friendly

This irresistible companion dog breed is well-known for its unique ears, with long locks flowing down like wings on a butterfly. Despite their elegant coat, they are relatively easy to care for. They shed very little due to a lack of an undercoat, and their long soft fur rarely mats.

Additionally, they are favored due to the lack of “dog” smell they acquire. These clean little dogs are generally happy and social with all species. With a sunny disposition, this breed is a lovely companion for many.

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Final Thoughts

Deciding to bring a new dog into your home was the first big decision. The next one is figuring out what breed would best suit you. After offering you some ideas for some of the most adored companion dog breeds, we hope you have found your perfect match. No matter which breed you choose, they will become your best friend!


Featured Image Credit: Yuttana Jaowattana Shutterstock

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