Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More
20 Friendliest Dog Breeds (with Pictures)
Friendly dog breeds are ideally suited to life as part of a family. They will usually get along with all family members. They may also get along with other dogs in and outside the home, cats and other pets, and potentially with strangers. They may turn a quick walk in the park into a mammoth meet and greet, but the following 20 breeds are those that are considered the friendliest and truly worthy of the moniker of being man’s best friend.
1. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever, also known as the Labrador or just the Lab, is a friendly and somewhat daft dog that loves nothing more than to make its owners laugh. It enjoys playing, is intelligent when it sets its mind to it, and is a strong and hardy dog. Its friendliness has seen the breed be used as everything from search and rescue to therapy dogs.
2. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is similar to the Labrador in a lot of respects, although it can be considered a little more demure and sensible. It is one of the most popular breeds in the world, and like its cousin the Labrador Retriever, it regularly finds use as search and rescue and as a forces dog.
The Goldador is a cross between the Labrador and the Golden Retriever. They are sweet, loving, and easy to train. They can be used as working dogs in a lot of settings but they also make exceptional family dogs and loving pets. They do require a lot of exercise to keep them active and to prevent them from getting bored, though.
The Boxer is the clown of the dog world. Always up for a laugh, the breed is bouncy, energetic, fun, and loving, and your Boxer will love nothing more than being lavished with affection and attention from you and the rest of its family. They make good pets for families with children but they do require training and they may be a little too bouncy for very young and small children.
5. Irish Setter
The Irish Setter has a demure look, almost like a giant Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It is also a carefree dog with a lot of attitude. They have a lot of energy and this can boil over if it is allowed to build up without release. Exercise regularly or run the risk of antisocial behavior and excessive barking.
The Bulldog is courageous and brave but is never out to pick a fight, despite its original breeding as a bull-baiting dog. They are calm, almost dignified, and they do enjoy a cuddle as well as a good run around. This brave little dog is very happy, despite facial evidence to the contrary.
7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
These very sociable dogs were originally used for herding and guarding cattle, and they are still utilized as working dogs to this day, proving highly effective in a good range of specialties. One of these specialties is as a family dog and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an affectionate breed that requires plenty of time and attention.
Beagles are friendly and cheerful little hunting dogs. They love to spend time with their family and can become destructive and antisocial if they do not get to enjoy enough of this companion time. They are great for playing, have enough energy to outrun every family member, and they are also happy cuddling up at the end of the day.
The Greyhound is known as the fastest couch potato in the world because, while it can reach speeds of up to 40 mph, you are far more likely to see it at home, curled up on a seat. The breed tends to be very quiet and they are extremely loving with their family. That slender nose can persuade any hand to stroke them.
10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog with a heap of spirit. It is beautiful and friendly and always seems to be wagging its tail. They can take some care to ensure that their luscious coat looks good and that their beautiful face is not ruined by tear staining, but they are well worth the effort.
11. Border Collie
The Border Collie is a herding dog, and even though yours may not be a working dog, this does not mean that it won’t be trying to herd everything, including cats and even children. It is not an aggressive herder, choosing to nudge and suggest a direction that you (and your kids and other pets) should head in. However, you will have to find various ways in which to keep this dog entertained and prevent the antisocial behavior that can come with a bored Border Collie.
12. Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear is related to the Bichon Frise and the Maltese and is a small breed that is very loving and can adapt to live in almost any condition. They tend to get along with other dogs and with children, too.
13. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier has a silly streak that you will learn to love. It is also a loving and affectionate dog and it will become very close to all members of the family. They are always happy to meet new people and do have a tendency to steam around in circles and charge around the room when excited—which is most of the time.
14. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Staffie, is a Pit Bull-type breed. This muscular and strong dog has a smile as broad as its incredibly strong jaw and wide head. It is a very loyal breed that is keen to please its owner, will get along with humans of all ages, and still trust humans despite a long history of being misused and maltreated.
The Samoyed is a herding dog with a long and thick white coat. It comes from Siberia so is not only capable of dealing with cold weather, but positively thrives in arctic conditions. As well as being a skilled herder, the breed is also highly personable and should get along with all family members, regardless of age or number of legs.
16. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky has become an increasingly popular pet. It is a friendly and very loving dog, but the Husky has some unique ways and you will have to be aware of these. They love to be outdoors, tend to like being physically on top of things, are very vocal, and can be quite destructive if they do not get enough exercise. They are as demanding as they are loving and affectionate.
17. English Setter
The English Setter is graceful and easygoing, somewhat similar to its Irish cousin. It loves people and is happy doing just about anything, but it does require a lot of exercise. As a result, it usually does better as part of an active family group.
18. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise may be smaller than a lot of other dogs on this list, but don’t let that fool you because this is also one of the friendliest dogs on the list. It is cheerful, friendly, and always willing to wag its tail at a new friend, although these pups can be a little yappy.
The Papillon is an ancient and distinguished breed that has a regal look and a similarly royal personality. It does expect you to wait on it hand and foot but will always thank you with a smile and a hug.
20. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu, or Little Lion, is a lapdog that can be considered somewhat lazy and very yappy, but it demands respect for its loyalty and its loving and outgoing nature. The Shih Tzu makes a great companion and is happy falling asleep on or near you.
Friendliest Dog Breeds
The list above includes 20 very friendly dog breeds that will fit in with any family and get along with all members of the clan. There are dozens of other mixed breeds and purebred dogs that are also very friendly, and it is important to remember that the individual dog, as well as the amount of socialization and love that the dog receives, will ultimately determine just how friendly a pup is.
Featured Image Credit: goodluz, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- 1. Labrador Retriever
- 2. Golden Retriever
- 3. Goldador
- 4. Boxer
- 5. Irish Setter
- 6. Bulldog
- 7. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- 8. Beagle
- 9. Greyhound
- 10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 11. Border Collie
- 12. Coton de Tulear
- 13. Boston Terrier
- 14. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- 15. Samoyed
- 16. Siberian Husky
- 17. English Setter
- 18. Bichon Frise
- 19. Papillon
- 20. Shih Tzu
- Friendliest Dog Breeds