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We all have our own love languages, and so do dogs! If you're looking for a furry friend who loves physical touch as much as you do, look no further than the most affectionate dog breeds. Dogs show affection in many different ways, according to Julie Burgess, CPDT-KA, including licking, leaning on you, wagging their tail, nuzzling, and even jumping up on you, to name a few.
Dogs may exhibit all or some of these behaviors, depending on their individual personality or even breed history. Some breeds have historically been known to show more than an average amount of affection, but don't let a dog's breed deter you from believing they could be a huge cuddler.
What Makes a Dog Affectionate?
"Any breed with the right amount of love and care can be affectionate," says American Kennel Club's Brandi Munden. "An affectionate breed is one that enjoys being with their owners, seeks out affection from their owners, and easily and happily receives affection."
The number one way to get your dog to be more affectionate with you is to establish trust. Dogs who feel relaxed, content, and comfortable with humans are more likely to show affectionate behaviors, according to Janet Cutler, PhD, CAAB, CPDT-KA, with SeniorTailWaggers.com.
Building trust takes patience, but consistent training can expedite the process, says Burgess. Be clear with your dog about what you expect, and have patience. The truth is that all breeds are capable of affection, especially when they live in a caring household.
Here are some of the most affectionate dog breeds, ready to give (and receive!) lots of love.
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Golden retrievers were initially bred to work with people, so that's where they're the happiest. They're not even considered good watchdogs because they're glad to see everyone. Let them share your bed so they can spoon you at night! Goldens also make great service and therapy dogs because of their kind, gentle, affectionate nature.
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American pit bull terriers' temperaments are largely misunderstood. In reality, they absolutely love their humans and want to spend as much time as possible with them. Pitties can be incredible family dogs, even around children, with their affectionate, loving, and energetic nature. And if they're socialized at a young age, they can also make like-minded doggy friends easily. The key with pit bulls is to understand their care and exercise needs and to stay consistent with positive reinforcement training.
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Labs have long reigned as America's most popular dog breed. They are incredibly gentle and sweet, always wagging their tails at one thing or another. While they are sometimes confused with golden retrievers, the comparison is always a good one. Both breeds are good-natured and great with families. If you do add an affectionate Lab to your family, remember that they are high-energy dogs that require lots of activity, but these intelligent dogs are eager to please and highly trainable.
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Talk about a sweetheart with floof that a child could get lost in while cuddling! Newfoundlands are gentle giants that love to loaf around—and on—their humans. If you're ever in doubt if your Newfoundland thinks fondly of you, they'll literally crush that doubt out of you during cuddle time, if you let them!
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Great Danes stand almost three feet off the ground, but their big personalities are known for being lovable and kind, even around children. Additionally, they are very loyal and tolerate smaller beings, including children and cats, with proper introductions. Just make sure they don't get underfoot. Their feet are quite big!
Diyosa Carter / Getty Boxers are happy family dogs and get along with kiddos and other pets, especially when introduced to the fam in puppyhood.
Talk about a cuddle monster. Boxers absolutely love attention and crave affection from their families as much as they love giving it. If you're looking for an 80-pound lapdog, then this is your guy. Boxers will nuzzle up to you as close as possible with no regard for their size. But can you blame them? They love you!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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Are we giving out awards for the sweetest dogs in the world? The Cavalier King Charles spaniel may be our winner. They were literally born to sit in your lap and love every stranger they come across, even veterinarians! Because of their affable personalities, they make a great pal for all ages.
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No need for stuffed animals. Just adopt a curly white bichon frise. Their ultimate life goal is to make their humans happy, and they do that by always being down to snuggle. Plus, they don't weigh more than 18 pounds, making them the perfect furry baby to carry around.
Welsh Springer Spaniel
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The Welsh springer spaniel is not only historically known as a hunting dog from Great Britain but also a Velcro dog. These dogs absolutely love their humans and are incredibly affectionate, especially with kids, making them a great choice for families of all kinds. They love nothing more than to follow their humans around and are up for anything, making them great hiking and running companions. And with puppy dog eyes to boot, you won't be able to resist sharing the couch with them after a good stroll.
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Originally bred for herding livestock in Scotland, collies now make popular family pets and great therapy dogs. Collies were originally bred to be caretakers, and they show up every day to do just that with their families (and would prefer you're around more often than not so they can do their jobs). They want nothing more to be your companion, making eye contact with you to let you know you're their special person. In return for all that shedding and long hair, you get a dog that will be completely devoted to you forever.
It should come as no surprise to you that goldendoodles made our list. Goldendoodles, a highly affectionate crossbreed of the poodle and the golden retriever, are known for their intelligence and loyalty to their humans. They love to socialize and rarely meet someone they don't like. Plus, their soft, curly coats make them super cuddly and comfy.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Big, beautiful Bernese mountain dogs have always charmed owners for a reason and are beloved for their sweet, calm, easygoing nature and their devotion to their families, including children. They don't like being alone and prefer to hang out with their humans—whatever they're doing. Berners are considered a lower-energy breed, which makes them the perfect snuggle partner at the end of the day. And their big, floofy coats make pets irresistible!
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In addition to boasting a sweet little face and silky coat, cocker spaniels are the absolute best on the home front, whether they're walking around the backyard with the kiddos or cuddling up next to their senior owner on the couch. While they were originally bred as hunting dogs, they now relish in their role as companion animals at home with their humans. They'll follow you from room to room until you're settled down—then, they'll settle down right next to you.
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Do you have a surplus in attention to give? Then, whistle over to your shih tzu and invite them to perch on your lap (they've perfected their role as lap dogs for more than a thousand years). They'll lounge there all day if you let them. You can get up and move around, but make sure to let this long-haired beauty come with you—they'll demand attention and affection from you!
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Although Tibetan terriers are incredibly shy, they instill a lot of trust in their owners and can't wait to spend time with you. As much time as possible, in fact. They historically watched over families in ancient times and aren't giving up that duty any time soon. So, humor them and let them keep a close eye on you. And that beautiful, thick coat (that happens to be allergy-friendly) is just waiting for a pet from their favorite humans!