10 Most Playful Dog Breeds

Golden retriever puppy holding an orange floating toy in his mouth while he runs in the water.

MATTHEW PALMER / Getty Images

Of course, every dog is an individual, but if you are looking for a furry friend that will enjoy appropriate play with your kids or one that might appreciate a romp with another fun-loving dog, choosing a breed known for having a playful temperament could be a good choice.

Tip

Teaching your dog and your kids to interact and play appropriately from the beginning is important. Little puppies can quickly turn into overly-rambunctious and ill-mannered adult dogs without the right direction, socialization, and training. Plus kids should always be taught how to appropriately interact with their dogs, read their body language, and give them their space when it is needed.

Check out our list of some of the most playful dog breeds out there if you are looking for inspiration for the start of your research.

  • 01 of 10

    Labrador Retriever

    Labrador running with toy
    Nintendogs: Labrador and Friends Cheats Stefan Cioata / Getty Images

    Labrador Retrievers are large, goofy dogs that love anything to do with playing. They often love a game of fetch and splashing around in water.

    The breed is originally from Newfoundland, bred from a water dog, and was eventually brought to England to work as retrievers for hunters hunting waterfowl. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1917 and quickly stole the hearts of dog lovers across the nation.

    Labs are known for being sociable, even-tempered, and playful and are popular family pets.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Sporting

    HEIGHT: Males, 22.5 to 24.5 inches; females, 21.5 to 23.5 inches

    WEIGHT: 65 to 80 pounds (males); 55 to 70 pounds (females)

    COAT AND COLOR: Short, dense double coat in black, chocolate, or yellow

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

  • 02 of 10

    Boxer

    A boxer dog with a red ball in its mouth.


    Samuli Vainionpää / Getty Images

    Boxers have a history of being fighting dogs, but don’t let that worry you. These dogs have since been recognized for their bravery, intelligence, and loyalty.

    Alongside being used as hunters and protectors, some people in history even used these smarties as couriers.

    Now, boxers are a widely sought-after family pet. They love to play, especially with their family, and are muscular and athletic. Their generally happy disposition and energetic personality make them a good choice for an active home.

    The Boxer's rambunctious nature may mean they aren't best suited to homes with small kids though. They could be prone to accidentally knocking toddlers over!

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Working

    HEIGHT: 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch at the shoulder

    WEIGHT: 55 to 70 pounds

    COAT AND COLORS: The coat is short. Fawn and brindle are the standard colors, while all-white is typically not recognized by many kennel clubs. Standard

  • 03 of 10

    Golden Retriever

    Two golden retrievers playing together on the beach.

    Brighton Dog Photography / Getty Images

    Close your eyes and imagine a typical American family dog. It’s likely you’re picturing a big, beautiful Golden Retriever with long, flowing blonde fur.

    Goldens are fabulous furry friends who are loyal and intelligent, but also goofy and lively. They make great companions for humans of all ages, and get along with almost any other animal in the house as well.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Sporting

    HEIGHT: 23 to 24 inches (males); 21.5 to 22.5 inches (females)

    WEIGHT: 65 to 75 pounds (males); 55 to 65 pounds (females)

    COAT AND COLOR: Medium-length double coat in light to dark gold

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

  • 04 of 10

    Pomeranian

    Pomeranian and a person high fiving.


    kitti phngs hmgn phrm saen / EyeEm / Getty Images

    This Spitz breed is descended from sled dogs in Iceland and Lapland and is distantly related to the much bigger Malamute and Samoyed. Queen Victoria herself even owned Poms in the late 1800s, which helped them gain popularity in Europe and then further afield.

    If you’re in the market for a small dog, but you don’t want to skimp on the playfulness, consider a Pomeranian. Poms, are fun-loving, affectionate pups in a small, fluffy package, although they can have a stubborn streak.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Toy

    HEIGHT: 6 to 7 inches

    WEIGHT: 3 to 7 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Long, double coat that comes in many colors, though the most common are red, orange, cream, sable, black, brown, and blue.

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Australian Shepherd

    An Australian shepherd jumping and catching a ring toy in its mouth.

    Viktor Bykov / 500px / Getty Images

    Australian Shepherds, often called Aussies, are possibly the most athletic dog breed out there. These dogs love to run, jump, and play whenever they get the chance. They are especially skilled at agility and playing frisbee, but their true calling lies in herding.

    Aussies were developed in the United States where they were bred by ranchers as livestock herders and farmworkers. The medium-sized Aussie also comes in a smaller size—miniature American shepherds.

    Be prepared to offer a lot of physical and mental stimulation to this energetic breed.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Herding

    HEIGHT: 18 to 23 inches

    WEIGHT: 40 to 65 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Medium to long coat in blue merle, red merle, black, or red; all colors may have white markings and/or tan (copper) points

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 15 years

  • 06 of 10

    English Springer Spaniel

    English Springer Spaniel laying outside with duck toy in mouth.

    Johnny Scriv / Getty Images

    The English Springer Spaniel first became popular in Europe in the early 1900s, making its way to America a few years later and ranked as the 27th most popular breed in 2018 by the American Kennel Club.

    Friendly, fun, and intelligent, the ESS is a well-rounded breed well suited for an active family. They tend to be kid and pet-friendly, and extremely affectionate, but do be prepared for their very high energy levels and the fact that they can be prone to separation anxiety.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Sporting

    HEIGHT: 19 to 20 inches

    WEIGHT: 40 to 50 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Medium-length flat or wavy, glossy topcoat, and a short, profuse and soft undercoat; ears, legs, and chest often have longer feathering. Black or liver with white markings, or the opposite; blue or liver roan are also common; tricolor which includes black, white and liver or tan markings can sometimes occur

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years

  • 07 of 10

    Pembroke Welsh Corgi

    A brown and white corgi dog jumping in the air to catch a tennis ball.

    Bryan Miguel / Getty Images

    You may know Pembroke Welsh Corgis because they were kept by Queen Elizabeth II. Corgis hold a special place at Buckingham Palace, which is largely responsible for their wide-ranging popularity.

    Corgis may be small, but they definitely don’t act like it. They are short and stout herding dogs with large bunny-like ears and a short and stubby tail. Corgis are intelligent, active, and loyal dogs who make excellent companions. And boy, do these pups love to play with their owners.

    This breed can be prone to weight gain and consequent back problems - so keeping them active with lots of appropriate games is a perfect way to keep the pounds off too!

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Herding

    HEIGHT: 10 to 12 inches

    WEIGHT: 24 to 30 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Medium length double coat in black and tan, red, sable, or fawn (all colors are typically seen with white markings)

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 13 years

  • 08 of 10

    Jack Russell Terrier

    A Jack Russell running in a park
    Brighton Dog Photography / Getty Images

    The Jack Russell Terrier originated in England in the 1800s in response to a need for a small but feisty hunting dog that was small enough to pursue foxes into the ground.

    Today, they are popular family dogs loved for their spunky and intelligent personalities and playful disposition. Be aware that they can be rather noisy and, with their high prey drive, they aren't always a good match for homes with small furries.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Terrier

    HEIGHT: 10 to 15 inches

    WEIGHT: 13 to 17 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Short coat that can be smooth or rough. White with black, tan, or brown markings

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 18 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    French Bulldog

    A black Frenchie running with a yellow ball in its mouth.

    Sean Levett / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The popularity of the French Bulldog has exploded in recent years, in large part, thanks to their goofy and fun-loving personalities. Their loyalty is strong and their striking good looks make them stand out in the dog world, notably their big, erect ears and wrinkly face.

    Their flat-faces, however, mean they can be prone to respiratory issues and they overheat more easily than some breeds. Be particularly careful if you are playing with your Frenchie in the yard during the summer.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Non-sporting

    HEIGHT: 11 to 13 inches

    WEIGHT: 19 to 28 pounds

    COAT AND COLOR: Short, smooth coat in brindle, fawn, white, or combination of brindle and white or fawn and white

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

  • 10 of 10

    Portuguese Water Dog

    Portuguese Water Dog swimming

     

    Julia Christe / Getty Images

    Those who suffer from allergies but simply can’t resist owning a dog may find a furry BFF in the Portuguese water dog. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, this medium-sized breed with a fluffy coat does not significantly shed, although regular grooming is needed as their coats can mat easily.

    Portuguese water dogs are working dogs who are fun-loving and intelligent, which means they make great active family pets. They get along with all ages and love to romp and play.

    Breed Overview

    GROUP: Working (AKC)

    WEIGHT: 42 to 60 pounds for males, and 35 to 50 pounds for females

    HEIGHT: 20 to 23 inches for males, and 17 to 21 inches for females

    COAT AND COLOR: Wavy or tightly curled; black, black and white, and brown, though coat color may also be white or silver-tipped

    LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 13 Years