15 Friendliest Dog Breeds That Love People

golden retriever on a sofa

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Dogs are generally friendly animals. When dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago, it was in their best interest as they evolved to woo humans for food and shelter. And while every dog has a unique personality, certain breeds tend to be a little more sociable than others.

Tip

A well-socialized dog is typically a friendly dog, regardless of breed. Get your dog comfortable in many different settings, such as with other dogs, different people, walking on sidewalks, traveling in the car, and going to the vet. Each of these exposures removes fear and can help the dog become more outgoing.

Breed Characteristics

Friendly dogs are adaptable to new situations and environments. They are easy to train and not terribly excitable all the time. When a dog gets overly excited, they're no longer attentive and become challenging to reign in. An active and playful dog is wonderful, but dogs need to understand limits and play without becoming too rough. A friendly dog usually does not get fearful or anxious; they accept and follow your calm energy or leadership into a situation.

These 15 dog breeds are among the friendliest of human's best friends. 

  • 01 of 15

    Pembroke Welsh Corgi

    A Pembroke Welsh Corgi

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Corgis are known for being highly sociable dogs that love spending time with their families. They were bred to be at attention as herding, guard, and companion dogs, which perhaps explains why they’re always so focused on their humans. They tend to be very affectionate and need lots of playtime.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 12 inches

    Weight: Up to 30 pounds

    Coat and Color: Medium-length double coat; colors include black and tan, fawn, red, and sable with white markings

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 13 years

  • 02 of 15

    Labrador Retriever

    A chocolate labrador retriever

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris 

    With their warm eyes and cheerful grins, Labrador retrievers are the picture of friendliness. Labs were bred to be companions—first to fishermen and women and then to hunters. They adore being around people, and they maintain a sweet, carefree nature. But they are high-energy dogs that need vigorous exercise every day.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 25 inches

    Weight: 55 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short, dense double coat; colors include black, chocolate, and yellow

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 03 of 15

    Golden Retriever

    A golden retriever

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Golden retrievers often exude friendliness as they engage with people and other animals. Part of this comes down to confidence. Goldens tend to have a cheery outlook that helps them navigate the world with ease. Moreover, a golden is almost always willing to sit or stay as long as a person wants.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 24 inches

    Weight: 55 to 75 pounds

    Coat and Color: Straight or wavy medium-length double coat; light to dark golden shades

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

  • 04 of 15

    Boston Terrier

    A Boston terrier

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Boston terriers are affectionate dogs with a silly streak. They love to make new friends, and they're usually up for a play session. They also tend to be adaptable, meaning they’re at ease in many situations. If that isn’t enough, that goofy smile will definitely win your heart. 

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 15 to 17 inches

    Weight: 12 to 25 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short coat; colors include black and white, brindle and white, seal and white, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Irish Setter

    Irish setter sitting on sidewalk near grass and purple flowers.

    Wavetop / Getty Images

    Irish setters are friendly dogs with carefree, spunky attitudes that many canine lovers find appealing. They are a very active breed, and if their energy gets pent up, they might engage in unwanted behaviors, such as excessive barking or chewing. So regular exercise is a necessity for an Irish setter.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Sporting (AKC)

    Height: 25 to 27 inches

    Weight: 60 to 70 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, silky feathering and fringe; colors include red, chestnut, and mahogany

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 06 of 15

    Beagle

    Beagle on a leash outside smiling

    bruev / Getty Images

    Beagles are a cheerful breed that genuinely enjoys spending time with people. They are relatively active and love playing fetch or going on long walks with their humans. They’re always down to have some fun and are happy to snuggle with their favorite people at the end of the day.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: Up to 15 inches

    Weight: Up to 30 pounds

    Coat and Color: Solid build; colors include black and tan, brown and white, and more

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years


  • 07 of 15

    Border Collie

    A border collie

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Border collies aim to please. They are constantly in tune with their humans, which helps them succeed in dog sports, such as agility and flying disc, and everyday training. But minimizing a border collie's desire to herd everything in sight is a must, as this can cause them to nip people.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 18 to 22 inches

    Weight: 30 to 55 pounds

    Coat and Color: Rough or smooth coat; can be solid, bicolor, tricolor, merle, or sable

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 17 years

  • 08 of 15

    Boxer

    Boxer smiling in front of brick wall

    Grace Chon / Getty Images

    Boxers are suckers for attention. These affectionate dogs want to be social, and the more positive attention you give them, the more you’ll get back. For this reason, boxers can make excellent pets for families with children. But training is essential to curb their desire to jump on people excitedly.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 25 inches

    Weight: 50 to 80 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coat; colors include brindle, fawn, and white with a black mask or white markings

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Staffordshire Bull Terrier

    White and brown Staffordshire bull terrier surrounded by fall leaves with big smile

    sanjagrujic / Getty Images

    Staffordshire bull terriers, a breed under the umbrella of pit bulls, have mammoth smiles that instantly give away their sincerely sweet personalities. They're intensely loyal to their humans, which, unfortunately, is why some are trained to fight. But many Staffordshire bull terriers that humans have hurt are still eager to love and trust.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 14 to 16 inches

    Weight: 24 to 38 pounds

    Coat and Color: Short coat; colors include black, blue, brindle, fawn, white, and more

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years


  • 10 of 15

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Cavalier King Charles spaniel standing on top of rock smiling

    Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images

    When it comes to Cavalier King Charles spaniels, their primary purpose throughout history has primarily been to serve as companion animals. These dogs genuinely love people, so they demand ample attention and don't like being left alone. But much of that attention can simply be cuddling with your dog on the couch.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 12 to 13 inches

    Weight: 13 to 18 pounds

    Coat and Color: Long, sleek, silky coat; colors include tricolor, Blenheim, ruby, black and tan, black and white

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

  • 11 of 15

    Pug

    Happy Pug dog looks up at camera
    Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images

    Pugs are little dogs with big personalities. They are social with strangers and other dogs. They go along to get along. They were bred to be companions for the Chinese elite ruling class, and they continue the tradition of being loyal friends to have by your side.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 13 inches

    Weight: 14 to 18 pounds

    Coat and Color: Smooth, short double coat in fawn or black

    Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years

  • 12 of 15

    Newfoundland

    Beautiful Newfoundland puppy sitting on the grass in the garden,
    rzoze19 / Getty Images

    The size of this gentle giant of a working dog might scare off some, but this dog's sweet, patient, and gentle demeanor is perfect for everyone, including children. These dogs are loyal and sociable. Although they look huge, they aren't high energy. They do well with regular walks and moderate exercise to keep fit.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 26 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder

    Weight: 100 to 150 pounds

    Coat and Color: Thick double coat in brown, black, gray, or black and white

    Life Expectancy: 9 to 10 years

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Collie

    Portrait of Rough Collie sitting on a meadow
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    If you've read the books or seen the movies about Lassie, you already know collies are intelligent, loving, and loyal canine friends. They are sociable, love to spend time outdoors with their family, and are perfect for kids. This dog is a herding dog that is accustomed to a lot of exercise and play, so if you're not the most active person or family, this dog might get sad or start chewing things around the house to expel its extra energy.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Herding (AKC)

    Height: 22 to 26 inches

    Weight: 50 to 75 pounds

    Coat and Color: Rough: Outercoat is straight, harsh, and abundant; undercoat is soft and furry; smooth on the face and lower legs; Smooth: Short, hard, dense, flat outer coat, with an abundance of soft and furry undercoat; colors are sable and white, tri-color, blue merle, or white

    Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

  • 14 of 15

    Poodle

    White Dog Looking Away While Sitting On Field
    Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Before we even get into its friendly side—this dog is so accommodating. It's one of those dogs that is less likely to trigger a person's dog allergies, and it comes in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. This dog loves spending time with people and joining in the fun and activities. This is another breed that's great for families with children.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: Standard: over 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: 10 inches and under

    Weight: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds; miniature: 15 to 18 pounds; toy: 5 to 9 pounds

    Coat and Color: Curly, dense single coats; solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, grey, brown, and apricot.

    Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years



  • 15 of 15

    Bulldog

    A cute English bulldog on a couch
    Philary / Getty Images

    Their faces make like like they have a perpetual frown but don't let their downturned face fool you. Bulldogs are super friendly, easygoing, low-maintenance, and make steadfast companions. They like to stay by your side and go with you everywhere. They are agreeable to training and adaptable to all living environments—urban cityscape to the rural countryside. Also, if you're not the most active person, that's great for these dogs. They only need moderate exercise and shouldn't get overheated.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 14 to 15 inches

    Weight: 40 to 50 pounds

    Coat and Color: Straight, short, fine-textured, smooth, and glossy; red, white, fawn, or fallow (pale brown), or any combination of these colors, with or without such patterns and markings as brindle, piebald, ticking, black masks, or black tipping

    Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

Breeds to Avoid

Most dogs acknowledge they need humans for food, shelter, and love. But some dogs seem more aloof when it comes to human interaction. Chows aren't big fans of cuddling—they seem to tolerate it. Other dogs like basenjis and Afghan hounds love their owners but have no time for strangers. Some dogs like shar-peis, Dobermans, and Rottweilers have a strong protective, guarding instinct and will actively shun strangers, making them feel unwelcome.

If you find a friendly breed but are the outdoorsy type who loves to plan hiking adventures or jogs through the countryside with your friendly pup, you will need a dog that can match your stride. Certain dogs are not equipped for a very active lifestyle, namely brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs like pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and Boston terriers. These dogs can overheat quickly.