When it comes to choosing a dog, you probably want one that is friendly, whether that’s toward people, other pets, or both. In other words, a happy-go-lucky pooch that gets along with everyone.
As long as they meet the friendly criteria, you may or may not care about other qualities, such as whether they are excessive shedders or droolers, or their size, or whether they are energetic or laid-back, as long as they are of great temperament that plays well with others.
With that in mind, here’s a compilation of 20 of the friendliest dog breeds that have the “friendly” factor in spades. Large or small, full of hair or sleek and shiny, and all shedding and drooling (or lack thereof) notwithstanding, you are sure to find the perfect pooch to bring home.
These dogs tend to be very friendly and outgoing, even clown-like at times, with a ton of energy. Irish Setters are great with families, but definitely need lots of exercise and playtime so that they don’t become bored and destructive. These dogs weigh in at anywhere from 60 to 70 pounds, and may not be suitable if you live in an apartment.
These are medium sized dogs, characterized as cheerful, friendly, energetic, smart, and intelligent, among many other things. Labrador Retrievers weigh anywhere between 55 and 75 pounds, and do well with kids.
They love to work hard as well as play hard, however, they can gain weight quickly so make sure you feed them appropriately. These dogs are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them overall an excellent and friendly family pet.
This is a medium to large dog, weighing anywhere from 55 to 80 pounds, and are characterized by confident, friendly, and intelligent temperaments. Golden Retrievers are also lovable and reliable, making them great with kids.
They love to play ball and retrieve things, hence the name. These dogs are very compatible with other animals as well as friendly with other people. They are also smart and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable. Overall a great choice when considering some of the friendliest dog breeds.
This is a small dog of the hound family, ranging anywhere from 20 to 25 pounds. Beagles are characterized by a lively, friendly, and intelligent disposition, as well as being very sweet, gentle, and independent.
These dogs can do well in apartments or homes with a small yard, but they do need plenty of stimulation and exercise. They are great with kids and love go on daily walks. Beagles also get along great with other dogs and actually need the companionship of other dogs, or plenty of time with their humans.
Beagles are always willing to play, which makes them the perfect best friend to an adventurous child. They do bark though, and are known for their musical baying, so keep that in mind and make sure your environment is suitable. If you have crabby neighbors, they might not be the right breed for you.
This is a medium-sized dog weighing in anywhere from 53 to 70 pounds, and are known for being intelligent, loyal, confident, friendly, and energetic. Boxers are great with kids and love to play, catch a ball, or go on long, brisk walks. They do alright in an apartment environment, if they get enough exercise. However, if you have a yard, that would be even better.
These dogs are highly trainable and learn fast, though they can sometimes be stubborn during the process. If you are an active family, Boxers are an excellent choice as they are very social and outgoing as well as devoted.
Though they are generally friendly with their fellow four-legged family members, Boxers can be somewhat aggressive to strange dogs. Overall this one of the friendliest dog breeds you can find.
This is a medium-sized dog ranging anywhere from 35 to 60 pounds, and ares characterized by their gentle, friendly, and outgoing personalities. Siberian Huskies are great with kids and love to go on walks, but they are also highly intelligent and independent.
This means that when training them, you need to be patient, as your Husky may only listen to a command if the command make sense to them. These dogs can be very clever and mischievous, as well as stubborn at times.
However, they usually get along great with other family members, whether they are the two legged or four-legged kind. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat aggressive to strange dogs or cats, but overall, they make wonderful family pets with a fun-loving disposition.
These are medium to large dogs weighing anywhere from 60 to 70 pounds. Flat-Coated Retrievers tend to be very outgoing and intelligent, as well as friendly and confident. They do very well with kids, and they love to hunt and swim. These animals are active and need regular exercise to be at their best.
They also do better when they live indoors with their family, as they do not like to be separated. They are sweet and loving, the best kind of family dog. However, if they do not get enough exercise, poor behaviors can manifest.
Rat Terriers are small dogs ranging anywhere from 12 to 35 pounds. These dogs are lively and affectionate, as well as curious and inquisitive, and require a fair amount of activity. They also are a bit of an escape artist, so be mindful of that before you allow them outside.
These dogs are great with kids and they love to play, whether it’s an outdoor romp or run in the yard, or some kind of game. Rat Terriers are highly trainable and intelligent, and make a great companion. They also get along well with other animals and seem to have almost an unlimited reservoir of energy.
These are medium-size dogs weighing in anywhere from 35 to 50 pounds. Field Spaniels are sensitive, sociable, adaptable, docile, family-oriented dogs that get along great with kids. These dogs are independent and happiest when they are given a job.
They are very willing and eager to please, as well as affectionate. They can be reserved with strangers though so bear that in mind. Overall, Field Spaniels make great family dogs if they receive daily exercise.
These are large dogs from the hound family, weighing in at 65 to 70 pounds. English Foxhounds are friendly, gentle, social, as well as very active. They do great if you have a lot of land, but definitely are not intended for living in an apartment.
This is another breed that will act out if they don’t get enough exercise. These dogs get along well with kids.
A large dog, roughly 65 to 75 pounds, these canines are loyal, loving, and sweet tempered, as well as highly intelligent. They are also very independent and more suited to rural living. If American Foxhounds are raised with other pets, they get along with them well, but be careful of bringing adult dogs into the family because they may not be as easily adaptable.
These dogs are usually great with kids and are very high-energy, which helps them keep up with the youngsters. Though they are not considered a “traditional” house pet, American Foxhounds do very well indoors. They do tend to be somewhat reserved with outsiders, so keep that in mind.
This is a medium-sized dog weighing anywhere from 50 to 80 pounds that is characterized by an easy-going, loving, intelligent personality. Australian Bulldogs are very loyal, and do well in mild climates. They love their family, and they love to play, whether it’s chasing a Frisbee down or going for swim. Though they can make good watchdogs, they don’t have the temperament to guard well.
Ultimately, these are friendly dogs that make good pets, but still need consistent and confident training. They also require plenty of exercise to avoid behavior issues.
This is a medium-sized dog weighing in at 40 to 60 pounds, characterized by an energetic, friendly, intelligent, and playful disposition. These dogs do very well with kids, love to play, and need plenty of exercise. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can become destructive like many of their other fellow canine friends.
English Shepherds love to fetch and chase things, and at the end of the day after a hard round of play, they love to curl up for a nice nap at your feet. These dogs are extremely intelligent and display something that can only be likened to kindness to both the people and the other animals in their home.
They can also be quite independent and bossy, so they need strong and confident leadership in their owners. A wonderful family pet, and another member of the friendliest dog breeds.
This is a small- to medium-sized dog that is very friendly, intelligent, and highly trainable. They are a crossbreed between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle, and they can sometimes display characteristics of both breeds.
Goldendoodles come in Miniature, Medium, and Standard sizes, but because they are a mixed breed you are never guaranteed certain traits. Regardless of the size you choose, these dogs are very family oriented and social, and they love to play. They also are very friendly with strangers, and rarely bark, which is a plus if you live in urban areas.
This is a medium sized dog around 40 to 60 pounds. They are very happy, affectionate, and intelligent although they can be strong-willed. They are quite trainable when the training is gentle and positive, but can become stubborn and resistant if you try to force them or are overly stern.
These dogs are great with kids and need quite a bit of exercise. However, they may challenge you if they find you to be inconsistent, so that is something to watch out for. Their drive to find prey is very developed, and they enjoy hunting and bringing their rewards to you. They are also great swimmers, and get along well with pretty much everyone.
This is a medium sized dog about 25 to 35 pounds that is known for being great with kids. Swedish Vallhunds are naturally active but can do fine without a yard. However, they are quite vocal and chatty, and have even been given their own language of sorts, called “argle bargle”. This is a language of yips, barks, and howls that are unique to the Vallhund.
These dogs are funny and fun-loving, as well as extremely friendly, and make a great addition to the family. The only drawback is that the breed is very scarce, making them hard to find.
This is a medium sized dog, roughly 45 to 65 pounds, with long, floppy ears, and sad-looking faces. Basset Hounds are sweet, affectionate, friendly, and tenacious, among other things. They need regular exercise, and love to go on walks where they can sniff and trail to their heart’s content.
They are seldom dissuaded from the trail they find, and they bay loudly when they get excited, especially when on the trail of something intriguing. These dogs are easygoing and good with kids, making them rank high as one of the friendliest dog breeds out there.
A medium sized dog ranging from 26 to 40 pounds, this breed is very agile, energetic, friendly, and fun-loving. Norwegian Buhunds do great with kids as well as other animals and they are extremely active, so plenty of exercise is a requirement. However, they can be just fine with apartment living, if it’s a decent sized place and they get in a daily walk or jog.
These dogs need to be given regular training and jobs to be at their best, because they were born and bred for herding and sounding the alarm as watchdogs.
When given the exercise and training that they need, they make excellent four-legged friends.
This is a medium-sized dog breed weighing 40 to 60 pounds. Harriers are friendly, cheerful, tolerant, and outgoing. They get along great with kids and are quite active. They are hunters and roamers, so don’t let them off leash in an area that you know isn’t safe.
These dogs can be reserved with outsiders, and, like the Beagle, may be a bit vocal with the baying, so they might not fare too well with your neighbors. However, they are still one of the friendliest dog breeds, and make the best of pets.
These dogs are medium sized, weighing at about 55 to 70 pounds. They have alert, friendly, calm dispositions, and could even be described as “dignified”. Chinooks are people-friendly dogs that are wonderful with kids, and eager to please. They are also a rare breed, so if you find one, hang on to him!
Picard, Caroline. “The 20 Best Dogs for Kids and Families.” Good Housekeeping, 26 July 2018, Accessed 3 July 2017. www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/pets/g5138/best-family-dogs/.