Monday, June 11, 2012

The Most Affectionate Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Dogs have been selectively bred with specific characteristics and temperaments that help them perform certain jobs for us. Some breeds, however, are known to be more affectionate than others. I wrote an article recently on why dogs like to lean on us. All of my current dogs are leaners, but my Huskies never were. Priscilla, Eva the Sheltie's mom, wondered if there's a difference between dog breeds and if that's why some dogs lean on their owner more than others. It's a good question, and I decided to do some research on the most affectionate dog breeds. Is your dog a leaner, regardless of his/her breed? It could be leaning is more of an individual preference all dog breeds do.

The Golden Retriever was developed by Lord Tweedmouth. He wanted to create a solid retriever that could stand up to the Scottish Highlands weather, terrain and game found in the countryside. In the late 1800s, the Golden Retriever was used mostly for hunting. Lord Tweedmouth used his Yellow Retriever, which was the original breed, with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. The Irish Setter and Bloodhound were also used to produce today's Golden Retriever. This devoted, patient, affectionate, easygoing, energetic and loving dog is great with kids, and friendly with other pets and people.

The Labrador Retriever originated in Newfoundland. The dog's job was to help fishermen catch fish that escaped from fishing lines, and swim in the freezing waters to help pull in nets. English sailors brought them to England in the 1800s from Labrador. Easy to train, these dogs were crossed with setters, spaniels and some other types of retrievers. Labs have a very reliable temperament, are friendly, devoted to their family, good natured, eager to please, and great with kids.

The Beagle will steal your heart away with just one look. They go back to the 1500s and were used by English hunters to track rabbits, pheasant, quail, hare and other small animals. The breed was most likely crossed with the Harrier and other kinds of English hounds. A Beagle is happy to see everyone, gentle, courageous, sociable, independent with a mind of his own, determined, and good with kids and other dogs. Because they are hunters, however, cats and other small pets in the home could be at risk.

The Bichon Frise goes back to the 13th century. Spanish sailors traded them around the world. During the 16th century, the Bichon was a favorite companion of royal courts in France and in the 19th century the dog was popular with organ grinders and as circus performers. The Barbet Water Spaniel and the Poodle are the Bichon's descendants. They have a competitive nature, are good watch dogs and easy to train. This little white, fluffy dog is affectionate, sociable, self assured, independent, smart, happy, and has an easy temperament that fits in with any family. They love being with their people, and are great with kids and other pets.

The Australian Shepherd is not Australian at all. The early history of the breed most likely developed somewhere in the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. The Aussie got its name because the breed was associated with Basque shepherds who immigrated here from Australia in the 1800s. The breed we know today was developed solely in America. From the herding group, Aussies love being with their people and will follow their owner everywhere. They are brave, good watchdogs, protective of their family, alert, great with kids, playful, loyal, laid back and very intelligent.

The Irish Setter at one time had shorter legs and a red and white coat. The dog was used to “set” his prey by crouching down low close to a bird so a net could be tossed over the dog and bird. During the 1800s, the white was selectively bred out of the breed, creating a beautiful chestnut red coat. This is a high spirited, loving dog that needs lots of exercise. They are independent and sensitive to their owner's tone of voice. Irish Setters are good with other pets and kids.

The Poodle is an extremely intelligent and popular breed. Originating in Germany, the breed is a capable water retriever. The “Poodle cut” we see in dog shows was created by hunters who wanted to give their dogs better mobility in the water. The coat was cut specifically to protect vital organs and joints from the cold water. This active dog is a fast learner and loves to show off. They are playful, good with kids, loyal, bond quickly with usually one member of the family, and get along well with other pets when properly socialized with them. The poodle is a sensitive dog and will quickly pick up on your moods.

Other affectionate dog breeds are: Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Border Collie, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Brittany Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Schnauzer, Papillon, Shetland Sheepdog, Maltese and Doberman Pinscher.

Golden Retriever photo by Szep Bernadette
Irish Setter photo by Anastasia R.

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Mom says that we are not leaners either. None of us likes to cuddle with each other, except for maybe Ciara who can sometimes be found touching paws with Thunder or Lightning. Phantom was always the most aloof of all of her huskies, but as he has been getting older, almost 14 now, he seems to seek more petting than before. We like to think we are still affectionate dogs, just not in the typical physical way that other breeds are:)

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  2. Finn is just one big mush. I love it.

  3. The Golden and the Lab are such great dogs. I have always had Aussies all my life and just love them. They really do stick close to their person. And they are really smart too. We also like the Standard Poodle. They are great dogs too. Enjoyed the post.

  4. You faked me out, I got all the way to the end before I heard "Doberman" mentioned!

  5. The Italian greyhound is not on this list! I have never seen a more affectionate breed!

  6. OMG, what about the chihuahua?!!!

  7. What about the pit bull terrier? They should really be number 1!

  8. what about the german shepherd ????


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