Some dog breeds have high energy, while others are incredibly calm. Some breeds have a reputation for being playful, while others are known for their intelligence or athleticism. But there are also many breeds of dogs that are just plain sweet and affectionate.
Kids can crawl around, pull toys out of their mouths, or even play with them at mealtime, and these adorable puppies don’t care. Thanks to their even temperament, many of them also make excellent service or therapy dogs.
Ready to adopt a sweet companion? Here are 13 of the sweetest dog breeds.
The “sweet dog” category is undoubtedly dominated by the ever popular golden retriever. These well-rounded Scottish Hounds are as good for the home as they are for the show ring. They are described by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as intelligent, friendly, obedient, and dedicated.
These qualities are also the reason they are so commonly used for search and rescue and guidance services. American service animals say golden retrievers are great leaders and take things gently with their teeth – a useful quality both for working dogs and those who share households with young children.
Their kindness, intelligence, gentle temperament and energetic spirit have earned Labrador Retrievers the coveted title of “America’s Most Popular Dog Breed,” according to the AKC. Members of the sporting dog group, they can play and fetch balls for long periods of time without becoming cranky or tired. They are perfect for families with energetic children and anyone looking for active, patient companions.
Labradors are athletic and exuberant, but patient and laid back. Like goldens, these fun-hungry animals are ideal service animals. Labs are medium to large in size and can be black, yellow or chocolate in color.
Beagles are said to make poor watchdogs because of their friendly disposition. Because they were bred to hunt in packs, they enjoy the company of other dogs and other people. They are cheerful, rarely aggressive, and make excellent companions for children and adults of all ages, but their constant curiosity can sometimes get them in trouble too. Most of the time, their happy antics are more entertaining than destructive.
The sleek coats of the Beagles make them relatively low maintenance; however, since they have a strong will, their training can be a challenge. While their independent nature can make things difficult at times, their gentleness almost always makes up for stubbornness.
Bulldogs can look cranky with those droopy eyes and constantly frowning jowls, but they are renowned for being gentle, docile, and friendly dogs with tender dispositions. The good-humored breed is generally happy to please, although some may exhibit a stubborn streak. Bulldogs are very loyal and protective of their families, especially children.
It is important to note that this is a brachycephalic dog breed, which means it has a short muzzle and can be prone to breathing problems. Heat and humidity can be especially difficult for bulldogs to breathe, so their exercise should be limited on hot days.
Don’t be fooled by the massive size of this breed; the gentle giant has the most relaxed disposition. Despite being 26-28 inches tall and weighing an impressive 100-150 pounds, these dogs – Newfies, as they are affectionately called – are gentle, patient, gracious, and quick to intervene if someone threatens their family. Due to their protective nature, they have been nicknamed “nanny dogs”.
The playful and energetic Irish setter enjoys company. These dogs are affectionate with their families, gentle with children, intelligent, obedient, and like scavengers, they will happily play search all day and will never be cranky or tired while doing so. Irish setters are also extremely trainable and intelligent. They have unlimited energy but are gentle and eager to please.
In addition to their amiable temperament, Irish setters are known for their graceful speed and flashy red coats. And while their boundless energy can make them rowdy, these hunting dogs respond well to gentle guidance and training. Because they are so well connected to their families, they are prone to separation anxiety.
One of the oldest dog breeds in the world, Pugs are also one of the silliest and sweetest. The AKC describes them as “charming, playful and loving”. They rarely bite or bite and are known to endure the promptings of children with patience and passivity.
Pugs offer a lot of dogs in a small package (14-18 pounds). They respond well to obedience training and do not require a lot of exercise, which is why they are also a top choice for apartment dwellers. Puppies that people like come in fawn or black.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Once King Charles II’s pocket dog, it’s no wonder these little puppies are so affectionate and love to be held. Their gentle temperament is why the breed is such a popular therapy dog. Often referred to as quilts, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can sense feelings and often work with children, the elderly, and other people with special needs.
The adorable toy breed is smart, playful, graceful, and fearless. It doesn’t require a lot of exercise, so it can adapt to both active owners and homebodies. Because Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can be easily distracted, obedience training is not always felt.
Dubbing the breed “playful, charming, and mischievous,” the AKC says the bull terrier is one of the top breeds for families with kids because of its sweet and fun-loving disposition.
Despite their historic role as gladiators in blood sports, these “eggheads” can be well-behaved and charming with the right obedience training (it’s best to start when they’re puppies) and plenty of exercises to alleviate their abundance of energy. Bull terriers behave a lot like toddlers and make great playmates for their human counterparts.
Collies have extremely sweet and gentle personalities. They are sensitive, intelligent and easy to train, but they can also be stubborn, which is why obedience training is often recommended. If you have young children, remember that collies were herd raised, so they can constantly herd your children together when they are playing in the house or in the yard.
There are several varieties of collie. Bearded Collies are extremely shaggy and are descended from Scottish Sheepdogs. Border collies are black and white shepherds native to the Anglo-Scottish county of Northumberland. Then there’s the classic ‘Lassie’ Collie, a brown and white longhair iteration.
Also known as the Hungarian pointer, the vizsla has high energy levels, but that doesn’t prevent their gentle and loving demeanor. Originally bred to be a hunting dog, the versatile vizsla also has a history of fieldwork. Needless to say, you have to train well and enjoy an active lifestyle.
The breed is sensitive but confident and forms strong bonds with the family. These dogs have a distinctive golden rust color with a sleek, shiny, low-maintenance coat.
This smart and popular breed comes in a range of sizes, colors, and hairstyles, but all of them tend to be eager to please and very trainable. Miniature Poodles can be shy around strangers, while Standard Poodles tend to be more outgoing.
Both are playful, loyal, and rarely bored or snippy. People with allergies tend to be drawn to poodles because of their hypoallergenic coats. However, they do require sufficient grooming.
Bernese mountain dog
Another gentle giant, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a calm, laid-back breed with a gentle nature. Bred to do agricultural work in the mountains of Switzerland, these dogs are hardy and trainable. The AKC says that although they are hardy animals, they can also be remarkably agile for their large size.
Bernese Mountain Dogs are self-confident, rarely shy and kind. They are also popular for their thick, shiny, tricolor coats.
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