Some dogs are more affectionate than others. Some pups jump into your arms the moment you walk through the door. Others prefer to keep their distance and express their love in more subtle ways.
Similarly, dogs can have mood swings just like a human. But the happiest dog breeds have gained a reputation as the most consistently cheerful members of the household. Sure, every dog can get stressed out by things in his environment. But these easygoing pups respond with a wagging tail more often than not.
Below, check out some of the dog breeds who’ve gained a reputation as the happiest pups around.
VetStreet names the beagle as one of the top people-pleasing dog breeds. As the publication explains, “He has a bigger-than-life personality and a merry nature that make him a warm and cheerful companion.” That’s one of the reasons why the beagle is one of the best family dogs. The AKC describes the beagle as “happy-go-lucky” and “funny,” two qualities we all love in a happy little family dog.
2. Bearded collie
Next on the list of the happiest dog breeds is the bearded collie, a breed that PetGuide characterizes as “cheerful and happy-go-lucky.” The publication notes that the bearded collie makes an affectionate and playful companion for children and adults alike. The AKC calls these dogs bouncy, charismatic, and friendly. Additionally, the group promises that your bearded collie will “love outdoor exercise in all weather.”
3. Bedlington terrier
The Bedlington terrier is another cheerful breed that wins over dog lovers of all ages with a cheerful and fun-loving personality. The AKC characterizes these terriers as “rollicking, charming, and full of fun.” Though you should supervise these dogs around young children, the group reports that the Bedlington will quickly become “a loyal member of the family.”
4. Bichon frise
VetStreet also names the Bichon frise one of the happiest dog breeds. “Wonderfully affectionate, he can spread love and joy to everyone he meets,” the publication notes. “Few people are immune to his clownish charm.” The AKC notes that you’ll need to devote some time to making sure your Bichon gets enough exercise each day. However, the group promises that the breed’s “short bursts of energy are balanced with cuddly, loveable periods.”
Next up on VetStreet’s list of the top people-pleasing dog breeds? The bulldog. The publication promises that this breed “likes nothing better than spending time with you, whether that means roughhousing with the kids or lounging on the sofa watching television.” He even makes a mellow companion for young children. The bulldog also makes the cut as one of the easiest dog breeds to own. The AKC also describes the breed as “dignified but amusing” — the perfect combination if you want a happy and entertaining dog!
6. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
VetStreet also recommends the cavalier King Charles spaniel to potential pet owners seeking one of the happiest dog breeds. The publication explains that these “little spaniels are attracted to people the way strawberry jam is to peanut butter. If a Cavalier sees an empty lap, he is likely to jump into it, whether he knows the person or not.” This breed isn’t the smartest dog on the block. (In fact, we hate to break it to you, but the Cavalier King Charles is actually one of the dumbest dog breeds.) But the fact that he’s friendly and easily trained, according to the AKC, more than makes up for it!
Another famously friendly dog breed, according to VetStreet? The collie. The publication characterizes this dog one of the happiest dog breeds of all, as “a sweet-natured dog whose greatest joy is caring for people. A collie is a friend who always makes you feel loved and who welcomes other people into his circle of affection as well.” The AKC reports that the collie needs companionship, whether he lives in the city or the country. So he’s the perfect choice for potential pet owners who want a dog who will be happy to spend time with them.
8. Flat-coated retriever
You can’t talk about the happiest dog breeds without mentioning the flat-coated retriever, who has a great reputation for his cheerful and carefree personality. VetStreet notes that this breed always wants to be in the middle of whatever you’re doing. Even when you aren’t running, swimming, or playing with him, he’ll still be happy to stay close to your side. How’s that for unconditional love? Animal Planet adds that this breed numbers “among the most devoted and companionable of dogs, a true family dog.” However, the publication offers one caveat. This breed, like many other active dogs, “needs regular exercise to be on its best behavior.”
9. French bulldog
Anybody who’s ever met a French bulldog knows this pup is a shoo-in for a place on the list of the happiest dog breeds. These joyful dogs love attention and are super affectionate with their families. As VetStreet notes, “His best friend is always the person he’s with at that moment. The Frenchie has a sense of humor and loves to make people laugh.” People also love the French bulldog — he’s currently the sixth most popular breed in the U.S. — because he gets along well with children. Plus, he offers endless entertainment by communicating with you in cute yips, yawns, and gargles.
10. Golden retriever
The golden retriever is perhaps the quintessential happy dog. The AKC characterizes this popular dog breed as “exuberant and friendly.” They make good working dogs, but the AKC reports that they also “enjoy being downright silly!” Goldens make devoted companions and are happy hanging out with both children and adults. So, unsurprisingly, the breed has gained a reputation as one of the best family dogs. In fact, Goldens have a contagious enthusiasm that may just get your kids off the couch and running around the yard.
11. Irish setter
VetStreet characterizes the Irish setter as “joyful and boisterous.” This dog loves being the center of attention, but he will also happily spend time with his family no matter what they’re doing. (Bonus points, though, if they can involve him in something active!) VetStreet promises, “If you have a great sense of humor and can match his boundless energy, you will enjoy living with this mischievous dog.” The only caveat? The Irish setter acts like a puppy for a long time. So you’ll need to have plenty of patience for training!
12. Italian greyhound
Many people aren’t as familiar with the Italian greyhound as with other breeds. However, they make a great companion for potential pet owners searching for one of the happiest dog breeds. These dogs, which look like a smaller version of their larger greyhound relatives, are “highly affectionate,” according to the AKC. They are alert and active and will be happy to join you on walks and runs.
13. Labrador retriever
The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog breed in America — and for good reason! Not only do Labs take easily to training, but they love spending time with children and can easily learn not to play rough, even with small kids. They have cheerful and playful personalities. Plus, as the AKC puts it, their instinctual desire to please their master helps them “excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams or in narcotics detection with law enforcement.”
Next on the list of the happiest dog breeds? The Maltese. The breed loves attention, and, according to VetStreet, this dog assumes that everybody he encounters wants to be his friend. Plus, their people-pleasing instincts make it easy for them to learn new tricks quickly. The AKC characterizes this happy breed as gentle, playful, and affectionate. The organization also promises that these little dogs act “fearless in a charming toy-dog way.”
The pug famously loves people. Getting to spend time with his family, both children and adults, makes the pug one of the happiest dog breeds of all. VetStreet reports, “Completely focused on humans, pugs will follow family members from room to room. Don’t be surprised if they are equally happy to make friends with complete strangers.” Plus, the AKC adds that these dogs have gained a wonderful reputation for their even tempers and playful personalities — exactly what most people want when they seek out the happiest dog breeds.