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Five Affectionate Dog Breeds

Updated on September 2, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.

A lot of dogs are affectionate, and will enjoy all the attention you are able to give them. No matter what the breed, though, there are always exceptions.

The five breeds listed here are well known for their willingness to “snuggle” almost all of the time.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels like to be cuddled.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels like to be cuddled.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels are affectionate.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels are affectionate.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a lap dog and affectionate.
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a lap dog and affectionate.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This little toy really is the King of affectionate dogs. They are popular in the UK and are becoming more popular every year in the US. Their sweet personalities are just part of the reason.

Cavs are also good with kids, get along with other dogs, and are even okay with strangers, since they think almost everyone is their friend. They only weigh about four to eight kilos (10 to 18 pounds) so are the perfect weight for sitting on a lap. They are also quiet enough to do so, and make good pets for someone who cannot get around much.

These dogs are all descended from only six animals left after World War II so they have a lot of health issues that new owners should be aware of. Almost all of them are prone to heart disease which may lead to heart failure and sudden death. Other dogs may have hip dysplasia, luxating patella (trick knee), and some are affected with a neurological diseases like episodic falling or another that affects the spinal cord (syringomyelia).

Since these problems are inherited, buying a dog from healthy parents who have been properly evaluated is very important. The parents should be at least two to three years old and have a certificate from their veterinarian stating that they are not affected by heart murmurs, blood diseases like thrombocytopenia, and, since about a third of the dogs are affected by eye diseases, they should also have certificates from a veterinary ophthalmologist. Breeding dogs should also have their hips certified by the OFA.

Given all this, it may not be a surprise that Cavalier King Charles spaniels are one of the most expensive dog breeds. At their first visit to the veterinarian, when they are being checked for murmurs and luxating patellas, they should also be checked for deafness; this condition may come about slowly and not even be evident in small puppies.

If you can handle all of the health issues, and can afford good health care for your Cavalier, this is a really affectionate dog breed and a playful small companion.

Bichon frisé are happy to sit on a lap.
Bichon frisé are happy to sit on a lap.
Bichons are one of the most affectionate dog breeds.
Bichons are one of the most affectionate dog breeds.

Bichon Frisé

This is a happy really cute white dog breed, almost always affectionate and glad to jump up on a lap and make themselves comfortable.

They usually weigh only about 5 to 10 kilos (around 12 to 22 pounds). Bichons do not shed much. In fact, if they are groomed regularly the bathing and brushing keep the dander under control and makes them almost hypoallergenic.

Bichon frisé are almost ideal for a lap and are ideal for someone who wants an affectionate dog but is afraid to get too close because of allergies.

Like most purebred dogs, they do have some health issues, but most of them live for about 13 years and stay pretty healthy. Some dogs are prone to liver shunts, and others may end up developing an autoimmune blood disease.

Obedient, cheerful, sociable…these little dogs sound like ideal boy scouts!

Lhasa apso make good watchdogs even when resting on a lap.
Lhasa apso make good watchdogs even when resting on a lap.
Lhasa apso: Affectionate to his owner, wary of everyone else!
Lhasa apso: Affectionate to his owner, wary of everyone else!

Lhasa Apso

This little wooly dog from Tibet is not the nicest to strangers, but he is one of the most affectionate dogs for his owner. They are actually one of the best small watchdogs, but usually prefer to do their job sitting on their owner's lap or at his feet.

Lhasa apso are small but definitely not tiny. They usually weigh 6 to 8 kilos (about 14 to 18 pounds), and some even look larger with their full coats that can reach the ground.

If nothing is going on Lhasa are relaxed and like to roll around with their owners, rub their ears and faces until they are scratched, and act like a little affectionate puppy.

Things change as soon as a Lhasa becomes aware of an intruder, though!

These dogs have a few health problems. Some of them are prone to a skin disease (sebaceous adenitis) and a few may have retinal atrophy (PRA), dry eye, or cherry eye.

Lhasa are a long-living breed and their life expectancy is usually over 14 years! If you are looking for a small dog that will love you but jump in your lap whenever you have a visitor, a Lhasa apso is a good choice.

The Brittany is an affectionate dog.
The Brittany is an affectionate dog.
Most Brittanys like to sit on laps.
Most Brittanys like to sit on laps.

Brittany

This medium-sized gun dog from France is a little big for most laps but they are still known for trying. Looking at them, athletic and solid; they do not look like most of the other affectionate dog breeds.

Brittanys are about 20 kilos (about 45 pounds), with a short tail and floppy ears. They are usually healthy, but a few are affected by hip dysplasia and some are prone to epilepsy.

They live for about 13 years.

Most of these dogs are sensitive but still energetic and in need of long walks. They love to play with kids, and the more active, the better.

Besides being affectionate, Brittanys are also low maintenance. They do not have an undercoat like most breeds, so do not shed all the time, do not need to be brushed as often, and only need to be bathed when really muddy after tramping through the woods.

Golden retrievers are not small lap dogs, but they are affectionate.
Golden retrievers are not small lap dogs, but they are affectionate.
Goldens provide many years of affection.
Goldens provide many years of affection.

Golden Retriever

Since these dogs are so popular, most people are now familiar with their affectionate demeanor.

They were originally bred to retrieve game without damaging it. Their great personalities just seem to be one of those happy accidents of nature! They are friendly, great with kids, get along with horses, are intelligent and easy to train, and seem to fall into the role of guide dog, search and rescue dog, or therapy dog quite easily.

About one-fifth of all goldens are affected with hip dysplasia, and eye diseases like cataracts and retinal atrophy (PRA) are also common. Over half of them end up dying from cancer like hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

They are also prone to arthritis when they get older, and many become obese so their joint problems become much worse.

Goldens usually live for about 11 years, and if you choose one of these dogs you should make sure that the parents' hips have been certified and the eyes have been certified by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Be prepared, this dog will almost always deliver a lot of affection!

If you are looking for an affectionate dog, the first place to check is your local animal shelter. They have plenty of dogs who have lost their homes for various reasons. Maybe you will find an affectionate dog there who has been left after his previous owner had to move.

You can also check Petfinder.comand check animal shelters in nearby cities. If you are looking for a specific breed, just open up your search engine. Type in the word “rescue”, the dog breed you want to find, and then add your city. You might find just what you are looking for.

Just do not buy from a pet shop or an Internet dog wholesaler. You may end up with a dog who looks affectionate but he is really not; dogs produced in puppy mills commonly have behavioral and housebreaking problems.

Good luck on finding that perfect affectionate dog!

© 2013 Dr Mark

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    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I can appreciate that, Thelma. My Pitbull never barked before I got my Schnauzer, and of course since Schnauzers bark a lot, my Pit is trying to keep up!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog. He did not bark before when he was still living in Germany but now in the Philippines, it seems that the Pinoy dogs have bad influence for him. He´s barking already.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      He sounds great. Yes, I have seen some chubby dogs since they do like to lie around on a warm lap! Take care of him and hopefully he will be around another 12.

    • Lavender Jade profile image

      Lavender Jade 4 years ago from Derbyshire

      I have a King Charles and he is the most loving dog, very clever too. He does not bark at nothing and he love people. Best dog ever. His heart is okay too at the moment he is 6, and slim, as they do have a tendency to get fat.

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 4 years ago

      That's interesting because BCs have an issue with epilepsy. That is high up on our genetic research list. Maybe that's where the trancey look comes from - he looks like someone just whispered something in his ear and he is learning something new and I suppose awful.

      Smitty loves his Daddy lol!

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Good job, Smitty! He sounds like a great dog.

      That "rage syndrome" in Cockers seems to be an epileptic type of seizure. I have heard of it in Springer Spaniels too, and it would be interesting to find out if it occurs in other breeds.

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 4 years ago

      I did read "A Good Dog" By Jon Katz. It was very well written, and a terrible tearjerker for me. His dog was increasingly and randomly aggressive, and ultimately had to be put down. I know a couple of BCs like that, so it really hit home and made me very sad.

      Certain lines seem the have something like a rage syndrome. The one I knew would get trancey just before he struck. No growl, no warning, his head would tilt to the side, he would get a spacey look and then he would nail the person. I heard similar stories about some of his half siblings and other siblings so fearful that they could hardly be pets. Ziggy, the crazy dog, never thought about biting me, but one day he got that look with my ex-husband. Our oldest border collie, Smitty, was standing there and saw it coming before Stuart did. Smitty caught him by the throat midair and pinned Ziggy against the wall. Smitty didn't hurt him, and Ziggy never tried that again with Stuart. That is how we learned the sign that he was about to strike. Ziggy's owner is a jerk, so maybe you're right.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Solaras, have you read Jon Katz´s BC books? Do you agree with his take on his dogs? How about Patrica McConnell? They both write pretty different things about the breed, and I wonder how much of it is because of the owner´s personality. It sounds like your dogs know you are a nice person so they just follow you around. (which makes me wonder why my Pit Bull prefers to lie out in the sun instead of next to me!)

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 4 years ago

      I'd have to put border collies at #6. They like to think they are lapdogs, and don't want to go outside without me. I have a troupe that follows me around the house wherever I go. They think I might do something interesting that could involve them.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I had an old Lhasa I rescued (he was abandoned in one of my apartments) about 10 years ago. He was great with me, did not care much for my visitors! They are excellent little dog!!!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 4 years ago from Philippines

      I've always wanted a Llahsa Apso. Now it seems like a nice dog to buy because the Llahsa is among your top five. Nice videos:)

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Kevin thanks for stopping by to comment. GSDs can be really nice dogs, and I can understand you being partial to them! I appreciate my space, so I think one of the very affectionate dogs is too much for me. My dog is sleeping at my feet as I write this, which is perfect. All the affection I need!!!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 4 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Great hub! Loads of information and good advice. Thanks for sharing.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Nice and interesting hub DrMark, I am an avid dog lover, although I have never owned any of these breeds, I've always been partial to German Shepard/Husky's. I have 2 Shepard's now that are both very affectionate.