Seven Happy Dog Breeds
There is no way people are going to agree with this list. Everyone thinks they have the most loyal dog breed, most people think they have the friendliest dog breed, and I have been told numerous times, "My dog's breed is always the happiest." No matter which breed I leave out, there are sure to be complaints. I can see the comments now: “I have always had . . . and they are the happiest breed of dog.”
Sorry, but it does not work that way. I realize that dogs are individuals, and some individuals are happier and friendlier than others. In general, however, some breeds are usually happy-go-lucky, and some, well, not as much.
The happy, loving dogs are glad to see me. After years of seeing dogs come in for an exam, these are the breeds I am most likely to walk up to and start an exam on without having a good tech holding on. The top rated article on Google lists the German Shepherd dog as the second friendliest breed. I have to disagree. Shepherds are rarely as snappy as Doxies, but there are a lot of other dogs I would put on my list above the GSD. Here are a few:
Happy and Sweet Dog Breeds
The Labrador Retriever
Despite their large size, Labradors are happy and easy to work with. Older dogs can be very calm and easy going, but when young, a lot of these dogs will show off their hunting background by running around checking everything out.
Are they good guard dogs? Well, since they are such big dogs, they do work as guard dogs. This is often because they sleep in front of the door and manage to trip up any home invader foolish enough to try and walk around them. Most of them do love the water, so if you have a pool by your door, this happy dog will probably guard it.
There are other dog breeds out there that shed less, have fewer health problems, never bark, and make great watchdogs, but none of them are as popular as the Lab. They have been the most popular dog in the world for over 20 years. Being happy most of the time has a lot to do with that popularity.
Baby Playing With Yellow Lab
This healthy dog is one of the easiest to work with. One of the best-known books on dog intelligence puts this dog down near the bottom. I don’t agree with that rating and certainly look forward to seeing this happy and sweet little dog on the exam table. They are also happy to be around cats.
Beagles are prone to weight problems, but of course, it is a problem with the owner, not the dog. As far as I know, even this smart, little dog does not know how to open the refrigerator.
Sleeping Beagle Puppy
The Golden Retriever
There have been exceptions just like with any other breed, but I am almost always happy to see a Golden Retriever waiting in a room. They are happy, great with kids, affectionate with their owners, and one of the smartest dog breeds (easy to train).
Goldens, just like Labs, do tend to be a bit hyperactive, so they are not the best dog for someone who needs a calm dog. They do slow down, eventually, just about the time they reach old age. Most of them stay sweet right up to the end.
A Golden Retriever Playing With a Baby
The Brittany Spaniel
This affectionate dog is usually very attached to their owner, but they are also willing to put up with almost anyone—even me. Many Brittany owners have told me that their dogs like to cuddle, too.
Like Labs and Goldens, they are a hunting breed, bred to get out and work. If you need a calm dog willing to lie around all day, they are not your best choice.
Brittany Spaniels Playing
The Basset Hound
This big scent hound is a little too lazy to be aggressive, and once he is scooped up and on the table, is willing to put up with almost anything. (Okay, no dog likes his temperature taken, so other than that.)
Besides being great with kids, the Basset is also a good medium-sized dog for an apartment. They are happy to be on their own for much of the day, happy to cuddle with their owner, and happy to just lie around and wait for you to pay attention to them. Why are they so happy? They are usually sleeping. Anywhere and anytime. They usually present at the vet clinic for ear infections. Imagine that?
A Bassett Hound Puppy
The Siberian Husky
I have seen this breed listed among the “ten most dangerous dogs," and I usually have to stop and laugh at the list maker's stupidity. Have they ever been around one of these dogs? Yes, they look like a wolf, but the similarities end right there. Siberians are incredibly happy dogs, and almost always people friendly. They were so valuable and so much a part of the family that the Siberian women were known to nurse any extra puppies.
If a puppy was aggressive or bit one of the family members, it was dispatched onto a hard rock immediately. On the frozen plains of Siberia, there were no judges to appeal to, and no rescues that might save a dangerous dog. Thousands of years of culling and selective breeding have lead to a very friendly dog, at least if you are a human. For those chickens reading this article, keep on searching. Sibes are not your best choice.
Siberian Husky Puppies
Since these dogs are actually one of the guard dog breeds, not everyone will agree with this choice. (Actually, no one is going to agree with all of these choices. A few vets or vet techs out there, especially those with scars on their hands, will agree with most of the list.)
Boxers are good dogs for a single woman who needs a guard dog, but they are almost always happy to see strangers that their owners like. They do a little “Boxer wiggle” when they are happy. (Since they do not have much tail to wag, they wag their entire back-end instead.) If I was looking for a big guard dog but also wanted a friendly dog that would be willing to visit with most of my guests, a Boxer would be at the top of my list.
Boxer Puppy With Hiccups
This list is based on personal opinion and no scientific research was done to back it up. The only reference I can cite is over 40 years of experience.
Finding Your Happy Dog
Do not use this list, or any single list, to select your new dog. Look at all the factors your new family member will possess—loyalty, health, affection, and, of course, how she will fit into your lifestyle. If you live in an apartment and work most of the day, find a dog that will do well in that life. Retrievers, Brittanys, and Siberians are friendly but are not suited for a life of confinement and boredom. You need to think about all of this and should not rush into your decision.
If you are looking for a happy dog, be sure to check out your local animal shelter first. The testing performed when a dog comes into the shelter usually removes the dogs with aggressive tendencies so most of them are happy-go-lucky. You will not always be able to tell about the dog on the first visit, so if you can spend some time with the dog before adoption that is really the best way to go.
Try looking for a breed rescue on the internet. You can also check Petfinder.com to find other shelters that you can visit. If you do not find your puppy, consider a breeder, but do not buy a cute puppy from a pet shop or an internet puppy wholesale site just because he is happy. He will be from a puppy mill and you may end up with a poorly behaved dog that has housetraining problems. Good luck on finding that perfect new dog!
More About Choosing Dogs
- Best Seven Dog Breeds For Someone Who Works All Day
If you work all day but still want a dog, check out descriptions, videos, and pictures of these low energy breeds and find out which will suit your lifestyle.
Questions & Answers
© 2014 Dr Mark