If you’re thinking of welcoming a four-legged friend into your family, there’s a lot to consider. You’ll need to know which breeds need a lot of exercise, which ones shed, and their overall temperament. (And of course, you want a dog that’s cute, sweet, and going to wag its tail off and do a wiggle dance every time you come home, too.) But apart from the furry factor, you’ll also want a dog who’s totally devoted to your family. So what are the most loyal dog breeds?
Well, it’s not always an easy question to answer. Sure, there are some breeds that are innately
known for their kind, loyal nature, but ultimately it really depends on the individual animal. For example, you might think that a certain breed (like a pit bull or a Doberman) is ferocious, but you’d be surprised to know that they’re a total mush ball when they’re with their loved ones. “Many dogs are very loyal, and almost any dog can be a very loyal companion," Texas-based veterinarian Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, tells Romper. "So when picking a loyal dog for your family, it will depend on your family and the individual dog to determine if he will be the best breed for your family."
So if you want to find man's best friend to add to the family, picking a pooch from one of these most loyal dog breeds will mean years of happiness — and wet sloppy kisses, too.
If visions of the fictional farm dog Lassie loom large in your mind when you think of a Collie, there’s a good reason. “Collies are usually devoted, quick and attentive to their owners, making them respond effectively to family emergencies,” Harvey Wells, a pet expert, tells Romper. The AKC says that
Collies “are famously fond of children and make wonderful family pets.” Just be sure to give your Collie plenty of space to run, and don’t be surprised if they want to keep the kiddos together in the same space; they’re a herding dog, after all. 2 Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier is about five pounds of adorable devotion. Known for being cute cuddlers, Yorkies make an excellent family dog,
Daniel Caughill, a pet expert and co-founder of The Dog Tale explains. “Yorkies are an extremely loyal and protective dog breed, and can perform important tasks if trained properly,” he says. “They’re active enough to run around in the back yard with your kids, but small enough that they won’t require huge amounts of exercise each day.” 3 Akita
Although the Akita might be suspicious of strangers (and not love other animals), that doesn’t mean it’s not a proper pet for your own pack. “Even though the very same American Kennel Club considers it to be an aggressive breed towards other dogs (especially those of their own sex), Akitas are perfect dogs for families since they get along very well with children and people in general,”
Dr. Georgina Ushi, DVM, a veterinarian tells Romper. “Akitas are strong and independent dogs that can turn to be hostile if handled inappropriately by first-time owners; however, once you and your family are able to establish a bond with this beautiful creature, he's going to remain loyal for life.” 4 Pit Bull
Pit bulls have often gotten a lot of bad press, but when it comes to loyalty, they truly are in a class above. They’re the quintessential lap dog, and love to snuggle with their owners. "Dogs that many people think are aggressive, like pit bulls, are actually some of the sweetest and most loyal dogs," says Dr. Ochoa. That’s why
pit bulls are often known as “Velcro dogs,” due to their desire to love and care for their family, Rover reported. 5 Labrador
When it comes to loyalty, you just can’t beat a lab. “These dogs are very good with children,” says Dr. Ochoa. “They are very mild-mannered yet very protective of their family.” Their good nature is great with little children who might be a bit grabby.
6 German Shepherd
If you’re looking for a dog that will be a protector for your home as well as your family, a German Shepherd might be a good fit. “These dogs are big and lovable,” says Dr. Ochoa. “They are very protective dogs and always there to help their families out.”
A part of the working group, boxers are great with children and have proven to be very loyal companions. “They are quick learners and very protective members of the family,” says Dr. Ochoa. And since they are playful and protective, they can handle it when your kid suddenly wants to climb on top and play horsie. The Boxer is one of the most popular breeds for families with children, and they take their role as watchdog and family guardian seriously.
8 Golden Retriever
Just like labs, Golden Retrievers are truly a family pet. They are part of the sporting group, which means that they are very energetic and like to play a lot, which is perfect if you have small children. Says Dr. Ochoa: “Goldens are very smart and are very loyal to their family.” Sweet, happy, and eager to please, this breed is often an excellent choice for families.
The Lowchen is a small little dog that originated from Germany. “His name means ‘Little Lion’ in German, which stands for the bravery with which he will defend his family,” Steffi Trott, owner and head trainer at
SpiritDog Training in Albuquerque, NM, tells Romper. “Lowchen are affectionate, happy and loving dogs that get along well with other dogs and adore kids.” They’re rare in the U.S., but are popular in Germany, especially in families with small children. They love to sleep, don’t shed, and are ideal for apartments. 10 Doberman
Dobermans sure might look a little scary, but they are extremely loyal to their families. “Originally bred as protection dogs, they love their owners and will defend them fiercely,” says Trott. Because of their highly energetic nature, they need daily exercise and obedience training in order to behave well. Taking your Dobie for a walk with your kids, or attaching his leash to your baby’s carriage can help him get the exercise he needs.
11 Saluki This stunning sighthound was originally bred for hunting and is one of the world's oldest breeds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). “Beautiful, slender and of incredibly gentle temperament, a Saluki will be a perfect companion for children and adults alike,” says Trott. “They love to sleep for many hours, making them perfect apartment dogs.” They are great family dogs (even for infants) due to their very soft character and sweet behavior. 12 English Bulldog
A lazy little lump of love, the
English Bulldog is a sweet dog that has an eager-to-please attitude, per the AKC. Their compact body makes them ideal for apartment living, but it’s their sloth-like ways that earns them a spot on the list of the calmest dog breeds. “When they are not napping, English bulldogs are clown-like and make a great addition to families with children,” says Trott. 13 Greyhound
While it’s true that most greyhounds originate from the track and find forever homes as retired racers, once at home, they transform into four-legged couch potatoes. Greyhounds are sensitive and sweet, with low-maintenance short coats. If you’re looking for a calm dog breed who is also easy to keep, the greyhound is perfect.
14 Great Dane
If you want a gentle giant, look no further than the Great Dane. They are a great deterrent for potential intruders, but don't be fooled by their stature. Great Danes are a friendly breed, like to please their owners, and are especially patient with small children. Their loyalty makes them a must-have breed-if you have the space for them.
Another large-breed dog, the Bullmastiff was originally bred to deter poachers and intruders alike. But these gentle giants are a good breed for a family pet, since they tend to be calm, and easy-going. And because of their superior status, they make for a great watch dog.
No one is going to mess with you or your fam when you're walking with a Rottweiler. Although this breed is built to be a protector, this confident canine has a fierce love for his family, and will become a playful pup when he's around his own peeps.
If you're looking for love (and loyalty), these 16 breeds might be best for your family. They'll offer lots of laughter, happiness, and faithful companionship for years to come.
Sources: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, veterinarian Dr. Georgina Ushi, DVM, a veterinarian Steffi Trott, owner and head trainer at SpiritDog Training Harvey Wells, a pet expert Daniel Caughill, a pet expert and co-founder of The Dog Tale