19 Friendliest Dog Breeds

four dogs on park

Key points

  • A dog’s tendency to aggressive behavior is mainly based on the environment it grew up in and the way its owners treat it. However, some breeds are considered non-aggressive and are known to make the best companions for families with children and seniors.
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Bulldogs, and Greyhounds make great loving friends despite their size and appearance.
  • Bichon Frise, Beagle, Havanese, Papillon, Shih Tzu, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are all very gentle and caring dogs that form strong bonds with their owners and make a great company for families with small children.
  • Shih Tzus, Pugs, and Basset Hounds are perfect options for people who want a kind and friendly dog but live in an apartment or don’t have access to a park since these breeds don’t need much exercise.

It’s often said that dogs look like their owners. This happens mainly because we choose our pets based on our lifestyle and the environment we live in. That’s why many people, especially those with children or small animals, are looking for non-aggressive and sweet dogs. Usually, a dog’s aggressiveness and disposition are defined by the way it was raised and treated. However, some dog breeds are known for being the most peaceful and friendly companions. Here’s a list of the most caring and gentle dog breeds.


Labrador retriever on bed inside room

Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are well-regarded for their obedience, loyalty, and sweet disposition. They are also fast learners, so they make the best assistance, search, and rescue dogs. However, they don’t make good guard dogs. They were initially bred to retrieve game birds, and now retrievers are two of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers have easy-going personalities, sweet temperaments, and affectionate nature, but Golden Retrievers are known to be more amiable, while Labrador Retrievers are more agreeable. Both breeds are very social, loving, and amazing around children.

Even though retrievers are generally very friendly, they can still become hostile if bred and raised irresponsibly. Therefore, it’s recommended to spay or neuter retrievers early in life to minimize unwanted traits. Also, remember that these dogs require a lot of exercise since they are prone to knee issues. Additionally, they need to socialize regularly.

Basset Hound

Despite their sad look, Basset Hounds are very playful and cheerful dogs. They make perfect companions for seniors, children, and people with limited mobility because of their cute short legs, droopy eyes, and pleasant temperaments. Basset Hounds were initially bred as hunt dogs in France and Great Britain, but they get along with other pets just fine. They can easily adapt to new environments, which makes them a perfect choice for people who live in apartments or move frequently.

These dogs can be difficult to train, and they usually have a poor recall, so it’s best not to leave them off leash without supervision. These dogs can be quite vocal, too, and they don’t do well in environments with ambient noise. Their unusual ear shape makes them more predisposed to ear infections, so you need to ensure proper care.

Bichon Frise

white poodle puppy on brown textile

These sweet marshmallow-looking dogs are a non-sporty breed of toy dogs. Their small size and fluffy coats make them look so innocent and lovable. Bichon Frises are very well-behaved and love cuddling, which makes them a perfect match for tactile people. They can be trained if you start at a young age. These dogs are excellent with children, and you actually need to worry more about your children hurting the dog as this breed is very delicate.

Their coat, which makes them a lot like puddles, requires regular grooming. They are also prone to tear-staining below the eyes and skin allergies. It’s crucial to find a responsible breeder if you want to adopt a Bichon Frise dog, as these dogs can often suffer from inherited liver issues, cataracts, and seizures.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Saint Bernard dog across pine trees during daytime

Despite their gigantic size, Bernese Mountain Dogs or Berner Sennenhunds are very amiable, calm, and friendly with strangers. These dogs were originally bred in Switzerland to herd cattle, and they are known for being easily trained. Bernese Mountain Dogs are very sweet and loyal, especially with kids, and they make excellent watchdogs. They are generally very tolerant, and it’s relatively hard to make them lose their composure. However, they can be vocal, and they require a substantial amount of exercise and open space because of their large size. These dogs are an excellent choice for families who live in the suburbs and have a yard or park near their homes. This breed is probably everyone’s number one choice when it comes to non-aggressive dogs.

However, Bernese Mountain Dogs are predisposed to certain illnesses such as joint issues and cancer, so it’s crucial to keep their weight at a healthy level.


These dogs are also called ‘gentle giants’ because of their massive size, which may be intimidating to some people, but they are incredibly sweet, good-tempered creatures that are also great with children. That’s why they are also sometimes called “nanny dogs”. Newfoundland dogs originated from Canada and are known for their bravery and excellence in saving lives during rescue operations.

As most large breed dogs, Newfoundlands require a large amount of exercise and need ample living space.

Shih Tzu

The name itself means “little lion,” but it does not describe the dog’s personality and temperament. They are very comfortable to live with, can be cheerful and calm at the same time. Shih Tzus are lap dogs, but they can be trained well for agility competitions. They behave very well with strangers and get along with children too.

Shih Tzus’ small size makes them suitable for owners who live in apartments, as they don’t need much outdoor space. They are great companions for first-time pet owners. Shih Tzus require regular maintenance, as they are prone to certain eye and dental conditions.


white and brown short coated dog

These dogs are very sensitive and good-natured, and they feel more comfortable living in a calm environment. They are very peaceful, which helps them get along with people and kids. Brittany dogs are fast learners, and they quickly form strong bonds with their owners.
To prevent this dog from becoming shy, it’s necessary to provide it with enough socialization, especially at a young age.

Brittanys are pretty active and require a decent amount of exercise. They tend to get bored or anxious if they lack attention, and they don’t react well to harsh words or punishment. This breed is not particularly good with smaller pets and birds. But on the bright side, Brittanys are less prone to many age-related illnesses, unlike other breeds.


This dog’s unique coat is what makes them noticeable among other breeds. Bergamascos are very smart and calm dogs, but at the same time, they are alert and observant. They make excellent watchdogs as well as sweet companions for you and your family.

However, you can’t keep these dogs in apartments since they were bred to herd sheep. They require a lot of exercise but otherwise, they are extraordinary and sweet companions.


black and tan beagle sitting on sand

Beagles were originally bred in England as hunting dogs, therefore, they are easily excited by different smells and sounds. But they are known to be very caring and gentle, especially towards children. They are also very easy to maintain. Beagles are very outgoing, even with strangers. Their small size and cute appearance make them a perfect companion to any family. However, it’s best to supervise children when they play with Beagles since they generally don’t like sharing their toys.

Beagles are also prone to experiencing separation anxiety if they lack attention. Because these pets eagerly react to anything new, they can be very loud, so it’s better not to get one if you live in a lively neighborhood.

short-coated white dog close-up photography


These dogs that originated in Cuba are rapidly becoming popular and not without reason. They have a life expectancy of 14-16 years, and they make excellent watchdogs. But they are not aggressive towards strangers. On the contrary, these dogs are usually very sociable and friendly.

Havanese dogs don’t like scolding and can be prone to obesity, so you need to closely monitor their diet to prevent weight gain. In addition, their curly coats require regular grooming. It’s also advisable to check if the dog you’re planning to get has any inherited conditions since this breed is prone to different heart and eye disorders and hip issues.

brown poodle on white bed


Poodles are very intelligent, easily trained, and cheerful dogs with a gentle demeanor. There are three formal Poodle breeds: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle. The breed originated in France or Germany in the 15th century, now these dogs are among the most recommended breeds for families with children or seniors.

Poodles are very outgoing and can get anxious if left alone. In addition, their coats need regular grooming. These dogs also need to get a good amount of exercise, not to mention that they are very good at different sports.


white and brown bulldog on green grass during daytime

Despite their stocky build and grumpy face, these dogs are very friendly, patient, and loving companions. Their playful approach can sometimes be mistaken for aggression, but it’s nothing more than typical bulldog behavior. They easily bond with children and are very protective.

Bulldogs don’t need a lot of exercise, and they require regular grooming to keep their skin healthy.

Portuguese Water Dog

Even though Portuguese Water Dogs are quite a rare breed, these dogs are very loving, intelligent, and social. They make excellent service dogs, but they also require a lot of mental and physical activity. These dogs are very active, energetic, and alert, which means they can be too active for families with children. They easily get bored and don’t like being alone for a long time.

white brown and black rough collie


Collies are famous for being very protective and getting along well with kids and other pets. They were bred as herd dogs and now are easily trained to perform any service job, including rescue, therapy, search, and guiding.

They have to be socialized from an early age to prevent them from being shy when they grow up. Keep in mind that Collies’ gorgeous coats require a lot of attention. It’s also best to avoid exercising these pets in hot weather.


adult fawn dog on gray pet bed

Their friendly, charming personality and great behavior around children gave Pugs a huge boost of popularity recently. Even though Pugs easily form strong bonds with owners, making them very protective, they never express any aggression. These dogs also like to follow their owners around, and this breed is very easy to train. Pugs don’t need a lot of exercise, so they are perfect for people who live in apartments.

This breed is genetically predisposed to obesity, and Pugs can also suffer from different eye conditions and respiratory issues. These dogs also don’t handle anesthesia well.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

brown dog on snow

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are well-behaved, loving, and sweet dogs that are great children and other pets. They are charming and sociable and need a lot of human interaction and attention. Even though they are hunters by nature, they don’t require much exercise and often spend their days napping.

This breed is prone to different vision disorders as well as heart failure and mitral valve disease, so it’s important to get Cavalier King Charles Spaniels from responsible breeders.

Irish Setter

brown and white long haired small dog on brown dirt

This breed is known for being energetic, sweet, and playful. Irish Setters are particularly good for families with active children since they are full of energy and are ready to play all the time.

They tend to be shy if they lack socialization. Their coats and ears require a lot of maintenance as well. In addition, Irish Setters are predisposed to certain eye conditions, hyp dysplasia, and bloating.


dog standing on grassy field

The breed got this name because of the dogs’ ear shape, which has that fluttery appearance. These dogs are quite ambitious and can easily perform different tricks. They are very sweet and gentle, outgoing, and well-behaved around children. They can easily get injured, so parents with small children should teach their kids to be careful when playing with this dog.

These dogs have gorgeous coats that require extra care. In addition, Papillons are prone to eye, heart, and knee issues, which make regular appointments with a vet necessary.


black and gray dog on brown sands

Greyhounds’ athletic physical appearance doesn’t match their laid-back, peaceful personality. Greyhounds behave well in quiet environments, and they rarely bark. However, they like to chase cats and can be hostile with strangers if they weren’t appropriately socialized from an early age. In addition, they tend to shed a lot, so their coats require daily brushing.


What dog breed is least likely to bite?

Statistically speaking, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are least likely to bite.

What is the friendliest dog ever?

The friendliest dog breeds are Golden Retrievers, Havanese, Pugs, Dachshunds, Beagles, Poodles, Bichon Frise.

What is the least aggressive small dog?

Beagles are one of the least aggressive small dog breeds.

What is the calmest breed of dogs?

Golden Retrievers, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Greyhounds, Great Pyrenees, Bichon Frises, Scottish Deerhounds are all very calm dog breeds.

What dog cuddles the most?

Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, Collies, American Pit Bull Terriers, Golden Retrievers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are among the cuddliest dogs.