Dr. Angela Hughs DVM PhD, a veterinary genetics research manager at Wisdom Health, a canine genetics company, broke down some ways dogs give and receive love depending on their breed. But a few ways dogs across breeds show their human families love is by tail wagging, following, licking, leaning on or resting on a lap and playing.
Dogs evolved from the Wolf, so sleeping next to you as they would in a pack or licking (grooming) are common ways of showing their loyalty.
How different dog breeds show love
How different dog breeds show love
Common breeds: Chow Chow (pictured). Akita, Chinese Shar Pei
Many of these kinds of dogs were originally bred to guard people and property. They're often seen as independent and more reserved around strangers, although fiercely loyal to their family. They like their space, so you should let them come to you — let them give you love on their own terms. They'll usually show their love by sitting close to you (but not on you).
Common breeds: Siberian husky (pictured), Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed
These types of dogs were bred to be highly active and social dogs. They get along and work well with other dogs (think: sled dogs). They often show their love by playfully jumping, roughhousing and playing with toys. To show them love, they should get proper exercise and lots of playtime.
Companion dogs were literally bred to be lap dogs, often finding companionship with royalty. They're friendly, intelligent and show their love just by being with you and "kissing." Show them love by petting them while they sit on your lap.
Common breeds: Mastiff (pictured), American Staffordshire Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Rottweiler
These types of dogs are known to be loyal to their families. Although often large, they show love by playfully jumping and "smiling." They enjoy belly rubs and just being near you, like snuggling up with you on your couch or in your bed.
Common breeds: Australian Shepherd (pictured), Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog
These breeds of dogs are very smart. Give them a job to do and they'll show their love through their hard work. They love to keep a group together and will herd most things as well as stick by your side waiting for the next command. Show them love by giving them plenty of play time and a job to do, like playing fetch.
Common Breeds: Golden Retriever (pictured), Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, German Shorthair Pointer, Labrador Retriever, Poodle
These dogs are known to be friendly, happy, active and loyal companions. They were originally bred to work with hunters, and they show their love by helping. This is why many of them make for great therapy or guide dogs. They'll lean into you or put their nose in your lap to show their love. To keep them happy, play retrieving games that provide exercise and cuddle them close.
Common breeds: Chihuahua (pictured), Russell Terrier, Schnauzer, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier
Terriers have a lot of energy and often want to be with their humans, but they can also be stubborn and more reserved around strangers. They'll show their love by playing with you and coming into your space. To show them love, give them some exercise and keep them close.
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Of course, if you have a mixed breed or are unsure of the breed of your dog, you can always use a Wisdom Panel dog DNA test. This can help you better understand your dog, see why they act they do and the types of things they'll appreciate.
Check out all the ways different dog breeds prefer to be loved in the gallery above. But remember, all dogs are unique. Try a few things to see what your dog likes, whether that's belly rubs, playing tug-o-war or going for a long walk.
Best dog breeds for kids
Best dog breeds for kids
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child." What does that wagging tail mean?
"The Golden Retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods," says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They're also stoic when it comes to kids. "While they may not like it, Golden Retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find," he adds.
They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly. "The Labrador Retriever is a reliable family pet," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee." These are the most popular breed dogs in every state.
Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers make excellent family dogs because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass Beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.
Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish Setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish Setters make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don't miss these secrets dog trainers won't tell you.
Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly "bat" ears, French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. The perfect family dog for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces, and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.
Make a Boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Keep your pooch safe all summer long with these 28 warm-weather health tips for dogs.
There's a definite possibility that Cocker Spaniels think they are people. They're gentle, loving, very smart, love being around children, and tend to always put themselves in the middle of the action. They also make great therapy dogs and may be a good fit for an anxious or special needs child. Their beautiful, floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so keeping them clean and groomed is essential.
These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the Bichon Frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they're loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity. These are the dog breeds most compatible with your (or your child's) Zodiac sign.
Rough Collies are known for their majestic, flowing coats, while smooth Collies have shorter coats. Rough or smooth, Collies make great family pets. (However, rough collies require more grooming.) This breed is incredibly intelligent and likes nothing better than to engage in activity with the children who love them. They're fast learners, loyal to their families, and protective. Just ask Lassie.
Have an allergic child? According to Health, Poodles might just be the ticket for you. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Poodles seem to come close, because they appear to produce fewer allergens. They also come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and an abundance of colors. These adorable goofballs are super-smart, easy to train, adapt well to new situations, and love kids. Here's your official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.
An intentional mix of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles are as adorable as their name. A medium-shedder, Labradoodles were originally bred to be even-keeled and empathetic, so they could be trained as guide dogs for visually-impaired people. This breed couldn't be more affectionate, or more adorable. Note that they need lots of exercise and tend to get along great with other dogs.
This Instagram-darling brings with it major cuddle-factor. Their cutie-patooty smiling faces and cozying-up tendencies make Pugs a popular favorite for children who prefer gentle play to roughhousing. These playful pups were bred to be lap dogsand adore being around people. They're clever, quiet, and make great family pets.
Long-haired or short, Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds. They tend to adore children and are very loyal to their families. Chihuahuas love the indoors and are not fond of very cold weather, perhaps because they're thought to have originated in Mexico. They're easy to train and love the lap of the person who loves them best. Watch out for these secret signs that your dog is mad at you.
Chugs are a specific breed comprised of Pug and Chihuahua ancestry. Many have the best characteristics of both popular breeds, making them great pets for children. According to Pet Guide, Chugs are a designer dog with characteristics that vary from liter to liter. Like their forebears, most will make good family dogs. They're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and love to play.
This tiny charmer is the national dog of Cuba. They have exuberant personalities and adore people of all ages. Havanese dogs are very social and outgoing. A loving breed, they also enjoy playing games. They're a toy breed, so not a great fit for rough-and-tumble play, but they're perfect for families who are looking for a silly, outgoing friend for their child. Read on for the 50 secrets your pup won't tell you.
Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers make fantastic pets for older kids. They are sweet beyond belief, very protective, and very trainable. The American Kennel Club calls them mischievous, playful, and charming. Known for their silly, comical antics, and crowd-pleasing behavior, Bull Terriers need lots of exercise and lots of love.