The 12 Most Loyal Dog Breeds & How to Pick the Right One for You

Want to add a new pup to the family? Looking for the most loyal dog breed? And which breed is the best fit for you?

Humans and dogs share a special bond that has evolved and grown over the centuries. We now treat dogs like they are our best friends, babies, and a special part of the family. One quality that helps us feel so close to our pups is their loyalty to us. We can’t help but instinctively return the favor.

What Makes a Dog Loyal?

What is it about specific dog breeds that make them so loyal? Every breed is uniquely different. And honestly, every individual dog is too. But there are definitely some common threads you can expect from certain breeds.

As we look at twelve of the most loyal dog breeds, the interesting part is that they don’t all possess one same characteristic that defines them as loyal. But instead, it seems like various combinations of certain traits help them fit in this loyalty category.

Some dogs are more affectionate, and they want to sit by your side and snuggle with you all day long. Other dogs are more playful and friendly—they want your attention, and they’ll give you plenty of theirs. And yet other dogs have a strong sense of duty to be a protective watchdog. So is it their affection, playfulness, friendliness, protectiveness… or some combination of all of these?

A large part of the loyalty rankings comes from how each of us perceives loyalty. And what is most important to us in a relationship. So let’s jump in and see which dogs made the cut of being the top loyal dog breeds for you.

Most Loyal Dog Breeds - Local Pet Care

Top 12 of the Most Loyal Dog Breeds in Order:

By combining the research of breed personality traits, many reviews, and numerous top loyalty dog breed rankings… these are the top 12 most loyal dog breeds we have found. And with their breed name comes the three words that the American Kennel Club uses to describe each breed.

  1. German Shepherd – Smart, confident, courageous
  2. Labrador Retriever – Friendly, active, outgoing
  3. Akita – Dignified, courageous, profoundly loyal
  4. Golden Retriever – Intelligent, friendly, devoted
  5. Beagle – Merry, friendly, curious
  6. Boxer – Fun-loving, bright, active
  7. Rottweiler – Loyal, loving, confident guardian
  8. Great Pyrenees – Calm, patient, smart
  9. Collie – Graceful, devoted, proud
  10. Chihuahua – Graceful, charming, sassy
  11. Dachshund – Spunky, curious, friendly
  12. Saint Bernard – Inquisitive, playful, charming

But how do you know which of the most loyal dog breeds is the best fit for you? Don’t worry—we’re here to help! We’ve decided to categorize some of the most desirable dog qualities and show you which breeds are at the top of each category.

If you don’t see a particular breed listed in that category, it’s because they only ranked a 3 out of 5 on that specific scale—according to the American Kennel Club’s description of each breed. And if a particular breed of dog ranked lower than a 3, we made sure to let you know.

Loyal Dog Breeds - Golden Retriever

Most Affectionate Loyal Dog Breeds

I think we can all agree that one of the essential qualities in a loyal dog breed is their affection toward us. There are no dog breeds on our list that ranked lower than a 3 out of 5 for being affectionate with their owners. So no matter which breed you pick, they will all act lovingly toward you. It’s just that these dog breeds listed below will be the most lovey-dovey… for those who are looking for that quality in their future dog.

  • German Shepherd: 5 out of 5
  • Labrador Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Golden Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Rottweiler: 5 out of 5
  • Great Pyrenees: 5 out of 5
  • Dachshund: 5 out of 5
  • Saint Bernard: 5 out of 5
  • Boxer: 4 out of 5
  • Collie: 4 out of 5
  • Chihuahua: 4 out of 5

The Best Loyal Dog Breeds for Families with Kids

Many people who have kids want to make sure they adopt a dog that is naturally going to like being around children, playing with them, being gentle, and staying calm around them. It’s definitely important to check out a dog’s breed description before bringing them into your home with kids.

And keep in mind that even if a dog’s breed is good with children, every dog is different and may have had traumatic experiences in the past with kids.

That being said… several of the dogs on this list are known for being a 5 out of 5 on the “good with children” scale, and all the rest are a 3 out of 5—except for one breed.

The only breed on this list to watch out for—if you have kids—is the Chihuahua. Believe it or not... Chihuahuas actually rank at 1 out of 5 on being “good with children.” And are therefore not recommended in a house with kids.

But here are top dog breeds for being good with children from our most loyal dog breed list:

  • German Shepherd: 5 out of 5
  • Labrador Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Golden Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Beagle: 5 out of 5
  • Boxer: 5 out of 5
  • Collie: 5 out of 5
  • Saint Bernard: 5 out of 5
Loyal Dog Breeds - German Shepard

The Best Loyal Dog Breeds for Families with Dogs

If you already have another pup in the family, it’s crucial to make sure your new dog will get along well with your current dog. And please remember—as with children—any dog could have been traumatized by other dogs in the past.

But as far as breeding goes… Three breeds on our most loyal list rank 5 out of 5 for being good with other dogs, and one ranks at 4 out of 5. Seven of the breeds are a medium level of getting along with other dogs—ranking at 3 out of 5. But one dog only ranks at 1 out of 5.

Akitas are actually not recommended to live with other dogs. This dog is fine with children, and is affectionate with their owners. But they don’t play well with other pups. So it’s best only to adopt this breed if they will be the only dog in the house.

  • Labrador Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Golden Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Beagle: 5 out of 5
  • Dachshund: 4 out of 5

Loyal Dog Breeds that Make the Best Watchdogs

Maybe you’re someone who highly values a protective dog. And being loyal means your dog is a good watchdog, and they have your back. Well… you’re in luck! Eight of the dogs on the most loyal dog breed list rank either 4 or 5 out of 5 for being good watchdogs and having a protective nature.

All the rest of our dogs on the list rank at a 3 out of 5, except for the Beagle. Beagles are affectionate, good with other dogs, and are very active. But one thing Beagles are not, is a good watchdog. So if this is something that’s important to you and your family, check out one of the best watchdogs from the most loyal breeds listed below.

  • German Shepherd: 5 out of 5
  • Akita: 5 out of 5
  • Rottweiler: 5 out of 5
  • Great Pyrenees: 5 out of 5
  • Saint Bernard: 5 out of 5
  • Boxer: 4 out of 5
  • Chihuahua: 4 out of 5
  • Dachshund: 4 out of 5

The Best Loyal Dog Breeds for Active People

If you lead an active lifestyle and want your loyal pup to do the same, check out one of the breeds below. These canines all rank 4 or 5 out of 5 for energy level. Not only do they want to be active, but they need to be active.

  • German Shepherd: 5 out of 5
  • Labrador Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Akita: 4 out of 5
  • Beagle: 4 out of 5
  • Boxer: 4 out of 5
  • Chihuahua: 4 out of 5

The Best Loyal Dog Breeds for a Laid Back Lifestyle

If you’re the type who likes to lay back, relax, and not have to worry about “exercising” your dogs… the top loyal dog breeds may not be the best for you. Although you can adopt one of the dog breeds below that are a little less high-energy, all of these breeds rank 3 out of 5 on the energy level scale.

So just remember—while these dogs will be more chill than the ones in the above category, they will still need plenty of walks and playtime to stay healthy and happy.

  • Golden Retriever: 3 out of 5
  • Rottweiler: 3 out of 5
  • Great Pyrenees: 3 out of 5
  • Collie: 3 out of 5
  • Dachshund: 3 out of 5
  • Saint Bernard: 3 out of 5
Loyal Dog Breeds - Chihuahua

The Best Loyal Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Out of all the most loyal dog breeds, there are only three that are small breeds—the rest are considered large dog breeds. And not to say that you couldn’t own a larger breed in an apartment—if you gave them plenty of outdoor time and exercise. But it’s definitely easiest to own a small dog when you live in a smaller space without a yard.

  • Chihuahua: 5-8 inches tall
  • Dachshund: 5-9 inches tall
  • Beagle: 13-15 inches tall

Easiest to Train Loyal Dog Breeds

Even though all of these breeds are very loyal in their own way, some are naturally easier to train than others. It’s not that the other breeds don’t want to listen, or don’t respect you. It’s just that certain breeds love to learn tricks, obey commands, and live to serve. They were born to train.

  • German Shepherd: 5 out of 5
  • Labrador Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Golden Retriever: 5 out of 5
  • Rottweiler: 5 out of 5
  • Boxer: 4 out of 5
  • Collie: 4 out of 5
  • Dachshund: 4 out of 5

How to Adopt a Loyal Dog Breed

Now that you know so much about these different breeds, are you ready to bring one home? If you’re looking for safe, reputable breeders for a specific purebred dog, you can actually search through the AKC Marketplace for Puppies.

Or, if you’re ready to adopt a sweet pup from a humane society or shelter, check out PetFinder.com. There are tons of loving, loyal, wonderful dogs—just waiting at shelters, ready to be adopted into caring, dog-loving families! You can even search for the breed, gender, and age you’re looking for—all in or near your town.

For more articles about helpful pet-parenting tips, or fun doggy outings, check out the Blog at LocalPetCare.com.

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