Dogs are (hu)man’s best friend, but friendship takes many forms. Some dogs don’t much seem to know, or care, who feeds them and walks them, falling in love with every stranger they meet. But not these breeds. The dogs on this list are loyal to their people, through and through. Here are 16 of the most loyal dog breeds, in no particular order. Note that like any breed roundup, the choices are subjective, and certainly not exhaustive! Many more wonderful dogs could make this list, and we salute them all.
1. Great Pyrenees
Like many herding dogs, the Great Pyrenees is a loyal guardian with a protective instinct. They’re also basically your very own Luck Dragon—perfect for the name Falkor, perhaps? This breed, and the similar Kuvasz, are majestic AF. They’re also calm, smart, and extremely floofy. Both the Great Pyrenees and Kuvasz are great family breeds, as they are very patient. They do require plenty of early training and ongoing exercise and mental stimulation, like their sheep herding brethren.
The Collie is one of the most devoted breeds. Lassie was a Collie for a reason! No other breed is as likely to alert the masses when Little Timmy falls down a well. The Shetland Sheepdog (“Sheltie”), also makes the list, as a pint-sized version of the Collie.
The Rottweiler got a bad reputation in movies but these sturdy guardians are some of the sweetest, most loyal family dogs around. They can be reserved with strangers, but love their people. And that’s what you want, right?
4. German Shepherd
It’s not a surprise to see the German Shepherd on this list. German Shepherds are loyal to their pack, and so smart that they are one of the most employable breeds, too! Three cheers for dogs with jobs.
Beagles have also enjoyed a fair amount of movie notoriety, so their reputation for being loyal has already spread. This companionable breed has been many a man’s best friend for centuries. Sure, Snoopy had his own thing going, but in the end, he was very loyal to Charlie Brown.
This dignified dog breed is called “profoundly loyal” by the AKC. These large, puffy dogs of Japanese origin are alert and courageous, but also affectionate and patient with children (though aloof with strangers). They definitely need plenty of early socialization. As puppies, they have a strong resemblance to bear cubs!
7. Labrador Retriever
This list would not be complete without this quintessential family dog. They’re retrievers, after all. They always come back to you! Lab people know that these sociable, hardworking water dogs love their people to the point of wanting to lick their feet at all times.
This fun-loving breed is “an enthusiastic worker” who’d love to do whatever job you give him. Many refer to them as spaniels, but they’re actually closer in personality and breeding to a pointer or setter.
Boxers are very alert, and active, which makes them an excellent watchdog breed. They are wary of strangers, who would be fools to tussle with that loyal, lovable mug.
Though they be small, these little longbodies are very protective of their pack. There are numerous stories about Dachshunds saving their families from house fires, and even bear attacks. Bred to hunt badgers in Germany, they retain their persistent, curious hunting nature, along with plenty of smarts.
11. Golden Retriever
Did you really think we’d make it to #16 without an Air Bud appearance? Let this dog play on your team. You won’t regret it.
12. Yorkshire Terrier
This spunky little breed is one of the smallest, but one of the mightiest. They get very attached to their owners and quickly become skeptical of strangers. One look into those little eyes will assure you that Yorkies are not to be messed with.
13. St. Bernard
If we learned anything from Beethoven (and Beethoven’s 2nd – 5th), it’s that St. Bernards are loving, loyal, family dogs. This is literally the breed that rescues you in the snow from an avalanche and carries whiskey around its neck. YES.
The Bulldog has a reputation for being stubborn, but owners will soon find they’re just stubbornly in love with you. This dignified breed is brave but loving and protective. They know who cleans their wrinkles.
15. American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier aims to please, at any cost. Sadly, this breed is often picked as a fighting dog, because they will do whatever they’re told. Responsible owners will find these dogs to be confident, courageous, and loving, as has been documented by many of their fans, notably in “I’m a Good Dog” by Ken Foster.
Chihuahuas are with you ’til the end. According to legend, they’re the breed that guides you into heaven. And they live for so long it seems they’re determined to see their job through. Chihuahuas become very attached to their one person, causing many Chihuahua owners to cry, “he’s different when it’s just us!”