As the 19th-century American humorist Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only creature on earth who loves you more than you love yourself”—and nothing could be more accurate. Dogs didn’t get the title of “man’s best friend” by being anything but boundlessly dependable companions. They could even teach us a thing or two about how unconditional love works.
Each dog spends their life dedicating themselves faithfully to their families without a nod of hesitation. They protect and adore us, even when we don’t deserve it. Some breeds are more inclined to show their commitment over others. So, which ones make it into the top 10 for being the most loyal of all?
Here at the number one slot, we have the powerful and vigilant Akita. They imprint on an owner for the long haul. There is nothing more important to this breed than their family, and they aren’t afraid to let anyone know it.
They have a solid reputation for not caring much for strangers. They can be aggressive and territorial when others come around, even if they have met them before. Because of their stubborn, suspicious traits, they will likely need separation from visitors.
While it can be hard to get your curly-tailed furball accustomed to newcomers, you’ll never have to worry about a threat. Akita’s are always on high alert, ready to defend their hearth and home. They will take excellent care of you, devoting all they have. When it comes to a steadfast heart of gold, they win the prize.
This little patchy dog is a cheerful ball of love. Known to be extremely friendly, the Beagle will do anything to please. They are exceptionally good with kids, making them wonderful childhood friends. They also fare very well with other pets and unfamiliar people.
They may not be the best guardians. While they tend to bark a lot, they don’t attack by any stretch of the imagination. So, protecting the household may not be their strong suit.
They’re hunting dogs by design, so it’s already in their blood to listen to commands. But it goes even deeper than that. The Beagle is a warm, caring breed that will be there for you when push comes to shove.
3. Brittany Spaniel
Brittany Spaniels are very high energy, willing to run and play at any given time. They are pointer dogs bred for bird hunting, so they are fast on their feet. They require moderate exercise and daily walks.
While they have zeal and enthusiasm outside, they tend to be very calm and relaxed indoors. Brittanys are inherently sensitive and soft, wanting your support always. This can lead to neediness or separation anxiety because they just want to be near you.
Brittanys adore their owners and are very eager to please. They are gentle and sweet with children but can be quite nervous if they are around people who are too boisterous. Overall, they make intensely trustworthy companions and peppy playmates.
4. Doberman Pinscher
Dobermans may look fiercely intimidating. They are large and muscular with sharp features that will make anyone stand down quickly if confronted. They are guard dogs, so their appearance serves them well.
Aside from their unapproachable exterior, they are usually giant darlings to family members. Dobermans are so exceedingly loyal; however, that they may only bond to one person. They will be forever ardent and always at your side.
That doesn’t mean they won’t be kind to other people or children. If trained properly, these dogs will be very tolerant of others. However, because of their intensity, it’s imperative to get a handle on any early behavioral concerns.
5. German Shepherd
Shepherds are widely renowned for being intensely loyal and obedient. Sometimes aloof, these highly intelligent dogs are terrifically intuitive. They are quick to pick up on tricks and training, performing with precision and efficiency.
There is a reason they do so well with K9 work. Their keenness and attentiveness help them serve as great protectors, acting fast and competently. They make fantastic watchdogs and will go great lengths to keep their families safe.
Shepherds will be nothing short of faithful their whole life through. They are excellent family pets. Training can even help them focus on specific individuals, acting as a therapy animal to a child or adult with a disability.
6. Irish Wolfhound
At first glance, these dogs may remind you of Falkor on The Never-Ending Story. They are magically massive and shaggy, seemingly too big to be real. Even though they are huge, they are the definition of a gentle giant.
In addition to their large size, they are also slow to act. Even though they can run at astonishing speeds, they are pretty lazy and laid back otherwise. While they may knock down small children due to their enormous mass, they are very loving toward them.
Passive, calm, and nurturing, this dog is an exceptionally docile animal. While it is unfortunate that they only have lifespans between 6-8 years, they are worth each second you can spend with them. They will be your trusty pal, always by your side –if they can fit, that is!
This little hotdog-shaped dog is one of great allegiance. They are spunky, finicky, and even somewhat of a spitfire when something annoys them. They aren’t afraid of larger animals and don’t think twice about defending their territory.
While they may be quick to act, keeping all the big dogs in line, they are incredibly compliant with their owners. They may be another breed on the list who bonds to only one person, but whoever that is, you’re a lucky someone.
While a dachshund may look sweet as pie, they’re grandly independent with a mind of their own. You may have to cater to them or pamper them, but they will pay you back with lots of love and affection.
8. St. Bernard
This massive dog has left an impression on many, thanks to popular films. If you have seen Cujo, you may be quite wary of this breed, but hopefully the movie Beethoven made up for it. This lovable pup is friendly and clumsy, unaware of just how big they are.
These slobbery, tender-hearted giants will bring happiness to almost any home. They are doting and patient with children and generally excellent with other pets. While they are typically welcoming, they can sometimes be aloof with strangers depending on the individual dog.
They may need taught manners, as they sometimes don’t realize how much damage they can do. With appropriate reinforcement, they will be quite lady-like or gentlemanly. One thing is for sure, they have goofy personalities that will win you over in a heartbeat.
9. Great Pyrenees
Another big breed on the list, the Great Pyrenees, stands with the best of them. They are calm and patient, having an almost parental nature about them. They care deeply for their owners and are very protective of young children.
While they are even-keeled and passive, they won’t hesitate to rise to the occasion if someone they love is in trouble. This snowy sweetheart will turn from calm to actionable without thinking twice. They will not tolerate maltreatment or shady behavior.
Though they are generally not hostile unless necessary, you may need to channel them correctly. Because of their size, they will need to listen to commands, not feeling they have too much authority.
10. American Staffordshire Terrier
These poor pooches have gotten quite a bad reputation, thanks to not-so-cool humans. A lot of misinformed people fear this breed, thinking they are dangerous and aggressive dogs. Unfortunately, while people have trained some of them for horrible purposes, the breed itself is an amazing one.
The American Staffordshire Terrier is humorous, with a silly smile and soft heart. They are stubborn and adventurous, always ready to get into shenanigans. When well-socialized, they are terrific with children and won’t dither when it comes to shielding them.
They are easy to train and aim to please. Intelligent and fun-loving, these guys will be your best buddy. Once you get past the negative connotation associated with this breed, they will be one of the most unforgettable dogs you will ever own.
But That’s Not All
Even if your favorite breed didn’t make it into our top 10 list, it’s probably just as delightfully unique and loyal to a fault. Practically any dog, mixed breeds included, is 100% in your corner at any given time. It is an instinct they naturally have, and one we should be forever grateful that they do.
In the words of Gene Hill, “No one can fully understand the meaning of love unless he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection in the flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes.”
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.