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You know the type. They're happy. They love to greet people. And their smiling eyes and wagging tails always bring attention their way. Why wouldn't you love them back?
Certain breeds are famed for their sociable dispositions — we’re going to meet some of them below — but personality varies, so don’t assume that every member of a certain breed will be a good-time Charlie. Early socialization, effective training, and continuing opportunities to interact with people in many different situations and places all contribute to the development of a dog who is genuinely outgoing and approachable.
Here are our top 10 picks for personality-plus canines:
Sam Clark, Animal Photography
One of the world’s best-known Beagles, 2008 Westminster winner Uno, traveled the country with his handler to promote pet therapy and did meet-and-greets with aplomb. The Beagle is among the top 10 most popular breeds for good reason: He has a bigger-than-life personality and a merry nature that make him a warm and cheerful companion.
Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography
The Bichon is a sunny-natured wag who makes friends wherever he goes. Wonderfully affectionate, he can spread love and joy to everyone he meets. Few people are immune to his clownish charm. He has a cheerful attitude toward life and can be a happy and curious companion for adults and older children.
Robin Burkett, Animal Photography
Don’t let his scowling face frighten you away. The Bulldog is a friendly, easygoing people-pleaser who likes nothing better than spending time with you, whether that means roughhousing with the kids or lounging on the sofa watching television. Families with young children will find him to be patient and mellow, even with clumsy toddlers.
Loving people is undoubtedly embedded in the Cavalier’s genetic code. The little spaniels are attracted to people the way strawberry jam is to peanut butter. If a Cavalier sees an empty lap, he is likely to jump into it, whether he knows the person or not. And a Cavalier who sees a stranger on the street may just veer in that person’s direction, anxious to make a new friend. His motto? Love the one you’re with.
Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography
Immortalized in the books of Albert Payson Terhune — Lad: A Dog — and Eric Knight, the author of Lassie, as well as in film and on television, this breed has a well-deserved reputation for bravery, brains and an uncanny understanding of people. The gregarious Collie is a sweet-natured dog whose greatest joy is caring for people. A Collie is a friend who always makes you feel loved and who welcomes other people into his circle of affection as well.
Nick Ridley, Animal Photography
Nicknamed the “Peter Pan” of dogs, the Flat-Coat has a happy and carefree personality. He always wants to be in the middle of things, and the more people play with him the better, as far as he’s concerned. On the rare occasions when he’s not jumping, running or swimming, the Flat-Coat wants to be as close to his loved ones as possible.
Britta Jaschinski, Animal Photography
This is a delightful and lively dog who loves attention — the more the better. His best friend is always the person he’s with at that moment. The Frenchie has a sense of humor and loves to make people laugh. On the downside, he’s not always fond of young children or other dogs, and he can become a tyrant if left to go his own way.
Joyful and boisterous, the Irish Setter loves being the center of attention. He is an affectionate, if rambunctious, family member who loves being with his people, especially if they are doing something active. If you have a great sense of humor and can match his boundless energy, you will enjoy living with this mischievous dog.
Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography
The Maltese assumes that everyone he meets is a friend. Highly people-oriented, he loves attention and learns tricks easily, the better to enchant you with, and his eyes sparkle with just a little bit of badness as he contemplates the best way to inveigle his way into your lap.
Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography
Don’t let his frowny face mislead you. The extroverted and charming Pug is crazy about people — kids and adults alike. Completely focused on humans, Pugs will follow family members from room to room. Don't be surprised if they are equally happy to make friends with complete strangers.
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