The 15 Most Playful Dog Breeds

One of the things we love about dogs is their playfulness. But some breeds are generally more playful than others. So, in the spirit of a good time, we combed through our breed profiles to find the dog breeds that tend to be the most fun loving.

It’s important to keep in mind that most of these breeds are not couch potatoes or shrinking violets and, in fact, usually need lots of mental and physical stimulation so they don’t become bored. And you should remember that all dogs are individuals — not all Labs are obsessed with playing fetch, and there are probably even some Portuguese Water Dogs who don’t like water. And, of course, with any of these breeds, a dog's health and age will influence his level of liveliness. So even with these breeds, you should have a veterinarian examine your dog to make sure there are no underlying conditions before initiating any exuberant activities.

And now, here are our top 15 playful dog breeds. Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments below.

Fun-Loving Dog Breeds

English Springer Spaniel playing with a red ball

Anna Pozzi, Animal Photography

English Springer Spaniel

A lively and versatile breed, the English Springer Spaniel generally has plenty of energy and usually enjoys a good play session — especially if it’s with his family. Encourage his playful nature through activities like fetch, hiking, agility, flyball and tracking.

West Highland White Terrier outdoors

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

West Highland White Terrier

The Westie might look like a cute little dog who will spend time in your lap, but this fun-loving terrier is probably way too busy for that. The typically energetic and clever breed lives to dig, hunt and run. Don’t let him get bored, though, or he could become restless and excavate your backyard or bark incessantly at your neighbors.

Labrador Retriever in Water

Tara Gregg, Animal Photography

Labrador Retriever

There are many reasons Labrador Retrievers are so popular, but their typically fun-loving and playful demeanors are certainly part of it. Get creative when it comes to games and activities to try with this breed. Whether you want to go for a run or need a first mate for your next boating trip, the Lab is probably happy to do it.

Papillon chewing a toy

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography


Small, smart and spunky, the Papillon needs to be entertained — or she’ll find a way to amuse herself. Tire out this energetic pup through quality time at the dog park or long walks through the neighborhood. She even generally excels at dog sports (and looks adorable doing it).

Bearded Collie running in a field

Sam Clark, Animal Photography

Bearded Collie

Known for his signature greeting, the “Beardie bounce,” the Bearded Collie is usually a boisterous and exuberant breed who will entertain you with his clownish antics. That being said, families with toddlers might want to look at other breeds; this spirited dog can easily knock over a small child.

Brittany Dog Breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography


Generally smart and energetic, the Brittany is usually happy to do anything you want to do, as long as it’s active. Engage her mind and energy through dog sports, daily walks, hiking, jogging or by playing games like fetch and tug-of-war. But if you want a buddy who will snuggle on the couch with you all day, then this breed is not for you.

Portuguese Water Dog on steps

Robin Burkett, Animal Photography

Portuguese Water Dog

As you may have guessed, the Portuguese Water Dog usually loves to play in the water. You don’t have to have a pool if you own this dog, but if you do, he’ll probably be very appreciative. Porties also tend to love playing with children, but they can sometimes be a little too rambunctious for small kids.

Flat-Coated Retriever dog breed

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Flat-Coated Retriever

Often called the Peter Pan of dogs for his easygoing and cheerful attitude, the Flat-Coated Retriever is a people-pleasing pup who is usually an enthusiastic runner, retriever and swimmer. Just be ready to have sore arms much of the time, because you’ll likely be throwing the ball for your Flat-Coat a lot.

Two Beagles Side View

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography


As a breed who is led by his nose, the Beagle likes to have plenty of opportunity to use his powerful sniffer. That can be as simple as your hiding treats around your house or taking him on long, meandering walks outdoors. Just remember, the Beagle’s nose can lead him to trouble, and if he catches a whiff of something good, he could run away or eat something dangerous.

Standard Schnauzer Dog

Robin Burkett, Animal Photography

Standard Schnauzer

As a member of the Working group, the Schnauzer usually needs a job to do. His work could include greeting visitors, helping you get the mail or playing in the yard — nothing too fancy is required. The typically brainy and lively breed just needs to be doing something or he’ll find a way to occupy himself (most likely at your expense).


Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography


Thanks to his heritage as a coaching dog and circus performer, the spirited Dalmatian usually has plenty of energy to spare. If you are active and love to go on long runs, then this could be the dog for you. But if that’s not your idea of fun, look elsewhere, because the rambunctious breed usually needs daily, vigorous exercise.

Golden Retriever on bed

Leesia Teh, Animal Photography

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever generally loves everyone she meets, but she’ll love you even more if you keep her occupied with fun mental and physical activities. Long walks and hikes, trips to the beach and marathon fetch sessions are just a few ideas. Brain games like food puzzles and learning tricks will also help keep her entertained and happy.

Toy Fox Terrier

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terriers tend to be fun dogs. Fans of the TFT, as he’s called, say he’s the perfect blend of terrier exuberance and lap lover. He’s generally happy to play fetch, but he can also be fond of quality snuggle time. Of course, he’s not a perfect dog, and if left to his own devices he can become bored and destructive.

Australian Shepherd in Agility

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

Australian Shepherd

Typically smart, versatile and energetic, the Australian Shepherd usually needs an active life to be happy. Channel his mental and physical energy into interesting tasks or games like fetch, bringing in the newspaper, helping in the garden, doggie soccer, agility and obedience. Really, if you can think of something for your Aussie to do, he can probably do it.

Berger Picard

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Berger Picard

With his goofy smile, charming personality and boundless energy, the Berger Picard is generally an entertaining and lovable breed that will do anything to get you to laugh. He can be intelligent, but that also means he can get bored easily. Mix up your play and training sessions with different activities so he stays engaged.


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