17 Loyal Dog Breeds That’ll Never Leave Your Side

They take their job as best friend very seriously.

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By Jo Yurcaba, Woman's Day

A 6-year-old named Shane whose dog Belker was dying of cancer once told a veterinarian why he thinks dogs don't live as long as people do. "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life. Like, loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?," Shane said. "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Golden Retriever

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Golden Retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club — and for many good reasons. Not only are they beautiful and intelligent, they're also incredibly loyal, energetic, and playful, making them the ideal family dog. And, hey, that signature Golden Retriever smile doesn't hurt either. 

German Shepherd

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German Shepherds, which are often known as the dogs used by police officers and airport security, are unsurprisingly part of the working dog group. They are very active and intelligent, according to PetMD, and they're protective of their family and their home, making them a great family dog or a dog for active singles or couples.

Great Pyrenees

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The Great Pyrenees is a very big and strong working dog breed known for guarding sheep on farms. Great Pyrenees have laid back personalities and are very affectionate with their families, but they are vigilant guard dogs, according to Vet Street.


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Beagles are adorable hound dogs who are known for being energetic and happy, according to Beagle Pro. They love and are very protective of kids, and they make great family pets. Beagle Pro notes that because Beagles can be pretty hyper, so they should be supervised with children under 8 years old.


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Collies are among the dog breeds that are most well-known for their loyalty thanks to Lassie. Collies are very high-energy, devoted to their families, and they learn very quickly, according to the AKC. They need a lot of exercise, so they make great family pets and will never tire around kids.


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Rottweilers were originally bred for all kinds of tough work: they were used to drive cattle, pull carts, and have also been used by law enforcement and the U.S. military, according to

Rottweilers are known as dedicated guard dogs, but their even tempers also make them great family dogs. Contrary to what many people think Rottweilers are also usually great with kids, though Dogtime notes that, as with any other breed, it depends entirely on how the dog was raised. Rottweilers have a natural instinct to protect their families, so they should be trained from an early age to prevent their protective nature from becoming aggressive.


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Boxers are big, goofy, and affectionate dogs. They are also athletic, patient, and protective, which the American Kennel Club notes has "earned them a reputation as a great dog with children." They are also incredibly courageous and will defend their families no matter what.

St. Bernard

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Saint Bernards earned their reputation as rescue dogs because they were used by monks monks in the Swiss Alps to find and rescue lost travelers, according to Vet Street. Now, the St. Bernard makes a great family guard dog — though anyone considering getting one should be prepared, because they are very, very big.

Yorkshire Terrier

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The American Kennel Club describes the Yorkshire Terrier as "affectionate, sprightly, tomboyish," which is quite the combination. Though they're now known as lapdogs, Yorkies, as their often called, were bred to be "ratters," or dogs that hunted rats in mills and mines, according to the AKC.

Inside this tiny package is a brave, loving companion that the AKC says can even sometimes border on bossy.


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The "wiener dogs," as we known them, were actually bred to hunt badgers, according to Purina. That's not exactly an easy job, and it explains their stubbornness and fierce independence. But inside of that tough shell is a sweet, funny dog that loves spending time with people.

American Staffordshire Terrier

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American Staffordshire Terriers, or Am Staffs for short, are very friendly, alert, and obedient, according to Vet Street. Their reputation as a guard dog is mostly due to their powerful, muscled body, though Vet Street notes that they're so friendly they will make friends with strangers pretty easily. That doesn't mean an Am Staff won't be devoted to you — especially if you give them a "job" to do, like swimming, jogging, or competing in a dog sport like agility.


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Akitas are known in their native Japan for protecting their families and being symbols of a long, healthy life, according to the American Kennel Club. Though they will be silly and loving to their families, the AKC notes that they don't trust strangers and should be well-socialized with people and other dogs from their birth.

Labrador Retriever

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America's favorite breed earned that title thanks to its incredibly friendly nature, patience, and intelligence, according to Labs, which are often used as therapy dogs, are known to be so loyal that they won't leave your side if you're sick, or if you just want to lay around the house for the day. But they're so friendly and loving that notes they won't make the best guard dogs. They're more likely to make friends with an intruder than attack them... but you gotta love them for it!

Doberman Pinscher

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Dobermans are big, muscular dogs that were bred from the start to be protectors, according to the AKC. Though they might look intimidating, Dobermans are actually loving, loyal, and stable dogs, according to Vet Street, "unless you threaten his family."

Dobermans make wonderful family dogs with the right training. Vet Street notes that the breed has only earned a bad reputation due to careless breeders and owners who don't take the time to socialize and train them.


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Chihuahuas are little dogs with a big dog bark. They will act like they have the size and strength of a Doberman when a stranger comes into your house, but that's just because they love their human companions that much. PetMD notes that they're among the most popular toy breeds because they're so devoted to their humans.

English Cocker Spaniel

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English Cocker Spaniels want to be "part of every family activity," according to Hill's Pet. Originally bred to retrieve game, Cocker Spaniels love being around their families as much as possible, and are happy, playful dogs (despite their sometimes droopy faces). Hill's Pet notes that they make "pretty good" watchdogs, but lousy guard dogs just because they're so darn friendly.


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Newfoundlands are huge working dogs: the males grow to be from 130-150 pounds while females are about 100-120 pounds, according to the AKC. So if you're considering this breed, be prepared for a serious couch hog.

Newfies, as they're called, are gentle giants. They are known as patient, "nanny" dogs for kids, in part thanks to Nana, the fictional Newfie that was watching over the kids in Peter Pan, according to They're happiest when they're with their families, and need lots of exercise and training to help satisfy their curiosity and intelligence. If you want to have a giant teddy bear as a dog, though, Dogtime notes that you need to be willing to put up with a lot of drool.


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Pets Magazine: 17 Loyal Dog Breeds That’ll Never Leave Your Side
17 Loyal Dog Breeds That’ll Never Leave Your Side
They take their job as best friend very seriously.
Pets Magazine
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