Dogs are man’s best friend primarily because of how wonderfully loyal they are. It makes them different to cats, to horses or anything else we’ve domesticated.

They work, they love, they stay. And that’s why our dogs have a treasured place in our hearts — but what breeds are the most loyal?

It’s a great question, huh?

We polled 1,083 people to rate how loyal they thought their dogs were, and these were our results!

1- German Shepherds

Tens! Tens across the board! German shepherds scored as our highest, and most loyal dog.

German Shepherds stand as paragons of loyalty, their intelligence and versatility setting them apart as one of the most esteemed dog breeds. Renowned for their unwavering commitment, these noble protectors frequently find themselves in crucial roles as police and military dogs in the United States. Their dedication to safeguarding their human counterparts is unparalleled, making them indispensable allies in ensuring public safety. This remarkable breed’s innate ability to adapt to various tasks and environments is a testament to their loyalty, earning them the trust of handlers and the admiration of the community.

Breeds Behind the Military's Canine Forces (2)
German Shepherds’ military legacy: intelligence, versatility, loyalty; roles and popularity explored.

The American Kennel Club recognizes the German Shepherd not only for their loyalty but also for their exceptional qualities as service dogs. Whether deployed in search and rescue missions or providing assistance to individuals with disabilities, German Shepherds exemplify their loyalty by becoming indispensable companions. Additionally, their role as police dogs underscores their capability to thrive in high-pressure situations, showcasing a loyalty that goes beyond mere obedience. This breed’s popularity is well-founded, and it is not without good reason that they are considered a preferred choice for these demanding roles.

For German Shepherds, loyalty is not just a trait—it’s a way of life. They thrive on plenty of exercise, a trait that aligns perfectly with their origins as pack animals. Whether engaging in intense police training or serving as a rescue dog in challenging terrains, German Shepherds not only meet but exceed the expectations placed upon them. This breed’s loyalty shines brightest when paired with their versatility, making them not just police dogs but also great companions in various walks of life. Their popularity is a testament to their prowess, as they continue to be a popular breed for individuals and families seeking a canine companion with a deep sense of loyalty and purpose.

Service dog breed Labrador 2
A really common Service dog breed Labrador

2- Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers, in particular, stand out as one of the most loyal dog breeds – as well as a common service dog breed. Their intelligence and eagerness to please contribute to their reputation as steadfast companions. With a knack for understanding human emotions, Labradors forge strong bonds with their owners, creating an unbreakable connection that withstands the test of time. In various settings, from family homes to therapy sessions, Labrador Retrievers prove that loyalty is not just a trait but a defining characteristic.

For families with older children, Labrador Retrievers are a perfect fit. These big dogs effortlessly adapt to the playful energy of older children, becoming loyal playmates and guardians. Their affectionate nature extends beyond age, making them great pets for households with young children as well. The perceived threat of having a large dog is dispelled by their friendly demeanor, turning these breeds into not only loyal protectors but also affectionate companions.

In addition to their role as family pets, these retrievers excel as hunting dogs, showcasing their versatility and loyalty in various domains. Their ability to provide comfort and companionship in therapy settings further solidifies their status as some of the most loyal breeds. As older children engage in playful activities and young children find comfort in their gentle presence, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers prove time and again that they are not just big dogs but loyal, affectionate, and perfect fits for a wide range of households.

. Whilst neutering doesn't affect behaviour, neutering may affect your boys roaming to find females.

3 – Doberman Pinscher

I was a little surprised to see these sleek, playful devils so high, but it makes sense!

Dobermans are known for being super loyal dogs, and there’s a bunch of cool reasons why. First up is their historical background. Back in the day, Dobermans were bred to be protectors and personal guards. They learned to be super attentive to their owners, and this instinct to protect their family has stuck around.

One big thing that sets Dobermans apart is their incredible intelligence. They’re one of the smartest dog breeds out there. With their intelligence comes a deep understanding of who their family is and an instinct to be loyal to their pack. They’re quick learners too, picking up commands and routines in no time, which boosts their bond with their owners.

Dobermans also have an intense drive and love for working. They’re happiest when given tasks to complete and a job to do. This job could be as simple as learning new tricks, fetching the paper, or more complex like agility training. This dedicated work ethic ties them ever closer to their owners, further fortifying their loyalty.

Despite their tough-guy image, Dobermans are pretty emotional dogs. They form deep emotional bonds with their human families. They’re more in tune with their owner’s feelings and emotions than a lot of other breeds, making them generally more responsive and loyal.

Add to that their energetic nature. Dobermans are full of energy and require lots of physical and mental exercise. This energy often translates into spending loads of time with their owners, instinctively boosting their loyalty.

So, between the protector nature, sharp smarts, dedicated work ethic, emotional bonds, and energetic personality, there’s no secret to why Dobermans ranked so highly in our loyal dog survey. They’re not just about the strong and silent typecast, they’re all heart and loyalty for their families.

top agility dogs 3
As a border collie, JJ is supremely well adapted for agility – and it shows in the multiple wins and places he’s getting in competition!

4 – Border Collies

Border Collies are famous for their loyalty, and there are a bunch of reasons for it. First, early training is super important when it comes to creating a strong pet-owner bond. An interesting part of a Border Collie’s nature is their emotional intelligence. They’re really good at bonding with their owners, starting from when they’re just puppies. This strong bond grows throughout their lives and is a key reason they’re so loyal.

What’s even more fascinating is that Border Collies don’t just stick to one person. They tend to bond with the whole family, meaning everyone becomes part of their pack. This includes kids and even other pets at home. Being loyal to the family is in their nature and makes their bond incredibly strong.

Lastly, Border Collies have an inborn need to work and make their owners happy. This natural drive, which comes from their history as working dogs, helps them develop an even stronger connection to their owners.

So, it’s not just one thing that makes Border Collies loyal. It’s a mix of early training, emotional intelligence, connecting with the whole family, and their natural desire to work that makes them the famously loyal pets they are.

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Pit bull Terriers: loyal and loving beyond compare

5 – American Pit Bull Terriers

Pit Bull Terriers, characterized by their friendly nature, play a pivotal role in debunking misconceptions surrounding them as “nanny dogs.” Far from being merely hunting dogs or resembling the imposing stature of breeds like St. Bernards, these terriers showcase an exceptional loyalty that makes them suitable companions for families with children.

They love to play tug, and engage with their families, and they are total cuddle bugs despite that fierce reputation.

Their friendly demeanor fosters close bonds within the family unit, challenging stereotypes and highlighting the undeniable fact that loyalty knows no breed boundaries. Whether it’s the gentle demeanor of pit Bull Terriers or the affable nature of Pit Bull Terriers, both breeds redefine the concept of “nanny dogs” with their unwavering loyalty, proving that it is not size or traditional roles that define a canine companion but the depth of the bonds they forge with their human family. Just remember, these awesome dogs never need punishment to be trained.

Breeds Behind the Military's Canine Forces (4)
Gorgeous and diverse, it’s no shock to see the golden retriever so high in this list.

6 – Golden Retriever

Whilst one respondent said their golden retriever would “sell me for a cube of cheese”, generally these fluffy blond bombshells are highly rated for their loyalty.

Golden Retrievers are another breed that’s super popular for their loyalty, and it all comes back to a few key things. To start with, they’re a breed that’s super eager to please. They adore making their humans happy and will go out of their way to do so. This genuine love of pleasing their owners helps them form a real close bond.

Then there’s the factor of their social nature. Golden Retrievers thrive on companionship. They love being around people, making friends, and being part of the family. That doesn’t just mean the humans in the family either. They also get along great with other animals. They’re notorious for their love and friendliness, creating strong bonds with everyone in the household.

Another huge thing is their intelligence. These canines aren’t just good-looking, they’re also incredibly smart. They can understand and follow instructions pretty well, which again helps in creating a strong bond with their owners.

The fact that Golden Retrievers were bred as hunting companions, means they are used to being attentive to their human companion’s commands and working closely with them. This historical background has translated into modern-day loyalty.

Lastly, their amazingly gentle nature plays a huge role. Golden Retrievers are often noted for their gentle, calm demeanor. They are excellent with kids and even other pets. This unique blend of traits helps establish an incredibly loyal relationship with their families.

So, it’s mainly their eagerness to please, their sociability, their intelligence, their history as hunting companions, and their gentle nature that make Golden Retrievers so fantastically loyal. These absolutely adorable pets aren’t just about the good looks, they’re all about the loyalty too!

15 Dog Breeds That Define Faithful Companionship (2)
Saint Bernards, loyal Swiss Alps rescue companions.

7 – Saint Bernards

Saint Bernards are like big, fluffy loyalty machines and there’s a couple of cool reasons why. First off, Saint Bernards were bred to rescue travelers lost on the Swiss Alps, which means teamwork and trust was a huge part of their job. Even today, they’ve held on to that working instinct, making them focused and attentive to their owners.

Saint Bernards are really intelligent, too. They have a knack for picking up things quickly which helps them build a solid bond with their owners. When they see they’ve done a good job and made you happy, it makes them happy too.

Plus, these gentle giants are incredibly affectionate. They love nothing more than spending time with their humans. Whether it’s cuddling on the sofa, playing in the yard, or just following you around the house, they’re happiest when they’re with their families. This continuous interaction makes the loyalty bond even stronger.

Saint Bernards are super gentle and patient, which makes them fantastic with kids. They understand that they need to be calm and careful around little ones. This careful awareness helps them to bond closely with the whole family, not just the adults.

Saint Bernards also have an inborn protective instinct. Even though they’re usually quiet and calm, if they sense their family is in danger, they won’t hesitate to step in softly. They’ve got their family’s back, which is a true show of loyalty.

So, it’s mostly their history of rescue work, smart minds, affectionate nature, gentle personality, and inborn protective instincts that make Saint Bernards loyal companions. These adorable giants might be the definition of a “gentle giant,” but their loyalty is the real deal!

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Yorkshire Terriers: small in size, big in unwavering loyalty.

6- Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are small but remarkably loyal, and here’s why. Bred as working dogs, their attentiveness and perception help them bond closely with their humans. They’re also really smart and learn super fast, which strengthens their bond.

Yorkies love being with their owners, constantly cuddling and playing, boosting their loyalty even more. Despite their small size, they are protective and possessive of their humans and belongings, which further shows their loyalty.

In short, it’s their working history, intelligence, affection, and protective instincts that make Yorkies such loyal companions. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to their big-hearted loyalty!

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giant schnauzers, hearts as wonderful as their moustache!

7 – Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are incredibly loyal dogs, and there are a few great reasons for this. Initially bred as working dogs, their heritage in herding and guarding has honed their attentiveness and dedication to their human families.

These gentle giants are also highly intelligent, enabling them to pick up cues and commands from their owners quickly. This sharp intuition helps strengthen owner-dog bonds and builds their loyalty.

Giant Schnauzers are known for their affectionate nature, thriving on human companionship. They love spending quality time with their humans – cuddling, playing, or simply being near them – and this continual interaction solidifies their loyalty.

Their protective instinct is another key factor, as they’re ready to protect their families when needed. This instinct, combined with their loving disposition, makes them incredibly loyal.

In a nutshell, it’s this moustachioed, handsome doggo’s working background, intelligence, natural affection, and protective nature that makes them such loyal companions. These large, loving dogs truly live up to their fame.

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Cavaliers: small dogs, big hearts.

8 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, known as Cavaliers, are breed known for their loyalty, with several factors contributing to this trait. Bred as companion dogs for nobility, their history equips them to form strong bonds with their human families.

Being intelligent, Cavaliers quickly learn cues and commands, which aids in strengthening their connection with their owners. Their affectionate and friendly nature, as well as their emotional adaptability, further establishes this bond.

Lastly, Cavaliers prioritize human interaction, indicating their undying loyalty to their people.

In essence, Cavaliers combine their unique history, intelligence, affectionate nature, emotional sensitivity, and preference for human companionship to become incredibly loyal companions.

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Australian Shepherds: intelligent watchdogs; Irish Setters: devoted family companions.

9- Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds, commonly known as Aussies, are highly loyal dogs, and there are multiple factors behind this. Being originally bred to herd livestock, the Aussie’s working roots have instilled in them an innate attentiveness and dedication to their human families.

Australian Shepherds are known for their high intelligence and quick learning capabilities, allowing them to pick up on their owner’s cues and commands swiftly. This mental acuity, combined with their eagerness to please their owners, reinforces their loyalty.Aussies also have an affectionate and friendly nature. They love to spend time with their families, be it playing games, learning new tricks, or just cuddling. This constant interaction helps enhance their loyalty. They’re also another working breed, which means they’re designed to work alongside their human which definitely helps that feeling of loyalty.In a nutshell, it’s the Aussie’s strong working heritage, intelligence, affectionate nature, protective instincts, and love for tasks that exemplify their loyalty. These dogs are not just loyal; they are all-out faithful companions.

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irish setters (also known as red setters) have such wonderful temperaments, and love to have fun too!

10 – Irish Setters

Irish Setters are a top pick if you’re looking for a loyal buddy. Thanks to their past as hunting dogs, they’re hardwired to stick close to their human friends.

These dogs are super smart and eager to please, which means they’ll pick up what you teach them pretty quickly, and this tightens their bond with you.

They’re friendly and affectionate, loving nothing more than spending time with their families. This love for hanging out helps make them even more loyal.

Although they’re generally friendly, they also have a protective side that comes out when their family’s safety is at stake.

Lastly, these dogs love to have a job. Give them something to do – work or play – and this will strengthen your bond and their loyalty even more.

So, it’s their hunting history, smarts, friendliness, protective nature, and active lifestyle that make Irish Setters such loyal pals. They’re about as loyal as their coats are red!

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English Bulldogs: excel in families.

11 – English Bulldog

English Bulldogs rank high on loyalty due to their unique blend of characteristics. Their origins as bull-baiting dogs have instilled them with courage and determination, which they now channel into their devotion to their human families.

These dogs are smart and easygoing, traits that help them bond with their owners and foster super loyalty.

Famous for their love to cuddle, English Bulldogs enjoy spending plenty of relaxing time with their families. This constant company further strengthens their loyalty.

Add their natural protective instinct, always ready to defend their loved ones, and you have an impressively loyal companion.

Overall, English Bulldogs mix courage, intelligence, a laid-back attitude, love for family time, and protective nature to become incredibly loyal pets.

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Shiba Inus: Japanese breed, loyal yet independent companions.

12 – Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are big on loyalty, and here’s why. Bred to hunt in the mountains of Japan, they’ve got that independent spirit but also a strong link to their owners. They’re clever and can pick up cues super fast, which helps them bond tightly with their human friends.

These little fluff balls are quite happy doing their own thing but love being around their families too. All that quality time means they form deep attachments, upping their loyalty game.

Another key point is their protective nature. Even though they’re small, Shibas won’t back down if their family’s in trouble.

In a nutshell, Shiba Inus mix their hunting heritage, intellect, adaptability, love for family hanging-out time, and protective instincts to become super loyal pals. Their fox-like looks and loyalty combo is quite the package!

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13 – Boxers

Boxer dogs score top points in loyalty, and here’s the scoop. Originally bred to hunt, these dogs come with a sturdy and fearless spirit, but when it comes to their families, they’re all heart!

Boxers are super smart, which makes them great at understanding their owners’ cues. This cleverness and their need to please mean they form tight bonds with their human friends.

Boxers are social butterflies, loving nothing more than hanging out with their families. It’s this love for family time that helps drive their loyalty to new levels.

And when it comes to being protective, Boxers stand tall. They won’t hesitate to step in if their loved ones are in danger, highlighting their loyalty big time.

In short, the loyalty of Boxer dogs springs from their awesome combo of a hunting past, intelligence, sociability, and protective matters. They’re loyal companions inside goofy and playful bodies!

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Boxers: energetic protectors, heartwarming family companions with boundless loyalty.

14- Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, are champs when it comes to loyalty. These dogs were originally bred to herd livestock in Scotland’s Shetland Isles, and that heritage means they’re super in tune with their owners.

Shelties are really clever dogs with an amazing ability to understand their owners’ needs. This smarts and their inherent work ethic help build strong bonds with their human buddies.

These furry pals are also big fans of family time. The more they hang out with their families, the deeper their loyalty runs.

Don’t let their small size fool you, Shelties are fiercely protective. When it comes to the safety of their loved ones, they won’t back down, showcasing their loyalty like bosses.

So, Shelties wrap up their herding history, intelligence, family-loving nature, and protective instinct into a pint-sized package of loyal goodness. Their beautiful looks are just the icing on the cake!

Orange and White Dog Breeds (15)
Smart Shelties, herding with loyalty, excel in obedience and agility.

15- Dachshund: Small Size, Big Loyalty

Dachshunds are royalty in the loyalty department, and here’s the lowdown on why. Bred as hunting dogs, their spirit and courage also apply to forging close relationships with their owners.

These little hot dog-shaped pups may be small, but their brains are big on smarts. Being clever and intuitive helps them connect deeply with their human besties.

Dachshunds love being with their families, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or joining them on adventures. The more time they spend together, the stronger their loyalty bond gets.

These tiny warriors may be small in stature, but they’ve got the heart of a lion. When it comes to protecting their loved ones, Dachshunds don’t shy away, proving their loyalty whey they fearlessly face any perceived threat.

In a nutshell, Dachshunds ace loyalty with their hunting heritage, clever minds, family-loving ways, and protective nature all wrapped up in that adorable, elongated package!

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Dachshunds: small size, big loyalty; spunky, playful, and protective companions.

Loyal companions & best friends

15 wonderful, loyal dogs – did your dog make the list? Or maybe you’re looking at a new companion? Well this is a great start for you and your future dog’s relationship! Remember to do loads of research.

If you need a wonderful kick start to your dog’s training? Go grab the puppy bundle!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a professional, qualified, and multi-award winning trainer is the founder of rebarkable. She has always believed animals deserve kindness and champions force free methods. Believing that dog guardians will all choose the kindest options if proper information is provided, she aims to help all dog guardians who need it and make dog training as accessible as possible

Ali lives win Maryland, US with her husband and her three dogs.

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