Do you remember a blog post from quite a long time ago about dogs that stick like Velcro? There are quite a lot of reasons that a dog might be more affectionate or even more clingy than other dogs. Those reasons may be the dog’s age, their past, their health, and more. But if you are an extra affectionate person, and you want a dog that will give you back plenty of constant love, there are some breeds that you should look into over others.
Every time I come back here with a new dog park story, I always get a good bit of amusement out of how different all the dogs Janice, Leroy, and I meet are. Some dogs are excitable, some are passionate about exploration, some are on a mission. Some are just lazier than others. Some are just in love with their owners. Every dog has a unique personality.
However, there is some truth in the idea that certain characteristics can be found in certain breeds. Some dogs are always very energetic even at their laziest because the breed was simply meant to be highly active (think Jack Russell Terriers, for example). It’s hard for dogs not to fall true to characteristics that have been bred into them for generations. So when I tell you that you’ll be able to find dogs that are clingier and more affectionate, what I mean is that certain breeds have been genetically selected to simply be lap dogs above all else, and these are great breeds for someone who is highly affectionate.
Some people out there may prefer a dog that is more independent, but if you are the type who wants your dog to hang out with you at all times, you can find a variety of options. In this post, I’ll share nine breeds that make great constant companions for those who want an affectionate, attached buddy.
Dealing with Your Clingy Dog
Before we get to the breeds, though, I wanted to talk about a common issue I see with very affectionate dogs: owners that aren’t aware that the breed they adopted are known for clinging.
So let’s say you’ve adopted one of these highly attached dogs, and now you aren’t sure what to do with your newly acquired shadow. Maybe you weren’t aware, or maybe you hoped that with training your dog would get them to be more independent. Either way, there are some things you can do to make this easier on both of you.
First, you can simply embrace the clinginess and celebrate the fact that your dog always wants to be with you. If you live in a dog-friendly area where your pet is welcome inside establishments, then take your dog with you as much as you can. Train your dog to walk on a leash, and explore the city together. Teach them to enjoy car rides as well. They’ll love being with you as often as they can, and you’ll earn yourself the most loyal friend for life.
But if you prefer a dog who can withstand your work hours without becoming anxious, there are some things you can do to help:
- Teach your dog to follow the command “stay” under all circumstances. This is essential because it redirects a dog’s energy. Instead of becoming anxious about being with you, the dog is now trying to please you by following the command.
- Try desensitization. The goal is to get your dog used to you leaving a room so that they don’t immediately hop up and follow you. With your dog lounging in the same room as you, repeatedly get up and leave, coming right back in. They’ll probably follow the first few times, but if you do it often enough, your dog will likely realize that it’s no big deal, and stay put.
- Give your dog plenty of mental stimulation,so they stay busy. A Kong filled with treats is a great idea or a puzzle board where the treats are hidden within the puzzle game. And be sure you’re giving the dog lots of physical exercise when you are around because it can help tire them out,so they don’t have the energy to be too clingy.
Now let’s talk about those breeds that are great for those of you who want that highly affectionate dog.
(1) Labrador Retriever
The “All American” dog, Labrador Retrievers are hands-down the most popular family pet according to the AKC. There are many great reasons for that fact. These dogs are loyal, smart, fun, and great with kids and other pets. But if you’re looking for an independent dog, the Lab is not it. This dog craves being with his family as much as possible and is prone to anxious behavior when left alone for long periods of time. Their goofy, loyal characters make them perfect for the affectionate owner.
(2) Great Dane
The “Scooby” of dogs, Great Danes are known for being gentle giants that lope, lumber, and generally goof around. They are also known for being incredibly affectionate and a little bit needy. Just like how some small dogs think they are big, Great Danes often suffer from the misunderstanding that they are tiny lap dogs. Getting a Dane means signing up for years of clingy cuddles, great for anyone who wants a big lovebug around.
(3) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Another designer breed intended as a companion, the King Charles Spaniel was a royal favorite for decades. These little dogs are absolutely adorable with their long curly ears and their pretty coloring – and that could be part of why it’s so easy for King Charles Spaniel owners to get just as clingy as the dogs themselves. If you want kisses and snuggles from a dog, this breed is a top contender.
(4) Italian Greyhounds
A great many toy breeds could be considered very clingy, but the spunky Italian Greyhound takes the cake when it comes to affection. These dogs are 100% lap dogs, and aren’t fond of being kicked out of what they’ve decided is their human bed. I’ve known two of these, and both were attached at the hip with their owners. This is a great dog if you want a constant companion to get wrapped up in.
The Affenpinscher was specifically bred as a designer companion dog for rich Victorian ladies, so it’s no surprise to see them on this list. This is a different type of clingy, however. Affenpinschers are good snugglers, but more than that, they are just all-around busybodies. They want to be in your business because they consider themselves the ruler of the roost and must know everything that is happening.
(6) American Pit Bull
While the Pit Bull has earned a bad reputation over the years due to bad people and improper training, these dogs actually used to be known as “nanny dogs” because of how attached they become to children. Pit Bulls are extremely clingy and affectionate with their families, only turning into protectors with strangers. If you want a clingy dog to grow up beside your child, and you’re willing to put in the work to train them, the Pit Bull is an excellent choice.
Chihuahuas are a strange breed, often walking the line between overly affectionate and a little bit mean. The truth is that Chihuahuas have a strong preference for their chosen human, and don’t much care for anyone else. These little dogs will be over-the-top affectionate and clingy with you – kisses are their strong suit! – but be careful around children and other people. These dogs prefer to cling to just one person.
(8) Irish Wolfhound
Another gentle giant that thinks he’s a lapdog, the Irish Wolfhound is a big shaggy beast that will win you over with his soulful eyes. These dogs seem like they should be aloof and noble, but in truth, they just want to snuggle up with a human for lots of hugs. I knew an Irish Wolfhound once who was basically a shadow for his person – the two were almost never apart, despite the owner attempting to train some independence into the dog. Some pups just want to be close!
(9) French Bulldog
The daintier toy version of the slobbery English Bulldog, this little dog is a popular choice for rich housewives. Bulldogs all share an innate clinginess that is perfect for anyone who really wants a very affectionate dog. These dogs love being with their people, and also seem to thrive on the attention they get from strangers as well. Clingy and good-natured, these are good dogs for a person who wants a companion they can take on the go.
When Affection Goes Too Far
For most of these dogs, clinginess is just a very affectionate method of showing how much they love you. But there is another level of clingy that becomes unhealthy for the dog. When a dog is showing signs of anxiety rather than just being super happy to see you, there could be a medical problem.
Clinginess in a dog looks like a desire to be around you, a playfulness that is manifesting as adorable affection. Your dog may be excited, but as soon as you start giving them the attention they want, they should settle down and just enjoy being with you.
An anxious dog, on the other hand, will not calm down because their clinginess is rooted in fear or pain. If your dog is barking or howling to an excessive degree, pacing, drooling, or panting, having accidents when they are fully house trained, or only getting very excited when you are preparing to leave the house, then they are likely experiencing anxiety.
There are many ways to help a dog who has anxiety issues. Some owners prefer to use medications that help calm a dog down. If your dog is anxious over thunder or loud noises, you may want to look into a “ThunderShirt”, which is a compression vest that seems to help dogs feel safer.
While there was a study from 2001 that suggested that clingy breeds like these nine have a tendency to develop anxiety more than others, an exact relationship between those two things has never been proven. If your dog is clingy, don’t worry that he’ll automatically develop anxiety. But do keep an eye out for behavior that seems out of the ordinary, so that you can go to the vet if anything seems out of the ordinary.
The Final Verdict
For me personally, I love my clingy dogs. Janice and Leroy are a key part of my everyday routine, and without them, I would feel lost. The fact that they are clingy works perfectly with the fact that I am a clingy owner! There’s nothing wrong with embracing your clingy dog and letting them be an essential part of your life.
However, if you adopt a dog that prefers to stay close, and you need to be able to leave them alone for work or other reasons, you can still have a happy life together. You’ll just need to do a little bit of work training them. They need to understand that you will offer them plenty of attention when you are around, so don’t shirk on the cuddles when you can! As long as your dog knows that they are doing a good job being your companion, they’ll learn to enjoy a life that is just a little less clingy than their instincts tell them to be.
If you’re starting the search for a new dog and don’t prefer a clingy pup, be sure to consider these breeds before you adopt! And don’t think that a mixed breed from a shelter will automatically save you from a clingy dog, either. In many cases, rescue dogs are insecure about their role in a family, so become clingier than they might be otherwise.
At the end of the day, understanding your dog’s unique personality quirks will help you keep them healthy and happy for the rest of their life.