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20 Best Companion Dog Breeds (with Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

man and dog walking

In the modern world, as we see rapid changes in how we can socialize and interact with other people, mental health is a growing issue. Getting out and enjoying time with people safely has become more challenging. Many people’s response to this has been getting a dog, and more than 80% of people claim they feel less lonely within a month of ownership.

Dogs are one of the best pets for companionship because they are relatable. They are also one of the most emotionally sensitive animals around. Companion dogs are not just pups that have a sensitive side. To be the best companion, they also need to match your lifestyle. As you read through the list, consider how active you are and what you enjoy doing. Compare this to the characteristics given for each dog to find your best match. Here are the best companion dogs you should consider:

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The 20 Best Companion Dog Breeds:

1. Papillon

Image Credit: Fayzulin Serg, Shutterstock

Papillons are small, adorable dogs with affectionate personalities. They are always happy and friendly and are rarely aggressive or shy. They are smart and love to engage in fun, little activities. Papillon means butterfly in Spanish and describes how the hair grows from their ears. The Papillon is an excellent companion dog!

2. Chihuahua

squinting chihuahua
Image Credit: Peakpx

Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with enormous personalities. They make great companion dogs because they develop a strong bond with their owners. They enjoy spending as much time with them as possible. This preference makes them ideal pets you can carry around with you or keep in a smaller apartment setting.

3. French Bulldog

french bulldog sleeping on grass
Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

A French Bulldog is a sweet-natured pup that doesn’t require much more than love from their family. They are generally lively yet relaxed and affectionate. These pups are highly adaptable and get along well in almost any scenario. Their agreeability makes them a nearly stress-free pet, which is an excellent characteristic for companion dogs.

4. Golden Retriever

fat golden retriever lying on grass
Image Credit: danbar44, Pixabay

Golden Retrievers are well-known for their work as emotional support animals or ESA. Their personalities abound in patience and gentility, yet they love getting out for family-centric activities. If you need a pup that can support you through a difficult period or want a running buddy, a Golden Retriever can satisfy you either way.

5. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
Image Credit: 12122, Pixabay

The Shih Tzu forms a powerful bond with their owner that lasts their entire lifetime. However, they are not the best choice for a family with small kids. They make excellent lap dogs and thrive off human attention and companionship. They are small to medium, low-maintenance dogs with a calm disposition.

6. Pug

maltipug puppy
Image Credit: Andi Berger, shutterstock

Pugs are pleasant, quirky dogs that amaze and amuse their family with their antics day after day. They are brachycephalic and have flat faces that aren’t as long as a typical dog’s. This can make it more difficult for them to breathe normally, and they can’t exercise heavily. A Pug is a perfect companion in a lower-energy household.

7. Maltese

Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

These adorable snow-white dogs hail from the Mediterranean and are accustomed to living like kings and queens. They have silk coats and a cuddly personality. Maltese love being carried around and being around people as much as possible.

They are always alert and have no issues vocalizing their displeasure. This tendency makes them good watchdogs, but they are not effective protectors.

8. Dachshund

Image Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay

Dachshunds have a rather amusing appearance, and their personalities follow suit as they bounce around. They are sometimes called the “Velcro” dogs because they become so attached to their family.

They love a good cuddle under a fuzzy blanket as well. They only require minimal exercise to stay healthy but are always ready to explore somewhere new.

9. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard
Image Credit: Jean-Alain Passard, Pixabay

The Saint Bernard is a giant breed that gained immense popularity in the early 2000s when they became movie stars. Saint Bernards get along well with children and are incredibly adaptable. You will always know where they have been around the home because they leave a trail of drool almost everywhere they go.

10. Border Collie

Image Credit: James Hime, Shutterstock

Border Collies are excellent companion dogs for active singles or families. They have a lot of energy when outside but tend to be more laidback within the home. When they are puppies, they can be challenging to control, but with patience and training, they’ll learn to behave.

Border Collies have a reputation as being one of the most intelligent breeds. They respond well to training and happily accompany you everywhere or sit at your feet for hours.

11. Bulldog

Image Credit: BLACK17BG, Pixabay

English Bulldogs make excellent companions for people who need a low-key dog waddling around the home. They do not like to get out often. Instead, these pups prefer to spend their days snuggled into a corner of the couch. If you need a dog that can be left alone for hours, the English Bulldog is a good option.

12. Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier lying outdoor
Image Credit: Kokaleinen, Pixabay

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are small dogs that bond quickly with their family. They get along best with one or two people and often select a favorite and stick with them for life. Yorkies are a toy breed and do not require much more exercise than they can get playing around in the home.

13. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on grass
Image Credit: ErikaWittlieb, Pixabay

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a dog practically bred to be a companion. They were royal lapdogs in France and England, remaining a nobleman’s favorite for centuries. They have huge hearts and prefer to stay near their owners as much as possible. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.

14. Basset Hound

basset hound
Image Credit: Ernest_Roy, Pixabay

Basset Hounds are not energetic pups but require daily exercise to stay fit. They can be left alone for quite a while and will be happy to sleep the entire time. With their sad-looking faces, they always appear to need comfort. They do not make ideal jogging partners but are content to spend long days on the couch.

15. Lhasa Apso

long hair lhasa apso
Image Credit: Needpix

Lhasa Apsos are one of the oldest breeds. They have a fearless spirit due to being bred to be watchdogs for Tibetan monks. Beyond courageousness, they are devoted and have lively personalities. They can live in apartments or large homes but require daily exercise and plenty of attention from their owners to stay happy and healthy.

16. Italian Greyhound

italian greyhound
Image Credit: JeebyJeeby, Pixabay

The Italian Greyhound is an adorable, skinny breed initially bred for racing. They love to sprint and need a large fenced-in yard to exercise. Letting off-leash is not advised because they have a strong prey drive. However, once you return home, they are bound to find their favorite blanket and spend the rest of the day in a snuggle position.

17. Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terrier in winter
Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Tibetan Terriers are not as popular as some of the other dogs on this list, but that doesn’t make them any less suited for companionship. They have a devoted, lively personality and are always happily bouncing around. These Terriers have an average amount of energy but require daily walks and play sessions.

18. Poodle

poodle outdoors
Image Credit: chili71, Pixabay

Poodles come in three sizes: the Standard, the Miniature, and the Toy Poodle. They are regal pups that carry themselves with elegance. They are also known for their intelligence and stubbornly strive after what they want. Something that most people don’t attribute to the Poodle is their steadfast loyalty, which manifests as a deep love for their owners.

19. Pomeranian

pomeranian dog with tongue out
Image Credit: funeyes, Pixabay

Pomeranians are one of the happiest little dogs you can find. If you need a pup who helps pull you out of a slump, they are your best option. They have tan and cream fur with foxlike faces. They always seem to be smiley and bouncy wherever they go. They do not need much exercise, but they still want to go with you everywhere.

20. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise dog lying on the grass
Image Credit: Carlos Amarillo, Shutterstock

As an ancient breed, the Bichon Frise, has a cheerful attitude combined with a feisty personality. They have a fascinating history of being companions to the nobility and becoming circus performers. It makes sense, then, that they love to be the center of attention and are sensitive to the emotions of people around them.

Final Thoughts

Although several breeds didn’t make our list of the best companion animals, the ones we discussed are easier for first-time owners to train and handle. However, before adopting a dog, it’s best to research the breed thoroughly to determine if they’re ideal for your home. Whether you’re interested in a toy breed like the Maltese or a giant canine like the St. Bernard, we’re confident you’ll find a loving pet for your home.

Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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