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15 Of The Most Social And Friendly Dog Breeds That Love People, Even Strangers

Stranger danger isn't always a thing with dogs. Yes, some dogs are aloof or wary of people they aren't familiar with, but not so much for others. For example, our older dog Brody thinks everyone is his friend. The American Kennel Club actually ranks each breed's "openness to strangers" on their site. There are five possible levels on the measurement scale, ranging from "reserved" (cautious around new people) to "everyone is my best friend" (happy to meet a new people). Here are 15 dog breeds that love people, even strangers.

1. American Staffordshire Terrier

American staffordshire terrier dog breed

Although American Staffordshire Terriers are misunderstood, they are quite the friendly breed. Yes they have an intimidating muscular body and jaw, but that jaw is often accompanied with a big smile. They tend to be good-natured, sweet, lovable and adaptable. They are aware of their surroundings, but eager to love and trust, which makes them open to new people.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 4 out of 5

2. Bearded Collie

bearded collie dog breed

Bearded Collies are known to be friendly and energetic dogs. As with most members of the herding breed group, these affectionate dogs thrive on human companionship. They are not usually shy or aggressive to strangers as they enjoy people. Many people say that, when greeted by a Bearded Collie, you can expect lots of tail wags and kisses.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 4 out of 5

3. Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog breed

The history of the Bichon Frise gives insight into why this breed is so friendly. Originating as a companion dog, Bichons accompanied European nobles in the 13th century until the French Revolution in 1789. When the nobles were imprisoned or executed, their dogs were left to fend for themselves. But many street performers adopted and trained them to perform. To this day, the Bichon Frise still thrives on companionship and attention. The hypoallergenic breed is friendly, adaptable and happy-go-lucky. They know no strangers, assuming everyone is a friend not foe.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

4. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier dog breed

Boston Terriers are friendly and easygoing dogs, much like their Bulldog ancestors. They crave attention and love being with people, so they tend to make new friends and get along well with everyone. Bostons have a sweet, gentle, playful and affectionate nature with a desire to please. You can often expect a happy and enthusiastic greeting to welcome for visitors and strangers (that may include jumping if not properly trained).

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) was bred to be a companion, so they naturally and instinctively love people. Some owners and breeders say that these dogs have never met a stranger, as they are eager to meet everyone and become fast friends. They are sociable dogs that desire the attention of humans, though that can be satisfied by a cuddle session.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 4 out of 5

6. English Bulldog

English Bulldog dog breed

English Bulldogs are friendly, social, agreeable, adaptable and easygoing. These traits (combined with their desire for human attention) make them quite outgoing to people, even strangers. They can be a bit stubborn at times, but they make up for that with their good-natured and loving personality. But because they were originally bred for bull baiting, they can be courageous and trained to be a decent watchdog.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 4 out of 5

7. English Setter

English Setter dog breed

The English Setter is a beautiful, sweet, affectionate and gentle dog. They were originally bred as companion hunters, so they naturally and instinctively enjoy being around people. They may bark at strangers approaching the home but welcome them warmly once introduced. In general, though, English Setters will willingly and happily approach and interact with people.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 4 out of 5

8. French Bulldog

French Bulldog dog breed

French Bulldogs or Frenchies are goofy, social, low-maintenance dogs that love people. They became full-time companion dogs by the 19th century, so their love of people is instinctive. They are social beings that easily make human friends. That being said, many need proper introduction and socialization to ensure they get along with other dogs and pets. 

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

9. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever dog breed

Golden Retrievers are famous for loving everyone - people, dogs, cats, children, strangers, the list goes on. Originally bred as hunting companions, these dogs enjoy people and are eager to please. Their friendly, trustworthy, affectionate, and social nature makes them very welcoming to strangers. There's no wondering why they are consistently ranked as one of AKC's most popular breeds. 

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

10. Havanese

Havanese dog breed

The Havanese is a small dog originating from Cuba. They love people and spending time with them, as they were bred to be companion lapdogs. They are adaptable extroverts with good social skills and a desire for attention and to entertain. All of this makes them quite welcoming to unfamiliar people.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

11. Irish Setter

Irish Setter dog breed

Irish Setters are a friendly, sensitive breed that likes dogs and loves people. In fact, more than anything, they want to spend time with humans. These sweet, affectionate, outgoing and curious dogs are often willing and happy to approach people and enjoy making new friends. Though every dog is a unique individual, you won't easily come across and Irish setter with a shy or hostile personality.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

12. Keeshond

Keeshond dog breed

The Keeshond may not be the most well known breed of dog but it's a friendly one. It's a type of Spitz that is affectionate, social and gentle. Despite their noisiness (which can develop into problem barking without proper training), these dogs tend to get along with strangers. Originally bred as guard and companion dogs for Dutch vessels, the Keeshond was notorious for being a "people’s dog."

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

13. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever dog breed

Labrador Retrievers are AKC's most popular dog breed and have been for many years in a row. It's no surprise, given they are famous for being sweet and friendly dogs. They were bred as hunting companions and still love being around people to this day. Because of their affectionate and outgoing nature, they are often very warm and welcoming to people (even those they don't know), as well as other dogs and cats.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

14. Newfoundland

Newfoundland dog breed

The Newfoundland, or Newfie, is a gentle giant with a sweet temperament. In fact, their breed standard says that a sweet temperament is the 'most important single characteristic of the breed," according to the AKC website. Bred as fishing companions who also performed water rescues, Newfies are known to be good companions. They are loyal yet sociable and trusting dogs who enjoy people and welcome strangers.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5

15. Pug

Pug dog breed

Pugs are social, friendly, fun-loving, low-maintenance dogs that were bred to be companion dogs for the Chinese elite ruling class. They typically get along well with other beings, including unfamiliar ones. They crave attention and strive to entertain, so the more people around, the better. Because they are happy and live for love from humans, they are one of the friendliest breeds out there.

  • AKC openness to strangers score: 5 out of 5
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