In the vast and diverse world of dogs, popular breeds like the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever often steal the spotlight with their well-known friendly dispositions. However, numerous lesser-known breeds possess equally charming personalities, offering companionship and affection in abundance. These hidden gems of the canine world are not only extremely friendly but also bring unique traits and histories to their relationships with humans. This article shines a light on “10 Lesser-Known Dog Breeds Who Are Extremely Friendly,” exploring the characteristics that make them outstanding companions. From the spirited Keeshond to the gentle Leonberger, each of these breeds demonstrates that friendship and loyalty are not limited to the most recognizable names in the dog world.

1. Keeshond

The Keeshond, with its striking appearance and plush coat, is a bundle of joy and friendliness. Originating as a companion dog on Dutch barges, the Keeshond is known for its sociable nature and strong bond with family members. Their expressive “spectacles” — markings and shading around their eyes — give them a distinctive, intelligent look that mirrors their alert and eager-to-please personality. Keeshonden are excellent with children and other pets, making them ideal family dogs. They thrive on interaction and dislike being left alone for long periods, underscoring their desire for companionship. Their friendly demeanor extends to strangers, making them poor guard dogs but excellent ambassadors of goodwill.

2. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, often simply called a Toller, is a highly energetic and friendly breed developed to lure ducks within shooting range in Canada. Tollers are smaller than most retrievers, but what they lack in size, they more than makeup for in personality and intelligence. They possess a unique blend of independence and affection, bonding closely with their families while maintaining an adventurous spirit. Tollers are great with children and other dogs, their playful nature making them endless sources of entertainment and joy. Their outgoing personality makes them eager to make friends, whether with humans or other animals.

3. Leonberger

The Leonberger is a giant breed that combines the best of friendly traits with a majestic appearance. Despite their imposing size, Leonbergers are known for their gentle and kind temperament. They were originally bred to mimic the lion in the town crest of Leonberg, Germany, but there’s nothing fierce about their personality. Leonbergers are incredibly patient and good-natured, making them excellent companions for children. They’re affectionate with family members and welcoming to strangers, always ready to offer a friendly greeting. This breed’s love for water and the outdoors, paired with their sociable nature, makes them perfect for active families looking for a large, lovable pet.

4. Lagotto Romagnolo

The Lagotto Romagnolo, an Italian breed originally used as a water retriever, is nowadays more famous as a truffle hunter. This curly-coated, medium-sized dog is characterized by its friendly and affectionate nature. Lagottos are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. They form strong bonds with their owners and are known for being particularly good with children. The Lagotto’s friendly disposition extends to other dogs and pets, making them a harmonious addition to multi-pet households. Their love for digging, a remnant of their truffle-hunting days, is matched by their love for human companionship.

5. Finnish Lapphund

The Finnish Lapphund is a breed that hails from the Arctic Circle, originally bred for herding reindeer. Despite the harsh conditions of their origins, Finnish Lapphunds are warm and friendly, with a cheerful disposition that endears them to all they meet. They are known for their intelligence and gentle demeanor, making them excellent family pets. Finnish Lapphunds are particularly great with children, displaying patience and a playful spirit. Their thick double coat not only protects them from cold weather but also invites petting, enhancing their appeal as cuddly companions. These dogs are adaptable, thriving in various living situations as long as they’re part of a loving family.

6. Schipperke

The Schipperke is a small Belgian breed known for its curious and energetic personality. Despite their diminutive size, Schipperkes has a big dog attitude, filled with confidence and loyalty. They are extremely friendly and form strong bonds with their owners, often shadowing them around the house. Schipperkes are great with children and other pets, and their alert nature makes them excellent watchdogs. Their boundless energy and inquisitive nature mean they’re always ready for an adventure, making them perfect companions for active individuals or families looking for a lively and affectionate pet.

7. Saluki

The Saluki, one of the oldest dog breeds, is known for its grace, speed, and gentle demeanor. Originating in the Middle East, Salukis were bred for hunting and are revered for their incredible sight and speed. Despite their aristocratic appearance and reserved nature around strangers, Salukis form deep, affectionate bonds with their families. They are known for their gentle treatment of children and their loyalty to their household. With a soft, silky coat and a graceful demeanor, Salukis enjoy quiet companionship and are sensitive to the moods of their owners. While they may not be as overtly enthusiastic as other breeds, their quiet loyalty and affectionate nudges make them deeply devoted friends.

8. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, originating from Ireland, is known for its exuberant personality and, as the name suggests, a beautiful soft, wheat-colored coat. Wheatens are incredibly friendly and outgoing, always eager to make new friends, human or canine. Unlike some terrier breeds, Wheatens exhibit a more laid-back temperament, though they still retain a playful streak throughout their lives. They are particularly good with children, making them excellent family pets. Wheatens adapt well to different living situations as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. Their affectionate nature and joyful greetings, famously known as the “Wheaten Greetin’,” make them a breed that truly embodies friendliness.

9. Borzoi

The Borzoi, also known as the Russian Wolfhound, is a breed distinguished by its aristocratic demeanor and graceful silhouette. Despite their somewhat aloof appearance, Borzois are known for their sweet and affectionate nature towards their families. These dogs are calm indoors but enjoy stretching their legs in a safe, open space due to their sighthound heritage. Borzois form strong bonds with their owners, often becoming deeply attached to those they trust. Their gentle disposition and elegance make them not only a sight to behold but also a loving, friendly companion suited for those who appreciate the breed’s quiet loyalty and majestic beauty.

10. English Setter

The English Setter, known for its elegant appearance and gentle manner, is a breed that embodies the essence of friendliness. Originating as a bird dog, this breed has a keen sense of smell and a love for the outdoors. Despite their hunting background, English Setters are incredibly affectionate with their families, displaying a calm and companionable demeanor. They are excellent with children, showing patience and gentleness. Their sociable nature extends to other dogs and pets, making them a harmonious addition to any household. English Setters thrive on human interaction and are happiest when they’re part of family activities, their friendly wagging tails a testament to their joyful spirits.

The world of dog breeds is vast and varied, with many lesser-known breeds offering the same level of companionship, loyalty, and affection as their more famous counterparts. The breeds highlighted in this article, from the spirited Keeshond to the dignified Saluki, each bring their unique flavor of friendliness to the table. Whether you’re looking for a playful companion for your children, a loyal friend to share in your adventures, or a gentle soul to provide comfort, these breeds demonstrate that friendliness comes in many forms. Choosing one of these lesser-known but extremely friendly breeds not only provides you with a wonderful companion but also the opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of the canine world.

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