Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

10 Most Loyal Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

akita dog in the snow

10 Most Loyal Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

A dog’s famous loyalty is one of the reasons they earned the reputation as “man’s best friend”. However, some dog breeds are more loyal than others, particularly if they’ve been developed to be protective or attached to their owners.

Any dog can be loyal, but loyalty tends to run strong in the companion, herding, working, and sporting groups. Some of these breeds are loyal to everyone within the family, while others may get attached to one special person. Here are the 10 most loyal dog breeds.

dogster face divider

How Are Loyal Dogs Classified?

Loyalty in dogs doesn’t belong to one breed group. Though many of the loyal breeds are found in expected roles where they work closely with humans, such as the working, herding, and sporting groups, loyal dogs can be found across virtually every group.

dogster face divider

The 10 Most Loyal Dog Breeds

1. Akita

akita, dog, pet
Image Credit: maxxxiss, Pixabay
Origin: Northern Japan
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 24–28 inches

The Akita is a centuries-old dog breed that was developed in northern Japan for hunting and guarding. Because of their duties protecting the family, Akitas are known for being extremely loyal and attached to their owners. These dogs are naturally protective–not aggressive–but can be a handful for inexperienced or casual owners.

2. Beagle

beagle dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Artyom Gantsev, Shutterstock
Origin: UK
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Height: 13–16 inches

The Beagle is a sweet, good-natured scent hound that was historically used to help hunters track foxes, hares, and other small animals using their powerful noses. Beagles enjoy being around family, including the other members of the canine pack, cats, horses, and other animals. Beagles aim to please, but they can be easily distracted if they catch an interesting scent.

3. Chihuahua

woman carrying a Chihuahua dog on her arms
Image Credit: Anton Pentegov, Shutterstock
Origin: Chihuahua, Mexico
Lifespan: 12–20 years
Height: 3–9 inches

One of the smallest dog breeds, Chihuahuas are also one of the most loyal. These dogs are often fearless, despite their size, and defend their possessions—including their owners. It’s important to socialize a Chihuahua properly to teach them to accept new people and animals, avoid overly possessive behaviors, and prevent aggression.

4. Doberman Pinscher

doberman pinscher dog in the forest
Image Credit: Daria Shvetcova, Shutterstock
Origin: Thuringia, Germany
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Height: 25–28 inches

The Doberman Pinscher was created by German tax collector Louis Dobermann. He wanted an intimidating dog that was fiercely protective and loyal, leading to the Dobie’s extensive use as a guard dog. These dogs are excellent in family settings or as guards, but it’s crucial to give them proper training and socialization to avoid problem behaviors.

5. German Shepherd

german shepherd dog in the forest
Image Credit: Osetrik, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 9–13 years
Height: 22–26 inches

Long used for police work, military work, and other types of service work, the German Shepherd has a reputation for courage, intelligence, obedience, and, above all, loyalty. Part of these dogs’ success in their roles is their fierce loyalty to their handlers and partners, but they easily bond with family members as pets. Keep in mind that these dogs like having a job to do, so they need proper outlets for physical and mental stimulation to avoid overly protective or even aggressive behaviors.

6. Great Pyrenees

a great pyrenees dog by the beach
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock
Origin: Pyrenees Mountains, Spain, and France
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 25–32 inches

The Great Pyrenees has been used for centuries as a livestock guardian dog in the Pyrenees Mountains. These dogs were tasked to watch over sheep and protect them from large predators, making them alert, protective, and patient. However, as the guardian, the Great Pyrenees are fiercely loyal to their flock and their family. These dogs can be a little aloof with strangers, however, and require early socialization to adjust.

7. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever
Image Credit: Angel Luciano, Unsplash
Origin: Labrador Region, Newfoundland, and the UK
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 22–24 inches

The Labrador Retriever is a British retriever gun dog that was developed in the UK from St. John’s water dogs that were imported from Newfoundland. This breed was used to retrieve ducks and assist fishermen with their stock, but they’ve found a new role as a family dog and casual hunting companion. These dogs are accustomed to working alongside their owners and are fiercely loyal, but they require a lot of training and exercise outlets to stay happy.

8. Great Dane

great dane dog standing on grass
Image Credit: belu gheorghe, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 8–10 years
Height: 28–36 inches

Despite the name, Great Danes originated in Germany, not Denmark. This massive breed is one of the tallest and largest, but they’re gentle and friendly giants. Though originally used for hunting, Danes evolved to become guardian dogs for German nobility. Their protective and loyal nature makes them good alert dogs in family homes.

9. Australian Shepherd

australian shepherd enjoying the outdoors during autumn
Image Credit: dodafoto, Shutterstock
Origin: Western US
Lifespan: 13–15 years
Height: 18–23 inches

The Australian Shepherd was developed in the Western US, not Australia as the name suggests, but it originated in the Asturias of Spain. Closely aligned with the cowboy way of life, Aussies are protective herding dogs that bond strongly with their owners. These dogs have incredible work drives and need jobs, which can be too much for novice or casual dog owners.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on its dog bed
Image Credit: Izabelly Marques, Unsplash
Origin: UK
Lifespan: 9–14 years
Height: 12–13 inches

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an extremely loyal and sweet breed that was bred to hunt birds. However, these fancy dogs found a new role as family companions over the last century. While still loyal and protective, Cavaliers are prized for their low-maintenance exercise needs, playful attitude, and gentle nature around children and other pets.

dogster paw divider

What Makes Dogs Loyal?

Loyalty is one of the defining traits of dogs, no matter the breed. There are numerous stories about dogs visiting the graves of deceased owners, traveling hundreds of miles to return home to their families, or risking life and limb to protect their handlers.

Many of the breeds on this list were bred to be devoted to their owners, but their loyalty trait probably dates back further than that. Domestic dogs descended from wolves over thousands of years, developing a reciprocal relationship with humans. They guarded and defended human shelters and received food and shelter in return.

A lot of dog breeds were bred to hunt, travel, or work in packs, not unlike wild canines. They find strength and safety in their pack and cooperate, putting the good of the group ahead of their own needs. That instinct can be seen in their relationships with their human pack as well.

Finally, we do have evidence that dogs show love. A 2005 study from ScienceDirect tested dogs to see the activity in their brains when they smell the scent of their owners. The dogs not only reacted more strongly to the scent of their owners, but the part of the brain associated with positive emotions lit up.

dogster face divider


All dogs have the capacity for loyalty. But if you’re looking for a ride-or-die companion, any breeds on this list rank highly for fidelity, protectiveness, and affection toward their owner or the entire family.

Featured Image Credit: Ana-Bencina Kosmac, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.