The Most Loyal Dog Breeds

Golden Retriever with mother and son
Photo: andresr / Getty Images

From the story of a black lab who stepped up to save the lives of military soldiers countless times to a pit bull who sacrificed his own life to save the family's children, it's these heroic tales of the most loyal dogs that make it easy to see how the species got the moniker "man's best friend." What may have started as a mutually beneficial relationship thousands of years ago has evolved into a deep companionship. According to Cesar's Way, it's more than the reliable source of food and shelter (and table scraps…) that keeps dogs loyal. (Though those things certainly help!) It's their intrinsically affectionate nature and their desire to be a part of a pack. Lucky for us, they're not super picky about who's in it. So, what qualifies a breed as one of the most loyal dogs? Is the protective nature of the rottweiler? Or the endlessly eager-to-please personality of the Labrador retriever? There's no official measurement of the most loyal dogs, but if you're looking for a lifelong companion that's faithful beyond a doubt, consider one of these committed canines.

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Close-Up Of Japanese Akita Standing Outdoors
Tara Gregg / EyeEm / Getty Images

We'd be remiss to not start with the Akita, which the American Kennel Club describes as "profoundly loyal." They descend from ancient Japanese lineage and symbolize good health, happiness, and long life.

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Close-Up Of Dog Looking Away While Lying On Sofa At Home
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Who can resist a Beagle's endearing puppy eyes? Luckily the affection is reciprocated with these loyal pups.

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Collie dog
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Lassie may be a fictional tale, but the Collie's loyalty is not. The AKC notes the undeniably devoted breed is "famously fond of children."

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Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon resting in the bathroom
Andrew Marttila / Getty Images

Looking for a lot of loyalty in a little package? Look no further than the scruffy Brussels Griffon whose Velcro-like nature make them one of the most affectionate breeds around.

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Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever with mother and son
andresr / Getty Images

Likely not a surprise to see on the list of most loyal dogs, the Golden Retriever makes for an outgoing, up-for-anything kind of companion.

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German Shepherd

Woman Walking with German Shepherd / Getty Images

Another dog breed with a well-known reputation for loyalty, the German Shepherd has long served alongside humans thanks to their sharp intelligence and storied courage.

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Shetland Sheepdogs

Portrait of a Shetland Sheepdog
pankration / Getty Images

This vocal breed likes to bark (…a lot) but only because they are so devoted to protecting what's most important to them: their family. The AKC describes them as "Collie in miniature."

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Little boy with Rottweiler
ciricvelibor / Getty Images

One of the smartest dog breeds, Rottweilers are protective and selective. They may come off a bit aloof to outsiders but are downright cuddly among family members.

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Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Dog Standing in Field
Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images

Think a breed could be America's favorite for 31 years running and not one of the most loyal dogs out there too? This work-hard-play-hard breed is practically an icon of steadfast companionship.

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Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog Running Down Path
Getty/Tara Gregg / EyeEm

This highly intelligent breed is described by the AKC as "true-blue loyal," but that doesn't mean they won't take the opportunity to outsmart you here and there.

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Boxer dog portrait
Ryan Murphy / Getty Images

Not only is the Boxer one of the most loyal dog breeds, but they also boast a sharp mind and playful, often silly personality. The full package!

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Giant Schnauzer

Miniature and Giant Schnauzers
Krzysztof Hanusiak Photography / Getty Images

This loyal breed is all about protecting what matters most: home and family. The breed standard calls for a "bold and valiant figure of a dog." (That would explain the impressive beard and all-around imposing appearance!)

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier portrait
Sandra Schmid / Getty Images

A heart-wrenching history has landed this breed a tarnished reputation that belies their true nature. A well-raised Staffordshire bull terrier, according to the AKC, is family-oriented, loyal, and even boasts a particular patience for children.

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Chihuahua on armchair
Image Source / Getty Images

Chihuahuas' oversized personalities make them entertaining companions who simply want to be wherever you are.

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Don't forget mixed breeds!

Woman Jogging With Dogs
RyanJLane / Getty Images

A pup whose breed is a mysterious mix may be just the fit for your family. Visit your local shelter, and talk with employees and volunteers to find the right dog for your family's lifestyle.

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Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. American Kennel Club. Akita dog breed information.

  2. American Kennel Club. Collie dog breed information.

  3. American Kennel Club. 7 things to know about Shetland sheepdogs.

  4. American Kennel Club. Most popular dog breeds of 2021.

  5. American Kennel Club. Australian cattle dog breed information.

  6. American Kennel Club. Giant schnauzer dog breed information.

  7. American Kennel Club. Staffordshire bull terrier dog breed information.

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