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Breeds for Every Lifestyle

The Most Playful Dog Breeds

By Mawoo Pets · 8 Mar · 7 min read
The Most Playful Dog Breeds

Does a game of fetch with your best friend sound like the perfect way to spend your afternoon? If so, then your ideal pet match is a fun and playful dog breed. Just like people, dogs have different personalities–and the most playful dog breeds make fantastic family pets and playmates. They are also great companions for anyone with an active outdoor lifestyle!

Although there are exceptions to every rule, personalities and characteristics do tend to be similar within specific breed groups. If you’re thinking about bringing a new puppy into your family, it’s important to consider how their personality stacks up with your lifestyle. Otherwise, you might end up with a couch-potato dog who couldn’t care less about a game of fetch.

On the other hand, if you prefer to kick back and relax in your downtime, consider a laid-back breed who lives for naptime and cuddles on the couch. If you want a dog who’s active, full of energy and excited about new activities, however, you may want to consider a more playful dog breed.

While most dogs have a playful side, some breeds do tend to be more playful than others. So, which are the most playful dogs? Here are the we love for their high-energy and fun personalities, sorted by "small" and "large" sizes. 

Small Playful Dog Breeds

1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Happy Corgi smiling at the camera

The corgi is an iconic playful dog breed with a stubby body, large bunny-like ears and a short tail. They’re an active, intelligent dog that has been prized throughout history for its hunting abilities. These days, the corgi is a beloved family pet and companion found in many households–including that of the Queen of England!

Corgis are small in size, but their short little legs can move faster than you might think. These pups live for a good game of fetch or a long walk through the neighborhood. Corgis are happiest when they have companionship and something to do, so they’re not the best choice for working households where they will be alone most of the day.

Consistent training with positive reinforcement is essential for this breed. Corgis are a bit stubborn! Food makes a great motivator but be careful not to overdo it as these dogs can become overweight easily, which can contribute to back issues.

2. Pomeranian

Smiling Pomeranian puppy out for a walk.

Believe it or not, this endearing little dog descends from Icelandic sled dogs. It is distantly related to the fluffy, cold-loving Samoyed and Malamute. Queen Victoria had Pomeranians in the 1800s, which contributed to their popularity in Europe and eventually the U.S.

If you’re looking for the most playful small dog, put the Pomeranian at the top of your list! These fun-loving little fluff balls are extremely affectionate, fearless, and make fantastic family pets for apartment dwellers with limited space. Pomeranians are furry little critters, so you’ll need to be wary of overheating on hot summer outings.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy running through the field with floppy ears in the air.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle and attentive small dog breed with the athletic energy of a sporting breed. Don’t let their sweet nature fool you! This breed is always up for a romp in the backyard or a good squirrel chase.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are wonderful with children and they can be upbeat companions for active owners. One of the best qualities of this breed is its ability to enjoy itself equally on a mountain hike or on the couch! Whatever you’re in the mood for, this dog is happy to take part.

4. Beagle

Beagle puppy carrying a toy in its mouth.

Snoopy may be a lazy dog who prefers daydreaming to getting exercise, but beagles in the real world love outdoor sports and games with the family! Beagles are compact, sturdy and playful dogs that make ideal companions for kids, as well as adults who enjoy outdoor sports and hobbies. They’re a fun-loving, happy breed with a stubborn streak that requires patient, consistent training techniques. 

Since beagles were originally bred to find the smell of game, you’re bound to see yours pick up a mysterious scent trail while out and about. Just make sure you don’t lose track of him when he runs off in search of the culprit.

5. French Bulldog

two french bulldogs playing with each other

French Bulldogs have become the most popular dog in America, in no small part due to their adorable, playful personalities. These little pups love to fool around with their owners, be mischievous, and seek attention in ways that are both endearing and playful. It's no wonder that French Bulldogs are considered one of the most playful small dog breeds. 

6. Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog running outdoors and happy

Shih Tzus are fluffy companions who epitomize love and comfort. With a demeanor as soft as their coats, Shih Tzus make every day a little brighter and every hug a little warmer. They're the perfect companions for relaxed evenings and gentle strolls, always ready to offer a comforting presence. Shih Tzus are not just dogs; they're fluffy therapists, offering comfort with every nuzzle and tail wag. 

7. Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier with hair clipped and tongue out

The Yorkshire Terrier is a pocket-sized powerhouse of personality. These tiny titans might be small in size but they make up for it in personality and attitude. Ideal for both snug apartments and sprawling houses, Yorkies bring a special kind of magic to any home. Their sprightly nature and adorable antics are perfect for keeping the atmosphere playful and cheerful. Yorkies are also known for their loyalty and bravery, often acting as pint-sized guardians of their beloved family. Their silky coats and expressive eyes only add to their charm. 

8. Mini Doodles

Cute Doodle puppy playing with a plush toy

Labradoodles and goldendoodles are loving, intelligent and playful dog breeds with lots of energy. Bred from poodles and another pure breed, the doodle dog often inherits the soft, wavy fur of the poodle. That’s good news for allergy sufferers, since poodle fur sheds relatively little. 

Happiest when provided with plenty of mental stimulation, doodles are great family pets who enjoy  playing games and having adventures. Doodles are athletic dogs well suited to agility courses, running, hiking or a rousing game of tag with the kids in the backyard.

Large Playful Dog Breeds

The most playful dogs have tons of energy, which means they need lots of exercise. They also tend to be extremely intelligent, so mental stimulation is important for their mental health. A playful pup who has plenty of challenging activities is much less likely to develop anxiety or depression.

Other characteristics of a playful dog include good recall, an easygoing temperament with other pets and people, and an eagerness to please. So, if you’re ready to get a dog, and this sounds like just what you’re looking for, one of the breeds on this list could be the perfect playmate and companion for you.

1. Boxer

The happiest Boxer out in nature with mouth open

The Boxer is a smart, playful dog breed with tons of personality. This breed is known for its big, sensitive heart and complete devotion to family. Boxers are also extremely intelligent, and they love meeting people and other dogs. In fact, they can be overly enthusiastic about such meetings!

This breed is a great option for families, as well as people who want an energetic companion for outdoor sports and hobbies. Their sweet nature and curiosity make them one of the most playful dog breeds on our list. Boxers do require firm training in their first year to help them conserve their energy for playtime instead of jumping all over guests and their favourite people–but that’s something you can overcome with lots of exercise.

2. Labrador Retriever

Cute Labrador Retriever chocolate puppy playing with a plush toy

Labrador retrievers are big, playful dogs with goofy personalities and a natural zest for life. One of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, Labradors are always up for a game of fetch or a splash in the water. In fact, this breed originates from Newfoundland and was bred from water dogs who helped fishermen send messages boat-to-boat and drive fish into nets. If boating and watersports are your thing, this is the dog for you!

Labradors are well-loved as waterfowl retrievers, so you know they’re up for adventure. Called “Labs” for short, this breed is known for its social nature. Their even temper and friendly disposition make them a great choice as a family pet, especially for active homes.

3. Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever puppy playing with badminton ball

There’s a reason the Golden Retriever typifies the American family dog. This big, happy, playful dog has a gorgeous flowing golden coat and a loyal, intelligent nature. Similar to the Labrador retriever, goldens love a game of fetch or a romp in the water. 

Basically, golden retrievers are up for anything as long as they get to spend time with you. They are sweet-natured dogs with plenty of energy. They make wonderful companions for people of all ages, including small children, as well as fantastic playmates for other dogs.

4. Great Dane

Excited Great Dane running and smiling in field

If you’re looking for a big, playful dog with a heart to match, a Great Dane might be the dog for you. This gentle giant is an easygoing breed that’s a total joy to live with, according to its many fans! Known for their patience with children and people-pleasing personalities, Great Danes make wonderful family pets and companions.

That being said, owning such a large, strong dog requires a special commitment from you as an owner. Everything from feeding and veterinary visits to transporting a dog of this size is more complicated and more expensive than it would be with a smaller dog.

If you love to run or take long walks, a Great Dane will have the energy to keep up and have fun doing it. Just be sure to wait until your Great Dane is fully grown to take him or her out running, or you risk causing damage to those delicate growing bones and joints.

5. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd pup bringing back a piece of wood.

The Australian Shepherd can be a lot of fun for single owners or families. The high-energy breed needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation in the form of games and running around outside. Sometimes called the “Aussie” for short, this breed actually comes from the United States, not Australia.

The Aussie is very receptive to learning new things. This is a very versatile breed that’s just as happy to play a game of frisbee in the backyard as it is to take on a complex agility course. Whether you’re looking for a hiking companion or a playful pup to keep up with the kids, the Australian shepherd just might fit the bill.

6. Texas Heelers 

texas heeler sitting outside with tongue outFor those who fancy a bit more pep and vigor, the Texas Heeler stands tall and proud. These dogs are a whirlwind of energy and intelligence, always ready for the next adventure or challenge. They're not just pets; they're partners in crime, playmates in play, and guardians of the homestead. A Texas Heeler's day is filled with activities; they thrive on challenges and love to be mentally stimulated, whether through agility training or interactive games. Their loyalty and protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs, always keeping a keen eye on their family's safety. Known affectionately as the Texas cattle dog, their heritage speaks of their versatility and adaptability, making them a superb choice for families who love the great outdoors.

Final Thoughts

This list of the most playful dog breeds is a great starting point in the search for the ideal dog for your family. Just keep in mind that these are all high-energy breeds who need lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship to keep them at their best, both mentally and physically. Like you, playful dogs need fresh air and sunshine as well as love and a soft place to sleep.

Take our Dog Breed Quiz to find out which dog breeds make the most sense for your lifestyle!

FAQs about Playful Dog Breeds

Which playful small dog breeds are well-suited to apartment living?

When it comes to playful small dogs that thrive in apartments, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Pomeranian stand out. These 2 fun dog breeds adapt smoothly to smaller living spaces and so are excellent companions for city dwellers in search of a fun-loving furry friend. 

Do playful dog breed have special needs? 

A playful dog breed has higher-than-average energy levels and so needs regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Your daily plans with your pup should incorporate activities like fetch, agility training, and interactive toys. It's also a good idea to incorporate daily exercise and socialization (with humans and other pets) in your routine.

Are there any playful dog breeds that are also good for allergy sufferers?

Yes, doodles, such as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, have low-shedding coats and are known for their playful personalities, too. The hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle is genetically dominant and is typically inherited by doodles, which is why they shed little. They're excellent companions for families with allergies or asthma. 

Available Pembroke Welsh Corgi Puppies

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Related puppies for sale

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Bo

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