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Dog Love Languages

February 12, 2021

Have you ever wondered if your dog really knows how much you love them?  Most of us are familiar with the idea of there being five love languages:  affirmations, service, gifts, quality time, and physical touch. The idea of love languages was first proposed by Dr. Gary Chapman and the idea has since become part of popular culture and the way that we understand intimate relationships. The idea behind love languages is that there are five ways that love can be expressed, but that each person has a primary love language, and those other expressions of love won’t be as meaningful to them. Practically, the idea behind love languages is that because each of us experience love differently, conflict within relationships can be avoided by understanding your partner’s love language, and then intentionally incorporating that into your interactions with one another. This got us thinking about the conflict that can arise from our expectations around loving our dogs. 

Before you got a dog, you probably had an idea, a vision of what life with your dog would be like. Maybe you pictured hiking together, cuddling together on the couch and watching movies, or competing in agility! Each of us wants different things from our relationship with our dogs, and similarly, each dog is looking for something unique as well –  a love language if you will. Each dog is an individual, but there are breed and breed group traits that we think can correspond to some broader dog love languages. We hope this can help you better understand your dog and what they most want to do with you!  

 

Love Languages for Dogs

 

Remember, all dogs regardless of breed or breed mix need enrichment, affection and quality time with their people. This article is just intended as a fun way to think about dominant breed traits and how they influence what your dog might see as the most valuable quality time with you.  

 

 

Hound Group

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Give Me a Job 
  • Let’s Play! 

Hound dogs from the small beagle to the giant Irish Wolfhound were bred to pursue and hunt after game. Some hounds use their highly refined sense of smell to search out prey, while other hounds were bred to pursue, and chase down prey. These affectionate dogs enjoy opportunities to channel their strengths into games and jobs! 

 

 

Terrier Group

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Let’s Play! 
  • Gimme The Good Stuff 

Don’t let the (often) smaller size of these dogs fool you. Dogs in the terrier group are active and feisty little dogs. These dogs were developed to hunt and kill vermin like rats and mice to protect their family’s farms and properties. Terrier breeds include Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Miniature Schnauzers. These spunky little dogs are active and tough, but also extremely loyal to their guardians and families making them pretty versatile in terms of love languages, but they are active busy dogs always looking for fun. 

 

Working Group

Dominant Love Languages:

  • Tell me I’m The Goodest Dog
  • Give Me A Job 

 

As the name implies the working group is filled with dogs who were bred to do a job. These alert dogs, strong and protective include Bernese Mountain Dogs, Boxers, Bullmastiffs, Newfoundland’s and were bred to do everything from guarding homes, pulling sleds or carts to rescuing people from drowning. Working dogs love to be needed and they take a lot of pride in a job well done. 

 

 

Herding Group 

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Give Me A Job
  • Let’s Play

Popular herding breeds include Australian Cattle dogs, Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Shelties. Herding dogs are as the name implied first bred to herd, move, and otherwise work livestock. These smart and active dogs are extremely biddable and generally enjoy and excel in a variety of activities and sports. Herding breeds love to learn and be active. These dogs will feel the love if you keep them active with playing ball and other sports. Herding breeds enjoy solving puzzles and showing you how much they love you by having a job to do. 

 

 

Toy Group 

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Let’s Snuggle
  • Gimme The Good Stuff 

Dogs in the toy group from Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Italian Greyhounds, Maltese and Shih Tzu are pintsized lovers. Although the dogs in this group are as the name implies small in stature don’t underestimate them. Just because they are small doesn’t mean these little dogs don’t have big energy or personality. Most toy breeds were developed to be companion dogs, so these spunky little companions are very devoted and often see their person as the center of their universe. 

 

 

Non-Sporting Group

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Let’s Play
  • Gimme The Good Stuff

The Non-Sporting group is the most diverse group. Non-Sporting breeds include Boston Terrier (which surprise is not actually a terrier) Bichon Frise, Chow Chow and Shar-Pei! This group looks diverse in terms of coat, size and appearance and original function. From the Lhasa Apso that was bred to be affectionate but alert companions inside Tibetan monasteries to Dalmatians which were bred to run alongside coaches, dogs in the Non-Sporting group have a very diverse range of love languages but are generally happy to be spoiled and played with!

 

 

Sporting Group

Dominant Love Languages: 

  • Tell Me I’m a Good Dog
  • Let’s Play

Sporting dogs as the name implies tend to be active and enthusiastic companions. Sporting breeds were first bred to work alongside hunters to retrieve or locate prey. Sporting dogs which include setters, retrievers, spaniels and pointers are at home in the water and field and enjoy the opportunity to be active alongside the people that they love. Most sporting dogs are happiest when they get to be out and doing things with you, and know that you are having a great time alongside them. 

 

Love Language In Action! 

On Valentine’s Day, we’ll be sharing some fun advice and suggestions for how to put your dog’s love language into action at home. In the meantime, be sure to follow @embarkvet.