Bonding With Your Dog Last Updated:

Top 5 Most Cuddly Dog Breeds

By and

Go to "Top 5 Most Cuddly Dog Breeds" article

Just as we love our dogs, our dogs love us, too, and they show their love in different ways. Different dogs and dog breeds vary widely in how much they like to be curled up next to their human. It’s a quality that humans have encouraged and selected for, as we’ve domesticated dogs to be family companions, hunting partners, guardians, and more.

What are the most cuddly, most affectionate dog breeds? We used the power of science to find out.

How did we find the most cuddly dog breeds?

We’re grateful that millions of pet parents have chosen Embark to help them get to know their dog better. With a database of over two million Embarked dogs, we use our genetic data to make new discoveries and answer these important questions.

“To identify the cuddliest dog breeds (as rated by their owners), we first used Embark’s genetic ancestry algorithms to identify single-breed dogs,” explains Thom Nelson, PhD, Senior Scientist at Embark. That means that we can assign at least 95% of their genetics to one breed in our reference panel of 350+ breeds and populations. 

We then asked customers to rate their dog’s cuddliness from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely) in our General Behaviors survey. After recording over 40,000 responses from pet owners with single-breed dogs, we grouped responses by breed (requiring at least 100 responses per breed) and calculated the average cuddliness for dogs of each breed. We call this average a “cuddle score” between 1-5.

Top five most cuddly dog breeds

According to our data, these are the most cuddly dog breeds, shown next to their average cuddle score:

  1. Bull Terrier (4.63)
  2. Dalmatian (4.55)
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (4.54)
  4. Belgian Tervuren (4.52)
  5. American Bully (4.52)

Many of the breeds on this list have short coats, and may be less tolerant of the cold as a result. Their snuggling behavior might be related to their owner’s body heat!

Five least cuddly dog breeds

According to our data, these are the least cuddly dog breeds, shown next to their average cuddle score:

  1. Shiba Inu (3.30)
  2. Chow Chow (3.48)
  3. Anatolian Shepherd Dog (3.51)
  4. American Foxhound (3.63)
  5. Akita (3.65)

Most of the above breeds are described as “independent” in their breed standards, developed by the American Kennel Club. Dogs with an independent streak might choose to show their loyalty and affection in ways other than physical touch—and that’s okay!

What is the most cuddly dog?

We looked at the data to see who might win the title of most cuddly dog. Two names stood out as the most affectionate of them all.

Most cuddly dog names

On average, the names with the highest cuddle scores are Precious (4.68) and Hazelnut (4.68).

Least cuddly dog names

On average, the names with the lowest cuddle scores are Jenna (3.62) and Sequoia (3.56).

Embark Breed + Health Test
Regular Price
Sale Price
Embark Breed ID Test
Regular Price
Sale Price

Read more about dog discoveries

Curious about what else we’ve uncovered from dog DNA? Check out the most popular dog names and other dog name trends we’ve found from our data.

Embark scientists have also discovered why some dogs have blue eyes, a gene associated with deafness in Rhodesian Ridgebacks, the genetic reason behind roan coat patterns, and more.

This research depends on customers like you. Please contribute to research by filling out your dog’s health surveys so that we can keep making discoveries and sharing them with you.

Thom Nelson, PhD Scientist

Thom Nelson, PhD, is a Senior Scientist in Computational Biology at Embark. He manages and analyzes research data at Embark, including our research surveys. Prior to his role at Embark, Thom earned his PhD at the University of Oregon studying genetics and evolution and was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Montana studying wildflowers across the American West. Outside of work, Thom is a runner, a baseball fan, and a loving but often irritated dog dad to Willie.

Read more about Thom Nelson, PhD

Mimi Padmabandu Contributor

Mimi Padmabandu is a scientific writer and Content Strategy Lead at Embark Veterinary. She has over a decade of experience writing about science and genomics for leading biotechnology companies. She holds a bachelor's degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA and a master’s degree in Early Modern English Literature from King’s College London.

Read more about Mimi Padmabandu

Related categories

Bonding With Your Dog Dog Care

Shop dog DNA tests