Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for spending time with your loved ones—especially your four-legged friends. While it’s true that most dogs love snuggling their person on the couch, some breeds make particularly huggable dog valentines.
Keep in mind that even though most breeds exhibit certain traits in temperament, you will also find a broad spectrum of personalities within each breed.
Here are seven cuddly dog breeds with all the potential to become the best dog valentines.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #1: Maltese
The Maltese was bred to be a companion,” explains holistic animal physical therapist Sally Morgan, a pet expert and author of Dances of the Heart—Connecting to Animals. “In the past [Maltese dogs] have been called “the Roman ladies’ dog,” “the Comforter” and the “Spaniel Gentle” due to their role as lap dogs and pets. “In my experience, they are ideal small pets—not too yappy, long lived and great companions that are very loyal to their people,” Morgan says. “They like to be with their people, often on a lap or close by, which makes them ideal pets for apartment dwellers and senior citizens.”
Maltese are also more tolerant to being carried than some other breeds, and they are fond of cuddling up to their person in bed or on the couch.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #2: Spaniels
Spaniels are very loyal to their people, always craving attention and love. “Cocker Spaniels in particular are often loyal to one person … If given the proper environment and interaction with all family members when they are young, they can enjoy lap time, sitting close and following people throughout their daily household tasks,” says Morgan.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are particularly affectionate and loyal among Spaniels and have been bred to be lap dogs for over 200 years, according to Morgan. “They enjoy being on a lap, sitting close by and sharing a bed with their people,” says Morgan. “They are generally wagging their tail and smiling when they meet new people, and seek eye contact and interaction with people.”
Cuddly Dog Valentine #3: Pugs
Morgan points out that Pugs like to sit close to their people and tend to prefer lounging over vigorous exercise—all perfect attributes in a Valentine’s Day dog companion. “They are compact but deceptively heavy, so they are not easy to lift or carry,” Morgan says. “Like some other breeds, they were bred in particular to warm people’s feet.”
Harrison Forbes, a dog trainer who has hosted radio pet shows and appeared on the CBS Morning Show, The Today Show and more agrees, adding that he’s never met a Pug he didn’t like. “They all seem to have bigger-than-life personalities,” Forbes says.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #4 Chihuahuas
You might not think of Chihuahuas as cuddly dogs, but their small and portable size means they can spend a great deal of time with their people, according to Morgan. “They love to sleep under the blankets with their people; in fact, they insist on it,” Morgan says.
They also really love to be on your lap, so if you’re spending your Valentine’s Day watching a movie on the couch, Chihuahuas might just be the ideal Valentine’s Day dogs. “This is a breed that has adapted to being picked up, and many are perfectly content being held for hours,” says Morgan.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #5: Herding Breeds
Herding dogs are active dogs who love to have a job—and part of that job includes taking care of you. “They indeed ‘herd’ their people all day and show great loyalty,” says Morgan. “And because they are so intelligent, they demand that you interact with them to play games and participate in dog sports like agility, dancing, hiking and herding, all of which creates an even greater bond between the dog and the person.” According to Morgan, when herding dogs are tired at day’s end, they just want to sit close to you.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #6: Great Danes
Don’t let their size fool you—Great Danes are some of the best lap dogs out there. “I have not known any that do not think they should be right on top of their person,” says Morgan. “They are easygoing and were bred originally as guard dogs, so they can be protective of their people, but most are friendly with most people.”
Want a cuddly dog as a couch companion on Valentine’s? A Great Dane will more likely take over the space next to you and probably use you as a pillow in the process.
Cuddly Dog Valentine #7: Shelter Mutt
Don’t be surprised if your rescued mutt turns out to be the most cuddly dog valentine you’ve ever met. “Many seem to know that they have been rescued and are very loyal to their people and very willing to do whatever is asked of them,” says Morgan. “My niece has a Ridgeback/Pit mix that weighs nearly 100 pounds and likes nothing more than to sleep wrapped in her person’s arms, hugging her back with her big paws.”
Forbes recommends choosing a dog that you make a love connection to. “I do believe that many have a genuine appreciation for their new status as a household member and revel in all the new-found attention,” Forbes says. Do keep in mind that some may not have known affection before and might need some time to adjust to all the snuggles and attention, says Forbes.
Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and adventurer who has written for National Geographic, DiscoveryChannel.com, Yahoo! and Marie Claire. Diana has lived in five countries and taken her rescued dogs along to each one of them.