By Kathy Blumenstock
If you’d rather be on the go than sit and stay, then you might be looking for an extroverted, active dog breed to match your extroverted personality. There are plenty of friendly dog breeds who’d happily share your adventures with tail-wagging enthusiasm.
Dr. Mary Burch, DVM, director of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program, emphasizes that there are many things to think about when adding a dog to your household. “Some of the main factors to consider are activity level (in the house), exercise needs, size, coat (how much grooming), trainability or suitability for a particular sport, and compatibility with children or other pets,” she says.
Vivian Leven, certified dog trainer/behavior consultant and owner of Positive Dog Solutions in Washington, DC, adds that for an extrovert, “Dog ownership can provide the opportunity to meet a lot of different people and socialize on a regular basis, through dog sports, other dog-related activities, regular walks or dog parks.”
Here are some friendly dog breeds that can make great companions for extroverts, but keep in mind that every dog is unique.
Perennial winner of hearts, this medium/large dog breed has a sweet expression and is America’s most popular dog, according to the American Kennel Club. “Most of them tend to be active, pretty friendly and forgiving,” says Dr. Leslie Sinn, veterinary behaviorist and certified professional trainer of Behavior Solutions for Pets in Leesburg, Virginia. “They are a good match for someone who wants to go to an event or on hikes, or wants a dog that’s willing to respond.”
Leven describes the Labrador Retriever as “friendly, affectionate and playful.” With a coat in chocolate, yellow or black, the easy-going Labrador is full of energy and is a natural swimmer and runner. Most Labrador Retrievers are as social as politicians in an election year and get along well with other dogs as well as family members.
Described as devoted, intelligent and outgoing, the Golden Retriever has a dense coat and feathery tail along with a pleasant facial expression. A family-friendly dog breed, Golden Retrievers are “very playful, affectionate and soft,” says Leven. “They are a ‘hey, how ya doin’, can you play with me’ breed of dog, eager to please,” says Dr. Sinn. “A [Golden is a] dog who’s willing to respond. There’s a reason those dogs [Labradors and Golden Retrievers] are so popular.”
Bred in Scotland to retrieve waterfowl, Golden Retrievers are energetic swimmers and highly trainable; many work as service dogs for people with disabilities. The Golden Retriever’s joyous demeanor communicates his love of life and the humans in it, whether they’re family or friends he hasn’t met yet.
The Boxer is medium/large dog breed that is blessed with a patient, demonstrative temperament. Lively and loving, their protective instincts make them natural family guardians, yet Boxers are very social when they grow up with a circle of human and animal friends.
With a smooth, graceful stride and distinctive square muzzle, this short-coated beauty thrives on daily workouts and “is always up to any activity the humans can come up with,” says Leven. “A Boxer is a bundle of energy who is always playful.” His dark, wrinkly jowls are a vivid contrast to his close-growing coat, which comes in shades of fawn or brindle and needs only an occasional brushing.
A pint-size version of a traditional Bulldog, with the added feature of those standing-at-attention bat ears, the Frenchie makes an easy choice for a canine BFF. Compact and muscular, French Bulldogs do not require a great deal of exercise, but still like getting out and about. “They love attention,” Leven says. “They’re affectionate and highly playful.”
A petite, short-haired breed with a brachycephalic muzzle, aka flat face, the French Bulldog is alert but not very vocal, making him an ideal apartment dog. His coat variations range from white to red to black or a mix of other colors and white. The Frenchie’s easy sociability and delight in making new friends has made him a popular breed for families and single-owner households alike.
Petite and alert, with a shaggy silhouette and bright eyes, the Cairn Terrier hails from Scotland, where his role was policing vermin. Today’s Cairn Terrier is an endearing and loving breed that revels in closeness with his favorite people and their pursuits.
“All Terriers are outgoing, high-energy, active breeds, but the Cairn is a pretty good choice; energetic but not overwhelmingly so,” says Dr. Sinn. The Cairn typically tops out around 10 inches in height and wears a double coat with rough, wiry hair topping a silky underlayer.
With the stamina for a good round of play and the desire to curl up on a comfy lap afterward, the Cairn Terrier is an easy companion for a busy day. One famous Cairn Terrier we all know is Toto, who made an excellent companion for Dorothy on her journey through Oz.
Both the Cardigan Welsh Corgi (with a tail like a long-sleeve cardigan sweater) and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (the variety favored by Queen Elizabeth) are short-legged, large-eared herders who “enjoy the outdoors and meeting people,” says Dr. Burch.
The Corgi is athletic and affectionate—a sturdy, low-set breed that is a vigilant, interested watchdog. Their coats vary in color from the most often seen variations of red to tricolor (black with tan patches) to the striking blue merle (gray/black mix), all of them adorned with white markings. Corgis enjoy the mental and physical stimulation of competition and games, as well as the companionship of others.