The most loyal dog breeds in the UK

The appeal of dogs is that they are loyal creatures. However, for first-time owners it can be difficult to know which breed would suit them and their lifestyle best, particularly if you have busy work schedules or small children to consider.

With this in mind, the Go Walkies team have put together a list of loyal dog breeds for review, including insight into their personalities and top tips for daily care:


These large, double coated dogs originate from ancient Japan, and are symbols of happiness, good health, and a long life. Famous for their courage and loyalty, Akitas can make the perfect guard dog.

Depending on their gender, adult Akitas can weigh anywhere between 23 and 39kg. The large, independent-thinking dog is hardwired for protecting those they love, and ideally, they should be well socialized with people and other dogs.

Generally, Akitas are relatively clean and don’t require extensive grooming, however, their thick coat should be brushed at least once a week to look its best. They shed minimally most of the time, but their dense undercoat will ‘blow’ twice a year, so you’re likely to find clumps of fur around the house. During this time, it helps to brush them more frequently to get rid of the dead coat.

While they tend to be wary of other animals, Akitas are actually quite silly and eager to please. They are more than happy to share their affectionate side with family and friends and thrive on human companionship.


Beagles are very loyal companions, as well as great hunting dogs. Originating in the UK, these hounds were bred to hunt in packs, so they enjoy company and are generally easy going.

Adult Beagles can weigh between 9 and 11kg. They have a smooth, dense double coat that gets heavier in the winter, which means spring is shedding season. To remove loose hair and promote new growth, brush them weekly with a medium bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt or tool, or a hound glove.

The appeal of Beagles is in their happy-go-lucky nature, and their cute pleading expression. They are lovable and loving in return, qualities that make them excellent family dogs. However, Beagles are curious, clever, and energetic, so they require plenty of exercise and playtime.


These dogs may look fierce, but with their loyalty, intelligence, affection and work ethic, they are the whole four-legged package. Boxers come from Germany, and a male can stand as high as an impressive 64cm at the shoulder.

Their short, shiny coat requires little grooming, and a good once over with a rubber curry brush or hound glove once or twice a week will suffice. It’s important to note that Boxers don’t have a high tolerance for extreme heat or cold and should be kept inside the house as a family dog.

Boxers are playful, high-energy dogs, needing ample exercise and mental stimulation every day. Traditionally bred as a chaser of wild game, Boxers should be kept on the lead when walking, and will need constant reminders to stay down from a young age. Due to their powerful and playful nature, they may not be the best choice for a frail adult or a small child that could be overwhelmed.


They may be small enough to fit in your handbag, but chihuahuas have a huge personality. A national symbol of Mexico, they are one of the oldest breeds of the Americas, with a lineage going back to the ancient kingdoms of pre-Columbian times.

Chihuahuas are generally healthy, and these tiny dogs can weigh between 1.5 and 3kg. But there are some genetic issues that can affect them, including potential heart problems, eye disease, and patellar luxation [loose kneecaps]. Idiopathic epilepsy is also known to occur in the breed.

The coat type of your chihuahua will depend on their grooming needs. A smooth coat chihuahua will only need occasional brushing and regular baths to look dapper, while the long-haired variety should be brushed at least once a week to avoid tangles. You should also check their ears regularly and remove excess wax or debris to avoid ear infections.

Chihuahua possesses loyalty, charm, and a big-dog attitude. They require proper training, or these intelligent dogs will quickly rule the roost. They are ideal pets for city dwellers but are far too small for lots of roughhousing with children. Short, slow walks will keep your chihuahua in tip top condition, but their short legs can make it hard to keep up, so if they start to pant, carry them home to avoid over-exertion.


These majestic dogs are one of the world’s most popular dog breeds. The rough coat variety boasts and impressive coat, while the smooth variety’s coat is subtler but no less satisfying. Collies are very patient with children and make wonderful family pets.

Of the two Collie breeds, the standard requires less physical exercise than a Border Collie, and a walk once or twice a day combined with a little family playtime will be enough. In contrast, the Border Collie is high-energy and wiry, built for fast turns and speed while herding, meaning they will need much more exercise and playtime to provide the stimulation they need.

Smooth coated Collies require regular grooming as they have a double coat, and the undercoat needs brushing out during shedding periods. Rough coated Collies should be brushed regularly, with particular attention paid behind the ears and elbows to avoid matting.

Collies are people dogs and want to be with their owners first and foremost. These athletic dogs thrive on companionship and regular exercise, and with gentle training, they learn happily and rapidly. Their loyalty and sterling character are the stuff of legend, and they are thought to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

German Shepherd

Weighing anywhere between 22 and 40kg, German Shepherds are large, agile, muscular dogs that are highly intelligent. They are confident, loyal, and courageous, but their defining attribute is their ability to learn commands, and their willingness to put their life on the line to defend their owners.

They have a medium length double coat, consisting of a dense, harsh, and close-lying outer coat with a softer undercoat. It’s easy to maintain, usually requiring a quick brush through every few days to help remove loose hairs. However, they do shed profusely once or twice a year, and during this period, more frequent brushing will help control the amount of hair you find around the house.

The German Shepherd requires plenty of physical exercise for physical and mental wellbeing, as when they’re not walked enough, they can become frustrated and potentially develop unwanted behaviours. These loyal dogs will form a strong bond with their owners and be great family pets and steadfast guardians.

Golden Retriever

‘Scottish gundogs’, Golden Retrievers are serious workers at hunting and field work, guides for the blind, and in search and rescue. They enjoy obedience and competitive events, and have an endearing love of life when not working.

These sturdy, medium sized dogs are famous for the dense, lustrous coat that gives them their name. They heavily shed this water-repellent double coat once or twice a year, and more moderately on a regular basis. A good brush with a slicker brush once or twice a week will remove much of the dead hair, but during times of heavy shedding grooming should become daily.

Golden Retrievers need plenty of exercise. They can make great companions on long runs and bike rides but consult with your vet before taking them on high-impact strenuous activities, as this can cause stress to their bones and joints. They are joyous and playful, and this puppyish nature will continue throughout adulthood, making them great dogs for children.

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees may look similar to a Golden Retriever, but these thickly coated, powerful dogs were bred to deter sheep-stealing predators on snowy mountains, weighing as much as 54kg. Today, Pyrs are mellow companions and vigilant guard dogs for the home and family. The breed is not highly active, so moderate exercise, such as a walk once or twice a day will suffice.

Some cancers occur in the breed, as well as bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach suddenly distends and sometimes twists. All Pyr owners should educate themselves to know the signs of bloat, and what to do should it happen.

Despite their thick coat, they don’t require large amounts of grooming. Their double coat is dirt and tangle resistant, and their long outercoat covers a soft undercoat. They will shed with great enthusiasm, particularly in the spring, so a thorough brushing with a pin brush or slicker brush once a week will help them look their best.

Labrador Retriever

The lovable Labrador Retrievers are outgoing and friendly, and these high spirited companions have more than enough affection to go around the whole family. Their thick, water-repellent double coat tends to shed, so give them occasional baths in order to keep clean and remove dead hair.

Weighing between 25 and 36kg, Labs are exuberant and energetic, and they need lots of exercise every day in order to stay happy and healthy. These retrievers love swimming and games of fetch, and also do very well with agility and obedience.

They are famously friendly and make ideal household companions who bond with the whole family, as well as being sociable with other dogs and humans. With their physical strength and high energy levels, early socialisation and training is a must.


Don’t be fooled by the Rottweiler’s fierce exterior, because these dogs are gentle playmates and a great protector of the family. When trained well, they will be calm and confident, but while they appear aloof in nature, Rottweilers will save their kind-hearted, silly nature for their loved ones.

Rottweilers have a course, straight medium length outer coat, with an undercoat present on their neck and thighs. They shed moderately throughout the year but will shed profusely up to twice a year. Occasional baths will help get rid of excess hair and dirt.

Rottweilers love swimming and walking, especially with their owners, and these athletic, muscular dogs need the opportunity to exercise on a regular basis to expel any extra energy.

Yorkshire Terrier

Small and dainty Yorkshire Terriers are not to be underestimated, as they once earned their living as ratters in mines and mills long before they became a loving lapdog. These toy dogs don’t tend to weigh more than 5kg, and their crowning glory is their glossy, sometimes floor length coat.

Yorkshire Terriers can be susceptible to conditions such as eye anomalies and a luxating patella. To help avoid the latter, owners should limit the dog’s jumping height, especially as a puppy. Their coat is very similar to human hair, and if kept long it should be brushed daily. Weekly baths are recommended to keep their coat in top condition. To avoid eye irritation, hair on their head should be trimmed short or tied back.

Tenacious and sometimes bossy, these dogs show all the typical traits of a terrier, but they are full of love and can make very good little watchdogs. Yorkshire Terriers will benefit from short walks twice a day with their owner, as well as short bursts of activity, such as a game of fetch or a run around the garden.


These dogs may be popular due to their remarkable loyalty, but it’s worth noting that any dog can be the most loyal dog if that loyalty is earned by their owners. As long as you give them the necessary training and care, the bond between owner and dog will be formed with patience and love, giving you and your family the most loyal dog.

If you have any questions about caring for your dog, or about a particular breed of dog, email the Go Walkies team at

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