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As more and more households get dogs, many new dog owners may be wondering what type of dog is perfect for their home and lifestyle. People have their own unique personalities and interests, as do dogs. For a happy and healthy household, it’s important that those personalities match up as much as possible.
One of the biggest things to think about when considering getting a new dog is their level of neediness and clinginess. Some owners really love having a cuddly dog who wants to constantly be by their side, whereas other owners want a dog who is more independent and less interested in cuddle sessions. So, which dog breeds don’t like to cuddle?
While it’s best to look at the individual dog and their unique personality and interest, or disinterest in cuddling, there are some breeds of dogs, such as the Tibetan Mastiff, Borzoi, Chow Chow, and Shiba Inu among others who are generally more independent than other breeds and aren’t as interested in cuddling with their owners.
In the article below, we’ll look at 8 dog breeds and 3 dog breed groups that are generally considered independent and disinterested in cuddle sessions with their owners. We’ll also discuss how it’s important to look at the individual dog and their history when determining if they are the right fit for you and your lifestyle.
8 Dog Breeds That Don’t Like To Cuddle
It is important to remember that each dog is an individual and there are many variables that could affect their interest in cuddling, even if they are one of the breeds listed below. Genetics, upbringing, health, training, and socialization all play a role in a dog’s interest or tolerance to cuddling.
Alternatively, some dog breeds that are traditionally very cuddly with their owners may have individuals in those breeds who have no interest in it, or who may seem to “get tired” of their owners and decrease their level of affection. Sometimes, the opposite is true and a dog who previously wasn’t interested in cuddling is now showing an interest in it.
So, let’s take a closer look at these breeds!
1. Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is a noble and ancient breed stemming from China. These dogs have a reputation for being aloof and snobby with all but their owners, whom they adore first and foremost.
While their loyalty to their owners is fierce, they don’t generally enjoy cuddling but some can be known to seek out affection and interaction from their owners in other ways.
They are an adaptable breed and can do well in a variety of environments, and are great for owners who like independent, intelligent dogs with a slight stubborn streak.
2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
A lesser-known member of the Retriever family, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also one of the less cuddly Retrievers. While they are affectionate with their family members, they tend to be a little more aloof and standoffish than a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever.
They are more independent, and their loyalty lies with their owners and families rather than those outside of the household. They can be emotionally complex and may not always take kindly to cuddle sessions unless they are the ones who initiate them.
If you are looking for a hardworking, confident dog who has a good balance of an independent and affectionate nature, then the Chessie might be the perfect choice for you.
3. Chinese Shar-Pei
The unique Shar-Pei is another ancient Chinese breed who, like the Chow Chow, is considered an independent dog.
Shar-Peis are fiercely loyal to their families, and they can excel in a variety of activities from scent work to therapy work. They can be aloof (especially towards strangers) and if you are lucky enough to get a cuddle session, it will be on the Shar-Pei’s terms and not yours!
4. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inus are a popular breed of dog hailing from Japan, and their image is often referenced in pop culture and popular meme groups. These intelligent but quirky dogs are loyal and fun-loving with their owners and families, but they do have an independent streak.
They are often compared to cats and foxes and are a very versatile and adaptable breed of dog. Like cats, they tend to be the ones to control a cuddle session, including when it happens and how long it goes on.
These fun dogs are a great choice for households that want a dog with a unique personality!
5. Alaskan Malamute
A working dog whose history lies in sled pulling, the Alaskan Malamute is much more reserved than their look-a-like, the Siberian Husky.
Malamutes are friendly and affectionate with their owners and families but can show reservation towards strangers (unlike the Husky, who tends to be a goofball with everyone).
They are much calmer than other Spitz-type dogs, too, and may prefer shorter cuddle sessions that are less physical and more just hanging out with their owners.
Their calmness makes them a good choice for a variety of households, but they may not make the best cuddlers if you are looking for a clingier dog (though their ample floof sure makes cuddling tempting!).
Intelligent but stubborn, the Basenji is quite the character! These dogs, which are still used today as hunting dogs in their native Africa, are joyful little dogs who crave their independence.
They can be loving with their owners, but they are not clingy and may take offense to an owner who tries to cuddle too much. Basenjis are fun dogs and are ideal for owners who are patient and willing to put in the work to train them.
One of (if not the) most regal dog breeds, the Borzoi is an aristocratic member of the sighthound family, which also includes the Greyhound and Irish Wolfhound.
These beautiful dogs are intelligent but not as affectionate as other sighthounds. Borzois are independent and tend to keep to themselves rather than engage in cuddling sessions with their owners.
They can be very affectionate with their families, though this may look different than what some people think of when determining if their dog “loves” them or not.
8. Tibetan Mastiff
Last (but certainly not least) is the mighty Tibetan Mastiff. These primitive dogs are considered one of the largest breeds in the world, and they are traditionally used as livestock guardians and farm protection.
Their size is their most identifying characteristic; however, these fiercely protective dogs are not for the faint of heart.
They are considered one of the most independent dog breeds out there, and it is unlikely you’d ever be able to engage in a cuddle session with them. They are loyal to their owners, but their instincts are generally their highest priority.
3 Dog Breed Groups That Don’t Like To Cuddle
Working dogs, such as many farm dogs and hunting dogs, may show disinterest in cuddling as they were specifically bred for the work they are doing, and they generally take those jobs very seriously.
Dogs who come from breeding lines that are more geared towards pets rather than specific jobs may be more inclined to cuddle.
It’s important to take breed standards into account when looking for a new four-legged friend, but it is equally important to really pay attention to the dog in front of you to get the full picture of their personality and interest (or disinterest) in cuddle sessions.
9. Livestock Guardian Breeds
Livestock guardians are dogs that have been specifically bred to help monitor and protect livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle. These are true working dogs who have a “9-5” job (and even beyond, in many cases!).
Common livestock guardian breeds include the Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, Komondor, and Kuvasz. While these dogs may be friendly with their family, they take their job seriously and often feel more comfortable being off by themselves so that they can do their jobs properly.
Most of them can be very gentle with family members and can be affectionate, but they generally aren’t keen on cuddling with their owner on the couch.
10. Hounds Of All Kinds
Many dogs with the hound group are independent by nature, and their interest is often in whatever scent they are tracking rather than the cuddling needs of their owner.
While there are exceptions to some of these hound dogs (such as the Basset Hound, which tends to be more affectionate than other hound breeds), most of these dogs will only tolerate very short cuddle sessions and many are content with other forms of affection from their owners.
Working hounds that are actively being used in kennels are also much less likely to be interested in cuddling sessions, whereas hounds that have been brought up as pets might be more inclined to cuddle on the couch with their owner.
11. Wolfdogs And Coydogs
While these two “breeds” are not really breeds at all, they do exist, and neither are known as being cuddly due to their wilder instincts.
Wolf hybrids and coyote hybrids, depending on their content levels, can be extremely aloof and independent. They do better with other dogs and hybrids rather than with people.
In many states and countries, it is illegal to own these dogs, and even if it is legal there are many ethical considerations regarding the ownership of these dogs.
These are not the dogs for you if you are interested in an easy to care for, cuddly, friendly dog. Many people purchase these dogs thinking that they are more dog than wolf or coyote, but the unpredictability of these dogs is what usually causes them to be surrendered to shelters or conservation rescues.
Again, it is important to remember that every dog is an individual and there may be some dogs within these breeds that are actually very affectionate with their owners and enjoy cuddling sessions.
Similarly, there may be dogs of other friendlier dog breeds who do not enjoy cuddling.
Each dog has their own personality and boundaries when it comes to physical contact, and those boundaries should always be respected.