13 Least Affectionate Dog Breeds

Dogs are renowned for being affectionate, loyal, and people-pleasing, but is that always the case?

Not all breeds are as affectionate as you think and can often surprise their owners by being aloof.

Here is our list of the top 13 least affectionate dog breeds.

1. Border Terrier

a Border Terrier looking at the camera

The Border Terrier is a well-established dog breed and is often considered as a pet by dog owners. While Border Terriers are enthusiastic, energetic, and passionate, they are not as affectionate as other breeds [1]. It’s not in their disposition to show affection even when they are zooming around from one place to another.

However, with a competent pet owner, it’s possible to make sure they realize the hierarchy. As long as they are aware of this hierarchy, they are willing to co-exist with the dog owner and remain loyal.

This is one of the reasons many dog owners get confused during the earlier days of owning a Border Terrier. It’s not always as straightforward as you want it to be but the eventual relationship can be rewarding.

2. Chinese Shar-Pei

a sleeping shar pei

The wrinkles are easy to spot and can make them an intriguing option for dog owners.

The Chinese Shar-Pei is all about protection and can often do well when it comes to hunting prey or guarding someone. While these personality traits are great in some situations, they also make them closed off to anyone around them.

They are always in this protective mode and this mindset gets in the way of their ability to show affection [2].

With the Chinese Shar-Pei, it’s all about understanding what they’re good at and putting them in the right position to succeed. They are not going to show a tremendous amount of affection such as lounging on the couch with you but loyalty is never an issue.

They are well-aware of who they need to protect and keep this in mind with everything they do.

3. Bloodhound

a side profile of the bloodhound

The Bloodhound is a unique dog breed because it doesn’t mind showing a bit of affection. While it does offer affection to its owner, the Bloodhound isn’t always fond of doing it to others. Instead, it prefers to remain as independent as possible and will often roam around looking for new things to do or experience [3].

This is a common trait in Bloodhounds because that’s what they are best at. They love to track and this is often a job requiring independent work.

If you put a Bloodhound in the right position, they will be more than happy to track around the area without supervision.

This is something other breeds aren’t capable of doing. While these qualities are great for their job, it’s also something that takes away from their ability to display affection to everyone.

4. Saluki

a Saluki dog

When it comes to moving around and showing a sense of excitement, the Saluki is a great dog breed. It manages to do a lot throughout the day and is a common breed seen in the Middle East. While this dog doesn’t make a lot of noise and tends to stay on its own, they do things as they please [4].

This means if they are going to show affection, it has to be done based on how they feel. Sometimes, a dog owner may walk up to this breed and get ignored.

It’s important to give the Saluki as much space as possible for the bond to be a successful one. It takes time to adapt to this breed but it becomes easier after a while.

5. Kerry Blue Terrier

a Kerry Blue Terrier peeks over a rock

This dog breed is all about energy and will do anything to move around as much as possible.

You have to stay active to keep a Kerry Blue Terrier content or they are going to make quite the mess. Due to this high amount of energy, they tend to stay happy and don’t mind going out for adventures from time to time [5].

If you aren’t able to keep up with this, the Kerry Blue Terrier can start to act out.

This makes them difficult to please as dog owners and they tend to stop showing signs of affection when displeased. This is why dog owners have to be careful as to how they take care of a Kerry Blue Terrier.

6. Pekingese

a Pekingese sits in the park

They are highlighted as a smaller dog breed but have always held a special space among the Chinese.

They have a long history in the country and are often noted as one of the first dog breeds in Asia. While this is a traditional and well-appreciated dog breed, it’s also one of the least affectionate ones too.

The dog breed is cited for being independent and doesn’t like interacting with people if it doesn’t have to. Only the closest people in its circle gain the ability to come close to the dog and it takes a long time to do so [6].

7. Shih-Tzu

a shih tzu sits on the floor

This is one of the more popular dog breeds among modern dog owners. However, this doesn’t mean it’s an easy dog breed to maintain and it can often be hostile depending on the situation.

Some Shih-Tzus have been known to have a short temper and will often react if things don’t go their way. This makes it doubly important to have experience working with dogs before moving forward with one [7].

A quality dog owner can get the most out of this breed but it takes time. Even in the best of situations, they will refuse to show affection until it is in their best interest.

8. Silky Terrier

a Silky Terrier in the back yard

With an intriguing name, the Silky Terrier is an outstanding dog breed and has one of the more calming personalities among its counterparts.

While the dog is easy-going from an emotional perspective, it doesn’t show a tremendous amount of affection either. It prefers staying out of the way and doesn’t look for attention [8].

9. Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terrier

Known for being associated with the Tibetan Monks, the Tibetan Terrier is quite the breed and works well with people [9].

However, it also tends to feel protective of its own, which means its rarely affectionate towards strangers.

10. Irish Setter

a sad looking Irish Setter

This is a wonderful dog breed because of its underlying patience and ability to understand what’s going on. As a result, the Irish Setter has often been associated with working as a gun dog while remaining loyal to its owner. While the Irish Setter does remain loyal throughout its life, there’s not a lot of affection from the breed [10].

It would rather roam around and remain on its own for long periods.

This makes it easier to manage for those who don’t want to be around their dog all the time. When it does want to engage, the dog will be more than happy to interact.

11. Great Pyrenees

a Great Pyrenees stares off into the distance

When it comes to their defining feature, it starts with the overall size. This is a massive dog breed and it has quite the presence.

They tend to stay loyal to their owners but will often show signs of protectiveness, which take away from their ability to stay affectionate. The Great Pyrenees will generally like the idea of being on their own and will wander away if necessary [11].

This is a part of the breed’s personality and it’s something the Great Pyrenees is going to show at different points.

It’s better to let them do their own thing and not expect affection. The breed doesn’t like to stay in one place for long and this makes it harder to lounge with them or to keep them closeby.

12. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Being sociable is not an issue with the West Highland White Terrier.

It is one of the more sociable breeds in the world and does a good job of staying active throughout the day. This terrier also doesn’t mind being around humans, but the issues start to crop up when compared to other breeds.

This is still a far more reserved breed when it comes to showing affection. As long as there is a strong relationship between the dog owner and dog, it’s possible to show some signs of affection. Otherwise, the dog doesn’t engage as much and maintains its distance for the most part.

This can vary from dog to dog but is generally seen in the West Highland White Terrier.

To get more out of this dog breed, it’s important to start training them at an early age. This training should be done alongside other dogs for maximum socialization.

13. French Bulldog

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a mesmerizing breed and is often noted for being a wonderful indoor dog. It is more than willing to relax in one spot and can spend hours there without moving. However, this laziness also translates into other parts of the breed’s life because it doesn’t want to listen as willingly [13].

The French Bulldog will become stubborn and refuse to listen when it doesn’t feel like it. This can make it tough to get the dog to do as you want it to and obedience training becomes a significant hurdle.

Due to this stubborn approach to human interaction, they are also one of the least affectionate dog breeds in the world.

This becomes apparent over time, especially when appropriate training isn’t encouraged from a young age. It’s important to pursue customized training sessions to make sure the French Bulldog is prepared and doesn’t become set in its ways.


These are the 13 least affectionate dog breeds and why their personalities are not in line with what people expect from their dogs. It’s important to understand how these breeds behave before making the effort to bring one into your home.

Some don’t mind having a dog breed like this while others do. It’s smart to understand what you want as a dog owner before moving forward with the investment.


  1. Border Terrier, Dog Time. Retrieved at https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/border-terrier
  2. Jesse Feldman, THE SHAR-PEI TEMPERAMENT: PERSONALITY AND TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS, PetRx. Retrieved at https://www.petcarerx.com/article/the-shar-pei-temperament-personality-and-training-considerations/2788
  3. Bloodhound Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits, Hill’s. Retrieved at https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/dog-breeds/bloodhound
  4. Michele Welton, Salukis: What’s Good About ‘Em, What’s Bad About ‘Em, Your Purebred Puppy. Retrieved at https://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/salukis.html
  5. Kerry Blue Terrier, American Kennel Club. Retrieved at https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/kerry-blue-terrier/
  6. Pekingese, Vet Street. Retrieved at http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/pekingese
  7. Shih Tzu Temperament and Personality, Canna-Pet. Retrieved at https://canna-pet.com/shih-tzu-temperament-personality/
  8. Getting to Know The Silky Terrier Temperament (Friendly, Inquisitive, Alert) Plus More, Dog Temperament. Retrieved at dogtemperament.com/silky-terrier-temperament/
  9. Primitivedogs Team, Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed Info And Characteristics. Retrieved at https://primitivedogs.com/tibetan-terrier-breed-characteristics/
  10. Irish Setter, Dogster. Retrieved at https://www.dogster.com/dogbreed/irish-setter
  11. Great Pyrenees, PetMD. Retrieved at https://www.petmd.com/dog/breeds/c_dg_great_pyrenees
  12. Team Petcarerx, CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER (WESTIE) The Personality of a West Highland White Terrier, PetcareRx. Retrieved at https://www.petcarerx.com/article/characteristics-of-the-west-highland-white-terrier-westie/462
  13. Tom, French Bulldog Temperament and Personality, Our Frenchie. Retrieved at https://ourfrenchie.com/french-bulldog-temperament-and-personality/
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