From the energetic and pint-sized Chihuahua to the docile 150- to 250-pound English Mastiff, all dogs make excellent companions. They bring an unparalleled level of joy to a person’s life by providing him or her with a lifelong friend. Big or small, dogs make the perfect companions for the following reasons.

Dogs Are Always Happy to See Their Owner

Whether an owner has been away for a week or just a few hours, his or her dog will probably be eagerly awaiting their return by the front door. Dogs are always happy to see their owner, with many barking and wagging their tail when they hear their owner’s car pulling into the driveway.

Dogs Are Funny

Dogs do some funny things that are sure to put a smile on their owner’s face. A dog may bury and horde his treats under the couch, for example, instead of eating them. Some dogs even play by chasing their tail around in circles. These priceless moments make owning a dog well worth the commitment, but this is just one of many reasons dogs make great companions.

Dogs Lower Stress Levels

Studies have shown that people who own dogs are less stressed than their counterparts who do not. Just petting a dog causes a near-instant biochemical reaction in the body that’s characterized by lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. People who raise and live with dogs experience this daily. And with lower cortisol levels, owners and their families can enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.

Dogs Enjoy Cuddling

While some breeds do it more than others, most dogs enjoy cuddling with their owner. An owner may wake in the morning to discover his or her dog sleeping by their head. Dogs will also position themselves in their owner’s lap to take a midday nap.

Dogs Encourage Physical Activity

A benefit of owning a dog that many people overlook is increased physical activity. Depending on the breed and age, most dogs need about 30 minutes to one hour of exercise each day. Owners who walk and play with their dog outside will reap the benefits of increased physical activity and better health.

The decision to own a dog is a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. For individuals looking for a devoted new companion, however, a dog is the perfect fit.