What is a velcro dog? Do I have one?

When I think of the word “Velcro”, I think about the fabric material fasteners that are found in clothing or shoe straps that stick together.

If you know anything about Velcro, you will know that a Velcro fastener is essentially two pieces of plastic strips that adhere to each other. Is sticking by a human what the phrase ”Velcro dog” infers?

When I first heard the phrase Velcro dog, that was my assumption; that it refers to a dog that always sticks by your side. I found my assumption to be correct. A Velcro dog is simply a dog that is clingy to its human

Doberman dog lying on a white background

I first encountered the term Velcro dog during my research of the Doberman Pinscher. The Doberman is known as your typical Velcro dog. Initially, when I began to learn more about the Doberman, the Velcro dog phrase continued to appear in my research, so my inquisitive mind shifted into discovery mode with the aim to understand what exactly a Velcro dog is.

I assume that categorizing a dog’s behavioral disposition as being that of a Velcro dog is a relatively recent convention, especially because the phrase is associated with the Velcro fastener. Furthermore, the Velcro fastener was only invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, an engineer from Switzerland. You can find out more about Georges de Mestral and his Velcro invention here.

Put simply, a Velcro dog is a clingy dog. Clingy, I hear you say? Some people run a mile when they sense someone being too clingy. Some people meaning me. I’m not one for being overly reliant on another human being. I personally believe that mentally and physically able-bodied adult human beings should be able to be self-reliant and be able to find independent fulfillment while still maintaining strong social relationships. Slightly off-topic, I know, especially because this particular post is about canines. But I’m trying to make a point, and in no way would I expect a dog to run off and find fulfillment, then come back enlightened. That would be a sight to behold. Imagine an awakened, enlightened dog that is reflective and self-aware. LOL. The point I’m trying to make from my philosophical ramblings is that a dog can develop the tendency to be too clingy to its human; therefore, the application of the categorization of a Velcro dog.

What is a Velcro dog?

I’ve now come across many definitions of a Velcro dog, but my simple and non-expert interpretation of the behaviors and characteristics of Velcro is a dog who is always by your side. They will literally follow your every step to the extent that you have to be aware of where you step in case you stand on your doggo or he trips you up. Nice. Womansday.com does a really good job of capturing the behaviors of a canine that exhibits signs of Velcro dog syndrome.

Mixed race teenage girl using cell phone with chihuahua dog in bed

Now that we’ve established what a Velcro dog is, the next logical question should be something along the lines of, “Is having a Velcro dog a positive or negative thing?” To answer this question isn’t so simple, especially because the answer comes packed with numerous factors that should be considered, including the dog’s breed, the dog’s life history, the dog’s relationship with its human carers and other humans in general, the dog’s health, and so on. I’ll attempt to explore some of these factors in the following paragraphs.

What dogs are velcro dog breeds?

When I decided to get a dog, I had the Manchester terrier breed in mind as an option. I then became drawn to the Doberman Pinscher because it had a similar physical appearance to the Manchester terrier but is more intelligent and protective of its family. Now that I’ve discovered that the Visla is the ultimate Velcro dog, it means I have another breed to consider as an option. The reason is that the Hungarian Vizsla dog breed is such a beautiful dog, good around the family, and doesn’t share some of the temperamental concerns that I have with Doberman Pinscher. 

This is especially important because some of my extended family members are scared of dogs. Nevertheless, I think that all three breeds are elegantly gorgeous dogs that share many physical characteristics, but the Doberman and Vizsla are ultimate Velcro dogs. The videos below also do a very good job of listing other breeds that possess the natural Velcro dog trait.

10 common velcro dog breeds that won’t leave your side 

  • Vizsla

  • Pug

  • Golden Retriever

  • Border Collie

  • Maltese

  • Labrador Retriever

  • Australian Shepherd

  • Italian Greyhound

  • Doberman Pinscher

  • German Shepherd

  • Shetland Sheepdog


Difference between a Velcro dog and separation anxiety

In the earlier stage of trying to understand the concept of what it means to have a clingy dog, I remembered the fact that some dogs can and do suffer from separation anxiety. Read more about separation anxiety here on the Blue Cross website.

Separation anxiety in dogs can be summarized as when dogs exhibit anxious or unsettled behavior when they are left alone or are away from their human for lengthy periods of time. Based on this summary of what separation anxiety is, logically, you would assume that a clingy or Velcro dog would exhibit the behavior of separation anxiety when his favorite human is not around. Well, apparently not.

Based on the information I obtained from several sources, in particular, Puppyleaks.com, a dog that has been categorized as having separation anxiety will exhibit the behavior of panicking when his human or humans leave the house, or he is not in close proximity to his human. Whereas Velcro dog syndrome is demonstrated when a dog acts anxious when their favorite human is around. The dog always wants to be in close proximity to his human. When the difference is explained this way, it’s easy to consider why having an overly clingy dog monitoring your every step may not be a totally ideal situation to be in.

How and why does a dog become a Velcro dog

“They always have an eye on you and even anticipate when you may get up and move”

Seriously? The part about always having an eye on you sounds a little creepy. It’s like someone waiting for you to move before they make their next move. I’m curious to understand what must be going in a dog’s brain to trigger this unnatural Velcro-type behavior. Does this imply that some dogs who have the Velcro dog syndrome may not be 100 percent mentally conditioned to have a fulfilled existence without being in the presence of their humans every second of the day? Sure, some dog breeds like the Dobermann Pinscher and the Hungarian Vizsla have this Velcro attribute bred into their genes and are naturally inclined to be Velcro dogs, while other dogs can potentially develop extreme and concerning examples of this behavioral trait.

- Dog and teenage girl resting in the garden

The cause of dogs developing extreme examples of Velcro dog syndrome may not be so black and white, and there can potentially be many contributing factors. One example to consider is a dog who has experienced a tragic loss. Someone like me could adopt that dog. The dog could then develop emotional mechanisms that cause him to become clingy to me and overly dependent on my presence. This action is triggered by the dog’s desire to avoid and prevent the experience of emotions that are associated with permanent loss and could cause the dog to develop Velcro dog syndrome.

The Velcro behavior can also be triggered by health conditions that may have suddenly impacted the well-being of a dog. Such conditions can include the loss of sight or mobility. This sudden change in health and well-being can impact a dog in ways that cause them to feel safe or assured only when they are around their humans.

The Velcro dog syndrome can also develop as a result of constant affection and validation from the human, resulting in  the dog becoming dependent on it. Another potential contributing factor can occur because the dog has moved into a new home and is unfamiliar with the surroundings. These are just a few among a plethora of contributing factors to Velcro dog syndrome.

If a dog begins to display Velcro traits, and that’s not the dog’s natural or usual disposition, then it is possible that this behavior is occurring because of something the human is doing, or because of what some other significant human in his life has done, or because of a dramatic shift in the general well-being of the dog. Nevertheless, once you begin to notice the Velcro behaviors, you should seek a diagnosis from a veterinarian or professional trainer.

What some experts say about when it’s the human fault

I wrote about where dogs should sleep. My aim was to get an idea of how to prepare for bringing my dog home for the first time. I discovered that some people allow dogs to sleep in their beds, which I’m inclined to practice, but to each their own. Apparently, according to the American Kennel Club, if you let your dog sleep in your bed, then there is a possibility that you might be creating an attachment that causes your dog to feel that he has to be with you at all times. The article is titled “Why my dog follows me everywhere” and you can read it here. The ”Dog Whisperer” was right in this case. To sum up, as Cesar Millan, my favorite dog whisperer, puts it, “it’s never the dog.”

Is a Velcro dog good or bad thing?

I guess some people may enjoy having a dog that is constantly by their side, entangled into their every movement. The thought of the constant adulation and attention you get from your dog being engrossed with you must be an addictive, heartwarming feeling. But I personally think that too much of this may be unnecessary, although I also think that the breed of the dog will play a role. Lapdogs like Chihuahua and Pugs are so small that they would probably be carried around anyway, but big dogs becoming overly emotionally attached could potentially become overbearing for me personally.

According to the commentary in the video below, some cases of Velcro dog mean that a dog parent is unable to even go to the toilet without the dog following closely behind. Seriously!


The commentators in the video also mention the potential of Velcro dog syndrome leading to separation anxiety, which is what I also thought could be a side effect of a clingy dog. The takeaway from this video is that not every Velcro dog is going to escalate into a separation anxiety dog, and having a Velcro dog is not always ideal.

It’s insightful to understand people’s opinions. I found some forum posts that I think give insight at city-data.comforum comments about velcro dogs

Oh yes.. I swear I can’t go anywhere in the house or backyard without him attached at my hip! Sometimes just to mess with his mind I will run and hide somewhere… then watch him look for me, running all over the house like “where’d she go?” Even when I am in the bathroom.. he is laying right on the floor beside me… A little personal space, please!!

I’ve been taking care of a friend’s dog who is a Velcro Dog. She follows me everywhere, even into the bathroom. She follows me into the kitchen, she follows me into the garage. She follows me to the end of the driveway to get the mail, she follows me up the stairs. When I take a bath, she puts her paws up on the edge of the tub and watches me.

I have no problem with this, except for times I have to go somewhere, and then she holds me hostage with her separation anxiety. She is only six months old. Do they grow out of the separation anxiety? I often look at her and say, “Are you ever going to grow up?” Her answer is to stare at me like I am her lifeline. Read more from the city-data.com forum.

Having a Velcro dog is not always a good thing

After reading through these forum comments, I’ve come to the conclusion that unnatural Velcro dog syndrome is not an ideal situation for a dog to be in with their humans. Yes, dogs should be loyal and connected to their humans, but I think there should also be boundaries so that a dog can develop the necessary skills for socialization and independence.

Yes, some dogs are bred to be Velcro dogs and are bred for ultimate loyalty and closeness to their human. But I don’t think it is totally healthy for the dog and for the human. Some comments from the forum posts mentioned annoyance. Why should the Velcro condition or closeness with your dog be allowed to progress to the stage where it becomes impractical for dog and human to coexist?

In my opinion, Velcro syndrome can be detrimental for a dog because it means that the dog will only gain happiness and fulfillment when I’m around. This isn’t fair to a dog, because it is practically impossible for me to be around 24/7.

Velcro dogs can also become jealous. Just think of how a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend can act. Hold that thought. Yep, exactly. That’s how a Velcro dog can act but in a doggy way. This behavior might be detrimental if you have other dogs, as seen in the video clip below. Shasha becomes extremely clingy to the man of the dominant man in the home and competitive for his attention. These are some scary scenes. Wow! Growling, barking, fighting. No way. The funny part of this clip is the dog trying to fit into small spaces beside its human. The way dogs think and behave continues to intrigue and amaze me.


One of the best ways I saw a dog’s human deal with a clingy dog that was overly-attached to him was to, first of all, diagnose, then understand the issue. The husband of the home addressed the issue by entering the family home, then first giving attention to his wife before he gave attention to the dog. Prior to this change in the husband’s behavior, the husband would first give his attention to the family dog whenever he came home from work. After he was done with the dog, he would then go to kiss his wife and kids. When the husband changed his behavior, you could see in the dog’s behavior that the dog now perceived that a new human to dog dynamic was in play within the pack. Observing this allowed me to conclude that it is vital for a dog to know and be constantly aware of its place in the pack of a family dynamic.


Final thoughts

When I first set out to understand what is a Velcro dog? I aimed to learn about what behavior patterns dogs with this syndrome exhibit. What I’ve gathered after my findings is that, as cute and heartwarming as the thought of having a dog that is clingy and attentive to your every step, having a dog with the syndrome doesn’t seem as glorious as it sounds, especially because clingy behavior can become overbearing for me.

The causes of unnatural Velcro syndrome are not always black and white, yet it’s good to know that unnatural Velcro dog syndrome is treatable through training and toys, but ultimately, prevention is better than cure. And in this case, prevention is cheaper and less disruptive.

If you have any experience with this topic, please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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