Of all the breeds I have had the friendliest by far have been the speckled sussex and cochins.
The sussex follow us throughout the yard, allow all of my children and their friends to pick them up, eat out of their hand, will come up on their own to jump in your lap or sit on the porch swing with you. (in fact some of our Sussex are supreme lap jumpers and will take any opportunity to sit on you)
The silkies are mellow, calm, but do not run up to be held or jump in your lap if you are sitting down.
The australorps (black) and orpingtons, (buff and lavender) were all calm, would come up to be near you, didn't fuss when picked up up, but not as super snuggly as the sussex. the australorps in new england at least have been a little bit hardier and start laying a bit earlier than the orpingtons.
Jersey Giants were calm, friendly when handled as babies, but not overly social and my neighbour complained that they were unfriendly to his grandkids. Although I have no complaints about them, they are not a breed I will get again.
Barred rocks, white rocks, Buff rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Delawares, red sex links and comets I have had very mixed results, some friendly, some especially a barred rock hen or 10 have been mean. much more assertive in the coop when compared to the sussex, brahmas and australorps while others, especially a couple of the barred rocks, were very sweet.
Brahmas (light, dark, buff), steady and calm, friendly
Easter eggers, mostly friendly, but a little more independent, and flighty when compared to the extremely docile and calm orpingtons, brahmas and sussex
Polish, wyandottes, wellsummers, barnvelders, dominique's, sicilian buttercup, Andalusians, brown leghorns, silver spangled hamburgs, were neither overly friendly or mean, some were friendlier if handled more as babies.
The only chickens we have had trouble with have been a couple of really mean barred rock hens, A Malay rooster, one rhode Island red hen, old english game and campines. The campines were not very big, but the roosters would launch attack. the Old english both hens and roosters needed a lot more space to prevent aggression, and were never overly friendly, though the old english roosters were incredibly curious and bold. Fun to watch.
New this year will be Langshans, and Buckeyes. I am very much looking forward to the Langshans. My neighbour down the road aways has raised them for a couple of years now and loves their sweet temperment and chocolate brown eggs.
We have been doing chickens for 20+ years flocks ranging from 12 to 60 chickens.
We now maintain a steady flock of Speckled Sussex by far our favourite with their sweet temperment, good foraging ability, cold weather tolerant and they seem to genuinely enjoy playing with my children. We also add variety with other breeds to keep it interesting. favourites include brown leghorns and Easter eggers for mixed colour eggs, and brahmas and silkies for beauty and broodiness.
If anyone has suggestions on fun breeds to try, please let me know, the family is always interested to try new breeds.