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Calmest Dog Breeds for Like-Minded People

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Do you prefer the quieter side of life? Is your ideal afternoon one spent reading a book or working on a sketch? Maybe you need as few demands on your time as possible. You’re still a dog-lover, but a boisterous, active breed doesn’t suit your lifestyle. One of the calmest dog breeds fits the bill perfectly, blending seamlessly into your daily routine.

What Breeds Can Be Considered Calm?

The calmest dog breeds earned their reputation over years of careful conditioning. They often come from the Herding and Toy Groups – something that may surprise people. That peaceful nature developed into a less reactive personality. Rather than responding to new stimuli by barking, lunging, or growling, they appraise things with a measured stare. If you consider their history, this makes perfect sense.

Herders

The Herding Group produces some of the calmest dog breeds. Though large in stature, these dogs evolved a close bond with their human counterparts. Canines such as Bernese Mountain Dogs spent long hours watching over their flocks AND humans. It’s a task the dogs perform today (though their herds have often dwindled in size to their families).

Think about it: a dog that panics or startles at every sound makes for a poor shepherd. Herders needed a level-headed, calm breed to watch over their flocks. That stoic demeanor persists to this day.

Lapdogs

On the smaller side of the spectrum, the Toy Group features many of the calmest dog breeds. These portable canine companions graced the laps of royalty throughout history. The delicate Maltese pranced through many portraits, that showy white coat as regal as you could ask.

No monarch wanted a nervous pile of fur trembling and yapping at every person who entered the throne room. They needed dogs that held the same aloof manner they did. These small breeds kept the important role of confidante and lap warmer. It’s a task they continue for many people (complete with the royal airs).

Who Needs Calm?

The calmest dog breeds don’t suit everyone. If you want an active companion to accompany you on your training regime, these laid-back dogs won’t suit your lifestyle. While calm doesn’t translate to lazy (calm dogs STILL need regular exercise), none of these dogs are super athletes. And you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re hoping these hounds might guard the house while you’re away. Odds are they’ll take note of the intruder and go back to snoozing.

Who DO calm dog breeds appeal to?

  • Families with small children
  • People with disabilities
  • Those with slower lifestyles

Just keep one fact in mind when you start looking into one of these calm dog breeds: ALL puppies have boundless energy. That level-headed demeanor won’t settle in until they get past the puppy stage. If you need the calmest dog possible, consider bringing an adult in and skip the insanity of training a puppy. Adopting an adult rescue may be the best answer for you in this case.

Calmest Dog Breeds: Small Dogs

Bichon Frise Breed

If you’re interested in taking advantage of that regal lapdog heritage, one of these smaller breeds might suit your needs. They represent the calmest dog breeds in the smallest packages. Content to dissolve into furry puddles on your lap, you’ll find a sweet cuddle companion for life. Don’t skimp on those daily walks, though – you don’t want an obese dog weighing down your knees.

  • Bichon Frise: While Bichons have a clownish reputation, they’re also one of the most easy-going dog breeds. With a hypoallergenic coat, they also WON’T irritate anyone in the household with dog allergies, making them one of the calmest dog breeds on all counts. They do well with children, other pets (including cats!), and small spaces.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Cavaliers read the emotional needs of their owners. This means they pick up on your need for a calming cuddle on the couch. Their sweet, friendly disposition adapts them to any household. Many people even utilize that sensitivity and level-headedness to train their Cavaliers as therapy dogs. (Nothing says calm like a therapy dog!)
  • French Bulldog: The Frenchie originated in the 1800s in Nottingham, France. They served as mascots for lace makers, their sweet tempers keeping the women company at their work. With a low tendency to bark, and a need to please, you couldn’t ask for a calmer breed.
  • Tibetan Spaniel: Tibetan Spaniels got their start as companions and watchdogs for Tibetan monks. Absorbing the stoic demeanor of their charges, that calm remains to this day. They love nothing more than to snuggle up beside you and doze. When it comes time to play, though, they have quite a bit of agility.

Calmest Dog Breeds: Medium Dogs

pekingese calm dog breed
Pekingese Breed

You don’t want a boisterous canine bouncing around your feet all day, but you’d prefer something a little larger. These medium-sized dogs just might suit your desires. As you go larger on the calmest dog breed scale, make sure you research their exercise needs appropriately. Extra weight can translate to diabetes, hip or elbow dysplasia, or early-onset osteoarthritis.

  • Clumber Spaniel: Clumbers found their start in the 1700s on the Clumber Park Estate in Nottinghamshire, England. Part of the Sporting Group, they initially served royals in hunting needs. Intelligent dogs, they think through situations before reacting, remaining calm and level-headed at all times. They never turn down a game of fetch, but it won’t last too long.
  • Pekingese: One popular legend credits Buddha with the creation of the Pekingese breed. This could account for their peaceful natures (provided you don’t get between them and their owners). Pekes don’t make great choices for homes with children. If kids aren’t in the picture, though, they adore flopping on the couch.
  • Xoloitzcuintli: Xolos come in two different versions – coated and hairless – though the hairless version is the most popular. These stoic dogs from Mexico make excellent companions, provided you keep them warm and toasty. If someone in the house has allergies, they have the added benefit of less dander to cope with!

Calmest Dog Breeds: Large Dogs

greyhound calm dog breed
Greyhound Breed

Surprisingly, not every large dog equates to a need for acres of land. The calmest dog breeds often have lounge-dog reputations. So long as you provide proper walks and games, you can get away with apartment living in many cases. Good news for those who love larger dogs but don’t want a flighty pup in the house!

  • Greyhound: Greyhounds may have a history as racing dogs, but ask any owner, and they’ll assure you these dogs earn the title, “Fastest Couch Potato.” A single “zoomie” in the backyard or a long walk is the extent of their exercise. Their sensitive nature and gentle habits make them one of the calmest dog breeds. They have strong prey instincts, though, so watch them around small animals.
  • Irish Wolfhound: During the 15th century, Irish Wolfhounds participated in the wolves’ near-eradication in Ireland. Find these gentle giants nowadays, though, and they’d rather flop down in front of the fire. They sense the needs of the people around them, making excellent therapy dogs, and they’re extraordinarily patient with children.
  • Newfoundland: Newfies might have the distinction of being the calmest dog breed in the world. They adore their families, and they tolerate even the youngest children’s poking and pulling. You have to cope with drool and MASSIVE shedding, but you won’t find a sweeter demeanor.
  • Saint Bernard: Saints continue their rescue work on mountain slopes to this day. That level-headedness serves their human counterparts well – not to mention the people they save! Their sweet smile translates to a calm heart, and they love spending time with their people. Just make sure you keep a brush and drool cloth handy at all times.

Life in the Slow Lane

Some people love hitting the hiking trail or going for bike rides with their dogs. But others have a slower, quieter life. If you need to lower your life’s stress level, the calmest dog breeds might work best. You’ll notice your blood pressure dropping, and you’ll see a smile creeping onto your face.

Life in the slow lane isn’t always so bad. Even if it’s only when you’re at home with your calm canine.

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Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy

Andria Kennedy worked as a Licensed Veterinary Technician for 10 years, focusing on Emergency/ICU and later Cardiology, as well as volunteering at both the Philadelphia Zoo and Virginia Living Museum for over six years. She's now a freelance writer, but she gravitates toward writing projects with a focus on animals (once an animal-lover, always an animal-lover). She lives in Virginia with her husband, three cats (one "works" as her personal assistant), and a Greyhound who thinks she's a big cat — all of them rescues.

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