Written by Ella White
Bringing home a new puppy is one of the most exciting times a family will share. From picking the perfect breed to finding the pup that will slot perfectly into your home, it’s a thrilling process. But one of the main things to consider when choosing your new dog is the temperament of the breed and how well you and your family will be able to cope with their known characteristics.
For many busy families, lively and unpredictable dogs can be hard to handle. And as such, too many end up back in adoption shelters. Similarly, first time owners can easily feel out of their depth with temperamental dogs that are tricky to train.
So, when you’re picking the perfect dog for you, look past those irresistible eyes and consider what you need from them, personality-wise. For many families, a calm puppy breed is a priority. You might think they’ll quickly grow out of their bouncing excitability, and that might be true. But if you aren’t able to deal with even six months of spirited puppy play, then you might prefer a breed that’s known for keeping its cool from day one.
Sound like the kind of dog you’re after? These are 7 of the calmest dog breeds around.
The intelligent Basset Hound might be known for its stubborn nature when following its strong scenting instincts. But overall, they have a calm and gentle nature that’s well suited to family life. This short breed tends to grow no taller than 14 inches and are recognisable by their long ears.
Basset Hounds are incredibly loyal and low maintenance. All new owners need to be prepared for is their sense of independence that can take them a little longer to adapt to training. Basically, Basset Hounds like to do what they want to do. Which could be lounging on the sofa for hours, or it could be following their nose. So if they catch a scent that interests them you might have trouble breaking their focus until they’re satisfied which is why they’re not typically an ‘off leash’ dog.
But why not make it an adventure that the whole family can join in on, and see where your Basset Hound’s nose takes you?
The adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most adaptable dog breeds, making them a perfect choice for busy owners. The Cavalier King Charles is pretty much happy to join in with whatever their family is up to, whether that’s chilling at home or playing in the park.
Quiet, calm, and gentle, this breed fits easily into families with children and other pets and can often be found working as therapy dogs thanks to their loving nature. Bred as a favored pet amongst the British nobility, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the original lap dogs that is polite and affectionate – but still enjoys their fair share of exercise.
So if you’re looking for a calm and loving pet that will be just as happy to join you on walks or warm your feet during Zoom calls, this could be the perfect breed for you.
Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldogs are widely loved for their adorable faces and adaptable attitudes. With more dog owners living in smaller homes and city apartments, it’s no surprise that breeds that are happy to live anywhere and take part in whatever their owners are doing are becoming more and more popular, and the Frenchie is one such breed.
From snoozing in the sun to playing in the park to taking selfies and becoming Instagram stars, the calm and gentle French Bulldog is willing to go along with pretty much anything. Other than a healthy diet and 30-60 minutes of exercise each day, they don’t ask for much – just a loving family that will pay them plenty of attention which they will return in droves.
Though active and energetic, the Golden Retriever is known for its gentle and laid-back nature which has made them the most popular pet in the USA for over 30 years. Playful and affectionate, the Retriever loves children and other animals and is a dedicated member of the pack who will quickly form a strong and loyal bond with their leader.
Golden Retrievers are often used as service dogs, including guide dogs for the blind and therapy dogs, due to their gentle and loving temperament. Highly intelligent, they are very perceptive to training. So owners that are dedicated to their behavioral and socialization training at a young age will be rewarded with a calm and docile Retriever by the time they’ve outgrown that bouncy puppy stage.
Because they’re so eager to please their owners, Golden Retrievers love reward-based training. This makes them a great choice for first time owners, and for busy families that need a dog that can join in with all their outdoor activities.
The giant Irish Wolfhound is known for its gentle and docile nature, so many owners might be surprised to learn that they didn’t get their name due to their relation to wolves, but rather because they were originally bred to help reduce the Irish wolf population.
Modern Irish Wolfhounds prefer to lounge by the fireplace rather than hunt apex predators. They’re sensitive and intuitive and make excellent companions and are often used as therapy dogs thanks to being so in-tune with human emotions.
Irish Wolfhounds are also highly intelligent and perceptive which make them easy to train, even for first time owners. However, their large size makes them best suited to owners who can offer plenty of space at home, and ideally an enclosed garden that they can explore at their leisure.
Ideal for dog lovers with smaller homes, the adaptable Pekingese was bred as a lapdog for the Chinese palaces and monasteries. This adorable fluffy pup is calm and cuddly and doesn’t need much exercise. Due to their short nose, Pekes can get out of breath easily and struggle breathing in hot weather, so they’re best suited to relaxed lifestyles.
However, they did also work as guards at their monasteries and palaces so they can be intimidating when they want to be! Said to have been a favored breed of the Buddha, Pekes are loyal and loving with their owners and get on well with children and other animals – but they love to receive plenty of their own attention so will thrive in homes where they get the spotlight.
The Saint Bernard, a giant mountain dog known for its heroic rescue work, is surprisingly laid back despite its size and working ability. Saint Bernards do need a lot of training and socializing to ensure a calm and gentle temperament. But with owners that can dedicate their time to training their dog and meeting all their physical and emotional needs, this breed can be one of the most docile around.
Strong and patient, Saint Bernards love spending time with people. They have a strong work ethic and like to pull things around, so owners might find they’re happiest when given a job to do. Due to their large size, some Saint Bernards have been known to knock over small animals and children, so thorough training is required to help keep them under control. Their docile nature means they naturally get on well with children, but can become excitable and forget about their giant size.
It’s true that certain breeds are predisposed to certain characteristics but that doesn’t mean every dog of any breed will be the same. Like humans, different dogs will develop different personalities whether that’s the result of nature or nurture.
Dogs that are under stimulated both mentally and physically, or that are poorly trained and under-socialized are prone to develop anxiety. This can result in destructive behavior, barking, and aggression. Even the calmed breeds have their own specific requirements for exercise, mental stimulation, play, behavior and obedience training, and socializing with other people and animals. Combined, this all helps a dog to become confident and secure of their place in their home, and in their world. And a happy, confident dog is more likely to be a calm and gentle dog.
And don’t forget, no matter how laid back you want your puppy to be, they all require a lot of time, patience and supervision in their formative months!