High-energy pets aren’t right for every household, but there are plenty of well-behaved, calm dog breeds that strike a happy medium between couch potato and bouncing off the walls.
“A calm breed does not necessarily mean an inactive breed,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer at the American Kennel Club.
These playful pups are up for anything, but they know how to behave when they’re out with you on walks, at dog-friendly bars, even tagging along on your travels. Klein explains that breed genetics in all come into play when looking for a calm breed to add to your busy lifestyle.
“These descriptions are not whimsical,” he says, “but are based on what a particular breed was originally and purposefully bred to do—whether herding, sledding, hunting, or being an emperor’s companion.”
If you’re looking to add a new pet to your home, consider one from this list of calmest dog breeds.
The Best Calm Dog Breeds
Bernese Mountain Dogs
These gentle giants from the working group were originally farm laborers in Switzerland, and still bring that same energy to domestic life. Although their size can seem intimidating (full-grown males average 80-115 pounds), these highly trainable dogs are friendly and make for great family pets. Make sure to give these playful pups plenty of outdoor exercise!
It’s easy to write these hefty pups off as lazy, but English Bulldogs welcome the frequent exercise they need in order to stay trim. Don’t believe their characteristic grimace either—this is one of the sweetest, most loving breeds out there. “After baiting sports were outlawed in the early 1800s, their primary purpose was as companions,” notes Klein, who highlights the English Bulldog’s temperament as kind, pacific, resolute, and courageous.
Despite their size––100 pounds and up for full-grown males––these majestic mountain dogs are known for their zen-like calm. Once used to protect sheep on snowy mountain tops, this breed still retains its protective instincts, showing fierce loyalty to their families. This breed does require some training, but when well socialized they make for great companions in the car, while exercising, or around children.
Originally bred down from smaller Bulldog breeds, “Frenchies” (as they’re lovingly referred to) are tailor-made to suit just about any lifestyle. As one of the calmest dog breeds, they’re happy to nap all day at home, or come along for an afternoon in the park. “French Bulldogs are affectionate, alert, and playful but not overly boisterous,” says Klein. Plus, at less than 28 pounds they’re easy to transport and take on outings.
Once in fashion among European royalty, the Bichon Frise is known for its tiny stature, and big personality. These dogs get along with just about everyone they meet, and “thrive on human companionship,” notes Klein. Their positive temperament and compact size make them the perfect urban companion, sure to draw lots of attention from passersby.
Despite being known for their speed and agility, you’re more likely to find a Greyhound sitting on the couch than out running at top speeds of 40 mph. Klein describes them as “fast, strong, and courageous outdoors on the field, but well mannered, patient, and loyal companions in the home.”
This sweet and affectionate breed makes a great city dog and requires less space than one might think, judging from their lanky build. Their calm disposition makes them the perfect companion for dog-friendly establishments.
Like Greyhounds, Scottish Deerhounds “were bred to be coursing dogs and then return to the manor to lie by the fireplace,” Klein. (Coursing is the sport of hunting game animals by sight rather than scent.) Known as The Royal Dog of Scotland, this majestic breed is praised for being polite and well-mannered. They’re equally happy to join you for a jog in the park or cozy up with you on the sofa at home. This breed requires plenty of space to run around outside, and they are not recommended for apartment life.
There’s a reason why Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. They have earned their spot as one of the top calmest dogs for “their intelligent, playful personalities that bond well with children and other animals,” says Klein.
Goldens have a long-fuse and calm demeanor that makes them ideal companions for young kids. Klein points out that “Goldens are an active breed and thrive on some form of exercise or activity” which makes them best suited to active homes with fenced-in outdoor space. They’ll enjoy coming along with you on jogs and hikes.
Care Tips for These Calm Dog Breeds
While all of these dog breeds are known for their low-key temperaments, it’s important to remember that puppies possess different characteristics than adult dogs.
“ALL dogs will be energetic and boisterous when they are puppies, just as children are rambunctious and playful in their energetic early years,” says Klein. Always consider a breed’s energy level both as a puppy and an adult dog before bringing one into your home.
No matter what breed you choose to welcome into your family, chances are you’ll be spending time outdoors playing at dog parks, hiking on your favorite trails, or tossing a ball in the backyard. It’s important to always make sure that your dog is protected from dangerous parasites including heartworms, tapeworm, whipworm, ticks, and fleas.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), every dog should receive year-round, broad-spectrum parasite control.
For instance, Interceptor® Plus (milbemycin oxime/praziquantel) is a monthly chewable that prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm infections in dogs and puppies. To avoid a flea infestation and protect your dog from ticks that may spread a variety of diseases, consider treatment with a product such as Credelio® (lotilaner).
Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!
Credelio kills adult fleas and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, treatment and control of tick infestations (lone star tick, American dog tick, black-legged tick, and brown dog tick) for one month in dogs and puppies 8 weeks and older and 4.4 pounds or greater.
Credelio Important Safety Information
Lotilaner is a member of the isoxazoline class of drugs. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, incoordination, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving this class of drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders. The safe use of Credelio in breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. The most frequently reported adverse reactions are weight loss, elevated blood urea nitrogen, increased urination, and diarrhea. For complete safety information, please see Credelio product label or ask your veterinarian.
Interceptor Plus Indications
Interceptor Plus prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, and tapeworm infections in dogs and puppies 6 weeks or older and 2 pounds or greater.
Interceptor Plus Important Safety Information
Treatment with fewer than 6 monthly doses after the last exposure to mosquitoes may not provide complete heartworm prevention. Prior to administration of Interceptor Plus, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infections. The safety of Interceptor Plus has not been evaluated in dogs used for breeding or in lactating females. The following adverse reactions have been reported in dogs after administration of milbemycin oxime or praziquantel: vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, incoordination, weight loss, convulsions, weakness, and salivation. For complete safety information, please see Interceptor Plus product label or ask your veterinarian.
Disclaimer: The author received compensation from Elanco US Inc., the maker of Interceptor Plus and Credelio, for her services in writing this article.
Credelio and Interceptor are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
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