Medium sized dog breeds

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Best Dogs to Own for First-Time Pup Parents

by Jessi Larson


For whatever reason, so many friends and family members have gotten new dogs lately, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. More fur babies to play with and love! I absolutely love it. A number of these folks are first time pup parents, so they’ve come to us with questions, one of which was, “What are the best dogs to own?”

Gosh, that’s a big question. I mean, all dogs are amazing and have their own unique characteristics. And it also depends on lifestyle. (Our breed selector tool can help.)

But, generally, there are some breeds that are a little easier for new dog parents. We did some research at AKC, Pet 360 and Vet Street, and have come up with recommendations for the best dogs to own for newbies to pup parenthood.

We don’t doubt there are other great dogs and understand it also depends on the individual personality of the animal, but for various reasons explained below, these breeds are a safe bet.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dog in the United States for more than 20 years, so there must be something to this. Enthusiastic, sweet and very smart, Labradors get along great with others and are easy to train. They’re loyal and understanding, providing much love for their owners. Yes, the do require a lot of exercise and are quite rambunctious as puppies, but they mellow out with age and training. A great choice! (OK, we’re a bit biased.)

Read more about the Labrador Retriever.

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer has increased in popularity in recent years, which isn’t surprising. The breed is smart and eager to please and does well with kids and other pets. Like the Labrador, this breed is both an excellent hunter and dedicated companion, full of spirit and bouncy joy.

Read more about the German Shorthaired Pointer.


Boxers are one of the most underrated dog breeds in our opinion. Their outward appearance looks a lot tougher than their incredibly kind, loving interior. Boxers just love their family so much and can’t get enough affection! They do require hearty exercise but on the flip side need very little grooming. Definitely one of the best dogs to own!

Read more about the Boxer


Popularized by the legendary Lassie character, the Collie is a sensitive, kind soul who is loyal and dedicated to his family. His gentleness and mild-manner nature make him a great dog for those with kids or other pets and serve as excellent characteristics for folks new to life with a dog. His regal appearance and stoic gaze are sure to impress.

English Springer Spaniel

For new dog parents, the English Springer Spaniel is a great size at 40-55 pounds – not too big, not too small…just right. Combine that with a joyful personality, polite demeanor and a heart full of love and affection, and you’ve got a great dog to own and integrate into your family.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is quite the dapper, charismatic dog. He loves playing games and having fun, and will serve as a very loyal member of the family. And on the plus size, he requires very little grooming. Sweet, smart, small but sturdy, the Boston Terrier is an exceptional choice for new dog parents.


The Papillon is an easy-going, low-maintenance dog who dearly loves his companion (or companions). What more could a novice dog owner want? Don’t let the small size fool you. This pup is anything but weak and fragile. He’ll outrun the other dogs when it comes time to play!

Golden Retriever

Is it any wonder why the Golden Retriever is consistently on the list of most popular dogs? With a low-key yet joyful temperament, this breed is everything you want in a dog. Yes, the excessive hair can be a pain, but all the other amazing qualities more than make up for it. Just have a lint roller handy at all times!

Read more about the Golden Retriever.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu packs so much love, enthusiasm and cuteness into their tiny frames. Less demanding than other small breeds, the Shih Tzu is also noted for being less “yappy” than his pint-size counterparts. Polite and peaceful, this dog is the ultimate snuggler.

Read more about the Shih Tzu.


We’ve seen a notable rise in Viszlas at the dog park over the past few years, and after spending time with the breed, I completely understand why. Viszlas possess the qualities we love in Labradors and Golden Retrievers – affection, affability, intelligence, athleticism – but in a smaller package. They love to stick to their owner’s side and provide lots of cuddles, making them one of the best dogs to own.

Like we said before, taking in any dog is amazing, and becoming a dog parent is one of the coolest experiences you’ll ever have. There are no bad choices. But, when asked the question about the best dogs to own, these breeds are the first that come to mind.

15 Types of Short-Haired Dogs: Find the Perfect Breed For Your Family!

Here are 15 friendly, spunky and totally tangle-free short-haired dog breeds to consider for your family.

Are you thinking about getting a dog, but worried that he will leave a trail of fur running from your front door to your bed? If so, it might be time for you and your family to consider short-haired dogs. By getting this type of pet, you can save on grooming costs and make cleaning your home less of a chore. Not sure which breed is right for your family?
Here are 15 types of short-haired dogs that you’ll want to seriously consider:

  1. American Staffordshire Terrier
    The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the American Staffordshire Terrier as courageous and strong. These dogs enjoy being around people and often do well with other pets.
  2. Basset Hound
    These short-legged dogs are all-around adorable. According to The Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA), these dogs have mild temperaments, which makes them patient, obedient and easy to train.
    Basset Hound
  3. Boston Terrier
    The tuxedo-wearing terriers typically weigh no more than 25 pounds, according to the AKC. Nicknamed the “American gentleman,” they have a sweet, gentle disposition. These easy-to-train dogs are known for their superior intelligence and their ability to get along well with children and other pets. They just love to dole out the affection!
  4. Chihuahua
    Talk about big-time sass in a pint-sized package. The short-haired Chihuahua is bright, peppy and good with other animals. If you live in a smaller space or are partial to taking your pooch along with you, this tiny guy (or gal) is right for you!
  5. Dalmatian
    There are 101 reasons to choose this breed — but that’s too many to list here. According to the AKC, these firehouse dogs, which were made popular by the famous Disney film, are alert, active and speedy. These attributes make Dalmatians great performance animals and family pets.
  6. French Bulldog
    These companion dogs are small in stature, but big on muscle, and their recognizable bat ears and squishy faces make them hard to resist. According to the French Bull Dog Club of America, these dogs are affectionate and have a balanced temperament. Frenchies aren’t big barkers and they enjoy being around people, which makes them a great fit for families that live in small spaces.
    french bulldog
  7. Greyhound
    These graceful dogs have a sleek, aerodynamic body. Though these pets have a lot of energy, they are docile and happy to be around people. But rescuing a former racer will require you to help acclimate the dog to a life off of the track, as the National Greyhound Adoption Program (NGAP) points out.
  8. Olde Boston Bulldog
    Do these dogs look familiar? They’re actually ancestors of the Boston Terrier. Even though this breed served as fighting dogs centuries ago, the modern bulldog is loyal and friendly, which allows it to quickly become a loving member of your family.
  9. Mastiff
    If you’re a big dog person, this breed’s for you. Mastiffs reach as tall as 30 inches (at the shoulder)! Though these not-so-dainty droolers make great guard dogs, they are also patient, loyal and protective.
  10. Weimaraner
    The AKC characterizes Weimaraners as friendly, obedient and fearless. If you’re a runner, this sporting dog can quickly become your best friend!
  11. Boxer
    The boxer has earned a top-10 spot in AKC’s list of the most popular dog breeds in America for the past couple of years. Though this breed is large, powerful, athletic and protective, these dogs are also gentle and patient
  12. Pug
    The playful pug is tiny enough for apartment life. Its outgoing personality and love of people makes it a clear (and completely charming) choice for families with children.
  13. Great Dane
    Is it a pony or a really big dog? These elegant canines are loving companions that are truly gentle giants.
    great dane
  14. Whippet
    Despite their quick, Greyhound-esque bursts of energy, these short-haired dogs are quite relaxed and calm. A whippet’s friendly nature makes it a perfect addition to a family with kids and other pets.
  15. Dachshund
    Also known as the “wiener dog,” this clever breed has a long, hot dog-like body and stubby legs. The dachshund is loyal, playful, curious, friendly and full of spunk.

Erica Loop is the mom to one teenager, two energetic Olde Boston Bulldogs and one very shy cat. She’s also a freelance writer, educator and the creator of the blog Mini Monets and Mommies.

Kate Green explains how this sporting little dog diversified all over Britain.

What is your favourite terrier breed? Terrier owners all have strong opinions on the subject, but it does depend what you want to do with it. Will it be a working dog or a family dog? Are you going to show it, or go running long distances with it? These plucky dogs have been close to our hearts for generations. Below Kate Green explains the history of how terriers were bred by us to fulfil our needs, and we list all our favourite breeds and explain their particular characteristics with lovely illustrations.

In 1815 a hunting-mad Oxford undergraduate called John Russell had a Damascene moment that redefined the dog world. Russell was strolling in Magdalen’s meadows, ‘Horace in hand, but Beckford in his head’, when he met a milkman who had, trotting beside him, ‘the animal of his dreams’. It was an enchanting little rough-coated, tan-and-white terrier bitch called Trump.

According to the Rev E. W. L. Davies, Russell’s curate and biographer, the daydreaming student ‘halted as Actaeon might have done when he caught sight of Diana disporting in her bath; but unlike that ill-fated hunter, he never budged from the spot til he had won the prize and secured it for his own’. Parson Russell devoted the rest of his life to his north Devon parish of Swimbridge, to hunting and to breeding the eponymous dog, using Trump as the foundation. His terriers had to be predominantly white with a few patches of colour, long enough in the leg to keep up with a pack of foxhounds, but sufficiently compact to fit down an earth and bolt the fox.

However, small, hairy hunting dogs existed long before Russell and other field sportsmen began developing the 28 distinctive regional types that comprise the Kennel Club’s (KC) Terrier Group. Johannes Caius, a doctor of physics at Cambridge, wrote graphically in Of English Dogs, his epic 1576 work, of ‘Terrars’ and their insane dedication to chasing creatures bigger and stronger than themselves: they ‘make afraid, nyppe and bite the Foxe and the Badger in such sorte that eyther they teare him in pieces with theyr teeth, beyng in the bosoms of the earth, or else hayle and pull them perforce out of theyr lurking angles, darke dungeons’.

The terrier’s job was to help hounds by wriggling through thick undergrowth and into narrow crevices in fearless pursuit of foxes, rabbits, badgers, otters, polecats, wildcats and weasels, to terrorise rodents out of haystacks or drains and to cleanse slums of rats. In the 19th century, Lord Lonsdale’s Fell terrier reputedly followed an otter 23ft through rock— it took three days’ blasting to extract it. Terriers were feisty money-earners; the concept of keeping one as a family pet didn’t develop until the advent of dog shows in the 1860s.

Although the terrier is still an essential and much-loved adjunct to a sporting man’s life, and some forms of terrier work are still legal under the Hunting Act (2004), nowadays, they are as commonly seen trotting, reasonably obediently, around an urban park or snoozing beside their pensioner owner as yapping in the hound van or disappearing, bottom up, down a rabbit hole.

But the chasing instinct will never be bred out entirely: a sleeping terrier can erupt with astonishing speed. He’s not a sensible babysitter for a guinea pig and can’t be relied upon not to excavate a beloved pet’s grave or worry chickens. Be he a pristine white Westie, a piratical Parson Russell or a bustling Norfolk, any squirrel or pigeon idiotic enough to come within range will receive short, noisy and sometimes violent shrift. As C. G. E. Wimhurst wrote in The Book of Terriers (1968): ‘Do not expect a terrier to have a solemn outlook on life.’

Read our guide to the terriers of the British Isles and tell us which is your favourite:

1 Airedale Terrier

The largest terrier of all hails from Yorkshire, where it was known as the Bingley or Waterside terrier, perhaps later named after the Airedale Show, at which dogs bred to hunt otters in the valleys were shown. It’s closely related to the Irish and Welsh terriers, with Manchester and otterhound bloodlines.
The steadfast Airedale was valued as a sentry, police, Red Cross and army messenger dog; it was imported by theRussian Army and popular in the USA—two Airedales perished on Titanic. During the First World War, one, Jack, carried a message through half a mile of enemy fire before dropping dead.
Breed star President Harding’s Laddie Boy had a special chair in which to attend Cabinet meetings at the White House

2 Lucas Terrier

In the 1940s, Sir Jocelyn Lucas, a sporting man and noted breeder of the Ilmer line of Sealyhams, became concerned about the heavier type that was being bred for the show ring, so he crossed one with a Norfolk. The result was endearing: a sweet-faced, mop-haired little dog with more colouring than a Sealyham and a softer coat than a Norfolk. The Lucas is not recognised by the KC, but it has a devoted following in the UK, where there are about 500.
Breed star Mtoto, who was flown to the Isle of Wight in racehorse owner Robert Sangster’s private plane for a mating

3 Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The sausage-shaped breed was around centuries before it was named after a character in Walter Scott’s 1814 novel Guy Mannering. Dandie Dinmont—probably based on Hawick farmer James Davidson, who gained a litter of puppies in a drinking game—was a jolly farmer who kept six dogs and called them all Mustard or Pepper. Despite its aristocratic poodle’s topknot and soulful panda eyes, the Dandie Dinmont was a tinker’s dog, bred to hunt badgers and otters— today’s Dandies are thought to be descended from one found in a trap on the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate in 1839. Another story has a gypsy called Piper Allen as the original breeder; the Duke of Northumberland was said to be so enamoured of his dogs that he offered him a farm in return for one.
Breed stars Dandie Dinmont’s ‘Auld’, ‘Young’ or ‘Little’ Mustards and Peppers

4 Bull terrier

The comical, egg-headed bull terrier owes its existence to 19thcentury Birmingham ‘wide boy’ James Hinks. His idea was to mix a fighting dog with strains of smooth-haired terrier, dalmatian and greyhound to produce an all-white ‘gentleman’s dog’. The first, Old Madman, was born in 1855 and his progeny proved successful in the show ring and lucrative. Champions of the breed include the artist Cecil Aldin, who often painted them with piratical patches, and The Princess Royal.
Breed star Bodger in The Incredible Journey, Bill Sikes’s Bullseye in Oliver!, Heloise in I Capture the Castle

5 Border Terrier

Of all the terrier strains developed by individual hunts, the quizzicalfaced border, bred to follow the Border Foxhounds in Northumberland, is arguably the greatest survivor and, according to the KC, ‘if nature were left to itself and dogs bred naturally’, the end result would closely resemble a Border.
When the breed was first recognized in 1920, there was much anxiety that showing would have a deleterious effect on its sporting characteristics, but, in fact, the KC breed standard— ‘essentially a working terrier’—is admirably pragmatic.
Breed stars Tennis player Andy Murray’s Maggie May and Rusty, who have their own Twitter accounts

6 Bedlington Terrier

Despite its curious, lamb-like appearance, the curlycoated Bedlington, which takes its name from a Northumbrian mining village, was bred to catch rabbits for the pot. Known first as the Rothbury terrier, it was a gypsy dog, probably containing Dandie Dinmont and whippet blood.
Breed star In the 1820s, Piper, a Bedlington belonging to mason Joseph Ainsley, saved his master’s baby from a ferocious sow

7 Scottish terrier

A close relative of the Cairn, the Scottie’s dumpy yet dignified silhouette has become one of Scotland’s most famous brands as well as a Monopoly board totem. James VI of Scotland bred them and the 4th Earl of Dumbarton had a pack called the Diehards. Also known as the Aberdeen terrier, presentday Scotties are thought to descend from 19th-century bitch Splinter II. The breed was standardised in about 1879 by Capt Gordon Murray and KC founder Sewallis Evelyn Shirley.
Breed stars White House residents Fala, owned by President Roosevelt, Meggie (Eleanor Roosevelt) and Barney and Miss Beazley (George W. Bush), plus the 41 parading at the recent Commonwealth Games

8 West Highland Terrier

A breed beloved of advertising agencies, the smileyfaced Westie also derives from the original Skye terrier. Some foxhunters thought their colour signified cowardice, a theory disproved by the 8th Duke of Argyll— the dog was originally registered as the Roseneath terrier after his estate—and the 16th Laird of Poltalloch, who developed a white terrier that couldn’t be mistaken for a fox and shot.
Breed star The one in the 2006 film The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby, much to the annoyance of Skye terrier aficionados, and the impossibly clean Cesar dog-food model

9 Skye Terrier
The silky-coated Skye, formerly the terrier of the Western Isles, may be the oldest Scottish breed—one crept miserably out from under the bloodstained skirts of the executed Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587 and Caius described long-haired ‘lap dogs brought out of the barbarous borders’. Once the companion of aristocrats, including Queen Victoria, it’s now the rarest of all terriers.

The aloof, floppy-haired look belies a tough streak— Robert Louis Stevenson was heartbroken when his Wattie died after one dogfight too many and, during a walk in Hyde Park, renowned breeder James Pratt’s pack put up a badger, which, unfortunately, was Victorian naturalist Frank Buckland’s pet.

Breed star Greyfriars Bobby

10 Cairn Terrier
Until the 19th century, when selective breeding for type and colour became fashionable, the Scottish terrier, possibly originating from Spanish (an Armada shipwreck), Pictish or Viking bloodlines, was essentially a hairy little dog built to withstand Highland weather and thick heather.
Described in Our Friend the Cairn (1932) as ‘perhaps the most compact canine parcel of all the doggy virtues ever seen’, the jolly Cairn (named for its ability to squeeze into cairns) was one of a generic group of shorthaired Skye terriers before being officially classified at the start of the 20th century.
Breed star Terry, a film star whose credits include Toto in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz

11 Staffordshire bull terrier
The stocky, brindle Staffie is rarely considered in the same breath as most other terriers, but it’s a prolific breed. It was developed for fighting, about 200 years ago, as a bulldog-terrier cross, and has arguably suffered from overbreeding— most rescue cases have Staffordshire blood—as well as an unfair association with pitbull terriers; devotees say it’s the soppiest of dogs.
Breed star Sallie, mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, who guarded injured soldiers in the Battle of Gettysburg. She was killed in battle two years later and is commemorated with a monument in Gettysburg, USA

12 Irish Terrier
Whether Noah had an Irish terrier on the Ark or one welcomed St Patrick into Ireland are moot points, but it’s certainly an ancient breed, wonderfully described in an old Irish manuscript as ‘the poor man’s sentinel, the farmer’s friend and the gentleman’s favourite’. In the 1880s, the Irish terrier was the fourth most popular dog in Britain; now, sadly, it’s an endangered breed.
Breed star Prince, who followed his master, Pte James Brown, from England to the trenches in France; an Irish terrier features on the Animals in War Memorial in Park Lane, London

13 Kerry Blue Terrier

One romantic theory in the breed’s evolution into a versatile Irish herding and sporting dog is that it’s the result of a mating between a blue-black Co Kerry dog and one that swam ashore from a wrecked ship off Tralee in the 1700s—certainly, its silky, wavy coat, which needs regular attention, may owe something to the Portuguese water dog as well as the Wheaten.
Breed star Convict 224, owned by Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, who tried to get the Kerry Blue adopted as his country’s national dog

14 Welsh Terrier

A close relation of the equally tough Lakeland, which was bred to hunt badgers, foxes and otters, the cheery Welsh terrier is an ancient breed, which may originate from pre- Roman invasion times when the Celts retreated to Wales and the Lake District. It received a wider audience when 19th-century transport opened up access to the Welsh mountains. The former Prime Minister Clement Attlee had a Welsh terrier woven into his coat of arms.
Breed stars Charlie, John F. Kennedy’s White House dog

15 Parson Russell Terrier

The eponymous terrier developed by the sporting vicar was eventually registered by the KC—after much controversy among terrier fanciers—in 1990 and is one of very few breed standards to include the clause ‘honourable scars permissable’. Russell’s foundation bitch, Trump, is described in his memoirs as ‘white with a patch of dark tan over each eye and ear while a similar dot, not larger than a penny piece, marks the root of the tail. The coat, which is thick, close and a trifle wiry, is well-calculated to protect the body from wet and cold but has no affinity with the long rough jacket of the Scotch Terrier. The legs are straight as arrows, the feet perfect, the loins and whole frame are indicative of hardiness and endurance, while the size and height of the animal may be compared to that of a full grown vixen fox’. Edward VII commissioned a painting of Trump, which is still at Sandringham.
Breed star Sykes, star of Midsomer Murders, Sweeney Todd, Young Victoria and much more, who, although originally a stray, has Parson Russell characteristics

16 Jack Russell Terrier
The term Jack Russell covers a multitude of sins. All terrier characteristics are packed into the bustling Jack Russell, the non-KC registered, shorter, bandy-legged version of the Parson Russell, which is arguably the most fun of the lot. Aldin is probably the ultimate Jack Russell painter and The Duchess of Cornwall is a devotee.
Breed star Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s Bothie, the only dog to have left pawprints at both the North and South Poles

17 Fox terrier (wire- and smooth-haired)

Beagles, pointers, bulldogs and even Dalmatians may have had a part to play in the creation of the fox terrier, which now has two separate breed standards.

All pedigrees start from 1870, from three dogs: Old Jock from the Grove hunt kennels, Trap, who was related to the Rev John Russell’s dogs, and Tartar. The fox terrier was carefully bred in ducal hunt kennels, at the Beaufort, Belvoir and Berkeley, its popularity exploding in Victorian times; in 1890, a pair of bitches made 500 guineas and top dogs commanded a stud fee of £10.
Breed stars Nipper (smooth), star of the His Master’s Voice (HMV) advertisements, and Edward VII’s Caesar (wire), who followed the coffin at his master’s funeral

18 Patterdale Terrier

One of many strains of fell terrier, the Patterdale, named after a Cumbrian village, is usually a neat little black, black-and-tan or, occasionally, rust dog, sometimes with smart white markings, and is much sought after in terrier circles, although it’s not KC-recognised.
Breed star Bingo, the breed originator, bred by Joe Bowman, master of the Ullswater hounds. Sadly, Bingo was killed by a fox

19 Lakeland Terrier

Resembling a miniature Airedale, the Lakeland was developed with strains of Bedlington, Border, Dandie Dinmont and wire-haired fox terrier to bolt foxes in the fells. Key figures in its history included a group of gunpowder makers at Elterwater in the 1850s and Tommy Dobson, a bobbin-maker and master of the Eskdale Foxhounds. Eventually, the name Lakeland was settled upon in the 1920s, after which the sporting 5th Earl of Lonsdale (the Yellow Earl), who really championed the dog, became first president of the Lakeland Terrier Club.
Breed star Stingray of Derrybah, the only dog to have won Best in Show at both Cruft’s and the equivalent, Westminster Show, in the USA, in 1967

20 Glen of Imaal Terrier
The Glen, a ‘big dog on short legs’, had a tough upbringing in Co Wicklow, where it was used for the digging out—and baiting in gaming pits—of badgers, its bowed front legs working like a mechanical digger. The dog is said to date from Elizabethan times, when French mercenaries brought their low-slung hounds to Ireland and mated them with local terriers. Another story had the poor little dogs running on treadmills to operate turnspits.
Breed star Dan, owned by the Marquess of Conyngham at Slane Castle, the first known Glen to be photographed, in 1910

21 Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier

See Kerry Blue—the debate as to which came first varies in historical reports, but the Wheaten is generally regarded as Ireland’s oldest breed. It would have died out but for the efforts of Dr Gerard Pierse, who was taken with a Wheaten he spotted at a field outing for terriers and badgered the Irish Kennel Club to recognise the breed.
Breed star Glenguard Mourneside Firecrest, Best in Show at Romford, Essex, in 1946 and the foundation sire of most UK Wheatens

22 Sealyham Terrier
In the mid 19th century, field sportsman Capt John Edwards, who lived at Sealyham in Pembrokeshire, set about breeding the perfect working terrier and ratter from a mix of Dandie Dinmont, Corgi, Westie, bull terrier and wire-haired fox terrier blood. They were hugely popular— Princess Margaret had one called Pippin—as evinced by the 15 books on the breed to be found in the KC library. Then, heavier, show-ring types took over and the sporting Sealyham became rarer than the giant panda, until Harry Parsons, who owns a pack of ratters in south Devon, began to sing their praises, aided by a COUNTRY LIFE call to arms (October 26, 2011). The Sealyham is now recovering slowly.
Breed stars Alfred Hitchcock’s Geoffrey and Stanley had cameo roles in The Birds

23 Norfolk and Norwich Terriers
The two, originally bred as farm dogs in Norfolk with Glen of Imaal, Dandie Dinmont and red Cairn bloodlines, were originally shown as one breed, the Norwich, until 1964. The Norwich has sticking-up ears; the Norfolk tends to be stockier and blunter faced and its ears droop forward.

Both have incredibly shrill voices. They’ve been known as the Cantab terrier, for their popularity with Cambridge students, Jones terriers (after a breeder) and Trumpington terriers (after a kennel).

Breed star Joe, devoted companion to artist Alfred Munnings when he rented a ghostly farmhouse in East Anglia

24 Manchester Terrier
In the 19th century, Manchester was the centre for the sports of rat-catching—with betting on how long it took the dog to polish off all the rats in a pit—and rabbit chasing.

One amateur owner, John Hulme, decided it would be more economical to develop a dual-purpose dog by crossing a black-and-tan terrier with a whippet. The ratting record was set by Billy, a Manchester terrier reputed to have caught 100 rats in 5min 30sec at the Cockpit in Westminster in 1823. Queen Victoria kept Manchester terriers; each year, Rentokil awards a sash modeled on the one worn by her Jack Black to its most efficient pest-controller.

Breed star Agatha Christie’s Bingo, inspiration for Hannibal in Postern bof Fate

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They say, “A house without a pet is never a home.” I totally agree with that. However, I have to be honest to you and to myself. The only pet that could ever make my house a home is my chocolate Labrador. Well, it’s nothing to argue about. It’s only my opinion as I’ve been living with him for years now. We’ve already formed a very strong bond that nobody can ever break.

Anyway, if you are planning to get a pet dog, here are the dog breeds I personally recommend. Take note that these suggestions are only based on their personality, so you can still opt for another breed you like if you don’t agree with me about these dogs being gentle. But before we get into details, I’ll give you a hint. I’ve hidden a special treat on this page, which you can use to keep your pooches happy, and I am hoping you can find them.

Okay! I know you are already very excited, so here you go. These are 10 of the gentlest dog breeds you’ll ever see.

1. The Golden Retriever

Even if it is not as big as the Labrador Retriever, it is still kind, loyal, confident, and smart. It is not timid. It is not aggressive. Rather, it is very patient, making it best for kids. Even if it requires plenty of exercise, just playing with kids will suffice.

2. Labrador Retriever

I’m sure you have heard about this breed already. And for a good reason, it is very popular throughout the world. Since the Labradror Retriever is reliable, protective, patient, playful, and caring, it is considered a perfect family pet. Its beauty and grace is matched by its sweet personality and cleverness.

3. Poodle

The poodle is an intelligent and gentle dog. It is ideal for kids with allergies because it only sheds a bit. Even so, it requires frequent grooming. This creature’s friendly nature and patience make it the perfect playing partner for a kid.

4. Irish Setter

Popular for its red shiny coat, the Irish Setter is an energetic and playful dog that loves the company of people, especially kids. This pooch needs regular exercise, so it really matches the needs of children.

5. The Vizsla

Even if it is not a popular breed, it is actually one of the best dogs for families with kids. The Vizsla has an energetic disposition yet a docile manner. It is even very affectionate and loyal. What’s great about this breed is that it does not really possess that strong dog smell.

6. Newfoundland

Tagged as “Nature’s Babysitter”, the Newfoundland enjoys the company of kids. It is even very protective of them. Though it is known to shed excessively, it is not advised to have it caged outside in the yard. This breed loves to stay inside the house with the family. Also, the Newfoundland is an excellent swimmer. As a matter of fact, it has already saved a number of lives in various emergency and rescue operations.

7. Collie

Because of Lassie, this dog breed became famous. The collie is known for its gentle nature and for being highly trainable. It easily gets along with kids and they love to find ways to please their owners. It even protects the entire family. Since it has long hair, it requires regular grooming.

8. The Bull Terrier

Often mistaken as an aggressive creature, the Bull Terrier is actually a great companion dog. This dog breed is loving and friendly towards mature individuals and kids. Due to their high-tolerance for pain, the bull terriers are great for kids who are still trying to get a feel of how to treat dogs. Here’s an interesting fact about them. They are capable of returning your affection by taking good care and protecting your kids.

9. Beagle

Although they were originally bred as hunting dogs, Beagles fit perfectly in homes with frisky kids. The reason is that they are never get tired easily when playing games. Even if they require frequent brushing and bathing due to shedding, they are still loved because they are happy, friendly, and smart.

10. Bull Dog

Noted for its tough build, the Bull dog is a great family dog. Why? It is because it is loyal, docile, and friendly. Aside from that, it also gets along other animals easily. Because of its gentle nature, it is considered a great pet for those living in small apartments or large houses.

Which one do you think fits your needs and your personality? Mine’s number two! Obviously! But always remember that getting a gentle dog breed does not mean you can easily tame them and make them feel comfortable with you. Of course, you need to be a little bit hands-on at first by providing their basic needs like a comfortable dog house and a family. Once they feel your sincere intention towards them, for sure they will repay you with love and affection in ways they can only show.

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20 Calm Dog Breeds:  Want a Mellow, Low-energy Dog?

Some of the dogs on this list may not be suitable for families with small children even though they are calm.

The largest of the breeds may overwhelm young children just by their size. They also have a good chance of knocking over small children or even a frail older adult.

Some of the smallest breeds are equally inappropriate for families with young children, not because they can hurt the children, but rather they have a better than average chance of being dropped or unintentionally hurt in some other way.

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Calm Dog Breeds

This Calm Dog Breeds List are in order from Largest to smallest. You will see that some of the breeds overlap because they are very close in size.

1. Calm Dog Breeds: St. Bernard

Don’t expect these easy going, low energy dogs to be playful with children although they are very patient and gentle.

They love their family and are willing to please, even if it is on their own terms. Stubborn tendencies have frequently been reported in this breed.

These dogs do not bark much, but their bark is deafening, which makes them unsuitable for apartments and for families who prefer a quiet atmosphere.

They need daily exercise but a moderate walk or short run will satisfy their energy needs.

Their coat will require weekly brushing and clean up after drool. These are BIG dogs, and they need a bit of cleaning up after them!

2. Great Dane

The Great Dane is friendly, dependable and safe for children. Their size may overwhelm a small child, so caution is advised. This dog is just about the tallest of the calm dog breeds. But not the biggest nor heaviest!

They do well with other dogs and pets and are generally well-mannered. They need moderate amounts of exercise daily either in the form of a romp in the yard or a walk on the leash.

Most of all, they need plenty of room to stretch out and a soft bed.

This need for a comfortable bed is not exclusive to the Great Dane. All large and giant breed dogs need a place where they are comfortable when they sleep and often you won’t find a crate large enough for them to truly stretch. Danes do drool, but grooming is minimal.

3. Neapolitan Mastiff

The Neapolitan Mastiff has been developed primarily to guard the family. You may wonder if they belong in the Calm Dog Breeds list!

BUT they are loyal and totally devoted to family while being watchful and suspicious of strangers.

They love children, but their sheer size can be overpowering to young children.

Neos do not need too much exercise, but they do need plenty of room to stretch.

Drooling is one of their high points, so anyone who is obsessive about the cleanliness of their home will be frustrated by this large breed.

4. Bullmastiff

These dogs are considered gentle and quiet, and extremely devoted to their family. They are definitely VERY CALM, as they will react to a house invader by walking over and taking the intruder’s arm in it’s mouth, then sit down and hold the person captive! Bullmastiffs make an excellent guardian, though they can be stubborn and some are aggressive towards strange dogs.

Males do not always tolerate other male dogs, but they are good with children if raised with them. Though gentle, they do need a firm owner who does not back down to them.

They need daily exercise, but their activity needs can be met with a walk on the leash or short romp in the yard.

Expect some drooling and snoring from this breed, but grooming and coat care is minimal.

5. Dogue de Bordeaux

These dogs are extremely loyal and devoted to their people and prefer to be close to their family all of the time.

They like to please, but they are a vigilant guardian so expect them to be wary of strangers. They do well with dogs and other pets, although the males can be aggressive with other males.

Grooming is easily accomplished but their wrinkles do need some extra attention.

The gentle giants of the dog world, these dogs are sweet, calm and patient – and probably one of the calmest of the calm dog breeds!

They love everyone and are generally easy going, but can be protective if their favorite people are threatened. They need daily exercise and, if possible, a swim now and then.

“Newfies” don’t do as well in hot weather as they do when it is cold. Grooming should consist of twice-weekly brushing and clean up after drinking. Expect some mess with this big drooler.

7. Leonberger

Here is a very devoted, even-tempered, affection pet that is relatively easy to train. As a breed that wants to please, they are friendly towards strangers, but at the same time protective of their owners.

They do make good watch dogs, but may not be as protective as some of the other breeds developed solely for guard duty.

These dogs are athletic and agile and enjoy a daily walk or frolic in the yard.

Grooming requirements include weekly brushing or regular brushing during the times when shedding occurs.

8. Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound is one of the BIGGEST calm dog breeds.

Outdoors, the Scottish Deerhound, loves to run and chase anything that moves. Indoors, they are mellow and easy going. They love to please but are somewhat independent and extremely sensitive.

Good with children, other dogs, and most other pets, these dogs are not likely to be able to differentiate a small pocket pet from prey. Expect to provide a decent amount of daily exercise in the form of a long walk or run in the yard.

They will need brushing or combing about one or two times a week and a little stripping or trimming to keep stray hairs neat.

9. Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a capable guardian, devoted to his family and very gentle with children.

They are somewhat wary of human or dog strangers, making them a good watch and guard dog. They do have an independent, stubborn streak and may try to dominant if allowed to do so.

The best owners for this breed will be firm, but kind and use positive training methods. They do tend to bark a lot which may make them unsuitable for those who prefer a quieter atmosphere.

Grooming is not excessive, but they do need brushing once or twice a week, especially during shedding season.

10. Greyhound

These dogs are known as the “world’s fastest couch potato, and for good reason. When outdoors they are likely to chase anything small that moves, but inside they are calm, quiet, and well-mannered.

These dogs are also known to be somewhat timid and have a sensitive nature. Despite this, they are eager to please.

They require daily exercise but much of this activity can be met by quick runs in the yard or a longer walk on a leash. Grooming is very easy and training is not difficult despite their independent nature.

11. Bergamasco

As members of the herding group, these dogs were developed to help sheep and goat farmers care for their livestock both in the form of guarding and herding. As such, they have evolved into an independent problem solver capable of working on their own with minimal guidance.

They are fun-loving, gentle and family oriented, usually good with other dogs and pets. They do fine as a watchdog, but are not overly aggressive so don’t expect one of these dogs to protect you as well as some of the others on this list.

A couple of long walks daily will meet these dogs’ energy requirements, but as far being a jogging partner, your best bet would be to locate a different breed. Grooming is extensive when their full coat emerges at 9 to 12 months.

After that little to no brushing is require and bathing infrequently is recommended. Plan on a full day of grooming when you do bathe your Bergamasco.

12. Bulldog

Despite their appearance, the Bulldog is happy, docile and perhaps one of the most mellow dog breeds.

They are stubborn but want to please. Most are friendly towards strangers, other dogs, pets, and children.

Some can be aggressive with strange dogs. Though generally quiet, they will alert you if they see something unusual, but they do not offer much in the way of protection.

They cannot tolerate hot weather or long walks but they enjoy a short walk or romp in the yard. Some drool, wheeze or snore as a result of their brachycephalic head.

Coat care is minimal, but care should be devoted to their skin folds as they can get inflamed if not cleaned regularly.

13. Basset Hound

One of the most good-natured, easy going breeds, they are good with other dogs, other pets and children.

Their long back makes them susceptible to back injury so children should be taught how to play carefully so as not to put a strain on the dog’s back.

They need daily mild exercise and minimal grooming. They do drool, so some grooming around the mouth and wrinkles is important to combat odor.

14. Calm Dog Breeds – the Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel gets its name from where it was bred to today’s standard – Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, England. Unlike most spaniels, this breed is a total couch potato, and loves nothing more than curling up on a comfortable sofa for a sleep.

They are friendly, affectionate, and will even greet burglars with a tail wag and a lick! Just about the most laid-back dog breed on the Earth.

15. Sussex Spaniel

While still a spaniel at heart, the Sussex is probably the calmest member of his group. They do great in the city, but suburban and rural environments are equally good.

Since they are more vocal than most spaniels, hunters rarely use them on hunts. The may bark or howl making them less desirable as an apartment dog. But, inside, they are calm, steady and mellow.

They need daily exercise in the form of a walk or short romp around the yard.

Brushing the coat will be required about two to three times a week and attention to ear care is important not only for the Sussex but other spaniel breeds as well.

16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you want a small house pet that is sweet, gentle, yet playful, this could be one of the best calm dog breeds for you.

They equally enjoy walks or sharing space on your couch. They are relatively quiet, good with other dogs, pets, and strangers. These dogs are large enough to do well with children but not too big to overwhelm very young kids.

Plan to spend some time outdoors so they can explore, chase or just smell the roses.

They do require daily exercise either in the form of a romp in the yard or a moderate walk on the leash. These dogs should remain on their leash as they may tend to bolt if something catches their interest.

17. Pug

Pugs could very well be the clowns of the dog world. They are good-natured, playful and confident.

They want to please but their stubborn and headstrong nature sometimes intervenes. They love to show off, but at the same time, they are calm and even-tempered. Pugs do require daily exercise either in the form of a game indoors or a short walk around the block.

They do not do well with extended exercise routines or in the hot weather. Except for their skin folds that require regular attention, the pug’s grooming needs are minimal.

18. Shih Tzu

One of the smallest calm dog breeds, the Tzu is a sweet, gentle lapdog and an entirely devoted companion, preferring to stay by their owner’s side at all times. The are playful and totally glued to their favorite person.

Regular sized Shih Tzu is surprisingly robust, large boned and muscular making they safe around children.

Those that are smaller than the breed standard are fine with adults, but may be at risk for tiny children who tend to think of them as a fuzzy teddy bear.

Coat care is extensive and they need to be brushed several times a week. Exercise needs, however, are minimal and can often be met by following the person around the house. They do enjoy a short walk or a run in the yard.

Hot weather is a problem for this breed, but they tend to do fine in cold weather.

Interview with a Shih Tzu Owner

19. English Toy Spaniel

Smaller than their cousin, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the King Charles Spaniel enjoy a little exercise time, but the hallmark of this breed is their ability to fulfill the lapdog requirement.

They are gentle, calm and quiet, yet playful and utterly devoted to their family. They can also be stubborn and reserved with strangers.

Their exercise needs are minimal although they do enjoy a walk or romp in the yard. Most of the needs can be met indoors.

The English Toy Spaniel need twice weekly brushing, but otherwise, these are low maintenance dogs.

They are rare, however, so it might require some time if you have your heart set on a member of this breed.

20. Bolognese

The Bolognese is a relatively rare breed in the United States and is likely related to the Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Coton de Tulear.

They are more laid back and calm than some of their closer relatives but still need daily exercise. Many people also consider them less vocal than some of the other yappy small breed dogs.

Inside they make an excellent choice for someone wanting a lap dog.

Be prepared for a decent amount of coat care as these dogs need to be brushed at least 3 times per week.

They do not shed much but if they are not brushed or combed, mats will form in their hair.

21. Japanese Chin

Tiny at only 4 to 7 pounds, this breed is one of the smallest of the calm dog breeds. They are devoted, sensitive and willing to please. They tend to shadow their owner wherever they go, often getting the name of “Velcro dog.”

They are a friend to all other dogs, children, pets, and strangers. Gentle children may do excellent with this breed, but very young children will need constant supervision.

They have been described as almost cat-like in the way they like to climb to high perches. Their exercise needs are few and most can be met indoors. They do enjoy a short walk or a quick romp in the yard.

Their long coat will require brushing at least twice a week to keep mats away.

This summary of 21 calm dog breeds should help you to decide which breed might be best suited. They can be big or small, long-haired or short-haired, quiet or vocal, some need more exercise than others; BUT they are ALL calm dog breeds!

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If you’re looking for a family dog or a pup who digs your laid-back lifestyle, then considering easy-going dog breeds is a must. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but most calm dog breeds offer less potential for behavior problems.

As a certified animal behavior consultant, I routinely council pet parents about doggy personalities and breed tendencies. Too often, the “problems” my clients ask me to solve could have been avoided. After all, it’s unfair to expect a high-energy working breed such as a Border Collie to be a calm, lap-loving pup.

It’s best to be fair to the dog—and your family—by choosing wisely. Here are 17 typically calm dog breeds that might make a perfect match if you’re looking for an easy-going canine companion.

1. Bichon Frise


The Bichon is a small white powder-puff on legs that rates high on the “cute” factor. She is a gentle, playful and cheerful companion who excels at obedience training. Though she tends to do better with older children, she is a great family pet.

2. Bulldog


A massive yet compact dog of small but impressive and dignified stature, the Bulldog’s fierce expression belies the breed’s kind and affectionate nature. The Bulldog is an extremely lovable and friendly dog who doesn’t know his own strength and can bowl over the unprepared with his enthusiastic greeting.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a sweet, gentle breed that is affectionate to family and strangers alike, and loves children. The size—about 12 inches tall at the shoulder—makes her an ideal indoor pet, and she learns quickly with gentle instruction. This is a great family dog who doesn’t require lots of exercise, but note that she can’t withstand a lot of roughhousing.

4. Collie


Known to most as the “Lassie dog,” this is an old sheep-herding breed who comes in long- or short-coat varieties. Collies are smart and sensitive dogs who need calm environments and readily accept training. They are affectionate, loyal and protective pets that known to love children.

5. English Toy Spaniel

via Marlia Kenig/

This breed has the silky long coat, drop ears, docked tail and happy temperament characteristic of spaniels, but she’s much smaller and has a short, pushed-in nose. She is primarily a house and apartment dog. Known to be good with children, she is an affectionate and calm breed who may start out shy but usually warms up quickly to strangers.

6. French Bulldog


The French Bulldog is essentially a toy Bulldog with large bat ears. This medium-sized, short-coated pup and is very muscular. The Frenchie is a happy, gregarious breed who makes friends easily. A quiet dog, she requires minimal exercise and is ideal for apartment life. She tolerates polite children well.

7. Golden Retriever


The Golden Retriever is an outstanding hunting dog and family companion due to her winning personality, desire to please and high intelligence. Goldens are one of the most devoted and easy-going dog breeds, and because they’re eager to please, they usually are standouts for training. They generally love kids of all ages and easily make friends with strangers.

8. Great Dane


Despite his imposing appearance, Great Danes are friendly, dependable animals who are spirited and slow to learn, but willing to please. Their short, easy-care coats come in brindle, fawn, blue and harlequin. Danes typically love their own children but may be suspicious of neighborhood kids and other strangers.

9. Greyhound


Despite her aristocratic heritage and bearing, the Greyhound is a lovable, easy-going, sensitive dog who makes a great pet. Like most sighthounds, Greyhounds can be reserved with strangers and learn best with patient, slow training. She can adapt well even to apartment life as long as she has a good outlet for running.

10. Irish Setter


This dog’s handsome, moderately long coat comes in solid mahogany to rich chestnut red. An Irish Setter is described as clown-like for his love of play, he’s an outgoing, happy dog who often takes longer to mature and is known to remain devoted to his people. Slower to learn than some, the Irish makes a fine family pet.

11. Irish Wolfhound

via Peter_C_Henderson

The Irish Wolfhound is a giant dog that reaches 32 inches at the shoulders and 120 pounds. Despite his intimidating appearance, he is a mild-mannered, laid-back dog breed who matures slowly and may be timid. Wolfhounds need room to run, and he can leap a 6-foot fence. His quiet manner and gentle nature make him a good pet for those who understand his needs.

12. Labrador Retriever


Their high intelligence and willingness to please make Labs great hunters on the field, ideal companions at home, excellent service dogs to help guide the blind, and successful search-and-rescue partners. These gregarious dogs love just about everyone—kids, adults, strangers, even burglars (they aren’t great watchdogs). They are highly trainable but can be a bit pushy with their affection.

13. Maltese


The Maltese sports cascades of white silky fur that reach to the ground. Her hair often is tied into a topknot to reveal striking dark eyes and a black nose. She is a quiet, gentle dog who is smart and thrives on status quo, so the unpredictability of small children isn’t the best environment. She’ll also require quite a bit of coat care.

14. Mastiff

via /Ricantimages

This giant breed weighs up to 200 pounds. Despite her courage and off-putting appearance, the Mastiff is a calm dog breed and a good-natured, laid-back, docile dog who maintains a perpetual air of dignity. She is very protective, and though affectionate with the family children, may be suspicious of their friends.

15. Newfoundland


The “Newfie” is another mastiff dog who is loyal, intelligent and, above all, sweet of temper. He is the quintessential child’s playmate and guardian, and an excellent family pet. Exercise is important—especially swimming, which the Newfie loves.

16. Saint Bernard


This breed comes in short-haired and medium-length coat varieties. This powerful, stern-looking dog tends to be a slow learner who easily is distracted by scent. Most are mellow and make great family pets, but because of their size, they may inadvertently hurt a small child simply by sitting on them.

17. Tibetan Terrier


The Tibbie is a medium-sized dog who carries his tail over his back and has a profuse soft double coat that falls over the face. He was developed purely as a companion, and today remains an affectionate, intelligent, quiet and happy canine who is known to easily make friends with strangers. He is one of the most easy-going dog breeds and gets along well with children and other pets—a wonderful choice for the family dog.

Remember: There are always exceptions to the rule, but these 17 dogs are generally considered to be some of the easiest dog breeds. In busy households, especially those with kids, it’s critical to find a dog who matches your lifestyle. One of these calm dog breeds may be the easy-going companion you’ve been looking for—and just might ensure your love-at-first-sight lasts a lifetime!

Still deciding on which breed is right for you and your family? Check out:

  • 10 Relaxed Dog Breeds
  • 7 Mellow Dog Breeds
  • 10 Underrated and Overlooked Dog Breeds

Amy Shojai, CABC, ( is a certified animal behavior consultant for cats and dogs, and the author of more than 30 award-winning pet care books. She lives in North Texas with a smart-aleck Karma-Kat, and fun-loving bullmastiff Bravo.

Featured Image: via


Some humans are bundles of energy, constantly exercising, being social, and having adventures.

And some of us are just…not. Luckily for us, there are a lot of low-maintenance dogs who would love nothing more than to just hang the eff out. With you. All the time. Here are some of the chillest, coolest dogs you’ll ever meet:

1. Havanese

These gentle pups usually don’t weigh more than 15-16 pounds, and travel pretty well (you know, for trips between the couch and the fridge). Smart and small, a Havanese makes a perfect companion dog, and will happily sit in your lap all day if you let it. Which you obviously will.

2. Pug

With their smushy faces, curly pig tails, and sassy ‘tudes, Pugs have taken the world by storm. Effortlessly charming and clever AF, a Pug always knows what it wants — and 99% of the time, that’s doing a whole lot of nothing with their human.

3. Chow Chow

Known as the “Fluffy Lion-dog” in China, these snuggly squish balls are loyal, quiet, and independent. Relatively low-energy, Chows happily take to apartment living, and wouldn’t mind if you left them to their own devices once in a while.

4. Old English Sheepdog

These shaggy pups are loving and loyal. A great family pet, they are entertaining and protective of those they love. Once you cuddle up with this furball, you’re not going to want to stop.

5. Bloodhound

These large dogs can weigh up to 110 pounds, but are pretty low-energy and don’t require too much grooming. Although these talented pups are known for their sharp nose and tracking abilities, they’re also happy to hunt down the piece of cheese you accidentally just dropped.

6. Greyhound

Although they can reach speeds up to 43 miles per hour, these dogs are also known as “the world’s fastest couch potato.” Sensitive, timid, and often reserved around people they don’t know, these dogs will never interrupt during an intense episode of House of Cards.

7. English Bulldog

Docile and loving, English Bulldogs tend to be pretty low energy. They’re charming, affectionate, and don’t require a great deal of walking/running. Their preferred method of exercise is cuddling with you.

8. Basset Hound

Sugary sweet and non-confrontational, these goofy pups are blessed with short legs and big ears. By far the most relaxed of all Hound types, this dog tends to be great with children and other animals.

9. French Bulldog

The ultimate companion dog, these flat-faced cuties have exploded in popularity. Despite their Insta-famous dog celebrity status, these sweet pups are just as happy to pose for a photoshoot as they are to stay in on a Friday night. Naturally chill and requiring minimal exercise, their favorite pastimes include snoring on a pillow and snuggling up to their favorite human. (That’s you.)

10. Chinese Shar Pei

Sporting deep wrinkles and a short coat, these pups are devoted, reserved, and fabulously fold-y. Their calm nature makes them some of the best dogs for laid-back people. But be warned: you might lose an entire weekend getting lost in those adorable wrinkles.

11. Irish Wolfhound

Dignified and sweet, these large sighthounds from Ireland are actually the tallest of all dogs. Despite their commanding appearance, these pups are graceful, gentle with children, and very patient.

12. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These pups often become therapy dogs due to their gentle and affectionate nature. Kind and willing to please, they are perfectly happy with a bit of regular light exercise — a nice walk around the neighborhood or romp in the back yard.

13. Great Dane

Originally from Germany, these majestic dogs are surprisingly one of the most calm breeds out there. These gentle giants are perfectly happy with plenty of space and a nice, comfy bed for napping.

14. Bull Mastiff

Despite its size — weighing up to around 130 pounds — these muscular yet sweet protectors are great family dogs. Not meant for timid owners, these pups thrive in a loving but firm home.

Featured image via @Jonathan Graziano/Facebook

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    What Dog Breeds Are Good For Apartments?
    15 Dog-Friendly Couches Perfect For Snuggling With Your Pup
    How To Determine The Right Amount Of Exercise For Your Dog

10 Calm Dog Breeds, Because You’re Looking For A Chill Pet

Adding a dog to the family is a highly personal decision, and parents have different reasons for choosing a particular breed. Most families would agree that they want a friendly and loyal dog, but some might prioritize a protective type or one that doesn’t shed much. A family with not much space would likely choose a smaller breed, while an active household needs a dog that can keep up with them. As for families with small children, one of the calmest breeds of dog might be a perfect fit.

If you’ve ever been around a toddler or preschooler, it’s not hard to see why their parents might want a mellow mutt. A young child would enjoy running around the yard with an energetic dog, but an overly excitable breed might be apt to knock down or jump on a little one. On the other end of the spectrum, a toy breed like a Chihuahua or toy poodle might be too delicate for a family with small children.

“I am very, very leery of kids and small breeds, because can be rough without realizing it, and if there’s limited adult supervision…” veterinarian Jodi Holcomb Oliver, DVM, cautions to Romper. She adds that not every laid-back dog breed is good for these households, either. For instance, pugs are a calm and delightful pet for homes with older children, but their signature bulging eyes could easily be poked by a curious toddler.

Of course, small children should never be left unsupervised around any dog, no matter how gentle it seems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents should teach their children how to treat a dog gently, and should be aware themselves of the signs that a dog is feeling threatened enough to bite, such as tucking its tail between its legs, backing away, yawning, or growling, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

So which dog breeds are laid-back enough to suit a home with little ones? Lots of them, so here’s a list to get you started. Keep in mind, of course, that not all of these breeds will be perfect for your individual family, and no matter which breed you choose, you and your family will need to be diligent about training. So do some more homework before you visit the breeder or shelter.

David Conger/Fotolia

There’s a reason why the Goldie consistently ranks among the five most popular dog breeds on the American Kennel Club list. It’s a loving, outgoing companion that’s also gentle, obedient, and not too excitable. As a sporting breed, it needs regular exercise, according to the AKC, so you’ll need to schedule long walks or runs into your day. Its beautiful coat also needs regular grooming, especially during its shedding seasons.


“Famously friendly,” according to the AKC, the ever-popular Lab lives to please its family, is easy to train (which is why it makes a great guide and therapy dog), and it’s good-natured enough to sit still for a hug from little arms. But don’t confuse its sweetness for laziness; like the Golden, this retriever breed needs to stay active, or it might start chewing your shoes out of boredom.


This large breed looks like a giant teddy bear — and acts like one, too. Known as “the Mother Teresa of dogs,” according to PetMD, the Newfoundland is both super smart and super gentle, adoring both large and small family members. Its drooling and shedding makes it high-maintenance as far as grooming, and a good chunk of your budget will go toward its food, but Newfie owners gladly endure the mess for the sake of the love they get in return.


Under its grumpy face, the English Bulldog is totally affectionate and devoted, according to Animal Planet. They love children, and they’re sturdy enough to withstand a little enthusiastic petting. Mellow to the max, this breed needs just a little exercise and grooming to stay at its best. However, you’ll need to be careful in hot weather; the Bulldog’s flat face makes it prone to breathing problems and overheating, according to Hillspet.


If you prefer a smaller dog, this not-too-tiny breed is worth a look. The AKC affirmed that Cavs are “sweet, gentle, and affectionate” pups that train easily and fit in well with a household of children and other pets. They’re also adaptable enough to be content with both long romps in the yard and lazy days on the sofa. However, this isn’t the dog for you if you’re away from home a lot; dog trainer Michele Welton explained on her Your Purebred Puppy site that people-loving Cavaliers get stressed if left alone for long stretches. They also need to be kept on-leash during outings, since they’re apt to go chasing after birds and other small critters.


Strong enough to pull a small cart and herd cattle (it’s still used as a farm dog in Switzerland), the Berner is a sensitive softie at heart who’s gentle with children and adores being around its family, according to Petfinder. This breed thrives in cold weather and will enjoy long walks and romps in the snow with your kids. But, like the Newfoundland, the Berner is prone to shedding and drooling. And sadly, they don’t tend to live long; six to eight years is an average lifespan, according to Dog Breed Info Center.

Mary Lynn Strand/Fotolia

This imposing-looking dog is actually a “deceptively docile” breed that makes a “great family pet,” according to Chewy. The Dane is friendly and gentle with children and other animals, and Animal Planet noted that it will even try to climb into your lap for a cuddle. With a dog of this size, early and consistent obedience training is a must, and you’ll need to be strong enough to keep your Dane under control during walks.


Though the Irish Wolfhound was originally bred to hunt wolves and elk, it also happens to be another gentle giant that’s calm and sweet-tempered around children, according to Petfinder. You’ll need enough indoor and outdoor room in your home to accommodate this 3-foot-tall companion, but the Wolfhound doesn’t need more than a couple of walks a day to get its exercise. During those walks, don’t let your pet go off-leash; this breed is known to chase after squirrels and other small animals.

Clumber Spaniel


This stocky spaniel is an “amusing best friend and gentlemanly housemate,” according to the AKC. They’re docile, friendly with strangers and other pets, and love long sessions of fetch in the backyard. Clumbers don’t need much grooming, though their long ears need regular cleaning to prevent yeast infections. They love their food, but they can become overweight easily; take it easy on the table scraps.


Sad-eyed and sweet as they come, the Basset Hound is “among the most good-natured and easygoing of breeds,” per Petfinder. Bassets are mellow around other pets as well as children, and though they do need daily exercise like any dog, you don’t need to commit to long or strenuous runs. However, dog trainer Welton cautioned, Bassets can be stubborn and slow to train, according to Your Purebredpuppy, and should always be kept on a leash when outside, because they love to follow interesting scents on the ground.

Low-Energy Dog Breeds You Can Be Lazy With

When it comes to choosing the right dog, knowing yourself can be as important as anything. Some people may be in need of a pup that has energy to spare and is able to keep his human active all the time — but others just want a furry friend they can chill with on the sofa.

If that sounds like you, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the most low-energy dog breeds you can invite into your home. Of course, all pups need to get some exercise every day but these dogs won’t wear you out.


These big, fluffy beauties can grow to be 150 pounds, but they are known to be laid-back, sweet-tempered softies. In fact, “Newfies” are so sweet, they’ve been dubbed a “nanny dog” for kids by the American Kennel Club. Perhaps the only drawback to these pups is that they drool like crazy and have a tendency to sling it everywhere.


Basset Hound

These sweet, short pups are well known for being laid-back and easy to train. According to Animal Planet, basset hounds are low-energy dogs that are extremely patient with kids and anyone else who tries to annoy them. But if you want a quiet house, you might want to consider another breed, because they have a reputation for being talkative.


Saint Bernard

Anyone who watched “Beethoven” back in the day probably thinks of Saint Bernards as a breed that can be a handful. But in real life, they are known for being intelligent and patient. The American Kennel Club calls them “gentle giants” and, like Newfies, considers them a great “nanny dog.” Of course, keep in mind that they can grow to be nearly 200 pounds and are known to have a loud bark and drooly mouths.


Great Dane

Another big pup that’s totally lovable and laid-back, the “Apollo of Dogs” looks intimidating but is about as sweet as they come. Great Danes are described as “easygoing” and “a total joy to live with” by the American Kennel Club, which ranks it as one of its most popular breeds. When standing on their back legs, these pups are taller than most people. So if you want a dog that will frighten potential intruders but will be a calm sweetie, this is a great choice.



The first thing you’ll likely think of when you read about greyhounds is their speed (they can go from 0-45 miles per hour in just 30 feet!), but they are also renowned couch potatoes. Animal Planet describes them as “lovable, sweet and charming lapdogs, even if they don’t exactly fit in your lap.” If greyhounds were too much of a handful at home, a busy author like J.K. Rowling wouldn’t have chosen one to be her companion.


Neapolitan Mastiff

If you want a big dog that doesn’t really like playing but loves being cuddly, a Neapolitan mastiff might be the perfect choice. These watchful pups grow to be up to 150 pounds and have low energy and low exercise needs. According to Animal Planet, “their favorite thing in the world is to be with the people they love.” Like other big dogs, Neapolitan mastiffs have a reputation for drooling, with their slobber being described as tough to clean off of surfaces.

Getty Images | Drew Angerer


These friendly giants are praised for being docile, easygoing and loving — unless their family is threatened. Vet Street calls the bullmastiff “a terrific family dog,” and one that doesn’t need much exercise or playtime to be happy. Just make sure you have enough room for one, however, because they can weigh about 130 pounds and stand more than 2-feet-tall at the shoulders!

Flickr | kapchurus

Dogue de Bordeaux

How can you not love that expressive face? This breed is the most ancient of all French dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. Dogue de Bordeaux, aka the French mastiff, is described a courageous and affectionate pup. Training is apparently key, however, because the AKC says they can be stubborn and assert dominance over you if they aren’t trained as puppies.

Flickr | blumenbiene

If small dogs are your thing and you want to keep a calm, quiet house, you might want to find an English toy spaniel. These adorable little dogs grow to be 8-14 pounds, are described as having low energy and gentle demeanors and, according to Animal Planet, rarely barking. Finding one, especially a puppy, may be a chore because English toy spaniels are pretty rare in the U.S.

Flickr | JSF539

A small pup that can live nearly 20 years, if you adopt a Maltese you’ll find a devoted friend. They are described as very intelligent, perfect for apartment dwellers and people who also own cats, according to Vet Street. The site also calls the breed “a super therapy dog.” However, they do like to bark and will require some intense grooming at times, thanks to that luscious fur.

Flickr | kitty.green66

“Frenchies” were bred to be companions, and if you want a low-key dog that can fit on your lap, they are a solid choice. They hardly bark, are very friendly but don’t need much exercise and, according to Animal Planet, will make you laugh with their bat ears and snorting. French bulldogs have become quite popular in the U.S. in recent years but are still quite expensive because the mothers are unable to give birth naturally — they need cesarean sections to deliver their pups.

Flickr | nan palmero

Scottish Deerhound

This tall, wiry-haired doggy will certainly stick out if you take it to a crowded dog park! Scottish deerhounds do need room to run in the backyard but are relatively low-energy dogs, given their build. At home, they have “a quiet and dignified personality,” according to the American Kennel Club.

Flickr | adamnsinger

Great Pyrenees

If you want a big, fluffy pup who doesn’t have a ton of energy, you should look into adopting a great Pyrenees. They are described by Animal Planet as medium-energy, natural guardians who instinctively nurture animals that are young or hurt. How sweet is that? They are mellow, patient with kids and don’t need a lot of exercise or playtime. They do like to bark and can’t handle hot weather, though.

Flickr | Dallas Krentzel

Bergamasco Sheepdog

They may look like a pain to groom (they aren’t), but the Bergamasco sheepdog requires about as little maintenance as any dog. According to the American Kennel Club, these big, hairy pups are patient and eager to please. They don’t require much exercise and are described as very loving to their humans. In regards to that stunning coat, the AKC says Bergamasco sheepdogs are “basically maintenance free” and only need to be bathed about twice a year.

Getty Images | Stephanie Keith


This German breed can weigh in at 170 pounds, but its temperament is described as “calm and subdued” by the American Kennel Club. “Leos” are elegant and graceful dogs who just need to burn off some energy about once a day. The biggest knock against this breed is that they shed a lot, requiring daily brushing, according to the AKC.

Getty Images | Ben Pruchnie

English Bulldog

Perhaps the ultimate indoor, family dog, the English bulldog needs almost no exercise or playtime and loves pretty much everyone, including cats. Vet Street says they are mellow, easygoing and they don’t bark. Unfortunately, English bulldogs face many health issues and are not the easiest dogs to train. But if you want a pup that is happy to just sit by your side, they are hard to beat.

Flickr | Peter Holzmann

Sussex Spaniel

Spaniels aren’t always the most chilled-out dogs, but the Sussex variety is friendly, affectionate and doesn’t have a ton of energy to burn. These adorable pups need a moderate daily walk but other than that are happy to rest their frowny face on your lap. Animal Planet says their “mellow affability” means they can be great therapy dogs.

Getty Images | Chris McGrath

These regal pups, like their fellow British countrymen the English bulldog, are very versatile pets. According to the American Kennel Club, which ranks the cavalier among its most popular breeds, they “do equally well with active owners and homebodies” and are happy to be couch potatoes. They are described as gentle and eager to please — but it’s not recommended to let them off a leash because their strong hunting-dog instincts make them run toward interesting smells.

Flickr | amlamster

It’s tough to find an unhappy pug. The American Kennel Club says this beloved breed may be “the ideal house dog,” and can thrive in virtually any living situation. They don’t need a ton of exercise but the AKC says pugs are prone to obesity, so watch their calorie intake if they’ll be spending most of their time on the sofa.

Flickr | fontplaydotcom

Shih Tzu

They may not look tough — especially with a bow in their hair — but, according to Animal Planet, shih tzus share more DNA with wolves than most dog breeds. But if you want a gentle, friendly dog, these little pups are a perfect choice. They were bred to be companions and can meet their daily exercise needs by just running around the house. The biggest knocks against them are that they require regular grooming and are hard to train — but look at that face!

Getty Images | Matt Cardy

Japanese Chin

If you live in an apartment and consider yourself more of a cat person, the Japanese chin may be the ideal dog for you. According to Vet Street, chins have been described as “a cat in a dog suit,” due to their climbing abilities and tendency to clean themselves. These pups are very entertaining and unpredictable but also smart, so not too tough to train. They don’t need much exercise and don’t bark much but require plenty of affection and attention.

Flickr | lissalou66

Irish Wolfhound

Irish wolfhounds are about as affectionate as dogs come. They don’t need a lot of exercise but also shouldn’t be allowed to be couch potatoes as extra weight can hurt their joints. These dogs will adapt to your activity level. Vet Street says these pups tend to be “calm, intelligent, dignified and friendly” toward most everyone they meet.

Flickr | Airwolfhound

Afghan Hound

Another breed that will certainly attract a lot of eyes from others at the dog park is the Afghan hound. These long-haired beauties do need more exercise than most breeds on this list, but they aren’t high-energy dogs. The American Kennel Club describes them as affectionate yet “independent, dignified and aloof.” Obviously, their coat means they need plenty of grooming attention.

Getty Images | Drew Angerer


Like their greyhound cousins, whippets are very fast (30 miles per hour at a sprint!), but they aren’t high-energy dogs. They are very affectionate and friendly pups who love naps. Animal Planet says they are perfect for some who wants “a jogging buddy who then wants to chill with a movie and cuddles.” They also don’t need much grooming, hardly bark and are, overall, a healthy breed. What’s not to love?

Flickr | ig24time

A perfect dog for someone who works at home or doesn’t spend much time away, this Italian breed is described by the American Kennel Club as “serene and inactive.” The Bolognese is playful and friendly but has severe separation anxiety, meaning they can’t stand being alone for long periods of time. “Bolos” don’t shed much but do require brushing several times per week to keep that fluffy fur looking good. Finding one may be hard, however, because they are a very rare breed in the U.S.

Flickr | Grace Courbis

Bernese Mountain Dog

Not only are Berners some of the world’s most beautiful dogs, they are also known for being calm and gentle. Their ideal living situation is inside with their family but they also love outdoor activity, in case you need a hiking buddy, especially in the cold. The American Kennel Club cautions that they shed a lot and do require a good bit of brushing each week, but they are pretty easy to train and eager to please.

Flickr | blumenbiene

Chow Chow

These distinctive-looking Chinese pups need moderate exercise but are perfectly happy lounging on the sofa in a city apartment. They have been compared to cats, in terms of how clean they keep themselves, and shedding is only an issue in warmer seasons. If you want a dog that is “eternally loyal,” the American Kennel Club recommends the Chow Chow.

Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

These cuddly little guys have a background of living among Chinese royalty, which is why Animal Planet says that if you share your home with a Pekingese, “it’s this dog’s house, you’re just living in it.” They are independent-minded but are thrilled to sit in your lap and take it easy. Pekingese pups have little energy and don’t require much in the way of daily exercise.

Flickr | RobBixbyPhotography

Skye Terrier

If you want a chill dog that isn’t a popular breed, the Skye terrier is a great choice. It ranks among the bottom 20 of the American Kennel Club’s 194 recognized breeds, in terms of popularity, but it’s not because they aren’t great pals. These long-haired, low-energy pups are eager to please their humans and have minimal exercise needs. Due to their lavish hairstyle, Skye terriers need to be brushed daily — but that can be done while you guys relax on the couch together.

Flickr |

Tibetan Mastiff

Weighing up to 150 pounds, Tibetan mastiffs might look like intimidating guard dogs but they are mellow and sweet if they know you. These big beauties don’t need organized playtime, they prefer to get their exercise simply patrolling the yard of the home where they live, especially if it’s in a cold-weather place. Tibetan mastiffs can be extremely independent though, with the American Kennel Club saying they are “notorious for performing impeccably in class and then completely ignoring all commands when they are once again at home.” Sassy dog!

Flickr | lgrvv

Anatolian Shepherd

Another massive pup that doesn’t require tons of exercise is the Anatolian shepherd. If you’re looking for a dog that will snuggle up with you all the time, this might not be the best choice because they are known for being independent and not very affectionate. But if you need a loyal pet that will make you feel safe, Animal Planet calls them “unparalleled guard dogs.”

Flickr | cathyse97

Black Russian Terrier

This might not be the easiest breed for you to find but if you do, a black Russian terrier will be fiercely loyal and protective of you. These big, beautiful dogs are good for families but need space to stretch out, so an apartment would not be a great fit. They will be calm pups inside your house but Animal Planet says they are athletic and full of life if you unleash them at a dog park.

Flickr | golbenge (골뱅이)

Brussels Griffon

Like many dogs named after cities, the Brussels griffon will do great living in an urban apartment. These tiny pups have big personalities and will pretty much want to hang out near you all the time. The American Kennel Club says they need about 30 minutes of exercise a day, which can include a game of fetch inside the house. Movie lovers will remember this breed from 1997’s “As Good as It Gets,” where Verdell the Brussels griffon stole many scenes from Jack Nicholson.

Flickr | Ger Dekker

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh corgis are noted for being sweet and adaptable companions. If you are energetic, they will be too but, as the American Kennel Club says, “if you want to watch TV and eat popcorn, no problem — the Cardigan is there for you.” These cuties love to play fetch and run around with kids and other pets. If you don’t plan on keeping yours too active, be sure to watch their food intake because they can easily become overweight.

Flickr | Appomattox, VA

Chinese Crested

This breed might look a little — OK, a lot — silly, but they are pretty tough little pups, according to the American Kennel Club. Chinese cresteds are extremely loving, loyal and perfect for people with allergies, thanks to their overall lack of fur. They can meet their exercise needs by playing in the yard or in an open room but they may need sunscreen to protect their sensitive skin when outside.

Getty Images | Drew Angerer