Top 10 Calmest Dogs

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: May 22, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Not all small breed dogs are excitable, many are quite calm dogs.
  • Pekingese dogs were bred to be companion animals for nobility and are very calm.
  • The Bulldog is an excellent companion that thrives in many different living situations.

Dogs are remarkable animals for their genetic flexibility; they can be selected for almost any kind of body size, fur color, and personality trait one desires. Depending on what kind of dog you’re after, calmness is perhaps one of the most important attributes in breeding. A calm dog will maintain its composure in response to different people, circumstances, or stimuli. This is an especially important attribute in homes with smaller children or other pets. It’s no surprise that many of the dogs on this list are also some of the most popular breeds in the world. Let’s learn more about the calmest dogs out there!

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will rarely want to leave their owner’s side.

A calm dog can come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and appearances; there are calm gun dogs, calm working dogs, and calm lap dogs. This personality trait is not exclusive to any particular type of breed. However, a calm dog is not necessarily the same thing as an inactive or lazy dog. Some dogs on this list are incredibly energetic, but they know how to control their behavior and settle down when they’re done exercising. That does not mean you should neglect training and socialization. Even with a naturally even temper, these dogs still benefit from a good training regiment to prevent them from adopting bad or anti-social behavior. Crate training your puppy can also help ease their anxiety.

With all that said, the 10 calmest dog breeds on this list will brighten your day and help you relax.

#10: Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers make excellent guide dogs because of their gentle temperament.


The Golden Retriever originated in 19th century Scotland. Its original purpose was to retrieve downed fowl from both water and land, which required great athleticism and agility. Characterized by its lush golden coat, this breed also has an upbeat and friendly disposition to match. Being one of the calmest dogs makes them well-suited for search and rescue operations or as guide dogs for the blind and deaf. They are also considered by many to be quintessential all-around family dogs and social butterflies.

There is a reason why they consistently rank among the three to five popular dog breeds in the entire United States. If you’re interested in other breeds that share these attributes, you might also want to check out the Labrador Retriever.

#9: Bulldog

Bulldogs are friendly, docile dogs.


Both the French Bulldog and English Bulldog are incredibly popular breeds. The American Kennel Club consistently ranks them in the top five each year. What they share in common, besides their small stature, short snout, and wrinkly face, is their calm, chill, and friendly behavior, burnished a bit by a silly streak. They do differ in one important respect, however: their body size.

The English Bulldog has a larger, more muscular build; the smaller size of the French Bulldog was the result of crossbreeding with toy and ratting dogs. Nevertheless, both breeds fall into the non-sporting group; they make excellent companions and pets regardless of living conditions.

#8: Greyhound

The greyhound is both the fastest and calmest dog in the world.

© by Adri

The Greyhound is considered to be the fastest dog breed in the world, obtaining speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, making it a popular breed in the race circuit. With all that speed and energy, it might surprise you to learn that this breed also ranks as one of the calmest dog breeds in the world. People have a very common misconception that this is a hyperactive dog breed. In fact, as long as they receive enough exercise (normally about an hour a day), they spend most of the day resting and sleeping with hardly a care in the world, sometimes up to 18 hours. This makes them surprisingly good apartment pets, better even than some smaller breeds half their size.

#7: Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are commonly known as gentle giants.

©Katrina Brown/

These big, lovable, gentle giants originated in the frigid, snow-covered Alps of the 11th century, where they helped monks locate missing travelers. With such a sweet attitude and a high tolerance for adverse circumstances, this breed has a big heart to match its big size. However, don’t let its sweet personality trick you into neglecting this dog’s socialization and training as a puppy. With their big bodies, Saint Bernard needs to understand the proper boundaries and limits of its social and physical environment. Because of their tendency to accidentally knock over younger children, careful supervision is necessary.

#6: Basset Hound

Bassett hounds make for a great family pet because of their demeanor with children.

© Nystrom

The Bassett Hound is a hunting dog that came from the French and Belgian region centuries ago. It has an exceptionally strong sense of smell to pursue hare across long distances. This is matched with a remarkably distinctive appearance, thanks to the short legs, wrinkly face, and big, drooping ears. These dogs were originally bred to remain calm on the hunt and develop a very strong partnership with their owner.

While they’re a little independent-minded and might be a challenge to train, there are very few things that will rile up this dog, which is why it is considered to be one of the calmest dog breeds. In fact, they’re very well known for their gentility with babies and toddlers. They have a high tolerance for rough play and loud noises.

#5: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a very loyal dog.


A favorite breed of British nobility and the upper class, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has round eyes and an expressive face that should endear them to all kinds of different people. Their small stature also makes them great lap dogs with a tendency to cuddle. They rarely want to leave their owner’s side. While they do have strong hunting and chasing instincts (so much so that it’s not a good idea to let them off the leash outdoors), the American Kennel Club actually lists them as part of the toy group, not the hunting group. They were historically kept as companion or lap dogs.

#4: Irish Wolfhound

This large crossbreed is, surprisingly, very quiet and reserved.


The Irish Wolfhound has a long and fascinating history dating back several centuries. An earlier version of this dog was likely present on the British islands around Roman times, but it wasn’t until around the Middle Ages that a true Irish Wolfhound emerged. The original purpose of this breed was to protect against and even hunt wolves. Their valor and loyalty earned them a place in an Irish tale called “Gelert, the Faithful Hound.”

There is also a famous story (perhaps invented) of a wolfhound saving the son of a Welsh prince. However, they were so successful at their task that wolves had already disappeared from Ireland by the late 18th century, and the number of wolfhounds subsequently waned, perhaps to the point of near extinction. Several decades passed before someone tried to recreate the old Irish Wolfhound by crossing several breeds, including a Great Dane.

You would probably not expect these enormously large and shaggy dogs, standing up to 34 inches tall and weighing more than 90 pounds, to have such a calm disposition. But the Irish Wolfhound is reserved, quiet, easy-going, loyal, and friendly in its own unique manner. While they do exhibit some hunting instincts and independent behavior, their actual personality is friendly and gentle.

#3: Pekingese

Pekingese dog sitting in grass
The Pekingese


originally bred to be close companions to Chinese royalty.


These little lap dogs, which sport a regal coat of long, flowing fur and a flat snout, were exceptionally popular companions among the Chinese nobility for many centuries. The Pekingese is a loving, outgoing, and friendly dog, practically bred to be doted upon and cared for by people. This is reflected in the strong bond they can form with their owners. But there is one catch: they may not necessarily prefer to live in a home with younger children. With their small fragile bodies, they do not tolerate being poked or grabbed and may turn just a little aggressive during rough play. Keep this in mind if you decide to bring home a Pekingese.

#2: Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan

spaniel is very aware of its owner’s


©Elisa Putti/

This breed originated centuries ago as very capable watchdogs and companions of Buddhist monks in the remote Tibetan monasteries of the inhospitable Himalayas. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that their calm, placid demeanor is a perfect match for their place of origin. The small Tibetan Spaniels, characterized by a silky double coat, a domed head, and a curled tail, are not true spaniels because they were not bred for hunting. Instead, their playful behavior and loving personality make them ideal social companions. They thrive on regular human contact and are well attuned to the emotions of their owner, making them one of the calmest dog breeds in the world.

#1: Boerboel

The Boerboel breed is a good dog for younger children given its calming and loving presence.

©Marina Plevako/

This large mastiff-like pet was originally bred by Dutch and German settlers of South Africa in the 17th century. The name itself is a combination of the terms bore (referring to the farmers who settled in the region) and boel (the shortened term for a bulldog). They served the purpose of protecting the homestead against animal and human intruders alike. While not necessarily an ideal companion for inexperienced dog owners, they do provide a calming and loving presence, especially around younger children in the family, for those who can learn their intricacies and nuances. These are dominant and confident dogs that exhibit protective and territorial behavior. They definitely need an experienced owner to thrive.

Summary Of The 10 Calmest Dogs

RankCalmest Dog
10Golden Retriever
7Saint Bernard
6Basset Hound
5Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
4Irish Wolfhound
2Tibetan Spaniel

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sarune Kairyte/

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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