Not all dog breeds are equal. While breeds most obviously vary by looks, they also vary by mentality. It is that mentality that sometimes affects their confidence or need for exercise. Beagles, for example, are commonly seen to need really long walks. Cockapoos are meant to be loving mongrels but full of excitable energy for much of their lives.
There are many dog breeds, however, that are known to be calm. Calm dogs can be an excellent addition to any household. They provide companionship without the need to walk them for miles on end or play with them for hour after hour. Calm dog breeds can therefore be a great option if mobility is an issue for you. Or, perhaps your primary motivation for getting a canine pet is friendship.
Here, we identify the ten most calm dog breeds around and look at some ways to encourage calm behaviour in any dog - regardless of breed.
Calm dog breeds
The following dog breeds are usually sedate and calm, though they do all need some level of exercise. Of course, there will always be anomalies to every breed, but thorough and consistent training should be able to bring out the best in any dog.
These huge animals may initially put some prospective dog owners off due to their size. However, while they are big, they are also pretty placid animals. Moving their bodies sometimes seems to be such an effort for them that you will see them sit or lie down frequently. When they are on the move, they move slowly, thanks to that relaxed demeanour. So, while they may need a lot of food and a fair bit of grooming, they are also excellent, real-life teddy bears for companionship.
One of the nation’s favourite dogs, the labrador retriever, may not be the calmest of puppies. Still, after some training, owners find them to be brilliant pets. They are loyal to a fault, and as a result, they will often respond to how their owner is feeling. If you are not feeling up to going out for a walk, a lab will happily sit at home with you. Plus, they can be trained easily not to bark every time the doorbell rings or jump up on a guest when you have friends around.
While Greyhounds are known for their speed and agility, they are incredibly tranquil animals. And, if you find a place to walk them with lots of open space, you do not necessarily have to walk too far for them to get the level of exercise they need. Take a ball and a thrower for them to chase after, and they will soon exhaust themselves running in short, fast bursts. Buying an ex-racing greyhound is an excellent option as it gives a home to a dog in need of one. Plus, they will often be trained already, taking out some of the hard work of owning a puppy.
The Golden Retriever has many similarities and character traits to a labrador. Calm and composed, these dogs really can make one of the best family pets a household can own. Some owners may be put off by the coat, which can malt and needs regular maintenance. However, most Golden Retriever owners cannot imagine a better dog. Their peaceful composure and the ease it takes to train them means they are perfect for those who need a reliable dog who will not bring crazy antics into the home.
King Charles Spaniel
This beautiful breed of dog is often a crowd-pleaser at dog shows. One of the reasons they do so well at dog shows is their temperament, which is calm and placid. They are friendly, too, so they can be a great addition to a home with children or often visiting grandchildren. Like other long-haired dogs on this list, some potential dog owners may be discouraged from buying a King Charles due to the maintenance their coats need. However, the joy these loving creatures bring to a home means that owners often love the grooming process. It gives them an excuse to shower their four-legged best friend with love and attention.
This tiny dog breed is an excellent option if you're looking for a pup that is calm and exhibits many other low maintenance qualities. Pugs do not need a great deal of walking, and they also do not suffer too badly from separation anxiety. So, if there are days that you do have to leave them at home for a few hours, they will remain calm. They will not find the ordeal too stressful like other dog breeds may well do. Their squat face may not appeal to everybody, but pugs have become popular in recent years - no doubt thanks to their gentle and loving ways.
In stark comparison to a Pug, we have one of the dog world's biggest breeds. The Great Dane is also a good choice if you're looking for a calm dog. Originally bred to be used as a hunting dog, Great Danes descend from a cross between a Mastiff and an Irish Wolfhound. Their ability to learn from and obey their owners makes them so popular on hunts. That intelligence also makes them a dog that is quick to pick up training. Owners can therefore teach their Great Dane to be calm in all situations.
This little brute of a dog remains a firm favourite in dog-loving nations. The reason being is that they are known to be very kind and patient, which seeps into them often having a composed nature. Like pugs, their squat faces may not be for everyone and can mean they suffer breathing problems. However, they do not require very long walks and will remain calm at home even if they have not been out all day. Their short hair also means they do not need many baths or trips to the groomers.
While some dog owners will buy a Shih Tzu to grow their hair long for dog shows, many buy them for simple companionship. Those that do will find them to be a wonderful friend who is receptive to the mood of its owners. If you want to play or do something energetic, they will keep up with ease, but they are also just as satisfied with a good cuddle on the sofa. Even Shih Tzus with shorter coats will need some level of grooming, but much like the King Charles Spaniel, owners usually love spending so much quality time with their pup.
The furrowed brow and face of a Shar Pei makes them easily identifiable dogs. Their short coats immediately make them that bit easier to look after in terms of maintenance. But it is their temperament that always wins over their owners. These gentle giants are laid back and relaxed in almost all scenarios. Plus, while they love a walk and an excuse to get outside to have a good sniff, they are equally just as happy to stay at home with their favourite toy.
Ways to encourage calm behaviour in a dog
If you already have a dog and find that they are not calm at all, it is possible to change the status quo. Do not just write it off as down to their breed or the fact that you think them impossible to train. There are several ways you can encourage calm behaviour in any dog, which you may find helpful.
Training a dog is often seen to be teaching them to sit or roll over. That is often taught through positive reinforcement - either through rewarding them with food or a toy when they have done as you have asked. You can do the same with rewarding calm behaviour. If your dog does not jump up when you walk in the door or does not bark at the postman, reward them.
Practice practice practice
Once you have done a little bit of positive reinforcement training with your dog, do not stop there, you need to keep going. While some dogs pick things up very quickly, others do not and may take some time to get to grips with what you believe to be acceptable behaviour.
Training your dog does not have to be onerous. Just see it as spending quality time with them. Do short sharp bursts as often as you can.
While some dogs do not need much exercise to stop them from wrecking the inside of a house when left alone, others do. If you fall into this remit, try walking your dog a little more every day or even employ a dog walker if you do not quite have the stamina for yet more walking. Excitable or negative behaviour often comes from boredom, so if they are tired, they do not have the chance to get up to mischief.
Having a calm dog breed
Researching a dog breed before buying a dog is so important. The chances of getting the right dog for your family are materially improved if you choose a breed that will be predisposed to meeting your needs. So, if you need a calm dog, for whatever reason, ensure that you don't choose a breed known to be excitable. Otherwise, you could find that you and the dog are not as happy as you could be, even though you love one another deeply.