Some people love rambunctious party pooches, who are always bouncing off the walls and keeping things interesting. But other would-be owners prefer doggos from the opposite end of the spectrum — they want a calm dog breed, who’s fairly chill and low-key.
Meeting your dog’s energy needs is a central part of being a responsible dog owner, so finding a dog whose energy level matches yours is one of the best ways to ensure long-term harmony together.
While finding the right breed is only one step in the process, it’s an important launching point. Once you’ve found the right breed, do your research by contacting breeders and rescues to get to know your potential best friend (or their parents) and ensure a good fit.
Here are 26 of the consistently calmest dog breeds that you may want to consider.
Calmest Dog Breeds: Key Takeaways
- It’s always important to select a dog breed that suits your lifestyle. And for many soon-to-be owners, that means selecting one of the calmest dog breeds around.
- It’s not always easy to define “calm” when it comes to canines. However, generally speaking, the calmest dogs don’t require a lot of exercise or attention, and they were often specifically developed to be companion animals.
- There are a number of calm dog breeds, which those seeking a chill canine should consider. Some of the most notable examples include pugs, Havanese, greyhounds, and more.
What Do We Mean by a “Calm” Dog?
Of course, all dogs will have physical exercise needs – especially when they’re puppies or “teenagers.” However, there’s a big difference in how many hours (and calories) it takes to wear down a working-line Australian shepherd versus a relatively low-energy little Havanese mix.
Generally, dogs who have historically been bred for companionship are likely to fit the bill. This means many of our toy breeds are excellent, low-exercise-need companions. Many of our giant breed dogs also fit the bill — they’re just slower-moving.
Even the calmest, lowest-maintenance dog in the world will still need daily companionship, potty breaks, and mental enrichment.
The difference is that calm dogs will be content with a few 20-minute walks, a stuffed Kong, and cuddling for the rest of the day, whereas high-energy dogs will need regular runs, hikes, or high-energy dog sport excursions to truly meet their needs.
This is especially true during adolescence.
Almost all puppies and teenage dogs (dogs under about 2 to 3 years old) will require significant daily physical exercise and mental enrichment.
Neglecting a teenage dog’s energy needs is a surefire way to create behavior problems down the line.
It’s also important to remember that all dogs will be healthiest if kept fit and trim. Ensuring that your dog gets adequate exercise doesn’t just make your life better – it will lengthen their life.
Daily walks, playtime, and a healthy diet are important for every single dog!
The 26 Calmest Dog Breeds
Based on the criteria we’ve outlined above, here are 26 of the calmest canines in the world! Just remember to consider all aspects of a given breed’s behavior and needs before picking a specific pooch for your family.
1. French Bulldog
These adorable little pups are full of personality, but are far from athletic. Thanks to their short, stocky stature, a shortened snout that makes heavy breathing hard, and their history as purely pet dogs, French bulldogs simply aren’t interested in long hikes or runs.
These goofy companions are known for being easygoing and compatible with families or apartment life.
Unlike some other small dogs, Frenchies are sturdy enough that they’re unlikely to get injured by rambunctious kids or a larger neighbor dog. However, it’s important to support Frenchie breeders that avoid breeding for hyper-exaggerated big heads and flat faces; this breed can be plagued by health issues related to those ultra-cute faces.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Like Frenchies, Cavaliers are known for being ridiculously easy going and goofy. You’ll fall in love with their silky fur and friendly personality, but what you’ll really adore is how easy it is to play and snuggle with these pups before a long, comfortable rest together.
Cavaliers are excellent at adapting to family life, dealing with apartments, and keeping older humans company. But you do need to keep an eye out for heart issues; 50% of Cavaliers suffer from mitral valve disease by the time they’re 5 years old.
This issue can lead to death and is not curable; though treatment is available to prolong your bestie’s healthy life.
3. Basset Hound
Short and stubby and with ears for days, basset hounds tend to be quite low-energy dogs. Their short legs make it easy to wear them out with a few short walks, and their history as scenthounds mean they readily explore the world with their noses rather than by eating up miles of trail.
Unlike some other breeds on this list, bassets aren’t always a great fit for apartment living due to their baying hound voice. However, their energy levels are perfect for calmer households.
4. Irish Wolfhound
While a huge, leggy dog might not seem like an obvious choice for a calm household, Irish wolfhounds are actually content to lounge at your feet most of the time.
Wolfhounds tend to be affable with other canines, low-shedding dogs (thanks to their wiry coats), and happy to sprint around the yard or park for a little while rather than hitting the trails every day.
5. Saint Bernard
Despite their history traversing the mountains to aid languishing hikers, the Saint Bernard is a delightfully calm breed to be around. Once past adolescence, most Saint Bernards and Saint Bernard mixes are genial roommates content with a few walks per day and lots of attention. Note that like many dogs on this list, teenage Saint Bernards can be quite the handful before settling into adulthood and calming down a bit!
Like most giant breed dogs, they tend to have low-energy levels but you’ll want to prioritize house manners to avoid being tackled by these excitable lovebugs.
These water-loving gentle giants are generally delightful house dogs. As long as you can tolerate some shedding and drooling, most Newfoundlands are happy to indulge in your comfort-seeking lifestyle.
Given their background as aquatic rescue dogs (like the now-extinct Moscow water dog), Newfoundlands will appreciate some beach time and even dabbling in cart-pulling, but they won’t demand lengthy trail runs or endless games of fetch.
Like most giant breeds that weren’t bred for guarding, Newfoundlands and Newfoundland mixed breeds have pretty low-dopamine levels and don’t react strongly to many stimuli in their environment. This means they’re likely not to overreact to noises in the apartment complex or slamming car doors!
There’s a reason these snub-faced tanks are so popular. Many bulldogs and bulldog mixes are goofy, friendly, and confident. Thanks to their short noses and stocky stature, bulldogs simply aren’t cut out for athletic endeavors.
While they’re generally quite calm dogs, bulldogs can tend towards bursts of energy and excitement when things are busy or fun around the household. So, work hard on basic manners to avoid having your guests tackled by a heavy-breathing sweetie.
Like wolfhounds, greyhounds are classified as sighthounds. These regal dogs are bred mostly to lounge around the house, seeking out the most comfortable spot on the couch — and then intermittently, they like to run, run, run!
This means that most of the day, your greyhound (and many greyhound mixes) will be one of the best snugglers around. However, it’s important to offer them the opportunity to stretch those long legs in a safe environment. Consider signing up for weekly lure coursing games with greyhounds to let them safely express their need to all-out chase something down.
Compact and cute, the pug is the quintessential apartment dog. Unlike many dogs their size, pugs don’t tend to be nervous or barky. They tend to be goofy and playful but tire quickly.
Just be sure to keep an eye on exposing them to heat — their short noses mean that they overheat quickly.
10. Tibetan Spaniel
You may have never seen a Tibetan spaniel, but you’ll love them! Unlike most spaniels, Tibetans are actually bred as companion dogs. They’re not really hunting dogs like springer spaniels, but instead, they’re a rather cuddly toy breed.
Alert and bright, Tibetan spaniels may tend towards barkiness with strangers but readily relax around the house. These frisky little dogs bond tightly with their people and are happy to share their time with you however you prefer!
11. Great Pyrenees
Regal and reserved, the Great Pyrenees isn’t exactly the dog for socialites. This breed is known for its guarding tendencies and will readily patrol your yard or calmly scan the horizon for “intruders” all day.
While they are exceptionally gentle with their family and are very happy to relax and observe the world, these livestock guarding dogs will also readily rise to the occasion of protecting their “flock.”
This can mean that Great Pyrenees and Great Pyrenees mixed breeds aren’t a good fit for apartment living or homes with lots of kids that come and go. This breed is best suited to quiet homes where they can feel secure that everything is “in order” and simply survey their domain.
12. Great Dane
Huge and goofy, Great Danes have positively delightful personalities. Like other giant breeds, you may need to get used to some drool. However, their easy-care coat is great for the low-maintenance family.
Great Danes often enjoy playing with other dogs, then resting for the rest of the day. Be sure to pick their playmates carefully, as the huge doggos can frighten away other doggos with their antics!
This small and regal sighthound is a true creature of comfort. They can be reserved or even shy with strangers, but would love to “Netflix and chill” with their loved ones. While they’re built like world-class athletes, whippets prefer short bursts of sprinting instead of long workouts.
Consider finding lure coursing or dock diving courses to help your whippet feed his need to intermittently run all-out, then pass out.
14. Bernese Mountain Dog
Similar to the Saint Bernard and Newfoundland, “Berners” are generally great dogs for busy families. They may enjoy a few outings per day to really stretch their legs and stay fit, but they won’t demand endless rounds of fetch!
Get used to some grooming and wiping up drool, but otherwise it’s hard to beat a Berner as a casual canine companion. They will enjoy some weekend excursions and can be excitable teens, but otherwise are generally very calm and forgiving.
15. Clumber Spaniel
These big-headed cuties are extremely mellow and well-mannered. They are likely to be socially savvy, playful, and gentle. They can be medium-energy and will benefit from a bit more exercise than some other breeds on this list, but are certainly worth a mention thanks to their winning personalities around the house.
They are quite a smart dog breed and will benefit from enrichment and training, but are extremely easy going with strangers, noises, and other commonplace disturbances.
Snub-nosed and floofy, these little dogs are affectionate and loyal. Thanks to their small stature, it’s relatively easy to meet the exercise needs of these fluffy dogs. That said, you may need to get used to some significant grooming thanks to their long, silky coat!
These little lovers are excellent cuddlers who tend to be quiet and happy to play, but not too pushy.
While these large, powerful dogs don’t look it, they can be quite calm companions. Unlike some of the other dogs on this list, boerboels are best placed in quieter homes. They still have strong guardian tendencies and don’t always take well to bustling households or strange dogs.
However, once they’re settled into your family boerboels are regal and relaxed companions.
18. Chow Chow
Like many of the stockier northern breeds, chow chows tend to be pretty low-energy. While they can appear a bit aloof, chows bond closely with their family and can be quite goofy in short spurts of playfulness. Thanks to their stocky build and thick coat, most chows are happier lounging around the house and surveying their domain than exercising for hours on end.
They tend to be reserved (or even shy) with strangers and strange dogs, so this Chinese dog breed is not a great fit for busy households. They will readily adventure with you, provided you’re able to keep them cool, but they won’t demand daily exercise.
If you’re looking for a funny, outgoing small breed to fit into a quieter household, the Havanese is a great breed to consider. They tend to be an exceptionally affectionate dog breed, showing lots of love towards their families while also being friendly to other dogs, and adaptable to your lifestyle.
While they enjoy playtime, their small stature (just 7 to 13 pounds) means that it’s easy to meet their energy needs.
Like the chow chow, Samoyeds thoroughly enjoy a romp in the snow. This goofy, charismatic breed is highly adaptable and gentle. But while they’re bred to pull sleds through the snow, Samoyeds are happy to rest on their laurels — especially when it’s warm out.
This breed makes our calmest dog breed list because of their adaptability and easygoing nature, but they may need more regular exercise than some others discussed here. Just be warned: Samoyeds are quite vocal. If you don’t like “talkative” dogs, keep looking.
Like the Havanese, Maltese and Maltese mixed breeds are highly affectionate and bright little dogs. They are even smaller (topping out at 7 pounds) and more delicate than the Havanese, so they’re not necessarily the best fit for a home with small kids. They can also be quite vigilant around the house, so while they bond closely with their family they can be suspicious of strangers.
While they’re quite playful, their small size makes it easy to meet their energy needs.
22. Italian Greyhound
“Iggies” are ultra-cute and can be quite mischievous. These happy, spindly little dogs happily entertain themselves and can be hilarious to interact with — but keep your counters clear! While they’re easygoing and readily adapt to many lifestyle types, Italian greyhounds are creative and goofy enough to get into plenty of trouble.
They aren’t, however, a great fit for homes with small kids due to their delicate, long, and easily injured limbs.
Aside from having the softest ears around, beagles are excellent companions for lower-energy homes. They can be quite talkative (that bay is iconic!) and extremely playful, but their adaptability and friendliness make them relatively easy to live with.
These merry little dogs are incredibly social and will thrive on a household that gives them plenty of social attention and some physical exercise each day.
24. Boston Terrier
Like many dogs on this list, Bostons are friendly, cheerful, and adaptable. Most are happy to relax at your side after a daily walk, but this breed varies a bit in exercise needs.
Like all short-faced dogs, it’s important that you take care to protect your Boston terrier from overheating.
25. Shiba Inu
These little “trouble foxes” are adorable and quirky. While their aloof nature might not be the right personality match for everyone, Shibas and Shiba Inu mixes are generally excellent apartment dogs that adapt well to quiet households. They like “their person” but generally do quite well with 9 to 5 workdays and don’t fuss too much about exercising their independence.
Shibas can be reserved with strange humans and dogs, but are excellent walking and cuddling companions.
Whether it’s a designer mix like a Cavapoo (Cavalier spaniel x poodle), French bulldog mix, or a “Heinz-57” shelter dog, many mixes can fit the bill for your calmer household. Generally, you’ll find success looking at mixes that include some of the breeds or breed groups named earlier in this article.
If you’d like to adopt your next canine companion, consider looking at either stocky dogs, giant breeds, or more stable small breeds. Steer clear of herding or hunting mixes for your best chance of success.
Canine companionship doesn’t need to come with a mandate for weekly hiking trips or daily runs. Whether you’re seeking a low-energy and quiet roommate or a goofy and adaptable socialite, there’s a calm dog breed out there for you!
Did we miss your favorite calm dog breed? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!