Dogs are man’s best friend and have been for a long time. They’re intelligent, friendly, and very loyal companions.
When you start looking for a dog, you have probably looked up the least aggressive dog breeds, which is why you’re here. Even though the breeds that are considered aggressive sometimes get a bad rep, it’s understandable why someone would want a friendlier breed.
Especially if you’re looking for a family dog, you will find the best options among the least aggressive breeds. From Golden Retrievers to Pugs, many friendly, loving, and sociable dogs are out there.
To aid you in your search, this list contains 23 of the least aggressive dog breeds and an overview of their personalities. Who knows, if you keep reading, you might just find your next good boy.
- 1 23 Least Aggressive Dog Breeds
- 1.1 1. Basset Hound
- 1.2 2. Bernese Mountain Dog
- 1.3 3. Beagle
- 1.4 4. Golden Retriever
- 1.5 5. Newfoundland
- 1.6 6. Brittany
- 1.7 7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 1.8 8. Bergamasco Sheepdog
- 1.9 9. Labrador Retriever
- 1.10 10. Maltese
- 1.11 11. Shih Tzu
- 1.12 12. Border Collie
- 1.13 13. Rough Collie
- 1.14 14. Irish Setter
- 1.15 15. Poodle
- 1.16 16. Pug
- 1.17 17. Portuguese Water Dog
- 1.18 18. Greyhound
- 1.19 19. Bichon Frise
- 1.20 20. Vizsla
- 1.21 21. Papillon
- 1.22 22. Havanese
- 1.23 23. Whippet
- 2 Least Aggressive Dogs – Will They Become Aggressive At Some Point?
23 Least Aggressive Dog Breeds
From herding dogs to active pups and lazy lap dogs, there is a breed that is perfect for you. Here are some of the friendliest of good boys and girls to consider.
1. Basset Hound
These droopy-eyed and long-eared dogs are very easy-going breeds. They are great family dogs and make excellent companions for the elderly, kids, or anyone with limited mobility. They have a reputation for being porch dogs, basking in the sun, and taking a lot of naps.
Basset Hounds are also quite friendly towards other pets and even strangers. They may look a little sad, but these pups are super playful and outgoing. You will have the time of your life and then have a nap on the couch with one of these chill dogs.
Tip: Perhaps look into getting them a comfy orthopedic dog bed for those long sun naps.
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dogs may look like small bears but have such a sweet personality. They are known for their loyalty and friendly disposition and even make excellent watchdogs. These breeds create strong bonds with their owners but are friendly towards strangers.
They are also so calm that they can handle kids climbing all over them without snapping or growling. However, they might try to herd the kids due to their history as cattle dogs. These gentle giants are as hard-working as they come and make great family dogs. However, they do need a lot of outside time.
If you open your heart to a Bernese Mountain Dog, you will have a gentle being who lounges around your house and eats everything in sight. Not much different from a teenager, just less moody. Or check out the Bernedoodle, a Bernese Mountain dog crossed with a poodle.
Bred as hunting dogs, Beagles are very energetic and get excited by different smells. Even though they need a lot of supervision, they have such friendly and happy dispositions. It’s like nothing can get a Beagle down.
They are sociable and get along with kids, strangers, and other dogs well. They’re also perfect for getting your younger child’s energy out, as they are very athletic and love running around. Beagles can be very loud, so do keep that in mind if you live in a quiet neighborhood. They can also become prone to canine separation anxiety.
Welcoming a Beagle into your home is opening the door for a lot of energy and a lot of love.
4. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is known as the quintessential family dog. They are super intelligent, friendly, and easy-going breeds. They are also adaptable, hence why they are used as guide dogs, sniffer dogs, and police dogs.
Golden Retrievers can get very attached to their owners and love pleasing them. They can also be incredibly active and excitable as puppies. However, you can train this behavior, and they will be the calm, loving, and loyal dogs we know.
A Golden Retriever is a perfect friend, guardian, and cuddle bug for anyone who doesn’t mind some hair everywhere.
Newfoundlands have been nicknamed the nanny dogs because of their relationship with children. And even though their size might be intimidating, they are such gentle creatures. They are docile and calm, working as companion dogs and rescue dogs. They are also courageous and loyal breeds.
Newfoundlands are very protective of their family. They easily tolerate small kids climbing all over them and will follow them around to ensure they are safe. This breed loves to swim, so make sure you have access to a pool or lake for them to splash around in. They also tend to sit on your feet as if they don’t weigh 150 lbs.
If you want a friend and a babysitter in one, then a Newfoundland dog is the perfect companion.
Brittany Spaniels are sweet-tempered, sensitive, and love to please. Their friendly and peaceful disposition makes them thrive in a calm environment. They are very polite and gentle with people and other animals but get attached to their owners.
Originally bred to hunt birds, they are active and excitable. The birds in your backyard need to watch out. Brittanys train well but need exercise and a lot of playtime. If not, they can get into all sorts of mischief. Interactive toys are a great way to keep them out of trouble. They do well with kids and other animals but keep them away from small animals like birds and hamsters.
If you love dogs and hate pigeons, get a Brittany. They will supply you with an endless amount of entertainment.
7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These small spaniels are classed as toy dogs by the American Kennel Club, but they have prominent personalities.
These affectionate and curious creatures require a lot of attention. However, they are well-behaved and loyal.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can either be very friendly and outgoing or calm and prefer cuddling with you on the couch. They are also quite intelligent and adaptable, fitting into new environments easily. They also make great lap dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are as regal and elegant as their name and will make you feel like royalty whenever they curl up on your lap.
8. Bergamasco Sheepdog
With their shaggy coats, the robust Bergamasco Sheepdog may be intimidating at first, but they have such sweet and gentle personalities. They are exceptionally social and are known to cultivate different relationships with every member of the family. They were bred to be vigilant guard dogs and are protective of their families.
These calm and loyal dogs were also bred to herd cattle, so you may catch them trying to herd you if they’re bored. Even though they’re not very active, they need playtime and walks daily. Bergamasco Sheepdogs are also hypoallergenic. They don’t shed and only need to be bathed a maximum of three times a year.
Don’t judge these gentle creatures by their appearance. If you open your heart to a Bergamasco Sheepdog, you will have a protector, a friend, and lots of love.
9. Labrador Retriever
Another iconic and popular family dog, Labrador Retrievers are gentle and easy-going dogs. They are as friendly as they come but also highly energetic. Labradors love playing with small children and other dogs and need a lot of playtime. Invest in a good quality leash and harness system because they will wear them out from all the walkies.
Labradors are eager to please and are very loyal dogs. They love human interaction and get attached to their owners. However, they are thought to be the most social breed. They are incredibly friendly toward strangers and other animals. They indeed are man’s best friend.
Labradors are great if you enjoy an active lifestyle with a dog that will say hello to everything they see on the walk.
Photo by Angel Luciano on Unsplash.com
These affectionate toy breeds pretty much invented the term lap dog. Along with being a low-maintenance breed, they are also very friendly, caring, and docile. They are pretty intelligent and easily trainable due to their sociable personalities.
This breed is lively and playful and loves learning tricks. They can be overly protective of their owners, but their bark is much bigger than their bite. They don’t like being alone and will start whining if they’re left alone for too long. Even though they’re amiable dogs, they might snap at children that are being too rough with them.
But if they’re trained well, Malteses will be incredibly loving dogs who can entertain your guests with their adorable tricks.
11. Shih Tzu
The name Shih Tzu might mean little lion, but they’re far from it. These dogs are sweet and loving little creatures. They make themselves at home very quickly. They also train efficiently and do very well when walking in public with other people.
They are cuddly and quiet but can be very playful as well. They get along great with children and other animals. Shih Tzus were bred specifically to be companions, and following you throughout the house is a lot of fun for them. They also don’t mind being handled by children as long as they don’t get too rough.
Shih Tzu mix dogs are also very popular. Some of the most popular mix breeds are the Maltese Mix Shih Tzu, Chihuahua Shih Tzu mix, Shih Tzu mixed with Yorkie, the Shih Tzu Pomeranian, Shih Tzu mini, Imperial Shih Tzu and Maltese Shih Tzu Poodle.
These little lions are actually little lambs and will give you a lifetime of affection.
12. Border Collie
Border Collies have energy that never seems to deplete. However, even though they may drive you up the wall with their constant running, they’re such sweet family dogs and have been companions to farmers for centuries. They are also brilliant and quick thinking.
They love to learn tricks but can be hard to train due to their naturally stubborn personality. You do need to earn their loyalty, but when you do, they are very protective. And they will try to herd you or your kids if they haven’t received enough exercise.
One of the most stunning Border Collie colours is Blue Merles.
A Border Collie will be your best friend and running partner if you live an active lifestyle. And when you get home exhausted after a nice exercise session, you can relax while they go take care of the kids.
13. Rough Collie
The first thing that catches your eye about a Rough Collie is their majestic long coat that looks like they’re straight out of a Maybelline commercial. But they’re also known as one of the least aggressive dog breeds out there with their calm personalities.
They’re brilliant, train easily, and can pick up tricks quickly. They’re also quite energetic and need a lot of exercise and attention, or they may start herding anything that moves. Rough Collies are loyal and gentle animals and do very well with children and other dogs.
Rough Collies are beautiful dogs with calm demeanors. You won’t regret letting one into your home and on your morning jog.
14. Irish Setter
Irish Setters are goofy dogs with loveable and energetic personalities. They are athletic and perfect for anyone who lives an active lifestyle. They also train very well. Even though they have charming and kind dispositions, they can be pretty shy when around people they don’t know.
They are great with children; however, they might accidentally knock over smaller kids because they’re so boisterous. Irish Setters can be very needy, and if they don’t get attention for a while, they may resort to chewing your furniture.
Fun Fact: It was an Irish Setter that chewed through the first manuscript of the novel Of Mice and Men. Get them some durable chew toys for these moments of boredom.
They were bred to hunt ducks and doves, so they might also chase the birds in your backyard. Be sure that if you let an Irish Setter into your home, you will have a loveable pup who wants to play fetch 24/7.
There is more than one type of Poodle, the standard, the miniature, and the toy poodle. Not to mention all of the poodle mix breeds. These include the cavapoochon, golden mountain doodle, pomapoo, goldendoodle, labradoodle, whoodle and german shepherd poodle mix.
However, their personalities are very similar. These dogs are very polite and gentle and super intelligent to boot. Even though they’re laid back, they do need a lot of exercise and playtime. Poodles excel at dog sports.
These fluffy dogs are a breed of water dogs and love splashing around in puddles. They can also develop bad barking habits, so training from a young age is essential for Poodles. They are quite clingy and can get anxious if left alone for a long time. Loud noises and rough play can also make them nervous.
No matter which Poodle you choose, you will have an elegant and graceful pup who sometimes gets into the muddy puddles outside.
You’ll know a Pug immediately from their little smushed faces and curly tail. These small dogs have huge personalities and have grown in popularity over the past few years. They are naturally protective of their owners but enjoy socialization with new people. They also get along great with kids.
Pugs are dramatic. They are one of the most dramatic dogs and will overreact to scolding or any mild inconvenience. They are also incredibly strong-willed and are attached to their owners, following them around.
Pugs are charming and easy-going. They don’t need a lot of exercise but love snacking, so it’s good to keep an eye on them. A timed pet feeder can do this for you when you’re away.
Pugs are very loving and affectionate dogs; if you welcome one into your family, you will have a dramatic companion you can’t stay mad at.
17. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs are a rare breed, but if you do manage to welcome one into your home, they will provide you with years of love. They are very smart and loving and make great companions to humans. They are also used in service roles like seizure and therapy dogs because of their calm personalities.
Due to their intelligence, they need a lot of stimulation and do not like being left alone for long periods. Water is in their name, and that’s for a reason – they love water and will try to play in any pool or puddle they can find.
Even though they were bred to herd fish into nets for fishermen, you don’t have to worry about them trying to herd you. Just take them on walks and play with them, and they will be happy and healthy.
Greyhounds are adorable dogs that look like lightning bolts as they fly past you. Known for their running speed, it’s quite evident that these are very energetic dogs. But they are also incredibly laid back and have a gentle nature.
They don’t have a lot of stamina, so they are actually happy to spend their day sleeping in the sun before the zoomies hit. And when they do start running, it’s over very quickly, and they’ll go back to sleeping. They are affectionate and peaceful animals who love cuddling on the couch.
It’s a good idea to take them for walks in the morning so they can get rid of their energy early. If not, they will start to develop unhealthy eating habits due to boredom.
19. Bichon Frise
Another toy dog, the Bichon Frise is a sweet dog that looks like a teddy bear. They are well-behaved and happy-go-lucky dogs that love cuddling. They are also intelligent and playful, often playing with small children. They are sensitive and feisty dogs, though.
Bichon Frises are active but don’t need a lot of room to run around, so they’re great for apartment living. Taking them on a daily walk is an excellent way to give them mental stimulation. Even though they are active dogs, they’re actually one of the laziest dog breeds and will spend a lot of time napping.
You won’t regret giving a chance to this teddy bear or its smaller version the teacup bichon frise that will spend all of their time finding the best spot in the sun to nap.
Vizslas are intelligent dogs who were bred for hunting purposes, but they are very gentle and loving. They get attached to their family and get along well with children and other animals. Just keep them away from small animals like birds, as their hunting instincts may kick in.
They are active and playful and need a lot of physical stimulation. But due to their intelligence, they also need mental stimulation, so they enjoy interactive games. They do get calmer as they get older, though.
For a gentle and loving pup who is only a threat to birds, a Vizsla is perfect for you.
Papillon means butterfly in French, and this dog is a pure little butterfly. They got their name from their winged-like ears and appearance, but they are also sweet and delicate in personality. They are very gentle with small children and need to be treated kindly, or they will get very anxious.
Papillons are outgoing and love performing tricks. They are also eager to please and need gentle care and lots of attention. They are attached to their owners but can be socialized very easily and even get along with cats.
Papillons are low maintenance and only ask for attention and love, which they will provide in return tenfold.
Havenese are adorable little dogs native to Cuba; however, they have recently been rising in popularity in the United States. This small breed is incredibly friendly and does very well in public spaces.
Even though they make good watchdogs, they are not aggressive at all. In fact, they don’t like being scolded and can be pretty sensitive. They are easy to train, though. They can be overdependent and don’t enjoy being left alone for a long time. However, they will immediately jump into your lap for a nap when you get home.
If you feel protected by a 13 lb watchdog who runs away when you raise your voice, then get a Havanese for a watchdog. Otherwise, you can get one for all the love and affection you get from these gorgeous creatures.
Staying true to their name, Whippets run like a whip. They are very active and energetic dogs, but like the Greyhound, it doesn’t last very long. Whippets get bursts of energy and then spend their day napping in the sun.
Whippets are gentle and friendly dogs who are low maintenance and can even live in apartments. They need to receive sufficient exercise through walks and play. They are also very intelligent and easy to train.
Whippets are freeloaders who eat your food and sleep on your couch, but you have never met a more adorable freeloader in your life.
Least Aggressive Dogs – Will They Become Aggressive At Some Point?
It is highly unlikely that the dogs on this list will ever become aggressive or dangerous, even though some factors can influence that.
Depending on the breed, they can sometimes snap or growl if they are being handled too roughly or are in a situation where they feel uncomfortable. Most of the dogs on this list are highly sociable and rarely uncomfortable in new environments. However, if you get a dog that’s a bit more anxious than others, then it’s better to introduce change slowly.
Another great tip is to train them well and socialize them from a young age. If you can identify their problematic behaviors and train them out while they’re still young pups, the chance of them becoming aggressive is very low.
Finally, if you have children, teach them to interact respectfully with any dog. Even if your dog is incredibly calm and does well with the young ones, they can still be hurt because children don’t necessarily realize they’re being too rough. This can result in snapping or even biting.
Getting one of the least aggressive dog breeds is a great idea, though, as they are usually low maintenance and very friendly animals. You don’t have to do a lot of work to train biting and barking behavior out, as it doesn’t come naturally to them.
If you decide to get one of the dogs on this list, be prepared for a lot of love, affection, naps, and herding. (There are a lot of herding breeds on this list; it’s a common theme).
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