8 Best Calm Dog Breeds for a Relaxing Walk

Updated on October 8, 2019
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and also spends time training and caring for his own canine family.

Some dogs make relaxing companions on a walk.
Some dogs make relaxing companions on a walk. | Source

How to Find a Calm Dog That Does Well on Walks

If you already have a dog, you know that going for a walk can be one of the most relaxing times of the day. For some people, however, this is not the case. I hear both of these complaints and a lot of others just like them pretty often:

“Every time I take my frenchie for a walk, we are surrounded by a bunch of loose pit bulls that run around our neighborhood.”

“Every time I take my pit bull for a walk, one of the neighbors lets his little rat-sized min pin loose and he runs up and barks in my dog's face. I hold on to her, but one of these days she is going to kill that little dog.”

If you are thinking about your first dog or are looking for a companion to join your canine household, here are eight dog breeds that would be great to take out for a relaxing walk:

Top 8 Dog Breeds That Are Great for Leash Walks

  1. Brittany
  2. Standard Schnauzer
  3. Shar-Pei
  4. Portuguese Water Dog
  5. Irish Setter
  6. Boxer
  7. Golden Retriever
  8. Doberman

It's important to remember that there are no guarantees when you bring any dog home, of course, but here are the characteristics you should be looking for in a dog:

Traits to Look for in a Dog

  • Medium-sized: Not so tiny that you have to worry about other dogs and not so giant that you are not able to control them.
  • Calm: A very active dog is going to be very hard to handle for anyone, and if the person is small, weak, or elderly, this situation is going to be even worse.
  • Somewhat athletic: Some dog breeds have health issues and are not comfortable on long walks.
  • Non-aggressive: There are no guarantees that a dog will not be aggressive as any dog can change with age. Some dog breeds, however, are prone to this problem more than others and should be avoided.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Brittany is a hunting dog that is also cuddly. This breed makes for a great companion on walks.The Brittany
The Brittany is a hunting dog that is also cuddly. This breed makes for a great companion on walks.
The Brittany is a hunting dog that is also cuddly. This breed makes for a great companion on walks. | Source
The Brittany
The Brittany | Source

1. The Brittany

Although this dog breed was developed to hunt, it is very affectionate and amazingly calm when out for a walk. These dogs are the perfect size for a relaxing stroll, athletic but not too active, and rarely, if ever, dog-aggressive. If you wanted a small dog because you are looking for something that would be cuddly, this dog is definitely your best choice among all of those listed here.

What to Know About This Breed

The Brittany does not do well when left alone all day, and unfortunately, some of these dogs do develop separation anxiety. And, since they have feathery coats, they do tend to shed a lot.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Standard Schnauzers are farm dogs and calm when out for a walk.Standard Schnauzer
Standard Schnauzers are farm dogs and calm when out for a walk.
Standard Schnauzers are farm dogs and calm when out for a walk. | Source
Standard Schnauzer
Standard Schnauzer | Source

2. The Standard Schnauzer

This dog is a working breed and a type I would not normally recommend for a relaxing walk, but overall, Standard Schnauzers are a confident breed and adept at walking around without creating problems. They are easy to train, great around livestock, do not shed much, and make great watchdogs.

What to Know About This Breed

When discussing dog breeds, there is always a “however.” In this case, the Standard Schnauzer's negative traits include their need to be regularly groomed since they do not shed. They are also at risk of getting bored and destructive if they are not exercised or lack socialization or interaction. For this reason, they are often recommended for experienced owners only.

Portuguese Water Dogs are great with kids and do not shed much.
Portuguese Water Dogs are great with kids and do not shed much. | Source

3. The Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog is great because it does not shed much. They make good watchdogs but are not large and hard to handle like some of the other larger watchdog/guard dog breeds. This is one of the breeds I recommend for families that want a nearly hypoallergenic dog that is good around kids.

What to Know About This Breed

Although this breed is not going to shed much, their coat does need to be clipped about every 6 weeks. Do keep in mind that this is a working breed and can be a little hyperactive if not walked enough.

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Some Shar-Pei dogs can be dog-aggressive.The Shar-Pei
Some Shar-Pei dogs can be dog-aggressive.
Some Shar-Pei dogs can be dog-aggressive. | Source
The Shar-Pei
The Shar-Pei | Source

4. The Shar-Pei

One of the great things about this breed of dog is that they do okay even if left alone all day when the family has to go to work. They do not need to be walked as much as the rest of the dogs on this list and tend to be easy to housebreak and very loyal to their family.

What to Know About This Breed

One main concern about a leisurely walk with one of these dogs is the issue of aggression. These dogs usually need a take-charge owner who has experience around other dogs. Many dogs of this breed are not aggressive, however, if you do find one to welcome into your home and want to walk a lot, please remember that this breed was developed as a guard dog and fighting dog. Shar-Peis can also have serious health problems, and some of these might be chronic and expensive.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Irish Setters are tall but not too heavy, so they are easy to walk.The Irish Setter
Irish Setters are tall but not too heavy, so they are easy to walk.
Irish Setters are tall but not too heavy, so they are easy to walk. | Source
The Irish Setter
The Irish Setter | Source

5. The Irish Setter

If you are looking to get a larger dog than those breeds listed above and have plenty of time and inclination to take your dog on long walks, the Irish Setter is a great choice. Irish Setters are usually not aggressive with other people or with dogs, are easy to train, and look great because of their flashy coats.

What to Know About This Breed

Irish Setters do not do well alone, so if you work all day, it is not a good idea to acquire one of these dogs and leave them home all day. They also have glamorous coats that need daily grooming and tend to shed a lot.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Boxers can be very strong but are often easy to manage.The Boxer
Boxers can be very strong but are often easy to manage.
Boxers can be very strong but are often easy to manage. | Source
The Boxer
The Boxer | Source

6. The Boxer

Although larger than most of the dogs on this list, the Boxer has a pretty low prey drive and is not likely to run off chasing a cat. Most of the members of this breed have little need to chase other animals as well.

What to Know About This Breed

Unfortunately, these dogs are brachycephalic, so they tend to have some breathing problems and wheeze and snort a lot. They also slobber, tend to be gassy, and have a short lifespan because of their often inherited health issues.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Golden Retrievers are usually great dogs, but since they are large and strong, they generally require obedience training.The Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are usually great dogs, but since they are large and strong, they generally require obedience training.
Golden Retrievers are usually great dogs, but since they are large and strong, they generally require obedience training. | Source
The Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever | Source

7. The Golden Retriever

Many casual walkers will want a dog that is smaller than a Golden Retriever, however, if you decide you want a larger dog, this is an excellent choice. They have a low prey drive and usually get along with all the other animals in the house. They are also typically good with kids and make nice companions when out on a walk.

What to Know About This Breed

Goldens do have some negative traits like any other breed. They do tend to shed more than other breeds, can be very active and mouthy when young, and suffer a lot of serious health problems like recurrent ear infections, obesity, and arthritis.

Dobermans are a great choice for a large dog but this breed can sometimes be dog-aggressive.
Dobermans are a great choice for a large dog but this breed can sometimes be dog-aggressive. | Source

8. The Doberman

This dog breed is the largest I would recommend for a leisurely walk. Dobies are not as rambunctious as herding dog breeds, however, and will often be satisfied with a calm walk. Being big dogs, they do need a good deal of exercise, but not nearly as much as livestock guard dogs like the Great Pyrenees or Kuvasz.

What to Know About This Breed

Dobies, however, like all guard dog breeds, are more likely to be dog-aggressive unless they are properly socialized.

What Can I Do to Make Sure My Dog Is Calm?

No matter which dog breed you start out with, there are things that you can do to ensure that your time together is more pleasant:

Obedience-Training

A dog that pulls on the leash will ruin any chance of having a relaxing walk. Some happy-go-lucky dogs will not pull until they see a prey animal or something very interesting. The way to decrease the chances of this happening is to enroll your dog in obedience classes. (During obedience classes, you will also allow your dog to meet other dogs, which will make them less likely to be dog-aggressive.)

Socialization

All puppies need to be socialized during the sensitive socialization period which is up to about 16 weeks. Socialization includes taking your dog for walks in new places, meeting new people, and, of course, meeting and greeting new dogs.

If you are nervous about your dog's vaccine status and your vet has recommended that you keep your dog off of the streets until after 16 weeks when the last vaccine is given, you can arrange to participate in “puppy parties” where your dog can meet other dog owners and puppies that are vaccinated but have not yet completed their vaccination series.

Canine Good Citizen Training

Besides helping you teach your dog to walk on a loose leash, classes to help you prepare for the canine good citizen award will help you train your dog to accept strangers and new dogs. If you live in an area where these classes are offered, then I suggest you take advantage of them (you can search for classes near you).

An Introduction to the Canine Good Citizen Program

What Kinds of Dog Breeds Do Not Do Well on Leash Walks?

This list is subjective, and no matter what dog breeds are included, there is going to be someone who says “Oh, I disagree, because my Siberian Husky/cattle dog/Jack Russel cross is the calmest dog ever. He never pulls on the leash or misbehaves on a walk and is friendly with everyone.”

Regardless, these are the most common breed types that don't do well on leash-walks:

  • Tiny dogs: This really depends on where you live. If you are in a neighborhood with only apartment blocks and all of the dogs where you walk are small, being small is not an issue. If you live in a neighborhood with houses and apartments, however, and many of the dogs are large, you are going to be on guard at all times to protect your tiny dog.
  • Herding dogs: The problem with herding breeds is not aggression so much as an excess of energy. It is not going to be very relaxing if you have to hold onto the leash and stop your dog from running off to investigate everything he or she smells.
  • Guard dogs: Most guard dogs need to be socialized well during their sensitive socialization period. Some of these breeds are very likely to walk next to you, but if you do not have control, they are strong and difficult to handle.
  • Sighthounds and most hunting dogs: If you have a dog that is likely to run off after seeing prey, you are not going to have a good time. Sighthounds like Greyhounds and Whippets are usually calm at home, but when out for a walk, change and go into hunting mode. The same thing can be said for dogs as sweet as the Beagle or as lazy as the Basset Hound.

Know what traits to look for.
Know what traits to look for. | Source

What Else Should I Look for When Choosing My New Dog?

This really depends on your situation. People generally look for the following traits in a dog:

The health of a dog is important and the ability to go out for a calm walk is important, but neither of these things are often the reason an animal is abandoned at an animal shelter. Animals are often surrendered due to the owner's inability to care for the dog, so you need to consider your whole lifestyle before deciding on any new dog.

Save a life and consider adopting a purebred rather than going to a breeder.
Save a life and consider adopting a purebred rather than going to a breeder. | Source

Where Can I Find a Relaxed, Calm Dog Breed?

If you have decided which type of dog breed you like, the first stop should be to go check out your local animal shelter. The shelter may not have the breed that you are looking for, but if you explain to the staff what you need, they will generally help you search for that perfect dog. (Ultimately, however, it is up to you to say "no" if a dog does not act calm even at the time of adoption.) There is also a great website called Petfinder.com that can help you find dogs in shelters in other cities and states.

Only Work With Responsible Breeders

If you are looking for a puppy of a certain breed on this list, you may need to contact a breeder. Make sure that you explain just what type of personality you are looking for. When it is time to go pick up the dog, you need to go to the breeder and see the parents of the puppy and the facilities. Do not agree to meet the breeder in a parking lot or somewhere that is more convenient. If you do, you may end up with a puppy-mill doog.

Consider Adopting Your Next Dog

What is a puppy-mill dog? Besides having problems with behavior like housetraining, many of these dogs have inherited health problems and come under-socialized. This means that the puppy's adult behavior around other dogs may also be affected. In addition to indirectly supporting an irresponsible breeder, do you really want to raise a dog that is afraid of everything and ends up being a biter?

Almost all of us want a relaxing walk in the evening. A dog from a puppy mill that is afraid of everything is not going to fill your needs, so consider adopting an adjusted adult dog of the same breed.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • renalyn09663559370 profile image

        Renalyn Roma 

        9 days ago

        your article is so nice

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 

        3 weeks ago from Brazil

        Our Doberman cross pulls but is usually pretty good. Unfortunately, she has a problem with a neighbor's dog so she is now only walked on a lead.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        3 weeks ago from UK

        I note that labradors are missing from the list. Having taken one for a walk on many occasions, I can understand why.

      • profile image

        Baboi George 

        3 weeks ago

        \\o// An absolute delight to know that any one who owned an Irish Setter will regard this breed as an ideal companion

        to reward both in love and physical exercise ! Thank you

      working

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