Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Mellow Dog Breeds
Are you looking for a calm dog breed? Calm dogs do not always bark less, but they are easy to handle. There are several available, and here is a list of five great choices.
- Basset Hound
- Lhasa Apso
- Brussels Griffon
If you are interested in getting a big dog, there are plenty of calm breeds available. One of the calmest, though, is the English Mastiff. He is not as tall as the Irish Wolfhound or Great Dane, but he is a lot heavier—up to about 100 kilograms (over 200 pounds)—and everything about him is large, blocky, and calm.
Appearance and Care Tips
Mastiffs are usually fawn-colored, but they have an impressive black mask. They are almost always gentle and quiet but are so large that they need a lot of space just to get around. They need to be walked daily, and, since they are so large, their walks need to be long.
Anytime you get a large dog, there are a lot of expenses involved. Mastiffs eat more than smaller breeds and cost more to house. If there are any health problems, veterinary expenses will also be more.
Like all big dogs, they suffer from hip dysplasia and bloat, but they also have problems with elbow dysplasia, retinal atrophy, and several less common problems.
The average life span of a Mastiff is about seven years, but they sometimes make it to 10 or 11. If you can handle the drool and have the necessary space, he is sure to remain calm.
2. Basset Hound
This dog is famous for being calm all of the time. Well, most of the time. They are scent hounds and when they are tracking will probably bark, howl, and whine in excitement. When they are at home, though, they are good with kids and are usually mellow.
Most Bassets are tri-colored and are known for their long ears and sad face. They are dwarfs and their legs are short but their bodies normal-sized—they may look small, but they are not, and can weigh up to about 35 kilograms (over 75 pounds).
Common Ailments and Life Span
Since these dogs are so calm and quiet they are prone to obesity and suffer when overweight. They live about 11 years and while young are most likely to suffer from skin problems, musculoskeletal problems (like arthritis), and bloat. Cancer is the most common cause of death.
Bassets need daily walks, like all breeds. If you want a breed of dog that sleeps a lot, and is calm when at home, the Basset is a good choice.
3. Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso was developed in Tibet to keep the lap warm, and as long as they are serving and doing their job, they are a calm dog. They only weigh six or seven kilograms, so they are one of the smaller calm dogs. Lhasa Apsos have long hair if kept unclipped but do not shed much.
This is a good choice for anyone in search of a small, calm companion for a quiet house. Since they are calm and usually healthy, they make a good choice for seniors. Most of them are not good with kids, and they may not be good with strangers, but they do make good watchdogs.
Lhasas can have skin problems, eye problems, and kidney disease. The parents should be certified since a few will inherit hip dysplasia.
Lhasas are one of the dog breeds with long lives, usually over 15.
4. Brussels Griffon
This small breed is usually calm and willing to spend the day cuddled up with his owner. You might think of them as ugly, you might think of them as cute, or maybe they are so ugly that they are cute.
If you are looking for a small, calm dog, the Brussels Griffon is a good choice. They are also a good choice if you need a small dog that gets along with cats. Griffon owners do not recommend their dogs be around a lot of rough kids, though, since they prefer to be around one person.
The Brussels Griffon does have some health problems. Their large eyes are prone to trauma and cataracts, and their short faces make them prone to respiratory problems. Some dogs suffer from an unusual condition called syringomyelia, a disease of the central nervous system that can cause severe pain and paralysis. Periodontal disease needs to be avoided with daily toothbrushing.
Their average life span is anywhere from ten to fifteen years.
If you are not looking for a big dog, it is hard to beat a Maltese. This tiny dog is good with first-time owners, does well with cats, is good in apartments, and is usually calm.
Note that Maltese are not the calmest dog on this list. Mastiffs and Basset Hounds are calmer, but if you need a small dog that spends a lot of time on the couch, they are a good choice.
They are small, usually only around three or four kilograms, so although they do need a daily walk, like most breeds, it can be short. With big dogs, the walk needs to be a lot longer.
The Maltese has long fine hair, but they do not shed much; some prospective owners choose to get another type of dog because they worry that the long hair needs a lot of care. It does if you leave it long. Most Maltese owners keep their dogs short, in a “puppy cut” and avoid the excessive brushing.
Maltese might have problems with tear staining or sunburn. Since they are so small and their teeth are crowded they also suffer from periodontal disease. You might get by without a long daily walk, but they do need daily toothbrushing.
They live for about fifteen years.
How to Help Any Breed to Become Calmer
This list has a lot of different choices on it, and there are a lot of calm dog breeds that are not even included. Some members of these calm dog breeds can be hyperactive, and active dogs like the Jack Russell Terrier and Vizsla will sometimes be calm. These are generalizations, useful but not always perfect with all dogs in any breed.
Walk Your Dog
If you walk your dog more often, no matter what the breed, she is going to be calmer. A dog that is walked more often will be less likely to dig, bark excessively, and escape.
If you want a calm dog one of these might do, but the most important thing in the dog's life will be you. Get a good leash and walk your dog every day.
More About Choosing Dogs . . .
- What is the Best Breed of Dog for a First Time Owner...
Are you thinking about finding your first dog but not sure about which breed would be best? Here are things you need to know and some great dogs to choose from.
- Five Great Low Maintenance Dog Breeds
Are you looking for a low maintenance breed of dog? Here are five dog breeds that all need basic care, but are also good at taking care of themselves.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 26, 2013:
I agree with you on the Great Danes; they are one of the great calm dog breeds if you are wanting a large dog. Not calm for javelinas, though! I put the Neopolitan Mastiff under "Five Dog Breeds for People Who Like To Live Alone" since they are calm, unless you happen to be a stranger (or a coyote, for that matter!)
I really enjoyed your Janis Joplin hub. I have several friends here who are fans so I have given them links to your article so that they can read it with Google tranlator (in Portuguese)
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am looking forward to seeing your new articles--but not about Nixon, I haven't been a fan of his since fifth grade.
Pamdora on February 26, 2013:
I've always found Great Danes to be calm. On the other hand, when I raised and bred them, my Thor and his ladies used to kill javelinas that came to close to our desert home...and then drop the heads on the front step to show me what they'd done.
Guess the javelinas didn't think they were super-calm, huh.
We had a Neapolitan mastiff come walking up our driveway one Sunday about a year ago. He stayed with us for a few days until his owner was found. Neo was definitely calm...except when the coyotes started taunting him from the brush. He didn't like that very much.
Voted Up and More.
wetnosedogs from Alabama on February 26, 2013:
I loved watching George doing nothing!