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The calmest dog breeds you’ll want to bring home

The calmest dog breeds you’ll want to bring home
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When it comes to calm dog breeds, our list includes low maintenance dogs, lazy dog breeds, and the best apartment dogs. Of course, we didn’t forget about large dog breeds that, despite their size, love to plop down and sprawl out across your body like a lap dog. These calm dog breeds might enjoy a game of fetch with kids in the backyard or be more inclined to let someone else fetch something – like their yummy treat. Some dogs don’t shed much, while others may need regular brushing, but what they all have in common is a mellow attitude that suits families. We spoke with a veterinarian and two professional dog trainers/behaviourists for recommendations. It’s important to note that all dogs are individuals, and training and socialisation are essential for families and dogs to live happily ever after.

English cocker spaniel

English cocker spaniel
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You might not think that an English cocker spaniel that is bred to flush and retrieve game birds would be content being inside and curled up next to the family, but it is. That’s not to say it won’t be excited to go for an inquisitive walk or retrieve stuffed toy ducks in the yard, but this sporting breed has the “work hard, play hard” mantra nailed. “English cocker spaniels have a happy, wagging tail that rarely stops. They love to love,” says Colleen Demling-Riley, dog behaviourist. English cocker spaniels are a calm dog breed that’s eager to please and easy to train. When you’re snuggled up close and petting it, don’t be surprised if they nuzzle you or lick your face as a gentle reminder to keep going.

These are the other dog breeds that love to cuddle.

Whippet

Whippet
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“Whippets adore their family, are kid tolerant, and rarely meet a person they don’t adore,” says Demling-Riley. “With proper exercise, Whippets love spending the day as couch potatoes. Whippets are born to run (they’re one of the fastest dog breeds, after all) so having an enclosed area where they can stretch their legs is ideal,” says Demling-Riley. They make for a good playmate for the kids because they can tire each other out. And they’re not known for being barkers, but they do have high prey drive so a family that has a cat, rabbit, or other small pet in the house should choose another breed, Demling-Riley says.

Golden retriever

Golden retriever
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It’s no wonder the Golden Retriever is a popular dog breed. They are easy-going, affectionate and playful but gentle with children, making them an ideal family dog. “Their temperament often makes them great service and therapy dogs, and, while they can be playful and have a lot of energy in their youth, a four-year-old golden retriever that’s emotionally and physically satisfied is most likely going to be calmer than a puppy of the same breed, says Laura Nativo, certified dog trainer. And because they’re eager to please, they respond well to obedience training.

Fun fact: they’re one of the best dogs for first time owners.

Tibetan spaniel

Tibetan spaniel
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“Tibetan Spaniels were originally bred to hang out with monks, so they become very connected to their people. They’re also smaller, which often makes them a bit easier to manage in comparison to other small dogs who are very athletic,” says Natvio. That’s not to say “Tibbies” are couch potatoes. Like most dogs, they like to whoop it up during playtime. Once they get their fix for the day, their two favourite spots are on your lap or perched high on the back of the sofa so that they can quietly keep an eye on things. Does this behaviour sound similar to a cat? That may explain why Tibbies are one of the dog breeds that get along with cats.

St. Bernard

St. Bernard
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A mountain dog breed known for heroic rescues is presumably calm and collected, but those traits aren’t necessarily a given, Nativo says. “If you have an adult St. Bernard, who’s been well-trained, well-bred, well-socialised, and is getting their physical and emotional needs met, they’re generally going to be a lot more calm and relaxed inside the house.” Generally, St. Bernards are well known for being patient, peaceful and gentle. They have a great time spending time with their humans, especially when they have a job to do. “St. Bernard’s were also bred to pull, so you might want to think about giving the dog a jog or having them pull a cart, or going for a walk with a backpack,” recommends Nativo.

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Pug

Pug
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Your family will have to draw straws for who gets to cuddle and snuggle this adorable smushed-face muzzle. And the pug is so easygoing it won’t play favourites – just as long as someone is lavishing attention on it. Yet they’re not just selfishly soaking up long cuddle sessions all day. Calm dog breeds like the pug, still like to be the centre of attention once in a while and entertain the family with their playful and happy-go-lucky antics. “The pug has a proven track record of being a calm, well-adjusted, and easy-going family pup,” says Demling-Riley. “It needs minimal exercise, loves kids, quickly turns strangers into friends, and thrives in a variety of environments from small apartments to larger properties,” says Demling-Riley.

Newfoundland

Newfoundland
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Dubbed the nanny dog, you won’t find a more devoted and empathetic fan of your kids. This is great because as a parent, there are times when you’re certainly not a fan of your kid’s behaviour. “Newfies are 100-plus pounds of fur and drool, but people who are fans of the breed love the affectionate and good-natured temperament of these dogs. They love kids and are easy to train,” says Demling-Riley. You might think their larger-than-life size equates to being a watchdog, but they lean more toward the “guard and protect” side and keeping a vigilant eye on the kids. They’re also excellent swimmers and renowned for their lifesaving skills of pulling people out of the water to safety.

Biewer terrier

Biewer terrier
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Calm dog breeds and dogs from the terrier group, generally don’t go hand-in-hand, but this one does. Pronounced “Beaver,” this adorable little nugget looks more like a Yorkie than a beaver. At just under a foot tall and around 8 pounds, the mellow pooch is ultra-portable, with the sweetest disposition that just melts your heart. Though they look super dainty, they are actually quite athletic and an energetic walker, hiker, or competitor in the agility ring. “They are always willing to please and are very trainable,” says veterinarian Marthina “Marty” Greer, DVM., member of the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association and co-owner and medical director of Veterinary Village in Lomira, Wisconsin. Another bonus, they’ll be a loyal part of your family with a life expectancy of around 16 years.

Here more lovable dogs with long life spans.

Bulldog

Bulldog
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We’re not sure what’s more swoon-worthy – the bulldog’s distinctive swagger from the stout and stocky body, or the (mostly) delightful snoring that emits from its cute smooshed-in nose. “The English bulldog is a delightful companion for the family that does not want the demands of an athletic or hyperactive dog after a long day at work. They tend to be relatively calm, hanging out under the dining room table,” says Dr Greer. They might not seem like lap dog material with their heavy muscular physique, but that won’t stop them from trying to be a lapdog. While the bulldog’s smooshed-in snout is adorable, it can make it more challenging for them to stay cool in hot weather and raise the risk of heatstroke.

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