While barking and howling can be an asset in many cases, for those of us living in residential areas or apartment blocks, owning one of the quietest dog breeds is definitely preferable. All dogs are vocal to some degree; it’s how they communicate with you, one another and the outside world, just as we do when we speak. However, a dog that yaps, howls or barks isn’t the most desirable for a lot of owners and unless you're able to invest the time into learning how to calm a reactive dog, this is often a trait that's best avoided.
No breed is ever going to be completely silent and just like us humans, dogs have their own personalities, but there are plenty of breeds that are naturally less vocal than others. We’ve pulled together a list of the breeds that are thought of as “less vocal” and might be suitable for a home worker, those in a shared building or those who just find barking annoying. We’ve also noted which dogs can be “chatty” and those that you might notice snoring, (you may think you’re getting a silent dog and then have to sleep with earplugs due to their thunderous sleep noises).
Even though our picks of the quietest dog breeds are the ideal place to start if you’re looking for a peaceful pup, we still recommend you learn how to train a dog with treats to teach them not to bark. Temperament contributes a lot to how vocal a dog is, but early socialization is also key.
Quietest dog breeds
Nicknamed the silent hunter, this profoundly loyal breed may be quiet when it comes to nuisance barking, but don’t let that fool you - these natural guard dogs will quickly raise the alarm if they feel it’s warranted.
2. French Bulldog
Playful, bright and affectionate, the French Bulldog is incredibly alert and attentive to what’s going on around him, but the good news is, he’ll likely only bark when he wants to let you know that you have a visitor.
3. Great Dane
When a Great Dane barks you’ll certainly know about it (and so will your neighbors!) but this breed isn’t called gentle giants for nothing. While they’re excellent guard dogs and will bark to defend their patch, overall these friendly and noble dogs are content to sit quietly with their family.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These docile dogs really are the sweethearts of the canine kingdom, they adore company of the two or four-legged variety so they’ll seldom bark. Affectionate, graceful and gentle, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a lover, not a fighter and he will stick closely to his owner’s side.
5. Bernese Mountain Dog
Calm, good-natured and blessed with a kind and eager-to-please temperament, the Bernese Mountain Dog is imposing in size but not threatening. They make excellent watchdogs and it’s usually only when someone they don’t know enters their property that they’ll be prone to barking.
6. Cane Corso
Exuding an air of quiet competence and confidence, the Cane Corso is an assertive dog but he’s also highly intelligent, which makes him trainable. This is a wilful breed though, so they need a human who can show them who’s boss.
While they may be loud breathers at times, Pugs are exceptionally quiet when it comes to barking, making the occasional yips when they get excited. Cuddly and quirky, this human-obsessed breed are total lazy logs, so snoring is about the only noise you’ll hear out of these little comedians.
8. Saint Bernard
Utterly charming, friendly and with the patience of a, well, saint! These genial giants are powerful and muscular, while at the same time being placid and quiet and they love nothing more than lazing about with their family.
When it comes to gentle souls, the Whippet is right up there with the Cavie, in terms of its sweet and loving nature. As long as he has his daily exercise needs met, the Whippet will make for a calm and quiet companion.
10. Shiba Inu
The oldest and smallest of Japan’s dog breeds, the active and alert Shiba Inu is a bold and confident canine who is incredibly faithful to his family. While they’re certainly watchful, this breed only barks when necessary, favoring a sharp and clear form of communication over incessant yapping.
Basenji are sometimes called "barkless dogs" so you can't get much quieter than that! They only bark in incredibly rare circumstances, and actually make a sound that's more like a yodel. Basenji dogs are considered one of the quietest dog breeds you can get.
Greyhounds are notoriously calm and quiet dogs with a sweet disposition. They are very tolerant of children and are considered non-aggressive - they'll walk away from something bothering them rather than growl or bark. They also spend a lot of their time sleeping, which is a very quiet activity.
Borzois are gorgeous dogs who are usually well-mannered and quiet. They are calm and dignified, and are sometimes considered cat-like. Once called the Russian Wolfhound, Borzois may look like mythical creatures that would open up their mouths and talk to you, but they won't - and they won't bark much, either!
14. Irish Wolfhound
This beloved lazy bag of bones isn’t the right choice for you if snoring is a problem, but they rarely bark or howl. Sight hounds, like the Wolfhound or Greyhound, are unlikely to be flustered by distraction such as blowing wind or banging dishes, as they are bred to zone-in on prey. However if they are unhappy about something they might let you know with a single, (loud) bark. Their breeding also means they aren’t good watchdogs, so are unlikely to bark at someone coming to the door.
15. Rhodesian Ridgeback
These fantastic specimens are a breed of African lion hound from Zimbabwe. They are gentle and loyal and aren’t known to howl or bark often, but might whine or growl in play. Our guess is that barking doesn’t do much when compared to a lion’s roar, so the Ridgeback developed other talents.
16. Irish Setter
You may have heard that setters are silent, you may have heard that they are the chattiest dogs around, really it all depends on their training. They are unlikely to bark unless startled if they are properly entertained, and getting enough exercise and attention, however when they do bark they have a very loud voice. While they aren’t big barkers, they do “talk” in quiet howls and whines and often engage in conversation with their owners.
17. Scottish Deerhound
Similar in appearance to the Irish Wolfhound, the Scottish Deerhound is also a quiet breed. They are delightfully lazy dogs who are unlikely to be roused by a ring at the door, but may howl in groups (or if they hear a siren). They are eager to please, so you can quite easily train these behaviors out of them if you aren’t a fan of their “song”. It’s worth remembering that howling is a community activity, however, and good for them to do together.
An imposing breed that has absolutely no need to bark due to their sheer size, Bullmastiffs aren’t known to be a particularly vocal breed. They are excellent guardian dogs, however, and will bark to alert and intimidate threats if they need to. It is also not unheard of for a Bullmastiff to howl for similar reasons; to alert their owner to a threat or to scare something off. Think of it as a burglar alarm.
19. Boston Terrier
You may be surprised to find a terrier on this list, but the Boston Terrier is actually quite a quiet breed, only barking when necessary. They aren’t big on overreacting either, so are unlikely to bark without good reason (they have been known to bark for attention though). They are another highly trainable breed, so if they do begin to bark, you should be able to solve the problem without too much drama. They are actually one of the best behaved dog breeds you can own.
20. Shi Tzu
Shi Tzu’s can be yappy, but are also very easy to train and when they have lots of entertainment and things to play with are often almost silent. They make good watchdogs, so generally if they bark it is to alert you of something important (just because you don’t think the postman is important doesn’t mean your dog thinks the same). You can quite easily redirect this behavior with positive reinforcement if it is bothersome, so while they aren’t a “naturally” silent dog, they can be encouraged to be quieter.
When you’re this size, you probably don’t need to shout about much. The Newfie is a very calm and gentle dog, perfect for a family. They are unlikely to bark unless provoked, so if they are barking at something it’s probably for good reason and you should pay attention!
22. English Bulldog
Like their French cousins, the English Bulldog isn’t a particularly vocal dog. They do, however, snore fit to bring the house down, which is worth bearing in mind if you want to live a truly quiet life. Due to their squashed face they also often wheeze, snort, grunt and snuffle, but they aren’t howlers and they can’t help it, so we’ll forgive them for that.
23. Wheaten Terrier
We decided to end on another shocking entry: another terrier. The Wheaten Terrier is another dog that won’t bark without cause and a well behaved member of the breed shouldn’t give you any problems. However, they will bark the house down if they have separation anxiety. While they aren’t a breed we think of as vocal, they may need more training or support than other dogs if they have issues with reactivity or anxiety, as these may manifest with barking or howling.
Want to learn more about your canine companions heritage? Check out our vet's guide to answer; what breed is my dog?
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.