5 calm dog breeds that are ideal for first-time owners

calm dog breeds
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The idea of calm dog breeds isn’t an obvious one. When we first think about dogs, we instantly picture bouncy, energetic pups that are filled with uncontainable excitement, but what about those with the opposite disposition?

Before we take a look at these wonderful breeds, let’s find out what it means to actually be described as a 'calm' breed. 

When you think of 'calm', you may be picturing a canine who loves nothing more than a good snooze, but actually it refers to the ability to maintain composure in, often, challenging situations. This means that they react to stimuli – such as sounds, smells, or objects – in a controlled way, commonly without lunging, growling, or exhibiting any signs of stress. 

Of course, there are many factors that influence a dog's personality and behavior, including those carried out by the owner themselves: good handling, plenty of exercise and training is a must for every dog, but in general, calm breeds can make excellent dogs for first-time owners, when it comes to living with children, the elderly, living, and/or working with other animals (such as herders or guardians), or within medical environments, where they often provide support as therapy dogs.

If you're looking to add one to your home, our round-up of the world’s calmest pooches will put you in the right direction and also give you a bit of advice around getting the best behavior out of your pooch. 

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

calm dog breeds

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Famous for their nobility and gentle demeanor, it is thought that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have the ability to communicate more effectively with their owners as a result of their round eyes and sweet expression. 

Make sure you ensure that this breed is enrolled into the correct classes as a puppy, as this will help to train and socialize the animal. They have the potential to become the best four-legged friend you could ever wish for. 

Ideal therapy dogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are fond of getting snuggly on a lap or two (they’re not fussy who it belongs to!), and work well within households that have young children, other animals including cats, and even with the senior population.

2. Saint Bernard

calm dog breeds

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Dating back to 1050, Saint Bernards were once used to help hospice monks locate lost travelers in the snow-covered Alps. 

Despite their large – and sometimes intimidating – size, Saint Bernards are gentle giants with big hearts. Due to their wrinkled brow, they often appear to be grinning at you – something that will always brighten your day!

Benefiting from early training classes, Saint Bernards are known for their ability to quickly learn and respond to their owner’s commands. Don’t forget, though, that these gentle giants could quite easily knock people over as they grow older, especially young children, so training is key in ensuring that they express controlled behaviors.

3. Pekingese

calm dog breeds

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Originally bred through the centuries to be cherished companions of the imperial family of China, Pekingese – also known as Pekes – have made quite the reputation for themselves.

This unusual yet somewhat regal-looking breed is extremely friendly and outgoing. Rather sassy in nature, this canine is also incredibly loving, and is known to form very strong bonds with their owners. 

An incredibly adaptable breed, Pekingese can live with almost any type of owner. From newbie dog parents to those that live in apartments, this breed loves the attention, but due to their slightly stubborn side, they only crave the attention when they want it, and not when anyone else wants to give it!

4. French Bulldog

calm dog breeds

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The second most popular breed of dog in the US, French Bulldogs are considered to be easy-going yet goofy characters – there’s certainly never a dull moment with this adorable and snuggly pup around!

Due to their calming nature, French Bulldogs are said to make ideal pals for children, seniors, those with anxiety or any other medical needs that a therapy dog could help with, and those who live in apartments or smaller properties. 

They can often be found longing for their owners attention – they definitely know how to give good 'puppy dog eyes' – or simply acting as their owner’s sweet and much smaller shadow, choosing to follow them around everywhere they go. 

5. Irish Wolfhound

calm dog breeds

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This loyal breed is commonly referred to as an unflappable companion because of their incredibly chilled-out personalities. 

Standing up to 2 feet tall, and in some cases, weighing more than 100 pounds, Irish Wolfhounds can become a bit of a handful if not introduced to training classes as a pup. 

Great with children, it’s important to ensure that this large breed is encouraged and rewarded for being on their best behavior so that they can be completely calm in nature. 

Before you invest in any new breed, it’s important to do your research. Talk to your local veterinarian for advice on the breed that would best suit your circumstances before making the life-long commitment of a new furry family member.

And, despite how calm they may be, exercise is crucial for every breed of dog, no matter their size or demeanor, so don’t be fooled by their strong desire to chill. Just like us, pooches need their daily dose of fresh air and activity.

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website, www.chloemaywrites.com, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!