Two labrador puppies

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When looking for a dog that fits your lifestyle, some dogs will be calmer than others. This kind of dog will still require exercise and attention, but in general, they are less energy-intensive and are happier to spend time with their human instead of actively doing a job.

Dogs that like to perform tasks or need a purpose are often called working dogs, and these breeds include German Shepherds, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, and Boxers. Some of these breeds can also be considered "calm" due to their highly docile manner, but that may depend on the individual temperament of the dog.

Finding the Right Dog Breed

A corgi walking

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When considering adding a dog to your life, you'll want to be sure and select one that will fit your lifestyle. Finding the right dog means selecting one that has a good temperament, and exercise and grooming requirements that you can complete regularly.


It's common for someone to find an adorable puppy only to discover that the puppy becomes a large full-grown dog with exercise and grooming needs that take lots of time each week. These poor pups often end up back at the humane society or otherwise re-homed through no fault of their own.


Before you look for a dog, consider doing some online research on various breeds so you can best understand what kind of care they require, and how often they will need to be exercised, and groomed. Here are some common questions you should ask yourself before you commit to a single breed:

  • How much time do I want to spend grooming my dog each week?
  • How much time am I willing to exercise a dog each day?
  • Do I want a dog that’s an active companion, or more of a couch potato?
  • Do I want a dog that can snuggle in my lap or a giant dog?
  • Where will my dog sleep, play, and hang out in my home?
  • What items will I need to care for a dog?

There are many other questions you can ask yourself about getting a dog, but these pivotal questions will get you started. Think carefully about how a dog will realistically become part of your life. 


You’ll also want to be aware of potential health problems that are common for specific breeds. If you plan to adopt a mixed breed from your local shelter, you can always ask what health issues they recommend you prepare for, and what health maintenance your adoptive dog will need.


There are a number of online tools that are designed to help you select a dog breed that is right for you. Shelters will frequently have mixed breed dogs that will fit the same criteria in these tools. Even if you don't adopt a purebred dog, you can have some idea of the upkeep and needs your dog may have.

Where to Get A Dog

Animal Shelter

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There are both puppies and full-grown dogs available all over the United States, and it's possible to get one of these dogs from a shelter for far less than a breeder. Another bonus to adopting your puppy from a shelter is that they typically will be fixed if they are old enough. They've also received an evaluation and socialized by trained professionals that cared for them. 


By adopting instead of buying from a breeder, you'll also be helping to re-home a dog that may otherwise live their life at the shelter. By adopting you can help contribute to the organization that you adopt from when you pay the adoption fee.


Many people don’t know that organizations like the Humane Society of the United States care for more animals than just cats and dogs. Their mission requires funding that is accumulated through successful adoptions.


Keep in mind that puppies will require several rounds of shots in the first year of their lives. They will also outgrow items like collars and harnesses that you'll have to replace at least once before they are full grown. If you plan to travel, boarding costs are another consideration, and the rates may vary based on the size of your dog.


Once you have all of the necessary equipment for the dog you are going to get, it's possible to get your dog from a local shelter. You can also look at online sites that help match adoptable dogs with potential owners.


When you go to meet dogs and consider which ones to adopt, it's a good idea to spend a bit of time with each dog. This way, they can become acquainted with you and show you their real personality. Many dogs in a shelter are overwhelmed and maybe a bit nervous around so many other dogs which can make them act more docile than they would normally.


Some shelters allow you to walk the dogs before you adopt them, and this is an excellent way to see how they behave outside of the shelter. It's also an efficient way to determine how much exercise they may potentially need, and their temperament towards the outside world.

The Calmest Dog Breeds

For those who want a relatively docile and relaxed style dog, there are many different breeds to choose from that are also widely available in shelters. If your potential dog is a mix of some of the breeds on this list, they may still be an excellent choice, and getting a calm dog doesn’t mean getting a purebred dog.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

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An Irish Wolfhound is one of the calmest dog breeds on our list because they tend to be very sweet, and prefer to lay around the house when inside. Once you let these dogs outside, they may prefer to run around joyfully, and they are an ideal companion for a family with children.

These dogs have historically hunted with their masters but were also family pets. Their wiry coat gives them a unique appearance, and they can range in color from cream to grey or even almost black.

This kind of dog grows to be rather large at about 32 inches high and a weight of 105 to 120 pounds. Their life expectancy is around 6-8 years, and their serene temperament is legendary. These dogs should avoid strenuous exercise to prevent bloat, and they will need to be brushed about once a week as they are prone to shedding.

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound

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Scottish Deerhounds look similar to the Irish Wolfhounds with their wiry coats and large size of 32 inches in height for males, and 28 inches in height for females. They also weigh around 85-110 pounds for males and 75-95 pounds for females.

This dog has a life expectancy of 8-11 years and has been nicknamed the “Royal Dog of Scotland.” The Scottish Deerhound has a classic hound shape similar to a Greyhound but much larger in size.

This dog may also be one of the calmest dog breeds available, but it still needs a great deal of exercise and socialization to grow to its full potential. It's not recommended that these dogs be crated all day while the owner is at work. They do best with a playmate that they can run around the yard with several times each day.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

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Labrador retrievers are known for being kind-hearted dogs that are generally happy and make excellent companions for children and other members of the family. These dogs are also great pets for single individuals and are easy to train and socialize.

This kind of dog does need some exercise, and walking is an excellent choice. Labradors also tend to be a bit lazy, and this is one of the reasons why they are one of the calmest dog breeds widely available.

Even if you get a dog from the shelter that is only part Labrador Retriever, you’ll likely still get some of the happy temperament this dog has, or the short and smooth coat that they often exhibit. These dogs come in a variety of colors from golden, to chocolate, and even black.

Pug

Pug

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Pugs are one of the smaller dogs on our list, but their cute little faces and large soulful eyes make them hard to miss. These dogs may be small, but they have bright personalities that make them well suited for family life. These dogs tend to be very social and gentle with both children and adults, and as they age, they begin to calm down considerably.

Pugs come in many different colors such as white, fawn, black, and brown, and they have a compact yet muscular build. This dog is part of the toy group and enjoys being a lap dog. They can weigh anywhere from 5 to 22 pounds, and have a lifespan of 12 years or more.

Xoloitzcuintli

Xoloitzcuintli

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The Xoloitzcuintli, which is also called the Xolo dog, is an ancient Mexican breed found in three sizes: toy, standard, and miniature. These dogs come in hairless or coated varieties, and their temperament is described as calm, reserved, tranquil, and attentive.  

These dogs make excellent companion animals as they are happy to spend all day cuddling with their owners if they are provided adequate exercise during the day. This kind of dog has a life expectancy of 13-18 years and a maximum height of 23 inches for a standard size dog.

The Xolo comes in darker colors such as dark grey, black, red, bronze, and liver. These dogs also have unmistakable forehead wrinkles when they are thinking hard, and their elegantly shaped bodies are unexpectedly rugged and very strong.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

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Golden Retrievers are similar to Labrador Retrievers, but they feature a long and flowing golden coat that is unmistakable. This loving breed only needs daily walks and light playtime as exercise but will take more playtime if you offer. The Golden Retriever is an excellent family pet and will happily watch TV with the family or hang out any time.

These highly social dogs have a bright personality that matches their bold energy. As they age, they tend to mellow out and become less active but are almost always cheerful unless they aren't adequately exercised. 

A Golden Retriever that isn't adequately exercised can quickly become depressed and unhappy, which can often lead to health and behavior problems if left unaddressed. These dogs are very intelligent and learn new tricks quickly, which makes them easy to train, given their eager to please nature.

Great Dane

The Great Dane

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Great Danes are massive dogs that are known for being intelligent, protective of their families, and very patient with children and adults alike. These dogs come in a variety of colors, from white, black, spotted, and blue.

They need a bit of exercise to keep them happy, so long walks and the chance to run around for a bit each day is ideal. These dogs can be satisfied in apartments provided there is enough space and they get enough playtime with their owners.

Great Danes don’t require as much exercise as one might think given their size. They can be excellent companion animals that are happy to lay about the house for most of the day. These animals have short and easy to care for coats and an average life expectancy of 6-8 years.

English Bulldog

English Bulldog

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The English Bulldog has often been referred to as a couch potato, and it's true that this low-endurance breed doesn't care for strenuous exercise like other dogs. The English Bulldog is an excellent loving addition to any home or family, and their short coat makes them easy to care for and clean.

These dogs are known for being loving and kind, but they also make excellent guard dogs and are wonderful with children. These dogs are on the smaller side, but they'll still need a regular walk each day and some stimulation in the form of toys and interaction at home. 

English Bulldogs come in a wide range of colors such as brown and white and feature rather short legs on a stout body with adorable folded over ears. They have a reputation for being patient with young children and make excellent companions for adults of any age.

These dogs originated in the United Kingdom, and their droopy lips, and wrinkly face give them a distinctive look. This dog has a lifespan of 8 to 12 years and can weigh anywhere from 44 to 66 pounds. These dogs may also be lazy at times and can even be stubborn if they want to relax instead of going for a walk.

This dog needs consistent and firm training to avoid behavior problems, and ample toys to play with at home if you leave them alone all day while at work.

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