New pet owners looking for a calm dog have a wide variety of breeds to choose from. Many of the best medium-sized dog breeds are docile and calm in temperament. Most of these breeds were originally bred as hunting dogs and make excellent watchdogs, though not always adequate guard dogs. Many of these dogs are mixed breeds, like the Golden retriever and the Australian Shepherd. Others, like the Portuguese Water Dog and Wheaten Terrier, are the best dogs for young children looking for a family pooch.
What Makes a Dog Calm?
Each breed has its own temperament and unique characteristics. These are consistent qualities throughout the breed and can be expected to be a stalwart part of the dog's personality. Calm dog breeds have many of the same attributes. They are loyal companions, easily trainable, and especially good with young children and family members. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), some of the most easygoing dogs are Golden Retrievers and Labradors. These high-energy family pets will charm you with their intelligence, kindness, and adaptability. Other docile dog breeds are the Whippet and the Border Collie, which are also excellent for dog owners who prefer medium-size dogs.
Border Collies are among the most popular dog breeds due to their kind and intelligent nature. This working dog has a herder's instinct and is happiest when there's a job to do. For reference, they were bred to help herd sheep and livestock. Border Collies are excellent at watching over people but not very effective guard dogs.
Border Collies average about 20 inches and weigh between 30-55 pounds, depending on the gender. They have a wavy double coat and appear in all colors. Their ears are erect with tips that point forward, and the tail is long. Their agility is impressive, and they are physically one of the best medium dogs.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Border Collie
Border Collies are a mild-tempered dog breed yet are also high-energy. They have sheepdog instincts and will relish long walks. They are effortless to train and affectionate with the family. Don't expect a couch potato, but with the workday finished, Border Collies are docile and like to cuddle up with the family.
Like Lassie, Border Collie's are energetic dogs, so make sure you have the time and energy to keep this family dog occupied. They do shed, but frequent grooming will keep it under control.
The Bearded Collie was bred as an all-weather sheepdog for the Scottish countryside. Initially bred as a working dog, it is one of today's best medium dogs for movies and television due to its calm nature and ability to take commands. Like all Collies, they are high-energy and will benefit from daily walks with their family members. Bearded Collies are about 21 inches high and weigh about 55 pounds. They are entirely covered with a shaggy double coat and appear in black, blue, brown, and fawn.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Bearded Collie
Bearded Collies are famous screen show dogs, much like their cousin Lassie. Appearing in the Shaggy DA, this breed's intelligence, warmth, and easygoing nature are fully displayed. As a family pet, they are easy to train and excellent with young children and other dogs.
Bearded Collies are not couch potatoes. They require long walks and constant grooming. If left alone too much, they will bark excessively.
Portuguese Water Dog
The Portuguese Water Dogs were bred to be fishermen's helpers. Known to be highly intelligent and lovable, they are great companions. This is one of the best medium-sized dog breeds for families. They are patient with young children and affectionate towards the whole family.
Portuguese Water Dogs average 20 inches and weigh between 35-60 pounds, depending on the gender. Their bodies are covered with tight, low-shedding curls, and they appear in black, brown, and white. They have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Portuguese Water Dog
This cuddly, mild-tempered breed is easy to train and eager to please. Portuguese Water Dogs are emotionally stable and sensible. They have a laid-back personality and adapt well to changes in routine.
Portuguese Water Dogs are best with dog owners who love the outdoors. They need lots of mental, as well as physical, exercise. They love vigorous games of fetch, daily walks, and swimming whenever possible.
French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs
Bulldogs are some of the most popular dog breeds. The English bulldog is the mascot at dozens of US Universities and the unofficial mascot for the US Marines. The French family member, affectionately known as Frenchies, was the most popular dog sold in the US in 2020. Bulldogs are some of the best medium-sized dogs because their temperament is playful and loyal.
English Bulldogs are 12-16 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 55 pounds. The French Bulldogs are a little more petite in stature, about 12 inches tall and 20 -28 pounds. They have short, smooth hair and appear in all colors. They have short, erect "bat-like" ears, a heavily wrinkled face, and a short tail.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Bulldog
Both English bulldogs and French Bulldogs are loyal family pets. Known for their playful nature, they are exceptionally easygoing and enjoy meeting new people. They are easy to train and good with other dogs.
Bulldogs are also high-energy. They will benefit from daily walks. Though bulldogs have minimal grooming needs, they do shed and like to drool.
English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is considered to be one of the happiest dogs. Bred as a hunting dog, the “Cocker” comes from hunting woodcock in England. English Spaniels are famous worldwide for their ability to retrieve game birds and their helpful temperament. The English Cocker Spaniel is also known for its beautiful long coat that's silky to the touch.
English Cocker Spaniels are compactly built with long close-lying ears. They appear in solid and multi-color, with blue roan being the most common. This breed averages 16 inches in height and weighs 30 pounds.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning an English Cocker Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniels are always eager to help, making them easy to train. These cuddly family dogs are good with young children and other dogs. They are easygoing and comfortable with changes in routine.
English Cocker Spaniels, like all working dogs, benefit from exercise. They are high-energy dogs that enjoy being with their owners. Some might bark too much since they desire constant companionship.
Golden Retrievers were bred by crossing a retriever to a water spaniel to create a robust hunter capable of navigating land and water. Today, Golden Retrievers are sweet, calm and one of the kindest dog breeds, making them an excellent choice as a family dog. This popular dog breed known for its warm and sunny personality enjoys daily walks.
Golden Retrievers are typically 23 inches high and about 65 pounds. They have a double coat of medium hair, and their color is always golden. They have short ears that fall close to the cheek, and their tails are long.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are high-energy but have mild temperaments. They are friendly, intelligent, and loyal. This docile breed is one of the best medium-sized dogs to train, making them highly sought after for guide dogs and service dogs. Their adaptable, friendly, and playful temperament makes them an ideal family pet.
Golden Retrievers have average grooming needs, but they will shed twice a year even with reasonable care. Golden Retrievers are restless without constant exercise.
Labrador retrievers are very similar to their cousins, the Golden retriever, and are one of America's most popular dog breeds. They are also cherished for their easygoing nature and affection towards all the family members.
This dog breed averages between 22-24 inches high and weigh about 70 pounds. They have a low-maintenance, short double coat and appear in black, chocolate, and yellow. They have short ears that fall close to the cheek, and their tails are long.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Labrador Retriever
Labrador retrievers are easygoing, stable, friendly dogs who are easy to train. Like the Golden retriever, they are an ideal breed for guide dog and service dog positions. Their loyal and gentle nature makes them one of the best medium-sized dogs for young children.
Labrador retrievers are bred from working dogs, so expect them to be high-energy and benefit from long walks. If left alone too long, their curious nature can turn them into escape artists. Though you don't need to frequently groom them, they will shed a significant amount of hair from their winter coats.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog was bred to withstand the biting cold of the Italian Alps and protect sheep from wild predators. Today this high-energy breed still displays these herding qualities and enjoys long walks.
These gentle giants look like they might be part of the large dog breeds, but the Bergamasco Sheepdogs are between 22 and 23 inches and weigh between 60-80 pounds. Their fur, which is this breed's hallmark, comprises three naturally woven textures that form loose mats, covering the body and legs.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Bergamasco Sheepdog
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is known to be patient, quick, affectionate, and protective. They get along well with kids and other animals and will watch over them vigilantly with guard dog-like instincts. Though they have corded long hair, according to the American Kennel Club, the “flocked” coat of the Bergamasco requires surprisingly little grooming. This makes them a wonderful low-maintenance breed. This is a family pet that doesn't shed.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog is bred as a working dog and will benefit from daily walks. They are not suitable for busy owners and tend to overheat in warm weather.
The Australian Shepherd is a genuinely international breed. They began in Europe and were perfected in California by way of Australia. A popular dog breed on the American rodeo circuit, they are a cowboy's dog of choice. Superior at herding, this high-energy breed is the best medium-sized watchdog. They are affectionate with all family members and especially good with children.
The Australian Shepherd stands between 18-23 inches and weighs between 40-65 pounds. They have a medium double coat and appear in black, blue, or red with a merle or mottle pattern. Their ears are triangular, and the tail is medium length.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning an Australian Shepherd
Australian Shepherds are sheepdogs, making them exceedingly loyal and easy to train. They are a calm and mild-tempered breed making them great companions for everyone in the family.
But, Australian Shepherds are a tireless working dog breed and tend to herd everyone and everything in their lives. Early training is vital for good socialization. Australian Shepherds are incredibly intelligent; they become curious and creative if they don't get enough mental stimulation.
Whippets were bred as a hound breed to chase rabbits. Today, they are one of the best dogs for families. Like many gentle dogs, they are affectionate with family members, good with young children, and good with other dogs. This medium-sized breed is about 18-22 inches tall and weighs about 25-40 pounds. They have a short, smooth coat and appear in various colors, with small, rose ears and a long tail.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Whippet
Whippets are calm in the house, preferring to use their energy outdoors. Indoors, they are cuddly and docile. Whippets are easy to groom and rarely shed or drool. Their coats are low-maintenance.
Though Whippets are great companions, dog owners need to keep them on a lead when out for walks. Since Whippets were bred as hunting dogs, they love to chase their prey. They benefit the most from early socialization, which ensures a well-adjusted dog.
Wheaten Terriers, originally from Ireland, are loved for their calm temperament and playful and easygoing nature. Wheaten owners consider them to be the perfect companion. They are affectionate with family members and good with small children. Wheaten Terriers are a little larger than lapdogs, standing between 17 and 19 inches and weighing between 30 and 40 pounds. They have silky, wavy medium-length coats, and their color is always wheaten. They have small ears that droop forward and a straight or curved upright tail.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Wheaten Terrier
Wheaten terriers are one of the best medium-sized family dogs. Their docile, cuddly nature makes them a fantastic choice, even for those who are looking for a small dog breed. They are confident dogs who are happy, friendly, and intensely loyal.
Wheaten terriers have a lot of grooming needs. They require daily grooming both to remove dirt and to prevent matting. Wheatens tend to be willful, so early obedience training is a must for this breed.
For families that are looking for medium-sized dogs, there are numerous calm dog breeds to choose from. Many medium-sized dogs have a mild temperament making them easy to train, loyal, relaxed, lovable, and kind. These breeds are patient with young children and other family pets.