Dog ownership is rewarding but can be a challenging experience. Prospective dog owners must carefully evaluate everything before signing up for it.
Dogs are known to be aggressive due to their evolution – they spent millions of years in the wild before humans domesticated them. Some have been able to tone down this aggression, but others have not.
Some people avoid owning dogs because of this very reason. We prepared a list of the 25 least aggressive dog breeds for such people.
What Makes a Dog Non-Aggressive?
Aggression is common in dogs. But why are dogs aggressive? A study of their genes tells us that dogs evolved from wolves. Somewhere around 23,000 years ago, humans domesticated dogs and they started to lose the natural aggression that comes from living in the wild.
But why are some dogs non-aggressive dogs, and others retain aggression? Studies have shown that the reasons lie in the following factors:
- Age: Older dogs are more aggressive.
- Breed: Certain dog breeds (such as labs and Golden retrievers) are genetically less aggressive than others
- Behavior: Fearful and noise-sensitive dogs are more aggressive
- Demography: Male and smaller-sized dogs are more aggressive
- Environmental factors: Some dogs may show aggression when they are in pain
Moreover, when dogs are aggressive to their owners, it might be due to Rage Syndrome (a genetic disorder) or conflict aggression (dogs’ behavior intended to display dominance).
25 Least Aggressive Dog Breeds
Golden retrievers, labradors, Labradoodles, and Boxers are some of the prominent names in the most non-aggressive dog breeds list. We will talk about their history, why they are considered less aggressive, their characteristics, and special needs that prospective dog parents need to know before welcoming one into their homes.
1. Golden Retriever
Bred in Scotland in the nineteenth century, a Golden Retriever’s temperament is kind, friendly, and confident. With an average life span of 10 to 12 years, they tend to weigh between 55 to 75 pounds. Golden Retrievers are widely regarded as a perfect fit in families, thanks to their friendly nature.
They are obedient and agile, making them the least dangerous dogs. Not only do they merrily socialize with humans, but with other pets too. Since Golden Retrievers are easy to train, they are often used as guide dogs for the visually impaired, drug-sniffing, rescuing people during calamities, water rescue, and other such jobs.
2. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are America’s most popular dog breed. They are non-aggressive dogs who are outgoing, friendly, and lively. Their extroverted personality shines through in how well they get along with humans, other pets, and children. Weighing between 55 to 80 pounds, their life expectancy is about 10 to 12 years.
Giving them enough time is crucial to consider when welcoming a Lab into your household. They require a lot of training and exercise, such as swimming and running.
Labradoodles are a mix of a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Originally developed to be hypoallergenic guide dogs, Labradoodles have quickly garnered enormous appeal among Americans. They are among the most non-aggressive dog breeds on our list. Their usual life expectancy is 12 to 15 years, and they weigh between 50 and 65 pounds.
Labradoodles are a people-friendly breed. They have a moderate activity level and require moderate daily physical activity such as a stroll or games. Labradoodles are smart, intelligent, and react well to training. When properly taught, they may make excellent family dogs.
Doodles are designer dogs with Poodle as one parent. Poodles are known for their affectionate nature. They are usually shy around strangers and are listed high in the most intelligent dog breeds. This clearly means these traits pass on to poodle mixes when bred ethically. Doodles are bred to be family-friendly dogs usually and have great personalities. Doodles are designer dogs bred to inherit certain traits which can fit into families easily; hence, they are non-aggressive and gentle dogs.John Jess, from Central Illinois Doodles.
Originally from Germany, Boxers are known for their alert and curious look with their wrinkly foreheads. They tend to exhibit exceptional family guarding abilities. In general, they tend to weigh between 55 to 70 pounds. Boxers are not long-lived; their life expectancy ranges from seven to ten years.
They are very affectionate and loyal to their owners. Not only this, they are intelligent and alert individuals. Their patience and gentle demeanor around kids make them ideal for families with toddlers. They develop into even friendlier and loving beings when trained to meet more humans and pets in their formative years.
5. Basset Hound
While their facial build gives them the appeal of a sad clown, Basset Hounds are charming dogs. They typically have roughly 10 to 12 years and weigh between 40 and 65 pounds. Despite their diminutive size, they have strong bones, robust legs, and stable feet.
While it may not always be obvious, Basset Hounds are loyal creatures. However, they sometimes tend to get stubborn. They may have an uncharacteristically loud bark. However, they are rather mild when indoors in the company of familiar faces.
Havanese are extroverts. They happen to be the only dog breed native to Cuba. Utterly smart and trainable, they are cheerful beings and sport beautiful big brown eyes. They are one of the least dangerous dog breeds.
They are widely popular among American city dwellers. With an average life expectancy of 13 to 15 years, Havanese are small dogs that weigh between seven and thirteen pounds. They make for amazing watchdogs and are equally alert to keep their barking to a minimal level, not to disturb anyone in the family.
If one enjoys making hairdos, they can merrily do the same with the Havanese as they look utterly cute sporting any hairstyle. Some owners prefer to keep their super soft and gorgeous coat trimmed short of cutting down on the grooming hours.
French Bulldogs, sometimes known as Frenchies, are extremely popular among city dwellers and a big hit in the small dog category. With looks like miniature Bulldog; they have a smooth coat. They tend to weigh about 25 to 30 pounds in general. They have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years. They are versatile and easy to get along with- they settle down easily in all kinds of settings, be they singles, couples, or families.
Separation anxiety hits Frenchies when left alone, and owners must take care of the same. Also, they are equally friendly in their temperament and can co-exist with dogs of other breeds. Generally easy to train, they may get stubborn sometimes. They do not require much physical activity daily and rarely bark. Quiet yet very alert, they smartly guard you and your house.
8. Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog comes from a mountainous area in Switzerland named Bern. Developed to herd cattle and adapt to Swiss life, they are innately hard working. Large and well built, they stand as tall as 27 inches at shoulder level. Berners’ thick coat exhibits a triad of colors – jet black, clear white, and rust.
Contrary to their looks, Berners are dogs that are not aggressive. Their usual lifespan is between 6 and 8 years. As a ‘big dog breed,’ they weigh between 70 and 115 pounds. Having a sweet and affectionate nature, they get along well with family and are at ease around children.
However, they tend to become bonded to only one lucky human. They don’t get along well with outsiders and keep a low profile around them. However, they have a somewhat short lifespan of just 6 to 8 years.
Papillons are happy and friendly beings. Paps have two distinct types of ears: the Phalene type, in which the ears are down, and the others with erect ears. Papillons stand between 8 to 11 inches at shoulder level. They weigh between 4 to 9 pounds. Their life expectancy is around 13 to 15 years.
Paps are agile and can excel in sports when trained for the same. Swift and alert, they tend to get along very well in families and are gentle to toddlers. They are prone to diseases such as luxating patellas, dental disease, and tracheal problems.
Whippets were bred in England in the 19th century, mostly for chasing rabbits for sport. They are a cross between Terriers and English greyhounds (Italian greyhounds later replaced English ones). Standing 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder, they tend to weigh about 20 to 40 pounds. Healthy whippets tend to live for 12 to 15 years.
Whippets are affectionate with their owners and get along well with young children. They are low-maintenance canines that are ideal for people who do not have a large backyard. They would enjoy a fenced yard for running or a comfortable apartment.
They are agile and friendly, and because they rarely bark, they are ideal for city people. They are also one of the dog breeds that can be left alone in the house for several hours.
Categorically two kinds of Beagles can be spotted in America, including those under 13 inches and the others above 13 inches. The former tend to weigh between 20 and 30 pounds and the latter between 25 and 30 pounds. Bred for hunting, they have an excellent sense of smell and stamina. Their life expectancy is 12 to 15 years.
Beagles are cute beings that make for lovely companions. Bred for hunting with their peers, they retain the essence of community living and exhibit the same in their friendly temperament. Being loving and loveable, Beagles make for lovely family dogs.
Brittanies are a healthy breed, with an average longevity of 13-14 years. Brittanies are ideal for families who enjoy an active lifestyle. They are utterly enthusiastic about anything and everything. They actively look forward to outdoor activities such as hiking adventures, runs, long, brisk walks, and jogs.
Once acquainted with their humans, they tend to get along very well and eagerly look forward to playing with them. Their obedient, agile, and trainable characteristics make for wonderful, fun-loving companions.
They need rigorous physical training and time outdoors; if your lifestyle already has room for it, they make for the perfect fit. One must also remember that their floppy ears increase the risk of contracting ear infections.
13. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus, meaning “little lions,” have been petted for as many as 1000 years and are a popular breed in American households. From Beyonce to Bill Gates to Queen Elizabeth II, their charming looks have made them a hit with everyone.
They were bred to live within royal palaces and are suitable if you live in an apartment or a home with limited open space. Weighing between 9 to 16 pounds, they tend to live for about 11 to 16 years. Shih Tzus enjoy staying indoors, bonding with family by cuddling, and resting on their lap. The Shih Tzus are exceptionally fond of young children.
14. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel originated in Great Britain in the 19th century. Athletic yet very attentive, Cavaliers weigh between 13 to 18 pounds. Their average life expectancy ranges from 8 to 10 years. Friendly in temperament, they do extremely well even when surrounded by lots of people.
Smart and intelligent, they pick up instructions quickly. They tend to do very well with kids, too, when introduced to the same as a part of their training in formative years.
They exhibit excellent abilities in canine sports, such as agility and obedience. They tend to develop sniffing and finding instincts which may make them unresponsive when their owners call. Leaving them off-leash without supervision is not a good idea.
15. Siberian Husky
Bred to work in packs and frigid climates, Siberian Huskies weigh between 35 and 60 pounds. Their expected lifespan is about 12 to 14 years. They are thickly coated and naturally clean with no doggy odor, unlike some breeds.
So people who do not like dog smell can welcome a Siberian husky into their homes. Affectionate with families, they are good with kids too. Not only this, they are equally friendly with other dogs too.
One interesting fact about Siberian Huskies is that they were bred to survive on very little food, which applies even today. Unfortunately, Siberian Huskies are very prone to obesity, so please keep tabs on your husky’s diet and exercise.
16. Rough Collie
The Collie Club of America is one of the country’s oldest breed clubs. Rough Collies live 11 to 14 years and weigh 50 to 70 pounds. They are excellent with children, respond well to training, and require a lot of affection from their owners. Because of their long coat, they are also known as long-haired Collie.
Rough Collies must be socialized early; otherwise, they may become shy when exposed to too many new faces. They prefer open areas instead of closed apartments. You must let your Rough Collie out for at least 45 to 60 minutes of daily activity.
Newfoundlands sport a flat and coarse coat which can be seen in colors such as brown, gray, black, and black and white. The Newfies avatar with the black and white coat was often spotted in Sir Edwin Landseer’s paintings.
With a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years, adult Newfoundlands tend to weigh between 100 to 150 pounds. They are utterly sweet-tempered and get along well with humans. They are excellent with kids, utterly patient and caring, and have even earned the title of ‘nanny dogs’ for kids.
Newfoundlands are among the world’s largest dogs, so you must make thoughtful decisions while welcoming such a large pet into the house.
Poodles, the national dog of France, are loving and affectionate. While some sources claim its origin to trace back to Germany, others mention it has to do with France. With an average life span of 12-15 years, Poodles weigh between 45 to 70 pounds.
Poodles can be spotted joyfully spending time with kids and adults. This side of their temperament makes them perfect for families. Not only this, but they are also accepting of other pets in the family.
However, they may exhibit hypersensitivity when in the company of noisy kids. They are perfect for calm and serene settings because too much noise can make them anxious.
Bred to be active-hunting dogs, Vizslas sport a golden-rust coat. With an average life span of 12 to 15 years, they typically weigh between 45 to 65 pounds. They are athletic and succeed at sports. They are also gentle, kind, and loving.
They require regular mental and physical stimulation. A minimum of half an hour each day for the same is best for Vizslas. When they become attached to their owners, they tend to face separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.
One of the oldest breeds of dogs to exist, Pugs are believed to be of Chinese origin. As per some accounts, Pugs used to be pets of the Buddhist monks in the monasteries of Tibet. A full-grown Pug tends to weigh between 14 to 18 pounds and has an average life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years.
Their glossy coat does shed but demands minimal maintenance. This breed is an excellent companion for humans. They exhibit a stable temperament and are easy to train. They make excellent family pets and also do well in homes with toddlers.
Their formative years and training necessitate socialization because they become lonely and sad when left alone for extended periods. However, being flat-faced, they tend to develop respiratory issues, and the same must be thought over if you reside in a largely sunny and hot region throughout the year.
21. American Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels, originally bred as hunting dogs, have evolved into all-around companions. They live for an average of 12 to 15 years. With numerous color variations of coats and sweet expressions, their charming looks made them a hit among Americans. They are athletic, easy to train, and tend to pick instructions rather swiftly. They are playful around kids.
Full of energy, they do not like missing out on their play sessions with their owners and are equally fond of strolls. Cocker spaniels need special care and protection for eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal atrophy (PRA).
22. Portuguese Water Dog
Portuguese Water Dogs are joyful creatures with roots in the Algarve region of Portugal. They have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years and weigh 35 to 60 pounds. They are easy to please and respond well to obedience training. They are eager to meet new people, which shows in their behavior.
Their thick coat necessitates regular grooming. Weekly grooming and bathing are effective methods for keeping them clean.
23. Irish Setter
Irish Setters are known for their red coat, swiftness, and sweet temperament. These stunning redheads have been one of the favorite choices for family pets for almost 200 years. They typically weigh between 60 to 70 pounds, and their life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years. Loving and lovable, they get along well with family and young kids. They are extroverts and tend to be friendly with strangers in very little time.
Training them requires lots of exercise and enjoyable play. They tend to pick things up quickly because they are incredibly smart and quick. Their retention of things is extraordinary.
Greyhounds are one of the most non-aggressive dog breeds. They make for wonderfully sweet-tempered companions who are free-spirited at the same time. Their life expectancy is about 10 to 14 years. Their weight largely varies and falls in the 50 to 80-pound category.
While they are generally family-friendly, they get concerned around screaming children and may not be the most welcoming when surrounded by them. Their coat is fairly low on maintenance, and Greyhounds can be maintained all hygienic and clean even with once-in-a-month coat grooming sessions.
25. Great Dane
The Great Dane, the great “Apollo of Dogs,” is a powerfully built dog. It has an imposing build due to its tall 30 to 32-inch shoulder height. While some Great Danes survive only six to seven years, some incredibly fortunate humans enjoy their company for up to twelve years.
Contrary to their looks, they are the least dangerous dogs. They get along nicely with family and small children. Even when they are in the presence of strangers, they quickly get at ease. Their attentive nature and commanding height make them ideal home guards.
However, a tall and powerful dog like this requires a different kind of attention than other canines, and you need to ensure that you can take care of their needs. For example, how do you pick them up when they are sick? You will also need to train them to be gentle around children since they are very powerful.
How to Make Sure your Puppy Grows Non-Aggressive?
Socialization, positive reinforcement, and obedience training are ways to ensure that your puppies and adopted dogs grow to be dogs that are not aggressive.
Socialization is slowly introducing new objects and people to the dog so that your dog becomes accustomed to them.
Socializing your dog at a young age reduces fear and instills confidence and happiness in dealing with the world. It familiarizes them with various circumstances, including positive acclimation to various sounds and odors. Starting early is critical since it goes a long way in helping the dog restrain its natural aggression.
Positive reinforcement is an effective method for shaping your pet’s behavior. It is about rewarding your animal friend when they reach a behavioral milestone you have set for them.
Because it hopes to get the reward, the pet tends to repeat the behavior/ training you ask them to do. It helps weed out aggressive behaviors at an early age.
Dogs are intelligent and understand what behaviors their owners want them to exhibit. Obedience training helps your dog to understand the right behaviors. Obedience training often goes hand in hand with positive reinforcement. Rewards can range from their favorite treats to your adoration and cuddling. Typically obedience training starts young with dogs under 14 weeks.
Golden and Labrador retrievers are universally considered the least aggressive dog breeds. It is important to make sure that you train your dog to be less aggressive at an early age through the tools of obedience training, positive reinforcement, and socialization.