19 of the Least Aggressive Dog Breeds

By John Martin - July 1, 2021

If you’re thinking of bringing home a dog as a family pet, it is extremely important to understand the traits, temperament and aggression levels of the dog so that the pooch is not only a perfect companion for you and your family members but also fits perfectly with your lifestyle.

Finding the perfect pet can be determined by his level of aggression and a friendly dog, with a calm and easy-going demeanor is the perfect fit for homes with kids and elders. While there are many factors that influence the personality and temperament of a dog, if he is provided with proper love and care and socialized early, he may be friendly and less hostile to other pets and people. However, some breeds are naturally mild-tempered, docile and friendly, while others may be quite aggressive.

In this article, we have explored 19 of the least aggressive dog breeds that you can consider when choosing a pet for your home.

Basset Hound

Basset Hound

A very popular choice for families with kids and elders, the Basset Hound is a dog with a pleasant and calm temperament. Extremely loyal, Basset Hounds are very affectionate and loving towards family members and quite friendly with strangers. Basset Hounds are medium-sized dogs with short legs and a sad-looking, expressive face with droopy eyes, long velvety ears and a wrinkled brow. Although they have a sad expression, they are quite the opposite in terms of their temperament and are quite playful and outgoing.

The Basset Hound is a bloodhound and was originally bred in Great Britain and France for hunting. They are big dogs with short legs and have more endurance than speed. Usually weighing around 50 to 65 lb, Basset Hounds are around 14 inches tall and have a stocky appearance. Bassets have a short-haired coat and shed a lot and so, they require weekly grooming and brushing. Available in the classic tri-color pattern of brown, white and black, Basset Hounds can also be grey or blue.

These dogs are not very active and can be quite lazy. They love eating and can gain weight quickly. The biggest advantage of this breed is its ability to adapt easily to different environments, which makes them excellent for apartment living and a great option for newbie owners.


Beagle walking in the grass

Known for their gentle nature and friendly personality, Beagles are medium-sized dogs that are perfect for families, especially with young kids. Beagles were originally bred in England as hunting dogs and so are quite energetic. They can get very excited by different scents when they are outdoors and they love to explore new places and hence need supervision.

These cute, short-legged pooches weigh around 18 to 30 lb and are around 13 to 15 inches tall. They have a smooth, dense, short-haired, tri-colored coat, which does not shed a lot and is quite easy to maintain with regular brushing. Beagles are generally very friendly and get along very well with strangers and other dogs, which makes them ineffective as guard dogs. Since they love company, they are prone to become bored and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too long.

Beagles can be quite stubborn, which can make them a bit challenging to train; however, their sweet and pleasant nature makes up for their stubbornness. Beagles tend to howl and bay, which can get quite annoying. You can control this behavior by training them and keeping them active. Overall, these gentle pooches are extremely affectionate dogs and make great, entertaining pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Originally bred to herd cattle and do farm work in the mountains of Switzerland, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a friendly, loyal, steady-tempered hound. This easy-going gentle giant has a calm demeanor, which makes them an excellent watchdog and a great family pet. The Bernese Mountain Dog loves human companionship and is a loyal friend. They are patient with kids and other pets, making them great family companions.

Featuring a tri-colored coat with black, white and tan markings, the Bernese Mountain Dog has thick, long hair that sheds quite a lot and requires regular grooming and brushing to prevent matting. Bernese Mountain Dogs are around 23 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 75 to 120 lb.

Bernese Mountain Dogs are obedient, eager to please and easy to train. They are hardy dogs that enjoy physical work, which makes them great for farms and rural areas. While they are sturdy and large in size, Bernese Mountain Dogs are fairly agile and need plenty of open space and exercise to keep them active and happy. Therefore, they are best suited for country homes or suburban homes that have access to a large yard or a park.

Related: 24 of the Best Outdoor Dog Breeds

Brittany Spaniel

Brittany Spaniel having fun

Also known as the Brittany, these are sweet-natured, non-aggressive and friendly dogs that are eager to please, making them a dedicated friend and pet. They are very sensitive dogs that become attached to their owners. They are quick learning, gentle and polite and get along quite well with other pets.

Originally used as gun dogs, Brittany Spaniels get their name from the French region “Brittany”, where they originated from and were bred as hunting and retrieving dogs. Weighing around 30 to 40 lb and 17.5 to 20.5 inches tall, Brittany Spaniels have a boldly patterned beautiful coat that comes in various combinations of white, bright orange and reddish-brown. They have a short, dense coat that does not shed and requires minimal grooming and is very easy to maintain.

Brittanys are energetic dogs and need plenty of exercise. They love to run around, chase birds and play fetch. However, they can become shy or submissive, which can be prevented by proper socialization when they are young. They also tend to experience anxiety or boredom if they are not cared for properly. Brittanys are affectionate dogs and can be an excellent addition to your family.


Bulldog outside in the garden

With their wrinkly face, upturned nose, muscular physique and short and stocky build, the Bulldog is a sweet-natured, friendly dog with a calm disposition. Despite its grumpy-looking face, Bulldogs are very easy going, patient and playful, making them great pets for homes with kids and elders. They also get along very well with other pets and dogs.

Bulldogs have a solid, stocky and muscular build. Weighing around 40-50 lb, they are usually 12-15 inches tall. They have a fawn, red, white or pale-yellow brindle colored coat which is short and sleek and shed seasonally and need weekly grooming. They have a heavily wrinkled head and jowls with thick folds. Bulldogs are not very active dogs and don’t require a lot of exercise, which makes them great pets for apartment living.

Originally bred for baiting and fighting owing to their bold personality, Bulldogs have a scary appearance that can frighten strangers. They are protective, territorial and loyal, which makes them good watchdogs. Typically, these dogs are good natured and dependable and because they tend to form strong bonds with kids, they make excellent family pets.

Related: 15 Amazing Dog Breeds Born Without Tails

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Characterized by their wagging tails, happy smiley face and sweet disposition, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is categorized as a toy dog, according to the AKC. These “comforter spaniels” served as lap dogs for the British royalty for generations and in the 1700s, King Charles II was so captivated by the dogs that they got their name as King Charles Spaniels.

King Charles Spaniels are small-sized dogs and have a silky, feathery coat and come in varying colors and markings. Their coat needs weekly brushing but does not need to be trimmed. King Charles Spaniels are friendly and affectionate dogs and love human interaction and should not be left alone for long periods. They are well-behaved towards other animals and kids and adapt to any kind of environment easily.

These pooches are very intelligent, can be trained and love learning new tricks. However, it can be difficult to housetrain them; however, be patient and avoid any negative reinforcement. While they are hunters by nature, these dogs do not need a lot of exercise and are happy to nap or curl up on your lap and snooze. King Charles Spaniels are smart, playful and fun but gentle pets.

Related: Top 17 Dog Breeds With Floppy Ears

Rough Collie (Collie)

Collie out in a field

Rough Collie or simply Collie is an elegant, graceful and intelligent dog. The strikingly beautiful dog is mild mannered, has a sweet temperament and is very good with kids, making them excellent companions and family dogs. Originally from England and Scotland, Rough Collies were used as herding dogs. They are loyal and protective and make excellent watchdogs.

Rough Collies are intelligent dogs and are much easier to train compared to other breeds. They are smart and quick learners and respond very well to reward-based training. As puppies, Rough Collies are playful and curious by nature and if socialized early on, they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.

Rough Collies usually weigh around 50-70 lb and are 24-26 inches tall. They have a beautiful double coat that has a rough texture with long, straight, dense hair and a soft furry undercoat. Collies come in varying colors, a mix of brown, tan, black and white. Rough Collies require grooming and brushing them once a week and bathing them once a month will help to keep their coat clean and shiny.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever playing with toy in a field

Golden Retrievers are popular family dogs and for good reasons. These dogs are non-aggressive and have a pleasant and sweet temperament. Originally bred to hunt and retrieve small game for hunters, Golden Retrievers are very obedient, learn easily and are eager to please, which makes them good guide dogs.

Golden Retrievers are active dogs with a playful personality and they love running along with you or playing fetch with you. They are very energetic dogs and need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to combat boredom and keep them relaxed and happy. Golden Retrievers are an intelligent and sociable breed. They are very easy to train and are loyal to their owners.

Golden Retrievers are very good with kids, but as young pups, they can be quite boisterous and need to be socialized. These dogs are good at search and rescue work, but at the same time, they are friendly and devoted family dogs too.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever playing

Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, friendly, active and outgoing dogs. This sweet-faced dog with its gentle temperament is one of the most popular breeds in America. Eager to please, these affectionate dogs love kids and are ready for anything, playing, swimming, walking or chasing. Very easy to train, Labrador Retrievers are balanced and playful and are truly a perfect family dog.

Labrador Retrievers are medium-to-large-sized dogs and come in 3 colors—yellow, black and chocolate. They have a hard, dense coat, usually, weigh around 55-80 lb and are 21.5-24.5 inches tall. Full of energy, Labrador Retrievers can play fetch repeatedly without getting tired or cranky, which makes them excellent pets for families with active kids or for people looking for a patient and active pet.


Newfoundland dog breed

Don’t get fooled by the massive size of Newfoundlands. This gentle giant has a calm, loyal and good-natured disposition. Especially good around children, Newfoundlands are also called “nanny dogs”. Newfoundlands originated in Canada back in the 1800s and were used as working dogs for hunting, fishing, retrieving and hauling equipment. And, because of their brave and courageous nature, Newfoundlands were also used as rescue dogs.

Newfoundlands come in a wide range of colors like brown, black, white and black or gray and they have a heavy, dense, water-resistant coat that sheds through the year and requires weekly brushing. They have a large frame with a massive, broad face and have broad feet with webbed toes, which make them excellent swimmers.

Adult dogs are around 26 to 28 inches tall and can weigh around 130 to 150 lb. A fairly active breed, Newfoundlands need plenty of exercise and are happy in homes with plenty of space and access to the outdoors.


Poodle portrait

Loved for their intelligence and gentle and laid-back temperament, Poodles are elegant but playful dogs. Eager to please, these dogs are highly trainable. The origin of Poodles can be traced back to the 15th century to France or Germany. Initially bred as hunting and retrieving dogs, the smaller versions were bred as companion or lap dogs.

Poodles come in a wide range of coloring and are characterized by their distinctive hypoallergenic coat of curly, dense fur that does not shed much but requires a lot of grooming and frequent brushing to prevent matting. Very energetic and sociable, Poodles don’t like being left alone and can get quite anxious when left by themselves for long periods of time.

These pooches are very active and are excellent in sports, which is why they need plenty of exercise. Poodles come in 3 varieties – Standard, Toy and Miniature and Standard Poodles are recommended for families with younger kids and elders because they are more outgoing.

Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

Quite a rare breed, Portuguese Water Dogs are smart, independent and loving pooches that make excellent companions. Because they are very smart and are easily trained, these dogs also excel as service dogs including therapy dogs, seizure response dogs, mobility dogs and hearing dogs.

The origin of Portuguese Water Dogs can be traced to ancient Europe and this breed may share its genetics with the Poodle. These dogs were used as working dogs by fishermen in the coastal areas. Portuguese Water Dogs come in a range of different solid colors or with markings. They have a single-layered coat that does not shed, which makes these dogs the perfect choice if you suffer from allergies.

Highly intelligent, Portuguese Water Dog needs a lot of mental stimulation and physical activity. They don’t like to be left alone for long periods and must be exercised regularly to prevent boredom. Their loving, gentle and patient disposition make Portuguese Water Dog excellent pets to have in your home.

Related: 8 Best Dog Breeds With Webbed Feet


Pugs posing outside for the camera

Pugs are pint-sized, sturdy dogs that are extremely friendly with kids and so, they make excellent family pets. Charming, playful and rather strong-willed, these clever dogs love socialization and are naturally protective of their owners. Ready for fun anytime at all, pugs love family playtime.

The origins of pugs can be traced back to 16th century China, where they were prized by Chinese Emperors. These dogs come in different colors and are characterized by their flat round face, deep wrinkles, compact, muscled body and curly tail. Pugs do not need a lot of exercise, which makes them an excellent option for people living in apartments and small homes.

Not known for being aggressive, Pugs still need training and socialization as pups. They crave affection and attention and often follow their owners around and may develop separation anxiety if left for long. These cute pooches come with loads of personality in a small package that you can’t help but love.

Related: Are Pugs Hyper?

Irish Setter

Irish Setter

With a rich chestnut red-colored coat, the Irish Setter has a glamorous and stunning appearance. This intelligent breed is friendly, gentle, fun loving and patient with young kids and elders, making them excellent family pets. In fact, they love being around people so much that when surrounded by people that they love, Irish Setters are on their best behavior.

Weighing around 60 to 70 lb, Irish Setters are around 27 inches tall. They have long, sturdy legs that support running and they have long silky featherings on their chest, belly, ears, forelegs and tail. Basically, a breed that was bred for hunting, Irish Setters have boundless energy and stamina and enjoy their daily dose of exercise. They love playing fetch and can do it all day long without getting tired. Smart and very trainable, Irish Setters are outgoing.

Great Dane

Great Dane posing for the camera

While his size may be rather intimidating, this gentle giant is a huge softy and has a sweet and affectionate disposition. Great Danes are very well-behaved dogs. They love spending time with their owners and are good around kids.

Because of their size, Great Danes can be quite clumsy, especially in small spaces when they are jumping in excitement. They need to be trained and taught good manners. However, they are eager to please and respond quite well to being trained with positive reinforcement.

Great Danes do not require a lot of exercise; however, it is necessary that they get their dose of daily walks and some playtime to keep your pet happy and active. Until they are 18 months old, it is recommended that you avoid exercising strenuously with your Great Dane because their bones take a while to grow and strenuous exercise can damage them.



Also known as the Bergamese Shepherd, Bergamo Shepherd Dog or Cane da Pastore Bergamasco, the Bergamasco Sheepdog has a distinctive coat with long and thick hair that distinguishes the breed from others. The dog has hair of 3 varied textures that naturally form loose mats or flocks that cover its body, as well as legs, which gives the pooch a rustic look.

Originally from the Italian Alps, Bergamascos were bred as hunting and guarding dogs. The Bergamasco is a bright, trainable, loyal, patient and loving dog with a streak of independence and loves working. They are extremely vigilant, which makes them excellent watchdogs.

Bergamascos usually have a solid silver, black or gray coat that offers camouflage in the mountainous areas. The dog has a bulky-boned, muscular long body, weighing around 51 to 71 lb and they are around 22 to 23 inches tall. The Bergamasco is very outgoing and loves to bond with humans, which makes them an excellent choice for large families.



Long-legged and slender, the Greyhound is a sighthound that was mainly bred for track racing. The large streamlined frame of the dog is built for speed. But despite its formidable physical appearance, the Greyhound has a polite and laid back attitude. It is quiet, peaceful and calm, moves very gracefully and does very well in quiet environments.

While they are non-aggressive and rarely bark, Greyhounds love chasing smaller dogs and cats. These dogs can be quite standoffish with strangers and so, early socialization can help them to grow up to be more well-rounded dogs.

Greyhounds typically are around 25 to 29 inches tall and weigh around 65 to 85 lb. They have a long face and neck, a narrow waist, deep chest and their loins are slightly arched. Greyhounds have a short, smooth and sleek coat that is easy to care for and they come in various colors including gray, black, fawn, white, red or African Savannah patterns. They shed moderately and need to be brushed daily.



Bred as a hunter and pointer in Hungary, the Vizsla is also called Hungarian Pointer. Characterized by its shiny, sleek and golden rust-colored coat, the Vizsla is a lean and light-footed dog. Very energetic and active, the Vizsla is gentle, affectionate, sensitive and always eager to please.

Vizslas love to be active and take to training very well. And they excel in sports and other activities. They have loads of stamina and can gracefully trot beside you, making them perfect biking or jogging companions. They are quite affectionate with kids and can be great companions for older and energetic kids.

Vizslas have a sensitive face with long and silky ears framing the face and are usually around 21-24 inches tall. They can get bored and destructive if they don’t have sufficient exercise. These dogs tend to form a close bond with their owners and if left alone for long periods of time, they can suffer from separation anxiety.

Bull Terrier

Bull Terrier

Dubbed as being charming, playful and mischievous, the Bull Terrier has a fun-loving and sweet temperament, making it a popular breed for families with children. These endearing pooches are very devoted, although at times can be rather stubborn.

Bull Terriers have a characteristic egg-shaped head with pointed, erect ears and small, kind eyes. They have a muscular body and come in two types of coats—white and any other solid color with white markings or with brindle striping.

The key to keeping your Bull Terrier happy is plenty of exercise, firm training, early socialization and loads of quality time. If your pooch gets all these things, you can’t find a more lovable, loyal and entertaining pet than a Bull Terrier.

In this article, we have discussed the top 19 least aggressive dogs that can make excellent family pets. While it is true that some breeds are naturally less aggressive and get along with people and other pets in your home, this does not mean that you can avoid training your dog. Proper training can ensure that your puppy grows to be a confident and relaxed dog, ensuring a happy experience for your entire family.