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the Miniature Shnauzer is protective but loving to his family

29 Least Aggressive Dog Breeds You Can Trust

Congratulations! You’re taking the first, most responsible step toward dog ownership and we’re here to help.

Researching the best dog for your lifestyle is key to finding a lifelong companion. It’s hard to pass up an adorable puppy, but being cute isn’t good enough.

Owning a dog means committing the next 10 to 15 years of your life to dog ownership. It’s a huge responsibility. Narrowing down the dog to meet your lifestyle is key to harmony in the family.

Most people searching for the perfect family pet are looking for three main traits:

  • Non-aggressive dogs
  • Dogs that are easy to train
  • Breeds that do well with other pets and children

Other factors people consider when choosing a dog include:

  • temperament
  • size
  • grooming needs
  • hypoallergenic factors
  • exercise requirement
  • weather tolerance
  • intelligence
  • health
  • trainability

To help you in your research, we’ve put together a guide of 29 least aggressive dogs. Some of the choices may surprise you!

1. Australian Terrier

Life Expectancy of the Australian Terrier

12 – 15 years 

Personality Traits

This plucky little terrier is bursting with personality. He will need much of your attention and may not be suited for multi-dog households.

These self-confident dogs are a going concern. Be prepared for plenty of holes in your yard…at least during the puppy phase!

The Australian Terrier loves to chase, play fetch, and hang out with his owners. The best news is how well he gets along with people and pets.

This little guy is very smart and is considered above-average in obedience and trainability.

Don’t let his high energy scare you off. If you’re interested in a fun dog that will keep you on your toes, the Australian Terrier could be it.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • High prey drive. They love to chase squirrels, rabbits, cats, etc.
  • Excellent watch dogs.They’re not aggressive, but they will let you know if a stranger is nearby.
  • Lively and outgoing
  • Confident
  • High energy
  • Potential for mild aggression with other dogs
  • Non-aggressive with people.

The Australian Terrier (or “Aussie”) is not the same as the Australian Shepherd, the Australian Cattle Dog, or the Australian Silky (although they are all great dogs).

PROS: Courageous, loyal, intelligent, companionable, non-aggressive towards people but make good watchdogs.

CONS: May not be the best dog for first-time dog owners. This dog needs your attention and may not do well if left alone for long periods of time.

Size

  • The Australian Terrier stands at 10 – 11 inches in height.
  • This breed has a small but sturdy body.
  • Weighs 15 – 20 pounds

Grooming Requirements

This breed’s fur is weatherproof, and has a double coat. The coat type is considered “harsh” but is relatively easy to maintain.

Brush weekly. Do not over-bathe. Shampoo softens the harsh coat which inhibits the fur from repelling dirt and moisture.

Skin can become dry if over-bathed.

Shed Factor

Infrequent – little shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes. This dog sheds very little.

People who are allergic to “dogs” are usually allergic to the dander. The Australian Terrier doesn’t shed and, therefore, doesn’t releases dander into the air.

Exercise Needs

This peppy dog requires daily exercise. Long walks or an unleashed run in a safe area will keep his energy under control.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent.

Long training sessions will quickly bore this dog. Time training sessions to match his attention-span.

Keep him interested with a variety of challenging dog games.

Health

This breed generally has few health problems.

Responsible breeders will test their breeding stock for things like luxating patella and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Best Suited For:

Australian Terriers do well in a home, apartment, or condo as long as he has daily exercise.

TIP: Never let this dog run loose outside. This isn’t the dog to train to walk next to you off-leash. His high prey drive could have him tearing across the road in seconds.

  • The Australian Terrier has a strong prey drive. All he needs to see is someone’s cat across the road and he will be off.
  • Excellent family dog.
  • Not for first-time dog owners.
  • Most terriers have a way of being cheeky with their owners. It’s what makes them so much fun!
  • Unfortunately, an inexperienced dog owner could see the behaviour as willful or stubborn.

2. Basset Hounds

Life Expectancy of a Basset Hound

12 – 13 years.

Personality

Basset Hounds are soulful dogs with big hearts. These dogs have sad eyes but are actually considered very happy-go-lucky breeds.

Hounds of any type can roam off if he/she picks up on a particular scent (for example, the smell of wildlife or food). Keep watch over your hound but give him some space to roam.

Main personality traits of the Basset Hound

Basset Hounds have a distinctly loud, howling bark that carries well through the air

This hound is very mild-mannered at home. They are not cuddly dogs, but they are extremely loyal.

Expect a friendly, outgoing, and playful dog. Good with children and other pets.

Size

  • Basset Hounds have very short legs and longish bodies.
  • Although he only stands at 14 inches high, he’s able to pull his own weight.
  • Males can be anywhere from 55 – 75 pounds.
  • Females can be 45 – 65 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Regular grooming is important. Although the dog has short hair, he sheds a lot. A weekly brushing can help keep this under control.

Nails need to be trimmed regularly. The occasional bath will keep his coat clean and shiny.

Shed Factor

This is not the dog for someone who can’t handle some fur in the house.

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Moderate exercise is required. Not as active as other breeds. A daily walk (short distance at a moderate pace) is enough.

Intelligence

Smart but stubborn. This dog can seem aloof and not interested in commands.

Can be trained but it takes time and persistence. Use treats and socialize early for best results.

Health

Long-droopy ears can allow moisture to accumulate. This can cause ear infections.

Prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, glaucoma, hypothyroidism, bleeding disorders, and luxating patella.

Note: Responsible breeders would check for these conditions in their breeding stock.

Prone to weight gain if not offered appropriate nutrition.

Best Suited For:

Families, singles.

This dog is comfortable with apartment living. Also does well in a home with a yard.

The Basset Hound is pretty laid-back. Perfect for people who are not able to provide high-intensity exercise.

3. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dogs are lovable and kind

Life Expectancy of a Bernese Mountain Dog

7 – 10 years

Personality

These dogs are extremely lovable and get along with the entire family. They are very gentle with children. 

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • This breed is a little aloof with strangers but warms up quickly.
  • Can withstand cold climates.
  • This beautiful breed is very friendly with other animals and people.
  • Although large and imposing, there is nothing aggressive about the Bernese Mountain Dog.

Size

  • The Bernese Mountain dog is 23 – 26 inches (female) and 25 – 27.5 inches (male).
  • You can expect the dog to reach a weight of anywhere from 80 – 115 pounds (male) to 70 – 95 pounds (female).

Grooming

Brush your dog two to three times per week. This will help remove loose hair. Nails should be trimmed regularly.

Shed Factor

This breed sheds quite a bit. Weekly brushing can help, but you can still expect a fair amount of shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

No.

Exercise Needs

Should get a ½ hour to 1 hour of moderate exercise every day to stay healthy and happy.

Intelligence

Intelligent and eager-to-please. These traits make the dog easy to train.

Health

Bernese Mountain dogs are generally healthy. Responsible breeders will screen for health conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia.

All large breeds are vulnerable to bloat. Bloat is a sudden, life-threatening stomach condition. 

Best Suited For:

Families and singles. This dog is a heart-warming pillow of fun.

Your heart will be his from the moment he steps into your home.

There is a bit of upkeep in terms of grooming, cleaning excess fur around the home, and exercise requirements.

Might not be suitable for anyone with mobility issues or conditions that make it difficult to care for the dog.

4. Cavalier King Spaniel

Lifespan 

12 – 15 years

Personality

The King Charles Springer Spaniel is a bit like a chameleon. He can blend into any family dynamic. If you’re on-the-go, the dog will keep up. If you prefer more lazy days, this breed will settle into that routine as well.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Sweet natured
  • Loving
  • Energetic
  • Obedient

Size

The Cavalier King Charles Springer Spaniel is a small, lightweight dog. This breed stands 12 to 13 inches high and weighs between 13 and 18 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

This breed has a gorgeous, silky coat that only requires minimal brushing to maintain. Brushing helps keep the coat shiny and tangle free. Nails should be kept trim.

Shed Factor

This breed does shed a little, but wouldn’t be considered a heavy shedder.

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was originally bred to be a lapdog. However, he loves moderate activities and is happy to go on walks.

Intelligence

This is a happy, well-adjusted dog who does well in a variety of situations whether you’re less or more athletic. This dog is very smart. What makes the dog easy to train is his eager-to-please nature. Early socialization will help this breed learn good manners

Health

This breed can have certain health issues Some of these include:

  • Luxating patella
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Middle ear infections
  • Mitral valve heart disease
  • syringomyelia (neurological disease)

Best Suited For:

Anyone. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel works well with a variety of lifestyles.

5. Collie

Life Expectancy of a Collie

12 – 14 years.

Personality

Collie’s are naturally gentle. This obedient and gentle herder will work hard to make sure your children are where they’re supposed to be.  This breed is non-aggressive and a pleasure to welcome into the family.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Excellent dog for families with children
  • Obedient
  • Not aggressive
  • Loyal
  • Sweet

Size

The Collie is a large dog weighing up to 75 pounds (male) and up to 65 pounds (female). Collies stand 24-26 inches (male) and 22-24 inches (female).

Grooming Requirements

Although popular, rough Collies need regular brushing to avoid matting.

Pet owners should invest in a good dog brush that will get down to the skin. This type of brush is essential to help loosen the undercoat. Expect to brush this dog 2 – 3 times a week.

Shed Factor

Unspayed females (intact) will shed 3 months after their heat cycle. Intact males will shed once a year.  Spayed females will have one big yearly shed.

Hypoallergenic

No

Exercise Needs

Collies require regular exercise and need room to run and play. Keep Collies active through games of fetch, playing with other dogs, and going for regular walks.

Intelligence

Collies are very smart dogs that are easily trained. Puppy classes are recommended for socialization.  This dog loves to learn new things and will need a lot of mental stimulation. Agility training is an excellent option for Collies.

Health

Collies, like other large breeds, can be prone to:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia. 
  • Vesticular Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (VCLE) predominantly affects adult rough collies. 
  • Epilepsy

Best Suited For:

Anyone looking for a smart, large breed dog. Collies are good with children and will be a loyal and devoted pet for years to come. 

This dog does require regular exercise and will need a fenced-in yard or other area where he can run and play.

6. German Shepherds

Life Expectancy of a German Shepherd

12 – 14 years.

Personality

They are defined as loyal, courageous, and confident. German Shepherds can be gentle family pets. Once they become part of your family, they will guard and defend.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Strong
  • Loyal
  • Protective
  • Non aggressive towards owners and family
  • Not usually aggressive towards strangers
  • Needs to be socialized as a puppy

Size

The female German Shepherd can reach a height of 22 – 24 inches. Males reach heights of 24 – 26 inches.  German Shepherds can weigh anywhere from 65 – 90 pounds (male) and 50 – 70 pounds (female).

Grooming Requirements

This dog has a medium-length, double coat that is made up of dense, harsh, and a close-lying outer coat. They have a much softer undercoat.

The only requirement would be a quick brushing every few days.  They will shed more profusely a couple of times a year during shedding seasons. Like most dogs, this one requires the occasional bath.  Keep nails trim unless they are worn down naturally.

Shed Factor

Medium shedding – more profuse during shedding season.

Hypoallergenic?

Not hypoallergenic.

Exercise Needs

This breed is active and athletic. He requires at least an hour of vigorous activity daily. Avoid over-exerting puppies. German Shepherds have a quick growth spurt. Their little bones and joints need time to mature and strengthen.

Over-working a puppy too early can leave him with hip dysplasia.

Puppies should be started slowly and worked up to longer exercise times. Enroll your dog into canine activities like agility, herding, and tracking courses.

Intelligence

Very smart dogs and eager to please their owners.  This makes them very trainable.

Health

Healthy dogs but could suffer from degenerative myelopathy, elbow and hip dysplasia, or bloat. 

Best Suited For:

Families or singles. Adjusts well in any environment but is best suited to homes with a backyard. 

7. Golden Retrievers

Life Expectancy of a Golden Retriever

10 to 12 years. In some cases, golden retrievers have lived up to 15 years or more.

Personality

Golden retrievers are kind and eager-to-please. If anyone thinks Golden Retrievers are anything but loving, sweet dogs, they obviously don’t know dogs.

The Golden Retriever is one of the top breeds owned by families in North America.  These dogs were originally bred to hunt and, because of that, they can roam if not watched.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Energetic
  • Playful
  • Eager-to-please
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Excellent with children
  • devoted

What some people may not realize is how much exercise Golden Retrievers need to be healthy and well-balanced. They put all of their trust into their owners which makes them especially adorable. 

Size

Golden retrievers are large dogs weighing anywhere from 65-75 pounds (male) and 55-65 pounds (female).

Grooming Requirements

Golden Retrievers should be brushed a few times a week to help stimulate oil glands within the skin and reduce shedding.

Shed Factor

Heavy

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

This energetic breed requires a fair bit of exercise. At least an hour a day of outside activity (swimming, walking, playing) is needed to keep them balanced mentally and physically. 

Retrievers that don’t get enough exercise can develop anxiety-related behaviors including destruction of household items. 

Intelligence

Golden Retrievers are very intelligent and easy to train.

Health

Golden Retrievers are considered relatively healthy breeds although they can be prone to weight gain. Other issues to watch for include hip and elbow dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, uveitis, heart conditions (including sub-valvular aortic stenosis), and progressive retinal atrophy.

Best Suited For

Golden retrievers will thrive in any family no matter where they live. You won’t regret the loving adoration these dogs have to give.

Home owners are in a better position to accommodate a large dog, but they can also settle into apartments or condos. As long as you can get them the exercise they need, a retriever will be fine anywhere.

8. Great Dane

Lifespan 

7 –  10 years.

Personality

These dogs are huge, yet incredibly gentle. They may look intimidating but nothing could be further from the truth. 

Great Danes are loveable and non-aggressive. However, they will protect their owners if the situation requires. This isn’t a lap dog by any stretch, yet the Great Dane needs to be around people.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • They need and love human contact.
  • Sweet
  • Devoted
  • Surprisingly cuddly
  • Happy to be a couch potato

Great Danes are good with children but need to be taught not to jump.

Size

Great Danes can grow as high as 32 inches (male) and 30 inches (female). They can weigh as much as 175 pounds (male) and up to 140 pounds (female).

Grooming Requirements

This short-haired dog does shed a little and requires regular brushing. Use a medium-bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt to smooth and remove loose fur. Great Danes will shed but regular brushing will help keep this to a minimum.

Shed Factor

Moderate – High

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Great Danes, like most dogs, require regular daily exercise. Most big dogs require a lot of exercise and outdoor time. The Great Dane, however, is more suited as an indoor dog.

Do not exercise this dog too much around meal time because of the risk of bloat. A 20 – 30 minute moderate walk will usually suffice.

Intelligence

Great Danes are smart dogs who are eager to please. That said, they should be socialized from a young age. 

These dogs should be exposed to a variety of situations from a young age so that they can get used to different people and places.

Health

Great Danes can have a number of health conditions. These issues may contribute to their lower lifespan.

If you do your research and find a responsible breeder, you should be able to bring home a healthy pup.

Conditions that may affect the Great Dane include cardiomyopathy, bloat, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and thyroid disease.

Best Suited For:

Families or anyone who can spend a great deal of time with the dog. If exercised regularly and well cared for, this dog can be surprisingly calm indoors.

A Great Dane can live in an apartment or condo, but his enormous size may make it a tight squeeze.

9. French Bulldogs

Lifespan 

10 – 12 years

Personality

French bulldogs are short in stature and high in personality. They may look a little serious but they are playful and amusing.

French bulldogs are amazing companion dogs. They are suitable for people who’ve never had a dog before. The breed is well-rounded and patient with children and other animals.

If you like to be entertained, be prepared. Frenchies are mischievous and playful. No need to worry about aggression.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Playful
  • Loves to be around people
  • Comical
  • Low maintenance
  • Loving
  • Sweet
  • Not aggressive

Size

French bulldogs stand between 11 to 12 inches high. They range in weight from 16 to 28 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

French bulldogs have short, smooth, and fine fur. Their skin is loose and wrinkled. Other than an occasional brushing, this breed requires very little grooming. One important thing to remember is to keep the skin folds on their face clean and dry.

Shed Factor

Average to low shedding depending on the time of year. Will shed more often during hot weather.

Hypoallergenic?

No.

Exercise Needs

Like any dog, the French Bulldog requires daily exercise. The breed is brachycephalic and may have difficulty breathing under certain conditions.

These dogs have been bred to have short muzzles and noses. This configuration narrows the airway. Low to moderate exercise is advised. Avoid strenuous activity, especially in hot weather.

Intelligence

The French Bulldog is a smart and mischievous breed. They are alert, bright, and affectionate.

Health

Frenchies cannot swim due to their heavy heads. Never leave a French Bulldog unattended near a body of water.

These dogs can be prone to various illnesses including cherry eye, juvenile cataracts, skin allergies, and autoimmune skin disorders. Unfortunately, poor health is one of the main reasons people surrender their Frenchies.

Best Suited For:

Families, singles. These dogs do well in any environment as long as they are not exposed to high humidity and heat. Whether in an apartment or a large house, these dogs will thrive.

10. Boston Terriers

Lifespan 

11 – 13 years

Personality

Boston terriers are a ball of fun and energy outdoors. Inside, they are cuddly and loveable. This confident breed is part of the non-sporting group.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Intelligent
  • Quirky
  • Comical
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Cuddly when nobody else is looking
  • Friendly
  • Don’t bark often
  • Can be a little stubborn

Size

Weigh no more than 25 pounds and stand between 15 – 17 inches. Can weight anywhere from 12 to 25 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Requires a light brush once a week. Keep face, ears, and eyes clean (wiped). Trim nails. Should brush teeth regularly.

Shed Factor

Low – moderate

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Requires daily walks. A Boston Terrier has a lot of energy and can walk a long time. Be careful not to over-exert on hot days or after a big meal.

Intelligence

This breed is attentive and will look to you (often with a tilted head) to interpret your mood. They can quickly learn commands but can also be stubborn.

Positive reinforcement, firm commands, and consistency are key.

Health

Brachycephalic breeds can suffer with breathing problems. Other health issues to watch for include:

  • skin issues
  • knee problems

Best Suited For:

Perfect for most families or singles. The Boston Terrier gets along with strangers and pets.

11. Pugs

Life Expectancy of a Pug

12 – 15 years

Personality

Pugs are extremely loveable and gentle. These clingy creatures have been nick-named “Velcro” dogs for a reason! If you want a companion who sticks by your side, a pug is the breed for you. You won’t get lonely with this little guy around.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Pugs can be vocal, especially if they sense a stranger nearby.
  • Cannot be left alone for long.
  • Happy
  • Content
  • Curious
  • Not aggressive

Pugs should not be left alone for long periods of time. Be sure to “pug proof” your home. These dogs are very good at finding things they shouldn’t eat.

Size

14 – 18 pounds

Grooming Requirements

Regular face cleaning in their wrinkles, nail trims, teeth cleaning, occasional baths.

Shed Factor

High

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Napping is their biggest exercise. However, Pugs need to have a few leisurely walks a day to keep him healthy. Pugs are prone to obesity.

Intelligence

Smart and eager-to-please. However, they can be stubborn. Be patient and positive! They respond very well to treat rewards. 

Health

Pugs can have dental issues (which is why it’s important to brush their teeth daily). Pugs are prone to obesity. 

Pugs are prone to eye conditions including entropion (the eyelids roll inward and the eyelashes rub against the cornea) and dry eyes.  Diabetes, allergies, and skin infections are all risk factors to watch for.

Best Suited For:

Patient families or individuals. Best for people who are home most of the time. This dog will want to follow you everywhere. 

Pugs are a fun-loving, robust, compact companion dog. If socialized, pugs are very good with children. If you want a velcro-dog, the pug is for you.

12. Irish Setter

Lifespan

The Irish Setter has a lifespan that ranges from 12 – 15 years. 

Personality

This dog is active, outgoing, and very sweet-natured.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Energetic
  • Curious
  • Mischievous
  • Needy
  • Loves to hunt
  • Will roam if he picks up a scent so watch carefully

Size

Female Irish setters can reach up to 25 inches in height. Males reach up to 27 inches. A female setter can weigh up to 60 pounds. The male will reach up to 70 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

This red-coated dog requires moderate grooming. He should be brushed at least twice a week with a pin brush or soft bristle brush. Watch for matting of the fur.

Shed Factor

The Irish Setter tends to shed more frequently during shedding season.

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

The Irish Setter should get at least 40 minutes to 1 hour of exercise daily. Irish Setters love to be with people and thrive when placed in obedience, tracking, and agility training.

Intelligence

This is a smart dog that responds well to positive, reward-based training methods. 

Health

Irish Setters have a few health conditions including hip dysplasia and eye disorders. A reputable breeder will be very cautious about breeding dogs with health problems.

Best Suited For:

Families and/or individuals.

13. Jack Russell Terrier

Lifespan 

13 – 16 years

Personality

The Jack Russell Terrier (or Parson Terrier) is bred for energy and speed. This breed has a quirky personality. They love to run, jump, bite things, bounce around, and are not for everyone.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Hyperactive
  • Excited
  • Curious
  • Independent
  • Requires a strong leader/owner
  • Loyal
  • Loving but can’t sit still long enough to cuddle

If you love hyperactive antics, you will adore the Jack Russell Terrier. This dog is definitely not aggressive, but may not be suitable for children.

The Jack Russell energy is considered to be “wild”. Without proper training, this breed will tear your house (and furniture) apart.

Size

The Jack Russell will stand between 10 – 15 inches from the shoulder and will weigh between 13 – 17 pounds when fully grown.

Grooming Requirements

Smooth-coated Jack Russell Terriers should be brushed daily with a dog brush or mitt. You can use scissors to clip away any long hairs.

Rough coated Jack Russell Terriers need to be stripped of hair that has stopped growing but is still in the hair shaft. A professional groomer may be the best option.

Shed Factor

Minimal – smooth coated Jack Russell terriers shed the most.

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

This little dog is bursting with energy. He will need to have a minimum of 1 hour a day. The more exercise the better. 

Jack Russell’s are small but fast. Short bursts of intense activity combined with walks and games for mental stimulation work well.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent. Left to his own devices he will find ways to get into trouble. These little dogs are always going to be one step ahead of you. 

Health

Common health problems to watch for include:

  • Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes
  • Luxating Patella
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cruciate Rupture
  • Cushing Disease

Best Suited For:

Experienced dog owners, dog trainers. Does well in all environments but needs a lot of exercise. Need an experienced trainer.

14. Norwich Terrier

Lifespan 

13 – 15 years

Personality

This is a very loyal breed. In fact, he is only loyal to his owners. For this reason, they may be a little aggressive with strangers or other animals. 

They are not considered aggressive with their owners. This dog is sturdy and tough. Although the dog is very small, he is tough and can handle quite a bit.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Brave
  • Loves to bark
  • Happy
  • Independent
  • Small but mighty

This dog is very brave and loves to bark. They are willing to defend their families so don’t let their tiny size fool you. 

Overall, the Norwich Terrier is an independent but happy dog. Loves hours of lap time with the family. This dog burns a lot of energy and, as a result, is hungry!

Size

This dog stands between 9 – 10 inches and weighs anywhere from 11 to 12 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

The Norwich Terrier has a weatherproof coat and only requires monthly brushing and occasional bathes.

Clean the eyes, ears, and trim the nails.

Shed Factor

Low

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Moderate. Requires daily exercise th1at can include a walk combined with playtime.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent and eager-to-please. This dog is easily trained.

Health

Some conditions to watch for include:

  • Cataracts
  • Luxating patella
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Mitral valve disease
  • Portosystemic shunts
  • atopy

Best Suited For:

Anyone who wants a small but sturdy breed. Will adapt to any lifestyle. This dog makes a good watchdog.

15. Miniature Poodles

Lifespan 

10 to 18 years.

Personality

All versions of this breed (standard, miniature, and toy) are elegant companions. They are a pleasure to have around and are not prone to aggression. 

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Intelligent
  • Loyal
  • Kind
  • Playful
  • Obedient
  • Not aggressive

Size

This dog can grow up to 15 inches and weigh as much as 15 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Miniature poodles require a complete brushing to the skin to avoid matting fur.  Ideally, this dog would see a groomer every 4 to 6 weeks for best results.

Shed Factor

Non-shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Poodles of any size require regular, daily exercise. They have high energy levels and are eager for variety. Poodles love to swim! They also love walks and jogs.

Intelligence. 

Extremely intelligent and easy to train. 

Health

A good breeder will test stock for health issues. Some poodles may be prone to hip dysplasia, eye disorders, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, Von Willebrand’s Disease, and immune-mediated disorders.

Orthopedic problems including Legg-Calve-Perthes and luxating patella are more likely to occur in toy and miniature poodles.

Standard poodles are more at risk of bloat.

Best Suited For:

Poodles of any size or variation are perfect for just about anyone. These smart dogs are easy to train. They are happy dogs with little to no aggression.

16. Miniature Schnauzer

Lifespan 

12 – 14 years

Personality

These dogs are friendly but aloof. They don’t necessarily want strangers touching them, but they are not considered an aggressive breed. If the urge to chase gets a hold of the dog, it’s going to be difficult to keep him home.

Miniature Schnauzers are good-looking small-sized dogs that are perfect for people looking for non-aggressive breeds.

These stocky little dogs were bred down from the Standard Schnauzers. They have bushy beards and eyebrows.  Bred to be farm dogs and ratters, they muscular dogs are fearless without being aggressive.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Regal
  • Watchful
  • Quirky
  • Comical
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Energetic
  • Protective
  • High prey drive

Size

The Miniature Schnauzer stands between 12 and 14 inches high and can weight anywhere from 11 – 20 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

This dog has a double coat consisting of a top wiry coat and a soft undercoat. The soft undercoat requires regular brushing and grooming.

Keep the nails trimmed and allow your dog regular baths. Their coats are harsh and wiry when hand stripped. Miniature Schnauzers that are clipped have soft, curly fur. Grooming must be done on a regular basis and is fairly intense. 

Shed Factor

Miniature Schnauzers are low shedders. 

Hypoallergenic?

Yes.

Exercise Needs

Miniature Shnauzers have relatively high energy levels and require at least an hour of exercise every day. 

Intelligence

These are very intelligent dogs that are quick to train.

There are approximately 350 recognized breeds in the world and the Schnauzer ranks #12 on the intelligence scale.

Health

Miniature Schnauzers may suffer from diabetes, ear infections, skin allergies, hepatitis, and pancreatitis.

Best Suited For:

People who want a dog that will protect them without getting aggressive. This dog may not be best for first-time dog owners. Although non-aggressive, this dog has a mind of his own.

The miniature Schnauzer is happy in an apartment, condo, or home. The important thing is to give him lots of exercise.

17. Newfoundland Dog

Lifespan 

8 – 10 years

Personality

Don’t let the huge size of the Newfoundland dog fool you. These large dogs are very gentle and pleasant to be around. This all-purpose water dog won’t demand too much from its owner. 

This breed does love to eat, so watch your muffins. Expect a pretty laid-back dog with this one. The Newfoundland dog is very friendly with other dogs, pets, and even strangers. 

He makes a good watchdog and can be very protective of his owners. He is not an aggressive dog.

Watch this dog in hot climates as he has a very low tolerance for high temperatures. Does best in colder climates.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Lovable
  • Love to eat
  • Sensitive
  • Watchful
  • Not aggressive

Size

Stands 28 inches high. Females can reach up to 120 pounds. Males can reach up to 150 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

The Newfoundland dog has a durable and water resistant double coat. He has a fine, soft undercoat and a longer outer coat. These dogs are heavy, seasonal shedders. Requires regular brushing to manage shedding. 

This dog will drool so keep a rag handy at all times.

Shed Factor

Heavy – seasonal

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Low to moderate exercise requirements. All dogs require some exercise. A leisurely ½ walk per day will work for this guy. Avoid exercising him in very hot weather. 

Intelligence

This is a smart breed with a very sensitive soul. Learns quickly and is eager-to-please.

Health

Newfoundland dogs may be prone to:

  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Kidney stones

Best Suited For:

Laid-back families who are not afraid of large dogs and a little drool. This dog is not aggressive.

Surprisingly, this large breed can do very well in an apartment, especially if it is air-conditioned. He needs low-moderate exercise.

Best suited for non-athletic families willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with the brushing.

18. Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are the least aggressive dog

Lifespan 

10 – 12 years

Personality

Labrador retrievers are energetic, loyal, and a lot of fun. Labrador retrievers love to swim and fetch balls. This dog is very friendly with an easy-going personality.

He requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation to live his best life. Labs socialize well with family members, strangers, pets, etc. 

Labs should be watched when outside. Once they pick up a scent, they can easily wander off. Don’t worry about too much vocalization either. This breed rarely barks inside or outside. 

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • High energy
  • Playful
  • Eager to please
  • Easy to train
  • Gentle with children
  • Friendly

Size

Stands anywhere from 24.5 inches to 23.5 inches (male versus female).  Females: weigh anywhere from 55 – 70 pounds. Males: weigh anywhere from 65 – 80 pounds

Grooming Requirements

Labrador retrievers should be brushed occasionally, especially when the seasons change. 

Shed Factor

He can shed a fair amount, especially during the spring and summer months. 

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Ideally, this breed should get 90 minutes a day of running, walking, swimming, and playing fetch. 

Intelligence

Very intelligent. Often used as guide-dogs. 

Health

Labrador retrievers may be prone to certain conditions including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Exercise induced collapse in Labrador Retrievers (HMLR)
  • Eye conditions
  • Epilepsy 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Hepatitis
  • Ear infections
  • Laryngeal paralysis

Best Suited For:

High-energy families. Will adapt to apartment living as long as he gets regular daily exercise. Suffer from separation anxiety as puppies. May need to work up to being left alone in the home for short periods of time.

19. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is not an aggressive dog

Life Expectancy of Nova Scotia Duck Toller

12 – 14 years

Personality

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is very affectionate and loving. He is good with young children and other dogs. This golden beauty is relatively quiet and only barks to alert his owners of something or somebody new.

You need to have enough energy to keep this dog. He requires a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation.

This breed isn’t considered aggressive and, for that reason, is not considered a guard dog. He will notify you if someone is around which makes him a good watch dog. Like other retrievers, this breed is eager-to-please which makes him highly trainable.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Friendly
  • Happy-go-lucky
  • Energetic
  • Obedient

Size

Male: stands 18 – 21 inches high
Female: Stands 17 – 20 inches high

Weight: 30 – 50 pounds

Grooming Requirements

This dog has a medium-length coat that is easy to maintain. His water-repellent double coat only requires weekly brushing.

May require more brushing in the spring and fall when shedding is more frequent.

Shed Factor

Moderate to heavy

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Requires a lot of exercise. Be prepared to give him an hour of strenuous exercise per day.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent and eager to please.

Health

This breed (like all breeds) is prone to a few health conditions including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart problems

For more detailed information on health conditions of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, visit: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever of Canada

Best Suited For:

Families, singles. This retriever easily settles into most lifestyles provided he gets the exercise needed.

Athletic families or people who can provide this dog adequate mental and physical stimulation work best.

This dog is happy to be with children, adults, and other dogs or pets. Although this breed would settle into apartment/condo living, he is best suited to frequent outdoor access.

20. Old English Sheepdog

Life Expectancy of the Old English Sheepdog

10 – 12 years average

Personality

This breed is fun-loving and sometimes comical. The Old English Sheepdog was originally bred to herd livestock. This trait remains to this day. For that reason, this dog might do better with larger animals/pets.

This large dog isn’t happy if left alone for any length of time. May succumb to separation anxiety.

Generally, this dog is gentle, smart, and great for families.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Independent thinker
  • Gentle
  • Protective of family
  • high herding instincts
  • Comical

Size

Stands 24 – 27 inches and weighs between 60 – 100 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

High grooming requirements. This dog has a thick, full coat. He has a rough double coat with a soft undercoat. His fur is meant to withstand extreme conditions.

The best (and easiest) option is to bring him to a groomer once per month. A professional groomer can keep your Old English Sheepdog looking his best.

It is important to keep his ears clean, have his anal glands checked, and nails clipped regularly.

Shed Factor

Low

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Old English Sheepdogs require a fair bit of exercise. Training and socialization from an early age are recommended.

Expect to spend at least an hour a day helping your dog meet his/her exercise requirements. A brisk walk, hike, and some playtime should go a long way in meeting exercise requirements.

These dogs can get easily bored and need to have activities. This dog is excellent with children and loves to roam in the park.

Intelligence

The Old English Sheepdog is very smart. Whether you consider it a pro or a con…these dogs never forget. This makes them easy-to-train but difficult to keep engaged in the same activity.

Health

The Old English Sheepdog may be prone to a few health conditions including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Eye conditions
  • Skin infections
  • Heart disease
  • Bloat
  • Can be born fully or partially deaf

Best Suited For:

Families or singles. This dog is best suited to a home with a yard. He requires a lot of mental stimulation to prevent boredom.

A family with children would be perfect for a dog like this. He is gentle, loving, and will likely work hard to keep the children where they are supposed to be.

21. Potcake

Lifespan 

10 – 12 years

Personality

Although some potcakes have had it rough living on the streets of the Bahamas, they are sweet and adaptable dogs.

Potcakes are considered intelligent, loyal, calm and very resilient. They have incredibly hardy stomachs that allow them to eat pretty much anything they want.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Loving
  • Might be wary when first brought home
  • Calm
  • Loyal
  • Independent
  • Sweet

Size

24 inches in height (approximately)

Can weigh anywhere from 45 to 50 pounds. Adopted strays may only reach 25 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Potcakes do shed but only require a regular brushing. Keep the inside of their ears clean (especially after swimming).

Shed Factor

Moderate to heavy shedders 

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Potcakes need regular, daily exercise.

Intelligence

These dogs are highly intelligent and adaptable to a variety of situations and climates. 

Health

Surprisingly healthy breed. 

Best Suited For:

Families interested in adopting a dog from the Bahamas. This dog is trainable, loveable, and not considered aggressive with children.

This dog may need a period of adjustment if introduced to other pets in the home. 

22. Havenese

Lifespan 

13 – 16 years

Personality

The Havanese is a very affectionate dog. He is easy-going and will often strongly attach to one person. However, they love to be around everyone. 

This dog does not like to be left alone. He may develop separation anxiety or nervous behavioural traits if left alone too often.

This dog doesn’t tend to bark a lot, but will let you know if they sense a possible “danger”.

Size

Stands between 8 – 12 inches. This dog is surprisingly sturdy for a toy breed. The dog can weigh anywhere from 10 – 16 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

This breed has a fairly intense grooming regiment. They should get a full brush out at least two to three times per week. Bathing should occur every 1 to 2 weeks.

Professional dog groomers are best at keeping their fur trim.

Shed Factor

Very little

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

This little dog does not have high exercise needs. A very short walk once a day should be good.

Intelligence

Very smart little dogs. This breed is meant to be a companion and he plays the part very well. The Havanese is easily trained and excels at obedience training.

Health

A reputable breeder should offer a health guarantee for puppies. However, some health conditions to watch for include:

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
  • Patellar luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Skeletal defects

Best Suited For:

Any person or family looking for a small companion dog. The Havenese gets along well with adults, children, and other pets.

Small children should be taught to be careful. Although the breed is quite sturdy, he can still be hurt.

23. Portuguese Water Dogs

Lifespan 

This funny and adorable breed has a lifespan of 11 – 13 years.

Personality

This dog is affectionate and loyal. He loves his family and will get upset if you’re not around. This dog is amusing and intelligent.

This is a great family dog that requires regular, intense exercise.

Size

This breed can grow to 23 inches high (male) and 21 inches high (female).  The male can weigh as much as 60 pounds while the female can weigh upwards of 50 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

The hypoallergenic coat requires professional grooming and regular brushing.

Shed Factor

Very little shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes.

Exercise Needs

High exercise needs. This is an athletic dog who loves water. Long walks, runs or hikes.

Intelligence

Very smart and easily trained. This dog loves to learn and perform tricks.

Health

This is a generally healthy dog. Check ears for signs of infection (if he swims often). Teeth should be brushed and cared for.

Best Suited For:

Outgoing, energetic families or single people. Adapts well to any environment as long as he gets the attention and exertion he needs.

Doesn’t do well if left alone for long periods of time.

24. Saint Bernard

Lifespan 

8 – 10 years

Personality

Brave and majestic. Known for heroism. Huge dogs with a gentle heart. This is a very gentle dog that is absolutely not aggressive.

This dog is designed to seek out and find people in danger. These dogs are very charming and do well with families and children.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Mellow
  • Loving
  • Obedient (must be trained at an early age)
  • Intelligent
  • Loyal

Size

Can weigh up to 180 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

These dogs have an oily, water-resistant coat. Frequent bathing is not recommended. this dog needs regular brushing. Comb with a medium or wide-toothed comb.

Also check and clean the outer ears and trim nails. A professional

Shed Factor

Heavy

Hypoallergenic?

No

Exercise Needs

Tires quickly but needs a daily walk. Avoid over-exertion in hot weather.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent and eager-to-please.

Health

It’s thought that the Saint Bernard may have more health issues than other dogs. A few conditions to watch for include:

  • Painful growth spurts
  • Joint problems
  • Dental disease
  • Infections
  • Obesity
  • Bloat
  • Heart Disease
  • Cataracts
  • Bone Cancer
  • Bleeding disorders 

Best Suited For:

Spectacular family dog. Love lots of space and prefer cold climates. 

25. Scottish Terrier

Lifespan 

11 – 13 years

Personality

The Scottish Terrier is peppy and fun. He is even-tempered and is a great watchdog. This little dog is very loyal, especially to one person. 

Expect a fearless warrior in a small package. This is a very smart breed that can benefit from behavioral training. Unfortunately, they can become aggressive with other animals. They are not, however, considered aggressive with people.

The Scottish Terrier is a regal little dog. He is independent and sometimes excitable. 

The main personality traits of this breed include:

Size

Stands 10 inches high and can weigh anywhere from 18 – 21 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Grooming a Scottish Terrier is best left to professional groomers. However, you can clip and hand-strip the fur yourself with a little know-how.

Grooming is considered relatively low-key.

Shed Factor

Low

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Scottish terriers need regular exercise. Their energy levels are moderate. A short daily walk and playtime in a yard or at a park will help keep him healthy.

Intelligence

Scottish Terriers are very smart but can be stubborn.

Health

Reputable breeders should be able to provide a health guarantee. However, some health conditions to watch for include:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver shunt
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Pulmonary fibrosis

Best Suited For:

This is a good dog for anyone who has owned a dog before. He can be a little stubborn and requires some patience when training.

This is a loveable dog who lights up when he recognizes the people he loves. Good for families or singles.  Adapts very well to apartment or condo living but is happy anywhere his owner is.

26. Shih Tzu

Lifespan 

10 – 18 years

Personality

This is the perfect lapdog. Although lively and alert, the Shih Tzu is happy to sit in your lap all day long.

The Shih Tzu, also known as “Little Lion” was bred to be a companion dog. They are affectionate, happy little dogs that do well in a house or an apartment.

Like a pug, the Shih Tzu might be considered a bit of a “Velcro” dog. They adore their owners and will want to be with them anywhere, anytime.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Loving
  • Sweet
  • Cuddly
  • Loyal

Size

This tiny “lion” is only 8 to 11 inches tall. They typically weigh a mere 9 to 16 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

Moderate grooming needs. It’s important to start grooming the Shih Tzu from a young age. You want them to get used to being brushed frequently.

A weekly brushing along with regular clipping will keep your dog looking his/her best. Some people choose to use a professional groomer for best results. However, Shih Tzu owners can also learn to groom their own dogs using appropriate tools.

Shed Factor

Low to moderate shedding. Shih Tzus generally shed very little, except when they are brushed or when they change their coats.

Puppies shed their coats around the age of 1. At that time, you can expect a fair amount of shedding.

The Shih Tzu has actual hair, like humans, and not typical fur.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Low. It’s easy to provide adequate exercise for this dog simply by playing with them in the house. They will, of course, need to go outside once in a while. A short walk is enough for this little guy.

Intelligence

These dogs are bright and attentive. They are relatively smart, but as toy dogs they can be difficult to train.

Health

The Shih Tzu can be prone to eye problems. In addition, this toy breed can suffer from back problems and seizures.

Best Suited For:

As a companion dog, the Shih Tzu is best for people who can spend a lot of time with the dog. They don’t do well on their own for long.

Families or singles would do well with a Shih Tzu breed. Their small size makes them vulnerable to rambunctious children. However, the breed is friendly with children and is not an aggressive dog.

This dog is perfect for an apartment or condo setting. However, he will also do well in a large home.

27. Spanish Water dogs

Lifespan 

This dog from the herding group has a lifespan of 12 – 14 years.

Personality

This is a friendly and happy dog who may be a little aloof with strangers. This dog is extremely loyal and friendly with family.

His high intelligence means he is going to need a lot of mental and physical stimulation.

The Spanish Water Dog is a friendly family dog who is eager to please. Due to a high prey drive, it’s important the dog learns to obey your commands. 

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Quick-witted
  • Alert
  • Loyal
  • Loving
  • Intelligent

Size

The Spanish Water Dog can grow up to 18 inches high and can weight up to 40 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

This dog should never be brushed. Instead, the dog should be clipped. Clipping style is up to the owner. Some owners choose to let the fur grow for many months which allows the fur to coil naturally.

Considered low-maintenance but will require the services of a professional groomer.

Shed Factor

Low shedding to infrequent shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

This dog is good for people with allergies.

Exercise Needs

This dog requires a good run at least once a day. Strenuous exercise is ideal for the adult Spanish Water Dog. 

These dogs are strong swimmers and enjoy running, hiking, snow sports, etc. 

Intelligence

Highly intelligent and eager to please. Very easy to train.

Health

Check your dog’s ears for signs of infection. Teeth should be brushed daily using toothpaste formulated for dogs.

Yearly checkups for signs of hip dysplasia and eye disorders are required.

Best Suited For:

High energy and athletic families. This dog will adapt to apartment or condo life, but only if he can enjoy strenuous exercise outdoors before settling down.

28. Welsh Terrier 

Life Expectancy of the Welsh Terrier

12 – 15 years and sometimes more!

Personality

Welsh Terriers are affectionate and fun. Their high-energy and independence might not suit a family of first-time dog owners.

This breed will keep you on your toes. He is kid-friendly, dog-friendly, and generally friendly with strangers.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Smart
  • Fun
  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Cheerful
  • Affectionate

Size

Males can reach 15 inches in height with females standing a bit shorter. The Welsh Terrier is about 20 pounds.

Grooming Requirements

The Welsh Terrier has a tight-fitting black and tan coat. The fur is harsh and wiry and needs to be hand-stripped.

Alternatively, this dog can be taken to a professional groomer for maintenance.

Shed Factor

Low to no shedding.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes

Exercise Needs

Requires a lot of exercise for physical and mental stimulation. Adult Welsh Terriers can handle hours of activity a day. They should have an opportunity to run freely in a safe area.

These dogs love to play catch, chase balls, and enjoy a lot of interaction with their owners.

Intelligence

Highly intelligent. Requires a lot of mental stimulation.

Health

This is a hardy dog with few health problems. Responsible breeders will test their stock for allergies, hip dysplasia, and Legge-Calve-Perthes disease.

Best Suited For:

High-energy people or families. Needs large areas to run in.

29. Yorkshire Terrier

Lifespan 

11 – 15 years

Personality

Yorkshire Terriers are toy breeds with enormous personality. These dogs are very alert. They are ready to tell you who’s boss! The breed is often defined as confident, brave, and feisty.

Toy breeds are not aggressive dogs. They do, however, like to bark.

Yorkies make excellent companions.

The main personality traits of this breed include:

  • Highly confident
  • Alert
  • Good watchdog (barking)
  • Sweet
  • Loving

Size

7 pounds

Grooming Requirements

Their fur is more like human hair and needs to be brushed daily. This is an easy task since the breed is so small.

The reason you often see Yorkshire Terriers with a bow or barrettes in their hair is because long wisps of fur can irritate their eyes.

Check the ears weekly. Gently swab away any debris. Pat the ears dry if moist to prevent infection.

Shed Factor

Very little shedding. At 7 pounds, the shedding is manageable.

Hypoallergenic?

Yes. Yorkshire Terriers are considered low-allergen dogs.

Exercise Needs

Exercising a Yorkshire Terrier is easy. This dog can get enough exercise chasing a small ball down a corridor. Small walks once a day is usually enough.

Yorkies often excel at agility and obedience training.

Intelligence

Very smart, trainable, and eager to please.

Health

Yorkshire Terriers are generally healthy. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions like luxating patella and eye conditions.

Best Suited For:

Singles, seniors, and families.

The Yorkshire Terrier will get along with other pets. However, it’s best to introduce them gradually. Watch children and other animals around them.

This breed tends to think it’s much bigger than it is. Unfortunately, rough play from children or other pets can injure the Yorkie.

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Finding Your Dog Takes Research

The dogs listed in this post share one common trait: They are non-aggressive. Each dog is unique in his/her own way.

Every dog is perfect for somebody. When researching dogs, it’s important to determine whether the dog will fit into your lifestyle. Remember, this dog will be in your life for 10 to 16 years or more!

I hope you found this post useful. Please, take a second to share and be sure to come back for more informative posts.

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