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18 Quiet Dogs That Don’t Bark (Too Much)

Looking for a dog that keeps its bark on the down-low? Animal behaviorists say these quiet breeds could be a perfect match.

dog breeds that don't bark
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To bark or not to bark?

So there is a caveat here. All dogs will bark from time to time, and even a breed known for being quieter may bark more than expected. “There is no guarantee that a certain breed will not have nuisance barking concerns,” says dog behavior consultant Megan Stanley, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, owner of Dogma Training and Pet Services, Inc. “Barking is best prevented through positive training, adequate physical and mental exercise, and ensuring the dog’s overall well-being.” That said, the following quiet dog breeds tend to bark less than others. These are the most affectionate dog breeds that love to cuddle.

dogs that don't bark
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Quiet dog breed #1: Basenji

The basenji is known as the “barkless dog,” probably due to the unusual shape of their larynx that may make it virtually impossible to bark. But they communicate in other ways—namely, by yodeling. “These sounds are affectionately referred to as the ‘basenji yodel,'” says Stanley. Don’t worry; they probably won’t be yodeling non-stop from the heights of your sofa. But Stanley says this quiet dog breed is smart and energetic and will need positive training and adequate exercise to be a happy companion. These are the best medium dog breeds.

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Quiet dog breed #2: Great Dane

We’re not gonna lie, this gentle giant is huge (males weigh up to 200 pounds), and when it does bark, it’s loud and deep, but that doesn’t happen very often. “They tend to have a calm nature, which means they don’t bark often,” says Stanley. “Great Danes are bred to be people-pleasers, so they are great family dogs that are easy to train.” But even the most friendly quiet dog breeds get annoyed at these 14 things dogs secretly hate.

quiet dog breeds
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Quiet dog breed #3: Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dogs are calm, good-natured, and strong. They’re known for being among the dogs that don’t bark and are very placid. However, they’re always ready to play or go on a long walk with their owner. They love to please people. If you live a busy life, these are the dog breeds that can be left alone.

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Quiet dog breed #4: Newfoundland

It’s hard to fathom this large breed sitting on your lap, but Stanley says this quiet dog breed is known for its inclination to be a lapdog—that is, if there isn’t a body of water nearby. They are top-notch swimmers and well suited in rescue efforts. Because of their quiet nature, they don’t bark much, a welcome trait if you already have a house with noisy kids. “They tend to do well with children so have earned the name, ‘nanny dog,” says Stanley. Here are 18 more of the best dogs for families.

dogs that don't bark
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Quiet dog breed #5: Scottish Deerhound

The Scottish Deerhound has similar ancestors to the Greyhound except the Deerhound is has a coat of coarse hair. Making the list of quiet dogs the Scottish Deerhound is also known for being gentle, dignified, and polite.

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Quiet dog breed #6: Bulldogs and French bulldogs

Here’s a two for one for you—bulldogs and French bulldogs. Both of these quiet dog breeds are playful with a gentle disposition with irresistibly cute, wrinkly cheeks you could squeeze for days. While they can be higher in weight, they are among the small dogs that don’t bark. “They are known to love their naps and time spent on the sofa, and they tend to be less of a barking breed, which adds to their appeal,” says Stanley. Cue up Netflix, because you just found a binge-watching companion. These are the cutest dog breeds as puppies.

calm quiet dogs that don't bark
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Quiet dog breed #7: Shar Pei

This breed is known for its irresistible wrinkly faces, but they’re also among the list of dogs that don’t bark. They’re very calm and collected around their family, but when they meet strangers they can be a little standoffish. It’s important to socialize them when they’re young. Here are the 20 most popular dog breeds in the country.

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Quiet dog breed #8: Irish setter

There’s no mistaking this breed for another when you see it. The elegant features of long feathery ears and withers and the shiny red coats are dead giveaways. “These are active and intelligent dogs who are known for being out-going and cheerful,” says Stanley. “They require proper physical and mental exercise as they are an energetic and rambunctious breed.” We know what you’re thinking, but rambunctious doesn’t mean prone to barking. As long they get enough exercise, nuisance barking is minimal. Be aware of these 13 potential explanations behind your dog’s weird behavior.

dogs that don't bark

Quiet dog breed #9: Cavalier King Charles spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is another one of the small dogs that don’t bark (and they’re also great dogs for seniors). Their sweet faces, big brown eyes, and fluffy ears are hard to resist, which is good because the CKCS loves to be around people—a lot. It doesn’t matter if you prefer afternoons on the sofa or outside on the trail; they want to be with you. But that can be a problem if they feel lonely. “They do love their people, which can cause separation concerns, which tends to be one of the few times barking is a concern with this adorable breed,” says Stanley. These lazy dog breeds are expert nappers.

quiet dog breeds
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Quiet dog breed #10: Greyhound

The greyhound and the smaller Italian greyhound are known for their racing, but interestingly, they were bred to chase their prey silently. They’re even quiet indoors. “Surprisingly, they do well for apartment dwellers as they are fairly inactive indoors. They are gentle and independent dogs who have a sweet temperament,” says Stanley. And even they do play and chase toys inside, they are virtually noiseless and don’t bark much. These are the best guard dog breeds for protection.

calm dog breeds
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Quiet dog breed #11: Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a Spitz dog breed native to Japan. “Bred originally for hunting, these dogs are quick and intelligent but reserved with strangers. However, they are fiercely loyal once they do bond with a human,” says dog trainer and animal behaviorist Donna Culbert, DPDT-KA, canine coordinator at Scituate Animal Shelter. They are generally independent and not big cuddlers, which is why they may not be “needy” and bark much. But you may hear a high-pitched shrieking sound when they are pumped up or upset. Here are some other signs your dog is upset with you.

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Quiet dog breed #12: The Coton de Tulear

With its white, soft-as-cotton coat, you can see why these small quiet dogs were bred specially for the laps of royalty. But don’t let that image fool you. They are very entertaining with their comical shenanigans but still reasonably quiet. However, they may get vocal if they feel left out. “They do not like to be left alone for long, so owners need to be prepared to keep them close,” says Culbert. Don’t miss these 13 secrets you may not know about your dog.

quiet dog breeds

Quiet dog breed #13: Rhodesian Ridgeback

You can identify a Rhodesian Ridgeback by the stripe of hair growing backward on its spine. Another feature they have is that they are among the list of calm dog breeds. They were bred to track down lions in Africa but never kill them. They still have a very strong prey drive and are very independent. If you’re looking for a pup that will be totally devoted to your comfort, read up on the best emotional support dogs that will stand by you.

quiet dogs
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Quiet dog breed #14: Saint Bernard

Originally from Switzerland, the affectionate and loyal Saint Bernard is known for its growth from puppy to full size quickly. Their droopy lips produce more drooling than barking, and they tend to be serious and protective of their family. “In general, they are on the quiet side, barking to alert the group to an intruder, or possibly to demand attention from a family member,” says Jim Lessenberry, animal behaviorist at Animal Learning Systems. For even more cuteness, check out these dogs that look like bears.

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Quiet dog breed #15: Chow Chow

“It is speculated that these breeds were selectively bred for characteristics including calm demeanor, independence, suspicious nature, and a generally quiet disposition,” says Lessenberry, a fitting description for dogs that once guarded monasteries and palaces. Sigmund Freud was so taken with Chow Chow chill factor that he had one sit in on his appointments. But if a stranger confronts a Chow Chow, you’ll hear about it, Lessenberry says. “It’s a loud, sustained alert, and defensive barking is to be expected.” Make sure you know the 19 things your dog actually wants from you.

dogs that don't bark

Quiet dog breed #16: Malamute

Malamute is another ancient breed or “basal” breed, meaning that their origins predate domestic dogs—and there’s a good reason why these types of dogs are often a quiet dog breed. “Dogs that predated domestication would have been at a disadvantage had they been yappy barkers, in that the trait would have alerted the hunted, as well as the hunters. They would be more likely to be eaten than eat!” says Lessenberry. Malamutes are great family dogs, but maybe not with young children or other small animals. “Those old genes can make them a predatory risk for small animals and young children,” warns Lessenberry. If you’re looking for a little less fluff, don’t miss these hairless dog breeds that are just as lovable.

calm dog breeds
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Quiet dog breed #17: Borzoi

According to the American Kennel Club, the Borzoi is known for its “calm, agreeable temperament.” They’re very tall, skinny, and graceful and can run up to 40 miles per hour. The Borzoi is one of the dogs that don’t bark and they are also affectionate and loyal.

quiet dogs
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Quiet dog breed #18: Mastiff

There are many breeds that fall under the mastiff category, such as the boxer, bull mastiff, English mastiff, Great Dane, Neapolitan mastiff, Rottweiler, and the Tibetan mastiff. These giant and muscular breeds are serious by nature. You can’t be a goof-off when you’re on guard duty or hunting large game, as these dogs were known for doing ages ago. “Mastiffs tend to be on the quiet side, so barking is cause for attention on the owner’s part,” says Lessenberry. “Mastiffs are not for everyone and generally not a breed for first-time dog owners.” Next, read up on the most expensive dog breeds in the world.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.