11 Dog Breeds That Are Less Likely to Bite
While any dog can bite, these breeds usually turn out to be particularly sweet-tempered as long as they’re treated right.
Who’s a good dog?
Make no mistake about it: Every dog is capable of biting. “While certain breeds have predictable traits, a dog is still a dog and there are no guarantees,” says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Plus, a lot depends on a dog’s personal history. Sometimes this unwanted behavior results from abuse or other mistreatment, and a dog’s subsequent fear may increase the odds of biting. Plus, other things can factor into this equation, including boundaries you set (or don’t set) early on and individual circumstances in your home. Still, there are some breeds that deserve their reputation for being non-aggressive, upping the chances that your pooch will be too, as long as you put in some work. Find out which dogs rank high on the sweetness scale and how to ensure (as much as possible) that your pedigree pup stays that way.
Behind those fierce looks (and name!) is a big heart, especially when it comes to kids, says DiNardo. And that’s not all: These pups are smart, trainable, and loyal, she adds. They’re also playful, patient, and protective, making them awesome BFFs for the littlest two-legged members of your family. But if you’re thinking about getting a boxer, know that they grow up to be large dogs and need daily workouts. If you’re not sure what that means, discover how much exercise your dog really needs.
Here’s another ferocious-looking pooch that’s really a mellow mush-ball. “This gentle breed is known for its lovable disposition,” says DiNardo. Those easygoing ways are the result of more than 100 years of breeding that turned the English bulldog from a fighter to a super-sweet companion, according to the AKC. But don’t confuse that laid-back nature with laziness: Your pup will still need at least one brisk walk every day.
There’s a reason why these friendly pups are the most popular in the United States. “They were bred to be cooperative when hunting and bringing ducks back to their owners,” says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, PhD, professor emeritus of behavior medicine at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Their eagerness to please makes them oh-so-trainable, as do their smarts and even-tempered disposition. Just note that they require plenty of activity—like romps and games of fetch—to keep them fit and happy.
When studying canine aggression, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania polled owners to find the least (and most) aggressive breeds toward humans and dogs—and whippets led the list of the least bellicose. Maybe it’s because these sleek hounds are so calm, affectionate, and mild-mannered when they’re not racing after a lure (or a squirrel). After bursts of activity, whippets want nothing more than to chill in the company of their two-legged peeps, according to the AKC. And while you both relax, check out these other 19 things your dog really wants from you.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
“Cavalier King Charles Spaniels thrive when they’re part of a family,” says DiNardo. These toy spaniels are also known for their cheerful nature and gentle disposition (those adorable, round eyes say it all), which makes them less likely to bite and also great with kids. Another bonus: They’re very flexible in terms of what they want to do and tend to match their owners’ activity levels. So, if you’re more energetic, your Cav will be happy to be out and about. Couch potato? After her daily walk, your pooch will be more than content to cuddle up beside you.
The Darlings (of Peter Pan fame) were onto something when they picked Nana as their children’s nanny. Newfies are famous for their devoted nature and their affinity for kids, says DiNardo. In fact, one of the breed’s most important characteristics is its gentle temperament. And be sure to give your lovable giant a chance to swim: These dogs were bred to save people from drowning. If you opt for a Newfoundland, visit one of these amazing dog-friendly beaches around the country.
Bernese Mountain Dogs
Yes, they’re big, powerful dogs, but they also tend to be placid. This is another breed that ranked very low on the scale of aggressive behaviors toward people and other pups, according to the University of Pennsylvania study. Berners are affectionate, big-hearted, smart, and eager to please, so they’re easy to train, according to the AKC. And if you’re not sold yet, they’re also gentle with youngsters. Take them out on a long walk and they’ll be happy to cart the kids—literally!
Like Labs, Goldens were bred to be obedient and less reactive hunting companions, says Dr. Houpt. This tends to make them less likely to snap, particularly at kids. They’re also eager-to-please and people-oriented, making them natural family sidekicks, DiNardo notes. But don’t be afraid to give your Golden a job to do, as well as lots of exercise: These intelligent dogs are often used for search-and-rescue missions and as guide dogs for the blind. Here are a few ways to keep your pup busy when you’re not home.
“Frenchies are affectionate, playful, smart, adaptable dogs,” says DiNardo. They get along well with just about everyone—two- and four-legged, young and old—so don’t be afraid to take your French bulldog out and about (except in hot weather, when it’s tough for these short-nosed dogs to breathe). These snuggle-bugs need a daily walk but then they’re done, making them perfect city (and apartment) dwellers. But no matter where you live, be sure your home isn’t harboring these 11 hidden pet dangers.