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

Updated: Jul. 17, 2024

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

Beautiful shiba inu dog taking a rest on living room sofa
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To bark or not to bark?

Dogs: Even though we love them, we may not always love their barking. Whether you need a calm dog breed that won’t bark at everything that moves or an apartment-friendly dog that won’t wake up the neighbors, a quiet pup may be the best solution for you. Reader’s Digest spoke to three dog training and behavior experts to identify quiet dog breeds that are less likely to bark up a storm every time the mailman comes. However, there is an important caveat. All dogs will bark from time to time, and even a breed known for being quieter may bark more than expected.

“Some breeds tend to bark more than others,” explains dog breed expert Caroline Coile, PhD, author of Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds, “especially if barking was part of their original job.” For example, herding dogs often use barking to get sheep or cattle to move, and trailing dogs like beagles barked so hunters knew where they were from a distance. “Of course,” Coile adds, “terriers and some toy dogs just seem to like to bark because it makes them feel tough.”

Even with quieter dog breeds, “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. “Barking is best prevented through positive training, adequate physical and mental exercise, and ensuring the dog’s overall well-being.” If you’re willing to put in the work, these quiet dog breeds tend to bark less than others.

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About the experts

  • Megan Stanley, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, is the founder and president of Dogma Training and Dogma Academy. She has 20 years of experience training dogs.
  • Donna Culbert, CPDT-KA, is a dog trainer and animal behaviorist. She was the canine coordinator at Scituate Animal Shelter and is the owner of Donna’s Do Right Dogs training center.
  • Jim Lessenberry is an animal behaviorist at Animal Learning Systems, with more than 30 years of experience in pet behavior.
dogs that don't bark
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The basenji is a small to medium-size dog breed known as the “barkless dog,” probably due to the unusual shape of their larynx, which may make it virtually impossible to bark. But they communicate in other ways—namely, by yodeling and chortling.

“These sounds are affectionately referred to as the ‘basenji yodel,'” says Stanley. Don’t worry, they probably won’t be yodeling nonstop 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.

Also, explore the world of these magnificent large dog breeds renowned for their suitability as wonderful family companions.

Great Dane Puppy with Mother
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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.”

quiet dog breeds
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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 also always ready to play or go on a long walk with their owner. They love to please people and are particularly good with children, which makes them a great addition to a family looking for a quiet but loving pet.

Portrait of a Newfoundland dog
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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, making them one of the best dogs for families.

dogs that don't bark
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Scottish deerhound

The Scottish deerhound has similar ancestors to the greyhound. But one major difference between greyhounds and deerhounds is that the deerhound has a coat of coarse hair, giving it a distinctive appearance.

The Scottish deerhound is also known for being gentle, dignified and polite. This makes deerhounds quiet dogs that would be a good fit for anyone looking for a well-behaved breed.

small dogs that don't bark
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Bulldogs and French bulldogs

Here’s a two-for-one: bulldogs and French bulldogs. Both of these quiet dog breeds are playful, with a gentle disposition and irresistibly cute, wrinkly cheeks you could squeeze for days. Frenchies are among the small dogs that are quiet; for a larger version, check out the bulldog.

“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. One warning: They may not bark much, but they often snore, wheeze and snort. Frenchies also tend to make a lot of soft chortles and other noises.

Chinese Shar-Pei dog,standing on grass flowers behind
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Chinese shar pei

This breed is known for its irresistible wrinkly faces, but they’re also among the list of dogs that seldom 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, to help them become well-adjusted adults. Remember, this is a good rule of thumb for any dog breed if you want to reduce the chance of problematic barking behavior.

Beautiful happy purebred irish setter pet dog standing in the grass
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Irish setter

There’s no mistaking this breed for another when you see it. The elegant features of long feathery ears, plumed tail and trademark burnished red coat are dead giveaways.

“These are active and intelligent dogs known for being outgoing 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 as they get enough exercise, nuisance barking is minimal.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel stands on the grass with a blooming dandelion
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Cavalier King Charles spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is another one of the small, quiet dogs that bark sparingly (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.

Greyhound dog sitting at home
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The greyhound and other members of the sighthound family—that is, hounds that overtake their quarry by speed—rarely bark when hunting, and all members of this family tend to be quiet.

“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 when they do play and chase toys inside, they are virtually noiseless and don’t bark much.

Charming purebred Shiba Inu lying calmly on bright orange couch
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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, CPDT-KA, former canine coordinator at Scituate Animal Shelter.

They are generally independent and aren’t particularly needy, so they don’t tend to be underfoot or to bark just because they’re not with you. But you may hear a high-pitched shrieking sound when they are pumped up or upset.

A Coton de Tulear dog outdoors in the nature on a sunny day
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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. While you’re at it, get to know about the dogs that can be left alone.

Rhodesian Ridgeback outdoors on a sunny day

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 as all-purpose farm dogs in Africa, but they’re most well-known for hunting lions and holding them at bay until the hunter caught up. They still have a very strong prey drive and are very independent. While they may be a quiet dog breed, make sure you’re prepared to handle them chasing animals.

quiet dogs
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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.

small dogs that don't bark
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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 the 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.”

Alaskan sled dog on the grass
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Alaskan malamute

The Alaskan malamute is another ancient breed, or “basal” breed, meaning that their origins predate domestic dogs—and there’s a good reason 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.

calm dog breeds
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According to the American Kennel Club, the borzoi is known for its “calm, agreeable temperament.” Like the greyhound and Scottish deerhound, the borzoi is a member of the sighthound family, all of which tend to chase down their prey by sight while remaining quiet. The sighthounds tend to be slender and regal, and the tall, graceful borzoi could be a model. This fleet, affectionate breed can run almost 35 miles per hour and tends to be quiet unless there’s a good reason to bark.

English Mastiff dog laying on Grass
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“Mastiff” refers to both a breed and a family of breeds that includes the bullmastiff, Neapolitan mastiff, Tibetan mastiff, Great Dane, rottweiler and boxer. These powerful, muscular breeds were often used as big-game hunters or guardians and are serious by nature. You can’t be a goof-off when you’re on guard duty or hunting large game, and since they don’t need to scare off intruders by barking, they tend to be silent when on duty.

“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.”

Why trust us

At Reader’s Digest, we’re committed to producing high-quality content by writers with expertise and experience in their field in consultation with relevant, qualified experts. For this piece, Lisa Marie Conklin tapped her experience covering pet behavior and training, and then Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science, gave it a rigorous review to ensure that all information is accurate and offers the best possible advice to readers. We verify all facts and data, back them with credible sourcing and revisit them over time to ensure they remain accurate and up to date. Read more about our team, our contributors and our editorial policies.


  • Megan Stanley, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, is the founder and president of Dogma Training and Dogma Academy; interviewed November 2019
  • Donna Culbert, CPDT-KA is a dog trainer and animal behaviorist. She was the canine coordinator at Scituate Animal Shelter and is the owner of Donna’s Do Right Dogs training center; interviewed November 2019
  • Jim Lessenberry is an animal behaviorist at Animal Learning Systems; interviewed November 2019
  • Caroline Coile, PhD, an award-winning journalist specializing in canine breeds, health and science and the author of Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds; interviewed January 2024