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Silence is golden: Which dog breeds bark the least?

September 17, 2020

In the presence of an incessantly barking dog, even the most patient and compassionate animal lover is bound to become annoyed.

What amount can be considered excessive? According to the American Pet Association, barking that lasts more than five minutes per hour is probably unacceptable for most people.

Most of us understand that barking is a dog’s natural mode of communication, and that dogs bark for a number of different reasons — to ward off perceived threats, to express emotions such as fear, excitement, anxiety or boredom, to greet others, etc. But that doesn’t make a relentlessly barking dog any easier to take when we’re tired, stressed, longing for peace and quiet and/or trying to listen to someone or something else.

“No one should expect a dog to never bark,” notes an article on “That’s as unreasonable as expecting a child to never talk. But some dogs bark excessively.”

While there are steps you can take to limit your dog’s barking, your best strategy may be to start planning before you choose the best possible breed for your family. You may or may not be aware that certain breeds are known to bark less than others, and a little research may be in order before you bring home your forever pet.

Why are some breeds more subject to avid barking? Often, it comes down to their ancestry and genetic makeup. In the past, many were bred specifically to alert their humans of danger, protect their homes or flush prey out of hiding while hunting.

While no dog is truly silent, there’s hope if you want to enjoy canine life with less barking. Let us help you find a pooch that’s right for you and your home.

Prefer quiet dogs? Here are some options

While dogs can, of course, be as individual as people, here are some breeds you can generally expect to be less noisy than others.

Visit with a reputable breeder, or ask your local animal rescue to match you with a dog that’s more on the quiet side. Either way, use this list of silent breed lineages to guide your search, ordered from smallest to largest.

The Japanese chin

Prized as ideal indoor companions, these tiny long-haired pups have been compared to cats because they’re so independent and quiet. They may reach 11 inches in height and weigh some 9 pounds.

The pug 

Once bred as companions to Chinese emperors, this small, short-haired variety can make an ideal house dog because it’s generally calm, peaceful and quiet. Pugs are diminutive in size, weighing between 14 and 18 pounds and growing no more than 14 inches tall.

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel 

This affectionate long-haired breed named for British royalty doesn’t seem to enjoy drama and, in general, only barks when absolutely necessary. They can become 13 inches tall and weigh as much as 18 pounds.

The Shiba Inu

This beautiful wolf-like breed is usually highly independent and low-maintenance, with minimal grooming and exercise needs. Shiba Inus are known for coming across as reserved, partly because they so seldom bark. This thick-coated breed may grow to 17 inches and 23 pounds.

The basenji 

Instead of barking, this smallish breed makes a kind of yodeling sound when it’s excited. It’s neither the most nor least vocal of the breeds, but you won’t hear an incessant bark from this one’s expressive face. Expect a basenji to grow as large as 24 pounds and 17 inches.

The French bulldog

Frenchies are OK with minimal exercise and are typically easygoing dogs with little reason to start barking up a storm. Great for apartment living, they can weigh 28 pounds and stand about a foot tall.

The English bulldog

Identifiable by their heavy wrinkles and thick face folds, these loving pets tend to be quiet unless provoked. They’re often better as indoor dogs since they have a lower tolerance for outdoor heat and strenuous exercise, and their skin folds must be kept clean. Expect your bulldog to grow to up to 54 pounds and 16 inches.

The chow chow 

These are the medium-sized, black-tongued, ruff-ringed dogs that remind some people of bears. The independent breed can be very protective and some people consider them aggressive, but in most cases they won’t bark out loud unless they sense danger. Expect your chow chow to reach up to 70 pounds and up to 20 inches.

The Irish setter

Because they were bred more as hunting dogs than guard dogs, these silky, red-tinged beauties don’t seem to feel the need to vocalize very often. They have high metabolisms, need plenty of exercise and can grow to 70 pounds and 27 inches.

The Afghan hound

These long-necked pooches with flowing “manes” of hair tend to be energetic, quiet and fairly standoffish to those they don’t know well. They feature silky coats that need frequent grooming and can grow to 60 pounds in weight and 27 inches in height.

The whippet

These thin-bodied, arched-back canines must be exercised a couple times of day, but otherwise tend to be quiet and mellow. They get as big as 40 pounds and as tall as 22 inches.

The Chinese shar pei

These wrinkly, very loyal bundles of love rarely make noise unless they need to alert their families of a threat. At maximum, they reach 60 pounds and 20 inches.

The Australian shepherd

These bright, hard-working pups typically stay mum unless they need to issue a warning. They’re considered a medium-sized dog and can reach 65 pounds and 21 inches.

The greyhound 

These lithe, short-haired canines are bred to be capable of the short bursts of energy needed for hunting and racing; in fact, they’re the fastest dogs anywhere. After moderate amounts of exercise, they’re usually fine with quietly laying around snuggling or relaxing. Expect an adult greyhound to be as big as 70 pounds and 30 inches.

The collie

Like your introverted human friends, a collie is apt to be quiet and reserved most of the time. Note that its long coat will likely require regular brushing and it will likely need consistent exercise. Collies can grow up to 75 pounds and 26 inches.

The Rhodesian ridgeback

Also known as African lion dogs because they were bred to chase lions, these intelligent brown canines are typically athletic, affectionate, even-tempered and quiet. Expect yours to become as big as 85 pounds and 27 inches.

The Bernese Mountain Dog

This shaggy long-haired breed whose ancestors worked on farms in Switzerland tends to be quiet, gentle and even-tempered. Expect it to weigh up to 115 pounds and stand up to 28 inches tall.

The Akita

Known as excellent guard dogs, these curly-tailed canines are actually highly selective when it comes to deciding if a situation is worth barking at — they usually only warn their families when they think danger is imminent. They tend to be intensely loyal and slow to warm to outsiders. The thick-coated breed can grow to 130 pounds and 28 inches.

The Newfoundland 

These gentle giants don’t usually feel the need to speak unless someone they love may be in danger. The broad-headed breed needs a lot of exercise, but tends to be very responsive to training. They get their name from the Canadian Island where they were first bred and where they helped perform water rescues. They can be huge; expect your newfie to become as massive as 150 pounds and 28 inches.

The St. Bernard 

This is the breed famous for its search-and-rescue capabilities. Like Newfoundlands, these large, loyal and affectionate dogs are generally quiet unless they feel threatened in some way. Their muscular bodies can become as large as 180 pounds and 30 inches.

The Great Dane

Another breed considered to be a gentle giant, these powerful dogs are known for quietly protecting home and hearth. Some are as large as 200 pounds and 34 inches.

One more note: Those seeking more peace and quiet in their lives may wish to shy away from notoriously vocal breeds such as Yorkshire terriers, fox terriers, West Highland white terriers, basset hounds, beagles, chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Siberian huskies, Welsh corgis, miniature schnauzers, poodles or Maltese.

Listen to the story of Why Terriers Tend to Yap So Much in segment three of this episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast.

A happy gut makes a happy mutt! At NutriSource, we formulate all our foods with our innovative Good 4 Life® system. The probiotics and prebiotics facilitate mineral absorption and support immunity by the production of natural antibiotics and antifungals in the gut. Find family-owned NutriSource at your local, independent pet retailer.