The 7 Best Dogs That Barely Bark, According to Vets

Experts says these breeds are best known for being seen and not heard.

Whether you've lived with a canine companion for most of your life or you're looking to bring one into your family for the first time, choosing which type of dog breed is the best fit for your living situation is just as crucial for you as it is for the animal. Besides how cute you find them, things like their exercise needs and overall temperament need to be considered—including how much noise they tend to make. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for dog owners who are looking for a companion who's less likely to make a commotion. Read on to see which dogs vets and experts say will barely bark.

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Basenji Kongo Terrier Dog. - dog puns

While they may not be the best-known breed, the Basenji can be a fantastic option for anyone looking for a quieter canine.

"This breed is known as the 'barkless dog' and is originally from Africa," Deepanshu Bedi, marketing director for Holistapet, tells Best Life. "They are an independent and aloof breed that is not prone to excessive barking."m

Other experts agree but admit there's a small caveat. "For those who don't want a barking dog, the most obvious choice is the Basenji," Linda Simon, MVB, MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon and consultant for FiveBarks, tells Best Life. "These dogs cannot bark, but they are vocal and can make other sounds, including howls."

Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog
Shutterstock/Baitong Sathitkun

From their adorable faces and compact size to friendly demeanor and loyal tendencies, Shih Tzus are a popular breed for a reason. Experts say that despite their occasional yappy reputation, they're not all that loud. "The Shih Tzu will alert bark when it detects unusual sounds but is not a particularly vocal breed," Breed Advisor says.

"They are the perfect pets for people who live in apartments and have a lot of noise to deal with," Aaron Rice, an expert dog trainer with more than 15 years of experience and co-owner of Stayyy, tells Best Life. "They're also good for people who live in areas with a lot of traffic or where their neighbors might not be understanding about their dog's barking. They are usually small, low-maintenance, and easy to train. They also have high intelligence and don't need a lot of exercise because they are so small."

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Portrait of a dog on a background of green grass - Image

For anyone looking for a dog that won't make too much noise, experts point out that a breed's overall demeanor can be a huge deciding factor. But while some smaller dogs are prone to being overly energetic, one particular tiny variety defies the trend.

"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate and laid-back pet who rarely gets over-excited," says Simon. "They are easygoing and are not prone to excessive barking. And since they tend to be so quiet and calm, it's no wonder they are so popular with senior owners and young families."

Other experts point out that the dog has been preferred for these traits for many years. "This breed is known for being one of the quietest, and they are perfect for apartments or small homes," Jeff Netzley, a dog trainer and the founder of Dog Training Near You, tells Best Life. "They were originally bred as lap dogs for English nobility, and they retain that gentle disposition today."


greyhound dog
encierro / Shutterstock

Known for their slim build and ability to hit breakneck speeds, one type of typically quiet dog may be a good option for anyone looking for a larger pet.

"Greyhounds are a sighthound breed that was originally bred for hunting," Bedi tells Best Life. "They are relatively calm and quiet dogs that do not bark excessively."

Unlike many other dogs, these lithe animals are usually less excitable. "Greyhounds are a timid, quiet breed that would rather keep to themselves than bark incessantly at whatever's outside the window," Daniel Caughill, a canine expert and co-founder of The Dog Tale, tells Best Life. "This makes them perfect for those who'd like a quiet pet."

"However, their timidity doesn't mean Greyhounds don't know how to play," Caughill adds. "Since they were bred as racing dogs, Greyhounds love to go for a quick zoom around the yard."

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Shar Pei

Portrait of a puppy Shar Pei Dog in outdoors. - Image

Many dogs are known for their breed's physical characteristics—whether it's their size, coat, or unique coloring. In the case of the Shar Pei, its adorably wrinkly appearance gets more attention than the fact that it's a relatively calm breed.

"Bred as a guard dog in China, the Shar Pei rarely barks unless there's a potential danger to its owner," Ann-Marie Sharpe, a pet expert with Breed Advisor, tells Best Life. "With early training, they're an excellent, obedient companion. A 2010 study even listed the Shar Pei among the breeds least likely to bark."

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Working dog breeds are often coveted for their loyalty and ability to be easily trained. But experts say Bernese Mountain Dogs can be a fantastic choice thanks to this as well as their ability to keep things quiet.

"Bred to work, these hardy dogs worked alongside their owners in the farmlands of Switzerland," says Sharpe. "They tend to bark very little and are generally quite laid back."

The breed is also a good option for anyone with little ones in mind. "They are great for families with small children, as they are very patient and tolerant," Netzley says. "Bernese Mountain Dogs are also known for being relatively quiet, especially compared to other large breeds."

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Great Dane

great dane

Even though it's important never to assume anything about a dog's personality, Great Danes truly exemplify a vast difference between size and their typical personalities. Despite being one of the largest breeds available, these timid, low-maintenance animals are also less likely to cause a racket.

"These big beautiful dogs are calm and loving, known as 'gentle giants' with good reason," Sharpe tells Best Life. "Their calm nature means they rarely bark—although when they do, it is quite loud!"

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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