While all dogs have a range of vocal sounds including barking, howling, whining, growling and more, certain breeds and types of dogs do tend to be rather quieter than others, and some barely bark or make vocal sounds at all. This can be classed as a breed and personality trait, just as distinctive as other better known traits such as a propensity to hunt, or to be fairly sedentary, or to be very intelligent.
If you are on the lookout for a relatively quiet dog, or your lifestyle or living arrangements do not allow for a dog that is very vocal, read on to learn more about dog breeds and types that tend to be rather less vocal than others.
Just like any other voluntary behaviour, it is possible to curb and reduce barking by adequately training your dog, particularly when they are young. This will of course prove more effective for some breeds than others though! Very vocal dogs, such as the Siberian Husky, are unlikely to be able to be successfully trained to forgo barking altogether in anything but exceptional circumstances. However, beginning training when your dog is young, and teaching them commands to “speak” and “quiet” can go a long way towards getting your dog off to the right start in terms of keeping their noise levels under control!
Barking and being very vocal may be an inherent trait of some dogs, but barking usually happens as a response to external stimulus, such as excitement, nerves, stress, meeting new people or dogs, or to get your attention. Ergo it makes sense that dogs that are not particularly prone to excitability and that tend to be fairly laid back in general will find less reason to bark and make a lot of noise, and will often be quieter in general than more lively breeds.
The same types of dogs that tend to not be particularly lively, enjoy being at home and cuddling up and sleeping rather than running around for hours, and that have a laid back approach to life are the dogs that are least likely to be vocal, and can be found in all shapes and sizes!
Some breeds of dogs are actually recognised by The Kennel Club and various other international organisations as being unlikely to bark very much, and in some cases, this is classed as one of the definitive traits of the breed. The best known of these is the Basenji dog, which is often described as completely silent, although this is not technically correct, and the Basenji will make the odd vocal noise from time to time! Some of the other dog breeds that are almost universally recognised as quiet on the barking front include the Greyhound, the Whippet, the Shar-pei, and the Borzoi.
Always bear in mind the caveat that there are exceptions to any rule, and don’t rely on picking a certain breed meaning that your dog will be quiet! However, that being said, here are some suggestions of small to medium sized dog breeds that tend to be fairly non vocal:
Larger dogs are not necessarily noisier, although when they do bark, you are more likely to hear it from further away! Some of the large to giant dog breeds that tend to be vocally fairly quiet and not prone to barking fits include:
Just as you can theoretically train any breed or type of dog to be less vocal and to curb their barking habits to some extent, so it is possible to inadvertently provide or enable triggers to any breed or type of dog that might make them more prone to barking.
If you teach your dog that barking elicits a reaction and gets them attention (even negative attention) the chances are that they will soon learn that being noisy gets them their own way, or gets your attention! Similarly, if your dog is stressed or unsettled within their home environment, they are more likely to act out in a whole variety of ways, including barking. Try to keep your dog’s home environment stable and stress-free, to avoid inappropriate barking and other negative behaviours.
Dogs also learn behaviour patterns and manners from other dogs, so if your dog is very noisy, training them alongside a quieter dog that will lead by example can help to teach them that barking is to be avoided.