If you're new to dog ownership or are looking for a breed that's a little less feisty than the last fur baby you brought home, you've come to the right corner of the internet. Some of our favorite gentle dog breeds are referred to as Nature's Babysitters, and others even get along with cats.
Whichever low-bite-risk dog breed you opt for, remember to start training early, and exercise precautions—even the sweetest pup is still an animal, and no two dogs have the same personality.
Do beagles have minds of their own? Why, yes, they do. But for all their willfulness and tendency to be vocal, this hunting breed has a calm temperament and is unlikely to sink teeth into you or your nearest and dearest.
Generally, beagles don't have a mean bone in their bodies, although they are prone to chasing. They are curious, energetic, loyal, love company and cuddles, and play nice with kiddos and other doggies.
Although they cut imposing figures at an average of 125 pounds, Newfoundlands embody the image of the gentle giant. They're sweet as sugar and known as so-called "nanny dogs" for their ability to save lives. Newfoundlands are protective of children, can swim like pros, possess a keen intelligence, and have vigilant dispositions.
The most aggressive behavior you can expect from this breed is over-enthusiastic licking and drooling. They're also highly trainable, so you can easily train them away from undesirable behaviors.
These large dogs (they weigh an impressive 140 pounds when fully grown) are people-pleasers. They're smart and trainable, and they're real softies that love kids. Bernese mountain dogs make fantastic watchdogs and good guardians. They're affectionate, faithful companions who'll become canine family members in no time.
You can also expect your Bernese mountain dog to take relatively well to new pets. The only downside is their short lifespan compared to other breeds.
This breed is good-natured and cute as a button. Cavalier King Charles spaniels have one MO, and that's to make their owners happy. So even if the occasional nip or scratch does take place, if you communicate your displeasure in a firm but kind manner, you shouldn't get too many repeat performances.
There's a solid chance your Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a social butterfly and Mr. Popular at the dog park.
Labradors and their cousins, golden retrievers, are among the most common guide dog breeds for the visually impaired, which tells you a lot about their temperament. They're popular in America and have served as important movie characters—for example, in 2008's Marley and Me—because they grasp training concepts without too much difficulty and are just beautiful with their sandy coats.
Although not impossible, the chances of being bitten by a lab or golden retriever are pretty slim.
The Irish setter is as ginger as its human compatriots. It's a happy-go-lucky breed that, like many others on this list, gets on well with other members of its household, including the felines, as well as unfamiliar folks. Irish setters shouldn't trouble you too much unless you aren't exercising them enough, so be sure to find outlets for their copious amounts of energy.
The honor of being number one on the American Kennel Club's annual Most Popular list often ends up being a tussle between the French bulldog and the Labrador retriever, and it's easy to see why. We've touched on the lab's advantages, but what about the Frenchie?
French bulldogs are quiet barkers, so they're less scary when encountered behind a fence or gate. If you live in an urban apartment, your Frenchie will do just fine there too.
Collies are one of the safest dog breeds to choose if you're concerned about dog bites. After all, Lassie knew what was up. Collies are super intelligent, and they're devoted to boot. Once they develop a bond with you and your kids, they will do their utmost to protect your little crew.
As a bonus, if you're interested in competitive dog sports, your odds of success are pretty high with a collie.
Poodles come in all sizes and haircuts. But one thing doesn't change—they're an easygoing breed with a high level of intelligence. Your poodle will learn party tricks to wow guests and do pretty much everything but inspire fear. You could also take it to the Canine Olympics after additional training.
With their grand size and friendly demeanor, great Danes have a boisterous presence that fills the room. They can reach an impressive 30 inches tall at the shoulder, but despite their size, they’re an affectionate breed and develop a lot of love for their owners.
As naturally social animals, great Danes need as much affection from their owners as possible, which helps them become loyal pack members who are unlikely to bite.
Some may describe boxers as silly, but they’re highly intelligent dogs who love being playful. As curious creatures, they love to investigate the world around them. Their inquisitive nature means they’re excellent playmates, especially for young children.
Although boxers have a muscular appearance and love to bound around, they’re also patient and gentle. As such, they’re a breed that rarely bites.
In years gone by, old English sheepdogs served as drover dogs that would drive livestock to the market for farmers. Today, they can still serve as sheepdogs herding in the field, or they can merge into a loving home.
Like many herding breeds, old English sheepdogs are smart. This means they respond well to training, reducing the likelihood that they’ll bite. These dogs are high-energy, so be prepared for lots of long walks.
American Eskimo dogs have a long history of performing in circuses, which stems from more than their adorable nature—they’re also incredibly easy to train. They come in a variety of sizes, too, ranging from the super compact toy version to a standard size.
American Eskimo dogs thrive in loving and active environments, regardless of their size. They often require a lot of stimulation and exercise in their younger years but become calmer as they get older.
With their highly adaptable nature and petite size, a typical bichon frise is a joy for anybody to own. These curious little creatures are excellent low-maintenance dogs. They require only 30 minutes of exercise per day, which they can easily attain by running off their lead in a safe environment.
Owning a bichon frise when you have children is a pretty safe bet. They love to socialize with anyone familiar but may become reserved with strangers. In either case, there’s no tendency toward biting.
Historically, Shetland sheepdogs spent their days herding sheep in the Scottish wilderness and aiding their masters. Because of this, they’ve evolved to need a lot of exercise, but that only means they make excellent hiking partners! They’re intelligent, determined, and love to burn off energy.
While they may love to bark at everything from imaginary sheep to the postal worker, Shetland sheepdogs aren’t aggressive. They’re true softies who will generally keep their bites to themselves.
Rumor has it that the Japanese chin became a popular gift among members of the Japanese royal family as early as the 6th century. Whether or not that’s true, you don’t need to be royal to own one today. These delightful compact dogs are perfect for almost any living environment.
Japanese chins may be small, but they have big personalities. They love to play, and they respond well to human interaction. There isn’t an ounce of malice in them either, so you can rest assured they won’t be yearning to bite you.
Maltese dogs are naturally delicate. While their delicate nature means they’re not suitable for homes with other pets or young children, they make excellent lap dogs. They love nothing more than cuddling with their owners and need little room to bound around in.
Thanks to their gentle nature, Maltese dogs are fantastic entry-level pets. They’re arguably the most harmless breed around and tend to offer a bite-free experience.
While you may associate greyhounds with lightning speeds on the racetrack, they do make excellent pets. Although they’re quick to race when prompted, they’re not quick to temper. Greyhounds love to nap as much as they love to move, making them a relatively docile addition to any household.
Greyhounds are easy to train in the basics and function as loving companions. They’ll spend a lot of time panting, but you likely won't experience the brunt of their teeth.
You don't need a purebred to prevent dog bites. Mutts are the underrated stars of the doggy world, and they often combine the best aspects of their unique parentage. Mixed breeds can be loving, patient, and family-friendly. The next time you question whether you'll be able to get a safe dog at the rescue shelter, ask the folks who work there which pup is showing the most positive behavior.
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