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Dogs That Don’t Bark: 5 Quiet Dog Breeds

Written by: Lynn M. Hayner, JD

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Nicole Cosgrove

chow chow dog walking in the park

Dogs That Don’t Bark: 5 Quiet Dog Breeds

Dogs bark for a reason, although we don’t always appreciate their motives. A dog may bark to say he’s alarmed, frustrated, scared, happy, protective or excited. Some breeds, such as those in the Herding and Terrier groups, are notably vocal. Others, like the Basenji, are especially noiseless. And while there are no dogs that don’t bark, let’s hear from five generally less barky breeds, or quiet dog breeds. No guarantee given: All dogs are individuals and some love to prove generalities wrong!

1. Whippet

Extraordinarily speedy and yet cuddly as kittens, we Whippets are gracious, gentle and appreciative of a quiet environment. We’re small sighthounds with ancient origins. Over time, we became companions (and an economical race horse of sorts!) to the British working class. We could race up to 35 mph, and help keep food on the table. Today, we’re calm on the inside, exuberant on the outside. Natural athletes, we enjoy lure coursing, agility and running for the pure joy of running. Although we’re capable of barking, we rarely bother. Indoors or out, if you’re looking for an alarm dog, keep looking! We Whippets aim to keep the peace. Well, maybe not with rabbits, but that’s a different story….               

Image Credit: Mitchell Orr, Unsplash

2. Gordon Setter

I lobbied hard for this spot. The Irish Setter almost always wins the “quiet Setter” spot, but maybe that’s because they’re so well-known? I’m not typically on the dogs that don’t bark list since I do have a watchdog gene. I’m energetic and aware, but usually not inclined to uncalled-for barking. I was developed to find quarry, pursuing pheasant and quail. No good comes from barking all day when hunting, of course. The Gordon in my name nods to the 4th Duke of Gordon, the Cock o’ the North. Although my ancestors existed before the Duke, we bear his name since he helped establish my breed in Scotland. Today, if I’m well exercised and included in your daily life, I’ll likely only bark when necessary. But yes, I prefer my own interpretation of “necessary.”

Gordon Setter dog standing
Image Credit: Anna Tronova, Shutterstock

3. English Toy Spaniel

My nickname — the comforting spaniel — sheds light on my personality. Although I appreciate plenty of activity, I’m mainly a companion breed, known for my gentleness and kindness. I’m also upbeat, affectionate and eager to please. Developed centuries ago from Toy and Spaniel breeds, I share a history with my cousin, the equally gentle and usually quiet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Characteristically, I’m not a barky breed — how could I cuddle and comfort you if I were yipping and yapping?

English Toy Spaniel lying on the ground
Image Credit: Mark_KA, Shutterstock

4. Chow Chow

An ancient breed with a lion-like appearance, we were developed in China as all-around working dogs. We hunted, guarded, herded and pulled carts to help our families. Queen Victoria’s interest in my forefathers contributed to our admiration in England. Today, we’re dignified, noble and mostly noiseless. We’re confident, capable and loyal to our owners, but rather skeptical about the outside world. I view newcomers approaching my home with skepticism, but I don’t typically bark at any little leaf blowing by the house.

chow chow puppy on couch
Image Credit: svetlana_kuznetsova_ph, Shutterstock

5. Newfoundland

Ever try swimming and talking at the same time? Now you know why I’m not typically vocal while I swim! Developed to work with fisherman in ice-cold waters, I’m celebrated for my courage, amiable nature and swimming strength in the water. My feet are even webbed and my coat is water resistant. We’re normally better lifeguards than house guards; we may rush to a water rescue, but we’re more likely to welcome strangers into the house than chase them off. Now for a caveat: If we do bark, it’s going to be loud. We boys weigh about 140 pounds; the ladies about 115 pounds. We don’t bark often, but when we do, you’ll surely hear us!

Photo by Andy Lyell, Unsplash

Tell us: What do you think? Do you know any dogs that don’t bark? What quiet dogs do you know? What breed(s) are they?

Why read breed profiles?

Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

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Featured Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock

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