The 7 Most Well-Behaved Dog Breeds, According To Experts

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog. (Photo by Alexandra Lau on Unsplash)

Getting a dog is an exciting moment for any owner, but it’s also a major commitment. Training a new pup is a process that takes plenty of patience, research, and consistency. From the basics of sit and stay to more advanced commands like those required for a working service dog, both owner and pup have to put a fair amount of effort into the training process. But believe it or not, raising a well-behaved pup is more than a matter of a little elbow grease. Certain dog breeds are highly responsive to training, while others tend to be more independent and resistant to obeying commands.

If you’re looking to adopt or buy a typically docile dog, we’re here to help you consider all the best breeds. Here we’ll feature the consensus seven most well-behaved dog breeds after reading through 10 expert reviews. Our list is comprised of the most frequently recommended breeds across these sites. As always, if you have a recommendation that we didn’t include, be sure to let us know in the comments below!

The Consensus Best Behaved Dog Breeds, Per Experts

1. Labrador Retriever

black labrador retriever on green grass field during daytime
Labrador Retriever (Photo via Holger Struck on Unsplash)

One of the most beloved pups in America, the Labrador Retriever is also the top pick among experts for best-behaved breed. Friendly, easygoing, and clever, these dogs are eager to please their owners with good behavior. As Hepper explains, the Labrador is highly intelligent and quick to learn commands. Known for their strong sense of loyalty, they are also unlikely to be aggressive and do very well with children and people of all ages.

The Labrador is a very high energy breed, which means they require frequent exercise and stimulation to keep them entertained. When these needs are not met, they may become destructive. But as MSN notes, a well-cared-for Lab will receive early socialization, exercise, and training to combat this issue. Their mild temperament and innate friendliness also make them fantastic service animals, and their intelligence and trainable nature lends well to success as both a working dog and a family pet.

On top of being notably obedient, the Labrador Retriever is also one of the most popular dogs in the United States. According to the American Kennel Club, labs spent 31 years at the top of the popularity rankings, before falling just one spot to number two in recent years (the French Bulldog claimed 1st place!). As Furbo says, the Labrador was actually bred for obedience, meaning with consistent exercise and engagement, they tend to enjoy the training process. Pairing their obedient nature with an affectionate and outgoing temperament, it’s easy to see why these pups are an American favorite.

2. Golden Retriever

golden retriever lying on ground during daytime
Golden Retriever (Photo via Helena Lopes on Unsplash)

The beloved Golden Retriever is well-known for its friendliness and distinct golden coat, but this breed is also extremely obedient by nature and rightfully earns a spot among the best-behaved pups. Gentle and quick to make friends with both people and other animals, the Golden Retriever is a fan-favorite among canine experts and dog trainers. As Leader Of The Pack Dog Training says, Goldens are cooperative and eager to please just about everyone. They are unlikely to get into fights with other animals and are quick to listen when given a command. 

A major factor in a dog’s trainability comes down to breed history. In the case of the Golden Retriever, these pups were bred as hunting dogs. Pairing strength, intelligence, and a desire for companionship, the Golden is practically made to be a well-behaved family dog. Bully Beds explains that the Golden is drawn to training and enjoys the mental stimulation they get from learning new commands. With the determination of a hunting dog and the gentleness of a family companion, these pups have all the makings of an obedient pet.

For families with children, the Golden Retriever is an excellent choice. Gentle and easygoing, these pups tend to be great with kids. As I Heart Dogs adds, Goldens are known for their patience, making them a great dog for households with small children and lots of activity. In fact, this breed loves to be included in all the action! The Golden Retriever is happy to come along on all kinds of family outings, and with a bit of training and socialization, they’re more than prepared to engage with people and animals when on-the-go.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

white and brown long coat small dog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo via Courtney Mihaka on Unsplash)

For the small dog lovers, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an obedient and affectionate breed that makes for a fantastic pet. Thanks to their easygoing nature, Yahoo recommends the breed for first-time dog owners, families, and elderly people. If you do bring home a Cavalier, be prepared to stop frequently on walks and outings for your pup to make friends. This highly sociable breed may just want to say hello to everyone they meet!

If you’re looking for a well-behaved breed that loves nothing more than spending time with you, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great choice. As Hepper notes, these dogs are quick to make themselves part of the family. Known for being extremely cuddly and affectionate, you’re likely to find a Cavalier offering some puppy love to anyone and everyone they can. And as an added bonus, the breed is typically very healthy and sturdy, giving owners many years of love and companionship to look forward to with their Cavalier pup. 

Curious what training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might be like? K9 of Mine calls the breed “a natural fit for obedience class.” With plenty of charm and intelligence to go around, the Cavalier is a popular service dog and a great choice for households with children or other animals. Thanks to their friendly temperaments, these pups are eager to make their people happy by offering plenty of affection and obedience.

4. Border Collie

black and white long-coat dog
Border Collie (Photo via Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash)

The strong, smart, and energetic Border Collie is often named among the world’s most intelligent dog breeds. As Furbo explains, these dogs were bred to herd livestock on farms and are great at working with people and learning various commands. Eager to learn and get to work, this breed thrives with plenty of stimulation and activity. As long as you keep them well-exercised and engaged, the Border Collie is easily one of the best-behaved dog breeds you can find.

Border Collies are also friendly and affectionate, making them a great fit for owners prepared to offer equal amounts of activity and love, Yahoo notes. If you train them correctly, the Border Collie can fit in with all kinds of households. Though the breed started off as a farm dog, even city dwellers can enjoy life with a Collie so long as they are ready for plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and snuggles with their canine companion.

5. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain dog across pine trees during daytime
Bernese Mountain Dog (Photo via Alexandra Lau on Unsplash)

The Bernese Mountain Dog easily earns a spot amongst the friendliest dog breeds in the world. These gentle giants are eager to get along with everyone, humans and animals alike. First bred in Switzerland as working dogs, this breed is equal parts strong and smart. As Hepper explains, the Bernese Mountain Dog is patient, easy to train, and loves to be around people. Even-tempered and sweet, these dogs are essentially giant lap dogs and tend to be extremely obedient and friendly family pets.

It’s important to learn what works best for your pup when it comes to training, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are no exception. This breed responds well to training that involves lots of positive feedback, while harshness is unlikely to yield results, notes K9 of Mine. This breed is highly sensitive, and lots of treats and praise will go much further than negative reinforcement! Berners are also relational by nature and much prefer to be around their people, meaning long stretches of time alone tend to be difficult. Spend lots of time and love on your Bernese Mountain Dog and they’re sure to reward you with plenty of good boy (or girl!) behavior. 

As sweet as they are, the Bernese Mountain Dog is an incredibly large dog, which makes training essential. Often exceeding 100 pounds, a Berner could easily knock over an adult with an over-eager greeting. But as Bully Beds adds, these larger-than-average pups are also incredibly smart and thrive on pleasing their people. With a little time and effort on training, the Bernese Mountain Dog makes for an excellent family pet.

6. Poodle

brown poodle on snow covered ground
Poodle (Photo via Adam Cai on Unsplash)

Smart, social, and active, the Poodle is an excellent pet for all kinds of households. Available in standard, miniature, and toy sizes and boasting a hypoallergenic coat, there’s a Poodle for just about everyone. As I Heart Dogs says, the Poodle thrives when it comes to training and obedience work. Pairing intelligence, an attentive and friendly temperament, and striking looks, these pups are popular picks for service animals, show dogs, and family pets.

Don’t let the Poodle’s appearance fool you! These show-worthy animals were originally bred as water-retrievers. The Poodle is an incredibly sturdy and athletic breed, explains Hepper. With proper training, the breed learns quickly and responds very well to instruction. Whether you’re looking for a running buddy, an agility dog, or simply a loyal companion, the Poodle is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a well-behaved pup.

For the best-behaved canine around, make sure you attend to your pup’s mental needs as much as their physical ones. While some breeds may do well with a long walk and a game of fetch, the Poodle is highly intelligent and craves mental enrichment. K9 of Mine recommends investing in puzzle toys to keep your Poodle engaged and well-behaved. These dogs are also lighting-fast learners, so don’t be afraid to throw new tricks at them regularly to keep them sharp!

7. Beagle

shallow focus photo of short-coated white, brown, and black dog
Beagle (Photo via Luke MacGillivray on Unsplash)

With their floppy ears, big brown eyes, and tricolor coat, it’s easy to fall in love with a Beagle. As an added bonus, their adorable appearance is also paired with a friendly and outgoing personality and impressive intelligence. Smart but a bit stubborn, the Beagle does require proper training, but they make fantastic family pets as long as you’re up for the task. As Yahoo notes, the Beagle can be an extremely well-behaved, affectionate, and gentle breed. Just make sure you get started with training early and give them plenty of positive feedback and rewards for good behavior!

This small breed has one of the strongest noses around thanks to its history as a hunting hound. Nowadays, Beagles are excellent sniffers and often work in airports, law enforcement, and more. For the average Beagle living as a family pet, you’ll need to be ready to provide plenty of stimulation through exercise and training. But thankfully, as Furbo notes, their hunting dog roots make them eager to learn and amenable to working with their people. If you’re sure to stay on top of their energy needs, you’ll have a very happy and obedient Beagle!

If you’re looking for a breed that does well with young children, the Beagle is an excellent choice. Even-tempered, patient, and calm, even untrained Beagles tend to be naturally good with kids. With a little training, Hepper notes, a Beagle will be a trusted companion for children of any age. Whether you’re looking for a dog just for you or for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with the lovable, smart, and easygoing Beagle!

Sources used for our list:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. 

About Anna Landry

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Melore

Editor

Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor