21 Dogs Known for Their Excellent Behavior

Written By Jill Taylor

There are so many different approaches to choosing a new dog for your household. Some families adopt dogs from shelters or look for puppies with big personalities, but sometimes, those dogs can have behavior issues. These 21 dog breeds are popular due to their obedience and good behavior.

Golden Retriever

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According to PDSA, Golden Retrievers “are typically well-behaved with positive, reward-based training.” They are nearly always eager to please their owners and will thrive during obedience training. These dogs are also patient and calm, making them great therapy dogs, and they’re gentle with children, too.

Labrador Retriever

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Across the U.S., people love the Labrador Retriever, and it’s easy to see why: the breed is highly trainable, friendly, and outgoing. Labradors are wonderful family pets as they tend to get along with children and other pets without a problem. They’re practically the poster dogs for well-behaved breeds.

American Eskimo Dog

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Originally bred from the German Spitz breed, these small, fluffy bundles of fun are intelligent dogs who are usually quite easy to train. They’re very affectionate towards their families, and the breed is fairly adaptable, so they can fit into a variety of living environments.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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These beautiful little dogs can be counted on to be affectionate and good-natured, becoming bright and bubbly presences in your home. They’re easygoing and usually patient and gentle, making them perfect for families. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels deserve their regal name because their behavior is certainly up to a royal standard.


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Beagles have been a popular dog breed for a number of years, and there are numerous reasons why. They’re friendly and curious and will live alongside children and other dogs quite happily. The Spruce Pets advises that “in general, beagles are well-behaved, but they can be a bit stubborn.”

Border Collie

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Is there a more well-known breed for its intelligence than the Border Collie? They thrive on mental and physical stimulation, and as long as their needs are met, they’ll be obedient, well-behaved, and relentlessly loyal to their owners. These dogs can also be taught complex commands, likely due to their background as sheepdogs.


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You might dismiss Boxers as being too energetic and boisterous to fit in with a family home, but they’re usually incredibly gentle with children. Boxers are protective of and loyal to their families, and with consistent positive reinforcement training, their behavior can be amazing, too.

Shih Tzu

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If you’re looking for a smaller dog than a Boxer that is still well-behaved, consider a Shih Tzu. They’re small and adapt perfectly to life in apartments, but they’re also affectionate and love spending time with their owners. They generally get along quite well with kids and other pets.


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Samoyeds have a long history of being useful to humans. They perform many different jobs, such as herding, helping with hunting, and pulling sleds through the snow. They are sweet-natured dogs who are sociable, playful, and well-behaved.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Corgis are just as at home in the city and urban environments as they are in the country and rural towns. Adaptable and easy to train, they’re a great family pet with a friendly temperament. Once trained, their behavior is usually excellent and easy to manage.

German Shepherd

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There’s a reason why German Shepherds are one of the breeds most commonly trusted to work alongside the police and the military. Their intelligence, loyalty, and good behavior mean they make superb working dogs, and Pet Health Network suggests that “When trained and disciplined well, they can make excellent family dogs.”

Australian Shepherd

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Another shepherd dog, the Australian Shepherd, is a highly intelligent breed that is always eager to learn new things. They’re amazing at various canine sports, from agility to obedience, and they have bundles of energy too. Loyal and protective of their families, these dogs can be very well-behaved with good training.


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Also known as ‘Newfies,’ Newfoundlands are loving and gentle dogs. They’re excellent around children and usually on their best behavior in the home. They absolutely love to swim and are just as at home in the water as on the land, making them great dogs for active families.


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Originally called ‘Brittany Spaniels’ until a name change in 1982, these dogs have a long history of accompanying hunters and were named after the Brittany region in France. The American Kennel Club calls them “bright, trainable, and energetic.” They’re always eager to please and often well-behaved.


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Looking for a dog that will form a close, loyal bond with you? The Vizsla is an affectionate and intelligent dog breed that suits higher-energy families, as it loves long walks and exercise. They’re quite easy to train and will accompany you wherever you go.

Alaskan Malamute

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It’s no surprise that a dog breed that traditionally pulled sleds in the freezing cold tends to be obedient and well-behaved. You might not be braving sub-zero temperatures with your Alaskan Malamute, but they’re still clever, trainable, and obedient dogs in everyday life.

Shetland Sheepdog

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There are several names for Shetland Sheepdogs, from ‘Miniature Collies’ to ‘Shelties’, but no matter what you call them, they’re playful, gentle, and obedient dogs. They form strong bonds with their families and love to live alongside children.

Great Dane

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These massive dogs may have been originally bred for boar hunting, but there’s no doubt that they’re gentle giants. Britannica states that they’re “generally friendly and affectionate to both family and strangers” and “usually friendly toward unfamiliar dogs.” However, their size can make them unsuitable for older owners or those with small children.

Miniature Schnauzer

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On the complete other end of the size scale, Miniature Schnauzers are also a well-behaved dog breed. They learn quickly, which can make training them a very rewarding experience, and they’re usually quite friendly, especially towards children. Their size also makes them suitable for living in smaller houses and apartments.


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The Whippet’s name can confuse some people, as they may think that this dog will do nothing but sprint around and be boisterous. While they enjoy some spirited exercise outside, they’re calm indoors and will listen to their owners’ commands attentively. They just need the right balance of inside and outside time.


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The last well-behaved dog we’re going to look at today is the Havanese. Although their grooming might take quite a bit of effort and upkeep, their behavior isn’t anywhere near as taxing. They’re cheerful and intelligent and make ideal companions for families.

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