Some people get a dog to go hiking and jogging with them, and play long games of fetch until the sun goes down. Other people prefer a dog who is calm and relaxed, and preferably fits right in their lap for easy cuddling!
These three breeds all have backgrounds in companionship and calm behavior, making them fantastic pets and also good choices as therapy dogs. Bred for gentle behavior, affection towards people, and affinity for cuddling, these pups have a bloodline built for love and calm behavior rather than athletic abilities and doggy “jobs.”
The Training Aspect
Even though the breed of these dogs trace their lineage back to these tasks and disposition, they are far from where their lines began. Though many stick tight to those breed standards and naturally have a laid-back disposition, some of these calm small dog breeds aren’t quite so calm as individuals.
Anytime you take on the commitment of a dog, breed research is important, but training is more so. Properly training your dog, meeting their mental stimulation needs, and desensitizing them to unfamiliar places, people, and dogs, are all incredibly important steps if you truly want a calm small dog.
For everything you need to achieve your training goals, please see our Dog Savvy, Small Dog Training Made Easy course.
To truly understand this little fluff-ball of a breed, we need to go all the way back to ancient China, and maybe even chat with Buddha! Chinese legend says that Buddha created this calm small breed dog himself! People originally bred this little dog in the city of Peking in China, which has since been renamed Beijing.
Some researchers believe this little dog, bred as a companion and lap warmer, is one of the oldest dog breeds. Early in their history, only members of the royal class could own these little dogs, and the royalty held them in such high regard that the “common” people had to bow for the dogs as well!
Nowadays, these little dogs live throughout the world. Their personality is an interesting combination of loyalty, dedication, and independence. They have calm behavior, but are wary of strangers, so you must socialize them while they are young.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Another breed bred for the laps of royalty, these beloved little dogs won their way into the hearts of kings and queens. Named after King Charles I and his son, King Charles II, this breed was born in the 17th century. They trace their ancestry back to the toy spaniel, which was highly popular at that time.
As a companion to royalty, this dog has an affectionate, gentle, and loving personality. If the personality wasn’t enough, their large round eyes will really knock the point home.
The dog’s disposition, along with their gentle and affectionate facial expressions, make them one of the most popular small breeds for therapy dogs.
Though they can have some spunk to them, as a whole these little dogs often have a calm disposition and a bright and affectionate personality.
They enjoy cuddling, but can still muster up the energy for a good romp with a toy.
Buddha makes his way back into our list with this breed. The Buddhist monks of Tibet bred this dog as a companion in their monasteries. The monks carefully selected the calmest individuals with the most laid-back and peaceful personalities. This eventually led to a breed with an incredibly even temper and calm nature.
Throughout the years, breeders instilled other traits for this dog. They eventually transformed the breed into what we see today; a calm dog who is independent, gentle, playful, and intelligent.
Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this breed combines calm behavior with spunky playfulness for the perfect combination.
Dogs and All Their Differences
No matter your pet’s ancestors, each dog is an individual with its own personality and traits.
Though most breeds have similar personalities and behaviors, that’s not always the case. Some individual dogs can swing way out of the typical breed standards! Remember that each dog is different, and to achieve the calm and loving companion you hope for, you must make sure you put in the work training your pet.