A lot of people out there love the idea of adding a dog to their life, but know they either can’t handle or can’t commit to a dog with high energy and extensive exercise needs. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you need to pass up on a canine companion.
There are a number of mellow dog breeds out there – and you don’t even have to think small! In fact, some of the largest dog breeds are also some of the most mellow and easy-going. Their large stature doesn’t necessarily mean they need tons of exercise.
Here we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for large dogs that are also mellow dog breeds. In this case you can have your cake and eat it too, a large dog that likes to hang around and chill just as much as you!
One thing to note--even mellow, low-energy dogs need some sources of stimulation and movement (just like us humans!). So while these dogs are on the mellow end of the spectrum, you will still need to commit to once or twice daily walks to keep them healthy and happy.
1. Great Dane
Great Danes are the tallest of all dog breeds, noble and graceful, and yup—a totally mellow dog breed! Don’t confuse size with needing a ton of exercise, Great Danes might be one of the best examples of this. One or two walks per day will keep your Great Dane happy and healthy.
Like others on the list, Great Danes were bred to be guard dogs and make excellent family dogs. They are good with kids, natural people pleasers and respond well to positive (consistent) training.
Great Dane owners will tell you that their Danes think they are lap dogs. They are a very loving, affectionate and mellow dog breed.
Learn more about Great Danes
2. Irish Wolfhound
Irish Wolfounds are very tall, giant dogs with wiry coats and a relatively short life span (even for a giant breed). This mellow dog breed is super friendly and great with kids.
They have low exercise needs due to their giant size, but you can expect a pretty intense prey drive with your Wolffound—they are in the hound group after all! So leashes and fences are usually necessary with this breed.
Newfoundlands are perhaps the most quintessential gentle giant (at least in my mind!). They make for excellent therapy dogs and companions for low energy humans and families with children. They weigh in between 100-150 pounds, but are pure, fluffy love.
Newfoundlands are smart and easily trained, and have a gentle and docile nature. They love to swim and are very social in nature. Newfoundlands are the perfect mellow dog breed for families with children and homes where they won’t be left alone for long stretches of time.
4. St. Bernard
Ask anyone who’s had the pleasure of spending time with (or owning) a St. Bernard and you’ll hear the same thing—these are one of the most friendly, agreeable, and trainable dogs out there! St Bernards are giant, clocking in at up to 260 pounds! But it’s pure sweetness.
And, unlike so many working dog breeds, St. Bernards are geneally a low exercise needs breed. These guys are happy with one 20-30 minute walk per dog. They are companion dogs though, and aren’t a good fit for someone who has to be away from home for the majority of the day.
Learn more about Saint Bernards
There are quite a few different types of Mastiffs out there but generally the verdict is the same across the board, these extra large dogs are very sweet and don’t require much exercise beyond a daily walk to two.
Like Great Pyrs, Mastiffs were bred to be guard dogs, so while they are low energy, they will definitely bark a lot if they think there’s an intruder abound. They are also quite social, so this is another mellow dog breed that’s best suited for a home where they won’t be left along for long stretches of time.
6. Basset Hound
Okay, so when you think of large dog breeds, your mind may not go to the Basset Hound. But actually, this is no small breed! Sure they may be short, but bassets are weigh in at up to 65 pounds.
They have low exercise needs and mellow demeanor making them great to owners who aren’t super active. They are a low maintenance and friendly breed that will provide a ton of comic relief to boot.
7. Great Pyrenees
Great Pyrs are very tall, fluffy large breed dogs that weigh in between 80 and 120 pounds. Though most agree they look even bigger than that because of their thick coats.
These are smart, clever dogs, but can be challenging to train. They’re often described as a stubborn breed, but this is probably because they were original bred to guard livestock on mountainsides—largely left up to their own devices.
With all of that said though, people who have Great Pyrs say they are great with children and make loving companions. They are quite mellow when it comes to exercise needs, happy with one or two walks per day. However, their guard dog roots mean they do bark quite a bit, and are happiest in a home where they can spend a ton of time lazing outside.
Learn more about The Great Pyrenees
Consider adopting an older dog
If you’re here, I can guess you’re interested in adding a dog to your pack, but aren’t feeling the whole crazy, high energy things of say a German Shepherd or Husky. Have you considered adopting an older dog?
Dogs tend to be at their most challenging (and frustrating) between ages 1 and 3. This is when exercise needs peak, and when dogs start to really challenge the authority of their owner. Once a dog reaches 4+ years old (generally), they begin to mellow out.
If you’re someone who’s looking for a mellow dog breed, adopting a dog that is 5 years or older could be a great choice. You can skip the challenges of puppy-hood and the frustrations that many feel with their young adolescent dogs.
Other resources for your search
Not quite sure what you want? You might find these other resources helpful as you research dog breeds that could be a good fit for you and your lifestyle:
Have a mellow dog breed for large dog lovers to add to the list? We'd love to hear from you! Chime in below.