Not everyone wants a high-energy companion. Fortunately, if you're looking for mild-mannered and sweet in your four-legged friends, there are plenty of choices. Some naturally calm breeds are ideal for those living on their own, while others fit best in families. But they all make great pets.
The hands-down winner of sweet-tempered, calm and quiet, the English bulldog loves kids and families. Though portrayed in old cartoons as the definitive tough-guy guard dog, bulldogs are gentle and low-energy, preferring a good nap to a good chase. They are, however, excellent guardians of children. Just make sure to exercise your bulldog, because he'll never ask you himself.
Stretch out a bulldog to epic proportions and you essentially get a bull mastiff, a rumply faced, sweet, family oriented dog with a strong protective streak and a calm disposition. Bull mastiffs typically are as lazy as they are large, and that's saying something. Make sure to exercise this affectionate, mild-mannered, and eager-to-please giant because he'll never bring it up.
Though they are portrayed as the definitive lifesaving dog of the Alps, Saint Bernards would prefer a soft, warm couch to romping across a mountain any day. Friendly and patient, Saint Bernards enjoy long, easy walks and time spent playing nanny to small children -- whom they will not let get into too much trouble.
Stocky and exceptionally furry, chow chows are about as active -- and as sharp -- as most house cats. Chow chows are independent and bright, which makes them somewhat aloof. But their aloofness is the easygoing kind and chow chows rarely cause trouble or make noise.
If you're looking for a content lapdog, look no further than the Shih Tzu. Shih Tzus are obedient and affectionate and crave your attention, and, though playful, are typically calm once they mature, so long as you pay attention to them. This should be easy, considering that you'll need to brush their luxuriant long hair daily.
Pugs, the bug-eyed, squish-faced favorite of city dwellers, are excellent, playful companions with a mischievous streak that belies their good nature. Be warned, they are natural clowns, but pugs, nevertheless, are sweet and calm. They like to play and walk as much as they like to curl up with you, and they rarely make noise.
Basset hounds are charming, low-key and patient companions who will always make sure the couch stays weighted down. It takes a lot to rile a basset hound, which makes these easygoing dogs ideal for families with small kids. Make sure to exercise bassets or they could become portly and sluggish.