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What is the best behaved dog?

The 11 Best Behaved Dog Breeds


BarkSpot Staff · March 30, 2022 ·

Last updated: January 27, 2023

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Dogs are said to be human’s best friend. Their friendly, extremely loyal nature and their ability to love their owner unconditionally make them top pets. However, owning a dog can be challenging because every dog breed has a unique personality and behavior.

Yet, not every dog is the same. Some are aggressive, while some are the friendliest. Here are the 11 best-behaved dog breeds that you would love to have as your pet. Health, personality, and overall popularity are all the factors to consider if you want to be a dog owner in the near future, so you can have all the love you want from your fur baby.

Table of contents

  1. 1. Beagle
  2. 2. Golden Retriever
  3. 3. Labrador Retriever
  4. 4. German Shepherd
  5. 5. Belgian Malinois
  6. 6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  7. 7. Bull Terrier
  8. 8. Cocker Spaniel
  9. 9. Border Collie
  10. 10. French Bulldog
  11. 11. Irish Wolfhound

1. Beagle

Tiny in their figure, with a gentle and fun-loving personality, Beagles were bred to be hunting dogs. They have an extremely strong sense of smell, making them the top choice in dog breed for hunters. And you’ll often see them as playing detective dogs in searching for contraband at U.S. borders.

These small dogs have long been a favorite of American households due to their energetic and loyal personality. They appear as small to mid-sized hound breed. Their bodies might appear small, but they are packed with power. Beagles have big brown eyes and big, floppy ears.

The Beagle dog breed has long been a family favorite. They are friendly, playful, and have an even temperament. Their intelligence makes them the best choice for law enforcement at airports to catch bags for goods that are not allowed.

However, Beagles are loud dogs. A Beagle can become easily lonely or bored, so you should not leave them alone for long, and when they become lonely, they howl non-stop.

A Beagle can be trained, but it will take a lot of time and patience, and frequent positive reinforcement training sessions. Make sure you have enough rewards on hand because what takes some breeds 20 minutes to learn will take a Beagle two weeks.

2. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, a beautiful and energetic Scottish gundog, is one of the most popular breeds in America. Because of the dense golden fur coat on their powerful muscular bodies, they are known as Golden Retrievers. The breed has short ears, a large head, gorgeous, intelligent eyes, and a straight snout.

They make the best companion dogs. Goldens are extremely sweet and friendly around children. They’d rather sleep at your feet than run around in the streets without you. A healthy Golden Retriever weighs around 55-75 pounds with an average height of 21.5-24 inches. Goldens are a huge breed with a life expectancy of 10-12 years and ranked the third number in popularity by the American Kennel Club.

They live true to their name since they enjoy recovering everything thrown their way. As a result, they make ideal hunting companions and service dogs. In addition, they enjoy eating, running, spending time with their owners, and even competing in obedience and agility.

What makes a Golden Retriever special is that they make a perfect family dog. Because of a Golden Retriever’s loyalty, intelligence, and steady demeanor, Golden Retrievers make ideal support dogs. They were also created to retrieve ducks and other fowl for hunters, so if you enjoy fetching games, this is the dog for you.

3. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. They are the most obedient and have even temperaments around children and other dogs.

Labrador Retrievers are intelligent and frequently selected as guide and service dogs for the blind and autistic. This breed’s warm and friendly behavior has ranked them America’s number one breed in American Kennel Club. Labrador Retrievers have demonstrated their usefulness and versatility throughout the breed’s history, effortlessly transitioning from fisherman’s companion to field retriever, show dog, and modern working dog. One role has remained constant throughout that of a fantastic companion and friend.

Labrador Retrievers were developed to work in physically demanding environments and have the strong energy of being a working breed. In addition, the Labrador Retriever is a great therapy dog. They must exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes per day. They can release their pent-up energy in harmful ways, such as barking and chewing, if they don’t get the activity they require.

Male Labrador Retrievers stand 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weighs 65 to 80 pounds, while female Labrador Retrievers stand 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 70 pounds.

Labrador Retrievers are typically healthy. However, they are susceptible to some health issues, as are all breeds. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, canine cataracts, and Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia are some examples. It is not necessary that all Labradors would get these diseases, but you should always keep an eye on your dog.

labrador retriever laying on the ground in the grass

4. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd dog is America’s one of the most popular dog breeds. They’re intelligent and good working dogs. Even when they don’t appear to be, these dogs are extremely smart and always aware of their environment.

Alsatian is another name for the breed. Despite their purebred status, German Shepherds can be found at shelters and breed-specific rescues. So, keep in mind to adopt. German Shepherd males are 24 to 26 inches tall, while females are 22 to 24 inches tall. Weight varies between 75 and 95 pounds.

The dog has even been regarded as a national hero. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the German Shepherd was the search and rescue dog sniffing through what was left of the World Trade Center, looking for survivors and soothing families and rescue personnel.

This clever and trainable dog breed thrives on being given a task to complete. From alerting a deaf individual to a doorbell ring to sniffing out an avalanche victim, the German Shepherd can be trained to perform practically anything. However, they’re not good when left alone.

It is not recommended that German Shepherd be left alone for more than 8 hours every day. They are quickly bored, and if left alone for lengthy periods, they may engage in disruptive or troublesome activities such as digging, chewing, or barking.

When the dog initially comes to your house, it’s a good idea to crate train him. During the transition stage, this establishes limits for the dog and aids in learning “house rules.” It is easier to house train pups by utilizing a crate. When you crate train your dog, they learn that the cage is their haven. The crate creates a den-like environment for the dog, which is soothing. Another advantage of crate training is that the dog will be less stressed when you take him to a boarding facility or the vet because he is used to staying in a cage or crate. It is advised not to use the crate as a form of punishment.

5. Belgian Malinois

A medium to large-sized dog, the Belgian Malinois is a herding breed with a short fur coat, and is a Belgian native with a well-balanced build. They have a lifespan of 14-16 years. A healthy Belgian Malinois weighs around 40 to 60 pounds (females) and 60 to 80 pounds (males). Their ideal height appears to be 22 to 24 inches (female) and 24 to 26 inches (male).

A Belgian Malinois needs daily exercise and mental engagement to thrive. It may grow worried or have behavior problems if this does not happen. Therefore, aim for one to two hours of activity per day, including brisk walks, running, trekking, or fetching. This breed is also a great choice for dog sports or any activity that requires focus and endurance to challenge it intellectually and physically.

It is important to note that the Belgian Malinois’ herding propensity may cause them to chase automobiles, bikes, and other moving items. As a result, it must be kept on a leash or in a fenced-in area. This breed is often easy to train, intelligent, and eager to please. Positive reinforcement and regular training work well with it. Although Belgian Malinois might not always get along with other dogs, favorable early introduction to other dogs can assist.

This breed is also not usually suitable for households with children. Its strong herding instinct may cause it to try to nip at the heels of children. So even if you don’t have children, it’s crucial to teach your dog how to behave around them.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel bears his ties to British history. According to the American Kennel Club, cavaliers are the best of all worlds, combining the delicate devotion of a toy breed with the vigor and agility of a sporting Spaniel. The breed’s hallmark of appearance is his large, round eyes and the silky, dense coat, same as the English Toy Spaniel.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do not grow more than 13-inches in height, so it is relatively a small dog. However, the size makes him the perfect cute puppy to live in your apartment.

They make good therapy dogs because of their lovely demeanor. The Cavalier is a sweet, friendly, and affectionate breed that loves to please its owner. They get along well with strangers and other pets, and they are excellent with youngsters. Cavaliers are intelligent and easy to teach, and they thrive in various canine activities such as manners, chase, and agility.

cavalier king charles spaniel sitting in the park

7. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier is a powerful dog bred for its tragic historical role. Contrary to common opinion, the Bull Terrier isn’t at the top of the list of canines that are most likely to bite. Toy breeds, Collies, and Spaniels are the top dogs in this category.

These sweet pups end up with people that reinforce the stigma. In this case, this dog is muscular, independent, and hyperactive, and it works against him. When they are puppies, these dogs can be rather rowdy, but as they grow older, they tend to calm down, so you rarely have any severe behavioral difficulties with an adult Bull Terrier.

It has a short coat, a tapering tail, erect ears, small triangular, profound eyes, and an anchovy or convex skull. It stands between 21 and 22 inches (53 and 56 cm) tall and weighs between 50 and 60 pounds (23 to 27 kg). Another breed of bull terrier, a small dog, is a distinct breed with a height of 10 to 14 inches (25 to 35 cm) and 24 to 33 pounds (11 to 15 kg).

The Naughtiest and Best-Behaved Dog Breeds, According to Instagram

Graeme is a senior writer at ProtectMyPaws, working with our in-house team of data analysts and researchers to produce original studies and reports you will find under the Pet Care section of the site. Even though he doesn’t have any pets at home now, Graeme grew up with a yellow Lab called Jake and a goldfish called Rudolph.

James Booth

Edited by
James Booth

James Booth

Edited by
James Booth
Senior Writer

James is the managing editor of ProtectMyPaws and his main focus is to ensure every article on our site is backed by trustworthy research and written in a clear way. He is a self-proclaimed cat person after growing up with grumpy Hemingway and later taking in feral Louie.

March 7, 2023
Why you can trust us

ProtectMyPaws is an independent publication with no ties with companies mentioned on the site. We don’t accept free products in exchange for glowing reviews. Instead, we report our own findings to help you make an informed decision.

Why you can trust us

ProtectMyPaws is an independent publication with no ties with companies mentioned on the site. We don’t accept free products in exchange for glowing reviews. Instead, we report our own findings to help you make an informed decision.

Here are four reasons you should trust us:

  • We are a team of independent reviewers. We don’t accept freebies sent by pet companies in exchange for a 5-star review.
  • We love our pets as much as you love yours. We care about our pets as much as we care about the rest of our human family, so we would never recommend something we wouldn’t feel comfortable buying ourselves.
  • We have zero problem saying a product sucks. We don’t care if saying something is bad means we will lose our affiliate commission.
  • We look out for fake reviews. We don’t direct our readers to product listings packed with fake reviews (hello Amazon!) thanks to our data analysts who help us uncover fake review activity.

You might think there are just two types of dogs on Instagram: good boys and good girls. But dig a bit deeper, and there are juicier trends to chew on.

Every dog has a unique character. But some breeds share distinct traits. Science has shown how DNA may shape around 15% of a dog breed’s personality: the Labrador is most likely to get anxious when you stop working from home; the Border Collie and the poodle are among the diverse breeds categorizable as “eager learners.”

But how about naughtiness? Protect My Paws wondered if any of these breeds of good boys are – you know – gooder than the others.

To find out, we went back to Instagram. We counted the posts that mentioned a breed along with a popular behavior hashtag (#gooddog, #cleverdog, #cleverpuppy, #baddog, #naughtypuppy, #cheekydog, #muddydog). And then we balanced the positive hashtags against the naughty ones and looked at where they were geotagged.

Finally, we made charts and maps to show which dog breeds are the naughtiest good and which ones are the best-behaved even gooder.

Key Findings

  • The best-behaved dog breed on Instagram is the Korean Jindo Dog, with 75.86% positive behavior tags.
  • Instagram’s naughtiest dog breed is the Japanese Spitz, with 86.67% of Spitz behavior posts reporting bad behavior.
  • South Africa is home to the naughtiest dogs: 87.85% of dog behavior Instagram posts are negative.
  • Ukraine is the land of good boys, with a 96.72% good behavior report.
  • Moscow, Russia, is the city with the best boys (98.41% positive).
  • Canberra, Australia, is the city with the naughtiest dogs (99.74% negative).

The Japanese Spitz is the Naughtiest (or Most Misunderstood) Breed on Instagram

First, let’s look at the breeds with the highest proportions of bad- or good-behavior hashtags.

Public enemy number one is the Japanese Spitz . In fact, the gap between the naughtiness rating of the Spitz (86.67%) and number two, the Shichon (78.38%), is bigger than the gap between the rest of the top 10.

If being affectionate is a crime, the snowball known as the Spitz is going straight to the doghouse. Couple this lack of respect for your personal space with a mischievous sense of humor, and you can expect to be clambered over, interrupted, snuzzled, and maliciously cuddled. What a villain!

The Jindo is an actual national treasure. Native to the South Korean island of Jindo, this loving but independent hunter was declared “ Republic of Korea Cultural Asset No. 53 ” in 1962. Not only that, but the Jindo is a very good dog indeed.

Over centuries, the Jindo’s harsh island environment drove the dog to become “ energetic, watchful, alert, fearless, loyal, and obedient .” Yes, they may be less warm towards strangers – but the Jindo’s keen companionship assures them a positive behavior report in more than three-quarters of Jindo-based Instagram posts. Pointy of ear, with a tight, brindled coat, the Jindo is a credit to their master and their Instagram account.

South African Dogs ‘Mostly Naughty’

Next up, we used Instagram’s geotags to see where all the good and less good dogs are. Disclaimer: they say that there’s no such thing as a bad dog – only a bad owner. While the truth isn’t quite as simple as that, don’t let our study tarnish your impression of a particular country’s dogs. This is Instagram, after all, where even an over-affectionate hug gets a playful #baddog tag.

South Africa is home to the world’s naughtiest dogs, and you’ve got to love them. Just take Mia and Albertus, for example. Not only did these furniture-chomping bulldogs make a meal of mama’s rattan, but they had the audacity to play dead when caught. The dogs of Instagram have an 87.85% naughtiness rating in South Africa.

Slovakia (85.42%) is the second naughtiest country for dogs, followed by Singapore (85.11%), Australia (80.55%), and the UK (80.54%). Meanwhile, there is a distinct ‘best boy bloc’ of Ukraine (3.28%), Russia (5.92%), and Belarus (8.70%).

47 American States Vote ‘Good Boy’

The US puts a new spin on the ‘no bad dogs, only bad owners’ cliché. While human crime soars , most Americans are filing only positive reports about their beloved pooches. Kansas (56.52% naughty) and North Carolina (53.96%) are the only states who vote ‘naughty dog’ – and only by a small margin. South Dakota and West Virginia are neutral. The remaining 47 states reckon their dogs are well-behaved, while the District of Columbia has the highest approval rating of all: 92.42% good dogs.

Of course, these are beloved dogs under review by their adoring owners. Some say that, while Americans have inherited the British affection for the four-legged friend, there remains a cultural divide between the brash Yankee pooch and the more refined European canine – and that more patient, positive, professional training could help bring American dog behavior into line with their owner’s praise on Instagram.

The Good, the Bad, and the Pugly

The canine world is complex. No breed is bad, no dog is flawless (no matter how much they love chewing on the pet door flap), and some good boys are gooder than others. To find where your preferred brand of dog figures in the behavior ranks, check out the full results in our interactive table below.

Click the buttons to switch between the Naughtiest and the Best-Behaved.


To create these tables, we made a list of good and bad dog hashtags ( #gooddog, #cleverdog, #cleverpuppy, #baddog, #naughtypuppy, #cheekydog, #muddydog). Then we made a comprehensive list of dog breeds and analyzed Instagram posts featuring a dog breed and any of those hashtags. (87,886 posts in total.) We then calculated the proportion of good to bad hashtags for each breed to identify the top naughty and well-behaved breeds. 43,367 geotagged posts were analyzed in order to create the maps. The data was gathered in June 2021.


Instagram. (2021). Instagram .

Finances Online (2021). Number of Dogs in the US .

Pet Secure. (2017). Worldwide Pet Ownership.

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