Low-Maintenance Dogs for Busy People

Dog Breeds That Are Easier to Care For

An illustration of the best dogs for busy people, featuring a Chihuahua, Brussels Griffon, and more.
The Spruce / Catherine Song

Do you want a dog but do not want to put in very much effort? You may crave canine companionship but do not want the hassle of focusing long on a dog's needs, like exercise, grooming, training, and health care. The truth is that there is no such thing as a maintenance-free dog. All dogs require some time and attention unless you pay someone else to do it all.


Since purebred dogs often have predictable traits, certain dog breeds tend to be more ideal for a more sedentary lifestyle. You might want to consider a middle-aged or senior dog, although, senior dogs may eventually need more medical care. You can choose a large dog or a small dog as long as you consider the individual dog's needs and the environment where your dog will live.

Take a look nine examples of low-maintenance dog breeds with qualities that make them ideal housemates for busy pet owners. These dog breeds tend to have moderate to lower energy levels, average intelligence, and overall good health. They only need a moderate amount of exercise, grooming, training, and health care.

  • 01 of 09


    A dachshund

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The dachshund is a lovable and affectionate dog breed that makes a great couch buddy. This dog comes in two sizes: miniature and medium-sized. Long-haired dachshunds require a bit more grooming than the short-haired or wire-haired variety. All can make excellent companions.

    Dachshunds have a stubborn side, so they need a good basic foundation of training to give them structure. Dachshunds only need a moderate amount of exercise. In fact, with their short little legs and long bodies, too much running and jumping can actually exacerbate any inherited spinal issues. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 8 to 9 inches (standard); 5 to 6 inches (miniature)

    Weight: 16 to 32 pounds (standard); up to 11 pounds (miniature)

    Physical Characteristics: Long muzzle and droopy ears; coat varieties include smooth (shorthaired), longhaired, and wire-haired; colors include (but not limited to) black, tan, fawn, beige, blue, chocolate, and red with various markings

  • 02 of 09


    A Greyhound

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    Contrary to popular belief, this racing dog is not a high-energy dog. Most greyhounds are couch potatoes that enjoy loafing around with their owners. They do enjoy daily walks and the occasional chance to run, but they do not need a large amount of exercise. Most greyhounds have overall good health.

    In general, greyhounds tend to be easy to handle and very responsive to training. This dog is large, but not giant. If you appreciate the personality and looks of a greyhound but would prefer a smaller dog, consider a whippet.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 25 to 30 inches

    Weight: 60 to 80 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Long legs and narrow, streamlined bodies; its head is long and narrow, and its muzzle tapers to a point at its nose

  • 03 of 09

    French Bulldog

    A French Bulldog

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

    The gleeful Frenchie makes the perfect loafing companion. French bulldogs are among the most cheerful of all dog breeds. Although they have a good deal of energy, they tend to lack endurance. Therefore, moderate daily exercise is usually just right for this breed. Most Frenchies respond well to a basic foundation of training and are generally well-behaved if provided with structure. The Frenchie has minimal grooming needs, but be aware of potential health concerns like brachycephalic syndrome and various skin issues.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 11 to 13 inches

    Weight: 19 to 28 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Sturdy, compact dog breed with a large head, short snout, and bat-like ears

  • 04 of 09


    Close-up of chihuahua sleeping on bed
    Astrid de la Rey / FOAP / Getty Images

    Leaning towards a tiny dog? Weighing in at just 2 to 6 pounds, the itty bitty Chihuahua can be your pocket-sized lap dog. Although these dogs do get bursts of energy, they generally do not need a lot of exercise. Most Chihuahuas are relatively healthy. Grooming needs are minimal, but long-haired Chihuahuas will need a bit more brushing to avoid tangles. 

    One thing to watch out for is a Chihuahua attitude. Choose a dog with a mild-mannered temperament and provide excellent basic training. Avoid carrying these dogs everywhere and babying them too much. Set boundaries for your Chihuahua, or else it will try to boss everyone around.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 6 to 9 inches

    Weight: 2 to 6 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Apple-shaped heads and pointed muzzles; smooth or long coats come in black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate, and red

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    King Charles cavalier

    Eric.R / Getty Images

    Want a dog that will look like a puppy forever? The Cavalier is a mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, and adaptable dog. This is a small- to medium-sized dog that is often happiest when snuggled up beside a human or another dog.

    Cavaliers generally weigh about 11 to 18 pounds and are easy to handle and train. They are typically healthy pets, though some may inherit or develop heart issues. The Cavalier has some grooming needs, such as regular hair brushing, ear cleaning, and the occasional trip to a groomer. 

    Breed Overview

    Height: 12 to 13 inches

    Weight: 13 to 18 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Medium-length silky, wavy coat; adults have feathering on their ears, chest, legs, feet, and tail

  • 06 of 09

    West Highland White Terrier

    Westie in repose
    Darren Boucher / Getty Images

    Considering a small- to medium-sized dog for your new easygoing companion? Westies make excellent pets. Most Westies are moderately energetic, easy to train, and relatively healthy. This breed requires some grooming but does not need to be trimmed regularly. Many people choose to hand-strip the coat of this dog (pluck the dead hairs) while others just brush regularly to keep the coat healthy.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 10 to 11 inches

    Weight: 13 to 20 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Quite compact, although not dainty or nor overly muscular; completely white, long rough coat; black eyes, and nose

  • 07 of 09

    Brussels Griffon

    Brussels Griffon lying on tile garden bench with his tongue out, Santa Barbara, California, USA
    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    Small, cute, and goofy, the Brussels griffon is a delightful dog to know. Though they can be a bit energetic, they do not need a lot of exercise. Basic training is important to offset their feisty side and provide structure. At 6 to 12 pounds, the Brussels is another small breed that has no more than moderate grooming needs. The wiry coat of these dogs may require some brushing, but extensive grooming is not necessary. In addition, the breed is fairly healthy and well-mannered.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 7 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Squarish body with a smooth coat or rough coat in red, black and tan, solid black, or belge (mix of black and reddish-brown); the head is large and round with a very short nose and a human-like facial expression

  • 08 of 09


    Mastiff Sleeping On Couch At Home
    Damjan Gosak / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Got your heart set on a giant couch potato dog? Mastiffs are immense dogs that tend to have a fairly low energy level and not much endurance. Younger mastiffs tend to be a bit goofy and playful, but usually very docile. As they age, they become lazier and more aloof but still affectionate towards their families.

    Like most giant dog breeds, a downside to the mastiff is that it tends to have a shorter lifespan than the average dog. Most are considered seniors by age 6 and not many will live past the age of 11 to 12 years. However, aside from the orthopedic problems that affect some mastiffs, these dogs tend to be fairly healthy.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 27 to 30 inches

    Weight: 120 to 220 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: Short and sleek coat colored fawn, apricot, or brindle with a dark mask on the muzzle, ears, nose, and drooping jowls

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Bull Mastiff

    Bull Mastiff Dog On Bed
    Jena Ardell / Getty Images

    If you want a really large dog that is not quite as giant and lazy as the mastiff, then the bull mastiff might be right for you. Weighing 100 pounds to 130 pounds, this is still a quite large dog. Health is similar to the mastiff (or better) and the lifespan might be a bit longer. The breed has a little bit more energy than the mastiff but still not much endurance. Daily walks should be enough to keep your bull mastiff happy and healthy. The rest of the time, this dog will be all about the couch.

    Breed Overview

    Height: 24 to 27 inches

    Weight: 100 to 130 pounds

    Physical Characteristics:  Large, powerful, and square body with a short coat in fawn, reddish-brown, or brindle coloring; face has a wrinkled forehead and dark-colored muzzle, nose, and drooping jowls

Breeds to Avoid

Bored dogs have a tendency to become frustrated and even depressed. Be sure to avoid high-energy dogs such as schipperkes, huskies, and pit bulls because you will not be able to provide them with enough exercise and stimulation. Without proper attention, they might develop behavioral issues. Instead, choose a dog with a little less energy. Also, the smartest dog breeds, like a border collie, Australian shepherd, or Jack Russell terrier, will become bored if they do not get enough training and stimulation.

Although they are adorable, you should steer clear of puppies because they have a lot of energy and need a lot of care during that first year. Adolescent and young dogs (around age two to three) may also have more energy and needs.