If you want a dog companion but do not want to put in too much effort, look for a pup that needs minimal exercise, grooming, training, or infrequent health care needs. Purebred dogs often have predictable traits. You can breed a dog to have certain physical attributes, behavioral consistencies, and exercise and training needs; although, some dogs break the mold and may not keep to the breed expectation. Lower maintenance dogs come in all sizes—large and small—to find a good match, also consider the individual dog's needs and the size and climate of the environment where your dog will live.
Even if you get a low-maintenance breed, the truth is 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.
The best dog breeds for busy or lazier people tend to have moderate to lower energy levels, average intelligence, and overall good health. Certain dog breeds tend to be ideal for a more sedentary lifestyle, such as middle-aged or senior dogs, although older dogs may eventually need more medical care.
These 10 low-maintenance dog breeds have qualities that make them ideal housemates for busy pet owners.
01 of 10
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 doxies require a bit more grooming than the short-haired or wire-haired variety. All can make excellent companions. Dachshunds have a stubborn side and will need basic training to give them structure. This breed usually only requires a moderate amount of exercise. With their short little legs and long bodies, excessive running and jumping can exacerbate or cause spinal issues.
Group: Hound (AKC)
Height: 8 to 9 inches (standard); 5 to 6 inches (miniature)
Weight: 16 to 32 pounds (standard); up to 11 pounds (miniature)
Coat and Color: 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
Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 years
02 of 10
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 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 its personality and looks but would prefer a smaller dog, consider a whippet.
Group: Hound (AKC)
Height: 25 to 30 inches
Weight: 60 to 80 pounds
Coat and Color: The coat is short and smooth in a variety of colors including black, blue, fawn, red, white, and various shades of brindle, or a combination of any of these colors
Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years
03 of 10
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. Moderate daily exercise is usually suitable for this breed. Most Frenchies respond well to basic training and are generally well-behaved if provided with structure. This breed has minimal grooming needs but may have various skin issues, and due to its shortened muzzle, it may have a higher potential for brachycephalic syndrome.
Group: Non-sporting (AKC)
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 19 to 28 pounds
Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat in brindle, fawn, white, or combination of brindle and white or fawn and white
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
04 of 10
Leaning towards a tiny dog? Weighing in at just 2 to 6 pounds, the itty bitty Chihuahua is the perfect 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 this breed's attitude. Avoid carrying these dogs everywhere and babying them too much. Set boundaries for your Chihuahua, or else it will try to boss everyone around. Choose a dog with a mild-mannered temperament and provide basic training.
Group: Toy (AKC)
Height: 6 to 9 inches
Weight: 2 to 6 pounds
Coat and Color: Smooth or long coats come in black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate, and red
Life Expectancy: 12 to 20 yearsContinue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
If you want a dog that will look like a puppy forever, the Cavalier is a mild-mannered, gentle, affectionate, and adaptable dog. This dog is small- to medium-sized and is often happiest when snuggling with 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. They are a hypoallergenic, low-shedding dog.
Group: Toy (AKC)
Height: 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
Coat and Color: Long, sleek and silky coat with feathering around ears, feet, chest, and tail in four color varieties: tricolor, blenheim, ruby, and black and tan
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
06 of 10
If you're considering a small- to medium-sized dog for your new easygoing companion, a Westie makes an excellent pet. Most are moderately energetic, easy to train, and relatively healthy. This breed requires some grooming but does not need trimming regularly. Many people choose to hand-strip the coat of this dog (pluck the dead hairs), while others brush periodically to keep the coat healthy.
Group: Terrier (AKC)
Height: 10 to 11 inches
Weight: 13 to 20 pounds
Coat and Color: Completely white, long rough coat; black eyes, and nose
Life Expectancy: 13 to 15 years
07 of 10
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 essential to offset their feisty side and provide structure. At 6 to 12 pounds, the Brussels is another small breed with no more than moderate grooming needs. The wiry coat requires some brushing, but extensive grooming is not necessary. Also, the breed is relatively healthy and well-mannered.
Group: Toy (AKC)
Height: 7 to 10 inches
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Coat and Color: Smooth coat or rough coat in red, black and tan, solid black, or belge (mix of black and reddish-brown)
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
08 of 10
Got your heart set on a giant couch potato dog? Mastiffs are immense dogs that tend to have a relatively low energy level and not much endurance. Younger mastiffs tend to be a bit goofy and playful and usually very docile. As they age, they become lazier and more aloof but remain affectionate towards their families. Like most giant dog breeds, a downside is these dogs 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. Aside from the orthopedic problems that affect some mastiffs, these dogs tend to be reasonably healthy.
Group: Working (AKC)
Height: 27 to 30 inches
Weight: 120 to 220 pounds
Coat and Color: Short and sleek coat colored fawn, apricot, or brindle with a dark mask on the muzzle, ears, nose, and drooping jowls
Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 yearsContinue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
If you want a large dog that is not quite as giant and lazy as the mastiff, then the bullmastiff sounds about right. Weighing 100 pounds to 130 pounds, it is still a large dog. Health is similar to the mastiff (or better), and its lifespan is a bit longer. The bullmastiff has a little bit more energy than the mastiff but not much endurance. Daily walks should be enough to keep this breed happy and healthy. The rest of the time, count on this dog to be a couch potato.
Group: Working (AKC)
Height: 24 to 27 inches
Weight: 100 to 130 pounds
Coat and Color: Short coat in fawn, reddish-brown, or brindle coloring with a dark-colored muzzle, nose, and drooping jowls
Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years
10 of 10
Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. They are a more intelligent breed and more active but are adaptable to their humans. Versatility equals low maintenance. They are active dogs and tend to mirror the energy level of their people. Poodles are a hypoallergenic breed, meaning they have a low-allergen coat that doesn’t shed much. However, their hair continuously grows and requires brushing and clipping regularly to prevent mats.
Group: Non-sporting (AKC)
Height: Standard: over 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: 10 inches and under
Weight: Standard: 45 to 70 pounds; miniature: 15 to 18 pounds; toy: 5 to 9 pounds
Coat and Color: Curly, dense single coats; one of many solid colors, including but not limited to white, black, grey, brown, apricot, and parti-colored
Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 years
Breeds to Avoid
Bored dogs tend to become frustrated and even depressed. Be sure to avoid high-energy dogs such as schipperkes, huskies, and pit bulls if you will not 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, smarter, high-energy 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 around-the-clock care during that first year. Adolescent and young dogs (around age two to three) likely have more energy and needs and may not be the best match.