The Best Dog Breeds for Busy People

Low-Maintenance Canine Companions

best breeds for busy people

Illustration: Catherine Song. © The Spruce, 2018

Do you want a dog but don't want to put in very much effort? Are you craving canine companionship but don't want the hassle of walking, feeding, poop-scooping, vet visits, and grooming?

The bad news 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. And if you're not the one caring for your dog, what's the point of having a dog in the first place? If you are really too busy or lazy to take care of a dog, you might be better off with a cat. Or, better yet, just get a pet rock.

The good news is that there are some dogs that only need a moderate amount of exercise, training, health care, and grooming. One might call these lower-maintenance dogs.

While it's possible that some busy people or lazy people can actually be good dog owners, owning a dog does take an investment of time and money. Even the most low-maintenance dog has needs. Having a dog is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

Perhaps you crave the kind of companionship that a dog can offer, but you really hate exercising. Maybe your life is so busy that you want to spend your free time loafing around and snuggling with a pooch. Your lifestyle may not have to stop you from having a dog of your own. Just don't forget that all dogs need care. It's important to make sure you can meet your dog's needs, like exercise, grooming, training, and health care. The key is to find the type of dog that needs less of these things.

Dog Needs to Consider

What are the best types of dogs for lazy people? You will want to find a dog with minimal needs. However, you must remember that every dog has needs that take time. Consider the following dog needs:

  • Exercise: All dogs need to move a little, even if it's just a simple daily walk around the block.
  • Training: Every dog should get a basic amount of training to provide structure in life.
  • Grooming: All dogs should have their hair coats, nails, and ears attended to.
  • Health Care: Even the healthiest dog needs to visit the vet once or twice a year for check-ups.

Dogs to Avoid if You're Lazy

First of all, be sure to avoid high-energy dogs such as Schipperkes and pit bulls because you won't be able to provide them with enough exercise and stimulation. They will become bored, frustrated, and possibly even depressed. They might develop behavioral issues. Instead, choose a dog with a little less energy. 

Also, know that the smartest dogs will become bored if they do not get enough training and stimulation. If you get a brilliant dog, the outcome will likely be similar to getting a high-energy dog.

Steer clear of puppies because they have a lot of energy and need a lot of care over that first year. Adolescent and young dogs (around age two to three) may also have more energy and needs. Instead, it's a good idea to consider a middle-aged or senior dog. Just remember that 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.

Best Dog Breeds for Lazy or Busy People

Since purebred dogs often have predictable traits, one can imagine that certain dog breeds are ideal for a more sedentary lifestyle. The following are just a few examples of low-maintenance dog breeds. These dog breeds tend to have moderate to lower energy levels, average intelligence, and overall good health. 

Don't forget that mixed breed dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and activity levels. If you would like to adopt a one-of-a-kind mutt, visit a rescue or shelter and talk to workers about the energy levels and needs of their dogs. Also, look for mixes of the breeds on the list below.

  • 01 of 09


    Dog sleeping
    Richard Newstead / Getty Images

    The Dachshund is a lovable and affectionate dog breed that makes a great couch buddy. The Miniature Dachshund typically weighs about 11 pounds or less and makes a perfect lap dog. If you prefer a medium-sized dog, the Standard Dachshund ranges from 16-32 pounds. Be aware that 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. They are often healthy in general, though some may be prone to skin issues, spinal problems, and dental disease. 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. 

  • 02 of 09


    Greyhound Dog Relaxing On Bed At Home
    Michael Rabideau / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You might wonder how a racing dog would be good for a lazy owner. Contrary to what many believe, Greyhounds are actually not high-energy dogs. 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 don't need a large amount of exercise.

    In general, Greyhounds tend to be easy to handle and very responsive to training. At a typical weight range of 60 to 80 pounds, the Greyhound is great for those who want a larger dog (but not a giant dog). Most Greyhounds have overall good health. If you appreciate the personality and looks of a Greyhound but would prefer a smaller dog, consider a Whippet.

  • 03 of 09

    French Bulldog

    Close-Up Of French Bulldog Resting On Bed
    Chenyu Chang / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The gleeful Frenchie makes the perfect loafing companion! French Bulldogs are among the most cheerful of all dog breeds. They are compact, muscular, and weigh 19 to 28 pounds. 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.

  • 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 two to six pounds, the itty bitty Chihuahua can be your pocket-sized lap dog. Although this these dogs do get bursts of energy, they generally do not need a lot of exercise. Most Chihuahuas are also 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 the common 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 before he develops a Napoleon complex and tries to boss everyone around.

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  • 05 of 09

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    Deep in action
    (c) 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 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, and ear cleaning, and possibly the occasional trip to a groomer. 

  • 06 of 09

    West Highland White Terrier

    Westie in repose
    Darren Boucher / Getty Images

    Considering a small to medium dog for your new easygoing companion? Westies make excellent pets and are very easy to care for. Westies are usually about 13 to 20 pounds in size and moderately energetic.

    The Westie requires some grooming but does not need to be trimmed the way many of the other "little white dogs" do. Many people choose to hand-strip the coat of this breed (pluck the dead hairs) while others just brush regularly to keep the coat healthy. Most Westies are easy to train and relatively healthy.

  • 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 sides and provide structure. At six 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.

  • 08 of 09


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

    Got your heart set on a giant couch potato dog? These immense dogs can weigh anywhere from 120 to 220 pounds! The breed tends 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.

    There is one potential downside to the Mastiff. Like most giant dog breeds, the Mastiff tends to have a shorter lifespan than the average dog. Most are considered seniors by age six 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.

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  • 09 of 09


    Bull Mastiff Dog On Bed
    Jena Ardell / Getty Images

    If you want a really large dog that's not quite as giant and lazy as the Mastiff, then the Bullmastiff 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 Bullmastiff happy and healthy. The rest of the time, this dog will be all about the couch!