10 Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds for Busy Owners

Browse 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

If you want a dog companion but are often busy, you need an easy-to-care-for dog breed or one that is typically lower maintenance. Look for a pup that needs minimal exercise, grooming, training, or infrequent health care needs. Lower maintenance dogs come in all sizes large and small, so you're sure to find a good match.

These 10 low-maintenance dog breeds have qualities that make them ideal housemates for busy pet owners.

Tip

Even if you get a low-maintenance breed, 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.

Breed Characteristics

The best dog breeds for busy 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. 

  • 01 of 10

    Dachshund

    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 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. 

    Breed Overview

    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)

    Personality/Temperament: Energetic, lovable, endearing personality

    Energy Level: Medium

    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 Span: 12 to 16 years

  • 02 of 10

    Greyhound

    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 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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Hound (AKC)

    Height: 25 to 30 inches

    Weight: 60 to 80 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Even-tempered, intelligent, affectionate

    Energy Level: Medium

    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 Span: 10 to 13 years

  • 03 of 10

    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. Moderate daily exercise is usually suitable for this breed, though outdoor activities should be limited when it is very hot or humid.

    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 has a high potential for brachycephalic syndrome.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Non-sporting (AKC)

    Height: 11 to 13 inches

    Weight: 19 to 28 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Playful, friendly, loyal, affectionate, lively, sociable

    Energy Level: Medium

    Coat and Color: Short, smooth coat in brindle, fawn, white, or combination of brindle and white or fawn and white

    Life Span: 10 to 12 years

  • 04 of 10

    Chihuahua

    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 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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 6 to 9 inches

    Weight: 2 to 6 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Loyal, alert, lively, attentive, bright, companionable

    Energy Level: Medium

    Coat and Color: Smooth or long coats come in black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate, and red

    Life Span: 12 to 20 years

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    King Charles cavalier

    Eric.R / Getty Images

    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 predisposed to some health problems like heart disease, ear infections, and neurological issues. The Cavalier has some grooming needs, such as regular hair brushing, ear cleaning, and the occasional trip to a groomer. They are a low-shedding breed and make great couch buddies.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 12 to 13 inches

    Weight: 13 to 18 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Affectionate, active, family-friendly

    Energy Level: Medium

    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 Span: 12 to 14 years

  • 06 of 10

    West Highland White Terrier

    Westie in repose
    Darren Boucher / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Terrier (AKC)

    Height: 10 to 11 inches

    Weight: 13 to 20 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Upbeat, loveable, active

    Energy Level: Medium

    Coat and Color: Completely white, long rough coat; black eyes, and nose

    Life Span: 13 to 15 years

  • 07 of 10

    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 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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Toy (AKC)

    Height: 7 to 10 inches

    Weight: 6 to 12 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Lively, joyful, loyal

    Energy Level: Medium

    Coat and Color: Smooth coat or rough coat in red, black and tan, solid black, or belge (mix of black and reddish-brown)

    Life Span: 12 to 15 years

  • 08 of 10

    Mastiff

    Mastiff Sleeping On Couch At Home

    Damjan Gosak / Getty Images

    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 are 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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 27 to 30 inches

    Weight: 120 to 220 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Noble, gentle, and loyal

    Energy Level: Low

    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 Span: 10 to 12 years

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Bullmastiff

    Bull Mastiff Dog On Bed
    Jena Ardell / Getty Images

    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.

    Breed Overview

    Group: Working (AKC)

    Height: 24 to 27 inches

    Weight: 100 to 130 pounds

    Personality/Temperament: Loyal, protective, alert, loving, companionable, calm

    Energy Level: Medium

    Coat and Color: Short coat in fawn, reddish-brown, or brindle coloring with a dark-colored muzzle, nose, and drooping jowls

    Life Span: 8 to 10 years

  • 10 of 10

    Poodle

    Two friendly poodles
    dragon for real / Getty Images

    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 have hair that continuously grows and requires brushing and clipping regularly to prevent mats. Fortunately, they do not shed much, so they won't leave a mess around the house.

    Breed Overview

    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

    Personality/Temperament: Fun-loving, energetic, intelligent

    Energy Level: Medium

    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 Span: 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 border collies, Australian shepherds, and Jack Russell terriers 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 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.

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