All dogs need daily exercise and stimulation, and should not be left alone for too long on a regular basis; after all, they are social and companion animals. Some breeds, however, are known to be less energetic and have lower exercise needs than others.
In some circumstances, having a less energetic dog can make things easier. For example, if you live in an apartment, have limited mobility, are elderly, have to leave your dog alone for a few hours each day, or are simply a person who would enjoy the company of a more relaxed dog.
This article will give you some tips on the best low energy dog breeds.
Are some dog breeds really “lazy”?
If you think you’d like a more “lazy” dog because you’re not sure you have the time or inclination to manage high energy needs, it’s important that you first take the time to honestly evaluate whether getting a dog is really the right decision for you, your family and your lifestyle. If the dog is going to be home alone for long periods of time, is it right for him? If you want a dog for companionship but aren’t ready to walk it, perhaps a cat would be a better choice?
You may have heard that a particular breed is low energy, but every dog is unique and there is no guarantee that the dog you get will want to lounge on the couch all day. While many breeds have lower energy needs, they still require attention and love.
Even if their walks are shorter, all dogs need time for grooming, training, socialization and general mental enrichment.
Too many dogs end up in shelters because people underestimate the demands of dog ownership. Don’t let your dog become another one of these unfortunate statistics.
Adopting an older dog
If you choose to bring home a puppy, even if you’ve selected a breed generally known to be less energetic, you may have unintentionally chosen the one puppy in the litter that is a real battery. This may be a dog that goes against the grain and needs a lot of walks and a lot more stimulation in the home than you expected.
Also, regardless of their energy level, all puppies need time and commitment in terms of general training, socialization and housebreaking. If you don’t give them the training and stimulation they need, they are more likely to develop problem behaviors such as separation anxiety or boredom destruction.
By choosing to adopt, you can choose an adult dog and, if they are in foster care, the people who take them in will have assessed how they behave in the home, their energy level, and will be able to give you a better idea of the type of home environment that would be best for them.
Senior dogs can often be a good choice for people looking for a low energy dog. They usually don’t need as much exercise as a younger dog and will often settle for a comfortable bed or couch to snuggle on, short walks and pee breaks.
Older dogs often languish in shelters much longer than their younger counterparts, and by considering adopting one, you may be able to help them enjoy their retirement in well-deserved comfort.
Our Top 12
This list is not presented in any particular order and is not definitive. Keep in mind that while these breeds are known to have less energy, each dog is an individual.
Getting one of these breeds does not guarantee that you will get a dog that will be happy to laze around on the couch all day, or that it will be content to be left alone, or that it will be the best choice for a busy family home.
Some people may be surprised to learn that the Greyhound is generally a very low energy breed, given that it can run very fast and is quite large. Although they can move incredibly fast, these bursts of speed tend to be brief.
They are often considered to be real couch potatoes who are content with a short daily walk, and like nothing better than to snuggle with their owners on the couch for a good part of the day. That’s why, despite their size, they are often recommended as dogs suitable for apartment living.
Although they tend to have lower energy requirements, they love company and should not be left alone for long periods of time. They are also known to have a strong propensity for hunting, so they cannot always live with cats and care should be taken when walking them.
Since they are often discarded at the end of their short racing careers, greyhounds are often rescued. So, if you want the reward of adopting an often peaceful and gentle breed that doesn’t require too much exercise, then this could be a great choice.
This breed is often known for being a bit lazy. They tend to be gentle and laid back and don’t need much exercise. In general, a short daily walk with plenty of opportunity to sniff, given their sniffer nature, will be sufficient.
They can be known to be stubborn, however, and for that reason, they may need additional reward-based training in certain situations.
Their long floppy ears mean they may be more prone to ear problems and their long body and short legs may result in back and joint problems. Care should be taken to ensure that they do not gain excessive weight, as this can increase pressure on their joints.
This may be one of the largest breeds of dogs, but that doesn’t mean they have the greatest exercise needs.
While they don’t need as much exercise as many other breeds of their size, they can be known to be playful and goofy, and they will need to be kept appropriately enriched at home.
They are often considered a good family pet, as they tend to get along well with children and other pets.
They are not, however, a breed associated with longevity, so you’ll need to be prepared to say goodbye sooner than with some dogs, and your food budget will be considerably higher than if you opt for a toy dog.
Often referred to as the English Bulldog, this breed is easily recognizable and known for its low exercise requirements. This is partly due to the conformation of the breed. It is a stocky, squat dog with a flat, brachycephalic face. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that he does not get too much exercise, especially in hot weather.
It is generally a laid-back dog with a friendly nature and character, although it is also known to have a stubborn side.
This breed is prone to several health problems, including respiratory, eye and musculoskeletal problems. Therefore, it is important to choose a reputable breeder and to consider pet insurance.
Pugs have gained tremendous popularity in recent years. In 2018, they were recognized as the fourth most popular breed in the UK alone. They have unique personalities, often affectionate, sometimes playful, and they are certainly unique to look at as well.
While they can be very playful, they are not known to have high exercise requirements. This is due in part to the fact that they are another flat-faced brachycephalic breed. As with the bulldog, care must be taken with exercise to ensure that they do not overheat.
Like most brachycephalic breeds, they can be prone to respiratory and eye problems, and they are also associated with more frequent skin problems and allergies. They are also a breed that can easily become overweight, and careful diet control is crucial.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This breed is known to be extremely adaptable. If their owners are less active, they are usually content with a good daily walk and lots of cuddles, but they will also happily accompany their owners on longer hikes and adventures. They are generally less hyperactive than their cocker spaniel cousins.
This unique and rarer breed is known to be very loyal to its owner, generally calm, and does not require much exercise. However, it is generally not suitable for novice dog owners.
They are very intelligent, but can be obstinate and guard-prone, and are not always enthusiastic about other dogs or strangers. They may need extra support with training and socialization.
If you are looking for a dog that loves affection and attention, this breed may not be for you either. While they are often very loyal to their owners, they can be aloof and like their independence.
It is also a breed that requires a lot of grooming to keep its coat in good condition and free of tangles.
The Pekingese is a small breed of dog known for being affectionate, loyal, intelligent and fairly low-energy. This is another breed that has a stubborn streak, which means that reward-based training may be necessary to keep it at bay.
This is also a breed that needs regular grooming to make sure its long coat doesn’t tangle.
As they are another robber breed, care must be taken to ensure that they do not get too much exercise, especially in hot weather, which means they are at risk of developing health problems related to the shape of their face.
A happy-go-lucky, very friendly, calm and generally easy-going dog, the Whippet is known to be an excellent family pet, and it also tends to get along well with other dogs.
He gets along well with other dogs. He likes to goof around on walks, but once he gets home, he’s usually happy to snuggle up and enjoy a cuddle and a nap. This is another breed that can adapt to a low or high energy home, as long as their general needs are met.
They will enjoy a longer walk than some of the breeds on this list, but, if they get enough exercise, they will usually be fine in the home. They do need company, however, so they are not suitable dogs to be left alone for too long, and they may have a strong urge to chase small furry animals outside.
The popularity of the French Bulldog has skyrocketed in recent years, and in 2018, they were named the most popular breed in the UK. Their characterful appearance and personalities make them a hit with many people. Yes, they are generally charming, playful, very affectionate and often make excellent family pets; but they are also a breed that is prone to a number of health issues.
You should make sure you look for a responsible breeder who performs health checks on the parents. They can be prone to skin, breathing and eye problems, just like other brachycephalic breeds.
Again, this is a breed that needs to be watched closely in hot weather because of how easily they can overheat.
The Shih Tzu is often a popular choice for families and senior households. They are often extremely social, enjoying the company of children and other dogs, and they tend to be adaptable and intelligent.
They generally don’t have high energy requirements, and again, as a brachial breed, care should be taken when exercising in hot weather. They enjoy a good walk and can be very playful, so they are by no means considered a lazy breed.
Their coat requires a lot of maintenance to prevent it from matting and becoming uncomfortable, although some owners choose to have it clipped to avoid this problem.
In addition to the problems that can be associated with the flat-faced breed, Shih Tzus are also more likely to develop dry eyes and suffer from back problems.
Similar to the Bullmastiff, the English Mastiff may be huge, but this large breed is not known for having demanding exercise needs, and is often considered slightly lazy.
Despite their intimidating size, English Mastiffs are exceptionally loyal and affectionate to their families.
Due to their protective nature, if not properly socialized or trained, they may begin to exhibit territorial or guarding behavior. This behavior should not be allowed to escalate, especially given their size and strength,
This is a breed that can be quite slobbery, so you don’t want to be too high maintenance, and you have to be careful not to give in to their laziness too much, as they can be prone to gaining weight.
This is another breed that is not associated with longevity, due to their size, and they are also known for their desire to chew. They should be provided with plenty of solid, interactive toys. American Mastiffs also fall into the same energy category, but many people think they are just a mutt version of the English Mastiff.