Owning a dog often conjures up images of multiple walks a day and rigorous hikes on the weekends. That’s awesome if you’re an active person, but that might not be realistic for your lifestyle if you work a lot or aren’t that active. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t adopt a dog. There are plenty of low-energy dog breeds out there that are happy to chew on bully sticks for dogs all day. You just need to find the perfect one for your lifestyle. In this ultimate guide, we’ll discuss whether or not you should look into getting low-energy dog breeds, and then cover 12 of the most popular low-energy dog breeds.
A breed’s energy level is important because it creates a baseline for how much activity a dog needs in order to be happy and healthy. A bored dog is often an aggressive and destructive dog, so keeping your dog well exercised is key for their well-being (and your household peace).
The higher energy a dog is, the more exercise they will need in order to sleep well, stay happy, and curb their destructive impulses. If you cannot provide enough exercise for your dog on your own — for instance, if you work full-time or have a health condition that prevents you from taking long walks — then you may need to look into doggie daycare or a dog walking service. This adds to the expense of owning a dog and may be cost-prohibitive for some people, often making a lower-energy dog breed a better option for their family.
Energy levels do vary from individual dog to individual dog within the same breed, but the breed type is by far the dominating factor in how much energy your dog will have. Most dogs do become less active as they age, but this is all relative, and a fully mature adult dog from a high-energy breed may still be as rambunctious as some puppies. So if you are planning to get a high-energy dog and think you just have to survive the puppy phase and then they will calm down, think again!
Some people also deliberately choose a more active dog breed with the idea that having a high-energy dog will inspire them to become more active. While this may work out fine for a small minority of people, in most cases, it’s already hard enough to adjust to having a new dog in the house and training them properly. Trying to suddenly become active on top of all these life changes usually falls by the wayside, leaving the dog restless and bored from lying around at home all day. We recommend against choosing a high-energy dog breed unless you are already very active.
It’s much wiser to choose a low-energy dog breed from the start than to choose a more active dog breed and hope you luck out with the rare lazy dog. If you’re really attached to a high-energy breed, then consider adopting a senior dog from your local animal shelter instead of a puppy. Senior dogs are difficult to adopt out due to their age and usually have pretty low energy needs regardless of their breed. They usually just want to be fed treats for senior dogs and go for the occasional short walk.
You should also know that size doesn’t necessarily correlate with energy levels. A lot of people think that larger dogs have high energy and smaller dogs have low energy, but there are actually a lot of low-energy large dog breeds and high-energy small dog breeds. If energy level is important to you, don’t be fooled by the size of the dog. Dig deeper into the breed profile to get a better idea of what you can expect.
Thankfully, there are many great low energy dog breeds for all sorts of living situations, whether you want a big family dog or a small dog for apartment living in the city. In the next section, we’ll dive into the best low-energy dog breeds for relaxed lifestyles to help you find the perfect dog breed for your situation.
Not sure where to start your search for the best low-energy dog breeds? You’ve come to the right place. We have rounded up the best low-energy dog breeds of all shapes and sizes to help you kickstart your search for the perfect couch potato companion.
Greyhounds are known for their racing careers, which has led a lot of people to believe that they are a high-energy dog breed. However, greyhounds prefer to put on short bursts of speed only, and are perfectly content to lay around on the couch for most of the day. These big dogs are usually content with a short daily walk, which makes them a good fit for apartment living if you want a larger dog. They do have a high prey drive and don’t always get along with cats, so keep that in mind if you have other pets at home already.
This short and stocky dog breed has a brachycephalic snout, which means that you need to take care not to let them overheat during exercise. They are low-energy and don’t require much activity to keep them happy, and they prefer to walk at a slow pace due to their short legs. English bulldogs are more of a medium size breed — so if you were specifically looking for a smaller dog breed, consider the French Bulldog, which has a similar temperament and exercise needs but comes in a smaller package.
Pugs are another brachycephalic breed with very low exercise needs. They are also very versatile and resilient and thrive in a variety of living situations, from tiny apartments to large houses. They do put on weight easily due to their smaller frames (they only get about as big as a large house cat), so watch how many treats for dogs you are feeding them if they will be spending most of their time on the couch.
Saint Bernards are called “gentle giants” for a reason. They are excellent with children and have reasonable energy needs to boot. Saint Bernards do need longer and more frequent walks than some of the other breeds on this list due to their larger size, but their energy needs are still pretty low, especially compared to other dog breeds of this size. They do drool and shed a lot, so make sure that you’re prepared to take care of them.
If you love the idea of a huge family dog, but aren’t sold on the long coat and slobber capacity of a Saint Bernard, then you might prefer a Great Dane instead. These big dogs are extremely family-friendly and good with kids, and they also have lower energy requirements than many other big dogs. Great Danes are extremely large though and tower over most other dog breeds, making them most well suited to large houses where they will have lots and lots of room to sprawl out for naps.
The Pekingese is a toy dog breed that was originally bred in China as a pet for the ruling classes. They have a long coat that grows especially long around the neck and shoulders, which gives them the distinctive lion’s mane look that they are known for. Due to their small size, these independent dogs don’t need a lot of exercise and will be content to preside over your house instead.
Basset Hounds are renowned for their signature long, floppy ears and short, stubby legs. They have a patient personality and low energy needs, which means that they will be content with short walks for the most part. Do know that this breed is very vocal and likes to howl and bark a lot, so if you’re looking for a quiet dog, then another breed might be a better fit for your needs.
While most spaniels have pretty high exercise needs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are more versatile and won’t demand a lot of exercise if their owner isn’t super active as well. However, they will also be up for longer hikes or walks if their owner wants to go, making them a great fit for families of varying activity levels. They are also gentle and affectionate in nature, which makes them good with kids, so don’t be afraid to shower them with love.
These small dogs have a very long lifespan and can live up to almost 20 years if properly taken care of. They are very small, usually weighing under seven pounds, and they have a beautiful and distinct long white coat. Their tiny size means that they don’t need a lot of exercise to tire them out, though their coat does require daily brushing to keep it looking good. They are very affectionate and intelligent and also get along well with other pets.
Bernese Mountain Dogs often get compared to Saint Bernards for their coat coloring and large size, but they tend to drool less (though they do still require a fair bit of grooming to keep their long coats in check). This is another gentle giant breed that does well with kids, making them a great fit for families with children.
Less well-known than pugs and bulldogs, Shih Tzus are also a member of the brachycephalic breed club, which means special care needs to be taken when exercising them in hot weather. They are very playful and will be happy to go on a long walk or play fetch, but they’re not especially high-energy. Their long coats are prone to getting matted and do require grooming, which is why some owners decide to keep it clipped close to make things easier on them and the dog.
Chow Chows have a distinct appearance, with a double coat that is especially thick around the neck area, which gives it the appearance of a mane. They bond closely with their families and can be fiercely protective of them. While they have low energy needs, their thick coats can require more grooming efforts than other breeds. Perhaps more importantly, their guard dog tendencies require training to manage, so this breed is not a good fit for inexperienced dog owners. But if you are willing to put in the work, these dogs make excellent companions, especially for city life.
At Best Bully Sticks, we sell lots of premium quality healthy dog chews that will help your dog maintain a good weight even if they don’t need a lot of exercise. U.S. orders over $79 ship for free, so don’t hesitate to stock up on healthy dog treats that are perfect for low-energy breeds!
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