Lazy bulldog laying upside down

Low Energy Dogs -
The Lazy Day Breeds

Low energy dog breeds don’t need as much exercise… and are great for people living in small spaces!

So-called lazy dog breeds do well being couch potatoes for most of the day, and love snuggling up with their family.

If you’re looking for the right breed for your current lifestyle, check out our roundup. You’ll surely find a good fit!


Are There Lazy Dog Breeds?

If you’re looking for dogs that don’t need much exercise or you don’t have much time to dedicate to a new pup, you might be wondering if you can find a "lazy dog breed" to bring home.

The short answer is yes, some dogs need less exercise than others. But really, it’s important to understand dogs will always be active animals.

If your dog is always sleeping and doesn’t want to move, there’s a high chance they aren’t feeling well and you should talk to a vet ASAP. However, there are variations, and some pups are definitely better suited to very active people. There’s a big difference between dogs that need at least one to two hours of moderate exercise per day, to those that will do well with a consistent 15-minute walk around the block.

PRO TIP: Learn to tell the difference between a dog that enjoys sleeping or is naturally less active, or sick. Pups that aren’t feeling well will have a hard time getting up, will seem uninterested in things they used to like -food, play, cuddles-, might complain if you touch them a certain way and won’t like to play.

If you’re very busy with life, or just have a sedentary life in general, choosing one of the so-called lazy dog breeds might be a good option. Those pups can live happy and healthy lives with overall less activity. Keep in mind they’ll still need some level of daily movement, be that in the form of play sessions or a short walk.

Sounds like your ideal dog? We’ve gathered the best dogs for lazy owners, aka, our favourite low exercise dogs perfect for your lifestyle.


Low Energy Dogs That You’ll Love

English Bulldog

english bulldog laying upside down


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

families with kids. These dogs are great ‘nannies.

Weight

20 to 30 kg

Size

around 30 cm

Lifespan

8 to 10 years

Why they’re a great option:

Because of the specific shape of their head and their overall build, English bulldogs are known to be cuddly and courageous couch potatoes.

This breed was created in the late eighteenth century as bull-fighting dogs, but once blood sports were banned, they became loving family pets. Energy-wise, these can definitely be great for busy people. Their short legs and stocky build prevent them from being able to run or jump for very long. With this breed, short consistent walks are the way to go. Be careful with stairs if you want to adopt an English bulldog: their legs might be too short for the height and falling down can be a serious hazard to their joint health.

English bulldogs are one of the lazy dog breeds that do not shed much hair, since their thick, short coat needs minimal brushing. Of course, you’ll find some dog hairs here and there but since every hair is so short, it shouldn’t be a problem. Overall, a good brushing twice a week will be enough to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny.

Keep in mind this breed is considered brachycephalic, meaning they have a very short muzzle and breathing can be difficult. To keep your pup safe, you need to watch out on hot summer days, or any time they seem winded. Travel with English bulldogs can also be limited to car trips only since many airlines have a ban on brachycephalic breeds.

PRO TIP: If you’re getting an English bulldog from a breeder, make sure they are registered with the national association, and can provide health certificates for at least the mother on their joint health and a cardiac exam.

This cuddly breed is perfect for families of all sizes, even those with young children, since these pups are known to be patient and love to snooze on the couch.


Chihuahua

Sleeping Chihuahuas


Activity level

6/10

Perfect for

a family looking for a pup that’s full of personality

Weight

3 kg or less

Size

up to 26 cm

Lifespan

14 to 18 years

Why they’re a great option:

Chihuahuas aren’t really low energy dogs, but they are so small that they can get plenty of exercise just by staying at home. As a result, many consider this breed one of the best dogs for lazy owners. However, keep in mind they are very smart, and their physical energy can spike when they are bored. To help with this, offer plenty of interactive toys to keep their brain busy and entertained.

The good thing about a chihuahua’s small size is that you can fulfil their activity requirements at home, even if you live in an apartment. If you’d rather skip daily walks, a game of tug-of-war, making them chase a ball or even running zoomies on the backyard or living room will be enough. Of course, going on a 30-minute weekly adventure will also help curb your chihuahua’s energy and ensure they stay mellow the rest of the week.

Despite their small size, chihuahuas are bold little dogs with plenty of personality. In fact, they need to be properly socialized from a young age or they’ll become big barkers, even nipping at strange people, dogs, kids and everything else. This means you’ll need to dedicate time to socialization and focus on rewards to foster good behaviour.

Keep in mind obesity is very common among chihuahuas, so having an eye on proper nutrition is key for them to stay healthy. Besides that, this breed is healthy and tends to live a long life, with some pups reaching up to 20 years old. They’ll still need regular vet check-ups, particularly as puppies since they tend to have issues with teething. Because of it, your vet might have to take some teeth out


Greyhound

Greyhound Dog Laying Down


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

households with no children, or with older children that can handle a pet gently

Weight

30 to 35 kg

Size

around 60 cm.

Lifespan

10 to 13 years

Why they’re a great option:

Greyhounds might be the holy grail for people looking for lazy dog breeds. These gentle giants are huge, but surprisingly love to spend their days cuddled on a cosy padded surface. Greyhounds might not be for every household, but if you welcome one into your life, they’ll make the greatest companions for home bodies!

This breed was born to run, hence their long limbs and sleek profile. However, they only have the energy for short bursts of speed, and endurance isn’t their thing at all. Of course, a greyhound will still need some consistent exercise, but it’s nowhere near most dogs of this size. With a daily 30-minute walk they’ll be quite happy. If you have a fenced yard where they’ll be able to do their zoomies a couple of times a day, you can skip the daily walk altogether and just make it a weekly event.

These pups are very gentle by nature, and love being in homes where they can become daily companions. Because of their unique build, long bones and minimal fatty tissue, these aren’t dogs meant for outdoor living. If you’d rather have a dog stay outside most of the day, or even sleep outside, this isn’t the right option. However, if you’re willing to share your sofa and offer a plush bed, a greyhound will be thrilled to have you.

PRO TIP: This breed has very delicate skin and can get superficial injuries easily. Make it a habit of looking over their bodies every time you brush them to make sure they didn’t scratch themselves.

Another plus with greyhounds is they are fairly quiet. A greyhound won’t bark unless they are scared, which happens infrequently. They’re great if you already have a calm house, or you have other quiet dogs. Keep in mind this breed tends to have short but powerful bursts of energy that will have them running around for a couple of minutes before they turn into a pro couch potato again. This means apartment living is probably not the best choice, unless you don’t mind keeping your décor to a minimum.

Even though this breed has a strong prey drive because of their racing instincts, they can learn to get along with small pets like cats. Of course, it’s your responsibility as their prospective owner to make sure both animals are properly socialized before meeting. We’ve known of several cases of greyhounds that love their kitties, so even if it demands some prep work on your part, it is possible.

PRO TIP: If you’re interested in this breed, look into rescuing one. Racing breeds like greyhounds are retired very young, usually around 2 years old, and you’ll get all the benefits of adult dog adoption while also enjoying many years together.

There are a number of great greyhound rescue groups such as Grey Hound Rescue that will help you find the perfect canine life partner.


Basset Hound

Basset Hound lying on its back


Activity level

2/10

Perfect for

work-from-home people that love a good cuddle

Weight

20 to 30 kg.

Size

up to 30 cm.

Lifespan

12 to 13 years

Why they’re a great option:

Because of their short legs and sturdy build, these dogs are simply not made for strenuous activity. This breed loves a good nap and tends to doze off for up to 18 hours a day! In contrast, this doesn’t take from their playfulness: bassets love to have pup friends, enjoy short walks and excel at scent games. If you figure out games they’ll love, you’ll have hours of fun alongside your pup. The best part? They’ll probably take a long nap right after you two get home.

On the flip side, bassets are very independent dogs since they were bred to work on their own. This can make training difficult since they tend to be very stubborn and want to solve problems their way. Yes, your basset hound will probably need a better reward than your typical ‘good job!’ cue. To make training enjoyable for both of you, use positive reinforcement, find what motivates them -usually treats or play- and brace yourself for a long process. If you approach training as a way of forming a strong bond with your pup, soon enough you’ll have the basic commands down.

PRO TIP: Want a quiet and calm basset hound? Then offer proper mental entertainment. Even though they don’t need long workouts, this is a smart breed. When they’re bored, they can become destructive and howl whenever they’re left alone. Keep the problems to a minimum by offering plenty of attention and stimulating their brains with a few dog puzzle toys.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs resting


Activity level

3/10

Perfect for

Anyone! This gentle breed is great with seniors, children and other pets.

Weight

5 to 9 kg.

Size

20 to 30 cm

Lifespan

12 to 15 years

Why they’re a great option:

This happy, well-mannered pup is great for most people, especially if you’re looking for a loving and smart lap dog to keep you company. These small dogs are gentle, but can also keep up with an active lifestyle.

In general, moderate consistent activity is the best option for this breed. This means a short daily walk and some supervised time in a fenced yard. Cavies can be considered a low energy smaller dog since they thoroughly enjoy spending time with you on the couch. Because of their gentle nature, many seniors love this breed.

Even though this breed is lovable and will fit most people’s lifestyles, it’s important to mention their health issues. Because of in-breeding and careless breeding, this is one of the breeds with the most genetic issues. For example, cavaliers are notorious for suffering from mitral valve disease or MVD, a relatively common heart condition that typically affects seniors only. However, cavaliers are known to have higher rates of MVD at a younger age. Careless breeding has also caused this breed to be more prone to neurological conditions. Since the breed standard favours a smaller head, irresponsible breeders have created dogs with skulls that are significantly smaller than the brain. This creates pressure and makes them suffer from headaches, seizures and serious issues like syringomyelia.

While not all cavaliers will suffer from these conditions, you need to consider responsible breeding practices before buying a puppy. Thoroughly run a background check on your breeder, and if at all possible, stick to responsible adoption through a rescue. Many breed-specific rescues focus on rehabilitating puppy mill survivors, and there are plenty of cavalier rescue groups in Australia such as the Cavalier Rescue.


Pekingese

Pekinese dog with puppy


Activity level

5/10

Perfect for

home buddies without kids looking for a striking lapdog

Weight

around 5 to 7 kg.

Size

up to 20 cm tall

Lifespan

12 to 14 years

Why they’re a great option:

This breed was born as a royal companion to the Chinese monarchy, and it’s evident when you look at them! Despite their size, this small pup carries themselves with unique poise. The Pekingese became famous for their ‘lion mane’, their striking coat that surrounds their neck and creates a fluffy halo.

Energy-wise, this short-muzzled dog loves to move but can’t endure harsh activity. Because of it, we consider it a low-energy small dog since a very short walk around the block will suffice. Plus, their small size ensures they can get plenty of exercise indoors just following you around.

These dogs are poised and independent, and many times can be considered stubborn. While they love to spend time with their families, they prefer calm cuddles and don’t do well with rambunctious children. These little pups will snip if annoyed, and owners should work on consistent socialization to avoid issues when meeting new people or dogs. With their people, Pekingese are very affectionate pups and tend to love going places with you.

Because they are very smart, you need to provide your ‘peke’ with plenty of opportunities to think. A consistent training schedule is great for this, as well as dog brain toys to play with.

Even though we’re placing it on this list, Pekingese need a fair amount of grooming to stay healthy and happy. Even if you don’t have time to take them on long daily walks, you’ll have to spend a good chunk of your day brushing and combing through their mane. Some owners keep their peke’s coat trimmed to avoid the daily brushing, but this gives the dog an entirely different look. Plus, because of their long hair, the shedding is real! Get ready for a home covered in fur all through spring and the beginning of summer.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind this is a brachycephalic breed, so you need to avoid overexerting them in hot weather, leaving them in the car and travelling without AC. Pups with short muzzles like the Pekingese are more likely to overheat, have trouble breathing and faint due to excessive physical activity.


Mastiff

English Mastiff dogs having a rest


Activity level

4/10

Perfect for

those with a big yard and a bigger sofa

Weight

80 to 100+ kgs

Size

60 cm and up

Lifespan

6 to 10 years

Why they’re a great option:

Looking for big lazy dog breeds? It doesn’t get much larger than the mastiff. Also known as English mastiff, this ancient breed was created to protect warriors and households as back as the roman empire… and now they love to snuggle on the couch.

Large and heavy-boned, mastiffs are great protectors that do better with shorter, consistent activity. Because of it, a fenced yard to walk in, and one shorter walk per day is enough to keep them happy. Of course, as with most large breeds, obesity is a concern. To avoid weight issues down the road, carefully measure your dog’s daily intake and feed according to their weight. Up to 24 months of age, you shouldn’t overexercise your mastiff pup to avoid disturbing their growing bones.

Mastiffs are easy to groom and will do well with a thorough brushing once a week. Health-wise, their large size makes this breed more likely to suffer from joint dysplasia, ligament ruptures as well as eye troubles.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, finding a dog breed for lazy owners isn’t as difficult as it might seem. We hope this round up made your decision easier!

References
  1. American kennel club. English bulldog. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/bulldog/
  2. Retired Racing Greyhounds. 10 reasons not to adopt a greyhound. https://www.retiredracinggreyhounds.com/10reasons.html
  3. American Kennel Club. Greyhound. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/greyhound/
  4. American Kennel Club. Basset hound. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/basset-hound/
  5. American kennel club. Cavalier king Charles spaniel. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel/
  6. Spruce pets. The Pekingese dog. https://www.thesprucepets.com/pekingese-dog-breed-profile-4685682
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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