Low-maintenance dog breeds are perfect for busy individuals because they usually come in a small size, won’t need daily walks, and need minimal grooming. Many of these breeds are known to be easygoing, calm dogs with low energy levels that don’t need much exercise. Now that you’re excited about all the possibilities, whether you’re looking for small dogs or gentle giants, here are the 21 best low-maintenance dogs for you to choose from!
What is a “Low-Maintenance” Dog?
A “low-maintenance” dog breed will be quite subjective and the definition will depend on people’s ideas of what basic training should be. Here are a few factors that most would agree on that are accepted as low-maintenance.
Low Shedding Fur
One of the hardest things that dog owners need to do is to keep up with grooming. This is particularly challenging with dogs that shed more because they will need more time and attention to maintain them. As such, hypoallergenic breeds are great low-maintenance dogs since they rarely shed.
Low Exercise Needs
It’s not just time-consuming to give active dogs their exercise needs, but they may also turn to destructive behaviors if they don’t get enough. Different dogs are built with different physical characteristics — some will be more energetic and require daily exercise such as the Husky, Labrador Retriever, and Border Collies. On the other hand, there are also dogs that don’t need a lot of exercise, known as lap dogs.
Easy to Train
All dogs will need training, whether it’s proper behavior or basic obedience but not all breeds will be eager for training. The best dog breeds that are low-maintenance will usually have high working intelligence and obedience and will be responsive to training. They’ll also be more willing to accept their owner as their alpha since they’re not as dominant as other breeds.
Dog owners agree that more docile and calmer dogs tend to be low maintenance because they have lower exercise needs, and they won’t always pester their owners to go out and play. Moreover, calm dogs are the perfect companion and will love nothing more than to stay on your lap all day. Today’s world is full of working dogs, so having a laid-back puppy is a welcome change of pace.
Best Low-Maintenance Dogs
Now that you know what makes a low-maintenance dog, here are the best choices for you to choose from. Just keep in mind that every dog is unique, and the qualities we look for in low-maintenance dogs will be different for all of us.
1. Rat Terrier
This relatively low-maintenance dog has a short and smooth coat that won’t need regular brushing — weekly brushing should be enough. They will need an occasional bath and nail trimming at least once a month, while their teeth will need daily brushing with dog-formulated toothpaste. However, this is a high-energy dog and will need around 30 minutes of exercise like jogging or brisk walking and will also enjoy playing fetch and tug-of-war.
2. Basset Hound
A Basset Hound is easily recognizable because of their big, floppy ears — they’re also patient, charming, loyal, and can be quite at ease lounging around lazily. Unfortunately, these friendly dogs can be big couch potatoes so a daily walk should keep them fit and healthy. Because they have such short coats, you can get away with little grooming and a monthly bath with the exception being shedding season.
3. Boston Terrier
A good reason to get Boston Terriers is that they’re happy, friendly dogs that make them suitable for big city life. While this breed is a bit more lively compared to other dogs in this list, they only require a trip to the dog park to keep their energy in check. They’re generally up for anything and are eager to please, plus you won’t have to worry about doing much grooming because they don’t shed much.
4. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is smart, obedient, and friendly, with a wiry, double-coat with a medium length that will need brushing often to prevent it from getting tangled. Luckily, they won’t need much activity and can make do with minimal exercise. At the same time, they can learn and obey commands quickly because they’re so eager to please their owners and are also great with other pets and kids.
5. Brussels Griffon
This toy breed has a human-like personality and is known for its curiosity, loyalty, and sensitivity. They’re also playful and can be easily trained, but they only need a moderate amount of exercise daily to keep their energy down. Keep in mind that Brussels come in two kinds; smooth-coated Brussels will benefit from plenty of brushing during shedding season, while rough-coated Brussels will need their hair clipped — a professional can help you here.
6. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are playful, gentle, and sensitive, not to mention cute, and friendly, plus they’re hypoallergenic dogs, making them great companions for those with asthma. While they may not be an ideal match for people with busy schedules, they can be a low-maintenance breed because they rarely shed, and will only need around 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Furthermore, they respond to training well and as long as you provide positive reinforcement, they can become well-trained dogs.
7. Great Dane
The confident, loyal, and gentle Great Dane is a large dog that’s known for its great connection with young children, where they excel as guardians for growing families. This adaptable dog does a great job of looking after their family without any of the aggressive behaviors seen in other big dogs. But depending on your particular Dane, you may need to provide them with lots of exercise — aim for at least 30 to 90 minutes per day to avoid health issues.
8. Golden Retriever
If you’re looking for friendly, dependable, and intelligent dogs, then Golden Retrievers are a great choice! There’s no question that they’re America’s favorite breed and this is because they’re so easy to care for and are easy to train, causing very little headache to their owners. While they can be low-maintenance, they can shed quite a bit due to their long coats and will need around 1 to 2 hours of exercise where a big backyard will be a big help.
9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Known as true companion dogs, these dogs are affectionate and gentle, and make a great choice for family pets because of their affinity to other dogs and children. These great dogs are highly adaptable, and will quickly adjust to both a slow and hectic lifestyle. They’re also easily trainable and won’t need anything more than moderate exercise and regular brushing.
10. Yorkshire Terriers
While they’re generally thought of as high-maintenance because of their consistent grooming needs, these tiny dogs don’t need as much physical activity as other breeds. They can also deal with being left alone for hours without developing separation anxiety and aren’t likely to start chewing or damaging things around your home. As such, these great characteristics effectively cancel out all the grooming that they need.
Described as sassy and charming with huge personalities, Chihuahuas are great dogs that come in small packages. This little dog can thrive in small spaces but they come in two types. Short-coated Chihuahuas come with short coats that only need occasional brushing and regular baths, while long-haired Chihuahuas will require more brushing to prevent their fur from becoming matted.
12. Bernese Mountain Dog
Their high intelligence puts the Bernese Mountain Dog among the smartest dogs in the world, and compared to other big breeds, they’re much easy to care for. Their loving, loyal, and faithful nature allows them to handle staying at home for hours, making them the ideal dog for first-time dog owners. But you’ll need to consider the fact that they need around 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily to keep this big dog healthy, and will need to be groomed when they shed during the spring.
13. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested dog comes in two varieties — coated and hairless — but both are playful, attentive, and affectionate. These smaller dogs love spending time with their humans, whether it’s by taking a brisk walk or hanging out at home. While they don’t need much attention grooming-wise, they will need extra care for their exposed skin so they won’t get irritated or sunburned.
14. French Bulldog
The Frenchie is among the most popular dogs in the country, especially because they’re so playful, smart, adorable, and adaptable. While they can be great city dogs (their alertness makes them great watchdogs), they’re also very calm and are content with short walks for exercise. They have short coats and shed minimally, so if you’re looking for a new dog then the French Bulldog is for you.
15. Doberman Pinscher
The alert, smart, and loyal Doberman pinscher can be a double-edged sword — if your hectic schedule involves a lot of physical activity and fitness, then take this dog with you. These dogs need plenty of exercise and will need a lot of training as a puppy, but if that’s what you already spend your time on, then this can be a great option for you in every other aspect. Because they have a short and silky coat, it’s really easy to keep them looking majestic every day.
16. Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound comes with a fine single coat that’s both beautiful and luxurious, and their small size makes them a good choice for a lap dog. While they fall into the toy breed category, they have all the good traits found in Greyhounds such as their sensitive, independent, and sensitive nature. This energetic dog will need a moderate amount of exercise and will readily cuddle with their families and much like their bigger cousins, they won’t need too much brushing.
17. Manchester Terrier
With Manchester Terriers, you don’t need to worry about scheduling expensive salon sessions every month to keep their fur in check. They have beautiful, smooth, and short coats that aren’t demanding at all, so you can give more time to the things that matter. While they may seem like a breed that likes exercise, they are perfectly happy to hang back and relax after a short walk.
18. Shih Tzu
If you’re interested in small dog breeds, then the charming and playful Shih Tzu is right up your alley because they shed minimally (even those with long coats with only need regular brushing). These little guys are affectionate and very tolerant of kids since they were bred for the sole purpose of becoming companion dogs. They have fairly low energy levels and won’t need a lot of exercise — they’ll be happy with indoor play or regular walks.
19. Border Terrier
Caring for a Border Terrier is a great place to start when you’re after a low-maintenance breed — while most terriers will be energetic, bold, and spirited, this pup is much calmer. Their mild, loving, and obedient nature make them the perfect dogs for families with children and their temperament is also well suited to all kinds of households. Furthermore, their short coats are hypoallergenic, while their low energy levels only require that you provide them with a daily walk along with human interaction.
20. Bedlington Terrier
The Bedlington Terrier is one of the more interesting-looking dogs; their lush fur is hypoallergenic, so it’s a good idea to choose them if you suffer from allergies. However, you may find it tedious to groom their curly hair, since it will need clipping every month and a half and should be combed twice a week. Moreover, this active dog will need to exercise daily to ensure that all their energy is used up.
21. Jack Russell Terriers
The Jack Russell Terrier is relatively low-maintenance and has a low-key beauty routine. However, they will tend to shed a bit no matter what their coat type is: rough, broken, or smooth — just brush their fur weekly. They tend to keep themselves clean, so they won’t need baths regularly unless they feel like rolling around in the mud for a short but sweet adventure.
Get the Right Low-Maintenance Dog Today
If you’re intent on adding a new dog to your family, the good news is that you have 21 great breeds to choose from. Just be sure to consider their activity level, grooming needs, personality, and exercise needs to make sure that they’re a good fit for your needs. Finally, ensure that your pooch stays in good health by providing them with the care, love, and attention they deserve. After all, they are companion dogs that live and breathe to see you happy and well looked after.