Dogs are a huge responsibility, and despite all that they give you in return, they do take up a great deal of time and energy in your daily schedule. Simply engaging with your dog at mealtimes is not enough: They need interaction, exercise, affection, and regular grooming. We all have busy lives, from work to kids and spouses, and it seems like our attention is being split into ever smaller pieces. Bringing home a dog will further divide your time.
While all dogs require sufficient care and attention, certain breeds are easier than others and don’t require your constant presence, hours of daily exercise, or daily brushing to stay happy. The question is: What does low maintenance mean to you? Low grooming needs? Low energy levels? High trainability? Independently natured and happy to be left alone? There are very few breeds — possibly none at all — that tick all those boxes.
If you have an already busy schedule but still want to bring home a canine friend, an easy-to-care-for breed makes perfect sense. We put together this list of the top 30 low-maintenance dogs, from grooming to exercise and obedience, so you can find the perfect pooch to bring into your home.
1. American Eskimo
These perky dogs come in three different sizes, standard, miniature, and toy, but they all share a striking white coat and easy-going temperament. They are Spitz-type dogs that have the claim to fame of being the first breed to walk a tightrope! With their keen intelligence and awareness, friendly and rarely aggressive nature, and their reputation as one of the most easily trainable breeds, they make for a perfect low-maintenance choice.
2. Basset Hound
With their distinctively drooping ears and gentle eyes, Basset Hounds have a huge personality that is both entertaining and endearing. While these dogs are known to be stubborn at times and thus a bit of a challenge to train, they don’t require a huge amount of exercise and prefer to lounge the day away with their family.
These playful pooches are always on the lookout for fun and love nothing more than to be outside playing games with their owner. These dogs have a stubborn streak that can make training a challenge; however, they are devoted and loyal to their owners and will love the interaction that training provides. While they are fairly low-maintenance grooming-wise, they do require a fair bit of attention, and many Beagle lovers recommend having two to keep each other company.
4. Bedlington Terrier
While the Bedlington Terrier requires regular brushing, they are easygoing dogs that are described by the AKC as “mild” and “gentle” and great with children. They are soft and quiet dogs that enjoy being inside with their owners but have a hunting and ratting history that makes them love playing games of fetch outside too.
5. Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog has a rich history of working closely with humans and is consequently a breeze to train. They are highly sensitive, though, and will not respond to harsh training methods — they are gentle giants at heart. Although they are large dogs that require a fair amount of exercise, their ease of trainability and their affection and gentleness toward their family make them an easy dog to own.
6. Border Terrier
Bred as a capable fox hunter, the Border Terrier now commonly enjoys a place as a loyal family companion. They are highly energetic and playful pooches that can easily adapt to apartment living, as long as they get sufficient exercise, which only needs to be around 30 minutes a day. Their thick and wiry coat only requires the occasional brushing, and these independent dogs are usually fine on their own for extended periods.
7. Boston Terrier
Known for their tuxedo coat and large upright ears, the Boston Terrier’s short coat is about as low maintenance as it gets. They are highly affectionate and friendly dogs that can adapt to just about any type of home, including apartments. They do still need regular exercise, but 20-40 minutes a day and a few fun activities in the yard will suit them just fine.
Also known as the Danish Mastiff, the Broholmer is a large breed of dog from Denmark, traditionally used as a loyal guard dog. These dogs are calm, friendly, and highly protective, making them an ideal family pet. Their short coat is easy to groom, they are easy to train, and their only high-maintenance trait is their need for at least an hour of exercise per day.
9. Bull Mastiff
These large and fearless pooches are the perfect family companion and guard dog. They are mellow and even-tempered dogs that have short and easy-to-groom coats, and they usually take well to training. Their only high-maintenance requirement is drool: Be prepared to deal with a large amount of slobber, but the affection and loyalty they give in return are well worth the effort!
Also known as the English Bulldog or British Bulldog, these dogs are muscular, stocky, and powerful dogs that are often described as dignified and courageous. They get along great with both children and other pets and are rarely aggressive. They are adaptable dogs that do well in apartments, and they love to curl up in their owner’s lap.
11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These gentle dogs are friendly and intelligent, and they need a gentle hand in training, as harsh methods will scare their gentle, sensitive nature. They are easy to train, though, and are often called “Velcro dogs” due to their strong desire to be close to their owners. While this may seem like a high-maintenance trait, these dogs are usually fine if they have a companion with them at home.
Chihuahuas are spunky little dogs brimming with personality. They are independent little pooches that may present a challenge when training, but they have short coats and need little exercise, making them perfect family dogs that are both loving and low maintenance.
13. Cocker Spaniel
These dogs are renowned for their calm temperament and gentle nature, and they are easy to train too. They have a gorgeous coat that needs regular grooming, but they need little exercise and adapt well to any living arrangement. That being said, they do need regular exercise, without which they are prone to excessive barking.
The Dachshund is a friendly family dog through and through, and they love to spend their time playing outdoors with their owners or curled up on the sofa. They are highly intelligent dogs that are easy to train, and their short coat is a breeze to maintain. They are alert pooches that are prone to barking excessively, though, so training is a must.
The Drever is a short and adorable dog hailing from Sweden and was originally bred for hunting. They have a great deal of energy and consequently need a fair bit of exercise, but they are highly adaptable dogs that do well in apartments. Although they have a slightly longer coat than other scent hounds, they don’t need much regular brushing.
16. Golden Retriever
The quintessential family dog, Golden Retrievers are incredibly intelligent and are as equally loving. While they do require a fair amount of exercise, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more adaptable, loyal, and gentle dog. These dependable traits make for a wonderful dog that is easy to care for and just as easy to love.
It may seem counterintuitive that the fastest dog on the planet would be on this list, but Greyhounds are actually calm and docile dogs most of the time. Although capable of intense speed and agility, they love lounging with their owners and rarely bark, and their short coats are a breeze to keep maintained.
The Havanese is a highly social pooch that loves to be as close as possible to its owner. They are highly adaptable, though, and are more than capable of living in apartments. They don’t require much daily exercise and are generally non-shedding, but they do require regular brushing to stay mat-free. The Havanese is a lapdog through and through.
19. Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds have long been favored as loyal companion dogs, albeit capable of high speeds and superior athleticism. They adapt well to apartment living provided that they are sufficiently exercised, and their short coat is a breeze to keep maintained. They are rarely aggressive and make great family pooches.
20. Labrador Retriever
These kind, loyal, and friendly dogs are one of the most popular family pets in the world and for good reason. They are calm and easy to train, rarely aggressive, and highly intelligent, and although they have a fair amount of energy that needs to be burned off, their affectionate and adaptable nature makes them a joy to look after.
The Maltese is an energetic dog despite their small size, and they have a ton of character and personality. They love nothing more than a soft lap to cuddle on, and they become highly attached to their owners. They need a fair amount of brushing but are fairly low-shedding dogs, and they are intelligent, easy to train, and highly affectionate pooches.
22. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer has a ton of energy packed into their pint-sized frame, and consequently, they need a fair amount of daily exercise. They are highly intelligent dogs that are easy to train, and they have relatively low grooming needs with their short, wiry coat. These little dogs are about as enthusiastic and affectionate as they come, and they’ll quickly win your heart.
These tiny “butterfly” dogs are alert, attentive, and energetic, with a large personality that far exceeds their minute stature. They are social dogs that crave their owner’s attention and love to be included in your daily activities. They are highly intelligent and easy to train and make ideal family companions.
Pomeranians are known for having a bark far larger than their bite, and this overconfidence can get them into trouble at times. They have a stubborn independent streak that can make training a challenge, but this is usually overcome by their eagerness to please their owners. They are adaptable pooches that do well in almost any environment, making them ideal for apartment living.
With their flat and unique-looking faces, pugs are one of the most recognizable breeds around. They are known as the comedians of the dog world and have a great deal of personality packed into their little frames. They don’t require much exercise and can actually have breathing issues when overexerting. Grooming with their short coats is a breeze, and these dogs are about as low maintenance as it gets.
26. Rat Terrier
These small hunting dogs get their name from their incredible ratting ability and have been used for flushing out vermin on farms for decades. While these dogs are highly intelligent, they have an infamous stubborn streak that can make training difficult. They are commonly kept as companion animals these days and are great with children and other pets despite their strong prey drive.
27. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is the definition of a companion dog — they were bred expressly for this purpose. They require little exercise, have no prey drive, and are highly intelligent and easy to train. Their only high-maintenance aspects are their desire to be close to their owners at all times and their smooth luxurious coat that needs regular brushing.
28. Standard Poodle
One of the most intelligent dogs on the planet, the Poodle is a breeze to train. They have a fair bit of energy, though, and a daily walk of at least an hour is essential. Their curly coats don’t stop growing and will need regular clipping and regular brushing to prevent matting. It is their adaptable, friendly, and easy-going nature that puts them on this list, and Poodle owners the world over will attest to how loving these dogs are.
29. Standard Schnauzer
Although the Standard Schnauzer has a great deal of energy, they are gentle, affectionate, and highly adaptable dogs that love to be wherever their owner is. They are highly intelligent and love to please their owners, making them a breeze to train, and their short and wiry coat needs just the occasional brushing to keep it knot-free.
30. Yorkshire Terrier
Affectionately known by Yorkshire Terrier lovers as “Yorkies,” these small dogs have a surprisingly high prey drive and abundant energy despite their small size. That said, they are content to spend hours on end curled up in their owner’s lap and adapt well to most living situations. They are fiercely loyal at times, though, and will not enjoy anything that comes between them and their owner.
Breeds to avoid
Though low maintenance may mean different things to different people, there are certainly a few breeds that this term most definitely does not apply to. If low maintenance is what you’re looking for, be sure to avoid the following breeds:
Featured Image: Margarita Zhuravleva, Shutterstock
- 1. American Eskimo
- 2. Basset Hound
- 3. Beagle
- 4. Bedlington Terrier
- 5. Bernese Mountain Dog
- 6. Border Terrier
- 7. Boston Terrier
- 8. Broholmer
- 9. Bull Mastiff
- 10. Bulldog
- 11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 12. Chihuahua
- 13. Cocker Spaniel
- 14. Dachshund
- 15. Drever
- 16. Golden Retriever
- 17. Greyhound
- 18. Havanese
- 19. Italian Greyhound
- 20. Labrador Retriever
- 21. Maltese
- 22. Miniature Schnauzer
- 23. Papillon
- 24. Pomeranian
- 25. Pug
- 26. Rat Terrier
- 27. Shih Tzu
- 28. Standard Poodle
- 29. Standard Schnauzer
- 30. Yorkshire Terrier
- Breeds to avoid