Lazy & Low Energy Dog Breeds That Need Minimal Exercise

All dogs need daily exercise and stimulation, and they shouldn’t be left for overly long periods on their own regularly; after all, they are social, companionable animals.  There are some breeds, however, that are known for being lower energy and for having lesser exercise requirements than others.

There can be circumstances which mean that having a lower energy dog may make things easier.    For example; if you live in an apartment, have limited mobility, are elderly, have to leave your dog for a few hours on their own every day, or you are just a person that would enjoy the company of a more laid back dog.

This article will give you some guidance on which are some of the best low energy dog breeds.

Are Any Dog Breeds truly “Lazy?”

If you think you would like a ‘lazier’ dog because you are not sure you will have the time or inclination to deal with high energy requirements, it is important that you first take the time to honestly evaluate whether getting a dog is actually the right decision for you, your family and your lifestyle.  If the dog is going to be left at home alone for long periods frequently, is this fair on them?  If you want a dog for company but are not prepared to take them out on walks, then maybe a cat would be a better choice?

You may have heard that a particular breed is low energy, but every dog is an individual, and there is no guarantee that the dog you get is going to want to lounge around on the sofa all day long.  While many breeds have lower energy requirements, they will still require attention and love.

Even if their walks are shorter, all dogs need to have time devoted to their 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 of these unfortunate statistics.

Adopting a Senior Dog

If you opt to bring home a puppy, even if you have selected a breed that is generally known for being lower in energy, you may have chosen unwittingly the one pup from the litter that is a real live wire.  They could turn out to be a dog that goes against the mould and needs lots of walking and much more stimulation around the home than you were expecting.

Also, regardless of their energy levels, all puppies need time and commitment in terms of their general training, socialization and potty training too.  If you don’t give them the training and stimulation they need, then they are more likely to develop problem behaviors like separation anxiety or being destructive as a result of boredom.

By going down the adoption route, you can select an adult dog and, if they are in a foster home, the fosterers will have assessed how they are in the house, their energy levels, and will be able to provide a better idea on the type of home environment they would suit best.

Senior dogs can often be a good choice for individuals looking for a low energy dog too.  They will usually not have the same exercise requirements as a younger dog and will often be happy just to have a comfy bed or sofa to curl up on and some short walks and potty breaks.

Senior dogs often languish much longer in rescue shelters than their younger counterparts too, and by considering adopting one, you could be helping them to enjoy their retirement in much-deserved comfort.

Our Top 20

This list is not in any particular order, and it is not definitive.  Remember, while these breeds are known for having lesser energy, every dog is an individual.

Getting one of these breeds does not guarantee you will have a dog that will be happy to laze around on the sofa all day, or that they will be content being left alone, or that they will be the best choice for a busy family household.


Greyhound

Greyhound Being Lazy

Some people may be surprised to learn that the Greyhound is generally a very low energy breed, given that they can run so fast and they are pretty big too.  While they can be incredibly fast-moving, these bursts of speed tend to be short.

They are often regarded as total couch potatoes that are happy with just a short daily walk, and then they love nothing better than to snuggle with their owners on the sofa for much of the day.  Because of this, despite their size, they are also often recommended as dogs suited to apartment living.

While they tend to have lower energy requirements, they do like company and should not be left for prolonged periods, and they are also known for having a high prey drive so they cannot always live with cats and care should be taken when out on walks too.

Because they are often discarded at the end of their short racing careers, this means there are a lot of greyhounds in rescue.  So, if you want the reward of adopting an often peaceful and gentle breed that does not require too much exercise, then this could be an excellent choice.


Basset Hounds

Basset Hound Low Energy

This breed is one that is often known for being a bit lazy.  They tend to be gentle and laid back and do not have high exercise requirements.  Generally a gentle daily walk with plenty of sniffing opportunities, given their scent hound traits, will be sufficient.

They can be known for being stubborn though, and, for this reason, they may need extra reward-based training efforts in certain situations.

Their long droopy ears mean that they can be more prone to ear problems and their long bodies and short legs can give rise to back and joint problems.  Care must be taken to ensure that they do not become overweight as this can put even more strain on their joints.


Great Danes

Great Danes Laying in Grass

They may be one of the largest dog breeds around, but that doesn’t mean they have the most significant exercise requirements.

Although they may not need as much exercise as many other breeds of their size, they can still be known for being playful and goofy, and they will need to be kept appropriately enriched at home.

They are often regarded as a good family pet as they tend to be good with children and other pets too.

They are not a breed that is associated with longevity though, so you will need to be prepared for having to say goodbye sooner than with some dogs, and your feeding budget will be considerably higher than if you opt for a toy breed dog.


Bulldog

Bulldog Low Energy

Often referred to as the English Bulldog, this is a breed that is easily recognizable and known for its low exercise requirements.  Part of this relates to the confirmation of the breed.  They are stocky, squat dogs and they are also a flat-faced, brachycephalic breed, and so care needs to be taken to ensure that they are not overexerted, especially in hot weather.

They tend to be laid back dogs with a friendly and characterful nature, although they are also known for having a stubborn streak too.

They are a breed that is prone to several health problems including respiratory issues, eye problems and musculoskeletal conditions, so picking a reputable breeder and considering pet insurance are important considerations.


Pugs

Pug Being Lazy

Pugs have grown enormously in popularity in recent years.   In 2018 they were recognized as the fourth most popular breed in the UK alone.  They have unique, often loving, sometimes mischievous personalities, and they are certainly unique to look at too.

While they can be very playful, they are not known for having high exercise requirements.  This, again, is in part to them being another brachycephalic, flat-faced breed.  As with the Bulldog, care needs to be taken when exercising to ensure they do not overheat.

As with most brachy breeds, they can be prone to respiratory and eye conditions, and they are also associated with more commonly developing skin conditions and allergies.  They are also a breed that can easily become overweight, and it is crucial to control their diet carefully.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Sleeping

This breed is known for being extremely adaptable.  If they have less active owners, they are generally quite content with one decent daily walk and lots of cuddles, but they also happily accompany owners on longer hikes and adventures.  They are usually less hyper than their Cocker Spaniel relatives.

They usually have a very gentle and affectionate nature and are often selected as a good family dog.  They are a dog that often likes to be showered with love and attention.  They are very eager to please and are usually very receptive to training.

They are another breed that is associated with certain genetic health problems, some of them are serious, so you should always ensure you seek out a responsible breeder, if you are not going down the adoption route.


Chow Chow

Chow Chow Sleeping Lazy

This unique and rarer breed is known for being very loyal to their owner, generally calm, and they do not have high exercise requirements.  However, they are not generally suited to novice dog owners.

They are very clever but can be obstinate and prone to guarding and are not always keen on other dogs or strangers.  The may need extra support when it comes to training and socialization.

If you are looking for a dog that loves affection and attention, this may not be the breed for you either.  While often steadfastly loyal to their people, they can be aloof and like their independence.

They are also a breed that requires a lot of grooming to keep their coat in good condition and tangle free.


Pekingese

Lazy Pekingese

This small breed dog is known for being affectionate, loyal, intelligent and pretty low energy.  They are another breed with a stubborn streak though, so lots of reward-based training may be required to keep them on side.

They are also a breed that needs regular grooming to ensure their long coat does not become tangled.

Another Brachy breed, care needs to be taken that they are not over exercised, especially in hot weather, and it also means that they may develop health problems associated with their face shape.


Whippet

Whippet Sleeping

Happy-go-lucky, very friendly, quiet and generally easygoing, the Whippet is known for being a great family pet, and they also tend to get along well with other dogs too.

While they often enjoy ‘zoomies’ when they are out on a walk; once back home, they are usually happy to snuggle up and enjoy a cuddle and a snooze. They are another breed that could fit in well with a low energy or high energy household, 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 then be very settled at home. They do thrive on company though, so are not a dog that suits being left for too long on their own and they can have a high prey drive for small furries outside.


French Bulldog

French Bulldog Sleeping

The Frenchie has soared in popularity in recent years and in 2018 they were actually named as the most popular breed in the UK.  Their characterful appearance and personalities make them a hit with many people.  Yes, they are usually charming, playful, very affectionate and often make great family pets; but they are also a breed that is prone to a number of health conditions.

Care should be taken to ensure that you seek out a responsible breeder that does health checks on the parents.    They can be prone to skin conditions and problems with breathing and eyes, as per other brachycephalic breeds.

Again, they are a breed that needs to be carefully monitored in hot weather too because of the ease with which they can overheat.


Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Sleeping

The Shih Tzu is often a popular choice for families and in elderly households.  They are often extremely sociable, enjoying the company of children and other dogs, and they tend to be adaptable and intelligent.

They do not generally have high energy requirements and, again, being a brachy breed, this means care needs to be taken when exercising in hot weather.  They do enjoy a decent walk, and they can be very playful, so they are not regarded as a lazy breed by any means.

Their coats require a lot of maintenance to prevent them from becoming matted and uncomfortable, although some owners choose to have them clipped down to avoid this issue.

Along with the problems that can be associated with the flat-faced breed, Shih Tzu’s are also more prone to developing dry eye and suffering from back problems.


Mastiff

Mastiff Having No Energy

Similar to the Bullmastiff, the English Mastiff may be enormous, but this large breed is not known for having demanding exercise requirements, and they are often seen as being slightly lazy.

Despite their intimidating size, they are usually exceptionally loyal and loving towards their family.

Because of their protective nature, if they do not receive the right socialization or training, there is a risk they could start to exhibit territorial or guarding behavior.  This should not be allowed to escalate, especially given their size and strength,

They are a breed that can be quite drooly, so you don’t want to be too houseproud, and care must be taken not to indulge their laziness too much as they can be prone to becoming overweight.

They are another breed that is not associated with longevity, because of their size, and they are also known for their desire to chew.  Plenty of strong and interactive toys should be provided.  American Mastiffs fall into the same energy category here as well, but many people think they are just a mutt version of an English Mastiff.


Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin Sleeping

The ancient Japanese Chin is a noble, intelligent, laid-back, and loving little dog breed.  They are often known for being a bit of a lap dog, and they tend to prefer snuggles than lots of huge daily walks, although they can keep up perfectly well if you do want to take them out for a bigger adventure.

Care needs to be taken in hot weather as they are another brachycephalic breed.

They do not have excessive grooming requirements, despite their longer coat and they are one of the healthier brachy breeds, although they can be prone to eye and joint problems.


Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso Laying Down

This is another small breed dog that, like the Shih Tzu, is known for being loving, playful and pretty adaptable.

They do not have excessive exercise requirements, but that won’t stop them from enjoying longer walks too.  They are not always as tolerant of children though, so they may not be best suited to a home with young children, and they can be a vocal breed.

While they are intelligent, they can also be strong-willed, so time and patience could be required in terms of training.  They are also a breed that requires more attention to their grooming.  They will either need regular clipping or frequent brushing to ensure it does not become tangled.


Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound Sleeping

Another large Sighthound that is known for being calm, laid back, affectionate, good with children, and does not have excessive exercise requirements

They do have a high prey drive though, and care needs to be taken around small pets.  They are also a breed that thrives in company, and they can suffer from separation anxiety if left too much on their own.

They can also be prone to large breed health conditions like bloat (the twisting of the stomach) and joint problems, and you need to factor in the additional cost of feeding such a large breed too.


Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard Sleeping

Another breed known for being a gentle giant, the Saint Bernard tends to be affectionate, loyal and easy going.  Although care needs to be taken because of their size, they are a breed that is usually extremely good with children.

They do still have moderate exercise needs, they need decent walks, but they are not as demanding in terms of their physical needs as some large breed dogs.

Care needs to be taken in the hot weather, as they can overheat more quickly and they are a dog that slobbers a lot; a drool bib would be a good investment!  They also shed a lot, and a good de-shedding tool would be recommended to keep their coat in good condition and the hairs somewhat at bay.


Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Sleeping

This breed is the most popular pet dog in Japan.  This is likely due to their confident, independent and amiable personality.  They are popular mixed breed pups too, and are often mixed with other purebreds to create designer dogs, like the Corgi Inu.

They are one of the most active breeds on our list but, providing they get a decent daily walk, and enough enrichment in the home, they then tend to be pretty quiet at home, and they are often selected as a dog appropriate for apartment living.

If they don’t get enough stimulation, they can become destructive and bored and can suffer from separation anxiety if left too much.

Their independent nature means that they also need extra patience when it comes to training, but, given their intelligence, patience will pay off.

Be prepared for the shedding; you will want a good vacuum cleaner!


Shar Pei

Shar Pei Sleeping

The Shar Pei is often regarded as a lower energy breed.  While they are a dog that will not need daily hikes to keep them happy, they are not usually a breed that is recommended for novice dog owners.

They can be aloof, willful, sometimes dog aggressive and their popularity in the eighties, and the subsequent overbreeding means that they are also prone to many health conditions.


Bolognese

Bolognese Being Lazy

Although not completely sedentary, this is another breed that does not have high exercise requirements.  They are a very playful and smart little breed, so they should have enough mental enrichment around the home too.

They are known for being extremely affectionate, calm and friendly and tend to get along well with other dogs.

They do need a lot of grooming, and their bond with their humans means they can be prone to separation anxiety too.


Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog Sleeping

The Bernese Mountain Dog shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Saint Bernard.; it is another gentle giant that tends to be a good family dog.  While they do not need a lot of exercise to keep them happy, they will happily join you for a longer hike if the notion takes you.

They are not known for drooling as much as the Saint Bernard, although still expect a little slobber.  Be aware that they also need a lot of grooming to keep the shedding hair at bay.

The breed is prone to developing cancer and care should be taken to find a reputable breeder.  Berenedoodles are a mixed breed that have the Bernese mixed with a Poodle, and they have slightly above energy levels because the poodle carries it.


Final Thoughts

While there are particular breeds that are known for being less energetic than others, we still need to remember that every dog is an individual.  Even if a dog is lower energy, they still require daily walks, enrichment, company and training.

Taking on an adult or senior dog in rescue may also offer you the chance to find a dog with less energy instead of opting for a purebred puppy.   It also then means that you get to experience the warm feeling of offering a dog a forever home.  There are lots of mixed breed dogs out there that will also be less energetic than others.

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