By: Abby Marshall | Reviewed by Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | May 5, 2017
If you love the idea of having a dog but aren’t sure you’re ready to spend hours outside in every shade of weather to keep it from going haywire, cheer up: There are many calm dog breeds that are happier hanging out on the couch than going for a hike. Here are some suggestions on low maintenance dogs both large and small that won’t require hours of exercise a day.
It’s important to note, however, that even the quietest, laziest dog needs daily exercise, including at least one walk and a couple hours of playtime.
Often referred to as the ‘ultimate lapdog,’ the Pekingese is a proud but docile creature. Originally bred to be the companions of Chinese imperials, these dogs are perfectly content to sit by your side or in your lap as you go about your daily business. Be mindful, though, that their imperial heritage gives them a healthy dose of independence: They have intelligent, playful personalities but are not well-suited for families with small children.
Also in the tiny lapdog category is the Bichon Frise, an easygoing, easily trained ball of fluffy white hair that – bonus – doesn’t shed.
Another well-known small dog breed is the pug. With its adorably squished face and characteristic snuffling, the pug delights owners with is even temper, playful attitude and outdoing dispositions – without the need for rigorous exercise. You’ll never be bored with one of these little guys around, but be wary that they can be mischievous, and require a lot of patience in training.
One size up from the pug is the English or American bulldog, a stocky character who may look intimidating, but soon reveals a friendly, patient personality. Bulldogs are quite lazy, but extremely loyal and often form strong bonds with children, making them an ideal family pet.
Finally, no small dog list would be complete without a mention of the Chihuahua: the Mexican breed is often seen in popular media as a purse dog, toted around by celebrities – and for good reason. Despite a saucy personality, the Chihuahua doesn’t need much exercise to keep it fit and in good health.
Surprisingly, there are many large dogs that don’t need much exercise to stay happy and healthy. At the top of the list is the Bull Mastiff. Despite its massive size, the mastiff is a laid-back, quiet dog who much prefers a seat by the fire to a hike through the woods. Loyal and loving, these dogs make excellent family pets as well.
A dog even the Mastiff looks up to is the Great Dane, a leggy beast of a breed. The “Apollo of dogs,” as it’s known, is a gentle giant with a big heart and a surprisingly lazy disposition. While these big breeds don’t need a lot of exercise, they do still require considerable space.
The Chinese Shar-Pei is a distinctive-looking dog, with his rolls of skin and short, bristly coat. Originally bred as to guard, hunt and herd, today, the Shar-Pei is happiest living life as a companion animal, with a quiet disposition that is well-suited to making new friends, human and animal alike.
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