Think it's time to get a furry sidekick? You may already know the mental health benefits of owning a dog, like reduced feelings of loneliness and more opportunities for mindfulness, but you still might be hesitant to bring one into your home—especially if you're concerned that having a dog means a lot of extra work. Good news: There are several breeds that are so low-maintenance, you barely need to walk them. To be clear, you must walk all dogs, but read on to discover some of the easiest-to-care-for breeds you'll ever meet, according to vets and pet experts.
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If there's one dog breed that has a reputation for being lazy, it's probably the bulldog. English Bulldogs are larger, while French Bulldogs are smaller and more compact.
"While this breed of dog needs some moderate exercise to keep them at a healthy weight, they are happy with a couple of short walks throughout the day and are often eager to head back into the house for more relaxation," says Courtnye Jackson, a veterinarian and founder of The Pets Digest.
"Owners of bulldogs want to ensure they don't overexert them in the summer as they are a brachycephalic breed that can easily overheat," Jackson cautions. "They would much rather be indoors in an air-conditioned room than outside in the heat."
Shannon Bunn, pet expert and CEO of Waggy Pups, tells Best Life that a dachshund is one of the most low-maintenance dogs you can get. "These dogs are typically lower to medium energy, which means they do not need as much exercise as other breeds," she says. "Their short legs and small frame cannot take on too much, so short walks every day and some moderate playtime can suffice, and of course, lots of cuddling and relaxation."
Both short- and long-haired dachshunds need minimal grooming, with weekly brushing and monthly bathing, which can be done through a groomer or at home. They "are also very patient and fun to train which makes them great first-time dogs," Bunn adds.
Chihuahuas do not exceed six pounds and eight inches in height. For this reason, they "can usually get enough exercise in a very small space," according to the AKC.
It also means they have shorter legs than other breeds and, therefore, require shorter walks, explains Jackson. "In fact, many Chihuahuas are often carried in doggy bags since they are small enough to go to most places their pet parents travel."
Their tiny stature doesn't mean they don't have big energy, "but oftentimes they will be happy running around the house and playing with their owners," notes Jackson.
This also makes Chihuahuas great dogs if you live in an apartment. Megan Conrad, BVMS, an Oregon-based veterinarian and member of Hello Ralphie, previously told Best Life that they can even "be potty trained to use a pee pad or a small outdoor area."
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If you're looking for a low-maintenance breed that's also very affectionate, a Maltese is perfect. Jacquelyn Kennedy, founder and CEO of PetDT, previously told Best Life that these dogs are "great as lap companions" and "don't need as much exercising as bigger breeds."
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), "Maltese are full of energy but require only occasional exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Daily walks with their owner or bouncing around in their fenced yard, or even indoors, will usually suffice to keep them fit."
But do note that Maltese have a long coat that the AKC recommends brushing daily, along with regular baths and "coat conditioning."
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
In your search for a low-maintenance dog, don't overlook the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, which was, famously, the preferred breed of Queen Elizabeth II. "Though the Corgi is more readily associated with royalty, they also make a wonderful dog for seniors and retirees," says Michelle Henry, CEO and founder of Outdoor Dog Fun.
They are of medium size but don't require an unreasonable level of activity, and they are compact enough to handle with ease. "Their breed history as cattle herding dogs means that they are smart and quick to pick up on training, and though they do need daily walks, they aren't too excitable—making them great companions, especially for families with kids, who are a little busy to fit a long walk into their day," Henry says.
This toy breed (they weigh no more than 14 pounds) is perhaps best known for its "lion's mane," the long hair around their face and neck. And though this does require a bit of daily grooming, the Pekingese is a relatively easygoing dog.
"The Peke will bond easily with their human and enjoys play but doesn't care for roughhousing," says Travis Brorsen, a pet expert for Animal Planet, celebrity dog trainer, host of My Big Fat Pet Makeover, and judge on the Discovery Plus series The Dog Games. "Although Pekingese still need exercise—and walking is a great way to achieve this—they don't need to be super long or fast."
Brorsen also notes that they "wabble as they walk," as they have a rolling gait. Since they enjoy the cold weather, Pekingese is a good option if you're concerned about winter walks.
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
According to the AKC, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels "can be upbeat athletes or shameless couch potatoes, depending on an owner's lifestyle."
Kennedy says this breed is great for seniors, "as they are both affectionate and adaptable … and love to cuddle with owners. Their compact size and good genetics mean that they are easy to handle and train, even if the owner is a dog novice."
What's more, Kennedy adds, they're great for apartments or homes without a yard, and they don't need loads of walking. "But you should still make an effort to exercise them for at least half an hour a day," she explains. "This can be a couple of jaunts around the block, or can be games of fetch in the garden."
This Italian breed is relatively new in the U.S., but they're a great choice if you'd like a medium-large-sized dog that is also fairly easy to care for.
They're "from the sporting breed, but don't be fooled," notes Brorsen. "Often referred to as 'low octane,' these dogs are just as happy lounging around with the family. Like all dogs, they still need exercise, but a long walk isn't required every day."
Instead, Brorsen says Spinoni will be content with a game of fetch. They are very smart, "so you do have to keep them focused on productive activities or they will find trouble," he adds.
Believe it or not, some of the largest dog breeds can also be the most low maintenance. Jackson says the English Mastiff, which can weigh over 200 pounds, requires minimal exercise.
"Nice easy daily walks will help them maintain a healthy weight," she shares. "If it isn't too hot, they can take longer walks. However, you want to keep the walks shorter in the heat due to them being a larger brachycephalic breed, which increases their risk of overheating."