Working from home is a luxury in many ways—zero commute time, a fridge full of healthy food that doesn't cost a week's pay, cozy sweats. But there's one thing we find ourselves missing that we didn't realize we would: coworkers. Difficult though they can be, it gets lonely in the home office. A four-legged colleague can be the perfect solution—all of the attention and camaraderie, none of the loud, annoying phone calls. But breeds vary, and not every pup's resume measures up. For example, you may want to skip high-energy dogs and instead hire a more mellow companion. To get some recruiting advice, we asked veterinarians to weigh in on the best pups for the job. Read on to learn about the eight best dog breeds if you work from home.
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Fancy hairdos aside, the Poodle is one of the most intelligent breeds in dogdom, according to Deepanshu Bedi, the marketing director at Holistapet. They're easy to train, quiet, hypoallergenic, and happy to keep themselves busy indoors. They can even be litterbox trained! They're also friendly with people of all ages and "will quietly snuggle with you while you work."
Bedi also says that poodles are highly sensitive to their owner's needs (which puts them ahead of most human co-workers). He adds that poodles are classified into three sub-breeds: standard, toy, and tiny. "If you prefer a less active animal, go with the standard breed."
Jenna Mahan, registered veterinary technician and director of claims for Embrace Pet Insurance, says that despite their race-y reputation, "most Greyhounds are content to sprawl out on your couch, preferably tucked in under a blankie. They're generally quiet and clean animals with good manners and a gentle demeanor."
Emma Thompson, a registered veterinary nurse who runs the online pet platform Jaxery, says that one specific type of Greyhound is an especially great breed for people who work from home. "Italian Greyhounds are low maintenance, in terms of they don't need much grooming, and one walk a day will suffice. They're also extremely loving and like close touch with their owners, meaning while you're working they would be happy sitting by your feet or on your lap."
Thompson does point out one caveat. The svelte canines don't like being left alone for long periods, "but if you work from home, that wouldn't matter at all!"
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Small dogs tend to make better office companions since they can snooze in your lap while you work at your desk. For this reason, Aaron Rice, an expert dog trainer at Stayyy, says Maltese is one of the most popular breeds for people who work from home. "These are small and quiet dogs that don't need too much space to move around… They are also very intelligent and easy to train, so they can be a great companion for someone who wants to spend more time at home."
In keeping with the smaller-is-better theme, Linda Simon, veterinary surgeon and consultant at FiveBarks, votes for the chihuahua—the world's smallest dog breed. "When working from home, there will be certain traits you look for in your partner in crime. You will not want a needy or clingy dog, nor one who is too noisy. Rather, you will be looking for an easy-going dog who can keep themselves entertained and does not get up to too much mischief."
Chihuahuas don't need a huge amount of exercise, a plus if you're unable to step away from the desk for a walk, but they do like affection, so "make sure to spend plenty of time with them on your break," advises Simon.
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Small dogs aren't for everyone. If you'd prefer to size up, you'll be happy to know that Great Danes make good work companions. These gentle giants are "absolute couch potatoes and will be fine with just a walk every day," says Mahan. "They're not typically excitable, except maybe when someone new is coming to pet them. Their mellow nature makes them quiet and trainable, setting them up to be a top big dog breed for those working from home, provided they've got room to stretch out somewhere for a nap." Just be sure your home office is spacious enough to fit your desk and their dog bed.
Labrador Retrievers are a great all-around pick, according to Corinne Wigfall, registered veterinarian and veterinary spokesperson for SpiritDog Training. "They will sit lovingly at your feet all day whilst you work and keep you company." She does note that Labs require a minimum of 40 minutes of exercise each day, but this "will help you get out of the house and top up your step count after your work day is done so you can unwind and relax after a hard day in the home office." Other pluses are that Labs are easy to train, friendly, and good with both children and other dogs.
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Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist and researcher, tells Best Life that the ideal dog breed for a remote employee should be equal parts calm and active. "You want them to be mellow enough so that they don't distract you during work but also active enough to take regular walks with you. Having a furry walking companion helps incentivize needed physical activity."
Golden Retrievers are pure gold when it comes to these traits. "These dogs have an innate ability to match their human's energy, so they'll be lazy when you're distracted with work but also willing to join you for an afternoon or evening jaunt around the neighborhood," explains Venn-Watson.
Plain Ol' Mutt
Amanda Takiguchi, a veterinarian and founder of Trending Breeds, advises wisely that often the best breed is the most diverse. "A mutt. A mongrel. A messy little mix of terrier and sausage dog and Jack Russell and who-knows-what, rescued from abandonment and months in a rescue shelter's cage. They will adore you for the rest of their lives and give you their gratitude every day in snuggly kisses."
In addition to the adoration on both ends that comes from adopting, mixed-breed dogs typically are eager to please and, therefore, are easy to train. Plus, "they will be sturdy and healthy because of their parental mix—no hip dysplasia or other genetic disorders," says Takiguchi.