Lazy breeds of dogs

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8 High Energy Dogs That Need Lots of Exercise

Last Updated on January 29, 2020

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No matter what kind of dog you have, most four-footers require plenty of regular exercise to ensure they stay healthy and happy. But some high energy dogs need lots of exercise compared to others.

For some owners, active dog breeds are a blessing.

If you are an avid runner or cyclist, for example, you’ll love doing so alongside an Australian shepherd or Dalmatian. But for owners who tend to stay closer to the couch or computer, an energetic dog can be a handful.

This isn’t good for either party, so be sure to consider the energy needs of any breed before making your selection.

Dog Breeds That Need the Most Exercise

If you think you’ve got the endurance to accommodate a truly high energy dog breed, you’ll be well served by choosing from among the dogs that need the most exercise below.

1. Siberian Husky

As you may expect, dogs that were bred to drag a sled across mile after mile of ice have incredible exercise needs. If you don’t keep your husky properly exercised, he’ll surely develop behavioral problems and become depressed.

Huskies love to pull things, so while you can run or bike with them, you may be able to wear them out more effectively by engaging in some dragging or pulling activities.

READ MORE: 8 Big Fluffy Dogs You Can’t Help But Love

2. Australian Shepherd

Thanks to their cattle- and sheep-herding past, Australian Shepherds are one of the most energetic dog breeds that require a great deal of activity to keep them healthy, fit and full of life.

The active Aussie Shepherd loves to run, so they make perfect running or cycling companions, but some also display an aptitude for agility course work, disc games and similar activities.

3. Vizsla

Like many of the other active dog breeds on this list, the Vizsla was designed to be a pointing and retrieving dog. Long-legged and lean, these energetic dogs often had to travel for hours at a time, helping their human to feed the family.

This provided them with an incredible reservoir of inner energy, which is hard to completely empty. You won’t be able to tire your Vizsla with a 20-minute walk, so plan on a lifetime of playing fetch or running with your pup.

4. Dalmatian

Dalmatians were originally bred to run alongside horse-drawn carriages, where they’d protect the riders from bandits and wild animals. But even today, they retain this running instinct and impressive stamina. Dalmatians are one of the highest energy dogs that are great companions for runners and bicyclists alike.

5. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois dogs have some of the highest exercise requirements among popular breeds. In fact, their incredible willingness to work and exercise for hours at a time is one of the reasons that many military and police K9 handlers often enlist the help of Belgian Malinois dogs.

6. Plott

For a long time, Plotts were primarily used for tracking and treeing raccoons and mountain lions or hunting boars and bears. However, they’ve become more popular as companion animals in recent years, and more and more Plotts are serving as family pets than proper hunting dogs.

Unfortunately, few understand the amount of activity plots require, which leads to behavioral problems and a depressed, frustrated or anxious pup. Proper training and early socialization is a must.

7. Weimaraner

Another active breed that needs plenty of room to run, Weimaraners are infamous for their spooky-yet-endearing expression and gorgeous gray coat. However, like many other hunting breeds, Weimaraner dogs need lots of exercise and acitivy to help deplete their considerable energy reserves.

Weimaraners often love to play fetch for hours at a time, but they often enjoy running with their owners and swimming as well.

8. Border Collie

Often recognized as one of the smartest large dog breeds in the world, border collies are another herding breed who was born to run, jump and play. The combination of intelligence and high energy levels can make for a destructive dog, so it is especially important to make sure you are emptying out your border collie’s fuel tank on a regular basis.

How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?

The exercise needs of different breeds vary greatly. There are a few breeds, such as English bulldogs and many toy breeds, who don’t need much more exercise than a daily walk or two.

We review 5 big dogs that don’t need much exercise and are suitable for apartment living in our article: The Best Large Dogs for Apartments. But at the other end of the spectrum, many owners find it difficult to exhaust the average active Siberian husky.

Generally speaking, dogs need about 30 to 120 minutes of exercise a day.

Speak with your vet about your dog’s specific requirements, and always be sure to start exercising your large dog gradually to avoid causing injuries.

Pay attention to your dog, and he will generally let you know how much exercise he needs. If you go out for a 2-mile jog with your pup and he is still running around like a lunatic, you may need to provide a little more activity.

On the other hand, if you must slow down over the last leg of your journey to accommodate your dog, you may be pushing him a little too far.

The Benefits Of Exercising Your Dog

Just like humans, dogs benefit from regular exercise in a number of ways. This includes not only physiologically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Consistent activity will reduce the number of destructive or undesirable behaviors your dog exhibits. It’s been said before, but it always bears repeating: A tired dog is a happy and well-behaved dog. Dogs that don’t get sufficient exercise and stimulation act out in a number of ways, none of which are fun to deal with.

Exercise provides a way to bond with your dog. No matter how much time you get to spend with your buddy, it’s never enough. Anytime you can get out with your dog, you’ll both reap the rewards.

SEE ALSO: 9 Fun Ways to Exercise With Your Dog

Dogs and humans both experience hormonal changes when gazing into each other’s eyes, so take advantage of every chance you get to spend time with the pooch.

Regular activity can help stave off some long-term illnesses. Also, moderate exercise can help prevent things like arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. Incidentally, getting your dog more exercise usually increases the amount of activity you get too, which will help you avoid some of the same medical problems.

Exercise is fun! This just in: Playing with your dog is a highly enjoyable activity. Just be sure to pick a dog whose talents and preferences align with your own.

If you’re a swimmer, pick a Weimaraner that’ll likely dog paddle for days; if you’re a runner, start trying to decide if you can keep up with a Dalmatian or if a Border Collie is a more appropriate choice.

And if you are an admitted couch potato, pick a pet that likes to play fetch – it is the easiest way to get your pup exercise without expending much energy yourself.

Great Ways To Exercise High Energy Dogs

There are a number of different ways you can get your dog more exercise, and many of them will provide you with some extra exercise as well. Just be sure to pick a good activity for your energetic dog; he should enjoy whatever you do so he doesn’t view it as a daily chore.


If you don’t have a yard in which your dog can take care of his bathroom needs, you’ll already need to take him for a walk three or four times a day. While some breeds will tire with three or four 20-minute walks a day, many others will require much longer walks to wear them out.


If you like to run, you should consider taking your dog along with you to get him some exercise too. Unlike walking, jogging or running will burn a pretty significant number of calories, and you can probably tire out most energetic dog breeds by doing so (provided that you can run for several miles at a time).

You can even use a hands-free leash specifically designed for running (popular with Canicross) to keep your pup safe without ruining your running stride.


Swimming is a fantastic activity for your high-energy dog, and many breeds love the water. Not only does swimming provide an intensive workout, but it also does so in a low-impact way. This makes it a great option for older dogs who are suffering from joint problems, such as arthritis.

Always be sure to keep safety in mind when allowing your dog to swim, and have a plan ready to rescue him if he gets into trouble.

READ MORE: Can All Dogs Swim? Some Are Better Than Others

Playing Fetch

Not all dogs like to play fetch – some simply lack the instinct to chase after a tennis ball or frisbee. But these types of games are a great way to get your dog some more exercise. After all, you don’t have to expend much energy to play these games.

You can exhaust your pup’s mind, body, and soul by playing, chucking a frisbee (or launching a tennis ball) for a half-hour while you stay seated sipping your favorite beverage.

READ MORE: 6 Best Dog Ball Launchers (Automatic and Manual)

Safety First

Even the highest-energy dog breeds can overdo it or suffer injury, so keep safety at the forefront of your mind when playing with the pooch.

Stop immediately if your dog suffers an injury. A slightly tweaked ankle can become a whole lot worse if you let your dog continue. Carry your pup if need be, but don’t make him walk any farther than absolutely necessary. Obviously, lacerations, broken teeth or blunt-force injuries require immediate veterinary attention.

As a matter of practice, you should carry a good first aid kit at all times for bandaging wounds or pulling out splinters – just don’t use any of the medications in the kit without consulting a veterinarian.

More often than not, it is wise to keep your dog on a leash. Countless pets disappear each year while running off-leash. Although your pet may have run off-leash for years without a hint of a problem, you never know what you’ll encounter on your run tomorrow.

Cars, cats, pedestrians, broken glass, toxic chemicals and wanderlust are but a few of the compelling reasons to err on the side of caution. But whether you heed this advice or not, it is always smart to use a GPS tracker when getting out with your dog.

Check out our review of the best dog GPS trackers here.

Be sure to keep your pup sufficiently hydrated. This is a more immediate concern in hot weather, but most conscientious owners are pretty good about providing their pet with enough water during summer activities – it is during the winter that many fail to do so.

Remember that winter air is often quite dry, which accelerates the rate at which your dog loses moisture. Bring along a water bottle and a collapsible water dish, and you’ll never have a problem.

In Conclusion

We explained that our list certainly left off a number of other large dogs that need the most excercise, so tell us which ones we missed! I’m sure there are more than a few families with a Golden Retriever, Labradoodle or Puli that never seems to tire – tell us all about him or her.

We’d also love to know what kinds of activities you do with your high energy dog to get him the activity he needs? What has worked and what hasn’t? Let us know in the comments below.

You May Also Like:

Siberian Husky vs Alaskan Malamute: How Are They Different?

The Best Dog Treadmills for Indoor Exercise

10 Athletic Dog Breeds Perfect for Outdoor Enthusiasts

21 Best Outdoor Dogs: Breeds That Thrive Outside

10 Lazy Dog Breeds Perfect For Apartment Living

Apartment living certainly has its advantages, such as not having to mow the lawn or take care of the countless other home maintenance projects that might be needed if you owned your home.

The downside to this for dog lovers is that certain breeds most often aren’t allowed, and others are too active, too noisy, or just plain unsuitable for a small living environment.

So, what’s an apartment-dwelling prospective pet owner to do?

Fortunately, there are breeds who require a lot less energy than others. Although it should be noted that all breeds require daily walks. We’ve complied a list of the top 10 lazy dog breeds that make the perfect companion for your apartment lifestyle.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Photo: I Love My Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Weight: 10-18 lbs
Grooming: Medium
Why They’re Perfect: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are happy, intelligent dogs, that get along with everyone. Unlike other small breeds, this breed is naturally quiet and isn’t prone to yapping unless poorly trained. Its energy level only requires brief playful romps around the living room before collapsing into your lap to take a long nap.

2. English Bulldog

Photo: The English Bulldog

Weight: 45-55 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: These short, compact breeds might look like they mean business, but they’re actually sweet animals who just want to curl up with you on the couch. Bulldogs are not known for exercising as they get hot and tired easily. They much prefer lounging around indoors. They’re also just stocky and intimidating enough to ward off would-be thieves. With a short-haired coat that makes grooming practically unneeded, you wont be spending hours extracting dog hair from every crevice of your apartment!

3. Miniature Pinscher

Photo: I Love My Min Pin

Weight: 8-10 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: Although not quite as low energy as other dogs on this list, the Miniature Pinscher’s small size is perfect for apartments. After zipping around the living room a few times, this dog is ready to curl up in a corner and take their eight-hour nap. Relativity healthy and easy to groom, it’s no surprise why the Miniature Pinscher is so popular with apartment dwellers.

4. Italian Greyhound

Photo: Imgur

Weight: 8-18 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: Like the Min Pin, the Italian Greyhound is slightly more energetic than it’s peers. Italian greyhounds are compact as well, with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic, perfect for those with pet allergies. Known for being intelligent, sweet, and very affectionate, Italian Greyhounds are great companion dogs and will gladly spend hours curled up on a warm lap.

5. Pug

Photo: Doug the Pug

Weight: 13-20 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: Oh Pugs! Playful and always hilarious, the Pug doesn’t need much activity to have fun. Sensitive to extreme temperatures and prone to breathing problems, the Pug is happiest when frolicking around indoors. But beware — this breed is sometimes prone to overeating, as demonstrated in the picture above!

6. Basset Hound

Photo: BuzzSharer Basset Hounds

Weight: 45-65 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: The Basset is basically a big dog with very short legs. These dogs get along great with kids and other pets. Although they’re generally lazy dogs, if they pick up a scent, they might very well follow it. After all, this breed was bred to hunt, and it wouldn’t be fair if they weren’t allowed to fulfill their primal instinct.

7. Boston Terrier

Photo: Boston Terrier

Weight: 10-25 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: Similar to the Bulldog, the Boston Terrier is a short, compact dog who’s friendly and easy to train. Indoors they stay pretty inactive, releasing all their energy outside during their short daily walks. Their small size also makes them perfect for tiny studio apartments.

8. Chow Chow

Photo: HD Wallpaper Backgrounds

Weight: 45-75 lbs
Grooming: High
Why They’re Perfect: This breed, best known for its unique blue/black tongue, originated in China ironically as a working dog. Now they can be found lounging on the sofa in the cool indoors rather than running around outside. Chow Chows can be independent and stubborn, which might come across as too cat-like for some dog owners. But if your apartment can handle there large size and endless shedding, they do make great couch cuddle buddies.

9. Tibetan Spaniel

Photo: Imgur

Weight: 9-15 lbs
Grooming: Medium
Why They’re Perfect: Although not lazy per se, these dogs are alert and curious but don’t require tons of activity. Naturally born lap dogs, these ancient breeds are happiest when in cool, indoor spaces or while napping at your feet. Plus, their small size means they can feel comfortable in just about any space.

10. Bullmastiff

Photo: Bullmuffin

Weight: 100-130 lbs
Grooming: Low
Why They’re Perfect: You’re probably thinking there’s no way a Bullmastiff is a good fit for an apartment. Contrary to popular belief, these enormous dogs are naturally quiet, calm, and yes, lazy. Bullmastiff’s don’t require too much activity indoors, all they need is a couch to curl up on and they’ll be happy. If your landlord will allow a 100+ pound dog, and your apartment can handle the massive shedding that goes along with this massive breed, they make great apartment companions.

Resources for Your Lazy Dog


Although these breeds are considered to be lazy, all dogs require daily walks. Fortunately, if you live in Tacoma, the Waterwalk at Point Ruston is the perfect place for getting your dog some much needed exercise. The Waterwalk is a mile-long trail system along Point Ruston’s shoreline which provides unobstructed views of Commencement Bay and Mount Rainier.


Daily exercise and walks go a long way to keeping your dog healthy, but sometimes they get sick or need a checkup. When it comes time to take them in, we’ve got you covered with a list of Yelp’s top 5 Veterinarians in Tacoma.

  1. Soundview Veterinary Hospital
  2. Columbia Veterinary Hospital
  3. Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital, PS
  4. Browns Point Veterinary Clinic
  5. North End Pet Hospital

Pet Stores

Being in an apartment most of the day gives your dog a lot of down time. While most of that time is spent napping, dogs do need some mental stimulation. Pet toys are the perfect solution, and fortunately Yelp has another list of the top 5 Pet Stores in Tacoma.

  1. Lucky Dog Outfitters
  2. Next to Nature
  3. Pet Pros
  4. Wag Pet Market
  5. Petco

Welcome to our complete guide to lazy dog breeds!

What makes some breeds so chilled out? What are the best dog breeds for calm, laid-back pets?

If you’re curious about the answers to those questions, you’ve come to the right place!

Are you keen on getting a dog for companionship, but not so sure about walking them in all weathers?

Do you prefer movie nights over going to the gym, and want a canine friend to share the sofa with?

Do you ever think, “Gee, if only they made dogs for lazy people!” (Not that I’m suggesting you’re lazy, but you get my drift!)

In this article we find out if there truly are any lazy dog breeds, and what the top lazy dogs are.

Lazy Dog Breeds

It’s easy to see the appeal of a lazy dog.

They have a kind of charm. We tease them about their lack of vigor and pretend to complain about it, but really we love it and indulge them.

After all, we juggle our jobs, our families, our homes, and countless other demands. Sometimes it’s hard to contemplate adding something else to our schedule.

Dogs enrich our lives, but they can also be time-consuming.

Carving out extra hours for walks can put us off owning a dog. Especially if it’s in the cold, the dark, or the rain.

But a lazy dog sounds easy to accommodate. Luckily if we search online, countless websites seem to have the answer.

You can find list upon list of big lazy dog breeds, small lazy dog breeds, the most lazy dog breeds…

However, before we get carried away, are “lazy dog breeds” for real?

Or are they just too good to be true?

Looking For A Lazy Puppy?

First of all, let’s see what the top lazy dog breed recommendations tend to be.

First, the most frequently recommended small lazy dogs:

  • Bolognese
  • Boston Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • French Bulldog
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Japanese Chin
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu

The most frequently recommended medium sized lazy dogs:

  • Bulldog
  • Chow Chow
  • Whippet

And finally, the most frequently recommended big lazy dogs:

  • Bullmastiff
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Irish Wolfhound

Dogs For Lazy Owners

Well, those lists look like they include something for everyone, right?

Different shapes, sizes, coats and temperaments.

Some on the list, due to their size or reputation, might have taken you by surprise.

How can the fastest dogs, like Greyhounds, also be among the laziest?

And what about those big breeds? Are they really happy to stretch out and sleep all day?

Let’s look closer at some of the reasons behind what breeds made the list.

Lazy Breeds Of Dogs – Flat-Faced Dogs

Many of the so-called lazy dog breeds are brachycephalic.

That is to say, they’ve been bred for short muzzles, which give their faces the appearance of being squashed in.

You can find out all about brachycephaly here.

The Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug are the most exaggerated examples on our lists.

But other brachycephalic breeds on the list include:

  • Boston Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Japanese Chin
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Bulldog
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Great Dane

So that would be nearly all of them except the sight hounds.

And there’s a big problem here.

Are Flat-Faced Dogs Truly Lazy?

Unfortunately, there’s a very sad reason why many brachycephalic dogs have low energy reserves.

Dog with flat faces often have severe structural problems in their airways as a result of their exaggerated appearance.

Quite simply, life is one long struggle to breathe.

Dogs also rely on the movement of air over the inside surfaces of their mouths to cool down.

In flat-faced dogs, the interior of their mouth has been shrunk in proportion to the rest of their body.

This means that their best mechanism for keeping cool is no longer up to the job.

So, all those brachycephalic breeds on our lazy dog breeds list aren’t idle by choice.

In many cases, the shape they have been bred for simply cannot sustain prolonged exercise. It is just too physically uncomfortable.

This means they miss out on all the other physical and psychological benefits of being able to exercise too.

Of course not every individual from each breed has been bred with such extreme facial features.

But you can expect those with a more natural shape to have correspondingly more energy for exercise too.

Lazy Breeds Of Dogs – Toy Dogs

Did you notice that the list of lazy small dogs was twice as long as the lists for lazy medium sized dogs and large lazy dog breeds?

Unsurprisingly, just about every toy breed is included on a lazy dog list somewhere.

The ones I’ve included here are just the ones which crop up most often.

It makes sense that the exercise needs of smaller dogs will be less than the exercise needs of larger dogs: a one mile walk is proportionately longer for them.

However, low exercise is not the always the same as low energy.

And it’s definitely not the same as low maintenance!

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The Happy Cat Handbook – A unique guide to understanding and enjoying your cat!

Toy dogs may not have the stamina for long walks, but they still need lots of one-on-one attention and play time at home in order to prevent them from becoming destructive.

Many of the small breeds listed above are also noted for being highly strung, and often wary of strangers and unfamiliar dogs.

They require a lot of time and effort on our part to become chilled out, confident little pals.

A lazy owner simply will not cut it.

There’s More: Even The Most Lazy Dogs Still Need Exercise!

Don’t lose hope yet if you came here hoping to find your perfect lazy dog match. I’m getting there!

But first let’s be clear: there is no such thing as a dog with no exercise requirement.

Dogs need exercise for so many reasons:

  • Keeps their bodies healthy and agile
  • Prevents unhealthy weight gain
  • Aids their digestion
  • Helps them sleep at night

Burning off energy through exercise also reduces unwanted behaviors such as scratching, barking and hyperactivity, which are often fueled by boredom and mis-directed energy.

Exercise is good for our dogs’ mental health too – it’s a chance to hang out with their favorite people (us!) and build confidence around strangers and other dogs.

But it’s true that different dogs have different exercise requirements, and some can be worn out quicker than others.

There are also some “outside the box” ways to exercise a dog, which don’t require what might seem like miles of jogging.

Interactive Toys To Exercise a Lazy Dog

Before we move on, here are a few suggestions, gathered from pet sites and owners, as to ways to help dogs burn off a little energy — while potentially saving the limited energy of the pet parent.

Puzzle toys and treat dispensing toys both keep dogs motivated to make use of them. This keeps them occupied and able to entertain themselves.

If they need a little extra exercise apart from their daily walk, these toys might be the answer!

Kong treat dispensing toys
Interactive dog toys
Puzzle toys

The Best Dogs For Lazy People

Okay, one more caveat: dogs are a big commitment, and exercise is just one part of looking after a dog.

You must also be prepared to feed them, groom them, take them to the vet, teach them good behavior all through their lives, and the list goes on.

We’ve already covered some of the vital health benefits that exercise brings to a dog. It’s the same for your pup’s owner! Exercise should be a part of life for everyone, both human and animal.

For now, let’s focus on dogs with a lower exercise requirement, but not at the expense of their health.

Low Energy Dogs – The Sight Hounds

I hope you haven’t forgotten the sight hounds on our lists above.

Whippets, Greyhounds and Irish Wolfhounds are sprinters, bred to work in short, very intense bursts.

They still need to fulfill that urge every day, but once it’s done, they are famously idle housemates.

In fact, they are often affectionately described as the world’s fastest couch potato!

For dogs which really require some fast-paced activity each day, even if only for a short while, a fenced-in yard in which they can safely run is a good idea.

If their size puts you off, consider Italian Greyhounds, the toy variety of the Whippet and Greyhound.

If a fenced yard isn’t available, make sure to take him on brief, brisk walks using a leash. Though they may not go very far, Italian Greyhounds do have something of a tendency to bolt!

Low Energy Dogs – Older Dogs

In 2009, researchers at Eötvös University in Hungary surveyed 14,000 dog owners, and found that the least calm dogs were under 2.5 years old, and the calmest were over 6.9 years old.

Dogs go through life stages just like we do. As puppies and adolescents, their energy and attitude is endless, and as they get older, they start to slow down.

If you’re looking for a chill, relaxed, slow-paced pet, have you considered adopting an adult dog rather than a puppy?

The Perfect Companion For Life With A New Puppy

It might not be quite what you had in mind, but a relaxing home and a gentle pace of life is a wonderful gift to give a mature dog.

The other advantage of adopting an older dog is you’ll know much more about their individual personality before you bring them home.

When you bring home a puppy, you take a gamble on them having the same temperament and energy reserves as the rest of their breed.

But individuals vary. By adopting an older dog, you’ll already know how they’re going to turn out.

Low Energy Dogs – Labrador Retrievers And Golden Retrievers

Hear me out on this one.

Labradors and Golden Retrievers are energetic and athletic dogs, yes. In fact, they’re famous for it!

But once they are provided with a couple of half hour bursts of activity, many Retrievers have wonderfully docile, chilled out temperaments.

And the great thing is, they are hardwired to love fetching games, often preferring them over a long walk.

So you at least can stand relatively still while they do their thing!

Last Words On Lazy Dogs

A lazy dog sounds like a neat way to fit a canine family member into our lives if we also prefer the great indoors to the great outdoors.

However, many of the most lazy dogs have ended up that way at the expense of their health and quality of life.

A healthy dog is built by nature for work and exercise. As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to make sure they get the opportunity for that every day.

Luckily though, just like healthy humans like to exercise in different ways, different dog breeds like to get their exercise in different ways too.

So as long as you can promise them some time for exercise every day, there is a dog out there who will happily spend the rest of the time at home, lounging like a king.

And I can’t end this article without mentioning a study from University of Southern Mississippi, which found that people attributed traits associated with dog breeds to their owners.

So only look for a lazy dog if you want people to think you are lazy too!

Do you have a lazy dog?

What are your favorite ways to chill out together? Are they from a “lazy” breed, or have they surprised you with their leisurely ways?

We love to hear about your dogs, so share your stories in the comments section below!

This article has been extensively revised and updated for 2019.

  • Kubinyi, E, et al. 2009. “Dog and owner demographic characteristics and dog personality trait associations.” Behavioural Processes.
  • Mae, L, et al. 2015. “Spontaneous trait transference from dogs to owners.” Athrozoos.
  • Williams, K, DVM, et al., 2018. “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome In Dogs”
  • Science Daily, 2009. “Owners Should Exercise With Their Dogs Based On Specific Needs.”
  • Temple Stowe Vet, 2018. “Exercising Your Dog.”

What is the best kind of dog for someone who is lazy / relatively inactive?

First, and I hope you already realize this, do not get a puppy. All puppies are very active and require a commitment of time and energy on your part. My suggestion would be to select an older toy breed from a shelter or rescue organization. They can certainly be alert and perky but extremely happy to spend most of their time relaxing on their bed or your lap. They are very loyal and attentive to their person. Almost any dog will adjust to the rhythm of the household. For instance, I have two wonderful, happy, intelligent Beagles. Known to be an active breed they are total couch potatoes. I’m retired and live alone so it’s a pretty quite household. In the yard they chase squirrels and generally smell out every inch. Now I admit I do give them “jobs”. We train in obedience, rally, agility and scent discrimination. They have numerous AKC titles (told you they are intelligent ). This is their socialization and outlet but at home mine are totally contented couch potatoes!

The good news about dogs is that they have this insane way of keeping you feeling good and looking good. When you have an animal that needs to be walked frequently, it’s nice to have one that will get you up and motivated so that you can both get – and stay – healthy together. But not all dogs are the exercise queens we like to think they are. Some dogs are a little less high-maintenance and not so needy in the exercise department.

If you’re looking to own a dog that doesn’t require too much work in terms of exercise, we have some suggestions for you. These breeds require just a bit less exercise than others.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This is my favorite little dog of all time, and I just think that they are perfect in every way. They are very quiet and affectionate, and they prefer light playtime to actual exercise. They’re small and they do not love too much to walk all the time. What they do love, however, is to spend their time doing what they love the most, which is sitting with you and relaxing. Some time playing in the yard and some short walks will be perfect for this particular breed.


This is not the kind of dog that is going to demand long walks and ample time outside. It’s going to demand that you sit down and let him have a space in your lap, however. That’s how this particular dog works best and that’s what you are going to find is what works for you and your family.

English Bulldog

This is a very sweet dog, but it’s not one that requires much in the exercise department. What you will want to do with this particular dog is take it on a few walks now and again, but not worry too much about the fact that it’s not overly into working out. It wants to play and rest, and that’s just fine.

Boston Terrier

This sweet little dog makes for a great companion in an apartment because it’s not so active. It’s great to have around, but it’s not going to care that you haven’t a huge backyard or fenced in area for him to run around. He just wants to use the bathroom and go back home for a nap. That’s a lot of work, you know.

Bassett Hound

All this gentle and very friendly dog wants in terms of exercise is some time to play with your kids, and perhaps some time to play in the yard. It only wants to take short walks, nothing too strenuous. It’s a lazy dog that prefers to relax than do much else other than play with kids. This dog is great with kids.

Great Dane

They are big, friendly and very lovable. But they really do not require much in the exercise department. This is not to say they won’t love and enjoy some time in the great outdoors, but they’re not the kind of dogs that are overly anxious to get outside and get active on a regular basis. They’re just fine sitting inside and being active on their own time, which means that you will need to play indoors, outdoors and only on occasion.

French Bulldog

They’re lap dogs all the way. They’re lazy and low-energy and don’t want you bothering them for a long walk all the time. In fact, they’d much rather spend their time with you in the house taking a nice nap rather than outside doing anything else. A short walk when they need to use the bathroom is pretty much all you need to worry about with this particular dog breed.


Because this is a breed that does not do well in heat or humidity, indoor play sessions are often recommended. They do love a good walk when you are in the mood for one, but this does not mean much. You can take them on one long walk a week or only on the weekends and they’ll be just fine. Otherwise, they love to play and run through the yard. Just remember, however, it might be better for them in the morning and evening when it’s not so hot.

Old English Sheepdog

These are dogs that do love the play and have fun, but their exercise levels are low. They don’t require much of it at all, and that is kind of a nice thing about these dogs. They will have a great time playing inside and being very relaxed with you. Just remember not to allow yours to become too sedentary since it’s clearly not a good idea for any dog not to be active and engaged.

Bull Mastiff

This big, brutal looking dog really doesn’t require much in the form of exercise. It’s a huge animal, and it prefers to rest. Moderate walks and light play in the yard make them very happy, but too much overdoes it for them. Remember that their knees and joints suffer from all that weight, so resting is usually a preferred method of quality time with you for these animals.


If you love to jog, this is not the dog for you. This dog loves to spend time with you, but it does not love to walk or jog long distances. It’s out of breath very easily and it’s a little bit lazier than you might assume. Some shorter walks, time in the yard catching the ball or playing with the kids is all it really takes to make this dog quite happy.

Chow Chow

These are dogs that are very protective of your family, but not very good with strangers. They do require exercise on a daily basis, but they prefer to do this in their own yard away from people and animals they are not familiar with. Letting them play on their own is all it takes. Additionally, you will find that your dog is happy to be inside where you can play nice games with him that also include air conditioning. These dogs do have ample fur.

Shih Tzu

These are not completely lazy dogs. They have a big personality and required a lot of activity since they do have so much energy. However, they are also dogs that don’t have to worry too much about things like long walks. They’re much happier when they can run free in the back yard. This means you’re not going to spend all your time walking them since they will run around happily.


They’re lovable and very cuddly, but they also prefer things like spending their time in the great indoors. They’re known as being good apartment dogs since a nice walk on occasion or a play session at home is all they need to keep them happy. They love to be active, but they are not so active that you cannot get them have fun and sit still when you need them to.


They’re sleek and gorgeous, but they are not known for being overly energetic. These dogs are well-known around the world for their complete laziness, and they are often referred to as couch potatoes. It’s not to say that your dog doesn’t need exercise, just that your dog won’t want or need as much as other breeds. It can’t just sit around all the time, however.

Photos by Getty Images


Country of origin Egypt/
Great Britain

Original purpose Game coursing

Life expectancy 10-12 years

Height range 69cm-76cm

Breed club


With its bright eyes and spirited character, this toy terrier is one of the most popular breeds in the world – at one stage it was the second-favourite dog in America (where the Labrador retriever reigns supreme). It emerged as a ratting dog in the mills and mines of mid-19th-century Yorkshire, descended from various Scottish terriers, including the Skye and now-extinct Paisley, as well as the Maltese. Originally larger in size, it has been developed into an affectionate miniature, which likes nothing more than a lively 20-minute walk before snuggling into its owner’s lap.

The Yorkie’s silky locks, grown to floor-length for the show ring, are non-shedding and need grooming and clipping. Whether you go for a crop or ribboned pigtails probably won’t bother your pet much, as long as you keep it dry.

This dog is a fragile little soul, not in temperament but in body, which is worth bearing in mind in boisterous houses where it might be sat on or dropped. Be wary of breeders who use the term ‘teacup’. This isn’t recognised by The Kennel Club and could suggest irresponsible practices.


Country of origin Great Britain

Original purpose Ratting

Life expectancy
14 years

Height range 22.5cm-23.5cm

Breed club


Adored by (and named after) King Charles II, who reportedly spent more time with his pets than with his courtiers, the original toy spaniel was first bred in the 1600s as a companion dog. While it shares its setter-dog ancestry with other types of spaniel, it was later crossed with different breeds, probably from China and Japan, which resulted in its distinctive snub-nosed appearance. Any aloofness suggested by this is purely aesthetic: the dark-eyed ‘Charlie’ is loyal, playful and loving. And it will love you even more if you don’t make it go for long walks: 30 minutes a day is plenty.

The King Charles spaniel is not to be confused with the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a 20th-century dog that was bred to resemble the larger, longer-nosed dogs portrayed in paintings of King Charles II.

While the King Charles, also known as the English toy spaniel, is on The Kennel Club’s vulnerable native breeds register, the pretty Cavalier (which needs at least twice as much exercise as its cousin) has become so popular that intensive in-breeding has led to a very high incidence of a life-shortening heart condition called Mitral Valve Disease (MVD). Both toy spaniels are prone to a variety of health problems, so potential owners must do their research and seek out reputable breeders.


Country of origin
Great Britain

Original purpose Companion

Life expectancy
12 years

Height range

Breed club

This feature is from Country Living Magazine. Subscribe here.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

We often think of exercise only as a health issue, but it has significant day-to-day effects on a dog’s behavior as well. Dogs—particularly puppies and young dogs—have a lot of energy, and if they don’t get the chance to burn it off, destructive behavior is often the result.

If you’re annoyed at the holes your dog has dug, have headaches from barking, and have to replace pillows shredded into expensive fluff, your dog is probably not getting enough exercise.

These behavior issues cause many people to give up their dogs, even though they’re completely preventable problems. You know those “free to a good home, dog needs room to run” ads? They’re usually placed by people whose dogs don’t need room to run; they need exercise they’re not getting.

Unfortunately, some people don’t think enough about exercise when selecting a breed, and they choose a dog who needs more than they’re willing or have time to provide.

How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

The amount of exercise that is “enough” depends on your dog’s age, breed, and health.

A 10-month old Irish Terrier puppy is going to need more than a five-year old Whippet. A sight hound needs short bursts of activity; guarding dogs don’t need as much overall as sporting breeds who like to hunt all day.

Even within a breed, the need varies. A highly energetic eight-year-old Golden Retriever could easily need more exercise than a calm three-year old Golden. And geriatric dogs still need to go for walks—just shorter ones than they used to enjoy.

Generally speaking, a leashed walk around the block isn’t going to cut it. Most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Your canine pal needs enough that they’re slowed down by the time you stop.

Some general guidelines for getting your dog enough exercise:

  • Active breeds need a minimum of 30 minutes of hard aerobic exercise most days of the week, preferably daily.
  • Not all toy or small breeds get enough exercise inside the house, contrary to popular belief. Pugs, for example, are prone to obesity and need much more activity than they usually get.
  • It’s not safe to go out in extremely hot or cold weather. During such periods, stay inside and teach tricks to engage your dog’s mind, throw toys, or run up and down the stairs together.
  • Good exercise uses both mental and physical muscles. Exploring a new hiking trail, for example, engages your dog’s mind as well as their body.
  • Live by the philosophy that a tired dog is a good dog.

Where To Get Exercise

(Picture Credit: Matt Mawson/Getty Images)

Like people, most dogs like both familiarity and a little variety in their exercise routines.

  • Many dogs get to know the neighborhood during walks and enjoy checking on their favorite spots.
  • Dog parks are popular places for off-leash running and romping with other dogs, which is exactly what most dogs need. However, not all dogs can play nicely with others. If your dog doesn’t like other dogs, the dog park is definitely not the place for them.
  • Doggy daycare can stimulate both their mind and body. Dogs should come home from day care worn out and deliciously happy.

The Cost Of Not Getting Enough

Inactive dogs are often overweight dogs, and as in people, that brings plenty of health risks.

Obesity contributes to a dog’s risk of diabetes, respiratory disease, and heart disease. It exacerbates common orthopedic concerns such as hip dysplasia and arthritis. Obesity can stress joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Geriatric dogs often have a hard enough time getting up without the added problem of lifting excess pounds.

How do you make sure your dog gets enough exercise? Do you have a special workout routine with your pooch? Let us know in the comments below!

Gold Souls, Gray Faces: 6 Outdoor Exercises For Senior Dogs

5 Mentally Stimulating Exercises For Your Dog At Meal Time

The 10 Least Hyper Dog Breeds

While some people want a very active companion, others are looking to spend more time relaxing with their canine friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, and there are certainly plenty of breeds who fit the couch potato description! While all dogs are individuals and have their own unique needs. Here you’ll find some breeds that are generally more on the lazy side, with our list of the 10 least hyper dog breeds…

#1 – Basset Hound

This hound breed is unique due to their naturally short legs and long, dragging ears. Originally bred to be tracking dogs like their Bloodhound cousins, Bassets nowadays would typically rather be watching TV with you on the couch.

#2 – English Mastiff

Despite their size, the English Mastiff is a gentle giant who wants nothing more than to relax with his people. While he makes a good watch dog by presence and looks alone, don’t expect him to go chasing after the bad guy!

#3 – Shih Tzu

These adorable little Chinese dogs are one of the most ancient dog breeds around. We know them for their friendly demeanor even towards strangers. Shih Tzus really don’t care who’s snuggling up on the couch with a blanket, so long as they’re allowed to join the fun.

#4 – Newfoundland

People consider Newfoundlands to be gentle giants. And rightfully so! Despite being bred for retrieving in icy waters, these huge dogs are perfectly happy relaxing at home with their families.

#5 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These toy spaniels were once bred for hunting. Their affectionate, soft personalities make them popular today. They want nothing more than to be with their people and make excellent lap dogs for those looking for a stay-at-home companion.

#6 – English Bulldog

English Bulldogs are popularly used for tricks and stunts. But they’re actually a very lazy breed that needs a little coaxing to get out and work! They make excellent family companions, and you’ll be as surprised by their snoring as you are by their intelligence!

#7 – Chow Chow

Chow Chows have a distinctive fluffy coat. Bred as an all-purpose dog, it’s not uncommon for Chow Chows to show their origin as working dogs on occasion, and they are excellent guard dogs. However, they typically don’t exhibit the desire for activity that they once used to show.

#8 – Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso comes from Tibet where he would alert monks to intruders. While they maintain their watchdog capabilities today, Lhasa Apso generally prefer to do their work from your lap. They are deeply loyal to their families and make affectionate companions.

#9 – Pekingese

The Pekingese was bred with the original purpose of being a lap dog! He’s the ultimate couch potato! Although they were used to keep Chinese royals company, they are now bred to keep everyone company and make excellent family pets.

#10 – French Bulldog

The French Bulldog does have spurts of energy here and there, but is generally very lazy like his English cousin. French Bulldogs make great watchdogs but prefer to do their work from the comfort of their beds, and it’s not uncommon to see them sleeping on the job!

Does one of these couch potatoes sound perfect for you and your leisure lifestyle? Don’t forget to check your local shelters and breed rescues, they may have just the perfect one of these least hyper dog breeds for you!

Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we’ll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!

Written by Katie Finlay

World’s Most Low Energy Dogs (and High Energy Dogs Too)

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Ever wondered why some dogs act like couch potatoes while others are natural Olympians? Breed type is often to thank (or blame) for Fido’s feisty (or lazy) behavior. While good looks and personality are important, you should also take into consideration each breed’s energy level so you can make sure his or her exercise levels are adequately met given your lifestyle and location. We’ll discuss the various low energy dog breeds as well as the high energy dogs too so you can learn which breed is a good fit for you.

Dog Energy Level and How it Affects You

First off, why should a dog’s energy level matter to you anyways? Because you’ll be the one taking care of it and if you’re a good dog owner you’ll also be the one getting off your tail to play with it. So, the calmest dog breeds make great pets for people who only have time for an occasional walk, and low energy small dogs are perfect for those with smaller sized apartments. On the other hand, high energy dog breeds would be ideal for large families or people who like to go on runs and wish to take a companion with them.

Small Size Doesn’t Mean Low Energy

You might be surprised to find that low energy dog breeds aren’t necessarily all small dogs. For instance, despite their large size and being known for their racing skills, Greyhounds are among the world’s most lazy dog breeds. Low energy small dogs exist too but don’t fall prey to the assumption that all small dogs are lazy or calm dogs.

Most Low Energy Dogs

Now that we’ve explained the reasons you may want to know a dog’s energy levels and set some expectations, you’re probably wondering which breeds fall into which categories. Well, want no longer because we’ve got a list of the calmest dog breeds for you.

  • Basset hound
  • Bulldog
  • Bull mastiff
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Chow chow
  • French bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Irish wolfhound
  • Pekingese
  • Pharaoh hound
  • Pug
  • Shih tzu
  • Sussex spaniel

Best Dogs for Apartments

This two and a half minute video from the American Kennel Club shows some of the best dogs for apartments in action (many of which happen to be low energy dogs too).

Most High Energy Dog Breeds

On the other end of the spectrum are the highest energy dog breeds. As you might suspect, most of the higher energy dog breeds are traditionally working dogs and have roots that tie back to an energetic activity or sport. Just because they’re not working for you doesn’t mean they don’t still need plenty of exercise, though. If you have a dog with lots of energy, you’ll need to give them lots of room to play and keep them entertained with toys (luckily we’ve reviewed the best dog toys for you).

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • Dalmatian
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Pointer
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner

Is Your Favorite Breed Listed?

If we didn’t list them in either the high or low energy dogs lists above, then it’s probably safe to say they fall into the medium energy dogs category. Learn more about picking the right dog breed.

Do you have the energy for a high energy dog?

The Most and Least Active Dog Breeds

When you’re looking for your new best friend, it’s important to choose a dog that will match your lifestyle and energy. Part of finding the perfect fit for your family is choosing a breed or combination of breeds that mirror your active or relaxed day-to-day life. To help make your search easier, we’ve identified the most and least active dog breeds.

The Most Active Dog Breeds

If you’re a hiker, runner, or you enjoy day-to-day adventures, you will want a sidekick that can keep up. The most active dog breeds range in size, but all are tenacious, energetic, and ready for their next challenge.

1. Border Collie

A Border Collie won’t simple keep up with you, it will outpace you and may even outsmart you. This energetic, brilliant, working breed loves to stay busy and learn from its owner. This athletic dog will happily and agilely go trail running, hike a mountain, or go for a swim.

Known for its beautiful coat and stunning eyes, the Australian Shepherd is more than just a pretty face. This dog loves to stay busy. It can’t resist the instinct to herd, so you’ll often find them sprinting through a field toward a flock of birds or rounding up other dogs at the dog park. This highly intelligent breed is perfect for owners that love the outdoors and challenging their furry best friend with new tricks and training.

3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Corgi makes up for its short stature by out-running, out-maneuvering, and out-smarting dogs nearly three-times its height. This tenacious and bright breed was used for herding, and it’s never lost its unbreakable work ethic. This bold and confident dog is daring, gutsy, and unafraid of any adventure you’re willing to go on.

4. Jack Russell Terrier

If you want a compact, cute, and fiery companion, look no further. The Jack Russell may be petite, but this dog won’t tire when it comes to long hikes or runs. This bright and spunky breed will likely put you through your paces by recovering quickly and learning promptly.

5. Golden Retriever

By far one of the most popular breeds in the United States, the Golden Retriever is robust and determined. Goldens will happily keep pace on bike rides or join on a hunting trip. Year after year this amazing breed shows off its ability to learn, obey, and excel in canine sports competitions.

6. Labrador Retrievers

By far one of the most lovable and sweetest breeds on our list, the Labrador Retriever is outgoing, limber, and uniquely obedient. Known as one of the hardest working hunting dogs, this breed loves to show off its athletic ability. An excellent swimmer with a pleasant disposition, Labs are reliable dogs for active families.

7. Shetland Sheepdog

This gorgeous breed offers brawn and beauty. The Shetland Sheepdog comes from the Shetland region where their agility was put to the test. Luckily, this small but persistent breed flourished and became one of the most trainable and energetic family dogs. Happy to trot beside you as you jog, this dog is great option for runners, bikers, and families with kids.

8. Catahoula Leopard Dog

This breed was born and bred in the swamps where it took on hogs and cattle. Known for their endurance, the Catahoula won’t readily tire or give up on a three-day camping trip, and its independent and hardworking nature make it a natural fit for families that spend more time on the go than at home on the sofa.

9. Poodle

Whether you’re looking at a full-sized standard or a mini Poodle, this dog can be a whirl-wind of energy and delight. Not only is the Poodle reported as one of the smartest dogs you’ll find, but this highly energetic dog loves to splash in lakes, streams, and the beach. It’s not afraid to get its pristine and majestic coat a little muddy.

10. Miniature Pinscher

Any Min-Pin parent will tell you these dogs have a giant personality. They don’t know they’re not as big as other dogs, so they don’t back down when it comes to a challenge. They can leap over fallen trees, large rocks, and dive into lakes like there’s no tomorrow. This sporty breed is ideal for dog owners that want a manageable breed that loves to run, run, run.

The Least Active Dog Breeds

If you live a busy life or in an urban area where it’s a bit more difficult to get away to hiking trails, you don’t necessarily want a dog bursting at the seams for a game of fetch. If you don’t have the time or ability to exercise with a highly active dog, you risk a dog that may become bored and destructive. You will want a dog that doesn’t mind lounging and relaxing with you in the evenings.

1. Basset Hound

When you leave for work, it’s highly likely that your Bassett Hound won’t have budged from his place on the sofa until your return. A slow-paced walk daily and a few potty breaks are all that are needed to keep a Basset happy. And it’s likely just a walk or two will prepare this low-key breed for another long and lazy nap.

2. Havanese

Known for short bursts of energy and playfulness, the Havanese is a low-energy, low-maintenance dog when it comes to exercise. You’ll spend more time combing its hair than teaching it leash etiquette. Havanese enjoy spending time indoors and relaxing with their families, but they adjust well to their owner’s work schedules, too.

3. English Bulldog

They may be physically passive, but English Bulldogs don’t lack when it comes to personality. These plump dogs have a hard time staying trim because they love lying around rather than running. In fact, this short-snouted breed struggles to breathe when pushed too hard physically. And with a top-heavy head and short legs, they often can’t even swim.

4. Great Dane

Regal and lethargic, Great Danes are a great dog for owners that don’t want a larger breed that will tear up the sofa if they don’t burn enough calories in a day. This lumbering giant loves napping and resting rather than spending the day chasing squirrels and rabbits.

5. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu can be a bit naughty and playful without running you ragged. This charming breed loves hanging around the house or apartment. When it’s ready for a bit of exercise, a short game of indoor fetch will suffice. And when it’s tuckered out, you can tend to its regal mane.

6. Chow Chow

When you think of a Chow Chow, its purple tongue is probably the first thing that comes to mind. This thick-coated creature would rather relax with a bit of air conditioning than go for long walks. Its size makes it perfect for owners that want to catch up on Netflix over the weekend with a sturdy and laid-back canine companion.

7. Pug

It may be just a coincidence that “Pug” rhymes with “slug,” but you may not think so after you learn how low-key these pooches can be. The Pug will light up with energy and excitement when meeting a stranger but will likely settle down and take a nap within moments of greeting them. The Pug does better in cooler climates and can have a hard time breathing when overheated, making it a poor choice for sports and hikes.

8. Maltese

The Maltese looks perfect curled up on a lap rather than running laps around the track. This diva dog doesn’t like to get its coat messy. It prefers being brushed and pampered in the comfort of its own home. This pup is ideal for senior dog parents and owners that enjoy making the most by relaxing during their downtime.

9. Italian Greyhound

This choice may surprise you, but this dog is the best of both worlds. Petite and feisty at times, this speedy pup will run in short spurts just to hunker down and sleep for hours on the sofa. The Italian Greyhound’s bursts of energy are short-lived, so a few walks or some yard-time is all one needs to expend its energy.

10. Japanese Chin

Head-strong and attractive, the Japanese Chin prefers apartment living to camping or swimming. This bright breed is quite curious but not so active. Often described as “Catlike” this dog prefers grooming, sleeping, and climbing on the back of the couch when allowed. They love cuddling up to their pup parents and often exhibit heightened insight into their owner’s emotional state.

Most Active Dog Breeds for Specific Situations

Best medium breeds for active families:

Border Collie, Golden Retriever

Best dog breed for extreme outdoor activity:

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Best dog breed for agility exercises:

Labrador Retriever

Most versatile active breeds:

Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Australian Shepherd

Best small breed for hiking:

Jack Russell Terrier

Least Active Dog Breeds for Specific Situations

All-around least active dog breed:

Bassett Hound

Least active lapdog:

Havanese, Maltese

Least active large breed:

Great Dane

Most versatile low-key breed:

English Bulldog, Italian Greyhound

Easily trained low-activity dog breed:

English Bulldog

Choosing a breed that fits your activity level helps ensure success for you as a dog parent and for your dog to adjust to your home. When choosing the right breed, remember that mixed-breed dogs will often share activity levels with their parents’ breeds. It’s always a good idea to consult your local shelter or breeder.

What do you think of when you hear the words lazy dog? Maybe you envision the familiar sight of a dog seeking out the softest spot in the room, scratching it up just right, turning a few circles, and plopping down for a nice little four-hour nap.

Or maybe it’s the classic Lady and the Tramp image of a droopy old hound spread out on a hard wooden porch.

You know this breed will be on the list somewhere, right?

In any case, it’s probably not a Jack Russell Terrier you’re thinking of. Jacks, as many weary owners can attest, are anything but lazy. If you’re looking for a ridiculously mellow dog – and many people are, as they’re lower maintenance – you might want to turn your attention to one of the following breeds. These, as far as we can tell, are the laziest dog breeds on the planet.

10. Great Dane. Great Danes are lazy because, well, can you imagine if they weren’t? A 200-pound dog bouncing off the walls doesn’t make for a happy home.

9. English Bulldog. Looking at the stocky physique of a Bulldog, it’s pretty apparent that they don’t get much cardio. Rather than chase a ball, they’d rather be laid out somewhere, possibly on their back, with loud snores pouring out of their brachycephalic (smushed) faces.

I’ll fetch the ball… right after I rest my eyes for a little bit

8. French Bulldog. In breed descriptions, Frenchies are often described as docile, easygoing, and quiet, with minimal exercise needs. All euphemisms for lazy.

7. Shih Tzu. Mellow small dog breeds are hard to come by. Along with the Chihuahua and Maltese, the Shih Tzu is often cited as a laid back breed that likes nothing more than to hang with its owner. Still, these guys can only be considered lazy in comparison to terriers and other zippy little dog breeds. They’re lively compared to the heavyweights on this list.

6. Greyhound. This one might surprise some people, what with Greyhounds being known for their racing prowess. But it’s true – most of these docile pooches would rather stretch their log legs by the fire than run around a track.

You can keep your stinkin’ mechanical rabbit

5. Bullmastiff. Another very large breed that seems overly troubled by gravity. If you’re going to get one of these dogs, you might want to pick up an extra couch as well.

4. Chow Chow. These dogs are sometimes described as looking like a cross between a lion (lounges on the Savannah) and a bear (hibernates all winter), with the temperament of a house cat (sleeps 25 hours a day). With a pedigree like that, it’s no wonder these aren’t the most energetic dogs.

3. Saint Bernard. You can’t blame Saint Bernards for being lazy. You’d be lazy too if you walked around with that cozy coat on all the time. It’s like wearing a Snuggie 24/7.

2. Bassett Hound. Short, squat, and a little saggy, Basset Hounds certainly have the appearance of a very lazy animal. Like all dogs, they can get bursts of energy, especially when small critters are afoot. The rest of the time, they’re happy to chase critters in their dreams.

1. Newfoundland. The Newfie, dubbed the gentle giant, requires encouragement to exercise. Actually, encouragement is probably an understatement. These dogs are so lazy that they may simply refuse to move, which is a problem when you’re talking about a 100-pound dog.

Sources & Further Reading

  • Animal Planet: Laid Back Dog Breeds
  • Apartment List: Top 10 Apartment Friendly Dog Breeds

Some dogs’ greatest passion is simply to warm your couch (and your heart).

For every busybody herding breed or investigative journalist hunting dog, there’s an equal and opposite couch potato breed. These dogs can’t wait to nap the day away. The least energetic of the canine world, these slow and sleepy dog breeds still need walks and play (of course!), but they’re just not as busy as other dogs.

The least active breeds come in every shape and size, and from every part of the world. Some have “day jobs,” sure, but many have been bred simply to be wonderful, low-maintenance family companions.

Let’s take a look at some downright lazy dog breeds. And by lazy, we also mean adorable.

Toy breeds (2-9 pounds)

Chinese crested

A photo posted by @gus_and_kenzo on Jun 1, 2016 at 9:51pm PDT

An elegant, mostly hairless petite companion. Caution: will require occasional clothes.

Japanese chin

A photo posted by Tracey Stump (@traceymarie872) on Jun 2, 2016 at 8:33am PDT

An elegant companion with soulful eyes. Easy to train with a merry personality.

A photo posted by Milo Meets World (@milomeetsworld) on Apr 23, 2016 at 8:13am PDT

Bright and playful, this companion will relax and entertain you. Easy to train but difficult to housebreak, this sensitive little fluffer may prefer a litter box or other indoor potty solution.


A photo posted by 참마 (@cjh0208) on Jun 2, 2016 at 10:35am PDT

Spunky and alert, the Pomeranian pays close attention to the world around them. This foxy little spitz can be a little bossy, so obedience training is in order.

Small Breeds (7-35 pounds)

A photo posted by @wybie_coraline_tink on Jun 1, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT

These bearded little Ewoks are sensitive snugglers with a huge heart (and bigger attitude). There are bearded and smooth-coated versions.

A photo posted by Sage The Cavalier (@sage.the.cavalier) on Apr 3, 2016 at 7:15pm PDT

Cavs can be a little athletic, due to a hunting lineage, but they love to snuggle, and hate to be away from you for long. A good combination for lightly active families.

A photo posted by ✨It’s not just a dog✨ (@lola_jjl) on Jun 2, 2016 at 6:50am PDT

A chunky little dog with a beautiful coat and a big dog attitude, the Peke was born to be your sweet and comical companion.

Tibetan spaniel

A photo posted by Quentin James (@quentinjames) on Jun 2, 2016 at 9:39am PDT

These beautiful, sturdy little watchdogs are calm and playful by turns. They love to climb and perch in a windowsill like a cat.

Medium (35-65 pounds)

Basset hound

A photo posted by Maggie Basset (@maggietronbasset) on May 31, 2016 at 6:56am PDT

Highly sociable and easygoing, this talented scent hound is known for its independent working dog attitude. Highly food-motivated but slow to train.

Chow chow

A photo posted by Nicla Cascione (@nicla.cascione) on Feb 20, 2014 at 6:29am PST

The majestic Chow is a noble guardian, protecting his home and family. A beautiful, bearlike, stocky dog, he requires plenty of early socialization to combat a suspicious nature.

Cocker Spaniel

A photo posted by Stacey Louise (@staceeeeeyg) on Jun 2, 2016 at 11:14am PDT

The American cocker spaniel is a beautiful, extremely sensitive companion, with more grooming needs and less exercise needs than their English cousins.

English bulldog

A photo posted by Sugar Bear ? (@sugarbearthebully) on Jun 2, 2016 at 11:07am PDT

Stubborn yet sensitive, the bulldog is equal parts majestic and comedic. More of a snorer than a barker, and good, though often stoic, with children and strangers.

Large (55-85 pounds)

Clumber Spaniel

A photo posted by Jude (@heyjude_theclumber) on May 18, 2016 at 8:49pm PDT

An uncommon breed with true couch potato instincts, the Clumber is a heavy built spaniel who sleeps indoors, but is perfectly willing to play some fetch or chase out of doors.

A photo posted by Chelle (@chella.bella) on Jun 2, 2016 at 10:53am PDT

For all his athletic build and background, the greyhound is built for the sprint, and only requires an occasional gallop to offset a napping regime. Sensitive to emotional tension and noise, this elegant animal does best in a calm, quiet home.

Extra Large (75 pounds and up)

A photo posted by Waffle The Berner Pup (@waggingwaffle) on Jun 2, 2016 at 8:53am PDT

Berners are the majestic big dog of the Swiss Alps. If they have to be active, they prefer cooler weather for sure. Though they can be massive, Berners are great with children and bustling families.

A photo posted by Jordan Rogers (@jordan92ashleigh) on Jun 2, 2016 at 11:38am PDT

The original ‘gentle giant’ of the dog world, the Dane is a large, elegant, mastiff type. Rambunctious as puppies, Danes quickly settle into a calm, majestic companion.

A photo posted by Maverick (@maverick_the_newfie) on Jun 2, 2016 at 7:28am PDT

Sweet, slobbery swimmers, the Newfie is quite an active dog outside the house. Great with children and families, this all-purpose heavy dog can also be trained to pull carts.

A video posted by @luv_my_danes_n_saints on Jun 1, 2016 at 2:27pm PDT

(Sound on for impressive snoring!) The Saint, like the Newfie, loves his outdoor time, though is a furry lump inside the home. Rambunctious in puppyhood, the adult Saint prefers to get his exercise carrying a load, hiking in the cool mountain air, or gently drowning you with drool.

Low Energy Dogs – 17 Awesome Lazy Dog Breeds

by Jessi Larson


Looking for a dog that makes a perfect couch companion? This list of low energy dogs will help you find the perfect pup to fit your lifestyle!

Everyone will tell you that dogs take a lot of time and commitment – and they do – but just because you’re not the most active or energetic person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one.

In fact, there are plenty of options when it comes to lazy dog breeds. Which is perfect if you don’t have the time, ability or energy for non-stop dog craziness.

We’ve rounded up 17 low-energy dog breeds perfect for a lackadaisical lifestyle.

What Are Low Energy Dogs?

All dogs require a good amount of care and attention. It’s just that some require much more than others. Like my Labrador, Toby, who spent 10 hours playing at doggy daycare and still needed an hour-long game of fetch with us when he got home.

These low energy dogs are better suited to someone who’d rather go on a short walk than a run or throw a ball around a bit before relaxing. These dogs tend to be better suited for cities & apartments and those that don’t have the energy to tire out an active dog.

Note that energy will vary some between individual pups, and you can also consider adopting an older dog rather than getting a puppy.

The low energy dogs on the list below are great if you’re what we affectionately call a lazy dog lover.

1. Pug

The Pug is a brachycephaly breed, meaning it has a broad, short skull that leads to breathing issues. With this build, they can only handle short walks, so a little exercise goes a very long way with this adorable dog!

As another benefit for lazy dog owners, the Pug’s short coat requires very little grooming.

Even though the Pug is considered quite the couch potato, they can be mischevious at times and will always keep you laughing. Sure, they’re low on energy, but they make up for it with personality plus.

Learn more about the Pug breed

2. Pekingese

The Pekingese is definitely not a fan of exercise. And with their short, bowlegged stature, do you blame them?

The Pekingese makes for a chill, loving lapdog with a deep sense of loyalty. They’re also one of the healthiest dog breeds out there, so you’ll spend less time (and money!) at the vet.

Learn more about the Pekingese breed

3. Basset Hound

The Basset Hound just looks lazy, doesn’t it? The droopy eyes, the wrinkly skin, the slow walk.

This breed loves to lounge around and cuddle up with you. Exercise is definitely required, but with their slow-moving bodies, you won’t exactly break a sweat walking alongside them.

Learn more about the Basset Hound breed

4. Bullmastiff

Don’t let their large size fool you. The Bullmastiff is actually a lazy lapdog – that is if they can fit on your lap.

Surprisingly, this gigantic breed requires little exercise. And little grooming. So if you have the room, the Bullmastiff is a low-key and calm canine.

Learn more about the Bullmastiff breed

5. Greyhound

No, this isn’t a mistake. Despite their running prowess, the Greyhound is a pretty chill dog. Yes, they can run at extremely fast speeds but that’s only for a short distance. These speedy jaunts wear them out quickly, leaving them tired, exhausted and ready for snuggling.

Learn more about the Greyhound breed

6. Chihuahua

The smallest of all the dog breeds, the Chihuahua needs little in terms of exercise and grooming. They do like to play, but at this size, a little bit goes a long way.

With their low-maintenance persona and small size, it’s no wonder the Chihuahua is a popular choice for the elderly and people living in apartments.

Learn more about the Chihuahua breed

7. Havanese

Hailing from Cuba, the Havanese was bred to be the perfect companion dog, and it shows. They want nothing more than to curl up with you and snuggle.

As far as exercise goes, the Havanese just needs short, slow-moving walks and a tiny bit of playtime. Nothing too crazy.

8. Dachshund

The Dachshund’s short, stubby legs and elongated bodies don’t exactly lend themselves well to exercise, which is why this breed makes quite a docile dog. An indoor game of fetch is all they need to burn some energy.

Learn more about the Dachshund.

9. Maltese

The Maltese is one of the most adorable breeds out there, and lucky for us they are also social, easy-to-entertain creatures.

Like others on this list, the Maltese needs pretty minimal exercise each day. I know firsthand after spending time with my brother’s Maltipoo. He snuggles 99% of the time, gets up and does a few laps around the couch, and then goes back to chill mode.

Learn more about the Maltese breed

10. Boston Terrier

Friendly, bright and highly adaptable, the Boston Terrier has quickly risen in popularity in recent years, and we think we know why.

First off, their cute, scrunched face and pointy ears are hard to resist. Then there’s the charming, sweet personality. And finally, and importantly, they only need short walks and a tiny bit of grooming.

11. English Bulldog

The English Bulldog loves to lie around and spend time with their family. It’s no wonder they’re considered a fabulous family dog.

Like the Pug, this breed is brachycephalic, so arduous exercise is out of the question. Just a brief walk will do.

Learn more about the Bulldog

12. French Bulldog

Another brachycephalic breed, the French Bulldog only needs a walk around the block before they get pooped out. With their adaptable, outgoing personality and low exercise and grooming needs, this breed is a great choice for both solo dog owners and those with families alike.

Fun fact: According to the AKC, the French Bulldog is currently the 6th most popular dog breed in the United States!

Learn more about the French Bulldog

13. Pomeranian

If you live alone and don’t have a ton of extra time but still want a dog, don’t worry, there’s a breed for you: the Pomeranian.

My aunt Connie lives alone and has a busy schedule, so she is a big fan of this breed. They don’t need much exercise and are very independent – although they do have a fierce loyalty to their owner.

The only downside is that they like to bark. A lot. And don’t always get along with others. But they always seem to have a lot of love for their mama.

14. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are big fluffy dogs that are pretty independent, but don’t need much exercise. These dogs aren’t the most affectionate (often compared to cats) so you’ll need to make sure to socialize them well with strangers to make them feel comfortable.

15. Great Dane

Great Danes are giant, friendly and loyal. They love to cuddle and lounge around the house and are good with children. Their large size requires you have enough space for them to be comfortable, but it also means they don’t require intense exercise.

16. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu’s are friendly and depend on companionship with their owner. They don’t need too much exercise and prefer to stay out of hot weather. They have long but low shedding coats that require some maintenance, but can be trimmed for less shedding.

Learn more about the Shih Tzu

17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are playful but quiet and gentle. They are very friendly and only need light exercise like a daily walk or some playtime. They do well with active owners as well as homebodies.

Looking for More Dog Breeds?

If you’re looking to research even more dog breeds check out our dog breed search where you can search by breed traits & compare breeds.