The Best Low-Maintenance Dogs for People with Super-Hectic Lives
A hectic schedule looks different for everyone. “Super busy” can mean overtime at the office; four kids and counting; freelancing constantly; or volunteering on the weekends, depending on who you ask. Toss a dog into the mix and your plate is more than full. (Though, let’s be honest: Studies by organizations like the Human Animal Bond Research Institute have shown owning a dog can significantly decrease stress levels, which even non-busy people can appreciate.) So, for those looking for a low-maintenance dog, take a look at our big list below. But first, some things to keep in mind!
Things to consider when choosing a dog breed
If you’re seriously thinking about adding a dog to your family, consider right away the basics every canine needs. When and where will you fit in daily walks (morning and night), nail trimming (at least monthly), regular vet visits (at least twice per year) and quality time? Think about your proximity to local dog parks and reputable veterinarians. Do you travel frequently for work? Do you have a partner who is equally as busy or who might have more time to devote to a dog?
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, but a great place to start. If you ask us, grooming and exercise needs are two factors that can dramatically impact whether a dog is low- or high-maintenance.
While all dogs require ample care and attention, there are some breeds more ready and willing to gel with your definition of hectic than others.
1. Boston Terrier
With their big brown eyes and tuxedo-style coat, Boston Terriers are gregarious pups who just want your approval. The amount of exercise they need will definitely vary from dog to dog (as with any breed), but a couple walks a day and some playtime indoors is typically sufficient. They’re great apartment dwellers for singles in the city and do just as well with families and kids in the suburbs. Plus, that coat is as low-maintenance as it gets
Chihuahuas are like your Leo friend who’s always saying, “I’m up for literally anything!” They are adaptable creatures with independent streaks (so instill commands early) who really only need to trot around behind you for a few blocks to get enough exercise. Short-coated chihuahuas require nothing but a quick brush now and again, but even long-coated versions don’t require groomers visits.
3. Manchester Terrier
The grooming thing comes up a lot when talking about dogs and hectic lifestyles. Scheduling an expensive salon session for your pooch every four weeks (more often than you get highlights)? No, thanks. Manchester terriers (both standard and toy sizes) have sleek, carefree coats. These dogs also love to curl up and chill after a brisk walk.
Dachshunds have a positive disposition and are typically game for anything you throw at them (frisbee or otherwise). Exercise can consist of running around the house (though be careful of stairs) or leisurely walks. If you work in a dog-friendly office or from home, your Dachshund will be content sitting by your side as you focus on tasks.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Disclaimer: Only get a Doberman pinscher if your definition of hectic involves ample time for physical fitness. Working out regularly is part of a healthy human lifestyle and bonding time with owners is part of a healthy canine lifestyle. Kill two birds with one stone by taking your Doberman for a run every night. These loyal dogs need lots of exercise (if you have a yard, that’s best) and solid training as puppies, but are otherwise pretty low maintenance.
6. French Bulldog
The even-tempered French bulldog demands minimal grooming, barks infrequently, adapts well to his family’s lifestyle and approaches exercise with a “take it or leave it” attitude. Make sure they are walked enough to maintain a healthy weight, but beyond that, these dogs will fit in just about anywhere, with anyone.
7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Due to their ability to sense and adjust to their owners’ temperaments, Cavalier King Charles spaniels are terrific for people always on the go. Yes, brushing every week is necessary to make sure their longer coats don’t tangle, but these canines can go with the flow and work well with kids and other pets.
8. Bull Mastiff
A bull mastiff might look ferocious, but they are often compliant and friendly with their families. Train pups early to establish commands, run a brush through their fur every other week, walk regularly to maintain a healthy weight, and you’re good to go.
This dog is ideal for a family with kids because of its relaxed demeanor and devotion to its people. Soccer game this Saturday? Bring the dog! Family hike at a local state park? Bring the dog! Broholmers like to be outdoors and part of the team.
10. Rat Terrier
Take this cute, compact and playful pup anywhere and she’ll appreciate you. Leave her at home while you finish errands and she’ll calmly welcome you back with open paws. Training early is best as rat terriers love to learn and please but can be sensitive. Ideally, you’ve got either a big family or enjoy hosting friends frequently (rat terriers like to be social).
Ah, a gentle giant, the Tosa. They are great guard dogs because they’re wary of strangers and frankly look intimidating. However, they are quiet softies who are patient, leisurely and obedient. Walking is solid exercise, but punch up the activity level if you notice your Tosa gaining weight.
12. American Staffordshire Terrier
This is another dog who loves being in on the action. These dogs enjoy people-centric exercise like biking, running or playing frisbee, so are ideal for anyone who’s perfect weekend involves a trip to a pup-friendly brewery after a nice hike. American Staffordshire terriers are confident, easy-going canines.
13. Basset Hound
Now, for one of the laziest blobs on our list: the basset hound. These dogs are so low key and patient, you might think they didn’t care if you were home at all if it weren’t for their undying loyalty. They do well with other dogs, too. The only semi-high-maintenance aspect of basset hounds is they might need a solid brush-through three times a week to keep their coat healthy.
Whether your routine is hectic or relaxed, a Drever just asks for some balance. Brisk walk in the morning followed by a couple hours of downtime until the dog walker gets there? No problem. Their coats are resilient and require very little grooming. If you’ve already got a dog or have lots of people living in your home, Drevers will embrace this group life and go with the flow.
15. Tibetan Spaniel
Tibetan spaniels are keen on lounging around the house (they won’t ask your permission to do it, either) and occupying themselves with toys. They are playful, yet veer towards calmer dispositions and intense obedience. As far as grooming goes, a swift brush through every week should prevent the fur behind the ears from tangling.
16. Border Terrier
A true dog’s dog, the border terrier is lovable and trainable, affectionate with kids and in need of a quick brush every week or so. He’ll play and then follow routine when it’s time to eat, work or sleep. Ideally, border terriers have yards to run in, but they’re known for adapting well to city life as long as there’s a park they can prance through on occasion.
Low-maintenance in just about every sense of the word is the whippet. These pups are content to lay out on the bed until you’re home from work and ready for a walk. Their short coat takes grooming almost completely out of the question and their barks are few and far between.
18. Italian Greyhound
Similar in stature to whippets, Italian greyhounds are tiny dogs that hardly take up any space at all (making them great for busy city people). They do love a good, warm lap and may follow you around when you’re home, but they know how to settle down, too. If dog parks are sparse in your area, this is the canine for you; they’re often too small and wary of other dogs to enjoy themselves and would rather hang out at home.
The true lap dog. Maltese pups are adaptable canines who will sit with you calmly or trot as needed for a bit of exercise. Another perk? They hardly shed at all. While super friendly, they might be stubborn if you don’t teach commands (and offer plenty of treats during training) early. After that? Smooth sailing.
Toy breeds abound on this list, and the Pomeranian is one of the most popular. People around the globe love these tiny companions. This is probably because they have a positive disposition, are smart (so they grasp commands early and stick with them) and short bursts of playtime indoors is enough to get them some daily exercise.
22. Miniature Schnauzer
Another breed eager to please and ready to learn and retain commands is the miniature schnauzer. These dogs are great companions to children and other pets. Grooming is the only area in which this pup may require some extra effort—brush often to prevent their wiry coats from getting tangled.
It always looks like the Papillon is smiling! Probably because they are a happy breed, content to play wherever they happen to be. Folks living in big country houses, small urban apartments, hot deserts and chilly tundras will find the Papillon to be a hearty companion. They have no undercoat, so grooming is a cinch.
If a Havanese was a person, they’d be the class clown who can entertain themselves and others, but knows how to read the room and chill when it’s time to focus. They don’t bark or shed much and they love learning new tricks (they tire easily though, so beware of pushing them too hard while exercising).
25. Irish Wolfhound
One of the biggest dogs out there, the Irish wolfhound brings a calm, almost serene presence to his home. Ideally, you’ve got a yard where he can run around a few times a day (they’re fast and are built a lot like Greyhounds). Known for being super sweet, they actually make ineffective watch dogs since they’re so agreeable.
The good news is that even if you have a hectic lifestyle, providing terrific care and love for your canine family member is genuinely easier than it’s ever been. There are apps that let you track your dog’s activity while you’re away, automatic feeders to make sure your dog gets the right amount of food on a solid schedule, dog walking companies to guarantee exercise throughout the day and so much more. However, nothing beats a snuggle session between you and your dog after a long day. If you don’t have time for joyful play here and there and quiet, cuddly bonding time, maybe consider a goldfish until your lifestyle cools down.