Not everyone is cut out for a high-energy dog breed who is going to need several hours of exercise on top of mental stimulation throughout the day. For those of you who are prepared for that, we salute you. Having a high-energy breed is not easy: It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
Some of us want to enjoy the company of an adorable dog but don’t have the time (or energy ourselves) to keep up with some breeds of dog. Some people feel they are made to own certain breeds, and certain breeds find themselves thriving in particular environments. Similarly, not all breeds are made for everyone.
If you are looking to adopt a low-energy dog whose main goal is to stay cuddled up next to you for the majority of the day, then you have come to the right place. You first need to know which of the most popular dog breeds fit into this category, and then think about how they might exist in your home.
Finding the perfect match is essential, but it might not happen right away. Luckily, everything will always work out in the end.
What Does It Mean To Be Low-Energy?
No matter how chill we are about to tell you the following dogs are, it’s important to note that all dogs still need ample exercise to stay happy and healthy — they’re not content with just lounging around 24/7.
For many of these dogs, that might look different compared to a high-energy dog. Just because you are seeking out a low-energy dog doesn’t mean this dog doesn’t need plenty of exercise.
A lazy dog really just means that they prefer sleeping and snuggling over going on several hour-long excursions, hiking up mountains, or going on mile-long runs. You have to adjust your views on how to exercise your low-energy dog so that they can maintain a proper weight and stay healthy for as long as possible.
Consider Adopting an Elderly Dog
If you are looking for low-energy, the easiest way to find a surplus of any kind of dog is to adopt a senior dog from the shelter. It’s likely that these overlooked beauties are looking for a place where they can enjoy their golden years in complete comfort, surrounded by unconditional love.
Senior dogs are typically lower in energy but don’t be caught off guard when they show you their adorable zoomies. All dogs are puppies at heart!
Low-Energy Dog Breeds for Cuddling
The following is a list of low-energy dogs that range in a variety of different sizes. These dogs are beloved for their calm demeanors, which might be exactly what you are looking for.
Greyhounds are not always thought of as being lazier breeds because they can reach speeds up to 45 mph. But despite their speedy potential, they have perfected the art of the cat nap (dog nap).
These sight hounds will go out on their daily walks, but as soon as you get back inside, they’ll retire to their indented space on the couch and probably need you to cover them up under their blanket.
These dogs are gentle and sweet, only giving off their speed in small bursts of zoomies. These will likely happen daily, but it will be more for your entertainment than it will be a call for you to go out and run with them.
Greyhounds are adaptable and can do good in a variety of settings, including apartment living, despite their large size. They curl up to be a small ball, and only want pets as the night settles in.
2. Great Danes
Similar to greyhounds, Great Danes are called “gentle giants” for a reason. This large dog is one of the biggest breeds out there, yet they don’t require that much exercise to keep them happy. They prefer a more laid-back lifestyle where most of the activity they get in a day is cuddles and scratches.
These dogs are goofy and like to play with their human or animal family members but are happy to settle down whenever they need to. They are great family dogs because of how well they do with children. They love the attention — even more so when it’s from their favorite little humans.
Great Danes can function well in small spaces with enough outdoor time (and enough space on your bed too).
3. Basset Hounds
Basset hounds are famous for their moody eyes, long droopy ears, and being excellent sniffers. They are very laid-back dogs who can be satisfied with a gentle walk every day.
They do love to smell, so expect that your walks will have less momentum than they usually do with a border collie. Your basset hound is going to need to smell everything.
You want to ensure your basset hound gets enough proper exercise so that they don’t become overweight. This can cause problems for their backs and joints later on in life. They will want to spend each night cuddled up next to you on the couch to recuperate from the day they had.
Pugs tend to have lower energy levels, but some have more energy than one might suspect.
Their adorable flat faces can make it more difficult to breathe, especially if they’re out of breath from playing too hard. Loving pugs — a brachycephalic breed requires constant care.
Pugs are dedicated dogs who love their owners so much that they are never too far behind them. This is actually the main way that your pug will get the energy they do have out. Pugs don’t require too much exercise, and too much can cause issues with their breathing.
Your pug will likely want to go on one walk a day that’s very laid back. Playing in the house and getting lots of love is even better. Pugs have big personalities — similar to the sass of low-energy cuddlers like the Brussels griffon or the chihuahua.
5. English Bulldog
The English bulldog might be one of the most-lax dogs — but some may have medium energy levels. They are known for their snoozing and relaxing, with bursts of bulldozing energy followed by an immediate nap. These dogs are playful and loving; they do great with families who like to make them the center of attention. English bulldogs certainly don’t mind being wrapped up in blankets and snuggled.
English bulldogs still need enough exercise to keep them healthy, so one walk a day with some mental stimulation (not too much) is just the perfect amount. In addition, English bulldogs, like pugs, are brachycephalic, which means they need extra care and attention.
6. French Bulldog
These adorable small dogs love to stay close to their humans and follow them around as much as possible. They are very affectionate and like to play one-on-one with their people. Chasing a toy around, playing tug, and going on nice walks will keep your Frenchie happy and in good shape.
(You won’t want to overexert them because they are prone to breathing difficulties as well.)
7. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are very popular among people with a low-energy lifestyle. If you are looking for a laidback small breed that just wants to sit and enjoy your company, this is the dog for you. They are sociable, friendly, and easily adaptable. They will do as much as you’re willing to do and otherwise are content inside on their favorite lap.
They do have a very special coat that needs to be properly maintained so that it doesn’t become matted. In addition, this is another brachycephalic breed that needs special care and attention. This could become very heavy and weigh on your Shih Tzu as they carry on with their daily life.
The whippet is often compared to a miniature greyhound. They have a similar look, both being long, thin, and mysterious, but whippets are much smaller. They will have their moments of insanity where they are zooming all over the house, but then they will return back to a curled-up position on the couch.
Whippets do need exercise, but they are happy to go with the flow. They like going on long walks but won’t need more than one solid one a day. If they are getting their needs met, they will be more than happy to spend the rest of their time snoozing away.
9. English Mastiff
The English mastiff is a massive dog with a gentle soul. They are very loyal and loving pups and are some of the best dogs for families. They need proper socialization from a young age to ensure that you can control them when they’re at their biggest size.
They are known to be couch potatoes and need minimal exercise, but they still benefit from at least one leisurely walk a day or some playtime with their pet parents. The rest of their day will likely be spent slobbering on your floors, so be prepared.
10. Irish Wolfhound
Irish wolfhounds are one of the most majestic dogs to see out in the world. They are massive, gentle, beautiful dogs that, despite their size, are quite laid back. Irish wolfhounds may be considered more intermediate when it comes to adopting them because they can be prone to different medical issues as they are so large.
These dogs don’t have excessive exercise requirements and enjoy two peaceful walks a day. They are usually fabulous with children but may have a high prey drive, so smaller animals might pose an issue.
Malteses are one of the most popular lap dogs out there. They are known for their affinity for a nice lap to sit in and are the perfect little dog to adopt if you are looking for an easygoing dog that doesn’t need much daily exercise.
Will they go for walks? Yes. More than one a day? If you insist. This pup’s exercise needs and energy levels are very low-key.
Maltese are confident and affectionate dogs who really become bonded to their humans. They are quite fearless, so keeping them stimulated and well-exercised can minimize the barking they might do at anyone that passes by the window. While low-energy, they get powerful bursts that can be calmed down with a short walk, running in the backyard, or playing games inside the house.
For a similar pooch, consider the Bichon Frise.
Get Help From the AskVet Team
When adopting a new family pet, you might have more questions than you even realize.
With AskVet, you can ask your questions whenever you think of them and get answers fast.
When you schedule a virtual session with our Certified Pet Lifestyle CoachesTM (CPLC), you can ask any behavioral questions that might pop up. Our team of CPLCs™ is here to create a full, well-rounded plan so every animal in your family, from your low-energy dog to your high-energy fish, can thrive.
Then, in a quiet moment with your low-energy pup, head over to the AskVet Clubhouse to connect with other loving pet parents for the support and stories all families need!