When it comes to choosing the right dog, knowing yourself can be as important as anything. Some people may be in need of a pup that has energy to spare and is able to keep his human active all the time — but others just want a furry friend they can chill with on the sofa.
If that sounds like you, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the most low-energy dog breeds you can invite into your home. Of course, all pups need to get some exercise every day but these dogs won’t wear you out.
These big, fluffy beauties can grow to be 150 pounds, but they are known to be laid-back, sweet-tempered softies. In fact, “Newfies” are so sweet, they’ve been dubbed a “nanny dog” for kids by the American Kennel Club. Perhaps the only drawback to these pups is that they drool like crazy and have a tendency to sling it everywhere.
These sweet, short pups are well known for being laid-back and easy to train. According to Animal Planet, basset hounds are low-energy dogs that are extremely patient with kids and anyone else who tries to annoy them. But if you want a quiet house, you might want to consider another breed, because they have a reputation for being talkative.
Anyone who watched “Beethoven” back in the day probably thinks of Saint Bernards as a large breed that can be a handful. But in real life, they are known for being intelligent and patient. The American Kennel Club calls them “gentle giants” and, like Newfies, considers them a great “nanny dog.” Of course, keep in mind that they can grow to be nearly 200 pounds and are known to have a loud bark and drooly mouths.
Another big pup that’s totally lovable and laid-back, the “Apollo of Dogs” looks intimidating but is about as sweet as they come. Great Danes are described as “easygoing” and “a total joy to live with” by the American Kennel Club, which ranks it as one of its most popular breeds. When standing on their back legs, these pups are taller than most people. So if you want a dog that will frighten potential intruders but will be a calm sweetie, this is a great choice.
The first thing you’ll likely think of when you read about greyhounds is their speed (they can go from 0-45 miles per hour in just 30 feet!), but they are also renowned couch potatoes. Animal Planet describes them as “lovable, sweet and charming lapdogs, even if they don’t exactly fit in your lap.” If greyhounds were too much of a handful at home, a busy author like J.K. Rowling wouldn’t have chosen one to be her companion.
If you want a big dog that doesn’t really like playing but loves being cuddly, a Neapolitan mastiff might be the perfect choice. These watchful pups grow to be up to 150 pounds and have low energy and low exercise needs. According to Animal Planet, “their favorite thing in the world is to be with the people they love.” Like other big dogs, Neapolitan mastiffs have a reputation for drooling, with their slobber being described as tough to clean off of surfaces.
These friendly giants are praised for being docile, easygoing and loving — unless their family is threatened. Vet Street calls the bullmastiff “a terrific family dog,” and one that doesn’t need much exercise or playtime to be happy. Just make sure you have enough room for one, however, because they can weigh about 130 pounds and stand more than 2-feet-tall at the shoulders!
Dogue de Bordeaux
How can you not love that expressive face? This breed is the most ancient of all French dogs, according to the American Kennel Club. Dogue de Bordeaux, aka the French mastiff, is described a courageous and affectionate pup. Training is apparently key, however, because the AKC says they can be stubborn and assert dominance over you if they aren’t trained as puppies.
English Toy Spaniel
If small dogs are your thing and you want to keep a calm, quiet house, you might want to find an English toy spaniel. These adorable little dogs grow to be 8-14 pounds, are described as having low energy and gentle demeanors and, according to Animal Planet, rarely barking. Finding one, especially a puppy, may be a chore because English toy spaniels are pretty rare in the U.S.
A small pup that can live nearly 20 years, if you adopt a Maltese you’ll find a devoted friend. They are described as very intelligent, perfect for apartment dwellers and people who also own cats, according to Vet Street. The site also calls the breed “a super therapy dog.” However, they do like to bark and will require some intense grooming at times, thanks to that luscious fur.
“Frenchies” were bred to be companions, and if you want a low-key dog that can fit on your lap, they are a solid choice. They hardly bark, are very friendly but don’t need much exercise and, according to Animal Planet, will make you laugh with their bat ears and snorting. French bulldogs have become quite popular in the U.S. in recent years but are still quite expensive because the mothers are unable to give birth naturally — they need cesarean sections to deliver their pups.
This tall, wiry-haired doggy will certainly stick out if you take it to a crowded dog park! Scottish deerhounds do need room to run in the backyard but are relatively low-energy dogs, given their build. At home, they have “a quiet and dignified personality,” according to the American Kennel Club.
If you want a big, fluffy pup who doesn’t have a ton of energy, you should look into adopting a great Pyrenees. They are described by Animal Planet as medium-energy, natural guardians who instinctively nurture animals that are young or hurt. How sweet is that? They are mellow, patient with kids and don’t need a lot of exercise or playtime. They do like to bark and can’t handle hot weather, though.
They may look like a pain to groom (they aren’t), but the Bergamasco sheepdog requires about as little maintenance as any dog. According to the American Kennel Club, these big, hairy pups are patient and eager to please. They don’t require much exercise and are described as very loving to their humans. In regards to that stunning coat, the AKC says Bergamasco sheepdogs are “basically maintenance-free” and only need to be bathed about twice a year.
This German breed can weigh in at 170 pounds, but its temperament is described as “calm and subdued” by the American Kennel Club. “Leos” are elegant and graceful dogs who just need to burn off some energy about once a day. The biggest knock against this breed is that they shed a lot, requiring daily brushing, according to the AKC.
Perhaps the ultimate indoor, family dog, the English bulldog needs almost no exercise or playtime and loves pretty much everyone, including cats. Vet Street says they are mellow, easygoing and they don’t bark. Unfortunately, English bulldogs face many health issues and are not the easiest dogs to train. But if you want a pup that is happy to just sit by your side, they are hard to beat.
Spaniels aren’t always the most chilled-out dogs, but the Sussex variety is friendly, affectionate and doesn’t have a ton of energy to burn. These adorable pups need a moderate daily walk but other than that are happy to rest their frowny face on your lap. Animal Planet says their “mellow affability” means they can be great therapy dogs.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These regal pups, like their fellow British countrymen the English bulldog, are very versatile pets. According to the American Kennel Club, which ranks the cavalier among its most popular breeds, they “do equally well with active owners and homebodies” and are happy to be couch potatoes. They are described as gentle and eager to please — but it’s not recommended to let them off a leash because their strong hunting-dog instincts make them run toward interesting smells.
It’s tough to find an unhappy pug. The American Kennel Club says this beloved breed may be “the ideal house dog,” and can thrive in virtually any living situation. They don’t need a ton of exercise but the AKC says pugs are prone to obesity, so watch their calorie intake if they’ll be spending most of their time on the sofa.
They may not look tough — especially with a bow in their hair — but, according to Animal Planet, shih tzus share more DNA with wolves than most dog breeds. But if you want a gentle, friendly dog, these little pups are a perfect choice. They were bred to be companions and can meet their daily exercise needs by just running around the house. The biggest knocks against them are that they require regular grooming and are hard to train — but look at that face!
If you live in an apartment and consider yourself more of a cat person, the Japanese chin may be the ideal dog for you. According to Vet Street, chins have been described as “a cat in a dog suit,” due to their climbing abilities and tendency to clean themselves. These pups are very entertaining and unpredictable but also smart, so not too tough to train. They don’t need much exercise and don’t bark much but require plenty of affection and attention.
Irish wolfhounds are about as affectionate as dogs come. They don’t need a lot of exercise but also shouldn’t be allowed to be couch potatoes as extra weight can hurt their joints. These dogs will adapt to your activity level. Vet Street says these pups tend to be “calm, intelligent, dignified and friendly” toward most everyone they meet.
Another breed that will certainly attract a lot of eyes from others at the dog park is the Afghan hound. These long-haired beauties do need more exercise than most breeds on this list, but they aren’t high-energy dogs. The American Kennel Club describes them as affectionate yet “independent, dignified and aloof.” Obviously, their coat means they need plenty of grooming attention.
Like their greyhound cousins, whippets are very fast (30 miles per hour at a sprint!), but they aren’t high-energy dogs. They are very affectionate and friendly pups who love naps. Animal Planet says they are perfect for some who wants “a jogging buddy who then wants to chill with a movie and cuddles.” They also don’t need much grooming, hardly bark and are, overall, a healthy breed. What’s not to love?
A perfect dog for someone who works at home or doesn’t spend much time away, this Italian breed is described by the American Kennel Club as “serene and inactive.” The Bolognese is playful and friendly but has severe separation anxiety, meaning they can’t stand being alone for long periods of time. “Bolos” don’t shed much but do require brushing several times per week to keep that fluffy fur looking good. Finding one may be hard, however, because they are a very rare breed in the U.S.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Not only are Berners some of the world’s most beautiful dogs, they are also known for being calm and gentle. Their ideal living situation is inside with their family but they also love outdoor activity, in case you need a hiking buddy, especially in the cold. The American Kennel Club cautions that they shed a lot and do require a good bit of brushing each week, but they are pretty easy to train and eager to please.
These distinctive-looking Chinese pups need moderate exercise but are perfectly happy lounging on the sofa in a city apartment. They have been compared to cats, in terms of how clean they keep themselves, and shedding is only an issue in warmer seasons. If you want a dog that is “eternally loyal,” the American Kennel Club recommends the Chow Chow.
These cuddly little guys have a background of living among Chinese royalty, which is why Animal Planet says that if you share your home with a Pekingese, “it’s this dog’s house, you’re just living in it.” They are independent-minded but also thrilled to sit in your lap and take it easy. Pekingese pups have little energy and don’t require much in the way of daily exercise.
If you want a chill dog that isn’t a popular breed, the Skye terrier is a great choice. It ranks among the bottom 20 of the American Kennel Club’s 194 recognized breeds, in terms of popularity, but it’s not because they aren’t great pals. These long-haired, low-energy pups are eager to please their humans and have minimal exercise needs. Due to their lavish hairstyle, Skye terriers need to be brushed daily — but that can be done while you guys relax on the couch together.
Weighing up to 150 pounds, Tibetan mastiffs might look like intimidating guard dogs but they are mellow and sweet if they know you. These big beauties don’t need organized playtime, they prefer to get their exercise simply patrolling the yard of the home where they live, especially if it’s in a cold-weather place. Tibetan mastiffs can be extremely independent though, with the American Kennel Club saying they are “notorious for performing impeccably in [training] class and then completely ignoring all commands when they are once again at home.” Sassy dog!
Another massive pup that doesn’t require tons of exercise is the Anatolian shepherd. If you’re looking for a dog that will snuggle up with you all the time, this might not be the best choice because they are known for being independent and not very affectionate. But if you need a loyal pet that will make you feel safe, Animal Planet calls them “unparalleled guard dogs.”
Black Russian Terrier
This might not be the easiest breed for you to find but if you do, a black Russian terrier will be fiercely loyal and protective of you. These big, beautiful dogs are good for families but need space to stretch out, so an apartment would not be a great fit. They will be calm pups inside your house but Animal Planet says they are athletic and full of life if you unleash them at a dog park.
Like many dogs named after cities, the Brussels griffon will do great living in an urban apartment. These tiny pups have big personalities and will pretty much want to hang out near you all the time. The American Kennel Club says they need about 30 minutes of exercise a day, which can include a game of fetch inside the house. Movie lovers will remember this breed from 1997’s “As Good as It Gets,” where Verdell the Brussels griffon stole many scenes from Jack Nicholson.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh corgis are noted for being sweet and adaptable companions. If you are energetic, they will be too but, as the American Kennel Club says, “if you want to watch TV and eat popcorn, no problem — the Cardigan is there for you.” These cuties love to play fetch and run around with kids and other pets. If you don’t plan on keeping yours too active, be sure to watch their food intake because they can easily become overweight.
This breed might look a little — OK, a lot — silly, but they are pretty tough little pups, according to the American Kennel Club. Chinese cresteds are extremely loving, loyal and perfect for people with allergies, thanks to their overall lack of fur. They can meet their exercise needs by playing in the yard or in an open room but they may need sunscreen to protect their sensitive skin when outside.