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Let’s be honest, not everyone has the time or energy to take their dog running for miles every day–and that’s okay! The happiest human-canine relationships are all about compatibility, so if you’re not the outdoorsy type, there’s still a dog out there that’s perfect for you.
If you’re starting your search for the perfect couch-potato dog, we’ve got a list of some of the best lazy dog breeds for you to start with. Remember, lazy doesn’t mean boring! Some of these dogs make excellent companions and family dogs despite (or maybe because of) their love of naps and the quiet life.
Lazy dogs still need your love and attention. Just because they enjoy being homebodies doesn’t mean they don’t need regular exercise and some mental stimulation. Even dogs with the best temperament will still need to be trained as well. Find some tips on how to train and take care of your lazy dog later in this article, after our breed list.
Small Lazy Dog Breeds
While there is a stereotype that small dogs are highly strung and loud, there are actually several breeds of small dogs that are very chill and prefer napping to barking any day. Small dogs are ideal for tighter living quarters. Most of the small dogs on this list are just fine with apartment living and don’t require a backyard.
Bred as a lapdog, Japanese chins are distinctly indoorsy, preferring short walks and the occasional burst of play in their own home or backyard to long walks. The American Kennel Club recognizes chins as having an almost feline temperament with their quiet gracefulness.
They tend to make great family dogs, generally get along with other dogs, and are well-suited to smaller spaces like city apartments. Also like cats, they tend to do well when left on their own for a few hours at a time, making them ideal for folks with a busy schedule.
Another breed designed to be an indoor companion, Shih Tzus are known as royal dogs, since they were bred to be lapdogs for the Chinese royal family. Their distinctive appearance is sure to draw attention, but that’s no problem as they are known to have a pleasant and friendly demeanor.
Shih Tzus are often noted for how well they behave with children in particular. They love nothing more than curling up on the couch with their humans and enjoying a quiet evening. A small amount of play each day can be enough to meet their exercise requirements.
One of the most popular breeds of dog for apartment-dwelling urbanites is the French bulldog and it’s easy to see why. Their compact size (with large ears) makes them adorable and easy to keep in limited space. While playful and friendly with people and other dogs, they don’t require very much outdoor exercise.
Another bonus for those living in apartments: they don’t tend to shed or bark very much, making them a great low-maintenance dog that will be accepted in most complexes. However, remember that flat-faced dogs come with some extra health risks.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
As their name implies this is another dog bred for royalty. So it’s no surprise that they not only look good but also have impeccable behavior. These spaniels are more athletic than some of our other small breeds, since they enjoy regular playing and chasing games, these dogs are wonderfully adaptable.
As the AKC notes, they will adjust to fit their owner’s lifestyle and can happily be more sporty or enjoy the couch potato life. They are social dogs that are just happy to be with you and become a part of your family. Make time to play fetch with them a few times a week, and they will love you all the more for it.
Pugs are another popular house dog due to their small size as well as their docile and sociable personalities. They tend to do well with children, and while their energy level is moderate, it’s all to scale–a short walk for a human can feel like a lot when you have such short pug legs.
Pugs have enough energy to be playful companions for a child, but are lazy enough to require only short bursts of exercise and they are perfectly happy in a small house or apartment. Pugs do shed, so frequent grooming is recommended, but they don’t typically drool or bark very much.
This lesser-known dog breed is one of the most adorable couch potatoes you’ll ever encounter. Originating in Italy, the Bolognese are small dogs with white coats. Notable for their calm demeanor and their devotion to their people, they make great companion dogs. They are polite to other dogs and people, though they can be reserved to new acquaintances.
Ultimately, they don’t need a lot of space or exercise, they just need to be close to you. They do require frequent grooming and regular socialization to prevent them from retreating into shyness.
Since this breed is so loyal to their humans, they are more prone to experiencing separation anxiety, so they would be ideal for someone who works from home or can bring their dog with them during the day.
Medium Lazy Dog Breeds
If you prefer a dog breed with more physical presence, there are a few great options for lazy dogs in the medium size category. If you have a little more space for your dog to spread out, you can consider more breeds at a higher weight class.
Just like their miniature French cousin, traditional English bulldogs are also lazy dogs. With a dense body, flat nose, and wrinkly head, bulldogs are one of the most distinct-looking dog breeds. Despite their large size, they are still lapdogs at heart.
While they are affectionate with their people, they are less suited to being around unfamiliar dogs and small children they don’t know.
The AKC also warns that their short snout can cause them to struggle in high heat and humidity during the summer. So, lazy summer days are best spent indoors, making them an ideal companion for people who also don’t tolerate heat well or live in more temperate climates.
Despite being bred for hunting, Basset hounds prefer to keep their athletic activities to a minimum. They are known to be low-maintenance and laid-back, which make them good family dogs that generally gets along with other dogs.
While not as openly affectionate as some breeds on the list, they are known to be loyal to their people. They are not a very high-energy breed but they do have one of the most accurate noses in the canine world and may enjoy practicing some scent work from time to time for mental and physical stimulation.
Another aristocratic breed out of Asia, Chow Chows can help you fulfill your childhood dream of keeping a teddy bear as a pet. These lion-maned dogs are known as a very clean, low-odor dog breed that likes to groom itself.
When trained, Chow Chows aren’t aggressive but don’t tend to be openly friendly toward strangers and other dogs. Early socialization can help prevent them from becoming standoffish or even unfriendly.
They are loyal and protective family dogs, though they tend to be more independent than some of the other breeds listed and aren’t naturally very playful. So, they may not be ideal for a family with young children. They are good in a city environment, not requiring a lot of space or exercise.
While your mental image of greyhounds is likely of a lean, athletic, racing dog, greyhounds are also gentle and even-tempered family dogs. Despite being capable of reaching incredible speeds in short bursts, day-to-day, they prefer the quiet life.
Greyhounds love to nap and are built for speed more than stamina, so a short period of exercise is their preference. Retired racing dogs have become popular pets to adopt in recent years and their calm demeanor has proven that they are very happy with life in the slow lane. They are also neat dogs that are unlikely to drool and need very little coat maintenance.
Large Lazy Dog Breeds
Sometimes you just want a big cuddle bug to come home to each night, but larger dog breeds are often known to have higher requirements for space, exercise, and mental stimulation. While many of these dogs will demand more than their miniature counterparts, there are some large dog breeds that are happy to enjoy the easy life.
This Alpine working dog is famous for mountain rescues. It’s true that St. Bernards were bred as working dogs, able to withstand cold temperatures and they have a great deal of physical strength. However, they aren’t interested in scaling mountains every day. These large dogs are about strength and stamina, so they aren’t as likely to need a lot of high-energy play.
Another point in their favor is that St. Bernards are great with small children due to their patient, protective nature. Just as you might expect from dogs bred to rescue humans, they are loyal and loving to their family groups.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese mountain dog is another working breed from a similar region as the St. Bernard. These sturdy dogs were bred more for farm work than rescue scenarios, but they share some traits in common with their neighbor. Bernese mountain dogs are also highly cold-tolerant and great family dogs for those with small children.
Human companionship is their biggest motivator, so they are often happy to tag along and be with you. Take them with you while running errands or getting your own daily exercise to help fulfill their physical needs.
They are somewhat higher energy and need more mental stimulation than some of the other dogs on our list, but their calm demeanor earns them a spot. Like other cold-weather dogs, extra care must be given to them during summer, as their thick coats make them more prone to overheating.
In some ways, a bullmastiff is the ideal family dog. They balance being a laid-back companion with being a fierce protector. When well-trained and well-socialized, these dogs are an asset to family life.
Gentle with children, obedient to commands, and somewhat wary of strangers, they’re exactly the kind of dog you probably envision accompanying your children on a neighborhood walk. They are laid back in their own environment and enjoy indoor life.
If you do go on some outdoor adventures on the weekend, they will be very happy to join and have good stamina for hiking and similar activities. Day-to-day, they are happy enough with a small yard and some puzzle games.
The Care and Keeping of Your Lazy Dog
Choosing a lazy dog breed may seem like a low-maintenance shortcut to enjoying the benefits of family dog without all of the work that more energetic breeds require. However, it’s important to remember that all dogs still need some exercise to be healthy and happy and even lazy dog breeds need to be trained.
You should also note that since many of the dogs on our list were bred to be companion animals, they can be prone to separation anxiety. If these dogs are left alone for eight hours every day, they can develop behavioral issues, depression, and be more prone to illness.
If you live in a household with all members of the family maintaining busy schedules, you might consider a lower-maintenance breed or a more independent pet like a cat.
Lazy Dog Enrichment
All dogs need to enjoy some exercise. The energy and size of the breed can help determine exactly how much. Without regular mental and physical stimulation, any dog can develop behavioral issues. The necessary amount can even vary from dog to dog, but you should be trying to engage in some form of play or exercise with your dog every day.
For smaller breeds with shorter legs, a short walk around the block for a human may be enough to fill their needs. After all, for every step you take, they may need to take three or four depending on the size of your stride.
While there are larger breeds that are also on the lazy side, you may need to scale up the amount of exercise. If you have a yard or a dog-friendly park nearby, playing a few rounds of fetch can help your dog deplete their energy without dedicating too much of your own time or energy.
If you live in a climate where you can’t always play outdoors with your dog, there are some other ways to give them the enrichment they need. Stairs can be a great tool to tire your dog out. If there are stairs in our house or building, you can take your dog up and down a few times– again, depending on the length of their legs, this could take one or two rounds or a dozen.
There are also doggy treadmills, though for the dog breeds on our list, they may be overkill. In a multi-dog family, though, they can be a useful investment if you have few opportunities to get your dog outside.
Some of the breeds on our list, while being lazy overall, were bred to be working dogs. They have minds that are eager to learn and complete tasks. While every dog can benefit from stimulating play or puzzles, it’s particularly important with these intelligent breeds. Here are a few suggestions for ways to add enrichment to your dog’s daily routine.
Dogs love toys. Find a few toys your dog particularly likes and use that to encourage some activity. For example, you can grab one end of their favorite rope toy and have a gentle tug-of-war session.
You can use their toys to develop their foraging and tracking skills by hiding a favorite toy and having them find it somewhere in the house as well. These small challenges help encourage dogs to use their highly developed sense of smell and keep their brains entertained while using some of their energy as well.
For very intelligent breeds, you might consider getting puzzle toys that challenge your dog to figure out how to get to the tasty treat inside. It’s a great way to keep them occupied, develop their problem-solving skills, and get them a snack. Food dispensing toys and puzzles are also a great way to prevent over-feeding if your dog tends to scarf down their food too quickly.
Training Your Lazy Dog
Every dog and dog parent needs to learn how to communicate with each other. Training is all about helping your dog understand how to behave safely in different situations and helping them develop their trust in you. No matter their breed, your dog deserves that.
It’s also important to make sure that lazy dog breeds are well-socialized with people and dogs. Many of the laziest dog breeds love people and thrive on human connection.
However, some may naturally struggle around strangers or strange dogs. If not properly socialized, they may become standoffish and have trouble setting boundaries with energetic dogs or small children. This could lead to negative behaviors or frustration.
Be sure to take your dog through at least a basic obedience course either in person or online and take them to dog parks and other dog-friendly places to develop their skills
Choosing Your Lazy Dog Companion
Picking a dog that suits your lifestyle and personality is the best key to a successful relationship. On this list, we’ve shared some of the best lazy dogs in different size categories and all with their own unique traits, so you can find your ideal match.
Of course, each individual dog will have their own personality, so it’s always best to meet a dog in person before adopting. You want to make sure you find the perfect coach potato dog for you, one who will keep you company during movie marathons, perfectly content with the quiet life you like to lead
Hopefully, our list has given you some options that help you narrow down your search for the best lazy dog for your household.