11 Dog Breeds That Need the Least Exercise


Whether you live in an apartment, you can’t spend a lot of time exercising due to disability, or you simply have a very busy lifestyle that doesn’t leave much time, there are many reasons for wanting a dog that doesn’t require a ton of exercise. While all dogs do need some exercise to stay healthy, just like people, certain dogs are way more high energy than others. We’ve talked before about placid smaller breeds, but today I want to focus more generally on dogs that are, well…lazy.

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It’s okay if you’re a couch potato, I’m not here to judge. I enjoy hanging out with Janice and Leroy on the couch for a Netflix binge myself. So if you’re looking for a dog that will embrace your chill lifestyle, here are 11 breeds that you should consider:

1. English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is the quintessential frat boy dog, for good reason. This dog is excellent at lounging around doing nothing. They love to sleep, and they revel in being a little bit “gross”. If you don’t mind farting, snoring, and goofy antics to go with your lazy dog, this is a great choice for you. Be aware that English Bulldogs can be prone to breathing problems and skin issues, and typically need regular veterinary attention.


English Bulldog

2. Chow Chow

Chow Chows are basically big walking pillows. With their fluffy bodies and their chill attitudes, Chow Chows are perfect for someone who wants a cuddly companion for a quiet night in. These dogs tend to be more independent than most, which translates into you not needing to do much to keep them happy. That’s good news for someone who wants a dog but doesn’t have a ton of time for training.

Chow Chow

3. Chinese Crested

If you want a dog that you can spoil and play with, but don’t want to do a lot of exercise, a Chinese Crested is perfect. These dogs do need a lot of attention because of their hairlessness – their skin is prone to issues – and they also just like having lots of attention. But they don’t need a ton of movement to stay healthy, and they tend to live very long lives. These dogs are ideal for elderly owners who can’t get around as good as they used to, but want something to take care of to stay involved.


Chinese Crested

4. Shar Pei

Like the Chow Chow, this dog has a very independent, laid-back spirit. While these dogs make good guard dogs, they can also be incredibly lazy when they know all is well. They’ll sleep frequently and just “hang out” whenever you want them to. Just a small amount of regular exercise keeps them healthy, and they don’t tend to have any desire to wander. Plus, their wrinkly faces are adorable.


Shar Pei

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5. Irish Wolfhound

If you want a dog that is sweet tempered, patient, kind, and gentle, then the Irish Wolfhound is for you. It’s funny because these dogs were originally bred to fight wars – but these days, this dog is known for being one of the sweetest breeds around. They are great with very young children because they are so calm and patient. They don’t need a ton of exercise compared to other large breeds, and are generally just happy to do whatever you want.

Irish Wolfhound

6. Bichon Frise

This fluffy cloud-like breed is a popular companion for elderly and disabled owners, specifically because they are generally content to be lap dogs and nothing more. They are sweet and cuddly, and they lack the snappishness that a lot of small toy breeds can develop. These dogs need a quick walk every day and nothing more, although you will spend quite a lot of time on grooming their unruly curls. They were bred to be companions, and they excel at that task.

Bichon Frise

7. Bullmastiff

Here’s an interesting one that I don’t think many people would guess as a low-energy dog. If you love the protective-yet-goofy nature of a Pit Bull, but you don’t want a dog that needs a lot of exercise, a Bullmastiff is a great choice. They are just as alert and loving as a Pit, but they have very calm, even docile natures. These dogs are definitely big and powerful, but they tend to be rather lazy in demeanor. You can easily incorporate a Bullmastiff into your calm, laid back lifestyle.


8. Sussex Spaniel

These dogs look something like a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Setter, with maybe a little bit of wiener dog thrown in for good measure. These dogs are a bit of a mystery to me, so watch out for a new Breed of the Week featuring them coming up soon; but somehow, they are frequently both a bit silly and fun-loving, but also very slow-paced. It’s kind of like they want to move, but are just too slow to do much of it. Whatever the reason behind this interesting mix, a Sussex Spaniel is a great dog for a family that likes to be more energetic on the weekends, but can’t get out for much exercise during the week.


Sussex Spaniel

9. Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds are the classic dog you picture when you think of a lazy, napping, lumbering goof ball. These dogs love to hang out on the porch, napping the day away in a sunbeam. And then coming inside at night to sleep the night away with you! If you want a dog that won’t need much exercise, this is it. Be aware that Basset Hounds do have a pretty piercing howl when they want to vocalize, so they may not be the best dog for an apartment.

Basset Hounds

10. Great Dane

Surprisingly, these big dogs don’t actually require a ton of intense exercise. They do need plenty of space to move around, for sure – but just some time spent playing together, or a quick walk, will be plenty of exercise for them each day. These dogs are sweet hearted and silly, with very goofy personalities that make them easy to love. Be aware that they tend to be short lived, which may be hard on young children.

Great Dane

11. Old English Sheepdog

Finally, the Old English Sheepdog is another dog that you may not have guessed was low energy. These dogs are gentle, protective, and very companionable. While they will be happy to go outside with you and amble around, they don’t tend to necessarily need consistent exercise. They want to be around you more than anything, and are generally just fine with hanging out around the house.


Old English Sheepdog

Keeping Your Low Energy Dog Happy

So now that you know about quite a few breeds that don’t require a lot of exercise, what do you do with them? You got the dog because you wanted to have a loving companion that fit your lifestyle, but just because they are low energy doesn’t mean they don’t need some stimulation. Bored dogs are destructive dogs. Here are some ways to spend time with your dog, no matter how much exercise they do or don’t need.

  • Take your dog with you to run errands. If you just have to run somewhere in the car and back home, such as to pick up the kids, to go through a drive-through at the bank, or to swing by a business that is dog-friendly, why not let your dog come with you? It’s easy to keep your dog safe with safety harnesses for your car, and they’ll enjoy staying with you.

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  • Sleep in the same room. Even if you don’t want your dog on your bed, letting them sleep in the same room as you can help you both feel connected. Your dog will feel safer and more content staying with their “pack leader” at night. If you struggle to keep them off the bed, put a Dog Crate in your room for bedtime.

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  • Multi-task when you’re doing mindless activities. For example, do you frequently daydream when making lunch or doing the dishes? You could use that time to practice vocal commands with your dog. Do you get antsy sitting in front of the TV? Groom your dog while you watch. These are simple ways to include your pup in your every day moments.
  • Find some mentally stimulating toys. For example, a flirt pole is a fun way to play when your dog is feeling a little more energetic than usual, or let your dog occupy himself with a puzzle toy that hides a tasty treat inside.

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  • Make your dog some homemade treats. The way to a dog’s heart is often through their stomach, and the doggie treat industry is filled with treats that aren’t’ very good for dogs. Find some great recipes and try your hand at being a canine chef. Your dog can be the official taste tester and quality control supervisor.
  • Binge watch some doggie documentaries Even if your dog dozes off, you’ll have fun getting to know more about these amazing animals. And the cuddles will be epic for all-day binge.
  • Play a calm game of hide and seek. Hide your dog’s favorite toy, or a treat, and encourage them to go find it. This is a fun way to keep your dog mentally occupied that doesn’t require a ton of energy from either of you.
  • Amaze your dog with magic tricks/ Have you ever seen the “cup game” where a magician hides a coin under one of three cups, then switches them all around faster than you can follow, and asks you to guess where the coin is? You can play the same game with your dog. Hide kibble or a toy under a cup, and then play the game. Your dog’s nose will be put to the test.
  • Teach your dog to recognize the names of their toys. There is a dog that was reported to understand over 1,000 words, so don’t feel intimidated by this idea. You can teach your dog the difference between “duck” and “ball” with some patience. This will help with fetch and clean up later.
  • Learn how to groom your dog yourself. If you want to spend more time with your dog on a regular basis, it’s a great idea to learn how to groom your dog on your own. Invest in some good nail clippers and scissors, and start learning about the breed standards if you want to groom your dog to look like a classic example of their breed. This will be a good time for lots of petting and bonding. Ask your groomer to help you learn how to trim nails if you’re worried about cutting the quick.

These ideas can help you spend time with your dog, even if neither of you is interested in taking a walk or playing an energetic game of fetch.

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The Final Word

At the end of the day, please remember that all dogs need at least some exercise daily to stay healthy. But “some” exercise varies greatly depending on the breed and the dog’s temperament. It’s also important to remember that dogs are unique individuals with their own personalities. It’s just as common to see a highly energetic English bulldog as it would be to see an extremely lazy Dalmatian – two dogs that typically exemplify the opposite trait. Treat your dog as an individual with their own quirks, and you’ll be much closer to making them happy and healthy.

That being said, these 11 breeds are the most likely to earn you a dog that is perfectly content with your relaxed lifestyle. You can get yourself a couch potato buddy who wants to snuggle or just hang out, without having to give up on your dream of being a dog owner. You’ll be able to find plenty of ways to form a close bond with your dog, even if you don’t get out for hours and hours of play every day. With all this variety in temperament and personality, dogs truly are man’s best friend – no matter what kind of person you may be!

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11 Great Ideas for Exercising Your Dog Without Walking
Is Your Dog Exercising Enough? How Much is Enough and What’s Too Much?