Low maintenance dog breeds are the perfect solution if you’d love to have a dog but fear your busy lifestyle won't allow you to be a proper carer. Work, family and hectic weekends can pile on the pressure but that doesn't mean you should dismiss having a dog entirely.
While you do need to consider whether you have enough time for walks and whether or not you'll be at home for sufficient amounts of time, some breeds are surprisingly easy to care for. They won't demand many hours of your day for grooming or exercise and they may not suffer from many health issues either, meaning trips to the vet and time spent worrying is minimized.
It can mean that the time you do have with your dog is focussed on bonding and having fun. You still need to be attentive and to care for any dog you have, but the dogs we highlight below are more likely to fit into your lifestyle. Let's take a look.
PetsRadar's guide to low maintenance dog breeds
Long-haired Dachshunds will require a lot of effort while wire-haired Dachshunds will need a trip to the groomers every now and then. Those with short coats, however, require very little grooming other than a brush once a week to remove excess hairs. As such, they're a near-perfect low-maintenance breed.
They certainly don't require a huge amount of exercise. Just half-an-hour a day for miniature Dachshunds and an hour for larger dogs will suffice and, if you have a garden, then it's even better because they'll happily potter around – just make sure it’s secure to avoid them digging their way out and becoming lost.
By throwing in a daily activity, you'll help to mentally stimulate and enrich this breed but be aware that training requires consistency and takes patience. Dachshunds also adore attention and can be demanding of your time but with grooming and exercising at a minimum, this shouldn't prove a huge problem.
2. French Bulldog
Unless they're jumping around in puddles and dirt, French Bulldogs tend to be clean. Their short, fine fur won't mat so brushing is generally quick and easy. They do shed, but again, their hair type means it's not a difficult problem to overcome.
The main thing for you to consider will be potential skin issues but many Frenchies tend to only need a bath every month. Talking to a vet will ensure you're using an appropriate shampoo and as long as you dry properly, particularly in between the folds, you should find your furry friend has few problems in this regard.
Similarly, you don't need to excessively worry about exercise either. About an hour's worth spread over the day will be plenty – short walks are better than long because their flat faces cause breathing difficulties. If you train a Frenchie well, you can also leave them alone for a few hours. Enrich them with the best dog toys and they'll definitely be happy.
Needing just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day perhaps spread over two or three walks, chihuahuas are fun companions for a stroll around a park or a quick walk around the block. They're also very easy to groom, requiring only a few minutes of effort each week with a brush. Shedding is not really a problem either – nothing your regular vacuuming won't sort, anyway.
As such, they're about as low maintenance as they come, certainly in those regards. In other ways, however, they need a bit more work – house training can be a little tricky because this breed can be averse to popping out in the cold and rain and they're also prone to barking. Luckily obedience training is more straightforward and they'll soon learn the word “no”. Chihuahuas are also healthy little things, so visits to the vet should be infrequent.
You may think, due to their controversial use in racing, that Greyhounds are always on-the-go. Quite the opposite. They're actually not overly energetic and will be perfectly happy exercising in a garden or being taken for a brisk walk. Speed in short bursts is more their thing but an hour or so outdoors will be enough to keep them fit and healthy.
For much of the rest of the time, they're simply content with snuggling next to you and chilling out. Indeed, you're more likely to walk into a room and find they're fast asleep given they will spend about 18 hours of the day with their eyes closed!
This, coupled with their gentle nature, means you're not going to have many problems with a Greyhound other than perhaps training because they're independent-minded. You'll certainly find they are easy to groom: regularly brush these couch potatoes to keep them looking good and you’ll find that shedding will be minimal. They rarely need a bath.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Let's get one thing out of the way: yes, you will need to regularly groom a Cavalier. Their coat is prone to matting so it needs a daily brush (that way, you can avoid problems building up). You also need to tend to their ears because infections such as inflammation of the ear canal is common.
So why are they still low maintenance? Well, they only need about an hour of exercise each day and, because they love to please, you will find they are very easy to train too, more than capable of picking up on what you want from an early age. They don't require you to have a large home, tend not to shed, and are generally quiet. Cavaliers are gentle souls too. And when dogs look this cute, what's not to love?
6. Manchester Terrier
Only requiring a weekly brush of their short, smooth coat (and sometimes not even that), you'll find Manchester Terriers are very easy to groom. They only need bathing every three months or so because they are naturally clean. You won't be holding your nose because they tend to emit little to no odor!
While they can be prone to barking, Manchester Terriers are well-mannered, quick to learn and with few behavioral issues, making training and being around them a pleasure. The downside is that they're energetic dogs which do like and need plenty of exercise – although they settle down quickly when they've finished and will curl up and relax.
An hour each day and time off the leash can be enough but it's something to bear in mind. They also have a high prey drive so be on your guard if they're off their leash or around small animals.
7. Basset Hound
If you're after a breed that will fit into your lifestyle, then a Basset Hound is going to be ideal. They don't mind taking time out for themselves. Equally, they'll accompany you on an adventure. Sometimes, they can be so laid back you imagine they would rather you weren't around bothering them but that is all part of their undoubted charm.
Basset Hounds are also easy to groom. Aside from not putting up a struggle during bath time, for the most part you only need to regularly comb their short coat. This is important because they are prone to shedding and that's only going to lead to worry that your furniture and carpets are gaining their own coat.
Keeping a Basset Hound fit and healthy is another concern – they can become overweight. Around 30 minutes to an hour depending on their age is ideal. Not that you'll always be keeping up a brisk pace. They like to saunter and sniff everything they can along the way.
Whippets and Greyhounds are often mistaken as being one and the same. They're not. Whippets are smaller and less muscular although there are great similarities, among them their tendency to be low maintenance.
They will easily assimilate themselves into your busy life and they are more than happy to wait for you all day while you're at work. In fact, it's generally accepted that you can leave a Whippet alone for as many as eight hours. It's not ideal nor recommended but it can ease the pressure on you if you find no alternative – albeit perhaps not every day!
In terms of grooming, you'll have few problems. Their coats are short and smooth and only need a weekly brush. Keep a check on their nails and ears and they're good to go. Take them out for an hour a day to stretch their legs and keep them fit and healthy. Be sure to stimulate their mind as well.
So it's pouring down outside and neither you nor your Pug fancies a trip into the rain. Do you have to grab your coat anyway or will this breed be just as content exercising around the home? Luckily for both, it's the latter. And if you do venture outdoors, then half an hour is going to be enough to keep a Pug in tip-top shape.
It's for reasons such as this that Pugs are regarded as a low-maintenance breed. They will shed but grooming is nevertheless minimal – regular brushing, baths every three weeks or so – so long as you clean their eyes and wrinkles each day (no arduous task and something to do during bonding time). Pugs are also calm. They don't bark excessively and they're small enough to keep trouble to a minimum. And they'll give you lots of love each and every day.
Some people may think Bullmastiffs look scary and that they may well be high maintenance dogs. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Although they are often mistaken for pitbulls, Bullmastiffs are, in truth, gentle souls and one of the laziest breeds around.
Owners may talk of them becoming bored very quickly and deciding to retire to the sofa for a much-needed kip (in their mind, anyway!). It also means they're not going to run over to you with their lead in their mouth begging to be taken for a walk, although they do enjoy being outside and you should still aim for an hour a day.
Brush their short coats weekly to remove excess hair and bathe them every couple of months. With normal vacuuming, you'll stay on top of their minimal shedding. All said, it's worth pointing out that Bullmastiffs can suffer health problems and have a short lifespan. Talk to a Bullmastiff breeder before getting one.
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David Crookes has been a journalist for more than 20 years and he has written for a host of magazines, newspapers, websites and books including World of Animals, BBC Earth, Dogs and Canines, Gadget and The Independent. Born in England, he lives in a household with two cats but he’s also keenly interested in the differences between the huge number of dog breeds — in fact, you can read many of his breed guides here on PetsRadar. With a lifelong passion for technology, too, he’s always on the lookout for useful devices that will allow people to spend more time with their pets.