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17 Best Low-Maintenance Dogs

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8 min read

Updated - Aug 3rd, 2022

Looking for a dog that’s laid-back? A dog that’s a little more “type-B,” than “type-A?” Just like there are highly energetic dog breeds well-suited for families with kids and active couples, there are also dog breeds known for being a little more easygoing, a little more low-key.

Whether you’re searching for a dog with a calm personality, lower energy level, or minimal grooming needs, there are a variety of different breeds out there that might be considered low maintenance.

Ready to learn more? Read on to explore our list of the best low-maintenance dog breeds.

Best Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds

Low-maintenance dogs are typically thought of as calmer, easier to train, less active, and/or easier to groom than their high-maintenance counterparts. Herding breeds, for example, are not usually considered low-maintenance, as these dogs often have high energy levels, can get bored easily, and are less likely to be low-shedding or hypoallergenic.

Of course, all dogs are unique, and what makes a low-maintenance dog breed can be different for everyone.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 17 of the best low-maintenance dogs:

1. Basset Hound

You’ll recognize a Basset Hound when you see one, those ears stand out. These charming dogs are patient, loyal, and unlike some of their hound companions, they can be fairly lazy.  

A daily walk will probably be enough for a Basset, otherwise, these dogs can be couch potatoes. Basset Hounds have short coats, however, they are more likely to shed without weekly brushing and an occasional bath.

2. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are friendly, happy dogs that make great city pets. These dogs might be a little more lively than some of the breeds on our list, but daily exercise or a trip to the dog park should be enough for them. 

In general, Bostons are content to do whatever it is you’re doing; they’re very eager to please. These dogs are pretty infrequent shedders and don’t require too much grooming – although, like the Basset, regular brushing can help cut down on any shedding.

3. Brussels Griffon

A toy breed with a human-like personality, the Brussels Griffon is loyal, curious, and sensitive. These small dogs are easily trained and playful, but not overly so, only requiring moderate exercise on a daily basis.

Smooth-coated Brussels can benefit from regular brushing, especially during shedding season. Rough-coated Brussels, on the other hand, often have their hair clipped – a professional groomer can help there.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The eyes of the Cavalier say it all. These dogs are gentle, affectionate, and true companion dogs. Cavaliers make excellent family pets, getting along with both children and other dogs.

Cavs are, like many of the breeds on our list, very adaptable, making them great dogs for city and country-dwellers alike. These dogs are also easy to train and don’t require more than regular brushing and moderate exercise.

5. Chihuahua

A little dog with a big personality, Chihuahuas are often described as charming and sassy. Chihuahuas make great lap dogs and can find sufficient exercise in a small space. 

Smooth-coat Chihuahuas – those with short coats – will have very minimal grooming needs, only requiring occasional brushing and regular baths. Long-haired Chihuahuas will need more consistent brushing, though, to avoid mats.

6. Chinese Crested

Recognizable by their two varieties, hairless and coated – or “powderpuff” – the Chinese Crested is an affectionate, playful, and attentive companion dog. These toy dogs love to spend time with their owners, whether participating in activities or hanging around at home.

Chinese Crested need daily exercise, but nothing strenuous. These dogs need minimal grooming, but they do require skincare on their exposed skin, as they can get sunburn and other irritations.

7. Dachshund

A recognizable breed, Dachshunds are curious, friendly dogs with intelligence and spunk. 

Dachshunds are very sociable, love to be with their families, and can be a little independent – so training is important. These may be small hounds, but they should have regular exercise.

The grooming needs of the Dachshund depend on the variety: smooth-coated, longhaired, or wirehaired; but overall, regular brushing should suffice.

8. French Bulldog

There’s a reason the French Bulldog is now ranked second on the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds. Not only are Frenchies adorable, but they’re also smart, adaptable, and playful. These are great city dogs, whose alertness makes them surprisingly good watchdogs. 

Although alert, Frenchies are still pretty calm – they’ll be content with a daily walk or short playtime. These dogs have a short coat and are minimal shedders. They’ll only need the occasional bath, but regular brushing will help keep their coat clean and cut down on any shedding.

9. Havanese

A sociable and happy toy breed, the Havanese is another adaptable dog that is eager to please. Havanese are easy to train and make excellent companion dogs.

Like the French Bulldog, Havanese make surprisingly good watchdogs, they’re alert, but don’t bark too much. Although these dogs can have long coats, many owners choose to clip their coats short to keep grooming low maintenance.

10. Greyhound

The only truly large dog on our list, the Greyhound is perhaps best known for its history of racing. Although Greyhounds are more active dogs requiring regular exercise, they are also often perfectly content lounging around all day with their families.

These dogs can be a little independent, but they are very affectionate and gentle with their families. Greyhounds also have pretty minimal grooming needs and only shed occasionally. 

11. Italian Greyhound

You might call an Italian Greyhound a miniature version of a Greyhound, although the Italian Greyhounds’ small size makes them much better lap dogs. These dogs actually fall into the toy group, but share the Greyhound’s affectionate, sensitive, and independent nature.

Italian Greyhounds are alert and playful; they should have regular playtime for exercise and then they’ll be ready to cuddle with their families. Again, like their larger cousin, these dogs don’t require too much grooming.

12. Maltese

Well-known for their aristocratic heritage and pure white coats, Maltese have been lap dogs for thousands of years. This small dog breed is happy, playful, charming, and very smart; they can be great family dogs.

These dogs are also very adaptable, athletic, and agreeable to training. Maltese will be content with regular exercise and are considered hypoallergenic dogs, with little to no shedding, making them ideal for allergy sufferers.

That said, although some owners choose to keep the coat cut short, often referred to as a “puppy cut,” the Maltese typically has a long, flowing coat. When long, their coats should be brushed regularly to avoid tangles.

13. Pug

A friendly dog with a love of mischief and a recognizable expression, the Pug is full of personality. Pugs are excellent companion dogs, happy to socialize with everyone. These dogs are perfectly content to spend the day cuddling with their owners or just lounging around, but they should also get at least some daily exercise. 

Pugs can be great city dogs, great dogs for kids, as well as great dogs for both younger and older couples. In general, Pugs have minimal grooming needs, but they do shed. Like some of the other dogs on our list, however, regular brushing can help cut down on shedding.

14. Shih Tzu

An affectionate lap dog known for its affinity with kids, the Shih Tzu is playful and charming. Bred as companion dogs, Shih Tzus are fairly low energy and only need minimal exercise, like a daily walk or indoor play.

These dogs are minimal shedders, but those with a long coat will require regular brushing.

15. Sussex Spaniel

The only spaniel on our list, the Sussex Spaniel may not be quite as active as some of the other spaniels – although regular exercise for these dogs is necessary. Sussex Spaniels are friendly, even-tempered, and very affectionate family pets.

These dogs can be independent and shy with strangers, but positive training will make them intensely loyal and devoted companions. Sussex Spaniels will need regular baths and brushing, but shouldn’t require the expertise of a professional groomer.

16. Skye Terrier

A relatively uncommon breed, the Skye Terrier is elegant, courageous, and good-tempered. Skyes are one of the calmer terriers, although they can be a little stubborn and independent. These dogs are very smart, sensitive, and eager to please, and with training, they can easily become the most devoted companions. 

Skye Terriers don’t require too much exercise and can happily meet the exercise level of their owners. These dogs have long coats, but unlike some breeds, they don’t require trimming – only regular brushing to avoid tangles.

17. Whippet

Often described as a gentle, amiable, and low-maintenance dog, the Whippet – like the Italian Greyhound – looks like a smaller version of the Greyhound. These dogs are a combination of playfulness and relaxation; they enjoy running around as well as lounging on the couch with their families.

Whippets are affectionate and smart, but they can be a little independent, so training is definitely important. You can meet the Whippet’s exercise needs with regular walks or play; and their grooming needs are minimal as well.

How to Choose the Right Low-Maintenance Dog for You

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, you might start with the 17 breeds on our list, or, branch out and consider other options, like a mixed breed dog. 

Despite the breed, however, if low-maintenance is your goal, you’ll want to think about the qualities we’ve discussed here – activity level, exercise needs, grooming needs, personality – to ensure that you find the right dog to meet your family’s needs.

And – whichever dog you welcome into your home –  learn how Pumpkin can help keep your pup healthy.

Writer, Proud Dog & Cat Mom
Randa is a writer & former assoc. digital content editor at the American Kennel Club. She's also mom to 1 Corgi & 2 orange cats.

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