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What is the most low-maintenance dog?

Dogs are often seen as a pet that requires a lot of energy. The need for walks, interaction and play often makes them seem high maintenance. That's not the case for all dogs, though. Some need minimal exercise and are pretty independent. Which breeds should you be looking at if these are the characteristics you want in a dog?

What is the most low-maintenance dog?
Rachel Lee
· 9 min read

What is the most low-maintenance dog?: Your questions answered

  • What is the easiest dog to care for?

    There are many breeds that are easy to care for. They are mainly smaller, short-haired dogs, but breeds like labradors and greyhounds tend to be very relaxed. Often, when a dog is relaxed, they are easier to care for. However, smaller dogs bring with them many practicalities. They eat less food and need less walking in general.

  • How far do I have to walk my dog each day?

    You will soon learn how far your dog needs to be walked each day. You can tell by how long they sleep after your walk and what they get up to when they are awake. In general, a good rule of thumb will be that a dog needs around 45 minutes to an hour walk each day. However, that can vary greatly depending on the breed, size and age of a dog. The smaller and older the dog, the less walking they ordinarily require.

  • What makes a dog anxious?

    There are some common things that make a dog anxious. Firstly, fireworks and any loud bangs are usually enough to make a dog very nervous and unhappy. However, other dogs suffer badly from separation anxiety from their owner. Also, many rescue dogs suffer from anxiety caused by maltreatment in the past. This can actually manifest itself in aggression, but it is their way of dealing with the fact that they are frightened.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when lockdown restrictions were in full swing, many of us wanted to buy a puppy. Puppy sales have skyrocketed in the UK since the beginning of 2020 as more people spent time at home. However, that is not to say that we have all been buying the right puppies or dogs for us. Puppies have an adorable way of making anyone who meets them want them. As a result, some ill-advised purchases are easily made.

It does not have to be like that, though. Buying a dog that you can easily care for is possible as long as you do your research. Some dogs need a lot of work. Huskies, for example, are the type of dog that only marathon runners should purchase! Others, however, are far easier to home.

What makes a low-maintenance dog?

When looking for a low-maintenance dog, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for the below characteristics. Weigh up how vital these low-maintenance characteristics are to you. It could be that they are not a deal-breaker, and you are happy to tolerate their opposites in your future pooch and best four-legged friend!

Short walks

Ordinarily, dogs need a fair bit of exercise every day to keep them fit. If they do not get their daily dose of exercise, it puts them at risk of piling on weight and subsequently suffering from conditions exacerbated by weight gain.

Some dogs, however, do not need to walk miles and miles every day. Some will be fine with just a short walk around the block each morning. Others may require a longer walk, but only every so often.

Many owners find that dogs that do need longer walks will start to exhibit negative behaviour around the home - like eating shoes, for example. However, when dogs are well-exercised, owners will find that they are too tired to misbehave. Misbehaviour is often just a sign of boredom.

There are other solutions to that boredom, though, as opposed to just walking and physical exercise. If you play games with your dog, you may find that even five minutes with them will stop them gnawing on your favourite handbag.

If you have a big enough garden, you could even try buying a dog agility set to keep them occupied. Many dogs will be fine simply left to their own devices to play and run around!

In addition to looking for dogs that do not need much exercise, look for ones satisfied with just play.

Short coats

Another aspect of dog-owning that many owners overlook at the cute puppy stage is grooming. Some dogs, like a Bernese Mountain dog, for example, need an inordinate amount of brushing. Plus, they malt! Everywhere! Mass malting leads to a lot of time spent hoovering at home. Grooming cannot be overlooked, either. If a dog's fur coat starts to get matted, it puts them at risk of infection. The skin under a matt can begin to become irritated - so much so that it can open up. If any nasty germs get inside that wound, your poor pup may need a trip to the vet.

As a result, it can be highly beneficial to look for a dog with a short coat. They malt less and can be far less dirty - and when they do get dirty, they are far easier to clean. Taking care of your dog's grooming and the clear-up in all ways is far quicker and less troublesome. Also, short-haired dogs tend to be better for those with allergies - though that is not always the case.

Lack of separation anxiety

While this is sometimes personality-driven, some breeds of dogs suffer far more from separation anxiety than others. Some breeds are almost cat-like in their need, or lack thereof, for you to be around all the time. Dogs that need to be around you a lot are more high maintenance. They exhibit separation anxiety behaviour by continually whining when you're out of the house or even the room.

If you won't be working from home all the time, it's a good idea to find a breed that is ok on its own. They will still be far more excited about your return than you can ever imagine, but they won't suffer in the same way easily anxious dogs do. The problem with dogs that suffer from separation anxiety acutely is that it can affect their happiness and confidence.

If you have no choice but to leave your dog alone, there are plenty of comforting toys you can buy that will help your pet get through your absence.

Size

In general, smaller dogs do tend to be lower maintenance than their bigger counterparts. The reason being is simply on practical matters. Smaller dogs are easier to transport - meaning you do not need to buy another car, for instance. They also need a smaller bed, less space, less food and less clear up. They also require less time at the groomers. All those factors add up and can make a bigger dog - however lovely they are - more challenging to look after.

Intelligence

More intelligent dogs, like smaller dogs, are easier to take care of. They can be trained quicker, and as a consequence, are almost always better behaved. More intelligent dogs are less likely to get into trouble out of boredom and can be relied upon, too. The stress of having a misbehaved dog can take a lot of the fun out of their friendship! Additionally, getting a breed that is easily trained is a good idea if you do not have a lot of time to invest in training.

Low maintenance dog breeds

In general, the below dog breeds are often less intense in terms of the care they need. They require far less exercise, attention and training than some other breeds of pup.

Greyhound

Greyhounds, despite their speed and athleticism, are actually one of the lowest maintenance dog breeds around. The reason being is that, while they are quick, they are not particularly strong either. As a result, they have short spurts of energy but cannot maintain it. They also have very placid characters and are usually happy in their own company for a few hours a day. And, thanks to being so calm and relaxed, they are good additions to busy households with small children.

Shiba Inu

These pretty little fox-like dogs are a good idea for families who want a medium-sized pup. While they were originally hunting dogs - harking from Japan - they have become fantastic pets for many households. They are very independent and happy enough on their own, but they like to play too whenever their owner is home. The one downside to that gorgeous coat of theirs is that they do need brushing regularly. However, unlike some other dog breeds, they will happily tolerate it. And, if you can't take them out on a walk, just 20-30 minutes of mental stimulation will suffice instead.

Dachshund

Dachshunds are always popular. Thanks to their diminutive size, they are great for families who want a small dog with a cute face. Usually laden with bags of personality, this breed is usually easily trained. Plus, thanks to having short legs, they tend not to need as much exercise - or space - as bigger breed dogs. The shorter-haired variety is an excellent option for families that want low-maintenance, too. Shorter-haired dachshunds can sometimes even be suitable for those with allergies.

Pug

The popularity of pugs has soared in recent years. These quirky looking dogs have a sweet personality and are usually adoring of their owners. Plus, they do not need too much exercise; too much can make it difficult for them to breathe due to their flat faces. Also, they have very short coats that do not often malt, making them far easier to take care of than shaggy-haired breeds. Finally, pugs are usually easy to train - mainly as they want to please their owner all the time.

Whippet

Like greyhounds, whippets tend to be very relaxed dogs. While they are also associated with bags of energy and quick speeds on walks, they do not need to go out for long. Short walks where they can run around for short bursts are all whippets need. Plus, as their hair is short, they are perfect for those looking for a dog that requires very infrequent brushing and bathing. As they are so calm, they can also be fantastic with children and homes with other pets. All that being said, they're one of the brightest breeds around. While that makes them easy to train, they also need a fair bit of mental stimulation from their owners - especially when followed up with a nice long cuddle on the sofa!

Buying a low maintenance dog

It is so easy and tempting to get caught up in the excitement of buying a new puppy; they're cute, adorable and entertaining. However, it is essential to ensure that the dog you are buying is a good fit for you and your household. Some dogs do need a fair amount of work and attention. If you can't give them that, it is better to look for another breed or another pet entirely. While the maintenance they need can be personality-driven, the similarities between dogs of the same breed make it easy to find one that will suit you. Everyone will be happier if you can bring a dog into your home that you can meet the needs of!

Rachel Lee
Rachel Lee
Having worked at Morgan Stanley and BNYMellon for over 10 years in pensions and investments, Rachel naturally started to move towards investment writing more and more in her day job. Rachel now works as a full-time business and financial writer - drawing from her hands-on experience in the field.