Think it’s time to get a furry sidekick? You probably already know the health benefits of owning a dog, like reduced feelings of loneliness and more opportunities for mindfulness. But even though you may be interested in joining the 69 million households in the US who owns at least one dog, you still might be hesitant to bring one into your home—especially if you know that having a dog means a lot of extra work. Good news: There are several dog breeds that are so low-maintenance, you barely need to walk them. To be clear, you must walk all Dogs, but read on to discover some of the easiest-to-care-for canines you’ll ever meet, according to pet experts.
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Pet expert, dog owner, and CEO of Waggy Pups Shannon Bunn tells Best Life that a dachshund has to be one of the most low-maintenance dogs you can get. These little long-bodied dogs are such a pleasure to be around, and are small enough for any age group to enjoy, she says.
“These dogs are typically lower to medium energy, which means they do not need as much exercise as other breeds of dogs,” Bunn explains. “Their short legs and small frame cannot take on too much, so short walks every day and some moderate playtime can suffice, and of course, lots of cuddling and relaxation.”
Both short- and long-haired dachshunds also need minimal grooming, she adds, with weekly brushing and monthly bathing, which can be done through a groomer or at home. “These dogs are also very patient and fun to train which makes them a great first time dog as well,” Bunn adds.
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Take it from Lynn Julian, a motivated speaker and Boston Marathon bombing survivor who did a year’s worth of research before adopting her first attacks service dog to help prevent and interrupt PTSD. Her criteria: a quiet, smart, and submissive dog that would be easy to train. “Since I was in a wheelchair, at the time, I wanted a dog that did not have to be walked,” Julian says. “My research led me to the Maltese: the most low-maintenance dog.”
She adds: “The Maltese is hypoallergenic, weighs only 4 to 12 pounds, will use Wee-Wee pads in the home, needs no exercise outside the home, does not love to bark as much as other small dogs, only needs to be fed once a day, and is moderately submissive making it easier to train.”
In your search for a low-maintenance dog, don’t overlook the Pembroke Welsh Corgi—Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred breed. “Though the Corgi is more readily associated with royalty, they also make a wonderful dog for seniors and retirees,” says Michelle HenryCEO and founder of Outdoor Dog Fun.
They are of a medium size, she says, but don’t require an unreasonable level of activity, and are compact enough to handle with ease. “Their breed history as cattle herding dogs means that they are smart and quick to pick up on training, and though they do need daily walks, they aren’t too excitable—making them great companions, especially for families with kids, who are a little busy to fit a long walk into their day,” Henry says.
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According to the American Kennel Club’s website, Cavaliers “can be upbeat athletes or shameless couch potatoes,” which ever aligns with their owner’s lifestyle. Jacquelyn KennedyCEO and founder of PetDT tells Best Life“This miniature sized spaniel is great for seniors, as they are both affectionate and adaptable, so are a good companion pet, and love to cuddle with owners. Their compact size and good genetics means that they are easy to handle and train, even if the owner is a dog novice.”
What’s more, she adds, they’re great for apartments and bungalows, and they don’t need loads of walking. “But you should still make an effort to exercise them for at least half an hour a day,” Kennedy cautions. “This can be a couple of jaunts round the block, or can be games of fetch in the garden.”
“When looking for a low-maintenance pet, dogs are not going to be top of the list!” advise Linda Simon, MVB, a veterinary surgeon and veterinary consultant for FiveBarks. “Instead, consider a gerbil, fish or reptile.”
If your heart is set on a dog, however, there are some breeds to consider. Her suggestions: toy breeds such as the Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and, yes, the Maltese. “Another great consideration is a Whippet or Greyhound,” Simon adds. “These dogs are commonly found in rescue centers in countries who race dogs for sport. While these dogs can run fast, they only need a few sprints a day to keep them happy and are actually content to live a sedentary lifestyle.”
Whatever you do, never opt for a dog that was bred to work, such as a Shepherd, Siberian Husky, or Pointer, she says. According to Simon, “These dogs are hard-wired to seek out stimulation and need a huge amount of exercise.”
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