Whilst dogs are not humans and should not be treated as such, we do share some traits with our canine friends. There is such a thing as grumpy dogs, happy dogs, and mischievous dogs and so it stands to reason there must also be lazy dogs. Whether there are lazy dog breeds, now that is another question!
There is no doubting that some dogs, just as people are lazier than others and these are the dogs you’ll find stretched out on the couch or a rug, dozing the day away quite happily.
There is also no doubt that some dog breeds are lower maintenance than others and this includes the area of exercise. This does not mean however that all dogs of lower maintenance breeds are lazy, or that all dogs of higher maintenance breeds are chock full of energy.
Low maintenance (exercise) dog breeds
Following is a rundown of the top ten least energetic dog breeds according to research. We’ll start with the nearest thing the dog world has to a couch potato, which is the Chinese Crested.
- Chinese Crested. The Chinese Crested is one of the smaller dog breeds and is well known as an invalid’s companion. This breed is said to be almost able to read your mind and is more than happy to lie on the bed with you for hours on end. They usually have almost no desire to go out and run around like most dogs. They are low energy, have low exercise needs, low intensity and enjoy moderate play.
- English Bulldog. The English bulldog was originally bred to drive cattle and for use in bull baiting. They are a smaller breed but stocky and powerful and make gentle companions that love children. Everything this breed does is done with vigour however they need little more than a gentle walk and naps on the sofa. The English bulldog’s energy is low with low exercise needs and moderate playfulness. Their intensity levels however are very high and when they are concentrating on a task they are vehement about it.
Greyhound. The Greyhound may seem a strange choice to be found on a low energy or lazy dog breed list, they are after all the Ferrari of the dog world. Able to run at speeds of up to 45mph they made their name as a racing dog and are still known for this nowadays. On the flip side though the greyhound is also sweet with a mild nature and loves nothing more than a good laze around.
Greyhounds only need a short walk once or twice a day that will allow them space to be allowed off leash for a short spurt of running. Energy levels for this breed are moderate with a moderate need for exercise. They have low intensity levels but require a high level of play.
- Italian Greyhound. The Italian Greyhound is a lot smaller than the standard greyhound and was a favourite companion of noblemen in Italy. Their main traits are speed, endurance and determination and they make an ideal family dog. Their energy levels and exercise needs are moderate whilst their intensity is very low. Their play needs are the same as the standard greyhound in that they require a high level.
- Chihuahua. At first glance the Chihuahua would seem to be an obvious pick to be on a list of the top ten laziest / least energetic dogs. It needs to be made really clear though that the Chihuahua does need exercise and is not just a handbag dog. They are the smallest dog in this top ten but have personalities and make excellent watchdogs. They have a moderate level of energy and need for play, with low exercise needs and intensity levels.
- Bullmastiff. The bullmastiff is a firm and fearless family guardian that can be standoffish with strangers. They hold a huge soft spot for their loved ones though and are known as prolific droolers. Their energy levels and exercise needs are low but they have a high intensity and need for play.
- Shih Tzu. This breed has been bred solely for the purposes of companionship. The name Shih Tzu means little lion but there is absolutely nothing fierce about this affectionate, happy and outgoing house dog. Their energy is low and they have moderate intensity and exercise and play needs.
- St Bernard. Again this may seem a strange breed to appear on a lazy or low energy list of dogs. However they may be a breed with high endurance and plenty of energy to carry out long walks, but they are also one that love their home comforts. They have low energy levels compared to most breeds and moderate intensity, exercise and play needs.
- Irish Wolfhound. The Irish wolfhound was originally used in wars to drag men off their horse and to hunt deer, boar and wolves. Today though they are a family companion albeit a large one that has low energy levels, moderate exercise needs and intensity and a high level desire for play.
- Basset Hound. This breed was used for hunting small game such as rabbits but is really a laid back family friend who loves children. They have low energy levels and need for exercise and play. They can however be quite intense.
Other dogs with low exercise needs include: Pekingese, Neapolitan Mastiff, Mastiff, Lhasa Apso, Japanese Chin, Great Pyrenees, French Bulldog, Dogue de Bordeaux, Chow Chow, Chinook, Chinese Sharpei and Bermese Mountain dog.
Lazy dog or lazy owner
There is no doubting that some dogs are lazy or lazier than others. There is however the chance that the dog is not the lazy one but the owner is.
Research has shown that one in five dog owners are too lazy to walk their dogs!
Other statistics are:
- Two million dogs are not getting enough exercise
- A quarter of dog owners think that letting their dog into the yard is enough exercise
Many owners do not realise that it is a legal requirement to meet your dog’s daily needs and this includes the exercising of your dog.
It is recommended that your dog is taken out for a 30-40 minute walk daily, ideally twice a day. Not exercising your dog can result in your dog become obese, the statistics on this at present are:
- A third of all dogs being overweight
- Only a quarter of dog owners with overweight dogs recognizing the fact their dog is overweight
Advice for the lazy dog owner
The advice for a lazy dog owner is pretty straight forward, do not get a dog! All dogs need exercise for their physical and mental wellbeing and the lack of this can prove to be fatal.
Advice for the owner with a lazy dog
Every dog needs a reason to get moving besides the obvious toileting they require. Even the lowest energy dogs need physical exercise and if your dog is napping all the time, you may be confusing low energy for boredom. It is not enough to let your dog into your backyard and think that they have had enough exercise because they returned into the house.
A backyard rarely holds anything new for a dog and they will become bored of being there very quickly. If you do let your dog out into the yard as part of his or her daily exercise, try playing with them and interacting to hold their attention and keep them moving longer.
Your dog needs a minimum of twenty minutes heart pumping exercise three times a week. It is however recommended that you take them on a 30-40 minute walk every day. Remember to stimulate them mentally as well as physically, tire out the mind and the body. Here are some tips for getting the lazy dog moving:
- Visit the vet and check that there are no underlying conditions causing your dog to appear or be lazy
- When exercising your dog introduce variety – go to the park, jogging, play fetch, jump or swim
- Involve mental exercise such as hide and seek, long lasting bones, toys, obedience classes and agility classes
- Introduce a routine for when you walk your dog and stick to it as far as possible. Dogs do best when they have routine.
- Start with short walks and gradually increase
- Find the right activities for your dog and reward their movements
- Find a playmate for your dog or introduce (if feasible) a second dog to the family
- Encourage your dog to follow you around when able, even if it’s just up the stairs and back. Exercise is exercise.