Are you looking for a dog who’s content living a cat’s life? As in: prefers lounging at your feet over hiking through the hills? Not a problem! While all dogs need walks, some breeds are low-energy, with minimal exercise requirements. StudyFinds researched those breeds to find the most laid-back dogs to hang out with.
But don’t get too excited about doing nothing. Even if your entire family prefers the couch, getting enough exercise is still important. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity on a weekly basis. The stakes are high: A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst found that adults between 38 and 50 who took at least 7,000 steps daily — about three miles — were much less likely to die over the next decade. Talk about motivation!
If 150 minutes or 7,000 steps sounds like a lot, don’t fret: You may get away with less — if you’re old enough. Researchers from Northwestern University’s School of Medicine found that just an hour of brisk walking each week — about 9 minutes per day — can already help curb disabilities related to arthritis, achy joints, or stiff muscles among older individuals. “This is less than 10 minutes a day for people to maintain their independence. It’s very doable,” said study lead author Dorothy Dunlop, professor of preventive medicine. Doable indeed. Just make sure that it’s enough exercise for your pup as well!
To help you find a companion well-suited for your relaxed lifestyle, StudyFinds reviewed ten expert lists of the calmest dog breeds and created our own list with the top-five most laid-back dogs. Do you agree with our list? Please let us know in the comments.
The List: Most Laid-Back Dog Breeds, According to Experts
1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
While appearing rather perky, the cavalier is the dog all experts recommend if you’re looking for a laid-back pup. “The cavalier is very playful and affectionate and calm in the house,” knows The Spruce.
Naturally, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has background info on the breed: “Dating back to Renaissance times, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is known for their prestigious nobility and gentle demeanor. Bred through generations of royals like King Charles I and his son Charles II, their sweet expression and round eyes make them hard to resist.” The AKC further notes that “due to their welcoming disposition, the Cavalier makes a great therapy dog.”
And while these dogs are generally calm, they don’t mind a little playtime. “This adorable, toy-sized breed is known for its adaptability. If its owner is active, it will gamely march along on hikes or go fetch. If its family is more into lounging, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are happy to chill,” writes Southern Living.
2. Irish Wolfhound
Anything but toy-sized, the magnificent Irish wolfhound is known to be a “gentle giant.” These dogs were “originally bred to rid the Irish countryside of wolves,” but today they are lovers, not fighters, who like to “spend their time lounging around like kings,” says Good Housekeeping.
“While a huge, leggy dog might not seem like an obvious choice for a calm household, Irish wolfhounds are actually content to lounge at your feet most of the time,” confirms K9 of Mine. They further “tend to be affable with other canines, low-shedding dogs (thanks to their wiry coats), and [are] happy to sprint around the yard or park for a little while rather than hitting the trails every day.”
3. Basset Hound
This dog’s looks don’t deceive. These droopy-eyed pups are as calm as they come. “Known for their big floppy ears and adorable sad eyes, Basset Hounds are also regarded as one of the most calm dog breeds out there,” says Great Pet Care. “Basset Hounds are typically very easygoing, friendly toward people and other dogs, and known to be good with children.”
“One only needs to look at those short legs and heavy-set bodies to realize this dog was not designed to set speed records. And, Bassets seem to know it,” claims Southern Living. “Happy to plod along on slow walks or just nap in the sun, the only time you’ll ever see them in a full sprint is when a rogue hot dog hits the floor. As a bonus, they’re known for being exceedingly patient and loyal…and what mortal can resist those ears?”
So, if your motto is no sports, these guys are game! “Short and stubby and with ears for days, basset hounds tend to be quite low-energy dogs.” Despite “their baying hound voice, … their energy levels are perfect for calmers households,” mentions K9 of Mine.
4. TIE: Saint Bernard and Newfoundland
Speaking of droopy-eyed: the Saint Bernard and the Newfoundland both are easy-going, gigantic fluffballs with somewhat saggy lids. And both have lifesaving skills! All those similarities are probably why they got an equal amount of experts’ recommendations for people looking for a laid-back dog. Reader’s Digest, for instance, describes the Saint Bernard as “patient, peaceful, and gentle” and calls the Newfoundland “affectionate and good-natured.”
According to the AKC, the Saint Bernard (who, in the olden days, helped Swiss monks rescue missing travelers), despite being “large in stature,” is “genial in disposition. […] Kind, with big hearts, Saints [!] will learn quickly to respond to commands and obey their humans. These gentle giants would fit best with families that can devote a lot of time to them, as they love being with their owners.”
Equally, the Newfoundland “is giant but has a mellow temperament, and their exercise needs are minimal beyond daily walks. This working breed was developed to assist fishermen in Canada, where they worked on ships, hauling fishing nets and rescuing swimmers in trouble. The Newfoundland is renowned for its gentle temperament and calm personality, something that makes it an excellent family dog,” adds The Spruce.
5. French Bulldog
This popular breed tends to be “goofy,” but still comes highly recommended as a laid-back dog as French Bulldogs are “considered to be easygoing best friends for seniors, children, and apartment dwellers,” as well as “smart, devoted, and [craving] attention from their hoomans,” notes Daily Paws.
“Although they’re known for having energy as young pups, after turning two or three, you’ll see that your Frenchie has become a calm, even-keeled dog,” states The Pioneer Woman. “In fact, once they’re adults, Frenchies are often considered to be one of the calmest dog breeds around.”
But before you buy a French Bulldog, K9 of Mine wants readers to know that “it’s important to support Frenchie breeders that avoid breeding for hyper-exaggerated big heads and flat faces; [like the Cavalier King Charles,] this breed can be plagued by health issues related to those ultra-cute faces.”
Note: For simplicity’s sake this list consists of purebreds. Mixes of the breeds mentioned can of course also be very laid-back.
You might also like:
- Best Dog Breeds for Seniors
- Best Dog Breeds for Families
- Best Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners
- Best Dogs for Emotional Support
- Reader’s Digest
- Southern Living
- Daily Paws
- American Kennel Club
- K9 of Mine
- Parade Pets
- Good Housekeeping
- Great Pet Care
- The Spruce
- The Pioneer Woman
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.