Top 15 low energy dog breeds (from small to large)

January 13, 2024 - 6 min read
Great dane sleeping

Who are low-energy dog breeds great for?

Low-energy dog breeds, often dubbed "couch potato dogs" or "lazy dogs," are ideal for a pretty wide range of people.

Whether you're a senior seeking a calm companion, a busy professional needing a low-maintenance pet, an apartment dweller looking for a calm space-appropriate friend, a first-time dog owner wanting an easygoing pet, or a family with young children in search of a gentle playmate, there's a "couch potato dog" out there for you.

A note before we start

While low-energy dog breeds are often more relaxed and less physically demanding, it's important to remember that "low energy" doesn't equate to "low maintenance."

These breeds still require regular care, including proper nutrition, routine veterinary check-ups, and mental stimulation.

Dog being cleaned

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Dog being cleaned

Their grooming needs can vary significantly depending on the breed, with some requiring frequent brushing and others needing regular professional grooming.

a chinese female dog groomer grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog

Additionally, even low-energy dogs need engagement and affection to ensure their emotional well-being. While they might not need extensive exercise, they do require a committed, caring owner to meet their overall health and happiness needs.

OK, let's dive in!

Low-energy small dog breeds

For those seeking a relaxed, affectionate companion that thrives in less spacious environments, these small, low-energy breeds are a delightful choice. Their laid-back nature and manageable size make them perfect for serene households and individuals who enjoy a quieter, more relaxed pace of life.

That said, it's essential to find a balance between a dog's size and energy level and your lifestyle needs.

it's essential to find a balance between a dog's size and energy level and your lifestyle needs.

While these breeds, such as Shih Tzus and Pekingese, are known for their adaptability to apartment living and love for leisure, they might not always be the best fit for families with very young children.

Their smaller size can make them more delicate, and they often prefer a calm environment over the bustling energy young kids can bring.

Shih Tzu (9–16 lbs)

shih tzu

Shih Tzus, perfect for apartment living, boast a friendly and affectionate nature. They are content with short, leisurely walks and plenty of cuddle time. Their luxurious coat requires regular grooming, making them a delightfully fluffy companion for those who enjoy pampering their pet.

Pekingese (7–14 lbs)

Pekingese carry a regal and dignified demeanor, reflective of their ancient Chinese heritage. They prefer lounging in comfort over vigorous activity, making them excellent companions for a more sedentary lifestyle. Their thick, luxurious coat requires regular grooming, adding to their royal appearance.

French Bulldog (16–28 lbs)

French Bulldogs are small but sturdy, known for their bat-like ears and muscular build. They enjoy short walks interspersed with long naps. Frenchies are known for their playful and affectionate nature, making them great companions for both children and adults alike.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (13–18 lbs)

cavalier king charles spaniel sitting

These royal companions, with their expressive eyes and silky coat, are well-suited for a calm household. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are happy with gentle play and love to snuggle up on the couch. Their friendly and affectionate demeanor makes them a popular choice for families and individuals seeking a loving and gentle pet.

Cocker Spaniel (20–30 lbs)

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are affectionate and gentle, known for their happy disposition. They enjoy relaxed walks and are content with moderate exercise, fitting well into various home environments.

Low-energy medium-sized dog breeds

Whippet

When it comes to finding a balance between size and temperament, medium-sized, low-energy dog breeds often hit the sweet spot.

Ideal for those who appreciate a dog that isn’t too small or too large, but just right, these breeds are known for their laid-back demeanor.

They’re perfect for anyone seeking a calm, affectionate companion who still carries a bit of physical presence.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne (25–35 lbs)

This small-to-medium breed is celebrated for its laid-back and friendly nature. With a wiry coat and an agile body, they are adaptable and enjoy casual walks and cozy times at home. Their cheerful disposition makes them a delightful addition to households looking for a low-energy but playful companion.

Whippet (25–40 lbs)

Whippet

Whippets, though capable of impressive sprints, generally love to lounge around the house. They have a slim, elegant build and a gentle demeanor. Their affectionate nature and need for occasional bursts of exercise are balanced by their love for long, peaceful rests, making them suitable for various lifestyles.

Basset Hound (40–65 lbs)

Basset Hounds, with their distinctive droopy eyes and long ears, are renowned for their affectionate and laid-back nature. They prefer napping over yapping, making them ideal for calm households. Their leisurely walks and unique appearance, coupled with a low, sturdy stature, make them a charming and distinctive pet choice.

Bulldog (40–50 lbs)

English Bulldog

Bulldogs are the epitome of couch potatoes, known for their relaxed and amiable demeanor. With a distinctive, wrinkled face and a sturdy build, they exude calm confidence. Their laid-back attitude makes them great companions for relaxed living, requiring minimal exercise but enjoying affectionate interactions.

Chow Chow (40–70 lbs)

Chow chow dog

Chow Chows, with their distinctive lion-like mane and noble bearing, enjoy short, leisurely walks and ample relaxation time. They are known for their aloofness and dignity, requiring regular grooming for their thick fur. Despite their size, they fit well in quiet households that appreciate a more independent dog.

Low-energy large dog breeds

Newfoundland dog

Large, low-energy dog breeds are a testament to the fact that size doesn't always equate to high energy.

These gentle giants are perfect for those who love big dogs but prefer a more relaxed lifestyle. Their calm and composed nature makes them ideal housemates, especially in homes where space isn’t a constraint.

True, larger breeds may require more space and a bit more in terms of grooming and care, but the calm and loving environment they bring to a home is unparalleled. These breeds show that sometimes the biggest dogs have the biggest hearts and the most serene personalities.

Great Dane (110–175 lbs)

Great Dane

Great Danes, true to their 'gentle giant' nickname, are known for their surprisingly low-energy nature. Despite their imposing size, they are affectionate and love lounging around the home. Their friendly and patient demeanor makes them excellent family pets, though their size requires ample living space.

Saint Bernard (120–180 lbs)

Famous for their considerable size, Saint Bernards are calm and enjoy relaxing with their family. They are known for their friendly nature and love of children, making them excellent family dogs. Their thick coat requires regular grooming, and they thrive in a home with plenty of space to sprawl.

Newfoundland (100–150 lbs)

Newfoundland dog

These big, sweet dogs are celebrated for their calm demeanor and love of naps. Newfoundlands are gentle and patient, especially good with children, and their thick, water-resistant coat makes them stand out. They require regular grooming and enjoy being part of a family that values a laid-back lifestyle.

Mastiff (120-230 lbs)

Despite their imposing size, mastiffs are known for their gentle nature and preference for relaxation over exertion. They are loyal and protective, making great family pets. Their short coat requires minimal grooming, but they need space to accommodate their large size.

Irish Wolfhound (105–180 lbs)

Irish wolfhounds, though the tallest of dogs, are known for their gentle nature and are surprisingly low-energy. They are affectionate, calm, and great with families, requiring space to lounge comfortably.

Don't overlook shelter dogs and senior dogs

dog giving paw

In the quest for a low-energy companion, don't overlook the option of adopting a senior dog or a shelter dog with a calm demeanor. These dogs often get passed over, but they can be the perfect match for those seeking a more relaxed lifestyle.

Senior dogs, in particular, tend to have a more sedate nature and are usually past the high-energy puppy phase, making them ideal for a peaceful home environment.

Likewise, many shelter dogs, regardless of their breed, can exhibit a laid-back personality that fits well with less active households.

Adopting from a shelter not only gives a loving home to a dog in need but also allows you to observe and interact with a variety of dogs to find the one whose energy level matches yours. This approach opens the door to a world of mixed breeds and unique personalities, all deserving of a second chance at a comfortable, loving home.

The bottom line

Low-energy dog breeds are perfect for those seeking a calm companion, but they still need regular grooming, wellness checks, and mental stimulation.

While purebreds may have a higher risk of hereditary health issues, all dogs, pedigree or not, are susceptible to accidents and illnesses.

This is where reliable dog insurance becomes a lifesaver, offering reimbursement for potentially expensive veterinary treatments.


Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.