20 Low Maintenance Dogs For Busy & First Time Owners

Our image of an ideal dog owner is someone with enough time to devote to his pooch.

However, our fast-paced world of conferences, knotted ties, briefcases, and daily commuting can make committing to a dog difficult.

It becomes more difficult when you are a first-time pet parent with no experience in handling a dog.

This is why getting the wrong breed could leave you frustrated and overwhelmed.

Some dogs require a lot of time devotion to meet their needs. Others are less time-consuming.

With the latter category, you can easily juggle caring for them and pursuing that promotion or making a profit. Some are also perfect for newbies.

Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of 20 low maintenance dogs that are best suitable for busy owners and some for first time owners.

You don’t have to sacrifice your pet parenting dreams because of your lifestyle. You can always find a breed that would fit.

Characteristics of Low Maintenance Dog Breeds

A dog breed is considered low maintenance when it possesses some traits that make it easy to maintain.

While some people think mainly of the coat and the little effort grooming takes, low maintenance spreads wider than that.

While it may not embody all these qualities, a low maintenance dog breed is known to be:

  • Calm and easygoing
  • Eager to please and easy to train
  • Low or moderate shedders
  • More likely to be hypoallergenic
  • Low or moderately active

This is in contrast to high maintenance dog breeds that are usually highly energetic, stubborn, hard to train, and crazily active.

With these in mind, here are our top choices of low maintenance dogs.

The Best Low Maintenance Dogs for Busy & First Time Owners

1. Basset Hound

Basset Hound Dog on the Walkway
Photo by GlobalC / Getty Images
AKC GroupHound
Height13 to 15 inches
Weight50 to 65 pounds
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelLow

The Basset Hound’s distinct features are the long, droopy ears which would require careful cleaning.

That could be the biggest work you would do, though. The short coat hardly gets dirty and needs a bath only once in a while.

Though it sheds, that can be regulated with weekly brushing. 

The Basset Hound is also quite lazy, unlike its Hound counterparts.

A little exercise is enough for it, after which it would lie down for the rest of the day.

This makes it a good apartment dog, but you should ensure it exercises regularly.

The Basset Hound is prone to obesity and also bloating, some rather dangerous health conditions.

Basset Hounds are kid-friendly and also attract new pet parents, but do not assume that they are easy to train.

Their stubbornness and sensitivity challenge owners during training, but you can easily win them over using treats. 

2. Maltese

Maltese Pup Running at Dog Park
Photo by DavidClarine / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height8 to 10 inches
Weight2 to 7 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

The Maltese is a small, adorable indoor companion with ancestry that goes back thousands of years.

It is known for its lovely white coat that hardly sheds, making the Maltese a good recommendation for allergy sufferers.

Daily brushing is needed, especially if you decide not to give it a ‘puppy cut’, but it doesn’t take time.

It needs more bathing than the Basset Hound, though, because of the white color. 

There’s only so much exercise you can give a breed this small. It has a moderate energy level and needs regular exercise, but a walk can do the job.

Playtime with toys is also enough to give it sufficient activity. It is an excellent apartment dog and loves being around you.

A fair warning, this breed doesn’t like being alone. It is prone to separation anxiety and may bark excessively or tear up the place when left isolated.

Fortunately, it is friendly with strangers. Make provisions for a dog sitter when you are busy. 

The Maltese is good for new pet parents and is generally recommended as a first-time dog.

It is eager to please and easily trainable, but should not be spoilt or it will develop bad habits. Train it the way you would a bigger dog. 

3. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier Standing Near Couch Looking Up
MonikaBatich / Getty Images
AKC GroupNon-Sporting
Height12 to 15 inches
Weight10  to 25 pounds
Lifespan13 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The Boston Terrier was nicknamed the American Gentleman, and it lives up to the name.

A lover at heart with some enthusiasm to spice up its environment, the Boston Terrier is a good companion.

Its nickname also stems from the color combinations in its coat that appear to many like a tuxedo.

Grooming is easy and it sheds minimally. Give it occasional bathing as well. 

The Terrier blood of this breed makes it energetic, but because of its size, the energy can be regulated.

Exercise it regularly and try not to neglect its exercise needs as that can make it restless.

Like other mentioned low maintenance dog breeds, the Boston Terrier is good for apartments. Do not let it stay outdoors for long as it can’t tolerate extreme heat or cold. 

The Boston Terrier is good for new pet parents, but they have to cope with some display of stubbornness.

Firm but gentle training will help. Also, note that this breed is sensitive to harshness, so avoid using that. 

4. Chihuahua

Long-Haired Chihuahua Standing on Grass
AKC GroupToy
Height6  to 9 inches
Weight3 to 6 pounds
Lifespan10 to 18 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

This sassy dog breed might not be the first you’d think of when it comes to low maintenance.

However, before you raise a red flag, consider the strengths of the Chihuahua.

While it sheds sometimes, it comes with two coats that have differing needs.

The smooth coat Chihuahua is generally easier to groom, so a busy owner is advised to get this type.

The long-haired Chihuahua isn’t high maintenance but would require more effort. 

The crème de la crème of the Chihuahua is its independence. No dog should be left alone for too long, but they are not prone to separation anxiety.

This is good news for busy owners as they do not need the services of a dog sitter. 

The exercise level of the Chihuahua can be managed, but it is somewhat difficult to train.

New pet parents can get a shot at training this breed, as long as they can handle its wilfulness. Chihuahuas tend to forget they are small dogs. 

5. Dachshund

Chocolate Dachshund Dog Sitting on Couch
Dominika Roseclay / Getty Images
AKC GroupHound
Height8 to 9 inches
Weight16 to 32 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

Dachshund is a friendly breed with curiosity and spunk. Its coat is short, wiry, or long, and it could either be miniature or standard-sized.

The short coat is smooth, shiny and the easiest to groom.

The wirehaired Daschund has a double coat, while the long-haired Dachshund comes with wavy hair.

All three are low maintenance, but the short-coated Dachshund is more recommended for busy folks.

The Dachshund is moderately energetic, and the exercise level is not overwhelming. Walks and some games like fetch will satisfy this breed.

Ensure you give it enough exercise as it can be active. Once you do this, it can cope well in an apartment.

An intelligent breed, the Dachshund is easy to train and can be a first-time dog.

Make each training session fun to keep it interested and use treats as well if you want it to co-operate.

6. French Bulldog

Black Brindle French Bulldog Resting on Sofa
LightFieldStudios / Getty Images
AKC GroupNon-sporting
Height11 to 12 inches
Weight16 to 28 pounds
Lifespan11 to 14 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

The Frenchie—as it is fondly called—is a mini version of the Bulldog.

Though it is not hypoallergenic, its short and smooth coat is easy to groom. Expect some shedding, though.

It is also known to drool, and flatulence is a common issue. If you can handle those, the Frenchie is low maintenance. 

Furthermore, the French Bulldog is a good apartment pooch that can stay indoors for long, as long as you give it sufficient exercise.

Separation anxiety is as much a problem with this breed as many others on this list, so a dog sitter is necessary.

You should also know that the popularity of the Frenchie increases the chances of getting one with many health issues.

Be prudent when getting a Frenchie. That aside, it is easy to train and can be a good first-time dog.

7. Havanese

Havanese Pup Sitting Outdoors
scigelova / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height8 to 11 inches
Weight7 to 13 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomMedium
Energy LevelMedium

The Havanese (yes, it sounds like Havana) is a social breed that loves to share happiness with everyone around.

Its long coat is lovely to see, but it requires more grooming than those of other breeds on this list.

You could opt to do it yourself, hire a professional breeder or trim the hair to make it easier.

It is also good for an apartment, but ensure that your living environment has no noise restrictions because this breed is a barker.

The Havanese also needs regular but low-intensive activities and is best left indoors after the exercise.

Separation anxiety is a huge problem with this breed, and that can be a turn-off for most busy people.

However, it can still work out with some necessary steps. 

An excellent first-time dog, the Havanese is easy to train. It is eager to please and intelligent enough to learn quickly, a plus on its side.

15 Best Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed

8. Greyhound

Brown and White Greyhound Dog Standing
marialba.italia / Getty Images
AKC GroupHound
Height25 to 30 inches
Weight50 to 85 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The Greyhound is different from the breeds we’ve mentioned so far, but it shares the common ground of being easy to groom.

Its short coat sheds, but only requires minimum effort to take care of. 

The Greyhound wasn’t bred to be a companion, so it needs more exercise than others.

It is more suitable for people who don’t fancy companion softies but wouldn’t want to be drained either.

Once you give the Greyhound the exercise it needs, it will be content to lie around all day. 

It can be tasking to train as it is stubborn, which makes it unsuitable for new pet parents.

Under the tutelage of a firm owner, it is trainable. 

9. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound Resting on Furniture
Raul Rodriguez / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height25 to 30 inches
Weight50 to 85 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The Italian Greyhound is considered the mini version of the Greyhound and is a formidable companion.

Its short coat is smooth to the touch and a breeze to groom. It seldom sheds and needs a simple brushing to keep clean. Bathe it too when it gets dirty. 

One thing you must consider before getting this breed is if you can cope with its attention need.

This isn’t the Chihuahua that can survive on its own.

The Italian Greyhound needs attention and may develop some behavioral issues like timidity or hyperactivity if ignored for long.

Someone who spends most days in a cubicle might prefer a more independent breed. 

It is easier to train the Italian Greyhound than its namesake, but you need to have the right attitude.

Motivation works better than punishment with the Italian Greyhound. 

10. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Puppy Relaxing on Couch
Dominic Buccilli / Pexels
AKC GroupToy
Height9 to 10  inches
Weight9 to 16  pounds
Lifespan10 to 16  years
Easy to GroomLow
Energy LevelLow

The Shih Tzu is a playful and affectionate lapdog with a coat that’s considered hypoallergenic.

Its shedding is minimal, but the long coat needs some effort. Some pet owners opt to trim it down to make the work easier. 

Exercise is manageable with the Shih Tzu as it is not a highly active breed, and its favorite spot will be on your laps.

It can live in an apartment as well as a house, making it adaptable.

That said, the Shih Tzu is not meant to be outdoors. It thrives better in a family and should remain around people.

The trainability level of this breed is high, so first-time owners should add this to their list.

It does have an adventurous nature that makes it think it can fly. Keep your Shih Tzu under close observation to avoid injury.

Pug-Zu: Shih Tzu Pug Mix Facts, Pictures & Guide

11. Skye Terrier

Long-Haired Skye Terrier on Dog Bed
Dona Shiell / Getty Images
AKC GroupTerrier
Height9 to 10 inches
Weight25 to 40 pounds
Lifespan12 to 14 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

An uncommon dog breed, the Skye Terrier is regarded as endangered in the United Kingdom, but an asset to busy people.

Its coat is long like the Shih Tzu, but you don’t need to trim it to make things easy. It needs weekly brushing and tangle removal.

The Skye Terrier is as much an indoor companion as many other breeds on this list.

It is fit for apartment dwellers, as long as your neighbors don’t mind the barking.

Skye Terriers need a moderate level of exercise and a fair share of attention. 

Though new pet parents can attempt training this breed, know that its Terrier nature makes it stubborn. You’ll need to be firm and not indulge it. 

12. Pug

Pug Resting on Pillow
Alea Image / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height10 to 14 inches
Weight14 to 18 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

The Pug has an easily recognizable face.

It is full of life and has a knack for mischief, making it the household pet that keeps the home full of fun—when it isn’t resting on the sofa with you.

Its coat is smooth and easy to groom. However, if you get this breed expecting minimal shedding, you’ll be disappointed. It is a heavy shedder. 

The Pug is highly adaptable, another jewel to its crown. It can live in an apartment or a family house in the countryside.

It can also cope with kids or elderly ones.

A busy person who lives alone would have to follow the reoccurring advice we gave for many other dogs on this list: hire a dog sitter. 

Pugs are easy to train and exercise, but you need to treat them like eggs because they are susceptible to many health issues, especially breathing difficulties.

This makes them intolerant of the heat. 

13. Whippet

Whippet Dog Resting on Chair with Toys
passion4nature / Getty Images
AKC GroupHound
Height18 to 22 inches
Weight18  to 48  pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The Whippet and the Greyhound share some ties, in that the latter is an ancestor of the former.

Some people refer to the Whippet as the ‘poor man’s Greyhound’, though that may not be the best term to use close to a Whippet owner.

Here is another hunter, turned companion, that’s a good alternative for those who want something more than a lapdog. 

That said, the Whippet is a mellow breed that is more comfortable indoors—so long as its exercise needs are met.

It may not be as vulnerable to separation anxiety as many other dogs on this list, but it doesn’t appreciate being left alone.

The Whippet is easy to groom because of its short, smooth coat that sheds little.

It is fairly easy to train, but its high prey drive makes this dog breed unsuitable for a house with cats and other small pets.

14. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested Dog Standing on Grass at Park
enduro / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height11 to 13 inches
Weight5  to 12  pounds
Lifespan10 to 14 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelLow

Just like the French Bulldog isn’t actually from France, the Chinese Crested has ties in some other places other than China.

It is believed to have been bred from Hairless dog breeds from either Africa or Mexico.

The Chinese Crested can either be hairless or fall under the ‘Powerpuff’ variant, which has a full coat.

The hairless version often looks… naked. Not that we busy folks mind as it makes grooming easier.

The Powerpuff is a lot harder to groom. 

If you decide to go for the hairless type, there are some warnings you should heed.

For starters, resist the urge to use sunblock, moisturizers, and other skin lotions in a bid to “protect it from the sun”.

These ointments will do more harm than good. Instead, protect it from the cold as that is more dangerous for the Chinese Crested than the sun.

Similar to many other dogs on this list, it is good for an apartment.

This breed also doesn’t need a high amount of exercise, nor is it one that should be left alone for long.

15. Sussex Spaniel

Sussex Spaniel Dog at Park
Sussex Spaniel / Getty Images
AKC GroupSporting
Height13  to 15 inches
Weight35 to 45 pounds
Lifespan11 to 14 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelLow

The Sussex Spaniel is a rare and unusual breed that was a hunter, like a Whippet and the Greyhound.

You can add it to the mental list of low maintenance dogs that were workers before they became companions.

It may not be easy to find, but taking care of it isn’t difficult.

Its coat may not look easy because of the wavy hair, but it doesn’t require much effort on your part. 

Moreso, its exercise level goes up to 30 minutes and it would be satisfied.

Long walks and hikes are good for it, so you do need to be active to some extent before owning this breed.

The hunting past notwithstanding, the Sussex Spaniel is better indoors than outside, though it should have some time in the fresh outdoors.

Training this breed is a bit more challenging than many others on this list because of its independent mind.

But the latter is also a blessing because you won’t have to deal with separation anxiety. 

16. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Pup Resting on Bed
tankist276 / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height12 to 13 inches
Weight13 to 18 pounds
Lifespan9 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an affectionate and gentle companion that’s as kid-friendly as it is dog-friendly.

The coat is medium, silky, and wavy. It is easy to groom and keep clean and is a moderate shedder.

The ears are prone to infection, so get them cleaned regularly. 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is good for an apartment as it is moderately active indoors, but it needs to step outdoors daily for some exercise.

Keep it on a leash to prevent it from running off. Luckily, its exercise need isn’t overwhelming. 

Similar to many others on this list, this breed is suitable for new pet parents, as long as they know how to train a dog with patience.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is intelligent and willing to please, but it is also a softie at heart and won’t cope with harsh treatments.

Treats work wonders with this breed. 

17. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon Dog Sits Outdoors in Summer
Olesya Kalyoncu / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height7 to 8 inches
Weight7 to 12 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelMedium

The Brussels Griffon has the funny nickname ‘monkey face’ because of its comical expression that conveys a humanlike form of intelligence.

Its coat might either be rough or smooth to the touch.

The rough-coated Brussels Griffon is harder to groom compared to the smooth one, but both are known to be easy to handle.

This breed was a hunter before it found its way into homes, so don’t expect a low energy level.

That said, Brussels Griffons can cope in an apartment when exercised regularly and trained not to bark excessively.

It also requires enough attention, so if you’re a career person who lives alone, it may not be suitable for you.

Also, keep it inside during the heat. 

This breed isn’t fit for novice owners as it can be stubborn. The only way to get it to co-operate is with positive reinforcements.

18. Newfoundland

Newfoundland Dog Resting on Green Grass
Dixi_ / Getty Images
AKC GroupWorking
Height26 to 28 inches
Weight100 to 150 pounds
Lifespan8 to 10 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelLow

The Newfoundland dog breed is the largest low-maintenance breed we’ve highlighted so far.

It is gentle and friendly, one reason it is seen as a good breed for busy people.

Its double coat sheds moderately and isn’t hard to groom.

Newfoundland is prone to being a couch potato, but you must exercise it to reduce the chances of obesity.

Swimming is one of its favorite activities. Though not as clingy as companions usually are, the Newfoundland dog prefers being around family.

The ideal owner of this breed should have some degree of experience. 

19. Beagle

Beagle Dog Standing on Tiles Looking Up
martinhosmart / Getty Images
AKC GroupHound
Height13 to 15 inches
Weight18 to 30 pounds
Lifespan10 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The Beagle is known to be friendly and not intimidating. Chances are, you’ve come across one in an airport on patrol.

Besides being able to sniff out drugs, the Beagle is a good family companion and low maintenance.

Its coat has short hairs, so you may not notice when it sheds. Grooming is easy. 

It does need a lot of exercise as it has hunting blood in it.

Because it is a scent hound with a high prey drive, keep it on a leash when outdoors. With enough exercise, it would thrive. 

The friendliness notwithstanding, Beagles can be stubborn during training.

A new pet parent can own one, but he may need help from a professional trainer. 

20. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier Dog Resting on Sofa
Valeriya21 / Getty Images
AKC GroupToy
Height8 to 9 inches
Weight4 to 6 pounds
Lifespan12 to 15 years
Easy to GroomHigh
Energy LevelHigh

The last breed on our list is the most popular toy breed in the United States.

The Yorkshire Terrier is a feisty, adventurous breed with an independent spirit.

Though it can’t be alone for long, it isn’t prone to separation anxiety. This makes things easier for busy folks. 

The Yorkie’s coat takes time to groom, but with its size, that should be more feasible.

You can trim its coat, but even then good brushing is essential. 

Yorkies can be trained, and they should be to avoid small dog syndrome.

This breed can be stubborn, but it is also sensitive. Using positive reinforcements goes a long way towards shaping the Yorkie up.

High Maintenance Dog Breeds to Avoid

There are many advantages to owning a high maintenance dog breed, but not for the busy owner or the first-timer.

For starters, many of them are workers and highly energetic. Some are also difficult to groom and challenging to train.

There’s a set of owners more suitable for these breeds, but you as a busy owner or newbie should avoid them.

They include:

  • Huskies
  • Collies
  • Hounds
  • Sheepdogs
  • Terriers 

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the best dog for a busy person?

Many good dogs are suitable for busy people. Amongst them is the French Bulldog, which is the second most popular in the United States.

Though none can be considered the best because they all have their challenges. 

What is the easiest dog to own?

The Basset Hound often tops the chart on any list of easy dogs to own. It poses few challenges and is easy to maintain. Even its exercise needs aren’t high. 

What is the cheapest low maintenance dog? 

So far, the cheapest known low-maintenance dog is the Mutt, which you can even get for free or for a small fee at rescue shelters. 

Final Thoughts

Every dog breed on our list of low maintenance dog breeds is known to not give owners a difficult time, but it doesn’t mean they are fit for everyone.

You need to consider different factors, including whether your lifestyle can accommodate attention-seeking companions.

If not, then you might prefer the more independent ones. 

We’ve been able to select 20 significant breeds, but there are more you can find.

Do you know of any we might have missed? Tell us in the comments below!

Featured Image: Monica Garza Maldonado / Getty Images

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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