Low Energy Dog Breeds.
Following on from our article on active dog breeds, Holidays4Dogs takes a look at some breeds which are less energetic and a little less demanding in terms of exercise. However, it should be remembered that all dogs require some exercise and low energy breeds still require the same amount of care and attention as any dog does – it’s just that they may be a little happier with more time spent couch surfing than hiking out on a ten mile trail!
Greyhounds – despite their incredible turn of speed and eminence on the racetrack, these dogs are relative couch potatoes, in particular the many retired greyhounds that are always in desperate need of homes. They are built for short bursts of speed rather than stamina and as such, make very good pets for people who lead somewhat sedentary lives. A couple of twenty minute walks and a chance to have a good run around off-lead are all these dogs generally require to keep happy and healthy. The rest of the time they are happy to slob around the house sleeping; but, be warned, they have a knack for stealing the best chair in the house and are rather good at packing themselves into cosy corners or under duvets !
Basset Hound – again, although a dog originally bred for hunting, modern day bassets are generally regarded as low energy dogs that require less exercise than many other dogs from the hound or working group. However, a lack of energy should not suggest that these dogs don’t still need a good walk; they will certainly benefit from scent games and walks in the countryside where they can really get their noses down and investigate. Make no mistake though, these are hunting dogs and as such can turn a deaf ear when it comes to a good recall!
Bullmastiff – despite their stature these large, powerful dogs have a low to moderate exercise needs. They are calm dogs and some would even describe them as lazy as they love lounging on the sofa. A Bullmastiff will thrive well on leisurely walks and is not a dog that typically bounds around full of energy. They make lovely house companions and are very affectionate dogs; though they do have a tendency to drool!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – if you like the look of the Spaniel group but don’t have the lifestyle for a high energy dog such as the Springer Spaniel, the Cavalier could very well be suitable. They are happy little dogs, with tails that never stop wagging but their energy levels are low to medium and they can easily be kept happy with less strenuous exercise. They are always keen to learn and will be happy playing ball in a reasonably sized garden, but like any dog will enjoy strolls out in the countryside. These sweet dogs thrive on human company and get on very well with other dogs, people and children.
Shih Tzu – although these dogs have a reputation for being rather yappy, they are in fact very sweet sociable dogs who are less bothered about long walks in the countryside. With low energy levels they will just as happily potter around the park, or accompany you on a leisurely stroll around suburbia. However, like all breeds, they need socialization to ensure they grow up to be friendly and happy to meet new people and other dogs. Their coats do require a considerable amount of attention, otherwise it can develop into a tangled mess in no time.
Chow Chow – these dogs are less common these days but they are renowned to have much less energy than other breeds of their size. Chow Chows are happy enough with gentle strolls rather than racing round at high speed and some owners claim they would much rather be ‘slobbing’ on the sofa than running around and playing. In fact, some would say they are rather more cat-like than dog-like, which may not suit some dog lovers. If you have enough space for this very large fluff ball, the Chow Chow could fit the bill.
Of course, every dog is different; activity levels from dog to dog will always vary and there will always be the exception to the rule. I once knew a police officer who trained police dogs and he was explaining to me how his particular unit trialed a Rottweiler – a dog perhaps generally regarded as having relatively high energy. In general, he found the dog to be rather slow, with a come-day-go-day attitude to life. One particular occasion, when the dog was supposed to be chasing after a criminal along a town centre pavement, he stopped dead; and instead of continuing the task in hand, threw himself down in a puddle and looked back at his handler as if to say, “you chase him, I’ve run out of puff, boss”.
As a final footnote; regardless of energy levels, ALL dogs need a daily walk. Some breeds, like the one’s Holiday4Dogs has outlined here require less strenuous activity, but they still need taking out every day. These breeds listed here, and many others, are less demanding than say a Border Collie who will throw a toy at your feet ten minutes after you’ve returned from a six mile hike; and as a Springer Spaniel owner I do sometimes wish my dog would travel a little less than a hundred miles an hour, seemingly twelve hours per day – with barely a fleeting glance at a comfy bed, or an invitation to sofa snooze.
A. Gordon – Dog Behaviorist and Trainer.