Monday, December 13, 2010

Choosing the Best Low-Maintenance Dog Breed

By Tamara L. Waters

It's just a fact of nature: some pets require more work than others. If you are like me and enjoy things that are uncomplicated, you might be interested in finding a low-maintenance dog breed.

What exactly does low-maintenance mean, though? For some it can mean a dog breed that doesn't require excessive exercise, while other definitions mean a dog breed that doesn't need a great deal of grooming. How about a dog breed that doesn't require a lot of cleanup? All of these factors need to be taken into account to come up with a list of low-maintenance dog breeds.

Exercise – All dogs need regular exercise and mental stimulation. There is no such thing as a dog that doesn't need exercise, although some breeds are more high energy and require more physical exercise than others. Regular walks and playtime will keep your dog in good shape and can help curb behavior issues that stem from boredom and lack of exercise. Some dog breeds, though, are a little more satisfied with lying around and do well in small homes and yards.

Grooming – All dogs need some type of grooming whether it is nail trims, tooth cleaning, regular brushing, hair trims, etc. Some dogs, though, require a little less in the grooming department due to coat length and other physical attributes.

Veterinary Care – If you have any type of pet, as a responsible pet owner you know that veterinary care is a must. Some dog breeds tend to have more health issues, thus requiring more trips to the vet and perhaps even regular medications while others are relatively free of health concerns.

Cleanup – When choosing a low-maintenance dog breed, you have to take cleanup into account. Some dogs make more messes than others. Whether it is drool, destruction, poop piles or just messy eating, you have to keep in mind how much you will be cleaning up after your dog.

When choosing a low-maintenance dog breed, you should take into account your family's ability to meet the needs of the dog. It’s not fair to bring a high energy, hairy dog that requires a lot of human interaction and makes lots of messes into a household that has no intention of attending to such demands.

One of the best ways to figure out the best dog breed for your family is to do extensive research. Read about different dog breeds online and at your local library. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. Ask other dog owners about their experiences with specific breeds and their recommendations for your family. The American Kennel Club website has information about specific breeds, and is a great site to start your search.

You can also visit the Dog Breed Info Center which has an online quiz to help you determine the best dog breed for your family and your lifestyle. The quiz asks about your family members (such as age of youngest child), your intentions on grooming and exercise (how often you intend to groom and walk your dog) and other questions to help determine the best breed for you.

Check out these suggestions of great dog breeds for the lazy –  I mean, low-maintenance loving responsible pet owner (based upon information provided by the Dog Breed Info Center). Remember, there is no such thing as a NO-maintenance dog. If you want that type of dog, stick with a plush toy dog.

Goldendoodle – this hybrid dog is bred from a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, and may also be called Goldie Poo, Golden Poo or Groodle. This low-allergy dog breed loves people and is very intelligent. The coat generally requires brushing to keep it from being tangled. Goldendoodles do not shed much which makes them a great dog breed for allergy sufferers. Regular exercise is necessary of course, but a Goldendoodle generally does well in smaller homes and yards. I’ve never owned a Goldendoodle, but have owned a Golden Retriever and can attest to what a great breed they are. My Golden was a great family dog with a wonderful, obedient personality that just oozed love and loyalty.

Labradoodle – like all dogs, Labradoodles do need regular exercise, but if you are looking for a dog that doesn't require excessive grooming, this may be a good choice. Look for a Labradoodle that has a short or medium-length coat for easier maintenance and less shedding. Remember that Labradors do have exercise requirements that make them a little more high energy.

Pugs have great personalities and love people. They also love to just hang out and don't require excessive exercise. Pugs do not require a lot of grooming but they do tend to shed a great deal which may mean you will be brushing them daily. So the shedding doesn't make them exactly the most low-maintenance dog, but their laid back and easygoing personality coupled with their low-energy lifestyle makes them part of the list.

Other breeds suggested by the quiz are Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Pomeranian, West Highland White Terrier, Bichon Frise and Chinese Crested (hairless). Again, don't take my word for it – do your own research, ask around and make a sound decision based upon the information you discover. Adding a dog to your family should always be done after making a responsible and informed decision.

Photo: Labradoodle, by Searchtempo

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters


  1. I live in Manhattan NYC where both goldendoodles and labradoodles are very popular. At the several dog parks we visit they are among the most playful and exuberant dogs, sometimes to the slight annoyance of less extroverted dogs. They are very good natured, never aggressive and only sometimes slightly dominant, but I think most of them are undertrained for those reasons.

    So I would not consider them to be low-maintenance in that they are somewhat large for apartment living, very active and very in need of learning rules, boundaries and limitations. That said, they are nice dogs and their owners seem to enjoy them.

  2. Too bad Tamara choose high maintance mixed breed dogs like Labradoodles or Goldendoodles as a good example for low maintance dogs. Most require expensive grooming appointments to keep them looking reasonable and as neither are accepted in the AKC why would she reference the AKC breed site in regards to this breed. Pugs on the otherhand make excellent "low" maintance pets if you are only considering grooming.

  3. Pugs are great couch potatoes to be lazy with but they shed year round - fur everywhere! While they don't 'need' to be groomed - you'll be paying for it with fur everywhere if you're not furminating regularly.


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