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Perfect Breeds for Less Active Lifestyle

Dog Teeth
Not all dogs are a handful. Many breeds are perfect for less active lifestyles. All they need is love.

A dog lover who desires canine companionship, but doesnít enjoy taking long walks or other physical activity (or is physically unable to do so) must choose a dog breed that also enjoys (or can adapt to) a sedentary lifestyle. Different breeds have different personalities, activity levels, and grooming requirements. Picking the right breed goes a long way toward a happy and successful relationship between dog and owner.

Many toy breeds of dog have high energy levels but can usually get enough exercise just running around the house or apartment. Chihuahuas are lively, sassy little dogs that tend to become extremely attached to their owners, even to the point of jealousy, and may be snappish with children. Chihuahuas that are extensively socialized as puppies may be friendlier. The smooth-coated variety may simply be brushed occasionally or wiped with a damp cloth. Long-haired Chihuahuas need a daily brushing.

The long-haired toy breeds such as the Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier and Shih-Tzu do not shed (which means less vacuuming) but require regular grooming to keep their hair coat in good condition. Brush your little dog while sitting in front of the TV. They may also be given a ìpuppy cutî by a professional groomer to keep the coat more manageable.

Miniature Pinschers are sleek, muscular little dogs with short, easy-care coats. Not related to the Doberman, but actually an older breed, Min Pins are high-spirited and often suspicious of strangers. They will do well with children who donít tease them. Like many toy dogs, they are courageous and brave and like to bark! Headstrong and demanding, they can become tyrants if they are spoiled too much! Min Pins are 10" to 12" tall and weigh 8 to 10 pounds.

Afraid your couch potato buddies will make fun of you for having a dog that could be used as a dust mop? Consider the Bulldog. These compact, stocky and muscular dogs have an intimidating appearance, but are gentle dogs and good with children. They are very inactive indoors and a good choice for apartments without yards. They do need regular exercise, such as a short daily walk, to stay fit. Bulldogs stand 12" to 16" tall at the shoulder and weigh 53 to 55 pounds.

Pugs are another good choice for he-man couch potatoes. Smaller than bulldogs, but with the square, stocky shape, these clownish, rambunctious dogs get along well with strangers, children and other pets. They are relatively inactive indoors but enjoy rowdy games and can easily be taught to perform tricks. They are 12" to 14" tall and weigh 13 to 20 pounds. They tend to shed heavily.

The Boston Terrier is a dapper little dog, compact and well muscled. Very intelligent, alert, and sensitive, they were once bred for dogfighting, but now are less aggressive due to the efforts of reputable breeders. They are inactive indoors but enjoy a yard to play in if available, and donít care for long walks. Boston Terriers do well with children, and are friendly to strangers. They usually get along well with other types of pets but males may fight with other dogs. This breed is 15" too 17" tall and weighs 10 to 25 pounds. Their short coat is easy to groom and sheds an average amount.

The Basset Hound is unhurried, deliberate, and mild-mannered. He has a friendly personality and loves children. He does not like being left alone for long periods, and if the owner works during the day he should consider having two dogs. Bassets do need some daily exercise to keep from becoming obese. A fenced-in yard will do if you donít care to take walks, but be sure the fence is secure. Basset Hounds were born to trail game and his natural instincts may lead him to wander off to follow the scent of a small animal. They have short, smooth coats and can be bathed when necessary, but their droopy eyes and long ears should be cleaned of debris weekly. Their long, heavy bodies can develop problems with the spine and legs if the dog is allowed to become overweight. Basset Hounds stand 12" too 15" tall and weigh 50 to 65 pounds. They shed moderately.

The Great Dane is the gentlest of dogs, sweet and affectionate. This breed loves people, needs to be around them, and is patient with children. They have a slower metabolism, and have less energy and smaller appetites than other breeds. They are relatively active indoors, and will do well in an apartment if they have a large yard to play in. Because of their size, Great Danes need good obedience training as puppies, and need to be taught not to lean on people! This is not a long-lived breed, and prone to hip dysplasia, so be sure to buy from a reputable breeder. Daily brushing will help reduce the need for bathing this giant dog. Great Danes stand 30" to 34" tall and weigh 120 to 200 pounds.

There are many other breeds that are suitable for a sedentary lifestyle. Dogs traditionally bred as companions, as opposed to working or hunting breeds, will be happiest to lie at your feet or sit in your lap. Always do your homework before choosing a breed to have the best fit between dog and owner. Certain breeds will have expected characteristics, but remember that dogs are still individuals and their personality may vary within a breed. Always buy from a reputable breeder. Puppy mills and back yard breeders typically breed for physical characteristics without consideration for temperament and genetic health issues, and your low-maintenance dog may turn out to be not-so-low-maintenance!