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15 Lazy Dog Breeds That Are Expert Nappers

Looking for a dog who values snuggle time over leash time? Consider these adorably lazy breeds who understand the value of an afternoon spent snoozing on the sofa.

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The world’s cutest couch potatoes

Having a dog that requires lots of exercise can be a powerful motivator for your own exercise program, but not everyone is looking for a four-legged fitness coach. That’s where these adorably lazy dog breeds come in, and you might be surprised to find they come in all shapes and sizes. Some, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, were specifically bred to be lapdogs, according to Caroline Wilde, DVM, staff veterinarian at Trupanion. Others, such as the Great Dane, have been bred to grow so large, they simply don’t have the physical structure to support lots of activity, notes Leslie Brooks, DVM, a veterinary advisor at betterpet. Still others, including the Bulldog, have been bred with flat noses, which makes prolonged physical activity difficult, says Freshpet’s Gerardo Perez-Camargo, DVM.

Of course, if you’re looking for your own four-legged snuggle-buddy, you’ll want to bear in mind that not all dogs of a particular breed are exactly the same, and, of course, even the laziest breeds still require some exercise for their physical and mental health. With that in mind, check out this list to find out which lazy dog breed is the perfect one for you.

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Shih Tzu

This dog breed was developed by Tibetan monks as a gift for members of Chinese royalty. Their purpose was to adorn the laps of said members of royalty. When not napping, Shih Tzus tend to spend their time seeking out cuddles, pets, scritch-scratches, and tickles. So, just how little exercise does a Shih Tzu desire or need? According to veterinarian Jay Scott, DVM, founder of the pug-centric website Pugsquest, this dog will probably be happy simply wandering around the house and going outside for the occasional bathroom break. If you’re looking for a pint-sized pup, consider these other adorably small dog breeds that start small and stay small.

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Pekingese

Similar to the Shih Tzu, the Pekingese was bred as a lapdog for royalty. With its compact, stocky body and “adorably squashed face,” as Dr. Scott puts it, the Pekingese is not well suited for high-energy activity—or much activity at all, for that matter. Instead, the Pekingese tends to spend the greater part of its day napping, and it requires no more than 20 minutes of physical activity each day (and that includes a walk to relieve itself). Here are 13 odd questions you’ve probably always wanted to ask your dog and the answers they’d give you, according to experts.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Another dog bred for sitting on royal laps, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has no issue spending the bulk of its time just laying around and being adored by its people, says Dr. Perez-Camargo—despite the fact that the Cav’s roots hark back to hunting, at least among the British royal family. Cavs can often be seen in portraits of British royals, including King Charles II, who gave this adorably lazy dog breed its name. One of the most famous in history was Dash, the beloved canine bestie of Queen Victoria, who kept her company during her childhood at Kensington Palace and was with her when she became queen. Take a look at these 21 vintage paintings and photos of royals and their beloved dogs, including Dash and Victoria.

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Chihuahua

When talking about lazy dog breeds, it’s worth mentioning the Chihuahua, which is most content just “hanging around” with its people, according to Jamie Richardson, a veterinarian at Small Door Veterinary in New York City. It’s not that the Chihuahua is “lazy,” which is to say disinterested in activity. It’s just that the Chihuahua is so tiny, it would take at least 10 steps to match each one of ours. So, high-energy or low-energy, the Chihuahua is likely to get tired of walking long before its people do. And that makes the Chihuahua exceptionally low maintenance, if not truly “lazy.” Find out why the Chihuahua is also one of the best dog breeds for kids and their families.

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Basset Hound

Like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Basset Hound was bred with royal hunting in mind (in this case, French royals). Low to the ground and with big, floppy ears that act as airflow conductors, the Basset is a talented tracker. But its elongated, chubby body and almost comically short legs make it difficult to run or even walk for long distances. Of course, that helps makes the Basset Hound ideal for anyone with a penchant for lazy dog breeds. That being said, it’s important to mind the Basset’s diet and provide some daily exercise in order to prevent obesity and obesity-related health problems such as arthritis, points out Sarah Wooten, DVM, Pumpkin Pet Insurance’s vet expert. Don’t miss these 9 warning signs that your pet may be overweight.

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Greyhound

Another hunting dog that’s known for its almost shocking levels of laziness is the Greyhound. “Based on its lean, long-legged build, most people assume the Greyhound is anything but lazy,” notes Dr. Perez-Camargo, but that would be anything but true. “As athletic as they look, adult Greyhounds are couch potatoes who can spend as much as 18 hours a day sleeping.” So, while Greyhounds can run at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour, don’t count on them for any sort of long-distance trekking. Greyhounds also made our list of the best low-maintenance dog breeds that are perfect for busy people.

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Chinese Crested

Like the Greyhound, the tiny, wiry, and exceptionally alert Chinese Crested is also surprisingly lazy, notwithstanding its athletic appearance. “The Chinese Crested happens to be incredibly agile,” points out Kait Hembree, Goodpup’s Head of Training. However, appearances should not be confused with reality. “The Chinese Crested is simply not motivated to go out and run like other dogs with its build might be,” says Hembree. If that’s what you’re looking for, the Chinese Crested may be the right dog for you. Plus, it ranks among the top dog breeds that don’t shed (that much).

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English Bulldog

“Bulldogs are known for two things—their cute wrinkles and snoring,” says Texas-based veterinarian Sara Ochoa, DVM, who consults for DogLab. Since they spend about 90 percent of their time sleeping, that’s a lot of snoring. Some of the English Bulldog’s apparent laziness can be attributed to its stocky build, and some of it can be attributed to its flat nose and subsequent breathing difficulties. The bottom line is that the English Bulldog is one of the laziest of lazy dog breeds. But like other lazy dog breeds, the English Bulldog still requires some exercise for mental stimulation and to avoid obesity-related health issues. Bonus: Bulldogs are one of the 11 dog breeds least likely to bite.

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Great Dane

The Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds in the world. It’s also classed as a “working dog,” which implies it likes to get stuff done. But it turns out that what Great Danes like getting done is sitting around and watching over their people. “The Great Dane is more of a nanny dog than a retriever or even a playmate,” says Dr. Scott, who adds that “owing to their rapid growth and huge size, too much exercise could cause bone and joint problems.” In other words, laziness isn’t just a lifestyle choice for your average Great Dane—it’s a matter of health! Here’s what you should be feeding large dog breeds like the Great Dane.

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Chow Chow

“For pet parents looking to snuggle with real-life teddy bears, look no further than the Chow Chow,” advises Dr. Perez-Camargo, who explains that due to their straight hind legs and extraordinarily thick coat, agile movement can be difficult for this quintessential lazy dog breed. It also helps that the Chow Chow was originally bred to act as a palace guard. As a result, Chow Chows have evolved to be very devoted to their people, as well as quiet and reserved in nature. How reserved, you might ask? To help you understand just how chill the Chow Chow can be, Dr. Scott points out that its behavior is often compared to that of a cat. Learn how the Chow Chow and 10 other dogs got their quirky names.

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Bullmastiff

This giant dog breed was bred for herding work, but don’t be fooled: The Bullmastiff’s specific job was not walking around “herding” its flock, but rather, standing around watching for wolves and other predators, explains Dr. Perez-Camargo. As a result, wandering around and exploring is simply not in this dog breed’s DNA. With its size and propensity for lazing the day away adjacent to its people, the Bullmastiff is not merely a couch potato, according to Dr. Scott, but a full-on couch hog. So, if you don’t mind drooling, which the Bullmastiff is also known for doing a lot of, this could be the lazy dog you’ve been looking for. In case you were wondering, this is why dogs drool.

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Japanese Chin

Despite its tiny frame, the Japanese Chin regards both long walks and brisk walks with equal disdain, Dr. Scott tells Reader’s Digest. If you’re wondering how you can tell, just go ahead and try. What you’ll find is a dog who would rather lie down and be dragged down the sidewalk than exercise. Chins are so lazy, Dr. Scott adds, that the only exercise they really need on a daily basis is walking around the house or the backyard and maybe performing a few “cat-like” moves. “The rest of the time is for napping,” he says. FYI, these 11 breeds can be left alone—and, in fact, really like some time to themselves.

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Saint Bernard

When you picture a Saint Bernard, do you picture a large, burly dog standing in the snow with a small keg around its neck? It’s not that Saint Bernards weren’t bred to be Swiss mountain rescue dogs, points out Dr. Brooks. It’s that there’s not much else they feel motivated to do. In fact, you could employ your Saint Bernard as a guard dog, Dr. Brooks says, but you should assume that if an intruder broke into your home, your dog would let you know with a bark and then go back to sleep. Check out what these 6 dog breeds looked like 100 years ago.

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Great Pyrenees

Another livestock guardian, the Great Pyrenees (also known as Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog) was bred to guard, but not so much to take action after sounding the alert. “The Great Pyrenees is not an active breed. They’re content lying around and observing,” according to Dr. Brooks. While it would be nice to have a Great Pyrenees in a rural setting such as a farm, they also do perfectly well in an apartment because as adults, they hardly move about at all. If you’re looking for protection, you’d probably be better off with these guard dogs.

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Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is another giant dog that “isn’t super active,” as Dr. Brooks puts it. As Hembree notes, “they’re these slobbering goofballs who could swim all day but are just as happy to spend the day snuggling on the couch.” But it’s not that Newfies are necessarily lazy, per se, points out Dr. Wooten—”it’s that they’re giant and hairy, which makes it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. So they manage accordingly.” If you’re a Libra, you might want to consider adopting a Newfie. Here’s the scoop on which dog breeds go best with which astrological signs.

Sources:

  • Caroline Wilde, DVM, staff veterinarian at Trupanion
  • Leslie Brooks, DVM, a veterinary advisor at betterpet
  • Gerardo Perez-Camargo, DVM, VP of Research and Development at Freshpet
  • Jay Scott, DVM, a veterinarian and the founder of Pugsquest
  • Jamie Richardson, BVetMed, veterinarian for Small Door Veterinary
  • Sarah Wooten, DVM, vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance
  • Kait Hembree, Head of Training at GoodPup
  • Sara Ochoa, DVM, a Texas-based veterinarian and a veterinary consultant for DogLab

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.