World’s Most Low Energy Dogs (and High Energy Dogs Too)

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Dog yawning: Dog Energy LevelsEver wondered why some dogs act like couch potatoes while others are natural Olympians? Breed type is often to thank (or blame) for Fido’s feisty (or lazy) behavior. While good looks and personality are important, you should also take into consideration each breed’s energy level so you can make sure his or her exercise levels are adequately met given your lifestyle and location. We’ll discuss the various low energy dog breeds as well as the high energy dogs too so you can learn which breed is a good fit for you.

Dog Energy Level and How it Affects You

First off, why should a dog’s energy level matter to you anyways? Because you’ll be the one taking care of it and if you’re a good dog owner you’ll also be the one getting off your tail to play with it. So, the calmest dog breeds make great pets for people who only have time for an occasional walk, and low energy small dogs are perfect for those with smaller sized apartments. On the other hand, high energy dog breeds would be ideal for large families or people who like to go on runs and wish to take a companion with them.

Small Size Doesn’t Mean Low Energy

You might be surprised to find that low energy dog breeds aren’t necessarily all small dogs. For instance, despite their large size and being known for their racing skills, Greyhounds are among the world’s most lazy dog breeds. Low energy small dogs exist too but don’t fall prey to the assumption that all small dogs are lazy or calm dogs.

Most Low Energy Dogs

Now that we’ve explained the reasons you may want to know a dog’s energy levels and set some expectations, you’re probably wondering which breeds fall into which categories. Well, want no longer because we’ve got a list of the calmest dog breeds for you.

  • Basset hound
  • Bulldog
  • Bull mastiff
  • Cavalier King Charles spanielPugalier sleeping on sofa
  • Chow chow
  • French bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Irish wolfhound
  • Pekingese
  • Pharaoh hound
  • Pug
  • Shih tzu
  • Sussex spaniel

Best Dogs for Apartments

This two and a half minute video from the American Kennel Club shows some of the best dogs for apartments in action (many of which happen to be low energy dogs too).

Most High Energy Dog Breeds

On the other end of the spectrum are the highest energy dog breeds. As you might suspect, most of the higher energy dog breeds are traditionally working dogs and have roots that tie back to an energetic activity or sport. Just because they’re not working for you doesn’t mean they don’t still need plenty of exercise, though. If you have a dog with lots of energy, you’ll need to give them lots of room to play and keep them entertained with toys (luckily we’ve reviewed the best dog toys for you).

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Border Collie
  • DalmatianDalmation running through snow
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Pointer
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner

Is Your Favorite Breed Listed?

If we didn’t list them in either the high or low energy dogs lists above, then it’s probably safe to say they fall into the medium energy dogs category. Learn more about picking the right dog breed.

Do you have the energy for a high energy dog?

About The Author:

Sadie graduated from the Moody School of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Advertising and minor in Business. Her love of pets started from an early age with her childhood cocker spaniel, Peanut, and two cats. She is currently dog mom to Lexie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

As a professional dog sitter for more than a decade, Sadie has cared for dozens of canines of various breeds, sizes and temperaments. The responsibility of caring for others' pets has helped her understand the importance of giving animals a loving home. She has experience potty and house training as well as teaching dogs tricks such as sit and shake. Sadie is passionate about canine well-being so she feeds her pup all-natural meals and no table scraps.

Sadie and her husband live in Washington DC and enjoy walking Lexie to nearby dog parks or patios and taking her canine companion on trips. Having an adventurous, long-haired Blenheim means frequent baths and home grooming to maintain a clean coat. A small dog also requires more frequent dental care and Sadie is proactive with Lexie's oral hygiene.

She has been covering dog-related topics since 2012 and is proud to share her latest personal experience, resources and information with fellow pet parents. Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

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Claude Henry Smoott
January 17, 2019 8:15 pm

Most of the low energy breeds listed look frenetic in comparison to our Newfoundland.

April 17, 2017 4:31 pm

I have a King Charles Cavalier and she’s pretty low-energy. Try to take her on walks since she’s getting a little heavy (she’s just too darn cute I can’t help but feed her treats all the time) but she gets tired after we go around the block. Anyone else have tips for low-energy dogs?

February 2, 2019 2:01 am
Reply to  Tess

depending on block aim for 2 to ta 3 laps of bock

May 10, 2017 12:03 am
Reply to  Tess

Try cutting back on treats. If you’ve don’t feel that is possible, pay attention to the fat percentage in the treats you give her. Anything good above 8% is high so keep an eye out. Also see if you can get her more walks throughout the day as this would likely give her motivation to spend more time walking. More walking, less lazying around therefore less fat. Or maybe a walking buddy (a friend with a dog).