Before we jump into this topic, it’s important to understand that there really isn’t such thing as low maintenance dogs. When you’re planning on adding a new member to your family, you should never do so lightly or with the hope that your new pet won’t take much care or attention.
All dogs take time, training, and affection. However, some breeds tend to have a more independent personality and do not require quite as much focus as other breeds that might be more intense or needy. So in these cases, what we define as a “low maintenance dog” is a bit more emotionally low maintenance than anything else.
Important Care Considerations for All Breeds
No matter how independent and self-sufficient your dog breed boasts, you still need to take the time and effort to connect with your pet. Even if your dog’s breed has a more laid-back personality, you should make sure you are still providing adequate mental stimulation, physical exercise, and bonding with your dog. We cover all of these basics in our Dog Savvy Small Dog Training Made Easy course.
It’s also important to make sure you properly socialize your dog. A more independent dog breed that isn’t falling all over itself to greet a stranger could be more prone to wariness or even aggression towards people they don’t know. Make sure that you are not only exposing them to new people and new environments, but you are also ensuring the dog is enjoying themselves and you are pairing these experiences with positive reinforcement and not forcing your dog into anything that makes them afraid or uncomfortable.
If you are concerned about proper socialization or your dog is already showing signs of fear or aggression towards dogs or strangers, you might benefit from using our Ask The Trainer program to get additional help with these issues.
Low Maintenance Dog Breeds
A number of small (or small-ish) dog breeds have independent dispositions. These dogs aren’t necessarily climb-in-your-lap, beg-for-your-attention breeds of dogs. They tend to enjoy attention and affection on their own time!
These guys really have more of a “short” than “small” connotation to them. They are heavy-boned, but fit the bill of easygoing quite well. You probably know this breed best by its long ears and droopy melancholy expression.
The Basset provides an interesting balance of independence and low-maintenance temperament, with a mildly stubborn disposition that can make them difficult to train. Though you can classify them as “low-maintenance dogs” for our purposes, don’t mistake that for lazy. This scenthound wants a job and something to track. Make sure you provide plenty of targeted mental stimulation to keep this breed happy.
Finally, though not outright affectionate, Basset Hounds still hold a steadfast loyalty to their owners. Their charming expression and subtle body language cues can certainly make up for their lack of outright affection and outgoing behavior.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Something between a Dachshund and a Westie, this breed sports a lengthy body, fashionably fluffy head, and an independent personality. Bred for pest and predator extermination, this breed has plenty of energy to go around, but without outright hyperactivity.
As these dogs have an inherent “job” protecting their farms from wily predators, you must account for their intelligence. While they can adapt to modern living, as with most breeds (particularly intelligent breeds) it’s important to understand how to ensure they are working their brain and satisfied mentally.
Provide this breed with reliable feedback and positive reinforcement training, and you will find yourself a great companion. Though their independent demeanor can make them a bit stubborn to train, so make sure you are consistent and clear!
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen
Another scenthound, this breed combines a unique set of traits that make them wonderful and relatively low-maintenance companions. They have independent dispositions, but a happy demeanor that doesn’t border on standoffish as some breeds can.
Like the aforementioned Dandies, this breed has plenty of energy and loves being active, but isn’t outright hyper or high-strung. They make for a great companion walking or hiking, as they seemingly never run out of steam!
Overall, this dog has a sweet disposition and isn’t distrusting or wary of strangers. They can show affection, but have an independent disposition and can keep themselves company. However, this breed is quite vocal and does have a “job” that requires adequate mental stimulation to satisfy them.
Perhaps the most affectionate on this list, the Japanese Chin sports a bloodline that quite literally makes them the perfect lapdog. While they love to lie in your lap and cuddle with you, they also have a dignified and noble bearing to go along with it.
Because this breed is affectionate, yet also independent, training can provide a bit of a challenge. As is the case with all of the previous breeds, consistency and positive reinforcement are key. This breed in particular thrives using our training methods, which allows them independence and full control of their movements during the training process.
If you’re searching for a breed that has cat-like independence, but still loves to climb into your lap in a similar cat-like fashion, the Japanese Chin might just be the breed for you.
Considerations for Training an Independent Dog
No matter if your independent and low-maintenance breed is affectionate, or if they can be rather aloof, their training considerations should remain similar. As we discussed for the Japanese Chin, independent dogs thrive in training processes that allow them to control the session. Give them the freedom to choose whether they want to participate or not, and your dog will happily learn new things.
Intelligent and independent, using the right training methods, meeting their mental stimulation needs, and providing them with proper exercise can be the perfect recipe for a well behaved and low maintenance dog. As long as you are properly meeting all of their needs and doing preemptive training to prevent problems later on, your pet can remain a well-behaved and amicable companion for life!