The Seven Best Dog Breeds for Someone Who Works All Day
Good Dogs for Working People
The most popular dog in the world is unsuited for most of the people in the world. In fact, most working and hunting dogs—including Labradors, German shepherds, Border Collies, and Golden Retrievers—are not suited for someone who works all day. Despite this fact, most people continue to make unwise decisions about the breed of dog they choose for pets. In the end, this can result in unhappy dog owners and dogs suffering a horrible life confined to crates or given up to animal shelters, because active breeds are not suited for the life they are forced to endure.
If you work all day but choose to share your life with a dog, you need to choose the breed carefully and be willing to make some sacrifices. When your friends at work invite you out for a beer at the end of the day, say no. Someone is waiting for you at home.
That someone waiting is a social animal who needs your attention. Dogs are pack animals and need company; they do not do well if they are left alone in a crate day and night.
Some dog breeds need more social interaction and exercise than others. If you select the right breed from the beginning, your dog will be perfectly content walking around your home, drinking water, and looking out the window to see the birds. He will not create trouble looking for stimulation, and you will not need to resort to using a small cell he cannot turn around in.
Choose the dog you want carefully and provide him activities, and he will be fine, even if you have to work. During the day, your dog will:
- Sleep: This will take up most of his time. The average dog sleeps for about 14 hours a day (including at night), but young dogs and seniors sleep even more. Dogs will also sleep more during the day if taken for exercise first thing in the morning.
- Eat: While water should always be left out for the dog, not all owners choose to leave food available—free-choice feeding can lead to many problems, including obesity. A better idea is leaving several toys filled with snacks (like peanut butter) stashed throughout the house. When the dog is bored, he can walk around and search for the snacks.
- Explore the house: There might be new smells in the kitchen, other animals running through the yard, or familiar objects to be found in slightly different settings. If your dog is lucky enough to have a doggy door, he can sit outside and watch the birds or listen to the sounds of traffic.
- Play: Interactive toys filled with dog treats give dogs a great excuse to play during the day. When a second or third dog is in the household, there is even more cause for fun.
- Guard the house: Not all breeds are suited to this, and some will be more likely to wake up and guard at any suspicious sound. Others, like the whippet, may wake up and hide.
This interactive toy is a great way to keep your dogs busy when you are not around. You can fill it up with dog kibble and your pup will have to play with it to manage to get them out. I still have several around the house that I bought years ago and when I am going out make sure and fill them so that the dogs stay busy when alone.
Best "Home Alone" Dog Breeds
Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone All Day
The Basset Hound is a good low-energy breed. It's one of the best medium-sized dog breeds for an apartment. They love to walk around and use their noses but have relatively low activity levels during much of the day.
If you decide to get a basset and have to go to work, your dog will probably spend most of the day sleeping.
Like many dogs, Bassets do have some medical issues. You need to keep their ears clean, brush them daily to control shedding, and control their diet closely so that they do not become obese.
Bassets may be short but they are big dogs. Despite their size, they might also choose to curl up on your lap in the evening.
If you want a tiny dog but have to work, the Chihuahua is a great choice. They will do okay if left alone much of the day.
Many of them weigh less than three kilos (about seven pounds). They do have a reputation for aggression, which possibly derives from their size. Not many people worry about being bit by a Chihuahua, so some dogs suffer from teasing and “small dog syndrome.” Socialize your Chihuahua and be sure to treat him gently.
They are also prone to quite a few medical problems. Besides luxating patella, they need their teeth brushed every day to prevent dental disease. Like the Basset, you have to be on top of their food and exercise because they are prone to obesity.
Overall, if you need a less active dog, the Chihuahua is a great choice. Just make sure your dog has another Chihuahua to hang out with during the day.
All dogs need your company as soon as you get home. The main consideration for dogs who will be left at home is how active they will be during the day. The French Bulldog is one of those dogs who needs your company, but is not built for going out for a long runs—with nothing better to do, your Frenchie might choose to take a nap.
Frenchies have short faces, which makes it difficult for them to breathe and run if it is hot and humid. They are great around the house though, and are one of the best small breeds with kids.
Keep in mind that French bulldogs have health problems because of their short faces and large eyes. They do not bark much, however, so they are ideal for an apartment with neighbors likely to complain about the noise.
Work every day, but still looking for a large dog? The greyhound is a great choice. They are one of the best dogs for apartment life since they are couch potatoes and spend most of their time sleeping.
Since most greyhounds available for adoption are retired racing dogs, they are already used to being crated up to 20 hours a day and will likely have no trouble being left alone during the day. However, even if he's used to it, I do not recommend you confine your dog in a crate all day. Teach him the habits of the house and allow him to enjoy your home.
When you do come home at the end of the day, plan on spending some time walking your dog or letting him run off leash at your local dog park.
You both will be happier.
MalteseClick thumbnail to view full-size
This little slacker is willing to sleep most of the day on the back of the sofa, waiting for his family to come home. A Maltese is not likely to tear up your house out of boredom, and is not going to require long walks like some breeds.
However, he will enjoy your company and also will need to be groomed carefully each evening, since the long hair will mat if not combed. If you are not willing to do so, take your dog to the groomer for a “puppy cut” (a short, even haircut) and just brush him when he is resting on your lap each evening.
If you already have a cat and are looking for a dog to keep her company during the day, the Maltese is a great choice.
A low-energy dog suited for someone who works all day does not have to be run-of-the-mill. The Shar Pei, one of the most unusual dog breeds, is perfect for an owner who works all day.
The Shar Pei is a medium-sized dog from China. They were the common man´s hunting and fighting dog, but are not very active.
Shar Peis do need to be well socialized, but are considered to be good family pets and guard dogs.
However, keep in mind that because only a few were imported, they are interbred and have several health problems.
WhippetClick thumbnail to view full-size
This medium-sized dog is ideal for an apartment, since he is relatively clean and spends a great deal of time sleeping. Like his larger cousin, the greyhound, he needs a soft place, so he will probably take over a couch or easy chair.
Whippets also are more withdrawing than greyhounds and will avoid any intruders.
And, like many dog breeds, he will need to be exercised each evening so that he can burn off his energy walking. Better yet, get two. They can play together between naps.
- Can I Leave My Dog Home Alone?
If you are planning to leave your dog at home while you work, read these tips for how to keep him happily stimulated while you're away.
- Crate Training: It Is Animal Abuse
Instead of leaving your dog in a crate all day while you're at work, it may be better to leave him outside. Find out why.
All dogs are social animals, and, no matter how tired you are at the end of the day, all dogs need a walk. Some dogs need a lot more than a walk around the block, and I have not included them on this list. There are no sled dogs, no herding breeds, and especially no curious dogs that are likely to investigate all of your cabinets when home alone.
Do not listen to those people who will tell you to get a cat or bird instead of a dog! There are a lot of great dogs out there, and you can be happy if you choose carefully. Be sure to consider adopting an older dog of the correct breed through your local shelter or petfinder.com. Little puppies need a lot of time, and older dogs tend to sleep more.
If you do get a dog from a shelter, make sure he is one of the breeds on this list. If someone at the shelter tells you that a herding or retrieving breed will be fine for you, do not listen. You do not want to end up with a “Marley” that will tear down your drywall in a fit of separation anxiety. Most of those dogs end up dead while still young.
If you have decided to bring home a new dog to share your life, be sure not to buy a cute little puppy from a pet shop. You will be supporting a puppy mill, and besides having to deal with puppy energy and housetraining problems (which you may not have time to deal with) your new puppy will likely have behavioral problems and not be a good match for your lifestyle.
Questions & Answers
I work 8 hours a day, 4 days a week and have children in between the age of 5 and 11. The kids really want a dog and we are thinking about it. We need a dog that doesn't shed, is small and doesn't mind being left alone for 8 hours. Any ideas?
The man next door to me works 8 hours a day, comes in for maybe 1 hour then goes out (to the pub) every night until 10 o´clock. I feel sad for the little dog. He never walks it. What can I do to help this little dog?