The Seven Best Dog Breeds For Someone Who Works All Day

The Basset Hound is well known for falling asleep everywhere.
The Basset Hound is well known for falling asleep everywhere. | Source

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.

Best "Home Alone" Dog Breeds

If money is not an issue, three dogs are even better than two.
If money is not an issue, three dogs are even better than two. | Source
Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone All Day
Basset hound
French bulldog
Shar Pei

Basset Hound

A basset hound will be perfectly happy to nap in the sun until you come back home.
A basset hound will be perfectly happy to nap in the sun until you come back home. | Source

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.


Since dogs are social animals, they should not be left alone.
Since dogs are social animals, they should not be left alone. | Source

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.

French Bulldog

With nothing better to do, your Frenchie might choose to take a nap.
With nothing better to do, your Frenchie might choose to take a nap. | Source

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.


Greyhounds like to sleep on soft couches.
Greyhounds like to sleep on soft couches. | Source

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 will both be happier.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Maltese learn to climb up on furniture early.If you mind your Maltese sleeping on your furniture when you are gone, it may be best to choose another dog.
Maltese learn to climb up on furniture early.
Maltese learn to climb up on furniture early. | Source
If you mind your Maltese sleeping on your furniture when you are gone, it may be best to choose another dog.
If you mind your Maltese sleeping on your furniture when you are gone, it may be best to choose another dog. | Source

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.

Shar Pei

Shar Peis like to rest after playing.
Shar Peis like to rest after playing. | Source

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.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Whippets are clean and quiet dogs who sleep for much of the day.When they are awake, whippets need a chance to run outside.
Whippets are clean and quiet dogs who sleep for much of the day.
Whippets are clean and quiet dogs who sleep for much of the day. | Source
When they are awake, whippets need a chance to run outside.
When they are awake, whippets need a chance to run outside. | Source

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.

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 no especially 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 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.

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Comments 31 comments

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Lucy, I think that is a great thing to do. Many "experts" tell us that it does no good, but I adopted an adult Schnauzer to keep my adult Pit Bull company during the day, and she is now happier than ever. I used to feed her just as I was leaving the house so that she would sleep, but now that she has a companion she spends more time playing when I am gone. Leave me a note and tell me how your rescue goes! Good luck to your whole new family.

Lucy 3 weeks ago


Would having 2 dogs at home to keep each other company reduce separation anxiety they may have while you're at work and reduce the limitations as to what breeds you may have?

We used to always have 2 labradors and we never had any issues while away from home during the day.

Also, advice please on having just one dog but introducing another to keep it company. My partner has one dog already and we are living together, so I would love to get my own and they could keep each other company. He is 2 years old and great with other dogs- but I'm looking at getting a 3-5yr old rescue, out of puppy stage (as I wouldn't be there to care for a puppy all day). Best way to go around this?

Please keep advice positive as I am trying to do this the best way possible for all parties.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Thanks for that comment, Bcook. It sounds like your dog has a great life. I am sure you would like to spend all day, every day, playing with your dog. For most of us, entertaining a dog all of the time is just not possible.

I do not think that makes pet ownership sick. Neither do my dogs.

Bcook 3 weeks ago

Samosa is just a troll. I leave the house and 6:00 and get home at 6:00. My dog has a dog run and shelter. My dog lives a happy life with all the attention given when I am home. And on the weekends the dog park is a knowingly great experience. Far better than the curled up dog in the corner of a 4x4 cell with constant dogs barking scaring my dog. If you think my dog is neglected, you have no idea. While i am gone my dog is either sleeping, playing with toys, or alerting my neighbors of unnatural events or people. Ive tested it and reward her when i have a friend try to test approaching my house, it is now a game in her mind. My dog has experienced lakes, rivers, tubing, desert thru treeline elevations. Skunks.....geezer that was a doozey, rabbits, squirrels, elk, and deer. I guess I thrown wild horses in as well. It isn't unnatural. Not in the least bit. Your sentiment that dogs defended from wolves is correct in a very....very...long descendant list for most breeds. But even a wolf mix pup, wow it's tendencies would be hard to keep entertained for so long without some sort of household damage, but is still a pack animal who seeks a pack, which you provide.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Samosa, thanks for telling us all that "Pet ownership is just sick, its twisted and not natural". Your wonderful words have changed my life.

Samosa 3 weeks ago

As someone who works full time and has a dog, please believe me when I say it is really sad for the dog. If the dog can be in a home where at least 1 adult is present most of the day, I think that is a reasonable situation for the dog. But to say that there are certain breeds that are good being alone is total bullshit. Dogs were bred from wolves which are pack animals, and humans just kept domesticating them for our selfish needs, to cure our own loniness at the expense of taking these animals out of their natural element and also presuming that they are fine being home alone all day. That is just an excuse humans tell ourselves to make us feel better about our selfish decision to own a dog. Doesn't matter if you're rescuing the dog - you are just feeding the system by being supportive of dog ownership by choosing to have a dog. If you have any compassion for animals, you'll understand once to get a dog and come home after being away for 10-12 hours. And you might say well there's doggy daycare? What's the point of bringing that dog into your life, when you're paying someone else to take care of it for most of their life on Earth? Pet ownership is just sick, its twisted and not natural.

Emma 5 weeks ago

Well i think a dog would rather have a loving home, with owners who work and can afford to give them a good life then being caged up in a rescue centre. This idea of "if you work and live in a flat, you can't have a dog", is so out dated. There are many breeds out there that have been bred well to live that life style and there are Dog Day Care services.

dip 2 months ago

Pug are the best,,,and English bulldog too,,,

Rich 2 months ago

So only people that don't have to work for a living should have a dog? Makes no sense Ana

Ana 3 months ago

Sorry folks! But someone who works all day shouldn't have a dog :P

Miss Cellany 5 months ago

I had a border collie and left him alone while I went to work. I had fairly short hours so he wasn't left longer than 6 - 7 hours a day 5 days a week. He never destroyed my house or barked. I think it depends more on the owner than the dog breed to be honest. If you put the time and effort in to exercise and provide things to do while you're gone you can keep almost any breed. I wouldn't recommend a border collie to a household of busy people with lots of after work activities. You will NOT have time to do much else other than exercise, feed and train your dog after work each day, and most of your weekend will be spent making up for having left the dog alone all day during the week. If you can handle that you can have any breed :)

By the way I live in a 1 bed apartment with no garden so also busting the "border collies need a huge yard" myth.

Trudy 6 months ago

I like your list, however, I have a rough collie and a border collie and leave them during the day. I walk before work, come home for15 minutes at lunchtime and am home again around 4p.m. when we walk again. I don't go out and leave them in the evening when I've been at work and go obedience training once a week with some agility fun combined. They have the run of the house and are now 4 and 3 years old. Whilst they are herding breed I don't have any problems and have videos them so I know they settle when I'm gone. Just lucky I guess.

Helloo 6 months ago

This information has really helped me with my choice of dog , thank you

Chantelle Porter profile image

Chantelle Porter 10 months ago from Chicago

I think this is such an important article. I now so many people who have these big dogs left alone for 12 hours a day and some of them have become quite destructive. My sister has a Bassador and it sounds like he got the Basset Hound personality. She is gone all day and when she gets home he curls up in her lap. He doesn't really bark and is the most loving dog. He is really pretty lethargic so he handles being home quite well.

Wren 19 months ago


Frenchies are definitely not a breed to consider if you work. They are bred to be companions and don't do well alone.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 21 months ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Hi Sarah, thanks for the comment on the Maltese. I would agree that they are not as good left alone as the Basset or Greyhound, but are one of the best small dogs for someone who has to be away at work all day. And of course the Bassets and Greyhounds are not what everyone would choose! Thanks for your input.

Sarah 21 months ago

Hi! Interesting article but I would have to offer a similar concern with Maltese dogs. I have had one for 15 years and he is very much a people person. It wasn't until his elderly years when we can sneak out while he is fast asleep that he didn't become stressed when we left him. They are a lovely dog but he wouldn't be happy if my mom wasn't able to spend most days home with him. We have several in our neighborhood that I think would agree that Maltese dogs can easily have separation anxiety

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 21 months ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Thanks Steve, good comment on the Shar Pei. I have also met several Maltese over the years that have that same type of anxiety/nervousness when alone, so I think the best choice is a kennel dog like the Basset or Greyhound, although I realize those two are not for everyone.

Thanks for leaving your observations.

Steve 21 months ago

Great article and feedback. I do however question Shar Pei being n the list.

I had a Shar Pei for 18 years, and he and many others we came across over the years were similar in that they become very stressed and anxious when left alone.

We did a lot of research many years ago before getting a dog, but it seems there are more factors that influence how the dog turns out rather that categorize each breed for being alone or not.

They do not require much activity though, and they are excellent with small children.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 22 months ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

SeniorLass, crates are a recent plague and none of these dogs need or should they be locked up during the day. Since dogs are social animals, having more than one is a good idea. Thanks for that great comment.

SeniorLass 22 months ago

While I think these are excellent suggestions, I feel, if you are working all day and have to leave your dog alone, you should have at least two so they can keep each other company. I think it is abusive to leave a dog crated for the whole day. Nothing wrong with crating for training purposes but a dog should not have to live most of its life in a cage. I think it's very selfish of a person to get a dog, give it a little bit of love and affection for a couple of hours after work then shove it in a cage again.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately, I have seen some serious health problems with Chihuahuas over the years, but hopefully your dogs will all be okay. They certainly sound happy together!!!

For those readers interested in a Chihuahua, read

to get more details on how good the breed is.

theBAT profile image

theBAT 2 years ago

Hi. Very informative hub you got here. I know you would include the Chihuahua in your list. The Chi, based on my experience, is really an easy to care dog and a relatively healthy breed. Thank you.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

Hi Bob, as much as I appreciate the work that they do, I was always distressed when I heard shelter volunteers trying to get rid of Lab/Collie/Shepherd crosses to families who were not even around all day. "Sure, it is okay to crate him when you are away. But keep him outside? No, he is not available for adoption to anyone who wants to keep him outside." If they weren´t brought back they usually had them killed elsewhere.

Bob Bamberg profile image

Bob Bamberg 2 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

Contrary to your good advice, a lot of adopters rely on the shelter volunteer do define a good match, and not all shelter personnel are really qualified to do that. Then, they seem puzzled when the dog is returned because he couldn't adapt to the family's lifestyle. Very helpful hub...up useful and interesting.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

That sounds great, Diana. Your Chi mix sounds great for a small yard.

Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

I'm glad you are addressing this issue. We really should consider if we are compatible with out pets. I've always been partial to a Border collie or Lab, but because we live in a mobile home and I don't dare let them run very far away from the house I settled for a small breed Chihuahua and Jack Russell mix. With a small fenced in area in the back yard they have plenty of room and they have their freedom inside as well. This breed doesn't need to herd anything and are perfectly happy chasing a ball.

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

I was just telling my sister yesterday "It is a good thing my dogs take me for a walk every evening. I need the exercise." These dogs are all good for that. Some of them do not need much, and some of them need a lot more, but they will all get the average person out moving.

Thanks for reading and commenting!!

rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

That's a great list! I need a dog to make myself get moving, but I can sure see how these laid back dudes would be good pets. Thanks!

DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil Author

That is super, Bk42author. I wish more people would take their hours into consideration.

BTW, I loved the photo you posted of your Maltese with your cats the other day on the question board. They look happy together.

Bk42author profile image

Bk42author 2 years ago from New York

Good list. Love the pics & videos, too. I have a Maltese, great breed! I'm a first time dog owner & that was one of the first things I researched because both my husband & I work. Voted up!

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    DrMark1961565 Followers
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    Dr Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs more than 40 years.

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