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The Seven Best Dog Breeds For Someone Who Works All Day

Updated on December 20, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

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

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 and space is not an issue, three dogs left home alone are even better than two.
If money and space is not an issue, three dogs left home alone 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 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 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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    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 12 hours ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Jean, Beagles are almost always good with cats but I cannot guarantee that they are good left alone. They can be a lot higher energy breed than a Basset Hound. Bassets are larger than what you are looking for, or I would suggest that dog breed.

    • jean 37 hours ago

      I want a medium dog 25-40 pounds, I have cats, work full time,large back yard, willing to invest in training, we walk, but no running, over 50, can you suggest a breed?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 39 hours ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Zara, look into a Greyhound, whippet, or the sighthound that you have available where you live. Whippets are a lot smaller, and the dog´s thin coat should be good for your living conditions.

    • Zara 46 hours ago

      Hi, what's the best breed of dog for me? I need a dog who wouldn't have separation anxiety because every year I go on one trip that lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and can live in a smaller area because my mom doesn't want to have the dog inside the house but I'm building a smaller house/shed outside in my yard which is about in size 1,600² meters (17,200² feet). The dog would be preferably small but a bigger size is fine. I live in Southeast Asia kinda close to the equator so it is more of a hot climate. If the breed has long fur/hair I could give it a puppy cut, right? I hope I can find the right breed and convince my mom to get him or her!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 3 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Saskia, Maltese have hair so as long as you keep your dog bathed he will neither shed much nor shed a lot of skin, which is what most people are allergic to. He is really the only dog on the list that makes a good choice for your mum.

    • Saskia 4 weeks ago

      Hi, my mum is allergic to fur but would like a dog. I think a hypoallergenic dog is suitable but my mum and dad and I are at work/school for 6 hours a day on monday tuesday and wednesday. So could you please pick out a dog that is hypoallergenic and that can be left alone for a long time for 3 days a week.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 4 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Tom, it really depends on if you have a family, are living alone, etc. If you have a family, check my info on the best family guard dogs. If you are alone, I like Filas and Cane Corsos, as both are large and have a fierce bark. The Rottweiller is the best all around guard and watch dog. Click on my avatar on the top of the page and it will take you to my profile page, where I hope you can find what you are looking for.

    • Tom O Keeffe 4 weeks ago

      i am looking for an outside dog as our house was broken into what breed will i get to protect it

    • Bosko123 4 weeks ago

      I am working 10 hours a day.i live alone in a foreign country and i would love to have some company with who i can spend the rest of the day.i live in apartment and i would love to have basset hound.can someone give me some advice about how to make that happend?is he gonna be destructive?is he gonna bark a lot?cuz i have some old peoples across my place.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 8 weeks ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Leia, if you are looking for a dog that is hypoallergenic as possible, and want a dog that will be sleeping a lot of the day, I would recommend the Maltese. Keep him as clean as possible to reduce the allergens. While still a puppy it is not a good idea to leave him home all day, so maybe he can go to work with your dad and hang out in one of the cages?

      A Chihuahua is a good idea too but will need to be bathed frequently and is going to shed more, so if you are worried about hair and allergens stuck to the hair there is a little more concern. Again, leaving a puppy alone all day is very hard, so if your dad can take the dog to work for those 6 months or so the dog will be a lot better later on.

      Pugs are great companions but not all of them are as good if left alone all day. It depends on the dogs personality.

      Good luck with your new dog.

    • Leia 8 weeks ago

      Hey i need help i am thinking to have a dog soon. It will be my first dog. My father is a vet. And i am a allergic person. We are living an apartmet( so it must bark less) And I think I will get a puppy. Dog will be alone 8 hour. I am thinking a pug or chihuahua. Which dog should ı get? Have you got another dog idea for me?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 2 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Grace, I do not breed or sell Maltese. The only reason I suggest these dogs is because of my personal experience with them. (There is a lot of bad information out there, so please read what you find carefully. Many times the writers on the internet know nothing about what they are writing and think it is enough to read what some others suggest. One person says that garlic is toxic, another copies it, etc. etc.)

      A lot depends on breeding. Do not buy from a pet shop. Buy from a breeder and discuss your needs, your family, etc. The breeder can pick the calmest line for your family. (If you need to find a breeder, there is a web page dedicated to the breed and they can put you in touch with someone locally.)

      No dog is hypoallergenic, but a Maltese does not shed much, and if you bathe him frequently he is one of the cleanest dog breeds. Maltese do not have that stinky odor that some dog breeds have. (My Schnauzer is at my feet as I write this. They definitely have a doggy odor!)

      Maltese do bark, a lot, and I never suggest a family with very small children get one. They are too tiny and fragile. You have to teach your older children to take care of her.

      And yes, they are really cute!

    • Grace 2 months ago

      My family is thinking on a first dog. This website says differently then all others about the Maltese dogs. I read on several websites that Maltese dogs will get sick, scratch, chew, etc. if left alone and that they get very bad separation anxiety. What dog is best for me if I have 2 family members allergic to the fur, want a small and cute dog, and work all day?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      DrMark1961 3 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      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 months 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 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      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 months 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 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      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 months 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 4 months 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.

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