Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
What Kind of Dog Should I Get If I Work Full-Time?
If you choose the dog you want carefully and provide them with fun activities, he or she will be okay if left home alone all day even if you have to work. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals and need company; they do not do well if they are left alone in a crate all day and night for 8 hours at a time. He or she will become destructive out of boredom or anxiety or be barking all day long due to lack of stimulation.
Some dog breeds need more social interaction and exercise than others. By selecting the right breed from the beginning, your dog will be perfectly content being independent, drinking water, walking around the apartment, and looking at birds out the window while you're gone.
7 Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone
These dogs breeds are known for being independent, low-maintenance, and they make excellent house dogs:
- Basset Hound
- French Bulldog
- Shar Pei
If you keep scrolling down, you'll find a full description of each breed.
Dogs are social creatures. If you are unable to provide for their basic needs—including love and affection—you may want to reconsider your readiness to get a dog.
Do Some Dogs Like to Be Alone?
The most popular dog in the world (according to the AKC), the Labrador Retriever, is not suited for most of the people in the world. In fact, most working and hunting dogs—Labrador Retrievers, 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 a pet. In the end, this can result in unhappy dog owners and dogs that suffer from a horrible life confined to crates and kennels—left alone without companionship or social interaction. Even worse, these pets are often given up to animal shelters because these active breeds are not suited for the life they are forced to endure.
If you work all day but want to choose the right dog, you need to choose the breed carefully and must 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 that needs your attention.
Can Puppies Be Left Alone?
Although crate training is an essential part of early puppy development (crates can keep your dog safe in certain circumstances), a puppy should never be left alone for long periods of time. It is essential that you socialize your puppy early so that they become well-rounded, socially healthy dogs. Isolation can lead to numerous behavior problems down the road. Do not get a puppy if he or she will be home alone all day.
The Best "Home Alone" Dog Breeds
|Dog Breed||Dominant Trait|
The Basset Hound
- Energy level: low
- Size: medium dog
- Traits: sleepy
- Con: prone to obesity
The Basset Hound is one of the best medium-sized dog breeds for an apartment. They love to walk around and use their noses but have a relatively low activity level 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. 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.
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.
- Energy level: medium
- Size: small dog
- Traits: cuddly
- Con: prone to aggression if mistreated
If you want a tiny dog but have to work, the Chihuahua is a great choice. They will do fine if left alone for much of the day. Many of them weigh less than 3 kilos (about 7 pounds). 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—they do well in pairs.
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are prone to quite a few medical problems. Besides a luxating patella, they need their teeth brushed every day to prevent dental disease. Like the Basset Hound, you have to be on top of their food and exercise because they are prone to obesity.
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 of these dogs suffer from teasing and “small dog syndrome.” Socialize your Chihuahua and be sure to treat them kindly.
The French Bulldog
- Energy level: medium
- Size: small dog
- Traits: great for families; does not bark much
- Con: brachycephalic health issues
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 that needs your companionship and attention but does not require long runs or excessive exercise. 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 and are one of the best small breeds for 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.
Video: French Bulldog Fights Falling Asleep
- Energy level: low
- Size: large dog
- Traits: adaptable
- Con: poor recall when off leash
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 that are 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 or she is used to it, I do not recommend that you confine your dog in a crate all day. Teach him or her the habits of the house and allow them 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 them run off leash at your local dog park. You both will be happier. Keep in mind that Greyhounds are prone to running off if not exercised in an enclosed area.
Video: Greyhound Naps All Day Long
- Energy level: low
- Size: small dog
- Traits: mellow
- Con: high grooming needs
- Bonus: good with cats
This little slacker is willing to sleep most of the day on the back of the sofa while waiting for his or her 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.
He or she will enjoy your company and will also need to be groomed carefully each evening since their long hair will mat if not combed. If you are not willing to groom them yourself, take your dog to the groomer for a “puppy cut” (a short, even haircut) and just brush him or her when they are resting on your lap each evening.
If you are looking for a dog to keep your cat company during the day, the Maltese is a great choice.
Video: Bella the Maltese Likes to Sleep
The Shar Pei
- Energy level: low
- Size: medium dog
- Traits: loyal
- Con: inherited health problems
The Shar Pei, one of the most unusual dog breeds, is perfect for an owner who works all day. A medium-sized dog from China, Shar Peis were the common person's hunting and fighting dog but they 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.
- Energy level: low
- Size: medium dog
- Traits: passive
- Con: easily startled
This medium-sized dog is ideal for an apartment since they are relatively clean and spend a great deal of time sleeping. Like its larger cousin, the Greyhound, they need a soft place to sleep and will probably take over a couch or easy chair.
Whippets are more withdrawn than Greyhounds and will avoid any intruders. And, like many dog breeds, they will need to be exercised each evening so that they can burn off energy walking. Consider getting two whippets—they can play together between naps.
Video: Whippet Puppy Falling Asleep
Bonus: The Bullmastiff
- Energy level: low
- Size: large dog
- Traits: gentle
- Con: prone to heavy drooling
Bullmastiffs are quite large and come in red, fawn, and brindle. Originally used by gamekeepers in Britain for their size and speed, this breed is surprisingly sensitive. It is important to train this breed early because they can become quite independent. They are loyal and will guard the house, but they are also known for being loving and sweet family dogs.
One downside to this impressive breed is that it is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. They do not make for great apartment dogs because of their size but do well with short walks and lots of love.
Is Your Dog Bored While You're at Work?
Some dogs may be considered lazier than others . . . that is, they are content lounging during the day, tend to be more independent, and maybe even like being alone sometimes. Other breeds need way more social interaction and companionship. They may even exhibit anxiety or whine and act distressed when you leave for work—sitting by the door all day until you return. Here's how you can help your dog to be content:
- Return for Short Periods: If you have the luxury of breaking away for lunch or staggering your hours, you and your dog can both get outside for some exercise and go for a refreshing walk. 8 hours is a really unfair amount of time to keep a dog locked up. Could you refrain from using the bathroom for 8 hours? Probably not.
- Enlist a Family Member: Maybe your cousin, niece, nephew, or retired parent wants an excuse to get outside during the day. Consider informally hiring a family member to play with your dog, to spend time with them, and to give them attention—even if it's just a potty break and brushing.
- Hire a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker: Many modern apps allow for the hiring of credentialed dog walkers. Give your dog a treat bi-weekly and get them outside. This helps to create a sense of routine and may ease some of your dog's anxious behaviors.
- Work With an Animal or Canine Behaviorist: You can either send your dog off to training camp or have a behaviorist come and work with your dog in the house while you are gone. This activity breaks up the day in a fun way and you and your dog both benefit from the training.
- Create a Calendar: Are you part of a working family? Do multiple members of your house work odd hours? Consider making a playtime or dog walk calendar. Everyone pitches in.
- Adopt a Companion: Do you love animals? Ready to save another life? Consider adopting a companion for your canine—be it a cat or dog so long as they are cat or dog-friendly. Be sure to work with the adoption specialists to pair the personalities properly. Never leave a newly adopted animal home alone without having supervised them and given them time to adjust to their new life.
- Offer Toys and Puzzles: Interactive toys like the bob-a-lot, filled with dog treats, give dogs a great excuse to play during the day. You can fill the toy up with dog kibble and your pup will have to play with it to get the treat. Some pet owners make pup-sicles and freeze peanut butter in a kong. I still have several around the house that I bought years ago, and when I am going out, I make sure and fill them so that my dogs stay busy when not sleeping.
- Offer Entertainment: There are also TV programs specially made for dogs! Soothing canine-tailored music is another good option as it can help drown out background noise which may trigger your dog's tendency to bark.
- Check Out the Tech: You can purchase a pup cam. Yes, these cams not only double as added household security, but you can use it to communicate to your dog.
- Potty Train: All household pets must be potty-trained at some point—especially puppies! Teach your dog early. If you are really out of options and have a smaller dog breed, some owners train their dogs to relieve themselves in a designated space. Yes, dogs have been trained to use canine litter boxes or dog pans and pee pads. Keep in mind, this isn't always a good choice unless you have a solid plan for dealing with the odor.
- Take Your Dog to Work: Do you work for a company or work in a profession that allows your dog to come to work? Bring your dog to work day!
- Get a Doggy Door: If you live in an area where it is safe for your dog to enter and exit the house by free will, consider putting in a doggy door so that they can relieve themselves outside and enjoy nature as they please.
What Do Dogs Do When You're Not Home?
- Sleep: This will take up most of their 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 exercised first thing in the morning.
- Eat: While water should always be left out, not all owners choose to leave food out for their dog—free-choice feeding can lead to many problems, including obesity. A better idea is to leave several toys filled with snacks (like peanut butter) stashed throughout the house. When the dog is bored, he or she 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 or she can sit outside and watch the birds or listen to the sound of traffic.
- Play: Your dog will likely engage with items around the house and find ways to pass the time. They may find their favorite toy or chase another animal household member—a cat or another canine companion.
- Guard the house: Not all breeds are suited to do 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.
How to Choose the Right Dog
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 excluded them from this list. I most certainly did not include sled dogs, herding breeds, and curious breeds on this list (breeds that are likely to investigate all of your cabinets when home alone).
Make Adoption Your First Option
Do not listen to those people who will tell you to get a cat or a 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.
Consider a Senior Dog
If you do get a dog from a shelter, make sure he or she 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 due to foreign body ingestion or some traumatic accident.
Pass on Pet Shops
If you have decided to bring home a new dog, 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.
- 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.
Questions & Answers
Question: My family is somewhat busy, and we want to get a dog that can be left alone from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We have other activities that you could bring a dog to, (like little league baseball). We would also like to have one that has little shedding and is hypoallergenic. What dog is best for my description?
Answer: I think all dogs are great for activities. A breed like a Basset might be more laid back during the day but will be happy to romp around and keep your family company. It really depends on which dog on the list you like the most.
As far as 'hypoallergenic" (there is really no such dog) and a dog that does not shed much, the Maltese is a good choice.
Question: I am not home 12 hours a day, 6 am to 6 pm. Also, I live in an apartment of almost 70m2. I really want to have a dog in my home but really concerned about the hours that it will home alone. I am considering a french bulldog but still have worries. What do you suggest?
Answer: Twelve hours a day is really too long for any dog to be alone. If you decide to purchase a dog, please think about having a dog walker come in during the day to take your dog out, taking your dog to doggy day care, or at the very least having two small dogs so that the dog will not feel so isolated.
A Frenchie is a good choice for your situation, but I am still concerned about that large block of time. If you are in the US I suggest you contact a French Bulldog breed rescue (check Google for a rescue that works in your city) and ask about a pair of calm adults that can handle your situation. You have to tell them that if the dogs do not work out you will need to give them back.
Question: I am not home for about seven hours each day, but I do have three kids that will take good care of a dog. I also have two cats that stay home all day. We really want a dog, but don’t know what kind of breed would be the best. Do you have any advice?
Answer: I would be looking for a dog that is going to do well with the cats and the kids. If you want a small breed dog, a Maltese would be okay but not with very small or very rambunctious kids. If you want a larger breed, a Golden Retriever would be a better choice.
A Golden would be a much better choice if your kids rough-house. A Maltese is very fragile, a Golden is a solid dog.
Try to find an adult through Petfinder or a local animal shelter. An adult will do a lot better than a puppy if left alone longer during the day.
If you do go to a shelter, do not accept a Rott cross, German Shepherd cross, or other hunting breed cross that they might recommend. Sometimes that is all that is available, but you need a dog that will get along with your family and cats.
Question: We are looking for a dog that will be happy to be left alone 3 days a week between 8 am and 5 pm. If we arrange for a dog walker to come in during that time would this mean that we can choose any breed or would this still mean that we should avoid certain breeds?
Answer: You definitely want to avoid working breeds that have high energy and will get bored and tear up your house. Breeds that are not good when left alone include herders like Border collies and drovers like Australian Cattle Dogs (blue heelers).
Your best bet, even if you hire a dog walker, is to find a lazy dog like a Greyhound. Take a look at the lists for "lazy dog breeds" and see if you find any breed you like.
Question: I am a nurse, and I work twelve hour days, but only three times a week. I would like a big dog as I go for long hikes/walks, I run 3km every day, go to the beach, etc. on my days off. Does the time at home offset my working days or would it be cruel to get a big dog?
Answer: 12 hours is way too long to expect a dog to be alone. I do not think the time you spend with him at home makes up for it, but it would not be cruel if you had someone come in (like a dogwalker) to break up those long days. It is only three days a week, right?
Question: I want a dog, but sometimes we go on vacations. Can you suggest a dog that would be able to stay with the neighbor?
Answer: It really depends on your neighbor. Is he the kind of person that only likes large dogs? Will he only watch your dog if he is small? You need to ask this before you decide on one of the dogs on the list. You should also be looking into boarding your dog when you go on vacation, though, and some places will allow you to bring your dog along. (Small breeds like Maltese are often carried along instead of being boarded.)
Question: Can you leave a Maltese puppy at home with a bunch of toys?
Answer: A puppy will get bored of a toy pretty fast. The best idea is to give him a new (even if it is old and was only put away for a week or so) toy every day. No, it is never a good idea to leave a puppy of any breed alone all day. If you cannot take him to work with you for a few weeks, consider utilizing a doggie daycare, even if it is only while the puppy is young.
Question: What breeds of dogs don’t shed?
Answer: All dogs shed, but some do not shed very much. They are usually the longer haired dogs, but if you do not want to groom them you can keep them in a "puppy clip". The Maltese, Shih Tzu, Poodle and some Poodle crossbreds, and some others do not shed much.
Question: I want a dog but my dad is allergic, and we would need a quieter dog. Can you suggest any low maintenance dogs?
Answer: If you are looking for a dog that is best for an allergic person, there are a lot of choices. The Maltese, Bichon, and Basenji are all dogs that do not shed much. If they are kept clean, they have fewer allergens shed into the environment.
The Basenji also does not bark.
Low maintenance is different. Are you talking about a lazy dog, that does not need to be taken care of all of the time, or a dog that you can put outside and let him wander around the farm taking care of himself? Low maintenance varies for everyone.
Not everyone can meet a dog's needs. If you have too many things you do not want, a dog is not a good choice. In the past, at least some people were around the house more (a wife, kids) and the dog was not isolated.
Question: We have a big house that we go in and out of all the time. Our house doesn't sit empty for long hours, but we have little time to pay attention to the dog while we are home. We have already had two German shepherds (10 years each), and it went well. Now we are considering changing the breed. What breeds do you suggest?
Answer: You mention that you have little time to pay attention to the dogs when you are home. That kind of makes me wonder why you want another dog? Dogs are very linked to their owners, even more than to other dogs.
If you do get another dog, I would choose a breed like the American Fox Hound. They are kennel animals, used to living in a group with little human interaction. They are not the best breed to be in a house alone all day, but if kept with another dog, they are more likely to do okay.
Question: 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?
Answer: It depends on where you live and how well you get along with your neighbor. The best thing to do is suggest you will take the dog out for a walk every day but some people will not like that suggestion, especially if they do not like you. The other thing you could do, depending on where you live, is contact animal control, but as long as the dog has food and shelter, they will probably not care. In some countries, they would not even care about food and shelter since a dog is considered a piece of property.
Question: My partner and I are away from home for about 10 hours, five days a week. Our kids are gentle, and still in school. What type of dog should we get?
Answer: Do you want a small dog, a medium-sized, or a large dog? Are you in a tiny house, a more extensive house, or an apartment? Does it bother you when a dog sheds, or are you worried about barking? A lot of these things are essential when selecting your dog. The Basset Hound is good with kids and is a dog that sleeps a lot, but it depends on your needs. Kids who like to take their dog to the park after school each day might be happier with a Whippet, but if you need a dog you can trust not to run away, a Shar Pei is a better choice.
Question: My family and I may be moving soon. If I were to transfer to the school there, I would probably be gone about 6 1/2 hours every day, besides on the weekends, or on Fridays. I’ll be allowed to get a dog if we move, and I really want a Gerberian Shepsky (German Shepherd, Siberian Husky crossbreed).
I’m worried that since both the Shepherd and the Husky are very demanding and social dogs, 6 1/2 hours alone would be too long. What do you think?
Answer: If you leave a Siberian husky/German shepherd cross for that long, you should expect holes in the yard and/or a ripped up fence; do not be surprised if when you come home, your dog has run off (if he is outside) or ripped up carpets, put holes in the walls, and shredded couches (if the dog is inside). There are worse dogs you can get for being alone all day. I cannot really think of any, though.
Question: I'm planning to get my first dog. I love breeds such as the Samoyed (favorite), Siberian Husky, and Eurasier. I live alone in a 73 m2 apartment and away from home 8-9 hours a day. Also, I prefer to have a puppy so it can grow with me. I can arrange for someone to walk the dog once a day. Do you have any suggestions what breed might suit me and whether it is ok to start with a puppy?
Answer: The breeds you listed do not suit your situation. Sled dogs do not deserve a life where they are alone in a small apartment all day.
Getting a puppy is also not a good idea. A young puppy is more likely to become bored and will take out his excessive energy on your carpet and walls. Walking a sled dog once a day is not adequate.
Appropriate breeds for someone who works all day are in this article. If you want to get a Samoyed or Sibe, I cannot stop you, but I certainly can tell you that it is not a good idea. Just because a dog looks just perfect does not mean that she will be suitable. Here is a list of popular dogs that are not a good idea in your situation: https://hubpages.com/dogs/Popular-Dog-Breeds-You-S...
Question: I am a working person, and I am out of the house from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Being a single working person, I am eager to own a dog as a partner in my life. I would like to take care of him whenever I am at home. Would you recommend any breeds that I can leave at home with adequate water and toys?
Answer: The article here lists the best dog breeds for someone in your situation. Which dog you choose is really up to what you are looking for. Since you are away so many hours, I think the basset hound is really the best choice for you. But if you do not care for his looks, then think about some of the other dogs on this list.
As I mentioned in the article, it is not a good idea for someone in your situation to get a puppy. An older dog is more likely to be calmer and will adapt to being left alone. A puppy needs to be active and played with a lot more of the time than you are available.
Question: I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the latest, and share a house with a big-ish yard. There are currently two Doberman Pinschers living in my house, but they are not mine. I want a dog of my own, preferably something from mid to large sized. I have an active lifestyle that I would like to include my dog with, but I also want one that can do lazy days (if this makes sense). Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Is your dog going to be outside during the day with the Dobies? If he is, most dog breeds will be okay since he will have other dogs to play with and keep him occupied when you are at work. (A medium sized dog like a Shar-pei might do well.)
Avoid the working breeds that are going to get bored and destructive. You can find a list of "high prey dog breeds" but be sure to stay away from Border Collies, Siberian huskies, and other working dogs of that type.
Question: I work overnight 8-12 hrs. I have a small child so in the day time we would be able to spend time with the dog. I’m just wondering how it would be leaving a French bulldog alone at night time?
Answer: Your Frenchie will probably just sleep through the night. If you are getting a puppy, however, you might expect some behavioral problems. The only way to get over this is to have someone available to take him out during the night.
Do you have a babysitter for your child at nights? Would the babysitter be willing to take the dog out in the middle of the night?
Question: I am currently a college student and really want to get a dog. I was thinking of getting a French bulldog that is about two or three years old. Throughout the week the dog would not be on their own for longer than three hours, however, one day a week I will be gone for around eight hours. I plan to get lots of interactive toys and stuff for the dog. Do you think it would be okay for them to be on their own for that long one day a week?
Answer: An older French bulldog sounds like a great choice. Your schedule sounds okay for him, and he should be okay that one day a week that you are away for a longer period of time. Do you have a neighbor that would be able to let him out in the middle of the day when you are gone for a long time? That might help you avoid any behavioral issues before they start.
Question: Are any of these dogs hypoallergenic?
Answer: Some dogs are clean and do not shed, so some people have claimed them to be hypoallergenic. No dog is free from allergens. The Maltese are a dog breed that does not shed much and releases few allergens into the environment. They are always on the list of hypoallergenic dog breeds.
Question: I have a Maltese puppy coming soon and am very excited but worried if I can leave her alone since I work 8 to 10 hrs a day. Do I need to kennel her?
Answer: No puppy should be left alone all day. When your Maltese is older, you can consider it since they are one of the breeds that can be left alone. Now, however, her bladder is small, her attention span is short, and you should find something to keep her occupied during the day. Are you talking about doggy day care when you mention "kenneling her"? If you are talking about leaving her alone in a crate, that is not a good idea. Having someone else take care of her the first few months when you are at work is a good idea.
Question: I am a single female, who loves to walk in my spare time, but works five days a week. I live in an apartment. What breed of dog would you recommend?
Answer: The best dog on this list for an apartment, and for someone who does like to walk, is a Greyhound. You do need to make sure that the dog has an enclosed area in which to run for a short period when you are out for a walk every day.
If the Greyhound is too large for your apartments bylaws, look into a Whippet.
Question: I am out of the house from 6am and return at 6:45pm because I work long hours and have a long commute, as does my partner. We both really want a dog and do have an all open plan large-ish sized house that a dog could wonder around in all day. What would you suggest is best here?
Answer: Twelve hours is a very long time for a dog to be alone. There are probably some odd animals out there who would be able to handle such social isolation, but they would not be common and you would not be likely to find one of them.
If you really want a dog, you need to make some adjustments. Any of the breeds on this list would be okay but only if you have somone coming in during the day to walk and socialize your dog, consider a doggy daycare, and you have at least two dogs so that the first does not get so lonely.
As I suggest, the best thing you can do is to find an adult dog. Visit your local animal shelter and tell them of your need, and tell them what kind of dog you are looking for. It is possible they will turn you down because of the long time away from home. It is also possible that they will suggest another dog type that does not get along as well because they have too many available.
If turned down by the shelter, despite the suggestion of a dog walker and doggy daycare, you should also contact a breed rescue. Type in the breed, your area, and the word "rescue" into your search engine. You may not have a rescue in your area but you can call the one closest to you.
Question: I work 10 hour days, usually 4 days a week, sometimes 5. I am single with no one that would be capable of walking a dog during that time. I have a small apartment and a cat that has been dog-friendly in the past (or at least she ignores the dogs). I'd like to get a dog that would be able to roam the apartment during that time. I've heard that the retired racing Greyhounds are couch potatoes. Is a greyhound generally friendly with cats?
Answer: Some individual greyhounds will ignore cats. If the cat makes a sudden move, or the dog is looking at him and the cat spooks for some reason, the dog will come off of the couch, chase and kill the cat. I assume this is not what you want to happen to your cat, so I do not recommend a greyhound as a pet for a household with cats.
Maltese, one of the dogs on this list, are excellent with cats.
Question: I work 6 hours a day, five days a week and have children in between the age of ten and sixteen. We need a dog that doesn't shed, is small but not too small, and doesn't mind being left alone for 6 hours. Do you have any recommendations?
Answer: Until I read your comment about "small but not too small", I was going to suggest a Maltese. They are tiny, usually less than 4 kilos, but they do not shed, are great with other pets, are okay with kids, and are a lazy dog breed that will probably do a lot of sleeping when you are gone for those long days.
They can be kind of fragile since they are so small but your kids are old enough to not be too rambunctious. I would not want a Maltese to have to worry around a clumsy toddler.
If the Maltese is too small, the French Bulldog is a larger and a lot sturdier. He does shed though so if this is an important point you may not want that kind of dog.
Personally, I think you would be better off with a Maltese.
Question: I work 5 and a half hours a day three days a week. We really want a dog but, my partner works full time. We live in an apartment. Any idea what breed of dog we should get?
Answer: It depends on if you want a large, medium, or small breed dog. Any of the breeds on this list are appropriate; you need to choose a dog that you like to look at and that you will feel comfortable being around for many years to come.
Question: I work 8 hours a day, five days a week. However, it is not uncommon for my company to mandate six days, and on occasion, I have had to work seven days straight. I would prefer a smaller dog that sheds as little as possible and that does not bark much. My brother recommended a Chihuahua, which I had not considered before. I just wonder, will that breed be alright with me being gone 9 hours (counting the drive there and back) five to six days a week?
Answer: Although that breed of dog might adapt to being alone much of the time, there are some things you need to do.
1. Do not get a puppy: You are not going to be around enough to socialize and play with a young puppy. A bored puppy is more likely to get into problems with chewing, digging, and excessive barking.
2. Get your dog a companion: Dogs are social animals. Since your dog is going to be alone so much, it is important that he have another pet to spend time with. I am not sure of your situation but adopting or rescuing a second adult Chihuahua is a good idea.
Chihuahuas do shed, but since they are small, it is not as bad as with a large dog. They also bark, but if you exercise your dogs when you are home, make sure they have toys, and of course, leave them together so that they are not isolated, the barking is usually not excessive.
Question: Would a Maltese bark if they are left alone?
Answer: Barking can be one of the most significant problems with Maltese. One Australian study I read said that barking was the most common reason that Maltese are abandoned.
If you live in an apartment and have thin walls and neighbors that will likely complain, the Maltese is not the best choice.
Question: I live on my own, and three times a week I am out from 6 am to 6 pm. Twice a week, I'm out from 9 am to 4 pm. I'm free on the weekend, and I have an evening out once or twice a year (i.e., no social life!). I've never owned a dog before, have an 8-year-old cat, and live in a house with an average fenced garden. Can you suggest a dog that would suit all my needs? Ideally, one that is not too big as I'm only 5-ft.-1".
Answer: Since you have some pretty long days, I think you should get a lazy dog with a low prey drive (that gets along with cats). Do you like the way a Maltese looks? Some people are worried about the grooming, but if you are not into brushing every day, you can keep him in a short "puppy cut." They're not too big, either!
Question: I have a senior dog that was raised with two other pets who have since passed. Will she be okay home alone?
Answer: Senior dogs are often okay when left alone. They are calmer and much more likely to just sleep during the day.
Question: I work six hours a day, three days a week and I am thinking of getting a Whippet puppy. I would visit midday for 20 minutes, and we would toilet train onto artificial grass. I would walk every morning and again in the late afternoon. Would this be okay for the puppy?
Answer: The Whippet is an excellent choice for your work schedule but I do worry about puppies that are left alone for most of the day. They have a lot more energy than older dogs and tend to develop bad habits (like digging, barking, etc). It sounds like you have already figured out the housetraining, and of course coming home in the middle of the day is a big help, but the problem is those hours you are away.
Would you be able to take your puppy to a doggy daycare for the first several months you own him? Letting him interact with other dogs and run around more is a much better option. If you cannot, I recommend an older dog. If you really have your heart set on a puppy, just be aware that there may be problems down the road.
In addition to taking him for the evening walk, you should also get him involved in puppy socialization and obedience classes right away.
Question: We are thinking of getting an older dog. My parents work all week, and the dog will be left alone for at least six hours a day during the week whilst I'm at school from 8:30 am - 3:00 pm. We plan on walking the dog one to two times before school, and another two times after school. My family are really active and will have lots of time at the weekend for the dog. Do you think we should invest in a dog walker to walk the dog dog the week? Also, which breeds do you suggest?
Answer: Being alone for six hours will be okay for many dog breeds, so you do not have to get a dog walker. (Your dog would really appreciate it though!) If I were you, I would definitely recommend a house dog, not a breed that is bred to work on a farm like a Border Collie or an Australian Cattle Dog. Think a low-energy, lazy kind of dog. There are a lot of good choices, depending on what size you like. Any of the dogs on this list are good, or do a search and look at some of the other lazy dog breeds available.
Question: We have a Belgian Malinois, and now we are thinking of getting a Coonhound Labrador. We live in a small place and also have three kids. Do you think this is a bad combination?
Answer: Malinois are a working breed. They are not adapted to being alone all day, are likely to want a lot of exercise, and most dogs of that breed are not suited to your living conditions.
A Coonhound is a hunting breed that needs to exercise a lot. The same thing will hold true for the Labrador side. None of those breeds are suited to a small house.
Question: My mom and I live in an average size house, she is at work while I’m at school so if I got a dog, it would be alone about 7 hours a day. I really want a medium or large sized dog which is trainable, I really wanted a border collie, but everyone says it’s too high energy. I love dogs with rare colours like the blue Merle, and I’m not into bulldogs or heavy ones. Could you help?
Answer: The border collie is not a good choice for someone who is at work all day. The dog is high energy, like you have been told, and will most likely end up with behavioral problems.
Most of the blue merles are also herding breeds (like Aussies, Koolies, Catahoula hounds, and corgis.) None of them are suitable dogs when left alone all day. The one merle dog that you should look into is the Great Dane. They are very large, so I do not know if you want one, but they are good apartment dogs and can sometimes do well when left alone. (It depends very much on the individual.)
Question: Do you know of any dog that can stay home alone outside for 6 hours?
Answer: If you are looking for a dog that lives outside, there are several good choices. Please remember though that dogs are social animals, and do not like to be left alone. He will probably bark and howl if put in the backyard alone.
Keeping a dog outside also depends on your weather. If you are in a cold area, you need a dog like a Newfoundland. A Lab would be okay too, but remember that the dogs are social so might fuss when left alone.
If you are in a more temperate region there are a lot more choices. The Cane Corso, Bullmastiff, and Neopolitan Mastiff are all good choices.
Some medium sized dogs are okay (Shar-pei, some Standard Schnauzers) when left outside but I would not recommend a small or tiny dog.
Question: My family works from 9 until 3pm and have left our Westie in the house by herself since we got her, and she's six. Is she okay, or will she be bored home alone?
Answer: Your Westie is probably not sleeping all day so I would try to provide her some alternative exercises/time wasters like a Kong toy stuffed with frozen peanut butter. You can also try to hide some treats around the house for her to find when you are gone, but some dogs do wait until their family is home before finding the treats!
Question: I live alone with a rabbit. I work long shifts but can be at home in the morning. What kind of dog does not bark a lot and is friendly?
Answer: A dog with a high prey drive will not get along with your rabbit. Most dogs that have a low prey drive are small, and the best choice for a small dog breed that does not bark much is the French Bulldog.
Question: I work from 8:00 to 2:30 and I have two lazy cats. I need a medium-sized dog that won’t scare my cats. Do you have any recommendations?
Answer: There are not that many medium-sized dogs that are good with cats, and if they will be alone a lot, you should consider a Shar-Pei if you like their looks. I am not sure if you have weight restrictions (for example, are you in an apartment?) but the Basset Hound is another good choice, but sometimes they do weigh a lot. Be sure to check the weight of the mother and father before bringing a puppy home if you are concerned about size.
Question: I work 6 hours a day five days a week, and my eleven-year-old daughter wants a Cavapoo/Cockapoo or a Westie/Cockapoo puppy. My sons, eight-years-old and fifteen-years-old, like dogs too. We have a biggish garden and plenty of space. Should I get this dog breed?
Answer: It may be rough if you are getting a puppy. They tend to do a lot better if they can have company when they are young, and I imagine your kids are in school all day, and they may have extracurricular activities afterward.
Getting an adult dog is a lot easier for someone who works all day. Imagine if you were asked to leave your two-year-old daughter alone at home all day. As an eleven-year-old, I am sure she can handle it, but as a child? That is what a puppy is like.
If you do decide to get the puppy, remind your daughter that the dog will be alive until she is in her mid-twenties. Is she still going to take care of the dog at that time? Since her life may change in many ways in the future, will you be willing to care for the puppy?
I cannot tell you for sure how the puppy is going to work out since there are so many crosses involved. Poodle crosses can do okay but are also bred from hunting dogs and may develop bad habits if left alone all day. A dog that has already gone through their puppyhood is less likely to develop problems.
Question: I am out of the house 12-14 hours a day with a demanding work schedule. I have two cats which have free reign in the basement, and I would love a dog that I could also keep in the basement while I’m away. Would the French bulldog be good with the cats, and would this situation work?
Answer: With your demanding schedule, there is really no dog breed that is going to adapt to your current lifestyle. Dogs are social animals and need stimulation; if you are away that many hours then he is likely to develop behavioral problems, and you will regret even getting him in the first place. A French Bulldog will not bark excessively, but he may dig, chew things up, or urinate and defecate everywhere.
You have already found a perfect pet that can be left alone for a long time: the cat. I do not know if you like reptiles, but they are similar to cats in that they can be left a long time too. Many of the animals that do not require a lot of social interaction (like a guinea pig) would be a better choice than a dog.
I do not mean to be the bearer of bad news, but when you have a more reasonable schedule, a dog would be an okay choice. For now, I suggest you be glad that you have the cats to share your life.
Question: My partner wants a German Shepard but we both work during the day so the dog would be in the house alone between 9 and 5. We'd be willing to get a dog walker in. I'm not sure this breed would be okay to be left alone though; what do you think?
Answer: Working breeds, including German Shepherds, Border collies, and other collie and shepherds type breeds, are not good pets to leave alone all day. The dog may end up surprising you and being okay, but most of them will get bored with nothing to do for so long and end up tearing up the house.
A dog walker may not be enough. If you really want this dog a doggy day care may be your only option while the dog is young.
Question: I am a nurse and work three 12 hour days per week. I’ve been hesitant because I’m not sure which kind of dog would do best in my home. I wouldn’t mind adopting two so they’d have company. What’s your advice?
Answer: Those are long hours, so if you add commute time you are probably away from home even longer, maybe 14 hours or more?
Sometimes it helps to have two dogs so that they can play and keep each other company while you are away. The best thing you can do, however, is provide your dog or dogs with human activity on the days that you work. (I know this is hard for a lot of people, but since you are only at work three days a week I hope you can afford it.)
If you can send your dog to daycare, you can get one or several dogs, and even a younger dog if that is what you are looking for. Lazy/slacker type dogs are best, (like those on this list), so unless you are especially active on your days off the working breeds are not a good choice.
I hope you find a great companion. Please consider a senior! Nurses make exceptional caretakers.
Question: 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?
Answer: The best nonshedding small dog breed on this list is a Maltese, but they are tiny dogs and if you have rambunctious kids there can be injuries. I did not get my Maltese until my son was about the age of your youngest, and he still injured the dog playing with it. You may want to get a larger dog if you have small kids, but there may not be as calm a small dog as the Maltese.
An adult dog is much more suited to being alone during the day. A puppy needs to go out more often, gets more bored, and may develop behavioral problems because of that. Take a look at Petfinder.com to see if you find an adult dog that suits your needs.
Question: Are Goldadors able to be left alone?
Answer: With crossbred dogs, you have to go by the behavior of the parents. Your dog is a cross of two dogs that do not do well when left alone each day. (Read the book "Marley.") In general, I would say NO, this dog is not going to be okay if left alone all day.
Question: I work 8 hours a day 5 days a week and have a cat and a guinea pig. I would love it if they could all get along. What would be the best breed for me?
Answer: Your dog needs to have a low prey drive. Many breeds will get along with cats, but not many do okay with guinea pigs. On this list, there are two good choices, the French Bulldog and the Maltese.
I think the Maltese are more likely to get along with your Guinea pig, but you will have to wait for the dog to grow and see how he does. The best thing you can do is introduce him early, and also make sure that your dog learns basic obedience so that if you tell him "leave it" he will respond at one.
Question: I'm in high school, and I will be away for eight hours or less each day. I am willing to walk a dog right after coming home. My mom or dad will be coming home different times of the day. What breeds do you recommend?
Answer: Any of the dog breeds on this list would be a good choice. It really depends on if you are looking for a small dog, a large dog, a dog that does not shed much, etc.
Question: I work 6 hours a day five days a week. My kids aged 8-14 really want a dog. We would take good care of the dog and live in a house with a nice garden. Should we get a dog? If so, what breed?
Answer: Not everyone can be at home all day for their dog, so I do think you should get a dog for both you and your kids. The breed really depends on what you like. Any of the dogs on this list are okay, but the basset hound and French bulldog are usually better with kids than some of the other breeds listed here. If your older kids are very active and would like to take their dog out running, a Whippet or Greyhound is a good choice, but if you are homebodies, then you should choose the basset.
Question: My daughter loves cockapoos. What is your opinion on this breed if it had to be left alone for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
Answer: They are cute little dogs but neither Cockers or Poodles should be left alone all day. You may end up with a nervous, neurotic little dog that chews your carpet, pees on your rug, and snaps at visitors. Of course, you may be just fine, since it depends on the dog. I would not recommend trying it. I would recommend telling your daughter to look for an alternative that will be better off if left alone during the day.
Question: I'm an architect and work a lot, Could I get a Shiba Inu?
Answer: Not a puppy. Some older dogs, like you might find through a rescue or shelter, will do great even if left alone. The Shiba Inu can be destructive if left alone, so setting up a pen is better than leaving him alone to run loose in your home or apartment.
Mary mahaffey on September 02, 2020:
I have a treeing walker coon hound ,she is the bomb,i adore her i rescued her when she was about five yrs when i got her ive had her aboout 6 yrs.shes so good.never pottied in the house.doesnt bark unless someone walks down the alley.she thinks its her alley.i cant say enough good about her.she gives me so much joy and happinesss..me and her are 2 old ladies hanging out.shes such a blessing.her name is elly mae mahaffey she weighs about 100 lbs she full of chunky girl love.these dogs love being with their familily...
Jen Stevens on August 26, 2020:
Ok! Thanks Mark, I have been doing research and I have decided to just get one Pomeranian as they can be left alone for 8-9 hours a day. Thanks for the help!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 23, 2020:
Jen, getting two dogs is always better since they keep each other company. 2 puppies is a lot to take on though so look into getting older dogs.
Jen Stevens on August 21, 2020:
Hello! I was looking into purchasing a french bulldog, however I am a real estate agent and don't know if it will be fine being home alone, would getting 2 french bulldogs be better for them?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 16, 2020:
Alessia--I really like Dobies too but they were bred as personal protection/companion dogs and are not suited at all to be left alone. If you decide to find one anyway, at least go to a local shelter or through Petfinder and try to adopt an older dog, at least 4 or 5. He or she is much more likely to do better if left alone, unlike a puppy that is almost sure to give you problems.
AlessiaLai on August 16, 2020:
Hello, I was reading this article cause soon when I go to university Im going to go out of country and wanted to have a companion and I love dogs and I in specific like the Dobbermann Pinscher, I would wake up early and take him out to do exercise with me but then he would be left alone for quite a while during class hours I cant specify how many cause then depending on how its going i could miss a few I rlly wanted a puppy but I dont know what is the best choice.
simra on August 14, 2020:
hi dr mark your articles are superb but pretty please include poodle mixes. they are often overlooked but the have some of the best temperments and sizes
Anna on August 14, 2020:
Maltese? Mine's freaking out every time someone exits the house.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 27, 2020:
Yeeyee--as long as you are willing to spend time with your dog in the morning before you leave and in the afternoon when you get back it is fine. Be sure not to get a little puppy because it will be hard on the dog to hold his urine while he is alone all day.
Yeeyee on July 26, 2020:
I'm at school for more than 6 hours a day and am planning on getting a Maltese. I live with 3 other people who are gone around the same time as I am so the dog will be left alone for 6 hours. Is it a good idea to get a dog?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 26, 2020:
DogsRTheBest--I think you should go for it. It might take longer than that, as Labradoodles do not calm down much until older, but you are giving the dog a better chance than most since he will be able to spend the summer with your son.
DogsRTheBest on July 26, 2020:
Hi, I work about 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. However, I have a 16 old who is home for the summer. Would a labradoodle puppy be okay? My kid can house train the dog before going back to school.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 23, 2020:
Hi Ben, it sounds like you are putting a lot of thought into your new dogs. Great to hear about someone who cares so much. As far as the difference in those two breeds, there is not much. Whippets were bred down from Greyhounds. The main difference I have read recently is that Whippets are more meek, and are the dog breed with the fewest numbers of bites. (Be sure to warn the dog walker that they do run off a lot though.)
Sam, you really need to look into anger management classes.
Ben on July 21, 2020:
I'm considering adopting a Whippet. I work 8 hours a day but I always come home for lunch and stay an hour. In short he would be 2 x 4 hours on his own. I’m also considering to hire a dog walker for an hour in the afternoon every day. Do you think he would be happy in such setup? What’s the main difference between the Greyhound and the Whippet aside the size? Thanks in advance for your answer
Terry on June 24, 2020:
What about miniature pinschers. I have a two year old and "Sasha" is a wonder ful,emotional support animal. Very loyal and affectionate
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 23, 2020:
Ruby--thank you Karen for telling everyone that has to work that they are not able to have a dog.
Robbie--no, not at all. Some people are better suited to cats, which can be left alone much longer. Then again, if someone really wants a pet that wants no interaction, there are hamsters.
jnoiu--it depends on the individual. Some will develop nervous behaviors if left alone a long time every day.
Mr. Darren Pringle--there are a lot of choices if the dog is going to work with you every day. I would prefer one that hangs around and sleeps when I am busy, so not a herder. A Lab, a Golden, a Cane Corso, a Dobie, a Rottie, or choose a dog that you like the looks of and read more about the breed. Best of luck.
Ruby on June 23, 2020:
What a rubbish article dogs aren't meant to be left alone, too many people getting them on a whim for the kids etc! Think of the noise the dirt the hair the dust and of course the neighbours! If you still feel the need to DEDICATE the next 10-15 years of your time and life the only breed worth having is it German Shepherd.
Robbie on June 23, 2020:
Is it necessary for everyone to have a dog!?
jnoiu on June 22, 2020:
can a shihtzu be left for 6 hours
Mr Darren Pringle on June 19, 2020:
I am a self employed construction worker. I work mainly on domestic properties. I have been thinking of getting a dog to accompany me to work as I don't wish to leave them at home. Can you recommend a good breed for taking with me
Jackson .L on June 09, 2020:
Thank you very much Dr. Mark
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 09, 2020:
Jackson, there are a lot of great alternatives if you are only going to leave the dog alone 1-3 hours. Shar-peis are a really good choice and I would stay away from herding and sled dog breeds since you do not want to take long walks (both types of dogs will develop behavioral problems if not exercised A LOT)
Jackson .L on June 07, 2020:
My name is Jackson and I have a family that extremely wants a dog (4 out of 5)for the first time. We would like a friendly medium sized dog who enjoys small walks is not scared easily and will have a long life and will be OK with 1 to 3 hour times alone. We are not first time pet owners (two cats 1 dwarf hamster 10 fish most are sadly dead lived a good life) and we need a dog whom is not afraid of other people. Any suggestions? thank you for reading this sincerely Jackson
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 19, 2020:
Joe, Frenchies like to sleep when home alone. It is doable.
Joe on April 19, 2020:
So me and my girldfriend have been thinking of getting a Frenchie for quite some time and from alot of research i am getting quite mixed signals about how they handle being alone for some time.
The dog would probably have to be alone for about 6-7 hours a day about 3 days a week. And a frechie is something we both find adorable and the behevioral traits from fenchies seems to fit us perfectly. But how would he or she handle being alone in an apartment for that amount of time, is it at all doable or should we forget about it?
One option is ofc doggy daycare or a daywalker but havent really found any good options for that in my area.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 04, 2020:
Katelyn, I would not recommend a Basenji in your situation. There is not really a good choice, but an Italian Greyhound might work out okay. They are not the best when left alone since they are difficult to housetrain, but if you get an adult dog that is already potty trained you might have more luck. Chinese crested are also hypoallergenic and do not bark much but not great when left alone all day. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/hypoallergenic-dogs-fo...
Katelyn Jacques on April 04, 2020:
I also was thinking about a Basenji but then I did more research and found out that they chew on a lot of things that they aren’t supposed to and that you shouldn’t crate train them. Is this true?
Katelyn Jacques on April 04, 2020:
I’ve been trying to get my dad to let me get a dog for 9 years and I’ve been doing a lot of research on dogs, but I still don’t know what would be a good fit for us. We have three cats and a hamster. My dad and I would also need a hypoallergenic dog that can be left home for about 7 or 8 hours during the week and that doesn’t bark much. Do you have any suggestions?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 18, 2020:
Sarah, a Maltese or Whippet would be fine, but the Whippet is small-medium, a Maltese is much smaller and a non-shedding breed.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 18, 2020:
Doglover, I would not suggest a puppy. Look for an older Maltese rescue to get along with your cat. Price will vary depending on the rescue, where you live. Just type "Maltese rescue (your city)" into your search engine and go from there. Best of luck.
Concerning feeding, it is not much of a problem to just feed the dog when you are home. Dogs DO NOT need food left down all of the time.
Sarah on February 18, 2020:
My husband and I are looking to get a dog. We don't have any kids now and we live in a house. I am currently not working but will be finding one soon. So we will be out of house from 8am to 5/6PM ( 9-10 hrs). I also want a dog that doesn't shed, friendly and small. What do you suggest?
Doglover on February 18, 2020:
How can you feed your dog when your not home without them eating too much? I'm not home for 12 hours one day each week and on this day I don't think I would be able to feed the dog (if I had one).
Doglover on February 18, 2020:
Hi I work 12 hours a day one day a week, and the rest of the days I work from home. I have a cat and live in a house. My kids have been asking if they could get a puppy, but I don't know what breed to get. I was also wondering if you could recommend some rescue places, and prices for a puppy. Any suggestions?
MacareuxMoine on October 12, 2019:
Seriously? No... just another case of totally misrepresenting Basset Hounds. Bred as hunters they would rather go run a marathon than be left alone for 8 hours. Left alone they might decide to bark for hours, and their bark is LOUD! Yes they do snore away for hours when they are quite old or neglected but in their young and middle-age years they are 50 pounds of strength & energy. Plus: albeit their sweet nature and cuddliness they can be very willful. Our girl was our first dog and I would not recommend them for beginners. They need an alpha human in their family and consistent training. However if you get these things right Bassets will forever have a special place in your heart. Just be responsible!
BillPhilly1 on October 01, 2019:
I think the list is not too bad, some people don't like Chihuahuas (below) but I have two and they are great dogs & very intelligent. They are not prone to anxiety attacks - unless they are in a strange place like a hotel, but I've had other dogs that were far worse. It's how you treat your dogs really (I've had a Pit and she was a sweetheart). but there are breeds that I would typically avoid including with children alone i.e. Shar Pei would not be a dog I would include on the list - they are high maintenance and that's a issue with someone being away for a long day at work for e.g. I agree with work breeds they need a lot of exercise and get bored easily.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 14, 2019:
Trisha, any of the dog breeds on this list will do fine in your situation.
trishajoy06 on July 08, 2019:
I’m in high school, and I will be away for seven hours or less each day. I am willing to walk a dog right after coming home. My mom in different times sometimes she get home at day or night. My dad works at night-day so usually when he comes home he sleep. What breeds do you recommend?
Kwite on May 12, 2019:
Not sure if shih tzus are on the radar. We've had one for 3 years now. Since moving into our home a few years ago, the only accident he had was the day he found out i had a man cave. He is able to roam the house while we work. He is at the top of the steps when we leave and gets out of his bed when we get home. He follows us to the door unless we tell him to watch the house, then he sits. When I stay home, he typically sleeps since i'm not as stimulating as when the entire family is home. Hypoallergenic, his activity level matches ours so he lays down or walks around unless we play with him. Kid friendly. May not be a favorite of some people but, if he absolutely has to go to the bathroom while we are gone, he uses the doggy door to the garage.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 05, 2019:
George, so I assume from your nasty comment that you think that anyone that works should not be allowed to have a dog? What a horrible person you must be. Shame on you.
You should also learn a little more about dogs before making a statement like this. As far as the Frenchies go, I can only assume you are one of those trolls that uses the internet to make totally inaccurate statemtents. Have you ever been around these dogs?
George on May 04, 2019:
What a horrible article. What a terrible message you were sending that small dogs can be left at home all day as if they don’t need to explore the world, interact with other dogs and humans, and sniff and smell new areas. Frenchies and chihuahuas are both notorious for having separation anxiety, so they should definitely be taken off your list. I’m sure the frenchie was added because it’s one of the most popular dogs in the world right now and it would help you get more clicks. Shame on you for writing such a disasterous and dangerous article.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 28, 2019:
Jillybeany420-That is your right. I think that anyone who does not work all day but is ready to deny dogs to those of us who do is cruel and selfish.
Jillybeany420 on April 27, 2019:
I don't believe people that work all day should have a dog (all breeds). I find it cruel and selfish...
Tc on April 27, 2019:
We have a doggy door. My two dogs are Labpit mix and American Cur Pit. They sleep most of the day. Very alert great watch dogs. They can go and out any time. I drive work 12 hrs. My husband comes and goes.
Lmorasa26 on April 21, 2019:
We are a family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children). My kids would like to get a dog and my older child can help out with looking after the dog. And we have a huge backyard. But we are not home most of the time during the week. Which dog breed suits our lifestyle?
KELLIE on April 01, 2019:
A Chihuahua should NOT be left alone! The breed has been known to actually DIE if isolated! They aren't even recommended to be in single animal households!
PattiZ on February 26, 2019:
Hi, we have an English bulldog and he is a total joy. He is about 1 1/2 years but is mellow and very well behaved. There have been times when he has been on his own at home for almost 12 hours with never a problem. Also he gets on fine with our cats, loves our grandson, and is a great traveller. I was surprised you only mentioned Frenchies in your list.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 07, 2019:
Michele, yes, high energy except when sleeping, which is most of the time.
Michele on February 06, 2019:
Maltese shouldnt be on this list. They are high energy. Love to romand play. They are very attached to their owners. They also are known to get into mischief when left alone.
Edna Straney from Oneonta New York on February 04, 2019:
Good to know my little one is ok alone. She is a Chihuahua/Pekinese mix. She has a dog "playpen" with her bed in it. When we go out all I have to say is..."Time to your room" and she goes in and I close the gate! Very informative article!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 11, 2019:
Salsaschips--if you do decide to get an IG, you should consider paper training. This breed would have a hard time holding his or her bladder for that long.
salsachips on January 10, 2019:
You mentioned Greyhounds but what about Italian Greyhounds? I work 7 to 4 and can probably visit him shortly for lunch breaks and have a dog walker/behaviorist visit semi-regularly but I don't want the Iggy to be bored and sad about the lack of attention/care.
Sara on December 23, 2018:
We are interested in getting a dog for our family. My husband and I have been researching and we really need a dog that is adaptable to a busy life style we are both at work 8 hours a day a need a dog that can handle that lifestyle. When it is summer our kids would be home everyday, and all year round we have 2 cats for company while we are all at work and school. Research has shown a Maltese is good for these expectations but we are open to suggestions to help us find the right fit. We have a lot of love to give and really need the not being able to be home all the time to not be an issue. Needs to be house trained, very important and must be good with kids and cats, extremely important. How does this work in finding the right kind of dog to join our family? And how much does a dog with these expectations typically cost so we know what to expect. Please get back to me as soon as you can with any information you can help me with it would be much appreciated!!
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 15, 2018:
Sugarsun, if your Bernese would only be alone for a few hours they are a great choice. Most Bostons I have been around are okay with kids but can be snappy like any small dog. Bernese are usually more mild.
Sugarsun on December 13, 2018:
Thoughts on a bernese mountain dog or boston terrier for a home where it wouldn't be alone for more than 2-3 hours and small children who like to play with dogs (and come from dog owner homes) visiting often?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 09, 2018:
Lynn, if you left a working dog home alone all day and had no problems you are fortunate. I would not expect that outcome very often.
Lynn on December 08, 2018:
I tend to disagree about Labs and Shepherds not being good for a working individual... I raised mine with each other from puppies...they were/are the best dogs I ever had...it's the owner not the breeds that make the difference.
ellie on December 07, 2018:
great blog!! really helpful.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 15, 2018:
Kate, the one dog breed that I think is great for introverts, and is good if left alone for many hours, is the Greyhound. I do not know if that is what you are looking for, and I do not know how many hours a day you are away from home.
You can check out this list if you want to look at some other choices.
Kate on November 14, 2018:
Are there any other dog breeds that can be left alone but are also good with people with anxiety issues? If so please tell me wich one I should pick. I need a dog that is stable and one that can handle maybe even help me with my social anxiety.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 05, 2018:
Grace, there are several good small breeds appropriate for an apartment on this list. My favorite is the Maltese since they are clean little dogs, but the French Bulldog is a great choice too since they do not bark much.
Be sure to adopt an adult from a shelter or a rescue group. Do not get a puppy who is going to be bored and destructive if left alone all day.
Best of luck.
Grace on November 04, 2018:
Hi Dr. Mark. I've been wanting to have a dog since long time but decide not to ( get a dog ) because of my workhours. After reading this article, It makes me think that i can have a dog if i choose the right breed. I am a single woman who work from 8-4, 5 days a week. I lived in Appartement with a nearby park. Can you sugest aright breed for me? Thank you
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 03, 2018:
Arasaid, I am sorry that you have had to deal with a dog with separation anxiety. It is not usual in Basset hounds, even those left alone when there owners go to work.
Arasaid Gee on November 03, 2018:
The Basset Hound should not be on this list. They are VERY social animals and need to be around people, or at least other animals. They get separation anxiety if left alone.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 18, 2018:
deandre, the Basenji and Bull terrier are good choices.
deandre on October 18, 2018:
hey i want to ask you which dog breed is for a family of four, and the kids are teens and we want a small-medium dog breed and we look at the bull terrier, goldndoodle, basenji and we use to have beagle he was wonderful and but we have to give him away to a different family but the point being which dog would be excellent for us
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 31, 2018:
Chloe, a Maltipoo is better suited to your house (based on what you wrote) but they are small. A Cockapoo is larger.
Chloe on August 30, 2018:
Hi I’m at work all day and my kids are at school the dog would be left from 8:30am to 3:30 most days but will be taken on long walks everday as my kids love walking dogs.I don’t want a big dog nor a small one.We we’re thinking of a cockerpoo or a maltipoo are these breeds incompatible with are needs?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 28, 2018:
You are so fortuate, Bea, in that you have so many dogs to choose from. I do not know that there is a dog breed that fits everything that you want, buy many breeds will be close to what you are looking for:
The basenji-doesnt shed much, does not bark.
French bulldog--does not bark much.
Shiba Inu-does not bark much.
Greyhound or Whippet--does not bark much, short hair, lies around a lot but active when you want him to be.
Look at a list of medium dog breeds and see which breed appelas to you the most. Good luck on your search.
Bea on August 28, 2018:
Hello Dr. Mark,
I’m a single female and first-time dog owner who works from home and attends school online, too — I won’t be away from home much, other than infrequent weekends to visit my university when I can get a sitter.
I’m thinking of getting a dog to keep me company on walks and give cuddles while I finish my education (3+ years) and beyond, and one that could be a part of a family since I might like to have children if I meet someone (a dog that will help me meet someone would be nice!). I prefer a pet that doesn’t bark or shed too much, and one with relatively low grooming needs if possible. I’m open to any size I guess, if you have more than one suggestion. And I’m likely to live in an apartment for many more years with limited yard space, but will eventually buy a house with a large yard. I live in an urban metropolis on the west coast which is kind of chilly at times.
What do you think?
Thank you for your help,
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 24, 2018:
Tori, although you may not believe it from looking at them, Basset Hounds are a hunting breed and will happily run along and hike all day long. Of course when you get home they are going to sleep--a lot. Greyhounds and Whippets are also althetic dogs and good for hiking but both are scenthounds and unless you are in a very isolated area are a problem off leash. They tend to run off if they see something. (I read about someone who had trained her Whippets to come on command 100% of the time. She gave a tasty treat EVERY time she called the dogs. I only do this with my adult dogs every few months since they do not need the reinforcement.)
My dogs sleep in my house, loose. The only time I ever use a crate is in the first week, when potty training.
Tori on August 24, 2018:
I work about 8 hours a day, with opportunities to work remotely on occasion or in a emergency. I live in a decent sized apartment, with a state park right outside my back door. I am looking for a companion to go on multi day hikes and long walks. Are these breeds in this article suited for long hikes up mountains? My worry is that I will get a small low energy dog who will be very well suited for the apartment life but not for the adventure life. Any suggestions on breeds that are comfortable being alone for 8 hours and ready to go on a adventure at any time. Would a English cocker Spaniel be a breed suited for this type of life style?
Thank you very much, I greatly enjoyed the article. I would like to see your information on how crating is animal abuse, my previous dog would get so upset if we left her home alone without crating her. I believe she thought something was wrong sorta like " They just left without putting me in my kennel something must be wrong!"
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 15, 2018:
Wow Kinlee those are some pretty long hours!
Way too much for a dog to be alone. I think you and your son need to discuss this because he would have to give up on going to work with you, at least for the first year or so when the dog is young.
Do you want a large dog or a small breed? If you want a larger dog, a Standard Poodle will fit your needs. There are lots of good choices for smaller dogs, and many of the breeds like the Maltese would be fine for your situation.
Kinlee markiston on August 15, 2018:
I have one son that’s 11 years old and a pretty large two story house. I work 10-11 hours a day all days of the week. I usually bring my son to work every day, but sometimes my son stays at home, but if 10-11 hours a day is too much, my son can stay at home on most days. I live in a hot area and get harsh winters but no snow. I want a dog that does not shed a lot and is easy for me to take care of.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 28, 2018:
Antonia, how is your view from up there?
antonia on July 28, 2018:
this is a really irresponsible article. Leaving dogs, who are pack animals, home all day alone is cruelty. Dogs need to be outside a few hours a day, ideally running and playing and hanging out with other dogs. It is NOT a good life for a dog to be left all day alone. They will tolerate it as an animal left in a cage would have to, but they will be deeply unhappy.
Addie on July 18, 2018:
I have a 11 year old who wants a small lap dog but she is at school for 5 hours any suggestions
teya on June 08, 2018:
Hello I have a 9-year old labrador and I want to give her a friend she is very very obedient she is amazing she is energetic, calm, very nice, and linens amazing she never has any problems I really want a daschund puppy would he be a good champion for my lab she is my best friend and i want the best for her when I'm at school.
Chad A on April 27, 2018:
Ok, I will look I to those. Thank you for the information !
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 27, 2018:
Yes, Frenchies are expensive becuase like English Bulldogs they often have to be delivered by c-section, will only breed through AI, etc.
A lazy dog like a Maltese is a good second choice. The laziest of all is a Basset hound but I am not sure if you would want to invite one up to your bed each night. They shed a lot more than Frenchies.
Chad A on April 26, 2018:
Thank you for the response, I will look into the Frenchie. Being a Boxer owner/breeder I do love an ugly mug. As well as with three Boxers I am use to shedding and understand that no dog is non shedding. Low sheding is a preference but not mandatory by any means. Any other good recommendations high on the list? I know in my area Frenchies to tend to be on the fairly quite expensive side.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 26, 2018:
Chad, there is not a non-shedding dog like you describe, but if you want a non-yappy smaller dog that will also do good with your kids the French Bulldog is a great choice. Take a look at some photos and meet a few dogs to see if you like them.
My main concern is that you will not like them because they might shed some in your bed.
Chad A on April 26, 2018:
So I am looking to get a smaller dog that I can make an E.S.A. and have sleep in the bed at night with to help reduce my anxiety and help me sleep. I got to take care of a toy poodle a week or so ago and having her next to me those few nights worked really well. I do have 3 boxers and they are great dogs but not conducive to sleeping in a bed with you at night.
I am looking for a breed that I can train down the yapping ( not wanting to ad stress or anxiety with a constant barking) and that can coexist with the larger dogs. My boxers are good with other dogs and my cats. I do have 3 boys from 4-12. All are good with animals, amd the youngest was great with the you poodle. He played with it but not to rough. I think he enjoyed having and animal that wasnt twice his size to run around with.
Preferences to a less shedding soft fur dog, can be trained on a doggy door or do well in the big kennel I have for my boxers during the day. I can create if needed but prefer not to. They have to be alone 4 days of the week during the school year up to 7 hours. Durning the summer kids stay next door during the day. So the dog will not be left all day.
What are your thoughts?
sarah on April 25, 2018:
l love this info, keep up it up for those people who absolutely love dogs.
this is the best website page ever and l would like to read your advice even if it means spending a lot of time doing it each day.
great work and l hope lots of people leave the best ever comments for you to all see. cheers, sarah.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 26, 2018:
Ember, the best non shedding small dog breed on this list is a Maltese, but they are tiny dogs and if you have rambunctious kids there can be injuries. You may want to get a larger dog if you have small kids, but there may not be as calm a small dog as the Maltese.
When you mention a puppy, though, I worry. An adult dog is much more suited to being alone during the day. A puppy needs to go out more often, gets more bored, and may develop behavioral problems because of that. Take a look at Petfinder.com to see if you find an adult dog that suits your needs.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 26, 2018:
Bella, you should write an article on HP about why not to get a dog if you work all day. Make sure the title is easily searchable and do some of the SEO so that the page is findable on search engines. I think more people should read your perspective.
Ember on January 25, 2018:
Hi, I work 8 hours a day 4 times a week and have kids, we are thinking of getting a dog. It has to be small, able to be at home by itself for a while, non shedding and quite calm. We might get a dog sitter/walker or friend to take the puppy out for a bit during the day. Any ideas or breeds?
BelltheBall on January 25, 2018:
Obviously it is clear you disagree with me since you wrote the article but as I said, this is not personal.
When thinking of owning a dog, we have to be mature enough to think of the dog's needs, not just our own.
While dogs can bring great rewards, they come with great responsibility.
As a dog trainer with over 30 years of experience, I see a many behavior problems caused by peoples lack of understanding for what it takes to meet a dog's needs, not just their own.
A dog needs almost as much attention as a small child. Using the excuse that a certain breed is known for sleeping a lot or being lazy is misleading for people and can only lead to behavior problems with dogs down the road.
As I tell my clients: If you wouldn't do it to a child, don't do it to a dog.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 25, 2018:
Well, that is your opinion. You are welcome to it, but do you really have the right to forbid all of these people the right to have a dog. I happen to disagree with you.
BellatheBall on January 24, 2018:
Well, Dr. Mark, I don't want to get personal here, but if it is not your choice, why even suggest it ? Given your credentials, you know there are people who will try it!
The bottom line is: People who are away from home 8-10 hours a day simply do not have time for a dog. A dog requires almost attention as a young child. Dogs are "pack animals". Even if provided a way to exit the home to potty, a dog still requires companionship.
A dog cannot be left alone all day long the way a cat, bunny rabbit, guinea pig or fish can.
I cannot agree with the premise of this entire article and I think it is way off base.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 24, 2018:
Bella, this would not be my choice, and I take it from your comment that it would not be yours either. Things are different for other people though. If you want to have a pair of Chihuahuas or Maltese, however, would this not be better than cleaning the carpets every evening after work?
BellatheBall on January 23, 2018:
Seriously Dr. Mark? Are you really advising someone to train their dog to go in the house on pads just so they can work all day and still have a dog?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 20, 2018:
Maggie, a Whippet or Greyhound might be able to hold it that long but no guarantees. If you want a smaller dog you would have to train her to use pee pads, but waiting to find a better place, with a yard and doggy door, is a much better option. Best of luck to you.
Maggie on January 20, 2018:
I'm considering adopting a dog but I work about 9 hours with traffic included. I live in an apartment and am not friendly with my neighbors. If my dog has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the day there isn't a yard and I can't come home at lunch everyday due to my work schedule. Any suggestions? Would it be best to wait until I've move on to a new job or apartment?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 20, 2018:
Emily, is there even more commute time added on top of those hours? That is a long time to be away from home. The dogs on this list are a good choice, but as far as not shedding or smelling much, the Maltese is a good choice.
With a little dog like that however there is little chance he could hold his bladder all day. Will the neighbor you mentioned come in every day for a few minutes over lunch?
Emily on January 20, 2018:
Hi we are a couple in our late twenties and we work 8-6 mon- fri. We have a 3 bedroomed house with a reasonably sized garden and friends nearby who would love to dog sit if needed. Can you recommend what breeds we should be looking at? Ideally ones that don’t malt or smell ?? People have told us we shouldn’t get a dog because of our jobs/hours but I feel our home is really missing one. Emily
LovePets on January 19, 2018:
I think that you are right i hav two French Bulldogs and a Greyhound
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 17, 2018:
James, that is really tough. You are asking a dog to lie around most of the time, but then be ready to be an athlete on the weekends. At least we humans can walk around at work and go to the gym if we want to be weekend athletes.
The dogs on this list are not appropriate. Most working breeds do not do well just hanging out that many hours. One dog you might consider is a Pitbull. Do you know of anyone with a Pit that you could borrow to try out on the types of trails you like to hike? Consider adopting an older dog, not a puppy that is going to tear up your house when left alone all day.
James on January 16, 2018:
Hi Dr. Mark. I would like your opinion on a dog breed to fit my situation. I work 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week, but on weekends I love to go hiking in the mountains and would like a dog that could fit both scenarios. Do you have any suggestions?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 13, 2018:
Ralph, it sounds like you have put a lot of thought into it. I still think you need to try and foster one of these breeds on the list, since if you try and foster a working or hunting breed the dog is unlikely to fit into your busy lifestyle. Good luck to you, hope you find the right dog up there!
Ralph on January 13, 2018:
Hello Dr Mark. What do you think of becoming a volunteer foster care home. I have now start living alone since my dad retired and moved back to our mother land, the philippines, and I am still single. I am housesitting until we can renovate and sell it. I work 8 hour shifts. With traffic factor in, I am gone 10-11 hours. I am also gone during the time, I go to gym, do martial arts, or any other activities to keep me busy and stay off the computer. I am also away during those times. I feel sorry for the dog that I will adopt because of my busy schedule. I think that is better that I become a foster home vokunteer instead. This way, I am not being part of the problem. Also, despite this being a bad situation for the dog, it is better than nothing. It will also help me to become less lonely with being alone in the house. I think it is a win-win situation. We used to own a dog in our mother land but it is more of let them run in the backyard and do their thing. Owning a dog here in Canada is totally different. Thinkimg of becoming a foster home volunteer as a test run. What do you think?