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The 7 Best Dog Breeds for Someone Who Works All Day

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

From the Basset Hound to the Chihuahua, these are the best dog breeds for someone who works all day.

From the Basset Hound to the Chihuahua, these are the best dog breeds for someone who works all day.

What Kind of Dog Should I Get If I Work Full-Time?

So you want a dog, but you're out of the house most of the day. Can you make it work? If you choose the dog you want carefully and provide them with fun activities, they will be okay if left home alone all day while you work.

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.

That said, keep in mind that dogs are pack animals and need company; they do not do well when they are left alone in a crate all day and night. He or she will become destructive out of boredom or anxiety or be barking all day long due to lack of stimulation. If possible, consider getting two dogs so they can keep each other company.

7 Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone

These dogs breeds are known for being independent and low-maintenance, and they make excellent house dogs:

  1. Basset Hound
  2. Chihuahua
  3. French Bulldog
  4. Greyhound
  5. Maltese
  6. Shar Pei
  7. Whippet

If you keep scrolling down, you'll find a full description of each breed.

The Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular breeds in the world, is prone to boredom if kept indoors.

The Labrador Retriever, one of the most popular breeds in the world, is prone to boredom if kept indoors.

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 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 Most Independent "Home Alone" Dog Breeds

Ratings based on the breed's most noteworthy trait.

Dog BreedDominant Trait

1. Basset Hound


2. Chihuahua


3. French Bulldog


4. Greyhound


5. Maltese


6. Shar Pei


7. Whippet


1. The Basset Hound

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: medium
  • 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.

2. The Chihuahua

  • Energy level: medium
  • Size: small
  • 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. 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. And though many of them weigh less than 3 kilos (about 7 pounds), 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.

3. The French Bulldog

  • Energy level: medium
  • Size: small
  • 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. But 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

4. The Greyhound

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: large
  • 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 them 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. Just keep in mind that Greyhounds are prone to running off if not exercised in an enclosed area.

Video: Greyhound Naps All Day Long

5. The Maltese

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: small
  • 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

6. The Shar Pei

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: medium
  • 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 once 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.

7. The Whippet

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: medium
  • 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 your 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