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5 Great Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds

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

The Fila Brasileiro is a pretty low-maintenance dog breed.

The Fila Brasileiro is a pretty low-maintenance dog breed.

Low-Maintenance Dogs

If you are not into an active dog and are not looking for a dog breed that will hang around the house and play with the kids, you may want a low-maintenance dog breed. What is a low-maintenance breed?

Dogs are social animals and do like to interact with people, but not all of us are around as much as we would like to be. A low-maintenance dog is the kind of pet that you can keep outside and care for quite simply. They need food, they need fresh water, and they do some social interaction, but they do not require much grooming, do not have many health problems, and know how to be alone or spend their time with other animals.

What Are the Five Best Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds?

  1. Great Pyrenees
  2. Fila Brasileiro
  3. Bluetick Coonhound
  4. Australian Cattle Dog
  5. Welsh Corgi

Great Pyrenees

This dog was bred to hang around outside and take care of himself. For hundreds of years, he has been living with sheep and only interacting with his human “flock” when he had to. They are big shaggy white dogs, so they fit right in when guarding their flock of sheep.

The Great Pyrenees was also selected to have a thick coat to protect it from mountain cold. They drool a lot, and when taking a drink manage to get water all over themselves. They are not apartment dogs. They are not the kind of dogs you want in a suburban house if you are worried about hair and slobber. A GP's characteristics should matter much if you are thinking of these dogs as a low-maintenance breed.

If you are looking for a big independent dog that can roam around your land and stay busy guarding your sheep and family, and do not mind their short life span or their unwillingness to accept obedience commands, this is a great breed of dog.

Fila Brasileiro

This is a breed that was developed to work and guard cattle. He is not nearly as independent as a Great Pyrenees, (he will want to be with his family at times) but in the right environment does not require much maintenance.

The Fila Brasileiro, also known as a Brazilian Mastiff, was not bred to withstand the types of weather extremes that are normal for the Great Pyrenees, so choose a dog that will do well in your area. He is square and muscular but has a short coat best suited for work in the tropics.

This dog breed is also well known as a guardian and as a personal protection dog. When out walking the fence and searching for strangers, they have a fierce look and will scare off most trespassers. The Fila Brasileiro is not going to be happy lying around and serving guard duty, and if he does not get out will probably become aggressive. If that temperament suits your needs, though, and your environment allows the Fila to thrive, they are a low-maintenance dog.

A Bluetick Coonhound taking a break.

A Bluetick Coonhound taking a break.

BlueTick Coonhound

No dog should be abused, but this dog breed actually puts up with quite a bit of benign neglect.

Unlike the others on this list, he is a hunting dog, bred to work at treeing raccoons; the breed was selected for a coarse coat, rough personality, and good health. He is a big dog, up to about 80 pounds, and although he does not have the heavy coat of the Great Pyrenees he can do okay outside.

One of the few health problems consistently seen in the Bluetick Coonhound is recurrent ear infections. If an owner is willing to do a little maintenance, though, such as cleaning out the ears once a week with vinegar, even this problem will probably be avoided. A few of them have a disease called “coonhound paralysis,” but this neurological disease is rare and may have nothing to do with exposure to raccoons.

Do you want a dog that can hunt all night and come back home and sleep it off alone? As long as you do not expect this dog to just sit around all the time, he is a great athlete, an interesting pet to have around, and definitely a low-maintenance breed of dog.

Australian Cattle Dog

This active breed of dog was developed with genes from the Australian dingo and still preserves many of that wild dog's qualities of low maintenance. He likes to stay busy herding, and even when off duty will serve as a great guard dog.

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue or Red Heeler, is smaller than some others on this list, only about 30–35 pounds, but was bred to be hardy and make use of every pound. Blue Heelers make great farm dogs and will drive cattle in the outback, all day, every day, without complaint. Some strains are prone to hip dysplasia, and some have a retinal disease, but most of them are amazingly healthy and do not require a lot of medical maintenance. Most of the behavioral problems found in this breed are prevented just by keeping the dog busy.

If you are willing to provide your Australian cattle dog with a job and keep him busy in his spare time, he is an excellent choice as a low-maintenance dog.

Welsh Corgi

The Welsh Corgi is the smallest of the low-maintenance breeds. Most of them are kept as pets now but they have not lost the hardiness of their cattle-herding ancestors. There are actually two breeds available but both of them are of the same low-maintenance type. The Cardigan is larger, about 30 pounds, but he is not much different than the Pembroke, about 28 pounds. They are both short, and able to avoid the kicks of the cattle they herd.

Despite their size, they should not be thought of as apartment dogs.

Both types of Welsh Corgi are healthy and will live around 12–15 years. They need bathing about as often as any low-maintenance dog and brushing only occasionally. Corgis are tough little dogs, without a lot of health problems if they are kept from becoming overweight. They can compete in agility, flyball, tracking, and of course, herding competitions.

If you are looking for a smaller version of one of the low-maintenance breeds that will still work as a watchdog, and are willing to spend some time enjoying your pet, the Welsh Corgi is a great dog.

Do Your Research

The Arctic breeds (like Siberian Huskies) could have easily made this list if most of us lived above the arctic circle, but anywhere warm they require maintenance of their thick coats—they are prone to hot spots and ticks.

Low-maintenance does not mean NO maintenance. All of these dog breeds need to be fed, taken to the veterinarian in case of any medical needs, and walked regularly. If you feel your lifestyle does not allow you to meet these basic needs, or if you are too lazy to spend a little time with your dog, you should consider another type of lower-maintenance animal. I really hate to make this recommendation as there are so many deserving dogs out there in shelters and rescues. They all need a home. It would not be a good idea to get a dog and just expect it to be okay left alone, tied to a stake or locked away in a kennel.

If you can meet their needs, though, maybe you can handle a low-maintenance breed of dog.

More About Dogs . . .


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 31, 2020:

Laura, thanks for those great comments on ACDs.

Laura1984 on July 31, 2020:

Respectfully disagree about cattle dogs. I have one and he is easily the most difficult dog I've ever owned out of 5. I would put any herding or working dog in the difficult category because they a) need a master b) need a job and c) were bred to have high energy. They are great if you are very committed to training and daily activity. He must be exercised a minimum of 10 hours per week. What I can agree with is that a happy cattle dog is low maintenance. Once they are fully exercised (both physically and mentally), they are independent and happy to sit around the house. Ours isn't tired even after 1 hours of training and 3 hours of exercise. Cattle dogs can be quite aggressive without a master and a job to do. They don't make ideal pets for young families since they tend to herd and nip, especially at children. They are ideal for a fit young couple. Even though I consider myself young, I find it hard to keep up with him and he has nearly knocked me off my feet a few times.

Anita Birks on July 30, 2020:

We have a Malamute supposed to be a Siberian husky but he is too big for the breed he is a rescue dog an absolute delight loves other dogs not keen on older men was mistreated before we adopted him

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 09, 2017:

Jessica, have you ever considered just letting your dogs be dogs? There are breeds out there for people that want to pamper their pets, these low maintenance breeds are not for people that are looking for a little Chihuahua or other house dog.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 09, 2017:

Nicole, it sounds like you are more of a Maltese person. If you want a dog that you keep confined, clean, and spotless, that is probably a better choice for you.

Jessica on November 08, 2017:

I have had an ACD and he was very high maintinance in terms of his need for daily obedience training and vigorous exercise. This is a dog that would be miserable left alone in a yard on a regular basis. Low maintinance in terms of grooming maybe, if you don't take all the dirt and mud they get stuck under their coats from running 20 mph everywhere they go. I had to bathe mine with warm water daily in the winter time after he payed fetch at the park for two hours. That was how my day started every single day... 2 hours of fetch and a half hour of clean up afterwards. Not very low maintenance! Also, I now have a corgi which I was hoping would be more low maintenance. Nope! Wrong again. He requires just as much play, and his long shaggy coat and short legs basically make him a walking mop. He soaks up mud and dirt all over his belly everywhere he goes. Also, he sheds every single day and requires brushing every single day. And even with that I have to vacuum twice per day to keep up with the shedding. Not to mention I have to lint roll every single thing that I wear for quite a while before leaving the house. Low maintenance breeds: chihuahua, Italian greyhound, most of the toy breeds... none of the working breeds. And please just don't ever get a hound or herding dog unless you are experienced and well informed about these breeds. They are not low maintenance and not suitable for many dog lovers who do not have much time to spare. They were bred for stamina and require a job and disciplined handler.

Nicole on August 10, 2015:

Who ever wrote this knows NOTHING about Great Pyrenees. This is NOT a low maintenance dog. They MUST have a fence, at least 5 feet because THEY WILL jump it. Sometimes they jump 6 ft. fences. And once they are gone THEY WILL NOT COME BACK ON THEIR OWN which means you are searching around town for them. They also need to be brushed regularly and your house could probably need a regular maid to come through and remove hair that is on EVERY SURFACE in your house. It's in your food, on your clothes, car, refrigerator. EVERYWHERE! They also have an incredibly thick coat which means they SHOULDN"T be left outside. People use them as livestock guarding dogs but it really is too hot for them in most places. They were originally bred to guard livestock in the Pyrenean Mountains of France and Spain where the temperature was obviously much lower than most places. They also bark CONSTANTLY. AND DIG. If you like having a nice backyard then a pyrenees is NOT for you. You will have craters all over your yard because they are looking for a cool place to sleep. And if you have neighbors which most people do, then expect noise complaints.

Ayoub on September 02, 2014:

Beagle :D

dismissed.zebra on October 16, 2013:

I had an Australian Cattle Dog...not low maintenance at all. If fact, I wouldn't call any herding dogs low mainndtance. And ACDs do have a tendency to be aggressive to other dogs, so a responsible owner needs to learn how to manage that.

Great low maintance dog...a Greyhound.

dogfond on April 24, 2013:

Another great hub. Thanks for sharing. I am an owner of a beagle and two german shepherds and in my opinion require more maintenance.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 13, 2013:

When the drool is on the yard and not on the carpet, it is not much to worry about. If these dogs had to be kept inside all of the time I would agree with you, for sure!

Amy from Oswego, NY on March 13, 2013:

Great information...kinda sad that some would want a dog who can be alone. But being a German Shepherd owner I have a totally different perspective. Also, do not picture a dog who drools as "low maintenance" LOL.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on January 15, 2013:

And great guard dogs they seem to be. I have heard many dog experts talk about them when mentioning guard dog breeds, although I don't think they have made it to Ontario yet. I would love to meet a Fila soon some day. I was also thinking the same about Cane Corso not being there in Ontario and then I ran into one at a nearby dog park lol.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 15, 2013:

I do not know of any published numbers. Down in Rio, there are few, but in this area there are more (neighbors on both sides have Filas) because they make great guard dogs. Fila/Pit Bull crosses are also popular here because Pits have a reputation (whether they deserve it or not).

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on January 15, 2013:

Just out of curiosity, how popular are Filas in Brazil? I am thinking they are popular in the rural population / rustic folks.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 15, 2013:

I think the Great Pyrenees are wonderful dogs, but I am sure they would not like the heat here in Brazil.

Karen Ellis from Central Oregon on January 15, 2013:

They are all beautiful choices. I especially like the Corgis.

Peter Greenwood from Hong Kong on January 15, 2013:

Great, me and my girlfriend are going to look for a rescue dog this weekend

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 04, 2013:

I appreciate your comment but the reason for listing purebred dogs is because of their known qualities. If the mutt is a Yorkie/Shih Tzu/Bichon cross, she is not going to be low maintenance.

If the dog is a true mutt, and not a crossbred, most of them will be low maintenance, and definitely have fewer health problems. It just varies so much that it is impossible to characterize mixed breed dogs.

Thanks for your interesting comment.

cbpoet from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 04, 2013:

Thanks for sharing Dr. Mark however after spending many years in animal health, rescue and adoptions I would have like to see the mixed breed or 'common' mutt listed in your low maintenance breed list.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 01, 2013:


Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on January 01, 2013:

Just to add to my comments, statistically speaking, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Komondorok, and Akbash are top 4 leading LGDs in the USA.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 30, 2012:

I think they banned Filas because the dogs are true guard dogs and the specimen first reaching there were not properly socialized. It's a breed specific legislation, which I don't agree with.

Great Pyrenees are number 1 ranked dog is usage in the US and Canada. However, a number of them have been killed by wolves in and around northern Rockies. For that region, therefore, I would say more canine hostile LGDs like CAO, Kangals, Karakachans, etc. will be better.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 30, 2012:

Filas are supposed to be tough enough to take down a jaguar, so you can imagine how strong they are. When my dog (a Pit Bull mix) plays with a neighbor´s Fila she is easily tackled and overwhelmed. I think the UK put them on the dangerous dog list just because of their strength. (Of course I don´t think they are great with strangers. I like them but I wouldn´t want one in my front yard when I have visitors.)

Don´t you think Great Pyrenees are an ideal LGD then? Wolves are rare now anyway. Having a Komondor to guard the flock would be overkill, in most places.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 30, 2012:

Dr. Mark,

Thank you for reposing your trust in my knowledge, which isn't that much. However, on the basis of my still developing knowledge, I have recently published a hub on wolf predation and adequate use of LGDs, in which I have discussed a number of LG dog breeds. Unfortunately, there is no perfect LGD for all type of predators and then there is human element also. Komondorok are, for example, good breed to protect against wolf predation, but they are also human aggressive. Just imagine the potential damage if a lonely hiker or a biker ends up in a sheep herd and gets confronted by a komondor. On the other hand, Great Pyrenees are the most used dog in the USA and Canada, as they are very effective against bear, cougar and coyote predation, but they are ineffective against wolves.

Btw, I love those filas. They look like bloodhounds, but are they real guard dogs or what!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 30, 2012:

Hi Suhail your comments are always interesting and make me think. I do not even remember that breed; I am trying to put together a "Five Best Livestock Guard Dog Breeds" but I think you would be a lot more qualified. Let me know if you do publish and I will delete mine (I saw another on HP but it was totally inadequate).

The Pyrenees I have seen in the city have been pretty needy, so they really do need livestock, or at least a good human substitute. The Filas around here are great without livestock, but most people have at least a few so they keep each other company. Same thing with the Blue Ticks. I don´t think I ever knew a Coonhound owner with one dog.

Thanks again for your comments!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 29, 2012:

Informative hub! I didn't know that Blue ticks Filas, and Welsh are low maintenance breeds.

You may be aware that I have a Kuvasz boy. So I can relate to livestock guardian dogs. Yes, they are mostly loe maintenance and independent, but only when they are bonded with livestock. Otherwise, they will bond with humans and in that case they will not be independent at all. All dogs need company, whether human or non-human.

But I agree with you that livestock guardian dogs are generally independent and low maintenance. This reminds me of another LGD - Hungarian Kommondorok are low maintenance since they can live in cold outside and do not shed also.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on November 07, 2012:

Thanks for the kind words, Waleed.

Waleed from Islamabad, Pakistan on November 07, 2012:

Dogs are wonderful companions. You can share secrets with your dog and she will never tell a soul. You can be happy, sad, tired, or even cranky with your dog and she will still love you just as much. Dogs don't care what we look like!

Do i not congratulate you for your extensive knowledge on these faithful animals? Great hub and thumbs up!


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 25, 2012:

I used to have a Moroccan Shepherd. They are mostly guard dogs (against jackals) but he picked up herding commands fairly quickly.

I guess my Pit is not as bad as I think, sometimes. I taught her right paw and left; she would do more, but I need to be motivated! I guess I am too busy playing with my new geese.

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on September 25, 2012:

A ramp sounds like a blast! Is that your "super-stupid" pitt bull that climbs it? I wish I knew more about how to teach my dog the right commands to herd the sheep properly. I know there are hand signals and verbals, and she could do it really well I'm sure. I'm the one who's ignorant about it. I should probably do her a favor and get a book or something, so that I can learn how to communicate with her properly about herding.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 25, 2012:

That is so funny! I built a ramp for my dog and she loves to climb it but does not want to tackle the ladder I use to climb my coconut trees. ACDs can be so amazing, if you are willing to work them.

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on September 25, 2012:

I love this hub! Especially the part about the ACD :) You're so right about just giving the dog a job. My ACD-cross has sheep to herd and chickens to chase, but not every day. On the off times, just giving her a toy to shake is enough. I taught her to climb a ladder that goes up into a loft in our house, and honestly she is just so thrilled every time I ask her to do it. For her it really seems to be about being asked to accomplish something, and then doing it. I think it's what she lives for! They are awesome dogs and half the time I think she's smarter than I am ;) Great hub DrMark!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 25, 2012:

That is a good choice, Rodney. The Siberian Husky is another good dog that will do well with little maintenance. Maybe I should have picked more than five on this one?

rodney80 on September 25, 2012:

Really good info. But Dr. don't you think Portuguese waterdog too can be placed in this group, though they are rare breed?

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 25, 2012:

Hi Peggy, sometimes a person needs a specially bred dog, like a Great Pyrenees to guard the sheep, but for most of us (like me and my Pit Bull mix), any companion breed is great. A shelter dog is an excellent option.

Thank you for the comment and visit.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 24, 2012:

It was interesting reading about these different breeds of dogs. As you mentioned there are many good dogs just waiting for good homes in animal shelters.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 24, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming by and commenting. (Did you see the Westies in the hub about dogs and kids?)

Highland Terrier from Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 2012:

Anothere excellent hub. You knowledge is astounding and thank you very very much for sharing.

Keep up the good work please.