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Top 10 dog breeds that don’t need much exercise

If you’re looking for a furry canine companion in your life, but can’t manage a pup with high exercise needs, there are still plenty of breeds for you to choose from that will be happy and healthy with a short daily walk or even just some playtime at home.

We’ve picked our top 10 breeds that need less than 45 minutes of activity a day – of course, each individual dog has varying exercise needs so you should be flexible enough to give them a little more (or less) if they need it.

Bichon Frise

Exercise: Approx. 30 mins per day

Bichon Frises are a popular toy breed that are easily recognisable by their pure white, curly coat. They were originally bred as a companion dog and were particularly popular with the aristocratic families of Europe. These playful little dogs are usually content with around 30 minutes of exercise per day, and live well in flats and houses without a garden. They form strong attachments with their owners which can often lead to separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long.

Chinese Crested

Exercise: Approx. 30 mins per day

Chinese Crested dogs come in two varieties – hairless and ‘Powder Puff’. Like many toy breeds, these little dogs have low exercise requirements, needing just 30 minutes of activity per day – a walk or a fun play session will usually do the job. Like many other toy breeds they live well in flats and houses without a garden. They don’t do well when left for long periods of time due to their strong bonds with their owners and need for attention.

Griffon Bruxellois

Exercise: Approx. 30 mins per day

Griffon Bruxellois’ are small and intelligent dogs. Originally bred in Belgium, these dogs were used in stables to catch rodents, but soon became popular as house pets. Their exercise needs are low, but if you’re living in a flat you still need to make the effort to ensure they get either a daily walk or some vigorous playtime, along with plenty of mental stimulation. The Griffon is a brachycephalic breed, so it’s important not to over-exercise them as this may lead to respiratory distress.

Japanese Chin

Exercise: Approx 30 mins per day

Japanese Chins have surged in popularity recently thanks to their gentle manners and playful characteristics. Needing just 30 minutes of exercise per day, this can be taken as a gentle stroll around the block, or a play session at home that gets them moving. Like some other dogs in this list they are considered to be a brachycephalic breed so avoiding overexertion is key.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting in front of leaves

Exercise: Approx 40 mins per day

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are amongst the largest of the toy breeds. They make excellent companion dogs but also retain some of the sporting instincts of their larger spaniel ancestors. They can be fairly athletic dogs, able to hold their own in canine sports against similarly sized breeds. However, as another brachycephalic breed, they are at risk of going into respiratory distress if over-exercised, so owners of these dogs will need to ensure they don’t overdo it.


Exercise: Approx 30 mins per day

Malteses are hard to miss thanks to their flowing white coat. They are remarkably agile, adaptable and friendly, making them fantastic companion dogs. They live well in flats and love to be around people, meaning they often excel as therapy dogs. They require around 30 minutes of activity per day so will be content with a short walk or some quality playtime with their favourite person – you!


Exercise: Approx 30 mins per day

Pugs have exploded in popularity thanks to their affectionate and playful nature. With their origins dating back almost 1800 years, they are an ancient breed of dog, historically prized by nobility in Asia and Europe. They were bred as lapdogs and to this day they are devoted companions. They have boundless energy, but this is easily worked off with a gentle walk and some playtime. As a brachycephalic breed they will need close attention to ensure they don’t overdo it and go into respiratory distress. 


Exercise: Approx 40 mins per day

Bologneses are member of the Bichon family. These little dogs originated in Italy and make wonderful companions. Their high intelligence means they need lots of mental stimulation, but when it comes to exercise most will be satisfied with a couple of short walks a day, or some high-quality playtime. They adapt well to apartment living but, like many toy breeds, can be difficult to housetrain.

English Bulldog

Exercise: Approx 40 mins per day

English Bulldogs are an iconic breed, first bred in the 1300s for bullbaiting. However, with bullbaiting banned in the 19th century, enthusiasts soon developed the breed into a loving, mellow companion pet. Bulldogs are a relaxed sort who are happy with a short romp around your local area for their daily exercise. That said, as a brachycephalic breed, it’s best to let them take it easy on warm days and ensure they don’t overexert themselves.

St. Bernard

Exercise: approx. 40 mins per day

By far the biggest dog on the list, you might be surprised to hear that this gentle giant needs fairly little exercise. In fact, they’re quite content to lounge around all day in the home and in your garden, provided they get a daily walk to help keep them in good shape. They like space to stretch out, so a house with a garden is ideal, but you don’t need to live in a country estate to keep these pups happy.

Even these low-energy breeds still need their daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy. In fact, when you have a dog with lower exercise needs, it can be easy to slip into bad habits – after all, they’re much less likely to remind you that they need to go out for a walk when they’re quite content napping on your sofa!

You can keep track of their exercise levels, and check they hit their goals (as well preventing them from over-exercising themselves) using a PitPat Dog GPS Tracker or a PitPat Dog Activity Aonitor. 

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