Let’s be honest here: as much as we all love dogs, the effort you put into looking after them can sometimes be a pain in the posterior. How many times have you come home from a gruelling day at work to find your faithful hound waiting in the hallway for you with his lead in his mouth, when all you want to do is slump in front of the TV and crack open a bottle of wine whilst you wait for your Findus Crispy Pancakes to cook in the oven?
How many Sunday morning lie-ins have been scuppered by the realisation that you need to get out of bed to take your dog out to do a boom-boom?
Walking your dog is just one aspect of the time and energy you need to put into looking after your pet. If your dog sheds, a lot of time must be spent grooming him as part of the war to stop your house from becoming a giant hairball. As tired as you may be, you need to spend some quality time with him, which means play time and obedience training. We all know that this effort is vital to ensuring your dog is healthy and happy, and it strengthens the bond between you both, but we’ve all had the odd guilty thought about not having to go to the lengths you do.
If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to devote as much time as you’d like to activities with your pet, you may want to consider a low maintenance dog. Bear in mind that there are many definitions for ‘low maintenance‘. It may be in terms of health issues, obedience, or even how much your dog slobbers, but for our purposes, we’ll just consider exercise and grooming. Here are Dream Dogs’ top five dogs for the dilatory owner:
With its origins lying in China, the pug is thought to be responsible for the Pekinese and the King Charles spaniel. This breed reached about a foot in height and, as long as you don’t feed them too much, they weigh about 18 pounds. They don’t require much exercise – because of the pug’s compact head, it will have difficulty in breathing if you do, so it’s best to stick to moderate walks. The only real drawback of this breed is that they tend to shed their fur a lot; they’re stubborn too, so may require some training not to climb up on your sofa. Oh, and not all of them talk like Frank the pug in the film Men in Black.
Another toy breed that originated in the Far East, the Chin is traditionally the dog of Japanese royalty. It’s slightly smaller than the pug, weighing in at 8 – 11 pounds. It’s was bred as a lapdog, and as such needs little exercise. In fact, it’s considered by many to be the most cat-like of all dogs. Their coat requires brushing every couple of days, and it has no odour, meaning that it does not need frequent bathing. It’s a very sociable animal and gets on well with pets, and it’s known to perform tricks and ‘sing’. It’s probably the closest you could ever get to a Mogwai.
Originally bred to bite bulls – no, that’s not a typo – to enable its owner to tie a rope around the bovine’s neck, the bulldog’s fiery temperament has been bred out of it over the years, making it an affectionate and sociable pet. Although muscular, it’s not an active breed, so casual exercise is recommended to ensure it doesn’t become obese. Having short hair, they don’t require much grooming but you’ll need to clean the folds in his face – those wrinkles are Club Med for mildew.
What? A racing dog on a list for indolent owners? Don’t let this breed’s reputation for being as fast a lightning fool you. They’d rather not exercise too much, and a 20 – 30 minute walk a day will keep them happy. Despite their size – 2 ½ feet high and weighing 60 – 70 pounds – they don’t require much space. These qualities actually make them better ‘apartment dogs’ than smaller, more active breeds. It also has a short coat which is great if you have allergies.
There’s a reason that the Chihuahua is the favourite of over-privileged socialites and spoilt heiresses everywhere. This dog can weigh between 2 – 6 pounds and is only 9 inches tall, meaning that it can fit in your Chanel purse with ease. The grooming requirements are low, even for longer haired varieties. They need minimal exercise, so the occasional walk will be enough, but they can suffer serious health problems if they become overweight. Chihuahuas are very highly strung, so if you have children or other animals you may have a meltdown on your hands. However, if you like to pose for the paparazzi with your pet, the chances are that you’ll have a dog psychotherapist on 24-hour call out.