Thinking of adding a dog to your household? Don't be afraid to think big, especially if you're a laid-back family. While large breeds do come with their own set of challenges, being overly active isn't necessarily among them. In fact, some large dog breeds are rather lazy and would rather nap on the sofa next to you than spend hours running around.
Dogs' personalities and energy levels often are related to the jobs they were originally bred to do. Hunting dogs, such as retrievers and spaniels, still have the running instincts their ancestors used to chase prey; ditto for terriers, which were once used to find and dig for rats and other vermin. On the other hand, dogs such as the Saint Bernard and Bernese Mountain Dog were bred to do heavy work on the farm or in the mountains — jobs that require a calm and steady nature.
A couple of important points to remember about these pets, however. "Lazy" doesn't mean that the dog can stay on the couch from dawn to dusk.
"Even low-energy dogs need a couple of walks a day, say, 30 minutes each," says vet Jodi Holcomb Oliver, DVM, owner of the Traveling Paws, LLC, veterinary care service in Sabillasville, MD. "Depending on the weather, it could be longer or shorter, but that's a good starting point."
Then there's their size. It takes a firm hand to keep these immense dogs under control on those daily walks, which can be challenging if your pet is heavier than you are. Some of the bigger breeds may be loyal and loving with your family, but also quite protective; this can pose a risk if they're not adequately trained to behave around strangers. These dogs need early training and socialization in order to be great companions both at home and away.
These are the breeds our vet experts cited as among the laziest of the big dogs. If you have the resources and time to devote to one of these giants, you'll be rewarded with a loving pet and a nap companion.
The "Newfie" is the breed that came first to Dr. Oliver's mind when thinking of a big low-energy breed. This bear-like dog is naturally sweet and trusting, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), and a devoted companion to kids and other family members. Like any dog, they need at least some exercise to stay healthy; your Newfoundland will love a swim in the lake or ocean, and will even pull your kids in a wagon. But once the romping is done, your 120-plus-pound pal will turn into a cuddlebug at home, content to lie down for a snooze with you or the nearest toddler.
Dr. Oliver notes that this enormous dog (they can stand more than 30 inches high and weigh more than an average man) is surprisingly lazy. The AKC affirmed that Mastiffs can actually do quite well in an apartment because of their low energy level. They'll even sit down in the middle of a walk if they get tired — and good luck getting these giants to stand up before they're ready! There are several varieties of Mastiff, including the long-haired Tibetan Mastiff and the jowly Neapolitan Mastiff. But the breed isn't for everyone, especially if you're a new dog owner or have never handled a big dog before. Mastiffs love their families, but they can be very protective and cautious around strangers.
3. Basset Hound
Not as immense as the other breeds, the Basset is still a sizeable and stocky dog with a lot of stamina, but far from hyper. They need daily walks to avoid weight gain, but when they come home (or when you're at work), your Basset will flop on the couch and indulge in a long nap.
4. Great Dane
Probably the breed most people think of when you say "really big dog," the Great Dane can stand nearly three feet high and weigh as much as 175 pounds. Yet despite its size, the AKC noted that this breed needs just a couple of brisk outings a day to satisfy its activity needs. The rest of the time, it's a calm and sociable pet and a watchful home guardian. Watchdog skills aside, they're also known for being one of the friendliest breeds, according to Dogtime.