Lhasa apso sitting

9 Best Small Dogs Breeds For Busy People

Working full-time doesn’t afford one the luxury of time to do a lot of things, not to mention, own and tend to a dog. I know this to be true because I work full-time as well, and it got me wondering what the best small dog breeds for busy people were.

Below is a list of 9 small dog breeds for busy and working owners and families:

  1. Border Terrier
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Glen of Imaal Terrier
  6. Italian Greyhound
  7. Lhasa Apso
  8. Miniature Schnauzer
  9. Tibetan Spaniel

The small dog breeds listed above were as included after researching with these criteria listed below in mind:

  • Maintenance: The breed has to require very little maintenance/grooming; non-shedding or infrequent/seasonal shedding, needs a bath at most once a week, needs to be brushed at most two times a week.
  • Dependency: We don’t want a completely dependent dog, nor a completely independent dog, instead we want one that could do well with being left alone for a while without developing separation anxiety.
  • Health Issues: The breed should not have a predominant genetic health issue that requires regular inspection and monitoring beyond the necessary periodic health checks.
  • Exercise Needs: The breed should do well with little exercises such as daily short walks or some ball tossing and fetching game indoors or out in the yard.

Now that is out of the way, let’s go into detail on these small dog breeds for busy people.

Border Terrier

Border Terrier
Photo credit @forrest_the_borderterrier on IG

Ideal for busy owners, the Border Terriers are an independent-minded breed that requires brushing of its coat two times a week.

Taking 30 minutes to brush your border terrier while it cuddles-up on you, can go a long way to prevent matting and also creates an intimate moment between the two of you.

For exercise, they require at least half an hour of walk daily or a game of fetch indoors or in the yard to stay fit and healthy.

Chihuahua

chihuahua sitting in front of white background
Chihuahua

Chihuahuas come with a big-dog-attitude in a small, tiny package. They make amazing companions but can handle being left alone for a while.

They come in two variants; long hair and smooth coat. The long-hair Chihuahua needs to be brushed at least once a week, while the smooth coat Chihuahua can be brushed occasionally.

They require minimal exercise and short, slow walks and playing fetch should be enough to keep them healthy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

pure-bred dog, puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, lie on white background, isolated
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle-spirited breed that does not mind laying on the couch as much as engaging in some canine sporting activities which it tends to excel at.

With daily walks or playing fetch indoors, they can stay fit and healthy.

The silky coat of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs to be brushed just once a week and bathed occasionally depending on its living conditions.

French Bulldog

A cute little blue colour  French Bulldog
French Bulldog

These miniature bulldog-looking breeds need no introduction. They are great at adapting to any living condition, making them great for busy owners.

A short walk or play session is enough to keep the French Bulldog fit and in shape. It should be noted that french bulldogs cannot swim and should be kept away from pools and water-filled tubs.

They sport a short coat that sheds minimally and requires weekly brushing and occasional bathing to keep them looking their best.

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Glen of Imaal Terrier On White-01
Glen of Imaal Terrier Photo credit American Kennel CLub

The Glen of Imaal Terriers unlike other terriers is gentle, independent-minded small dog breed.

They are laidback and require moderate exercises like talking a walk or playing fetch to keep them fit and in shape.

Glen of Imaal Terrier sports a double coat that is weather-resistant requires brushing twice a week to prevent matting. Brushing can improve bonding between owners and their dogs.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Italian Greyhounds have been companions for over 2,000 years now. They are independent enough to stay and adapt to being alone.

The Italian Greyhound sports a smooth, short coat that requires minimal brushing and bathing. The important grooming activity required by this breed is to brush their teeth daily if possible.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa apso sitting
Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apsos are an intelligent, healthy, thousand-year-old breed that does well with being left alone for a while.

They are self-sufficient and can run around the apartment or play with their toys to burn off energy. A short walk and playing fetch can also help keep them fit and in shape.

They sport a long free-flowing coat that does not shed, which could be cut short by owners. Regardless, they should be brushed twice a week and bathed once in two weeks to keep them looking great.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzer lying on white background
Miniature schnauzer

Bred down from the Standard Schnauzer, what the Miniature Schnauzers lack in size they make up in being alert and brave, as they make amazing watchdogs.

They spot a double coat that requires professional grooming every five to eight weeks and a bath once a month, depending on the dog’s living condition.

They can spend their energy running around the apartment or yard during playtime with their owners, plus they are very trainable.

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel standing, isolated on white, 2 years old
Tibetan Spaniel

Originating from Tibet, the Tibetan Spaniels are calm, smart and easy-going breed that can take care and entertain themselves when left alone.

They enjoy laying on the couch but can also be active and be taken on long walks and jogs.

They sport a silky coat that requires weekly brushing but more importantly, the area behind their ears needs to be combed frequently because they tend to mat easily in that area.


Those are 9 small dog breeds that are ideal for busy/working owners.

If the small dog breed you were hoping to see wasn’t listed here, there are some things you could put in place and still have that small dog breed of your dreams. These things include:

1. Hiring a daily dog walker and groomer.
2. Soliciting the help of neighbours or family members to keep your dog company.

I would like to end by saying that all dogs require attention and care, they enjoy the companion of their owners. With that being said, it is important to know if you are ready to have a dog in your life before you decide to visit a breeder or dog shelter.

Research for this article was sourced from AKC and theKennelClub