Top 7 Small Low-Energy Dog Breeds For Small Apartments

With crossbreeding made possible by advancement in biological science, it’s easy to find a pet that fits one’s unique personality and personal needs. So, if keeping an energetic dog will require lots of entertainment and exercises to keep them healthy and happy, why not go for small low-energy dog breeds?

Just like there are many high-energy dog breeds, there are many dog breeds that have low energy levels. These are the dogs that mostly love lying around doing nothing. They might love cuddling or just to sleep on the couch.

A low-energy dog is a perfect choice for you if you do not have a lot of time at your disposal to play with them or if you are older.

So, which are such breeds?

We have compiled a list of the most popular small low-energy dog breeds you can find in the market. We have compiled all the necessary information about these breeds including their history, size, appearance as well as disposition (tolerance level).

Let’s get cracking!

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What are Small Low-Energy Dog Breeds?

Low-energy dog breeds are perfect for different places including apartments upstairs, cities with cold weather, and many more. If you live in such places, you might want to consider getting a dog that prefers to sleep as opposed to playing around, chasing a ball, and doing other energetic activities.

These dogs are also perfect for those who do not have time to train or exercise their dogs. These are people who might be a bit older. Fortunately, there are large and small low-energy dog breeds. This post includes a list of the smaller breeds.

Small dog breeds range in height anywhere from 7 inches to around 17 inches. Some of the low-energy dog breeds that fall under this category include:

  • Pug
  • French Bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Pekingese
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shih Tzu

Top 7 Small Low-Energy Dog Breeds that stay small

We will start by checking out the characteristics of 7 of the cutest small dog breeds.

Small Dog BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Chihuahua9 Inches, 6 PoundsBlack, Fawn, White, Silver$375 – $2420
Pekinese9 Inches, 14 PoundsAny color combination$750 – $3000
Shih Tzu10 Inches, 16 PoundsWhite & Red, White & Black, White & Grey$500 – $1600
Lhasa Apso11 Inches, 15 PoundsBlack, Honey, White, Slate$1500 – $2500
French Bulldog12 Inches, 28 PoundsCream, Fawn, Brindle$1500 – $8000
Pug14 Inches, 18 PoundsBlack, Fawn-Colored$600 – $1900
Size, appearance and price comparison table of small low-energy dog breeds

1.      Pug

pug small low-energy dog breeds
A pug dog breed resting

Pugs are known to have a great sense of humor.

This dog breed originally started in China back when the Han Dynasty was in power. Most historians believe that this dog breed has a relation with the Tibetan Mastiff. It is one of the breeds that is known to have been brought up by the Chinese.

An adult pug will normally weigh around 18 pounds and will grow to close to 14 inches.

Pugs have a double coat that is either black or fawn-colored.

You should not expect this dog breed to guard, retrieve, or even hunt. Originally, these dogs were meant to act as companions and they do that best. A pug will love sitting on your lap for the longest time if possible. They crave affection and might be unhappy if you do not show them the same affection.

This dog is low maintenance. A pug is small and quiet and that is why the dog is relatively inactive when indoors. That is also the reason why you would prefer this breed if you live in an apartment.

2.      French bulldog

French Bulldog
French Bulldog

A French bulldog is an intelligent and calm dog.

This breed is originally from England, where it was created so that it can be a smaller version of a Bulldog. It was very popular in Nottingham and when lace workers moved to France, they took their dogs with them.

Adult French Bulldogs normally grow to around 12 inches tall with a weight of 28 pounds.

The coat of this dog breed is normally fine, shiny, smooth, and short. It can be in a range of colors including cream, fawn, as well as brindle.

A French Bulldog is loving and smart. What the dog loves doing most is spending time with the owner. The dog is also a freethinker and will be easy to train, especially if you do it positively. Offering play, praise, as well as food rewards is a perfect way to go about it.

You will realize that this dog breed has a fairly low level of energy. Therefore, they do not need much exercise. However, there is always that one dog that goes the opposite way. You should provide the dog with daily exercise to make sure that the weight levels are down. Playtimes and short walks would be best.

3.      Chihuahua

Chihuahua dog breed

One thing you will love about a Chihuahua is the big personality in a small size.

The exact origin of a Chihuahua is not clear. But just like you would expect, some theories try to explain where the dog came from. One of the theories explains that a Chihuahua is a descendant of a dog breed called Techichi.

An adult Chihuahua will weigh around 6 pounds and will grow to a maximum height of 9 inches.

A Chihuahua might have a long or smooth coat. These coats can be in black, fawn, white, silver, gray, or chocolate.

Normally, a Chihuahua will bond with one person in the family and even though they will love to meet more people, most of their affection will be to one person. You will also realize that this dog breed is very cautious of new people.

Chihuahuas are not meant to be outdoor dogs. You might find one that has a fair amount of energy, but some simply want to lay down if possible. However, the dog is willing to play if you want to. You will not find the dog begging for some playtime.

4.      Pekingese


A Pekingese is a very affectionate and loving companion dog.

This dog breed has a very long history. And even though it might not be true, it was believed that a lion fell for a marmoset and this lion prayed to Buddha for a size reduction to make the union possible. He, however, asked to maintain his character and heart. That is the sweet story from Chinese legend.

The breed will normally grow to about 9 inches in height with a total weight of 14 pounds.

The coat of a Pekingese is straight and long. The dog can be in any color combination including fawn and red brindle, black and tan, and any other combination of colors.

You will find that this breed is a lot tougher than you might think from his appearance. He is also very brave, affectionate, and good-natured. You can expect a reciprocation of respect from this dog, as well as loyalty and protection.

This is a dog that will love being indoors most of the time. Even though there are times when the dog will prefer to play around, he will mostly just lay around and be close to you. Nevertheless, you need to provide consistent exercise through walls or jaunting around your neighborhood.

5.      Lhasa Apso

 Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso

Even though he is small, Lhasa is independent and sturdy.

The Lhasa gets the name from Lhasa, the holy city. Originally, this breed is from Tibet and has been raised for thousands of years by monks and nobility to act as a protector indoors. He is a dog that can withstand intense weather.

Females are smaller than males. The adult males weigh around 15 pounds and will grow to about 11 inches.

This dog is very beautiful. The coat might be in a range of colors including black, honey, white, and slate.

You will be surprised by the mix of this dog’s personality. He is playful and happy and mischievous. However, he will also be fierce and independent. A Lhasa is very careful when it comes to guarding his home and the people he loves. He will remain sort of like a puppy even when old.

If you have limited space, this dog might be for you. The Lhasa does perfectly in condos and apartments. Even though the dog might love playing around, he is perfectly okay with a short daily walk. This is not a high-energy dog and he will not wander off. Sitting on your lap is perfect for the dog.

6.      Shih Tzu

This adorable breed is very affectionate with the people he loves.

The Shih Tzu is a very ancient breed and has a lot of controversy and mystery surrounding it. It is believed that this reed is among the 14 oldest breeds. Bones discovered in China have proven that dogs lived even as far back as 8000 B.C. Some people believe that this dog breed was started by Tibetan Monks.

The males and females of this breed are similar in size. They both grow to a height of around 10 inches and will weigh around 16 pounds.

This gorgeous dog has a beautiful coat that can be in a range of colors including black and white, red and white, gray and white, and black.

Historically, the Shih Tzu was meant to be a companion dog and that is exactly what they love doing. This dog simply wants to be around you and will not do anything like guarding, retrieving, or even hunting. It is simply not what they want. The best place for the Shih Tzu to be is on your lap. Nevertheless, the dog might tend to bark at any newcomers.

It does not matter to a Shih Tzu where you live. All that matters is that you are close to him. They can adapt to live even in small apartments. Short daily walks are perfect for the dog.

They are not as active as other dogs might be and will be happy just sitting there on your lap. They might also play around with some toys when possible.

Note that low-energy dog breeds cannot make guard dogs or game dogs and as such, do not get them and later try to exercise them. However, should you decide to keep a guard dog for protection, we have a list of guard dog breeds to guide you.

Finding the Right Dog Breed

Before you choose the right dog, you have to know yourself. It is an important step in the process of finding the right dog breed for you. Some of us just want a dog that we can chill with on a couch or the house mat.

If that is you, you need to make sure that you are not tired of your dog’s energy. Make sure you know exactly what the dog needs in regards to training and exercise before you get one.

Wrapping Up

All the low-energy dog breeds discussed in this article are great for people who do not need much playing around the house or who do not have enough space for games.

Besides, as you get older, you will realized that you don’t need a dog that keeps bugging you for some playtime. That is why, with these dogs, you will not have a problem. You will easily have a dog that does not bother you much and simply wants to lie around.