Not everyone wants or needs a jogging partner. Some of us are looking for a dog after our own hearts, one who will prefer—or at least be content—to watch a few marathon episodes of Friends. The breeds in this article excel at the complex and intellectual art of couchsurfing. A few of them are versatile enough to accompany you for long walks if you insist.
Keep in mind that puppies of all breeds are boisterous and require energy outlets. If you wish to skip this stage, consider adopting a needy adult dog of the breed or mix you prefer. And by the way, all dogs sleep more than human beings. Let that be a comfort to you.
The Bulldog is the ultimate couch potato. He rather has to be because his bandy legs and pushed-in muzzle do not equip him for anything requiring much effort, although the snores (and gas) he produces are amazing enough. His job is to sit beside you and comment on the production values of whatever you’re watching. The Bulldog gets along with everyone in the family; it’s too much effort not to do so. Favorite TV genre: classic movie reruns.
It’s curious that the world’s fastest dog is also one of the laziest, but it’s a fact. The awesome thing about the Greyhound is that he can easily accompany you for a jog but is quite ready to skip it if you want. This lucky combination of willing to run and “let’s just hang out around the house today” is perfect for most people. We don’t feel like jogging every day either. Favorite TV genre: horse racing.
#3: Basset Hound
No breed says “relax” quite like the Basset Hound. The Basset has a long and honorable hunting history, however, and younger, fit members of the breed are able to walk for many miles, although they certainly take their time about it, sniffing at everything they see. They are always glad to get home to eat their dinners. Favorite TV genre: TV dinners.
This fine guardian breed was created to keep watch, and so it does, even if most of the watching these days is the television. However, while Bullmastiffs don’t require a vast amount of physical exercise, they do need extensive socialization to be the best they can be. You can feel safe falling asleep yourself watching TV because the Bullmastiff will protect you and your family at all costs. Favorite TV genre: crime investigation.
#5: Chow Chow
The Chow Chow is mentally and physically averse to hard exercise. Although he may look athletic, this breed moves with a stilted gait that renders him totally unsuited for jogging aimlessly around the block. There is, however, a smooth-coated version of the Chow Chow that is somewhat more athletic (and friendlier) than the longhaired type. The breed is a heavy shedder. Favorite TV genre: news.
#6: French Bulldog
Resting is the Frenchie’s forte, and this terminally cute dog makes the most of it. Like his cousin the Bulldog, the French Bulldog snores and breaks wind with alarming regularity, but his good temper and intriguing expression make up for it. The Frenchie can be stubborn but is such a well-behaved dog that you probably won’t care. Favorite TV shows: the weather station.
#7: Great Dane
It is fortunate that Danes are so lazy, because if they were not, you’d never be able to keep up with one. However, he does need a fair amount of living space to stretch his legs, so don’t try to cram him into a studio apartment. They also need plenty of socialization, not to calm any aggressive tendencies but because they are actually on the shy side. Favorite TV genre: science fiction.
#8: Shih Tzu
The beautiful Shih Tzu was bred to be a lapdog, and with all that hair, you can tell he wasn’t meant to go wandering around in the woods. Even the more active members of this breed can get pretty much all the exercise they require jogging around the house. Favorite TV genre: makeover shows.
#9: Bichon Frise
His very name means “lapdog,” and that pretty much says it all. This is a breed that can be kept indoors if you like, which is a good thing since scrubbing mud out of a white-coated dog can be tricky at best. Favorite TV genre: reality television.
The Pekingese has lots of hair and lots of attitude. Completely self-composed, the Peke cannot be bothered with dealing with wet, heat, cold, wind, or distances longer than the block. He is happy at home sourly discussing the state of world affairs with the cat. Favorite TV genre: political dramas.
Other relaxed breeds: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Shar-Pei, English Toy Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Keeshond, and Lhasa Apso.
Diane Morgan is a pet care expert in Williamsport, Maryland, who has authored numerous books on dog care and nutrition, and has also written many dog breed and horse books.