If you’re longing to have a dog but are afraid you shouldn’t because you work all day, you may want to rethink that. While high-energy breeds like Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers and those that are especially prone to separation anxiety like German Shepherds and Labs definitely would not be good choices, there are other breeds far more suited to your busy lifestyle.
Naturally you will need to make some sacrifices if you bring a dog into your life and into your home. All dogs are social pack animals and enjoy being part of their human pack. Not only do they require proper food, water, exercise, and training, they also require socialization. That means they need to regularly interact with their human family. After all, they want to love you and they want you to love them back. They also need to learn how to act around other humans and other dogs.
When you work all day, your evenings and weekends are precious to you. When you have a dog who’s had to be alone all day, you’ll need to forego many of those after work get-togethers because you need to walk your dog. You’ll need to schedule weekend outings with your friends around your dog’s vet or grooming appointments or trips to the dog park. Weekend trips will need to be those on which you can take your dog along or find a good boarding kennel or dogsitter.
You’ll also need to spend reasonably significant time, especially at first, teaching your dog what you expect of him or her. This includes basic obedience training and dealing with possible issues like excessive chewing or other destructive behaviors.
Most dogs live for 10-15 years. That’s a long-term commitment on your part. But if you’re willing to put forth the time, effort, and love, living with a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Studies have shown that it will reduce your anxiety level and improve your quality of life. Here are seven breeds who do well being by themselves and are great for people who work all day.
Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog. Adults are 5-8 inches tall and weigh only 3-6 pounds. They’re also the breed that lives the longest, often for nearly 20 years. But just because they’re small doesn’t mean they know they’re small. Most don’t and they’re not about to back down to a larger dog or even a human. They’re confident, courageous, alert, sassy at times, and definitely self-important. They make excellent watchdogs because they’ll let you know in no uncertain terms when someone is approaching your front door.
Bassets are the epitome of low energy. While they enjoy wandering slowly around the house sniffing at everything, they’d just as soon sleep. Adults are 11-15 inches tall and weigh 44-60 pounds. Bassets are chow hounds (no pun intended) and consequently are prone to obesity. They’ll eat any tidbit in sight and when they rear up on their hind legs it’s surprising how high they can see, like any food left on a counter. They’re easy-going, affectionate, sweet-tempered, friendly, gentle, and have both clownish and stubborn streaks.
One of the biggest advantages of a Maltese is that they shed very little and are considered to be hypoallergenic. Adults are 8-10 inches tall and weigh 6-9 pounds. These little white furballs may not shed, but they do require daily brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles in their beautiful fluffy coats. Maltese are in the “too cute for words” category and are playful, affectionate, lively, and fearless.
Greyhounds are big dogs who also are big couch potatoes. Adults are 27-30 inches tall and weigh 57-88 pounds. Despite their size and despite the fact that they’re the fastest dog in the world at short distances, most Greyhounds would far rather spend the day snoozing on the couch or your bed. They are gentle, sensitive, affectionate, even-tempered, quiet dogs who are politely reserved with strangers and are more apt to lean against your legs than approach people they don’t know. If you adopt one from a Greyhound rescue group, not only will you be getting one who’s already an adult, but he’ll probably also be a retired racer who’s used to being alone in a crate for long periods of time.
If you like the way a greyhound looks and acts, but think you’d prefer a smaller dog, consider getting a Whippet. Adults are 18-21 inches tall and weigh 15-31 pounds. They’re basically a scaled down Greyhound and have the same temperament. Amiable, friendly, sweet-natured, gentle, docile, playful, calm, undemanding, and unobtrusive indoors, Whippets trot around the house with light-footed grace, rarely make a peep, and enjoy sleeping a lot. They’re quite sensitive to stress and require a peaceful home, as well as plenty of socialization to people and other dogs so they won’t become shy.
Chinese Shar Pei
Shar Peis are very distinctive looking dogs, famous for their wrinkled skin, “hippo” heads, and scowling expressions that camouflage the affectionate and loving dog inside. Adults are 18-20 inches tall and weigh 40-65 pounds. Shar Peis are quiet, calm, devoted, loyal, mannerly, and are naturally clean. They’re also independent, reserved and suspicious with strangers, and strong-willed. You definitely need to establish yourself as the alpha from the git-go so yours will respect you. You also need to make sure to completely dry his skin folds any time he gets wet so he won’t develop hotspots.
Frenchies love to play, but are very happy to spend the day relaxing on the couch. Adults are 11-12 inches tall and weigh 16-24 pounds. They’re intelligent and easy to train, especially when you make it seem like a game. Frenchies are amiable, affectionate, friendly, very good with kids and other dogs, and can be quite entertaining and comical. They make good watchdogs, barking to announce visitors, but otherwise are quiet.
So there you have it. Seven great “home alone” breeds who can fit quite easily into your workaday lifestyle. Also talk to your co-workers to find out what kinds of dogs they have and get their tips on living with a dog while working full time.