Which Dogs Are the Easiest to Take Care Of?

By Jane Meggitt

All dogs require food and water, exercise, training and attention. Even so, certain dogs don't need much in the way of grooming, and their exercise needs are easily met. They're couch potatoes, who like nothing better than to hang around with you at home. Most of them get along with other household pets and kids. These dogs appear in all sizes.

No matter the breed, puppies are more work than adult dogs. If you want an easy-care dog, consider adopting an older animal who is already housebroken and had basic training.

The Great Dane

While he's quite large, the Great Dane doesn't need much in the way of exercise. He's certainly earned the sobriquet "gentle giant." His short coat requires just basic grooming, and he doesn't shed a lot. This big guy is easy to house train, and likes nothing better than sharing time with his person or people. As long as you can walk him several times a day, he makes a fine apartment dweller. While he usually gets along with other dogs and tolerates cats, he's not a good choice for a family with small children because of his sheer size. He's a good pet for older kids.

Great Dane health issues include:

  • bloat, a potentially deadly stomach twisting that comes on suddenly
  • orthopedic issues
  • and heart disease.

Like many large dogs, Great Danes have shorter lifespan than normal, perhaps 7 to 10 years.

The Boston Terrier

The Boston terrier loves everybody, and the feeling is usually mutual. His short coat needs just a weekly brushing, and his coat is odor-free. While he doesn't need a lot of exercise, if you like to take long walks, he'll be right there with you. He's easy to train and doesn't bark a lot. You probably couldn't ask for a better companion dog.

Boston terriers are prone to certain genetic health issues. These include:

  • eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts
  • deafness
  • spinal deformities
  • and breathing difficulties related to their flat, pushed-in faces.

On average, Boston terriers live between 11 and 13 years.

The Miniature Pinscher

The miniature pinscher is a big dog trapped in a little dog's body. He's smart and loves to play, but his exercise needs are reasonable. While he's fine with kids and cats, he might decide to take on some dogs -- almost guaranteed to be twice his size. His coat is so short that a weekly brushing suffices. He may bark a bit more than necessary, but he's a terrific watchdog for his size.

Hereditary issues appearing in the miniature pinscher include:

  • orthopedic problems
  • eye issues, such as progressive retinal atrophy
  • and deafness.

Miniature pinschers are a long-lived breed, with many reaching the age of 15 or more.

The Xoloitzcuintli

The Xoloitzcuintli - colloquially and more easily known as the Mexican hairless -- appears in a size for every canine fan. Available in toy, miniature and standard versions, and ranging in size from 10 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder, he needs only moderate amounts of exercise. While he has no hair to brush, he does require occasional bathing and perhaps skin moisturizer or sunscreen. He's good with dogs, cats and kids, and makes a good watchdog. Other than dental disease, the Mexican hairless has few genetic ailments. Expect the Xoloitzcuintli to live 12 to 14 years.