Dogs who would rather nap on the sofa than run around the block make ideal companions for those of us who prefer a less-active lifestyle. Though we wouldn't call them lazy per se, these top ten couch potatoes certainly make lounging an art! Lovable and cuddly, their calm manner makes them a joy to be around.
Named for the blood sport the breed was once exploited for, bull baiting, the dignified bulldog is a historic breed believed to have evolved from the Molossian dog first brought to Britain by Phoenician traders in the 6th century BC. With their sweet disposition and calm manner, bulldogs easily adapts to a slow-paced lifestyle. Low maintenance in every way, this lovable couch potato with the formidable expression on his face, is known to be an exceptional companion.
Bold, fearless and courageous, the bullmastiff is also surprisingly docile and easygoing with his family. This massive, dependable guardian keeps fit with regular outdoor exercise, but he is not a high-energy dog, making him a relaxed, calm companion in the home. Known by enthusiasts to be cuddly and affectionate, some bullmastiffs think they're lapdogs. A marvelous combination of protector and couch potato, the bullmastiff is the ingenius cross between a mastiff and bulldog.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
In the early days of its history, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel was known as the "Comforter" or the "Spaniel Gentle." These descriptions suit this friendly, affectionate spaniel to a tee. A born lapdog and couch potato extraordinaire with minimal exercise requirements, the Cavalier King Charles exudes tranquility. Along with his calm demeanor and endearing appearance, especially those soulful eyes and feathers of fur on the ears, legs, feet and tail, this spaniel requires minimal grooming, with only a brushing to keep his long, silky coat looking its best.
Perky and fearless, the Chihuahua is a little dog with a big personality. Tiny but mighty, the world's smallest dog is quite naturally a lovable lapdog. Although this swift-moving pooch likes to run around inside his house or apartment in short bursts, the rest of the time he loves to snuggle up on the couch with his favorite person. This little breed's origin is one of the dog world's biggest puzzles. From the belief it originated in Egypt over 3,000 years ago, to the belief by some that it accompanied Chinese traders to Mexico, there is no decisive answer to its true origin. What is known for sure about the breed's beginnings is that the diminutive dog was discovered in the Mexican state, Chihuahua, in the late 19th century by American tourists, brought back to the United States and developed as a breed.
With their lordly scowl, wrinkled brow and natural instinct to protect their home and family, the dignified Chinese shar-pei is well-suited to leisure. Once known as the rarest dog breed in the world, the shar-pei teetered on the brink of extinction in the early 1970s when a Hong Kong fancier appealed to North America for help in saving the breed. Americans responded, breeding programs were set up and the breed's popularity grew in leaps and bounds. This calm-natured pooch has an independent nature and is a loyal guardian of his home and family. A little stubborn, he may not respond as well as some breeds to obedience training, and he does require daily exercise. However, inside the home, the shar-pei is affectionate and engaging, and more than happy to sprawl out on the couch next to his best friend.
For a chow chow, family is everything. Fiercely loyal, this dog with the permanent scowl is a proud, independent, natural watchdog. Although she needs a walk or other outdoor activity on a daily basis, inside the home she's content to be a furry couch potato. An ancient breed, the Chinese chow chow dates back to the Han dynasty about 150 BC; some historians theorize the breed may even be older. This regal dog with the lion-like ruff and blue-black tongue was not named by the Chinese, but called after the pidgin English that ship captains used to describe miscellaneous assortments of cargo, of which the dogs were often a part. Recently famous as media mogul Martha Stewart's dogs of choice, in the 7th century one Chinese emperor was said to have a kennel of 2,500 pairs of chow chow hunting dogs. All you need is one curled up beside you on the sofa to know why this breed is so well-loved throughout history.
The appealing, bat-eared French bulldog is a quiet and well-mannered dog. Originating in England, standard-sized bulldogs were bred with miniature versions to produce the first specimens of the breed. Popular in the mid-19th century, the diminutive dogs were popular in the English midlands where lacemaking was the primary industry. When the English lacemakers emigrated to France in seach of better pay, they took their dogs along with them. In France, the dogs were crossed with local dogs, resulting in the breed called French bulldogs, also fondly known as Frenchies to the breed fanciers.
The ideal dog for the less-active owner, Frenchies are quick and easy to groom, require only moderate exercise and are renowned snugglers and lapwarmers, thereby ranking as one of the top ten couch potato dogs.
At first thought, a greyhound seems an unlikely couch potato, but fanciers will tell you otherwise. While a greyhound does need a large, fenced-in area to stretch his long legs in great bursts of speed, he is content to curl up on the couch when he's inside his home. Not only one of the world's swiftest dogs, the aristcratic greyhound is also one of the world's oldest breeds, its history dating back 4,000 to 7,000 years in Egypt. Revered for its hunting prowess, effortlessly chasing down stag, gazelle, fox and hare, the greyhound was a natural participant for hare coursing when the sport was introduced in Britain in the 16th century.
Later, when dog races became popular, the breed was a natural, clocking in excess of 40 miles per hour. Luckily, kind-hearted fanciers throughout North America are rescuing hundreds of greyhounds from the dog-racing industry, socializing them for life off the track, then making them available for adoption to the right homes.
Despite its name, the smallest of the greyhound breeds, the Italian greyhound originated in Egypt more than 2,000 years ago. Migrating to Italy with Roman soldiers, it quickly became the favorite pet of nobility. With its royal roots and rich history, this elegant greyhound is now one of the most favored of the toy breeds. This gentle, satin-coated dog, its beauty and elegance captured in oil paintings by the old masters, is the epitome of lapdogs. Although she loves daily walks, when she's relaxing at home, you'll find her gracefully lounging on an antique setee with her favorite person.
In addition to the Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles spaniel and Italian greyhound, all the toy breeds make extraordinary companions. Their size genuinely entitles them to be lapdogs, thus natural couch potatoes, especially if their people like lounging around. Although most toy breeds are lively and upbeat, and run rather than walk, they all snuggle in quickly when it's couch or bed time. Perhaps the most popular toy breed is the Yorkshire terrier. Small enough that a whole pack doesn't take up much space, there's nothing quite like cuddling up on the couch with these sweet, little critters.
Originally developed in the north of England in the late 19th century for the purpose of killing rats in the coal pits and cotton mills, the Yorkie caught the eye of the wealthy ladies of Yorkshire shortly thereafter, and it was love at first sight. Breeding the dogs became a cottage industry. The tiny, glamorous Yorkie of today is half the size of the original terrier. They are spirited, playful and inquisitive, but when they get down to the business of lounging, the Yorkie is among the most accomplished of the couch potatoes, and a superb choice for stay-at-homes and adults with less-active lifestyles.
By Susan Dorling
Vet Street: 12 Couch Potato Dog Breeds American Kennel Club: Bulldog
American Kennel Club: Bull Mastiff
American Kennel Club: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
American Kennel Club: Chihuahua
American Kennel Club: Chinese Shar Pei
American Kennel Club: Chow Chow
American Kennel Club: French Bulldog
American Kennel Club: Greyhound
American Kennel Club: Italian Greyhound
American Kennel Club: Yorkshire Terrier
About the Author
Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues. Writing on a diverse range of topics, she reflects her passion for animals, interior design, home decorating, style, fashion and business.