There are some breeds of small dogs that are great at staying home alone. Believe it or not, some little dogs do enjoy their alone time. Here is a list of small breeds that are lower maintenance and can be left at home for 8 hours or more.
What are the 11 best small dogs that can stay home alone?
- Boston Terrier
- Scottish Terrier
- French Bulldog
- Lhasa Apso
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Bassett Hound
- Norfolk Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
One of the best characteristics of small dogs is that they can get most of their exercise by running around the house all day. They don’t need long walks when you feel like chilling out after a long day at work. And, while they are really happy to see you when you return, all of these dogs manage quite well in your absence. We’ll also talk about how to enrich their time spent alone.
11 Small Dogs That Are Best for Staying Home Alone
Small dogs may seem like higher maintenance pets, but if a small dog can get his exercise by running around the house when you’re at work, then that means all of their love and attention will be on you when you get home.
Small dogs are comfortable in smaller living quarters like apartments and condos, which makes them even more perfect for their human companions’ 9 to 5.
# 1 The Dachshund
Dachshunds became extremely popular back in the 1950s and are still one of the most sought-after small dog breeds today. This independent little guy will run the household. His short legs and long body make him a perfect mate in even the smallest of homes.
The dachshund is a smart little guy with a personality that is larger than his body. His bark is definitely bigger than his bite, so he will make a perfect watch-dog. Dachshunds were bred to be independent, so being at home alone is right in their wheelhouse.
The dachshund has a bubbly, upbeat temperament, so while he will run the house during the day, he will be ready with lots of love and cuddles four you when you get home after work.
# 2 The Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are also known to be small dogs with a large personality. They are one of the most loyal breeds. Small but mighty, they strive to protect you, your family, and your home – they make great watchdogs. Not the mischievous type, the chihuahua can be trusted if left on their own while you step out for the day.
Described as compact and confident (or “charming, graceful and sassy,” says the AKC), the chihuahua will take over your home if you let it. This dog is the ultimate choice for urban homes, where small space living is most prevalent. Since they aren’t known to be destructive, they can be trusted to be left alone.
Although chihuahuas are great when left alone, they do tend to live their best lives with a mate. Perhaps being so small, about 7lbs, you just might be able to fall in love with two of these small guys, so they’ll have a companion to run around with during the day.
Even though your Chihuahua is fine to stay home alone during the day, be prepared to give some cuddles to your little guy when you get home. Since he is a pack animal, he also enjoys being spoiled with attention from his human companions.
# 3 Boston Terrier
Boston terriers are another popular small breed for people who live in smaller spaces. This little one is great at home alone, but it is best to leave them with something to occupy their time.
A social breed devoted to their human companions, Boston terriers may get a little anxious and mischievous if they become bored. So, it is best to leave them with another canine friend. If you will be gone a full day, a dog proof area or crate training is recommended.
While Boston terriers are known to be a little tricky to housetrain, once you have that taken care of, your pup can be trusted to be left alone, as long as you have a safe space for them. They don’t often suffer from separation anxiety.
# 4 Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier cutely referred to as a “Scottie” may be one of the most independent of the small dog breeds. They are extremely smart, very self-reliant, and are perfectly capable of staying home alone for up to 8 hours.
Wildly charismatic, the Scottie takes his job as protector of the home quite seriously and will alert you to any newcomers. Despite his small size, he has a big-dog bark, which is useful in scaring away potential intruders.
Scottish terriers have been known to become destructive if left to their own devices for too long. House training is important for this little guy, as his independent temperament takes over quite quickly. Crate training is often recommended for Scotties that stay home alone.
# 5 French Bulldog
The French Bulldog is the strong and silent type. These dogs do require a lot of attention, but, because of their short faces, they do not require much in the form of exercise. Their “smooshed” face leads to difficulty breathing when they get too wound up.
When left alone, the only thing this small dog might be guilty of is napping too often.
The French bulldog does enjoy daily walks. One short walk in the morning and one in the evening does him just right. They don’t demand a lot of attention, so you can go about your day at home or away and your pup will be happy to entertain himself.
Since they don’t bark much, they are the perfect little guy to have while living in an apartment or condo. They are also great with kids. They aren’t really into wrestling around, but they do love a good cuddle.
# 6 Lhasa Apso
Probably the most snobbish of the breeds, Lhasa Apsos seem to float everywhere they go. Lhasa Apso was historically thought of as a watchdog. Light-footed, confident, and intelligent, this small breed thinks very highly of itself! The Lhasa Apso refuses to see his small size.
These small dogs are independent in nature and love to be the boss. The Lhasa Apso is not your average lap dog, in that, they will protect your home most vigilantly, alerting you when someone comes to visit.
Lhasa’s typically do not suffer from separation anxiety and do well to remain indoors throughout the day. Since they are so independent, they do not require much in the area of companionship.
# 7 Maltese
The Maltese is a great small dog breed for small spaces. Described by the AKC as gentle, playful, and charming (Source: AKC), these little pups will win your heart with their love and affection. While they can stay home for several hours, they are pack animals and love to have a companion.
Some Maltese do suffer from separation anxiety, which means you probably shouldn’t leave this little guy home alone for too long. They are a very affectionate breed, so this means they will celebrate your return with lots of love and attention.
Be sure that you take your little guy for a walk before leaving, ensuring that he has gone to the bathroom, so he isn’t suffering in the house all day. Also, leave him some toys that can provide a bit of entertainment.
One last tip: don’t leave your Maltese to run the house for the day. This can increase his anxiety about being left alone. Large spaces aren’t generally good for smaller breeds as they prefer smaller confined spaces for security. A smaller, dog-safe area or crate may be the way to go.
# 8 Miniature Schnauzer
Miniature Schnauzers are your typical small dog breed that does not know how small he is. He is a small, take charge kind of dog. The schnauzer is a loving, intelligent little guy that is pretty high energy.
As most of the breeds above, this little guy has no trouble staying at home alone, as long as he has something to entertain him during the alone time. If your schnauzer takes on the guard dog role, he can get quite chatty, so living quarters like apartments and condos, are probably not super ideal.
If your schnauzer seems to have separation anxiety, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (ASPCA) to Animals has some great ideas for helping to comfort your dog.
# 9 Bassett Hound
The Bassett Hound isn’t your teacup variety small dog. He is a very low energy, nap loving pooch. The older he gets, the longer you can leave him home throughout the day. He will just snooze the day away.
Bassett Hounds love a lazy day. There is also the risk of obesity with this short-legged companions. They are loyal, but if you are looking for a guard dog, this is not your guy. You should get this stout little dog out of the house for a walk.
He will happily take another nap following his walk and then lounge for the remainder of the day. The Bassett Hound is the lowest maintenance pup that you are likely to encounter.
# 10 Norfolk Terrier
The petit Norfolk Terrier has been described as a “big dog in a small package.” This little guy is the perfect family pet. Norfolk’s are the perfect size for city living. They are playful and love to run around, they are affectionate, but they are no lap dog.
Norfolk Terriers do well alone during the day, provided they are left with something to keep them entertained. They make great watchdogs, though they are not yappy pups. Norfolk Terriers have even been known to keep rodents at bay with their stellar hunting skills.
Be sure to give your little Norfolk pup some attention when you get home. As a loyal companion, they will be there for you and need that same in return. Norfolks are also packed animals and do well when they have a mate to spend their time with.
# 11 Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire terrier, also referred to as the “Yorkie,” is an affectionate and independent beauty. The Yorkie is a very smart, energetic and autonomous individual. While they do well alone, they also love attention.
Leaving these small guys on their own for too long, without stimulation, can stir up a bit of mischief. It is good to ensure that these pups have something to entertain them while you are away.
Yorkies are small and are perfect for city dwellers and apartment living. They are great family dogs and will bond with you and your children. Yorkies also make great watchdogs.
They do need a decent amount of exercise, so morning and evening walks are ideal for keeping his high energy in check. Since he is pretty small, long walks are not his thing. A quick once around the neighborhood after being cooped up all day is ideal.
Tips For Leaving Your Small Dog At Home
It’s not easy to leave our small dogs at home for the day, but there are some things that you can do to alleviate some of the guilt you might feel and some of the boredom that your dog may end up suffering.
We have included some tips that you can take into consideration to make your pup’s home alone life a little less traumatic.
Hire a dog walker, even a day or two per week: This can be a family member, friend, or a trusted neighbor. Someone that is willing to love on your dog when you cannot. There are also professional dog walker services that you can look into, like Rover. These services set you up with someone perfect for your pet. They also have options like sending you updates and pictures of your dog while on his walk.
Doggy daycare: Even one time a week can make a difference. Day kennels are great for getting your small dog exercised, and some kennels also offer pet pampering like baths during their stay. Doggy daycare is probably the costliest option.
Provide mentally stimulating toys such as treat puzzles: Toys like the StarMark Bob-A-Lot on Amazon provide mental stimulation for your small dog when he is home alone. Rawhides and other chew toys keep dogs occupied for hours, as well.
Leave the TV or radio on The noise from the TV or radio can make the house seem less empty for your small dog. Having a radio or TV playing can help them fight their loneliness in the big house all day.
Get another pet: This one only works if they get along. Some pets are pack animals and can live a happier life with a companion. If you can find more room in your home and in your heart to get your small dog a small mate, they will be so thankful in the long-run.
Crate Training: Kenneled dogs can stay alone longer, especially if they’re properly crate trained. Crate training is two-fold. It gives your small dog his own area to run, and it also helps when potty-training.
Don’t Make Things Worse for Your Dog
Another smart thing to keep in mind is not making a big deal about leaving. Don’t shower your pet with attention or become overly affectionate before you leave. This just makes it harder for him when you leave the house. Simply set him up for the day, or the hours you are going to be gone, say goodbye, and then leave the house.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Making a big deal about your absence can cause your small dog to develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety develops because your pet has no guarantee that you will come back to him. They’ll see the cues that you are about to leave and start acting out. Separation anxiety is acted out in various ways. This anxiety can lead to:
- Excessive barking or howling
- Destructive behaviors like chewing furniture, clothing, and shoes
- Scratched up or chewed up doors and door jambs
- Urinating or defecating in the house
Separation anxiety behaviors are not only destructive to your home, but they can also be dangerous to your small dog who does not know any better. But do not fear, there are treatments and training that can be done to help you and your pet to get through these rough times. Your vet may also have some remedies for you to try out.
Leaving Your Dog Home Alone: For Consideration
All pets, big or small, require a certain level of love, patience, and attention. Your dog will offer you years of unfettered love and loyalty; all that is required in return is your care. If you are hoping to find a completely independent pet, consider doing some research before adopting.
Each pet is unique in its specific requirements. When you bring a pet into your home, you must be mindful of how that pet handles life at home without you. Consider the individual needs of your dog. But beginning with the right breed for your circumstances is certainly a good start.