Dogs That Can be Left Alone: Choosing the Right Dog Breed

You should never leave your dog home alone for too long. They are social animals, and it is not fair to them. However, there are some breeds that cope with being alone for a chunk of the day better than others.

If you are someone who works full time, then looking for dogs that can be left alone is definitely a good option for you.

Take a look at our guide and see if one of these fantastic breeds suits you and your daily routine.

Dogs That Can be Left Alone: Choosing the Right Dog Breed

How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?

There is a lot of speculation with regards to how long you can leave your dog alone. For the sake of their health and wellbeing, you should not leave an adult dog (18 months and over) for more than four to six hours each day.

Young puppies should, ideally, not be left alone at all. However, if you need to leave them alone, it should be for an absolute maximum of two hours.

The most important thing to do with your dog or puppy is to teach it that being alone is not a scary thing, and that you will be coming back.

You can practice this by leaving for one to two minutes at a time and then coming back, which shows them that being alone is not necessarily a bad thing.

To start with, you should not give your dog free reign of the house while you are away, especially if they are not yet house trained.

Instead, keep them in an area of the house that they feel safe in, and gradually expand this area until they have the whole house to roam around.

The best thing you can do before you leave is to walk your dog. Take them on a long morning walk, as this will leave them feeling both happy and tired – the perfect combination for a dog that is going to be left alone.

You should also stimulate them with some mental exercise when you leave, as this will further their feeling of tiredness. It is also likely to make them less destructive through boredom while you are out, so make sure you stick to this method.

To help further prevent boredom, you can use toys that dispense one piece of kibble at a time. Or take a look at what best automatic dog feeder can bring to the table.

These keep their minds stimulated, and also have a tasty reward that will keep them going back for more. It’s a good way to prevent the destruction of your furniture and possessions. You can also have special WIFI cameras installed so that you can monitor your dog throughout the day if you need to.

If needed you can even invest in an electronic dog door so your pet can go to and from your garden as they please

Should I leave the TV on for my dog?

This is something we all wonder if our dogs are bored, scared, anxious when being left at home on their own. So should we leave the TV on for our dogs whilst we go out, well it depends entirely on the type of breed you have, some dogs are fine just being in the quite have a sleep lounging around and some will need a bit of white noise, talk radio or soothing music and even the television to keep them calm. 

Home Alone Dogs

Here are our recommendations for the best dog breeds that can be left alone during the day – perfectly suited to working couples or those who have full-time jobs.

Basset Hound

#1 Basset Hound

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: large dog
  • Traits: great for families; lazy dog
  • Con: Prone to obesity 

These lovable lumps may have stumpy legs, but they are actually pretty big dogs in terms of their overall size.

They have quite low levels of energy too, which is good if you want a dog that is less at risk of destructive behaviour, but they can still get around for a good hour of exercise each day.

Once they are out and about, their noses will be straight to the ground, and they will love exploring the world around them.

However, as soon as you get home they will flop in bed and are unlikely to move very much until you come home. Just make sure you watch their weight as they are prone to obesity.


#2 Chihuahua

  • Energy level: Low
  • Size: small dog
  • Traits: good socialisation, can be aggresive
  • Con: Prone to obesity 

These are a great breed of dog for those who want something small, but still, have to go to work. Most Chihuahua’s don’t weigh more than three kilos, which is absolutely tiny.

They do tend to have quite low energy levels, which can be good for being left alone during the day. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to walk them, however, as they still need a good hour of exercise each day once full-grown.

While they do have a reputation for aggression, good socialisation from an early age will nip this in the bud – just make sure they meet some doggy friends on their morning and evening walk.

Like Basset Hounds, they also need their weight watched as they are prone to obesity.

french bulldog

#3 French Bulldog

  • Energy level: medium
  • Size: small dog
  • Traits: need attention; does not need walking to much
  • Con: can have breathing problems

Frenchies are a breed that is only growing in popularity. More and more people own them, and many of these new owners are ones who are out working all day.

They weren’t built for long runs, so after a morning walk, they will likely see it fit to take a long nap – more than likely until you get home again.

They are a dog that can cope being left alone for the day while you are working, but they also need your companionship once you are back.

They will miss you and feel starved for attention, so be prepared to give them all of it once you have returned home. Plus, they don’t tend to bark very much, so they are suited to apartment living.


#4 Greyhound

  • Energy level: medium
  • Size: Large dog
  • Traits: well suited for apartment life, love to run
  • Con: early osteoarthritis issues

The Greyhound is the perfect choice for those who work every day but still want a large dog. They are absolute couch potatoes who spend most of their time sleeping, which is what makes them so well-suited to apartment life.

Of course, they still need a lot of exercise as they are dogs who were built for speed, and they love to run. So, make sure you put the time aside for them.

Most Greyhounds are retired or rescue racing dogs that are in need of a good home. They will be used to having been crated for up to 20 hours a day a lot of the time, which makes them good for leaving at home.

DO NOT crate your dog for this long, however, as it is cruel and confining to do it for such an extended period of time. Give them the house, let them roam.

maltese dog

#5 Maltese

  • Energy level: medium
  • Size: small dog
  • Traits: need daily grooming, great companions for cats
  • Con: eye health issues

Maltese dogs are complete slackers, happier sleeping than running around the house. Of course, they still need a good amount of exercise each day, but you are less likely to need to worry about destruction during the day.

Plus, their need for daily grooming can make for a very relaxing evening together after work.

They are dogs who love your company, so be prepared to spend a good amount of time together each day after work.

They are also known for being excellent companions for cats, so bear this in mind of you have a feline friend that you worry gets lonely during the day.

Shar Pei

#6 Shar Pei

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: medium dog
  • Traits: excellent guard dogs, family pats
  • Con: skin fold infections

These beautiful, wrinkly, dogs are an ancient breed with a lot of love to give. They are quite low-energy, which means that they are good to leave alone for the day while you are out working.

Plus, they make excellent guard dogs and will protect your home while you are out. They form strong attachments to their owners, and your bond will be unbreakable.

They were originally fighting and hunting dogs, but are not very active despite this. They do need to be well socialised from a young age, but this is quite easy to do – especially with puppy classes in the evenings and puppy mornings on the weekends. They are considered excellent family pets overall.


#7 Whippet

  • Energy level: low
  • Size: medium dog
  • Traits: suited for apartment life
  • Con: cancer issues

Much like the Greyhound, the Whippet is also a couch potato and will spend the majority of the day fast asleep in a soft and cosy place. They are smaller than Greyhounds, but just as suited to apartment life.

They tend to be more timid than their Greyhound cousins, and will likely withdraw when intruders approach, or there are strangers.

They need a gentle touch and loving hand to get over their fears. They need to be exercised a lot too, and often it is best to get two. They like each other’s company, and they will play during the day to wear each other out.


Consider adopting a senior dog that doesnt need so much excercise and is able to be left on its own more often. 

Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing Your Breed

What do dogs do when you’re not home?

It’s a question that often crosses our mind when we are out with friends, at work, or even at the supermarket – what is my dog doing while I’m not home? One of the best ways to find out is to get your own dog camera to keep an eye on them, but here are some of the activities your fuzzy best friend gets up to:

# Eat –

If you have a dog that likes to graze, they might decide on an afternoon snack while they wait for you to come home. If you leave the kitchen door open, they may even decide that they want something a little finer than standard kibble (keep the bin and cupboards shut!). 

# Sleep –

Most of the time, they will just sleep while you are gone. A happy dog that is well-exercised both mentally and physically has no issue snoozing for most of your time away. It might not be the most interesting activity, but it’s nice to think they are sleeping away their alone time so that you are back sooner. 

# Explore –

An adventurous pup, or one that has just woken up from a nap, is likely to spend some time trotting around the house exploring. There are always new smells to discover, especially if you go out a lot, and they may just find a new favourite place to lounge. 

# Play –

This is the best time of day for many dogs, and if you have more than one playtime is bound to happen more frequently in your absence. Whether they play with toys, each other, or just run around with the zoomies, it is good for dogs to let off steam through exercise. Make sure you leave them with something to keep them occupied so that you don’t risk coming home to destroyed furniture. 

# Guard –

See that dog sitting at the window looking out? Or the one that barks when you walk past? These dogs are guarding. Some pooches feel as though they need to watch out for invaders while their owners are away, and they may decide to guard the home. Generally speaking, it is a harmless activity that just shows your dog wants to keep their space safe.

dog breed

Is your dog really bored whilst you’re at work?

Dogs are social creatures. They live in packs, and they love the company of their humans and other animals. Additionally, dogs also need mental and physical stimulation in order to stop them becoming destructive as a result of being bored. This is why it can be a great idea to go for a good walk before you head out, as well as leave them with an engaging toy.

# An excellent example of this is a treat ball - 

The more they roll it; the more treats fall out for them to snack on. A dog that is mentally and physically content will be a lot less destructive and less likely to get bored while you are out. It’s not just boredom you have to look out for though, it’s loneliness too. 

# Ask a family member to pop in –

If you are going to be away for more than 5 hours, it’s a good idea to get a family member or close friend to nip in and say hi. Not only does it relieve some of your dog’s loneliness, but it also gives them a chance to go outside to do their business and have things like their water topped up. 

# Hire a pet sitter –

Sometimes this can be the best option, as a licensed pet sitter knows how to look after dogs and will ensure that they are never alone. This is particularly handy if your dog suffers from separation anxiety and become distressed when they are left alone. Some pet sitters also have multiple dogs, so you may even get the chance for your pup to make new friends and playmates. 

# Return for short periods –

If you are close enough to your home, it is worth checking in with your dog a few times a day. This is nice for them as they get to see you more often and are reassured by your presence, and it also means that you can let them outside and check their water levels. This is a really good idea if you live close to your work. 

# Get your dog a friend –

Friends can make the time pass faster, and when you have two dogs together, they often keep each other company as well as distracted. They have the chance to play with each other, snooze together, and reassure each other if they become stressed in any way. 

# Create a calendar for your household –

Being organised is important, and if you can keep track of where everyone is, when, and who is free to check on (or stay with) the dog then things will be a lot smoother for all of you. Ideally, a dog will have someone around most of the day, and if you are able to rearrange your calendar so that is as close to the truth as possible it’s a massive bonus for your dog. 

# Make sure they have lots of toys –

This is the best way to keep them occupied, and a happy dog is one that is surrounded by loads of toys. Make some of them fun, like the treat ball, others comforting like a plush toy or a favourite chew. As long as they have something to keep them occupied and stimulated you are on the right track. 

# Give them entertainment –

Sometimes, just the sound of voices and the world can be enough to keep your dog from getting bored or lonely. Leave the TV or the radio on while you are gone so that they have some form of company that will keep them engaged until they decide to have a nap.

# Take your dog to work – 

More and more places are allowing dogs to come to the workplace, so why not see if yours is the same? If you have a well-behaved dog, there is nothing wrong with letting them come and hang out while you do your work. Some companies even have play areas where they can blow off some steam. 

# Install a doggy door –

This can be good if you have a very secure garden and a dog that you know cannot escape. Most of them scan microchips now to ensure that only your dog can get in and out, but it gives them the freedom to let themselves outside to do their thing and get some fresh air. 

To Conclude

Hopefully, you have been able to get an idea of the type of dog you would like to have as your companion.

When you are out working, it can be hard to find a dog that will work with your lifestyle, but at least one of these breeds should do an excellent job of helping you out.

Everyone deserves the companionship of a dog, even if they work. Just make sure you don’t leave it alone for too long, and you’ll be fine.

What did you think of our dog breed selection? Are there any that you would have added to the list as good home alone dogs? We love hearing from you, so let us know your thoughts in the comments below.