Dogs…what would they do without us? There’s nothing like the bond we share with our canine compadres, but there are some breeds that do perfectly fine without constant attention from us clingy “Velcro humans.” Our Small Dogs That Can Be Left Alone.
It may be that self-reliance is part of some dogs’ DNA, or it could be that the poor babies just want some time to themselves. Whatever the case, in this edition of Animal Facts, we’re shining the light on seven small dog breeds that you can leave at home for eight hours or more while you’re at work, school, or the DMV.
If you judge Maltese based on their silky, downy-soft coats, you’d figure they were high-maintenance pups that need constant attention from their people. But truth is, most Maltese have mellow temperaments, so while you’re away, your canine compadre will probably be content to hang out at the house for up to eight hours.
The “nanny cam” might catch them napping, playing with their favorite chew toy, or grabbing a snack from their doggy dish, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll catch a case of separation anxiety and destroy your furniture, clothing, or knick-knacks. Maltese also make great house sitters because they tend to get along with other pets—even cats. So, you can feel free to leave them with your other furbabies without the fear of sibling rivalry rearing its ugly head.
Fun Fact: Maltese seem to have no fear of heights. So, if you don’t want yours to discover the space between your antique vases is a sweet spot to nap, make sure they know that certain areas are off-limits.
6. Boston Terrier – Small Dogs That Can Be Left Alone
It’s no surprise that the Boston Terrier made our list. This well-mannered canine is known as the “American Gentleman,” so anything less would be uncivilized.
Although Bostons prefer being with their people and enjoy human company in general, no love will be lost if you have to leave them to their own devices for a while. As long as they’ve been thoroughly trained and have everything they need to be comfortable, a Boston can typically be left home alone for up to 12 hours.
Toys, bedding, and adequate food and water are just a few of the essentials that your pup will need to get through the day. Since Bostons can be difficult to potty train, you should never leave them alone before they have completely mastered toileting. Be sure to provide a designated area for bathroom breaks equipped with training pads or a grass dog potty.
If you feel your Boston (or any dog, for that matter) isn’t quite ready to have the run of the house or needs a “safe space” to help control anxiety (both theirs and yours), you may want to confine them to one room, or invest in a crate or playpen to make them (and you) feel more secure.
5. Lhasa Apso
Who’s a big boy or girl? If you have a Lhasa Apso, you know the answer. A card-carrying member of the “big dog in a small package” club, these pups have no problem asserting their independence while you’re around or ruling the roost while you’re away.
The Lhasa Apso’s self-sufficient nature can be traced back to its beginnings in the palaces and monasteries of Tibet, where they received high praise for their abilities as watchdogs. So, once they’ve tossed a few toys around, had lunch, and taken a nap (or two) they’re likely to be content standing watch until you get back to the ranch. They’re also a very sturdy breed, so the likelihood of them getting hurt while alone is pretty low.
Most Lhasas are good by themselves for about eight hours. If your Lhasa develops separation anxiety, a great way to curb it is to make sure your buddy gets some exercise before you leave. Lhasas tire easily, so a brief walk or play session should be enough to wear them out—if they’re exhausted, they may not care if you’re there or not.
4. Chihuahua – Small Dogs That Can Be Left Alone
That’s right. The “poster pups” of purse pooches have a secret—they can get along without us…at least for a little while.
The first step in preparing any dog to go solo is to make sure they’re well-trained. And despite their reputation for being aggressive, these feisty little furballs tend to be quite easy to train. Chihuahuas are moderately energetic, love a good siesta, and if they aren’t sleeping, they’re probably doing something they’ve been trained to do. So, if your BFF is a star student, you won’t have to worry about leaving them for up to eight hours, or about what you’ll find on the other side of the door when you get home.
Fun Fact: Although most Chihuahuas do well on their own, they’re usually happier as part of a duo—like Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise…or Spongebob and Patrick.
3. Miniature Schnauzer – Small Dogs That Can Be Left Alone
A dog with a mustache probably should be in charge of your house period. But since dogs have yet to master the art of paying bills online, the Miniature Schnauzer will have to settle for up to eight hours of alone time each day.
Despite being a very outgoing breed and having plenty of energy, Minis are not prone to separation anxiety. They were originally bred to be ratters and guard dogs on farms, so while you’re away at your job, they’ll be doing theirs—protecting the house while you’re away.
That said, everyone knows the saying about “all work and no play,” and that includes the Mini Schnauzer. They love to have fun. So as long as they have a few playthings and chew toys to keep them entertained, they’ll be fine until you return.
Minis are also very intelligent, so they’re a snap to train—why wouldn’t they be? They do have mustaches.
2. Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu can be described as confident, freethinking, and aloof—all the qualities a canine needs to hold down the fort.
Although they’re extremely loyal to those who reciprocate their devotion, Shibas still love to do their own thing. That said, like other dogs, they need to be prepped and thoroughly trained to go it alone—therein lies the challenge.
Shibas are highly intelligent, though they have a reputation for being one of the most difficult breeds to train. They are quick learners but are stubborn, independent, and want to do things their own way, so training requires plenty of patience. Shiba humans must pay attention to their dog’s preferences and develop personalized training plans to suit their needs. One method is to use a bit of psychology to make the Shiba think that obedience training is his or her idea.
Shibas are also very curious, so in addition to leaving traditional toys for them to play with, you could set up a scenting game, hide some treats, or plant a few puzzles around the house to give them a good mental workout.
Fun Fact: Shibas can be very possessive, so if you have another dog, it’s best to put away any toys and treats they might be tempted to fight over while you’re away.
1. Basenji – Small Dogs That Can Be Left Alone
Staying true to their origins as a hound and pariah (wild) dog, Basenjis are some of the most independent, confident, and clever canines around. And they’re not only intelligent—they’re downright “street smart.”
But their cleverness is a two-sided coin. It’s what makes them the ideal “stay at home dog,” and it may also put them “in the doghouse” from time to time. Basenjis are alert, curious, energetic, and quite capable of fending for themselves and devising a plan to get what they want, whether it’s a bone in a sealed garbage can, a pair of shoes on the top shelf of your walk-in closet, or a small animal on the other side of the fence. A Basenji should never be left alone with a cat or other small animal unless they’re a pet sibling.
You’ve probably already figured that Basenjis are a handful to train, as are most dogs with above-average intelligence. If given the chance, they will assume the alpha role if their owner or trainer is timid or inconsistent, but by the same token, mutual respect must be forged for training to be successful. Both of you will have to put forth a little extra effort, but once your canine cohort is trained, you’ll be home free.
If your dog is lonely at home alone, why not just leave Animal Facts running for him or her to enjoy. Here are a few videos your dog is sure to enjoy. Might as well smash that subscribe button for your thumbless pal. And as always catch ya next time.
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