When some new dog owners consider getting a dog, the activities they plan on doing together include vegging out and being a couch potato, awesome cuddles in bed on warm winter mornings, and just lazing around the house. Not all of us aspire to become exercise buddies with our dogs. If you sound more like the former and plan on just snuggling with your dog all day long, then it sounds like you need a lap dog! Lap pooches are dogs that don’t require a lot of exercise, do not have high energy levels, and are content being indoors with you more often than not.

Pups like this are usually of a smaller size, although we have come across our fair share of small dog breeds that are super high energy. Surprisingly, a lot of large to giant dog breeds are calmer than their tinier counterparts. Whether you want a large lap dog or a small one, we’re going to give you a few suggestions on the best breed of lap dogs you can get!

But First, What is a Lap Dog?

Let’s take a closer look at the definition of a lap dog. How do we classify a breed to be the best one? In general, lap dogs are dogs that can fit in your lap. They are smaller breeds that don’t have a lot of exercise requirements. But we will say that just because a dog is larger than your lap, it doesn’t mean that he can’t exhibit lap dog traits. The only difference is he won’t be able to curl up in your legs.

A lap dog isn’t only classified by the breed, but also the general personality of the dog. They are easy-going and laid back breeds that aren’t particularly yapping, excitable or aggressive. Lap dog breeds also love to be around their owners and can sometimes be classified as Velcro dogs because they just love being around you. In general, a good lap dog will be low maintenance and love being in the house.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our list of the best lap buddies.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Just look at their cute faces! The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the epitome of a cute and cuddly lap dog breed. Their beautiful and soft coats and dependency on their owners make them great companions for those who like to spend time at home. Since the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also often used as a therapy and emotional support dogs, you can imagine just how strong of a bond they can establish with you.

They exude peacefulness when they sleep and have an overall calming effect whether you suffer from depression, PTSD, or any other mental disorders. They make excellent companions and will steal our hearts the first time you lay eyes on them.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is highly adaptable, won’t exceed 15-20 pounds, and doesn’t require a ton of exercise. They do need more grooming due to their luxurious coats, and they have the tendency to gain weight so don’t feed them too many treats!

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise Puppy

Is it a dog or is it a teddy bear? The Bichon Frise is number two on our list but is number one for cuteness! They basically look like stuffed teddy bears and are also the definition of what lap dogs are. You won’t find a better couch potato companion than a Bichon Frise. They are also extremely friendly, playful and affectionate and are the best lap dog breed to consider if you have kids or other pets. Cats and dogs are often pitted against each other, but the Bichon Frise will make friends with any feline in the house.

Although they aren’t working dogs, the Bichon is very smart and eager to please, making them one of the easy to train dog breeds on our list. The best lap dog breeds won’t mind cuddling with you all day long and making a home in your lap. It can even be said that they are free lap warmers during the colder months of the year. Bichon owners always have the best things to say about their little teddy bears.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu with ribbon smiling

The Shih Tzu looks like a moving ottoman when their silk locks grow long enough to touch the floor. They laze around all day and are very content just spending their days in your lap. If you are someone who lives in a city with limited space, the Shih Tzu can adapt well and also to different climates in any region. One of the best things about the Shih Tzu isn’t its cuddly and sweet nature, but the long and luxurious coat that can be styled very fancily.

Your new Shih Tzu pup will be like your son or daughter, one you can dress up and braid their hair if you wish. Their tiny size also makes them popular as purse dogs, although we’re not too sure how comfortable it is to be inside a purse all day.

Japanese Chin

close-up portrait of japanese chin puppy

The Japanese Chin has one of those squished faces like a Pug that is just so endearing. It’s funny how so many lap dogs look so high maintenance with silky fur but with regular grooming, any breed can be easy to manage. This dog breed only requires a simple comb-through a few times a week.

The Japanese Chin adopts the Japanese way of being very calm and collected. You will rarely see one that pulls on the leash or wrecks the house. They are dainty little creatures that don’t need a lot of time outdoors. They are also easy to train and are content being home with you all day. Just a walk around the block a few times a week or even just playing around the house will be enough for the Japanese Chin.

French Bulldog

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog, or the Frenchie as some call it, has surged in popularity over the years. There are so many Frenchie owners out there that there are French Bulldog meetups in many dog parks. Nothing is cuter than having 10 Frenchies of different colors posing for a group photo.

The French Bulldog isn’t suited to rigorous exercise because of their short snouts. Unfortunately, their snouts are considered a handicap as it limits their breathing ability and makes them more susceptible to certain illnesses. Frenches are good lap dogs when you’re feeling down and out but they can have high energy levels, especially during puppyhood.

French Bulldogs are super friendly, always happy and will just love you so much! They will always be ecstatic to see you come home and are perfectly content just being around you.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier has a similar appearance to the Frenchie but they have a slimmer build. They are also slightly more athletic and won’t mind a few runs around the block each week and can handle hot weather a little better. Their silly faces will brighten up your day no matter how bleak things seem to get and know that this dog breed is one of the best lap dogs because of their calm yet intelligent personalities. They don’t get very big, but their compact build can get quite heavy – even around 20 lbs!

If you do happen to have a more energetic Boston Terrier or Frenchie, you can consider helping them expend their pent-up energy by enrolling them in agility competitions or puppy classes. Their natural agility will surprise you and maybe even bring home some prizes and trophies!

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso lying in front of white background

The Lhasa Apso is one of the cutest breeds on our list. They are one of the dogs that have perpetual puppy faces and make great companions and popular lap pups. One of the best things about smaller lap dogs is their life expectancy. In general, smaller dog breeds live longer lives than larger dogs. These little creatures will always have a look of wonder about what’s happening in the outside world but they don’t need to be out there in the midst of all the action.

They make excellent companions and popular lap dogs and they love to cuddle. So if you love to cuddle, look no further than the Lhasa Apso. Their fur requires regular grooming and trimming but it won’t be too difficult to maintain. They don’t shed much like some other poofier breeds and offer the same warm comfort, so get ready for lots of fuzzy snuggles!

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is the hairless cat equivalent of the dog world. This makes grooming for these dogs much easier than other lap dogs. However, the lack of hair also makes the Chinese Crested very susceptible to the cold. If you live in an area with cold winters, then you must make sure to give your pooch enough warmth with heaters turned on or a sweater he never takes off. While the Chinese Crested may rely on your for snuggles to share body heat, they still make great lap dogs and the best furry companions.

Also because they don’t retain body heat very well, the Chinese Crested dog breed is quite lazy. They don’t like to move around and run too much and love to be carried. You will find them curled up on some soft surface for most of the day. If you’re looking for a dog that will stay by your side, the Chinese Crested is your best bet.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon also has a squished in the face that just demands your affection. They are very small creatures that do not grow larger than your lap. One thing to keep in mind is that the Brussels Griffon not only looks like a grumpy old man, but they can be grumpy old people. What we mean is they don’t like big families and generally only like one owner. They are repelled by high energy levels and the Brussels Griffon wouldn’t be considered a good pet for a family with kids.

Their grumpiness is also mirrored in their behavior and how they accept strangers. They don’t warm up easily to people in their territory and could bark your friends into oblivion. However, if they love you, the Brussels Griffon is your forever best friend. They are the best lap dogs because of their unwavering loyalty, and small size.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy

The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as the Yorkie, are great small dogs that get along with people and other animals. You will want to take them everywhere with you due to their small size and silky fur. They don’t shed as much as you would think and are just adorable family pets. They are also super sweet and small, which makes them susceptible to the cold like some other small and thin breeds. Always make sure your small dog is kept warm or you may witness obsessive shaking.

The Yorkie is also a popular purse dog, but don’t let their size fool you. They can have a big personality and can rule over the other pets in the house. Not only will the pets bow down to the Yorkie, but you may also find yourself giving into its every whim because of the cuteness of this canine breed.

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle

The next up we have the toy poodle. The poodle can come in different sizes just like the toy spaniels, but for the best lap dogs, we recommend the toy size. The toy size is the smallest one and can fit comfortably into your lap. Poodles are hypoallergenic dogs that can get along with all members of the family. These pups don’t shed much and do not require a lot of grooming.

Another factor they have going for them is their intelligent personalities and affectionate nature. Poodles are often used as emotional support and therapy dogs. The larger standard poodle can also function as service dogs. This is because these dogs are very smart, easy to train and very in-tune with their human owner’s moods. They can detect mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks and nip them in the bud with tons of kisses and snuggles.

The poodle also doesn’t require much exercise, just a few short walks with their owners around the block a couple of times a week will be more than enough. The most coveted traits would definitely be their cute appearance, intelligent quotient and affectionate personality.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Pinscher

The Mini Schnauzer is an adorable dog breed. They make great lap dogs because they don’t shed much and are very stoic and calm. They look like serious old men, and you can really see that mirrored in their actions. These best lap dogs make great couch potatoes and aren’t overly warm to random people. While you may think a dog that’s very friendly is a better show of character, they are also the types that can easily be taken or make poor guard dogs.

Dogs that are more alert such as the Mini Schnauzer will make great dogs keep your home safe from robbers by alerting you with a bark. When they aren’t serving and protecting, the Mini Schnauzer is perfectly content with spending their days as your best lap friend.

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel

We have another Spaniel on the list – the Tibetan Spaniel. These dogs have surprisingly soft fur and are a breed that is an excellent lap companion. They are also similar to the Mini Schnauzer in terms of alertness, but they do not back up their bark with a bite. The Tibetan Spaniel is very sensitive to strange goings-on but will do no more than let their owners know about it.

The Tibetan Spaniel is a dog breed on our list that does require some exercise. They are nowhere near as active as spitz dogs and would only require a game of fetch around the house or a quick brisk walk around the block. With 20-30 min a day, you will come home to the laziest lap dogs ever.

Coton De Tulear

Coton De Tulear

The Coton De Tulear looks like a mix of the Bichon and the Maltese. They are a very old breed of dog that has been around for over 300 years! They are some of the best lap dogs around because of their personalities. People who lay eyes on the Coton De Tulear all want to take one home with them. They are intelligent creatures that are playful but not too overwhelming.

They are very easy to train and aren’t very vocal. The Coton De Tulear is a small and intelligent lap breed that won’t need much from their owners and will provide all members of the family with lots of love.

Pomeranian

White Pomeranian Dog

We had to include the Pom because they are just so fluffy and cuddly. However, this small toy breed makes it lower on our list because even though they are small, they have an abundant amount of energy. Their big double fluffy coat will shed quite a bit, so if you don’t like to pick up hair every day, then you should consider another breed. We for one love to cuddle fuzzy dog breeds so the Pom is perfect for those who love to bury their faces in soft fur.

The Pom can be quite yappy and love the outdoors, but they don’t really need much movement and exercise to expend their energy. Just a quick walk for 20-30 min a day or less can transform them into calm balls of fur for the rest of the day.

Maltese

Maltese puppy lying down

The last one on our list will be the Maltese. They fit in your lap and the teacup versions are even smaller! These dogs are similar to the Pom in the sense that they are small but can be quite active. Maltese dogs are ones with big personalities and demand attention around the house. They can also be quite territorial and yappy, but they mostly just love to be with their owners.

Maltese can be well-trained if they are properly socialized and taught from a young age. Their white coats can shed a lot, which would require their owners to be very diligent with cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the smartest lap dog?

Group of Toy Poodle puppies on a white background

The smartest lap canine would be the poodle. There are a lot of smart dog breeds out there, but the poodle takes the top spot in the lap dog category. They are so smart and intelligent that they are often used as emotional support and therapy dogs.

What breeds of dogs are lap dogs?

Greyhound

Lap dogs have a lot to do with personality and less so with size. There are lots of big dogs such as Saint Bernards and Greyhounds that would make better lap dogs than some smaller breeds. They may not fit in your lap, but they can be very calm and stable.

Which dog breed is the friendliest?

happy golden retriever

How friendly a dog breed is is more of a generalization rather than a breed characteristic. We would say the friendliest dog breed in general is the Golden Retriever.

What is the most low maintenance dog?

black daschund standing on the grass

The Dachshund in general is a very low maintenance dog. They don’t require a lot of exercise or grooming and are happy just being around their owners. They can suffer from back problems in terms of health so make sure they don’t do too much running or jumping.

Conclusion

We hope our list helped you decide on your next lap buddy. It’s not about the size or breed but more about the personality of the dog. Just because you have a lap dog, it doesn’t mean they don’t require any movement at all. It is still advised to meet their exercise needs no matter how little. A quick walk around the block and a game of fetch in the house is usually enough for the best lap dogs. After their daily dose of exercise, they will be more than happy to lay down next to you for the rest of the day.