Most dogs make good companion dogs but the ones that fall under the category of ‘breeds that cannot be left alone’ have generally been bred to only be companion animals, for centuries. These usually include small dogs such as Maltese and Shih Tzus, known for their special knack for being adorable and, in most cases, also to require a lot of grooming. Naturally, people who keep companion dogs are aware of this fact and they usually do not mind the extra work. Companions dogs hate being left alone and will happily sit at your feet or in your lap if you work at home.
So are there any breeds that come with low separation anxiety? Yes, thankfully there are! There are many working dog breeds that can be left alone in an apartment or a large home. Naturally, it still takes some training and you also need to exercise them before leaving them alone for long periods of time. After all; a tired dog is a happy dog. So let us find out which breeds have low separation anxiety and can be left alone at home.
Can a dog be left alone for 8 hours?
No dog should be left alone for more than 8 hours at a stretch. If you live alone and plan to get a dog, please account for this. You may want to consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a neighbor to watch your dog should you be gone for longer than 8 hours at a time. This applies to all dog breeds. Also, make arrangements to leave fresh, clean water and food for your pet.
Some pets refuse to pee indoors. In such cases, you may want to train them to go in the bathroom, upon a newspaper, or on the balcony/terrace, if you have one. If you live in a home with a back yard, consider installing a dog door so your pet can come and go as he pleases. Some dogs tend to dig under fences and jump over them to run away. Please secure your yard if your dog is prone to escaping.
Here are some dog breeds that are usually okay being left alone.
1. German shepherds
Most well trained German Shepherds can be left alone the entire day. However, like humans, dogs can get anxious too. Some German shepherds that haven’t been trained or aren’t used to staying alone, tend to show signs of anxiety such as digging, chewing, running away, jumping over the fence, destroying furniture, etc. If your pet shows this behavior, you must work with him and train him to overcome his fear. You can start by leaving him for a few minutes and then returning. Keep the arrival and departure low key and avoid getting your pet all excited and worked up. German shepherd puppies can also be crate trained so that they understand that the crate is their ‘safe place’ until you return.
Beagles are one of the few small dog breeds that can be left alone for long periods of time in an apartment. Avoid leaving your pet out alone in the yard for too long; if he gets bored, he may want to follow some interesting scent! Beagles are generally aloof and love doing their own thing. However, you must still train your pet to be left alone from his puppyhood. Get your young beagle to stay inside a crate. If your dog tends to destroy furniture or chew up bed sheets or linen, then it is best not to leave him alone for longer periods of time. Training is the key aspect of preventing such unwanted behavior. You could even consider dog daycare if your pet just won’t get used to it.
Leaving a young Rottweiler home alone day by day may encourage him/her to start seeing life on their terms – and solely on their own terms. This mindset can include how strangers will be dealt with and whom the dog decides s/he should protect you from. A bored, un-exercised Rottie has a huge storehouse of energy. He might choose to expend this energy constructively by chewing your shoes or digging up your antique Persian rug for lost treasure. Spend at least one hour each day on exercising your Rottweiler to prevent this unwanted behavior. Most Rottweiler dogs are okay with being left alone. You can consider getting them toys or another Rottie for company. Also, a tired dog is a happy dog always.
4. Basset hound
Basset hounds are hunting dogs and they can hunt alone. As a result, most basset hounds can be left alone all day. Bassets make great dogs for apartment dwellers as they are sweet-tempered, quiet, and generally not too noisy. Once you come home in the evening, you will be greeted with a howl though, for this breed cannot bark. Of course, you must still train your Basset to be left alone for long periods of time. Ideally, such training should start in his puppyhood.
5. Doberman Pinscher
The brilliant Doberman can be left alone for around 8 hours each day provided you have trained and socialized him in his puppyhood. Young Dobermans can get into trouble if they are left home alone without exercise, Kong toys, or companionship. If possible, get another dog if you work long hours. That said; most Dobermans are okay being left alone at home. Train and socialize your puppy and enroll him in obedience classes. Soon you will have a dog that is a delightful companion you’ve always wanted.
Boxers can usually be left alone for long periods of time provided you teach them from an early age that they will be okay while you are gone. When leaving your Boxer alone, confine her/him to the crate or designate a dog-proof area. This should be a place where your pet can sleep comfortably. That is the reason why crate training becomes an indispensable tool when raising a dog. Boxer pups soon start viewing the crate as their happy place. While leaving your Boxer, do not make too much fuss. Also, when you come back, do not rush to comfort or pet your Boxer no matter how much s/he protests. Just make all your exits and entries low key and that should do the trick.
The Akita Inu is the National Treasure of Japan. They make excellent companion dogs, watchdogs and even guard dogs. Most Akitas can be left alone at home and they are quiet and calm when indoors. However, if your Akita whines, barks, growls, or whimpers, when you leave for work then it just means that you haven’t trained him to be left alone. Conduct this training from an early age while the dog is still a puppy. Akitas mostly have the temperament to be left alone.
8. Border collie
Border collies are working dogs and that means that they will remain calm and happy as long as they are given a job to do. Exercise is an essential part of raising a collie. If your Border collie is not exercised daily for an hour or longer, s/he can indulge in destructive behaviors like barking, chewing, digging, etc. A well-trained Border collie, on the other hand, will be a good dog indoors and outdoors. Crate train your Collie from a young age and teach him/her to stay alone for shorter periods in the beginning. Make your entry and exits low-key and soon your pet will understand that you going and coming is a part of life.
9. Alaskan Malamutes
Most Malamutes remain calm when left alone at home. When you first bring your Alaskan malamute puppy home, do so when you have plenty of time off work or school. Never leave a very young puppy home alone all day. That would make them very anxious and they are likely to whimper, cry, whine, or bark. Start crate training your malamute on the first day itself. I have discussed crate training in detail here. Alaskans grow into large dogs and they have been bred for hard work like sled pulling. So make sure you exercise your dog daily. Alaskans need plenty of room, so a small apartment may not be to his liking. He is likely to do better in a large home with a fenced yard.
According to the A Pet Owner’s Guide to a Happy and Healthy Companion By Kimberly Sarmiento, Chihuahuas are one of the few small dogs that can be left alone. However, a word of caution: Chihuahuas are companion dogs and some of them tend to display severe separation anxiety. The reason behind this separation anxiety is not always fixed and it varies from dog to dog. Some dogs, for example, get anxious when they hear the car keys being jingled as it indicates that you are leaving them. Others may start getting anxious when you make a great fuss by petting and cuddling them while you are about to leave for work.
A few things you can do to lessen this anxiety is to pick up and drop the keys several times in the day and not leave. You can also not make a fuss before leaving or upon your arrival. Try taking your dog to a quiet place and relax with him for a bit. Once he has relaxed, give him a treat. Soon your Chi would know that it is okay to be left alone. In my guide here, I have discussed some more tips to deal with dog separation anxiety.
Greyhounds are usually okay being left home alone as long as you have exercised them and given them something fun to do at home when alone. A reason why some Greyhounds indulge in improper elimination, excessive barking, chewing furniture, and other unwanted behaviors is because you haven’t trained or socialized them. You may have also made a big deal during your departure like ‘I’m so sorry I have to leave’ and so on. Instead, keep your exits and entries low-key and soon your Greyhound will be okay with your leaving him alone for several hours at a stretch. Assign a designated area for your Grey to sit or sleep in, while you are at work.
12. Lhasa Apso
The longest documented case of ‘holding the urine in’ by a dog was by a Lhasa Apso. The handler left a Lhasa in his cage on Friday evening and only showed up to relieve him on Monday morning. The cage was still dry and when finally let out, the Lhasa urinated copious amounts. This is not healthy in any way. But it goes to show that Lhasa Apsos are good house dogs and can be left alone in an apartment provided they have plenty of toys and something interesting to do.
If you have a secure back door, you can consider installing a doggy door for your pet to come and go. Alternatively, go for a litter box that your dog can use when you are away. Never leave your Lhasa alone for more than 8 hours. If you need to, consider getting a pet sitter or a neighbor to watch him. You could even consider getting one more Lhasa so they can keep each other company.
Labradoodles that are happy dogs but they need to be kept active and well-exercised if you want them to relax and rest when left alone. Always designate a dog-proof area for your Doodle to stay when he is alone. Most Labradoodles crave human companionship and do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. Understand that Labradoodles are attention hogs and will do anything in their capacity to get your attention. Do not sit and complain-instead, train and explain! Your labradoodle is a sponge when he is young and he will soak up all that you teach him. So start early and train him to be left alone. Soon he will not even notice you are gone!
To be honest, there is no such thing as a ‘list of dog breeds that can be left home alone’. Some dogs, irrespective of their breed, tend to develop separation anxiety which can come on rather suddenly. Vets do not know why this anxiety sets in. Work with your pet to help him overcome these issues. If needed, consult a dog behavior specialist to help you out.