Last Updated/Info Checked on August 28, 2023 by Linda Michaels
For most of you people, college life is synonymous with never-ending courses, assignments, exams, and burnout.
You hold onto any support system you get and people often recommend adopting a pet, perhaps a dog, to help you cope with anxiety and give you comfort.
But what breed to adopt? Any dog that is more dependent and lazy than you are will make your life more miserable than it already is.
Choosing the correct breed with the undemanding characteristics is crucial so it can adjust to your life rather than the other way around.
Breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Pomeranians, etc, are easy-to-groom and very trainable making them better suited to the lifestyle of a college student than breeds that require extensive grooming and time like Border Collies or Boxers. You can follow my blog for awesome dog grooming tips.
Best Dog Breeds For College Students – Qualities You Need To Look For
Before going into the details of the dog breeds you need to consider as a college student, let us first discuss the qualities that you need to look for in a student dog at this stage of your life:
1. Workability with novice owners
As a college student, it is most likely that this will be your first experience with having a pet dog. Hence, you will make several mistakes and that is quite natural.
You would want a dog that is generally good with newbies and has considerable tolerance when its needs are not being met in an optimum way.
Breeds that require a veteran to cater to them are a big red flag as you would not have the expertise nor the time to look after them.
2. Tolerance to Loneliness
A lot more than often you would be busy in your college and would not be there for your dog physically.
Hence, a breed that requires you to be there and is dependent on your presence will have a tough time adjusting and has more chances of becoming anxious and depressed.
Breeds that can tolerate long hours of loneliness and don’t get anxious will be the right pick for you. You would spend worry-free hours while on campus.
3. Less Grooming Needs
Some dogs are high maintenance and require regular bathing, hair trimming, nail clipping, etc.
These grooming needs take a lot of time and effort and sometimes can be a burden on your budget when you don’t have the time or the skills for these.
As a college student, you will always be low on time and budget, so the best dog for you will be the one with minimal grooming requirements so that it doesn’t become a burden.
Smart dogs are better at understanding your feelings, they know when you are sad or happy and mold their mood accordingly.
They can give you support in times of grief and can be a source of joy when you’re in a playful mood.
Also, intelligent dogs tend to be less dependent on their owners for day-to-day living and do not become a dead weight.
But sometimes, they can get a bit cocky and be too independent. Hence, you would need a dog that is intelligent and understanding as well.
5. Easy To Train
Trainability plays a central role when adopting a dog.
A Trainable dog means that you can mold its behaviors fairly easily to your liking while dogs that are not so trainable tend to be rigid in their behavior patterns and cannot be changed even when the behaviors are negative.
For example, many dogs have a habit of barking at people and things and this can be a nuisance when you’re living in a community that doesn’t tolerate unwanted noises.
Here, a trainable dog can be taught to let go of this behavior through reinforcement of a calmer attitude.
Similarly, habits like biting, nibbling, digging, etc can be intolerable to a lot of people, and whether a dog can let go of them or not decides a lot about its potential for being adopted.
6. Not Too Sensitive
A dog’s sensitivity decides its emotional and physical responses to external cues, especially to the behavior of its owner.
Too sensitive dogs can easily get their confidence shattered on the slightest of insults as they tend to take things to heart. You need to be super careful with them during any reprimand.
Less sensitive dogs let many insults pass by and tend to be more confident and composed when they are being scolded.
Such dogs are a better fit for college students who do not know how to admonish a dog for its negative behaviors and are bound to make mistakes.
Overly aggressive dogs show physical outbursts of energy quite often. This could be in the form of running and kicking around, damaging household items, and may even fight with other pets. Such aggressive dogs require proper training and are thus not suitable for students.
For college students, dogs that are calm and composed would be a better suit as they would not have to worry about restraining them all the time.
8. Low Energy and Exercise Demands
Dog exercise is an important factor to keep in mind for college students. Breeds with high energy and exercise demands would require you to put in long hours for their needs to be met. This could be in the form of simple walking or dog sports like fetch etc.
Shorter periods of activity are a source of enjoyment and bring clarity but when it is done over long hours on a routine basis, it can get tiresome.
Especially for students who do not have many free hours at their expense.
Hence, Dogs with moderate exercise demands are a better fit.
Practically speaking, you will never get a dog that checks all the boxes for you.
The best way is to have a dog with a moderate combination of the said features that suits you the best, and we have made just the right list for you to pick from.
13 Dorm Dogs To Consider For Your College Life
Here are the 13 best dog breeds for college students:
Pomeranians are great with new owners with no prior experience. They are tolerant of many of an owner’s mistakes when it comes to catering to their needs.
Being highly intelligent, they understand their owner’s mood and behave accordingly. Pomeranians are easy to train as well such that they can be taught behaviors that are more acceptable by a particular owner.
Their grooming may be arduous at first but once you get used to it, it will become easy for you.
Not so energetic with low exercise demands, You would not need to spend much time and energy fulfilling their daily exercise demands. Just the regular evening walks would do the trick.
Some cons with the Pomeranian breed worth noticing are their sensitive nature and their low tolerance to loneliness. You would have to be vigilant when scolding them and you cannot leave them alone for longer periods.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Another breed that gets along well with newbies is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a breed with a mouthful name but an easy-going demeanor.
CKCS are very easy-to-groom breeds with very low maintenance needs and you can tend to their needs yourself without needing an expert.
Also, these are pretty Intelligent dogs that have a great understanding of their owner’s moods. Their trainability is also high so it takes very little time to train them according to your routine.
With a low prey drive and energy, CKCS have a calm and relaxed personality and do not engage in overt physical behaviors.
However, this all comes with a Sensitive nature and they get offended very easily on slight reprimands, you will have to be careful with their emotions.
Also, they are not big fans of isolated living so you would need to adjust your college life in a way that allows you to be near them even when you’re not catering to their needs directly.
3. Labrador Retriever
No list of dogs is complete without the mention of the popular Labrador breed. Being as friendly and comforting as a dog breed gets, Labradors do great with novice owners and bear their minor mistakes quite well.
Labradors have minimum grooming needs so it is easy for you to groom them as a college student when you don’t have much time and cannot afford a professional as well. You will get used to grooming them pretty quickly.
There is little doubt in the intelligence of this breed. They are smart and understanding with high trainability. Labradors also have a very low prey drive that makes them easy to control.
For those students that exercise regularly, this is a perfect breed with its exercise-loving nature.
One of their drawbacks is their sensitive nature. You’ll have to be on your toes when dealing with them most of the time.
Plus, they are sensitive to loneliness to some level and may face anxiety issues when left alone to their senses for too long.
This gorgeous little breed is very caring and affectionate to its owners, be they experienced dog lovers or total newbies.
Poodles are moderately sensitive and ignore a lot of their master’s lapses. Also, they are smart to read the atmosphere and adopt the most appropriate behavior.
With a highly trainable nature, they can be trained to get rid of any negative behaviors of barking, biting, etc although they have a very low prey drive and are not aggressive at all.
Another suitable feature is their low exercise needs that can be managed easily in little windows regularly.
However, they are not easy to groom and would require some attention for catering to their grooming needs.
Plus, they will not tolerate loneliness for long durations so you would need to leave them in some company when you are leaving for longer periods.
Read also: Do Poodles like to cuddle?
Pugs are regarded as Jesters of the dog world due to their playful nature and their ability to make people laugh. They are easy-going and adjust themselves well to new surroundings, hence are good with novice owners.
They are small with little grooming needs. You can tend to their needs without much effort or spending much money.
Their moderate sensitivity makes them tolerate a lot of things and only adds to their caring nature.
Having low energy and a need for exercise, Pugs suit students who are couch potatoes themselves.
Pugs are not that intelligent so you may find them lagging at reading your emotions.
Not the easiest breed to train but Pugs are moderately trainable.
6. Basset Hound
These short-legged dogs were bred for hunting hares but have now settled themselves as companion dogs owing to their ease of grooming and moderate sensitivity.
Basset hounds are an excellent choice for novice owners who lack the finesse for petting a difficult dog.
Contrary to their routes of origin, Basset hounds now have very low energies and exercise demands making them suitable for a more or less sedentary lifestyle. However, they may gain unhealthy weight so you would have to take them out for moderate exercise.
One thing to note here is their High prey drive as explained before, you would need to train them out of attacking random animals and objects. With proper time and training techniques, it is easy to teach them to be relaxed and non-violent.
Also, they tolerate loneliness to some degree so they would need your presence after some duration of being left alone otherwise they may get anxiety issues.
7. English BullDog
English Bulldogs are very friendly towards all humans and adjust well with all sorts of owners.
Their easy-to-groom personality makes them a top choice for students, they can be catered to fairly effortlessly. They are a docile breed with low exercise demands such that walks of short durations every day are sufficient for them.
Not an intelligent breed per se but Bulldogs are easy to train especially using the reward-based positive reinforcement technique.
One thing to look out for is their tendency to gain weight. They can become obese pretty easily which predisposes them to cardiovascular and joint diseases.
8. Boston Terrier
This breed of intelligent dogs developed a century ago and has taken a special place in the hearts of dog lovers ever since. Boston Terriers do great with novice owners and are very understanding of their emotions.
They have high trainability and can be taught to live alone for long durations without getting fussy or anxious. Moreover, they are very easy to groom with low maintenance.
The downside with this breed is their high energy with exercise needs that would require a set schedule every day.
Also, Boston Terriers are sensitive dogs that would lose confidence with too much reprimand, you will have to adopt a reward-based system to change any unwanted habits.
A descendant of the toy spaniels, Papillons are known for their cuteness and friendly behavior towards everyone. Their company is enjoyed by most young people, especially those who are fond of exercise and sports as Papillons are agile and active.
Papillons are smarter for their cuteness and can read between the lines. They adapt well to novice owners and are fairly easy to train without professional help.
Not too sensitive, they take reprimands well and try to show their best behaviors that would make their owners happy.
They are also easy to groom with some effort initially. With time you would know the ins and outs of keeping a Papillon and their grooming would not be troubling to you.
However, they do not handle being left alone, You would need to consider this before adopting them. If you are someone who would be absent for most of the day then this is certainly not the breed for you.
10. Shih Tzu
A breed that is affectionate towards humans and animals alike, Shih Tzus is known for its love and tolerance. Their docile nature makes them a great pick for college students who are adopting a dog for the first time in their lives and would make many mistakes.
They do not require the physical presence of their owners all the time and do well in their absence. They are also not too sensitive and can let go of any harsh behavior from owners.
Intelligent and trainable, Shih Tzus adjust themselves to the nature of their masters and learn new behaviors fast. They like to impress their owners so would put in extra effort to mold themselves according to their liking.
They do not need many drills and sports for them to be healthy and do well with moderate walking and running.
The thing to look out for in this breed is their high maintenance. A Shih Tzu’s grooming requires a lot of effort and time and you may need to take them to professional groomers at times. Other than that, this is a great pick for college students.
Bred to be hunter-aids for rabbits and foxes, Dachshunds have placed themselves as human companions over years. They are affectionate and adaptable even with novice owners.
Dachshunds have low energy potential and do not require excessive exercise to keep them healthy. They do well with short durations of regular exercise.
They tolerate loneliness quite well which is a plus point for college students who cannot be physically there for their dogs all the time.
High intelligence allows them to have a better understanding of their masters, they can read the moods and act accordingly.
However, their high prey drives make them less responsive to training. You would need to put in some extra effort and time to train them to your needs. With adequate time, they will eventually learn to behave in the way expected of them.
Tip: You may also be interested in training collars for Dachshund.
This small breed from the Hound family is loving in every way possible. It goes along well with people of all ages and settles itself well in any household.
Beagles are considerably easy to groom and you can meet their grooming needs by yourself easily.
Being smart, they can read their owner’s mind and comfort them in times of sadness with their joyful nature.
They do well with sporty college students who love to exercise regularly as Beagles have high energy reserves and are fond of physical activity.
However, being a hound, Beagles are a little stubborn in training. It requires patience and time to train them in your preferred behaviors.
Do you own a Beagle? Check out these awesome training Collar for Beagles.
13. Chinese Crested Dog
If you are a lazy college student who doesn’t want to put much effort into rearing a dog but still needs a companion then this is the right breed for you.
Chinese Crested Dogs are the true couch potatoes of the dog world, they have low energy and exercise needs. They also do not have the potential for wanderlust.
But they are pretty intelligent and can know what their owner is feeling and how to respond. They are fairly easy to train as well.
They do not like being alone so would give you great company.
The drawback here is the sensitive nature that makes them prone to confidence issues with the slightest of insults.
Moreover, they have considerable grooming needs and it is not easy to cater to them all the time. But if you can pull that off, the Chinese Crested Dog would be a great companion for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some of the questions I have been asked in sessions. It may help you understand which breed is better for you being a college student.
Is it worth it to get a dog in college?
Yes, College life is full of stress and anxiety that affects even the toughest of us. Hence, any source of joy and support is helpful during these years. As many students are living away from their families, having a pet dog can fill in that gap of warmth and comfort to a greater extent.
What kind of dog is best for college students?
Due to their busy and scheduled life, college students should adopt dogs that are easy to groom, tolerant, caring, and with low exercise needs. Dogs like Pugs, Poodles, Shih Tzus, Terriers, etc would be a great fit for students.
Best Dog Breeds For College Students – Wrapping Up
During the tough years of college life when you are away from your family, any support system is worth having that you can cling onto and that gives you love and comfort.
Having a pet dog is one of the best ways to cope with the anxiety-filled years of college. However, when choosing a breed to adopt, you must check the overall features and compare them to your needs. You cannot have a dog that is too dependent, difficult to groom, aggressive, too sensitive, or with high exercise needs.
Easy-going breeds like Poodles, Pugs, Labradors, Shih Tzu, etc would be the perfect fit for your busy and scheduled college life that will become a source of joy and comfort without becoming a burden on you.