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Home > General > 15 Low Maintenance Pets That Like to Cuddle (With Pictures)

15 Low Maintenance Pets That Like to Cuddle (With Pictures)

Couple cuddling a Pomeranian dog. Pomeranian spitz dog

The best part of having a pet is cuddle time. However, some pets are more high maintenance than others.  We’ve compiled this list of low-maintenance pets that like to cuddle to show you animals that are the best of both worlds.

Please keep in mind that “low maintenance” is both relative and subjective. All pets require attentive care. It’s up to you to decide which daily tasks you’re willing to do. Our list of 15 low-maintenance and cuddly pets is broken into five dogs, five cats, and five “other” pets.


The 15 Low Maintenance Pets That Like to Cuddle

Low-Maintenance Dogs That Like to Cuddle

It’s no surprise that the low-maintenance dogs are on the smaller side. Little dogs need less exercise, less food, and less dog hair to vacuum up.

1. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon_otsphoto, Shutterstock
Image Credit By: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12–15 years
Average adult weight: 10 pounds

Brussels griffons are equally goofy and loyal. They’re playful yet have a lower need for exercise. Most can tolerate well-mannered older children. The dogs do well in a small apartment or home. A short-haired Brussels griffon will require less brushing and grooming than its long-haired counterparts. They don’t like to be alone, so expect them to follow you around the house. They aren’t the best candidates to stay home alone if you work long hours. Consider owning a pair of Brussels griffons if you are away from home during the day.

  • Long lifespan
  • Fewer grooming needs
  • Require little exercise
  • May not tolerate younger or rowdy children
  • Don’t like to be left alone

2. Chihuahua

chihuahua sitting on wool rug
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 14–16 years
Average adult weight: 6 pounds or less

Chihuahuas are pint-sized watchdogs that like to bark. They often become bonded to their owner and may not be welcoming to visitors. Chihuahuas need you to set boundaries, or their sassy attitudes will rule your house! They do love to be held, carried, and cuddled. Their fragile size and yippy nature make them unsuitable for most households with young children.

Purebred chihuahuas come in both short- and long-haired. Short-haired Chihuahuas may require weekly brushing and occasional baths. Long-haired pups will need regular grooming appointments. However, Chihuahuas are on the lower end for shedding. They don’t need much exercise, and short walks during potty breaks will be enough activity for most Chihuahuas.

  • Low shedders
  • Long lifespan
  • Require little exercise
  • Bark a lot
  • Not welcoming to strangers

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

female cavalier charles king spaniel
Image Credit: BJkenel, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12–15 years
Average adult weight: 13–18 pounds

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog that does well with children and other pets, consider the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. These friendly and gentle dogs are on the smaller side without being fragile. Most adults will fall in the 13–18-pound range.

Like the chihuahua and Brussels griffons, they have a longer lifespan of up to 15 years. A Cavalier King Charles spaniel is more likely to run to a stranger for a scratch on the head than they are to bark. They love affection and don’t do well at home alone. If you’re frequently gone for several hours each day, consider getting two dogs to keep each other company. Their longer hair requires regular brushing, but a few brush strokes while cuddling in the evening should suffice. Cavalier King Charles spaniels don’t need much exercise and do well in apartments.

  • Good with kids and other pets
  • Long lifespan
  • Don’t like to be left alone
  • Need regular brushing

4. French bulldogs

french bulldog on a trunk
Image Credit: Paska3610, Pixabay
Average lifespan:  10–12 years
Average adult weight: 28 pounds

French bulldogs were originally bred for the sole purpose of being canine companions, which is a fact they haven’t forgotten! They are sturdy, compact dogs. Adults weigh up to 28 pounds on average. They aren’t “purse dogs” like Chihuahuas but are equally as cuddly. French bulldogs are playful and adaptable dogs. They do well with strangers, other pets, and children. Every new person they meet is a friend.

They have relatively low exercise needs, and a few minutes of playtime in the living room or outside is sufficient. The dogs can’t swim due to their unique front-heavy physique, and their flat faces make them unsuitable for hot and humid conditions. They do best indoors or cuddling with you in the shade. French bulldogs have gained popularity in recent years, but they are expensive to purchase.

  • Friendly with strangers, children, and other pets
  • Bred for companionship.
  • Can’t tolerate heat and humidity
  • Unable to swim
  • Popular and priced accordingly

5. Pomeranian

brown pomeranian standing on a rock
Image Credit: Kongrat, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 12–16 years
Average adult weight: 3–7 pounds

Pomeranians are a solid 10/10 when it comes to cuddliness. The tiny pups are easy to carry around and hold. Their long, double coats require more grooming than other dogs on our list. Expect to brush Pomeranians most days, with frequent trips to the groomer.

However, they are considered to be low shedders. In terms of exercise, they don’t need much. Pomeranians are a good match for apartment living and for anyone who likes short, leisurely strolls. Most Pomeranians can live in harmony with older, well-behaved children. They bark a lot and may not tolerate other dogs.

  • Affectionate
  • Tolerates older kids
  • Needs regular brushing and grooming
  • May bark a lot


Low-Maintenance Cats That Like to Cuddle

6. Sphynx

Image Credit: Igor Lukin, Pixabay
Average lifespan: 8–14 years
Average adult weight: 5.5–12 pounds

One of the most time-consuming aspects of owning a cat is shedding. Keeping up with loose cat fur can mean daily vacuuming and keeping a lint brush handy. That’s where the (mostly) hairless breed, the Sphynx, comes in. Some Sphynx are completely bald, while others have a little bit of fuzz.

Unlike other cats, Sphynx does require an occasional bath. They are used to baths from kittenhood, so it’s part of their routine. The Sphynx may have standoffish looks, but they love to cuddle. They follow you everywhere around the house and provide constant companionship. They require more mental stimulation than other cat breeds on our list. Sphynx are often referred to as “dog-like.” They are a rare breed, and you’re unlikely to find one at a shelter. You’d have to contact a breeder and possibly sit on a waitlist.

  • Require little to no brushing
  • Love human companionship
  • Need a warm environment
  • Require regular baths
  • Hard-to-find breed

7. Scottish fold

red scottish fold cat on a dark background
Image Credit By: Alexander Sobol, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 15 years
Average adult weight: 6–13 pounds

Scottish folds have a unique appearance. The kitties look like they’re missing their ears! However, the “fold” in their name refers to how some cats’ ears fold down flat on their heads.

Scottish folds are not skittish, and they can adapt to just about any environment or situation that comes their way.

Overall, the breed is quiet and not particularly vocal. Scottish folds are hardy and sweet, and they love to be near their family. Their short hair requires brushing a few times a week. The downside to these easy-going cats is that they can be hard to come by. You will most likely need to acquire one through a Scottish fold breeder. Demand often outpaces supply with rarer breeds like the Scottish fold.

  • Relatively quiet
  • Laidback and easy going
  • Difficult breed to find
  • Breeders may have waitlists

8. American shorthair

American shorthair cat
Image Credit: Thanakorn Kosalakorn, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 15–20 years
Average adult weight: Males, 11–15 pounds
Females, 8–12 pounds

American shorthairs are good-natured kitties. Unlike longer-haired cats that require daily brushing, shorthairs are fine with two or three brushing sessions per week. Most American shorthairs don’t like being carried, but they will come to you on their own terms for a cuddle, particularly if you’re sitting or lying down.

The breed is known for being independent without being aloof. They’re a good choice if you want less cat hair and some cuddles but don’t want a Velcro kitty stuck to your side. American shorthairs do well with other cats and most dogs, but their strong prey drive makes them a bad match for homes with birds and small mammals like gerbils.

  • Requires infrequent brushing
  • Not clingy
  • Strong prey drive
  • Affectionate on their own terms

9. Himalayan

Image Credit: Nattapong Pongpiyapan, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 8–11 years
Average adult weight: Males, 9–15 pounds
Females, 7–10 pounds

Himalayans are a relatively new cat breed. They were first created by crossing Siamese and Persians in the 1930s. Today the Himalayan is considered a pure breed. The cats love affection and will generally welcome attention from anyone. Himalayans are low-energy kitties that love to observe the world around them.

Consider this breed if you don’t want a cat that will tear your house apart. They enjoy playtime but won’t be climbing the walls. What is not so low maintenance about a Himalayan is its grooming needs. Their dense fluffy coat requires daily brushing, and the cats don’t do well in hot environments.

  • Low energy
  • Welcoming to strangers
  • Sensitive to heat
  • Requires daily brushing

10. Exotic shorthair

Exotic shorthair cat
Image Credit: Ewa Studio, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 8–15 years
Average adult weight: 10–12 pounds

Exotic shorthairs are easygoing and quiet. You might not hear a peep out of them! They love to lounge around and will let you pet them. Exotic shorthairs look similar to Persians but require less brushing. Their short hair is plush and soft, making them look like stuffed animals. An exotic shorthair is playful without tearing your house apart.

They are more apt to stare out the window for hours than romp around your countertops. Exotic shorthairs like attention and affection, but they won’t follow you around the house. Males have a reputation for being cuddlier than their female counterparts. Exotic shorthairs are just that—exotic. Your best chance at owning one is by buying a kitten from a breeder.

  • Low brushing needs
  • Quiet
  • Breeders may have waitlists
  • Not commonly found in shelters


Non Cat or Dog Pets That Like to Cuddle

11. Guinea pigs

Two guinea pigs on the grass
Image Credit: Charleen Magne, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 8 years
Average adult weight: Males, 2–2.5 pounds
Females, 1.5–2 pounds

Guinea pigs have a unique look that’s hard to resist. The small mammals like to cuddle but require a quiet environment to relax. Their delicate bone structures make them prone to injury, so they require careful handling. The best place to cuddle a guinea pig is while sitting on the floor. Most guinea pigs do not like their buttocks or belly touched, but they love having their heads, necks, and backs scratched. Guinea pigs are food motivated, and you can use treats to coax a hesitant one into some cuddle time.

They recognize their owners and may be picky about whom they’ll let hold them. In the wild, guinea pigs live in herds. They cannot live without at least another guinea pig; same-sex pairs and trios do well together. The best temperature for a guinea pig is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You must take care when placing their cage or pen in your home. They need a draft-free area away from a direct light source. Not all veterinarians treat guinea pigs.

  • Recognize and bond with their owners
  • Food-motivated
  • Not all vets treat guinea pigs
  • Don’t like loud environments

12. Parakeets

Two Parakeets
Image by Elsemargriet from Pixabay
Average lifespan: 7–15 years
Average adult weight:  1 ounce

Parakeets, also called budgies, are popular pet birds. They love to sing and vocalize. Male parakeets have a reputation for being easier to train than females. With some effort and patience, you can get your parakeet to sit on your hand. The colorful birds may brush against your cheek and love a gentle head rub.

Parakeets are playful and can learn simple tricks. While they enjoy human interaction, they probably won’t notice if you don’t cuddle with them every day. To keep them healthy, you must set up their cage in a draft-free area away from direct heat sources. Parakeets molt once a year, which can be pretty messy. As with all exotic pets on our list, finding an animal clinic that will treat pet birds can be difficult.

  • Can learn tricks
  • Long average lifespan
  • Can be noisy
  • Difficult to find a vet who treats parakeets

13. Bearded dragon

Bearded dragon having a dip in water
Image Credit: aixklusiv, Pixabay
Average lifespan: 15 years
Average adult weight: 11–18 ounces

Bearded dragons remind us that many pets enjoy physical affection, even those without hair or fur! Once a bearded dragon gets to know you, it’ll love sitting on your chest and riding around on your shoulders. You will need to take the time and effort to set up an appropriate cage.

Bearded dragons need specific temperature and humidity ranges to stay healthy. They are solitary creatures that won’t mind if you skip a daily cuddle now and then. They need to live alone and don’t do well in pairs or groups. Unlike some of the other exotic pets on our list, they can live up to 15 years with the right care. It can be challenging to find a vet who treats bearded dragons and other reptiles; you’ll want to ensure you have an animal clinic lined up before adopting a bearded dragon.

  • Average lifespan similar to a cat or dog
  • No fur or hair to vacuum up
  • Not all vets treat reptiles
  • Require specific temperature and humidity ranges

14. Gerbils

mongolian gerbils
Image Credit: Guillaume1966, Pixabay

Gerbils are an ideal choice if you want a cuddly pet but don’t want the 10 to 15-year commitment of a dog or cat. Gerbils need to be kept in same-sex pairs or small groups. They may not be the right choice for homes with a cat or dog, which are natural predators. Some gerbils aren’t naturally cuddly.

It may take some time for a gerbil to warm up to you. But once they do, you can hold them in your hand and gently pet them. Don’t let their small size fool you; they can and will bite if scared. Gerbils don’t need to be brushed, but their cages need daily cleaning. Gerbils are adorable when they’re happy. They’ll vocalize and even purr like a cat. You may have difficulty finding a local vet who treats small mammals like gerbils.

  • Small
  • Don’t require brushing
  • Short average lifespan
  • Not all vets treat gerbils
  • Not for homes with cats and dogs

15. Mini pigs

pot-bellied mini-pigs in the farm
Image Credit: Potckong, Shutterstock
Average lifespan: 15–18 years
Average adult weight:  75–150 pound

Mini pigs can be lower maintenance pets with needs similar to the cats and dogs on our list. Pigs are intelligent and can learn tricks and commands. They can be housebroken like a dog and go outside for potty breaks. Mini pigs don’t require regular brushing but shed twice a year. Consider a mini pig if you want a goofy and faithful companion, but a dog or cat isn’t for you.

Pigs are cute, but there are several caveats that come with ownership. First, there is no standard definition for terms like “teacup” and “micro.” Some breeders use these words for advertising their piglets. Secondly, no healthy adult pig will ever be tiny. Some mini pigs top out at 50 pounds, but most will be in the 75 to 150-pound range. Thirdly, finding a vet or animal clinic treating mini pigs can be difficult. Also, some municipalities classify mini pigs as “livestock” and prohibit them. Check with your local regulations to see if pigs are allowed.

  • Intelligent
  • Don’t require regular brushing
  • Trainable
  • Exercise needs similar to a low-energy cat or dog
  • Some municipalities ban mini pigs
  • Shed twice a year
  • Terms like “micro” and “teacup” are misleading
  • Not all vets treat mini pigs


Tips for Choosing the Right Low-Maintenance, Cuddly Pet for You

There is no such thing as a “no maintenance” pet. All animals require some level of care behind cuddling. The pros and cons we’ve listed above can help guide your decision.

You should also consider your living situation. Are your family or housemates willing to share their space with an animal? Do you own your own home or rent? Is it likely you’ll be moving in the future?

Lastly, remember that all animals are unique. There will always be exceptions to personality traits and energy levels. Ideally, you should spend time with a pet before welcoming them into your home.



Our list of low-maintenance pets that like to cuddle includes cats, dogs, and other animals. We included smaller dogs, like the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and the French bulldog. For cats, we chose the relaxed Himalayan and the (mostly) hairless Sphynx. Our “other animals” category includes hamsters and guinea pigs.

There’s a low-maintenance, cuddly pet out there for just about everyone. Take time with your selection, and enjoy your new pet.

Featured Image Credit: VeronikaSmirnaya, Shutterstock

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