31 Best Low Maintenance Pets That Like to Cuddle


I love to cuddle and I love animals. But of course, not every animal loves to cuddle, and some animals require a lot of upkeep. So I wondered what are the best low maintenance pets that like to cuddle?

Here’s what I learned:

The animals that are the lowest maintenance and the most likely to snuggle are Bombay cats, golden retrievers, hedgehogs, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters, and Himalayan bunnies. These animals require just a little upkeep and love to be played with, held, and cuddled.

Animals have been loyal companions to humans for centuries, and it is natural for us to want to keep a pet for its numerous benefits.

They provide us with companionship, protection, and love. However, with that being said, keeping a pet comes with its own set of responsibilities, and many of us are just not ready for that.

Luckily, not all types of pets need to be walked or make messes regularly. So I compiled a list of cuddly pets that are easy to maintain and would make great pets.

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So now let’s review the top 31 . . .

Low maintenance pets you can cuddle with:

1. Bombay Cats

Cats are a good balance between minimal effort and a companion.

As natural hunters, they will sometimes tend to look for food on their own and look for their own entertainment. Furthermore, they do not shed as much like a dog and also do not need to be walked.

If trained properly, they will even go to the bathroom in the specified area.

All you need to do is train them a little, clean them, and feed them. In return for this small amount of effort, they will reward you with an immense amount of affection and cuddles.

Of course, everyone knows cats are low-maintenance pets and most do like to cuddle, so here, we’re focused on which breeds of cats are the most affectionate.

Some cats shed more than others, of course, so if you do find yourself overwhelmed with cat hair, check out some of the most effective ways to Get Rid of Pet Hair (click to read on my site) in your home.

2. Golden Retrievers

Dogs are not called man’s best friend for no reason. They are easy to maintain and also are fantastic companions!

When it comes to maintenance, you do have to put in a bit of effort such as cleaning after them, taking them on walks, and feeding them on time. However, a huge portion of these responsibilities can be omitted or reduced simply by training them properly.

Though it’s not applicable for all breeds of dogs, some breeds often shed fur. To make your cleaning process easier, make sure to brush up on the best tips to Get Rid of Dog Odor in Carpet (click to read on my site).

Not all dogs love a good cuddle, which is why our top picks for low-maintenance dogs that love to cuddle include both the English Bulldog and Golden Retrievers.

3. Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs have recently been increasing in popularity as pets, especially because they are so cute and cuddly!

These small creatures are also easy to care for. They are friendly and playful, yet quiet.

So, you might even consider adopting a hedgehog! But make sure to check if it’s legal in your area to adopt a hedgehog or not.

4. Chinchillas

When it comes to maintenance, chinchillas require most of the same things as others.

By that, I mean feeding and cleaning, but it’s not so difficult taking care of a chinchilla. They are beautiful, caring, and make for wonderful pets

They might be small but they make it up with their affectionate cuddles.

5. Hamsters

Hamsters are one of the most popular introductory pets around the world, so we just couldn’t leave them out of our list! These small creatures are perfect pets for your child, to introduce them to the responsibilities of a pet.

Hamsters are very playful and active, not too loud, and are very loving. They will stay in a limited place if you keep them in a cage. Even if you feel like you cannot manage time to play with them, installing a wheel in their cage will keep them busy!

Besides, as they are popular pets, information on their care is widely available. However, though hamsters don’t require your attention at all times, you should ensure that you clean and feed them on time, and also take care of them when they fall ill.

6. Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are excellent pets.

Compared to many other pets, the initial cost of them and regular maintenance costs are not too high.

Like hamsters, they require some attention but they can easily entertain themselves and can stay in limited space if given a cage.

In general, they are very emotional and caring animals and would love your cuddles.

7. Ferrets

Ferrets are extremely energetic, loving, and fun!

They even have a good lifespan of 6 to 10 years. Ferrets love to play, so you’ll have a great time keeping one as a pet.

However, do keep in mind that ferrets cannot be left in the cage for long hours.

They are a bit mischievous, but if you get close to one, they will love you like of their own and shower you with hugs and cuddles.

It’s also usually recommended to keep ferrets in pairs as solo ferrets tend to be less social.

Lastly, only consider a ferret as long as you don’t have other animals or small children (they can bite if startled). Without those conditions, ferrets can be loyal, affectionate, and loving.

8. Himalayan Bunnies

These adorable creatures are another great low-maintenance pet.

When it comes to maintenance, you will surely have to feed them regularly, clean up after them, and play with them as bunnies are very active animals.

It’s best to keep bunnies in pairs as they are quite social animals.

And it would be a good idea to neuter one of them if your pair of bunnies are of the opposite gender.

Other than that, bunnies do not need too much attention. They are not too loud and are able to stay in limited spaces most of the time. And not to forget, they are amazing cuddle buddies!

Like most animals, certain breeds of rabbits are more affectionate than others, which is why we selected either the Himalayan (or Californian) rabbit as our top picks for low-maintenance rabbits that like to cuddle.

But other great choices include:

  • Dutch rabbits
  • Thrianta Rabbits
  • Sussex Rabbits

9. Teacup Pot-Bellied Pigs

It might sound strange to think of cuddling with a pig.

After all, we picture them living in filth, rolling around in mud. Some pigs can also be aggressive and grow quite large.

But a pot-bellied pig is different.

Pot-Bellied pigs LOVE and crave attention and affection. They respond extremely well to touch. In fact, sometimes they are so affectionate that some might not also think of them as low maintenance.

There are a few different types of pot-bellied pigs and some get bigger than others, although all are affectionate. We selected the Teacup Pot Bellied pig since it is one of the smaller pigs, getting to between 35-45 lbs and 14 1/2 inches tall when fully grown.

10. Scottish Fold Cats

Scottish Fold cats have a distinctive look due to their genetic mutation that causes their ears to fold forward.

But make no mistake. They are fluffy, loving, and they are perfect low maintenance pets.

They are great if you have small children, are a cat person already, and unlike some longer-haired cats, they don’t require a lot of brushing.

11. English Bulldogs

Are English Bulldogs the perfect pet?

And for that matter, French Bulldogs are pretty awesome too!

These are a low-maintenance dogs with a short coat.

Muscular, wrinkly, with that distinctive pushed-in nose. They will be your loyal companion and forever at your side.

Sweet, gentle, and great with kids too.

12. Californian Bunnies

The Californian, sometimes called the California White is a result of cross-breeding between New Zealand Whites and Standard Chinchilla rabbits.

They are typically white with black or grey ears and very fluffy.

They can be a little shy at first.

But once they get to know you, they make the perfect choice for your low-maintenance companion.

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13. Rex Cats

I’ve owned 7 Cornish Rex cats (they look a bit like Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies after the cat shrinks).

They are incredibly affectionate and loving.

Not fluffy, mind you. But loving nonetheless. But the sweetest cat I ever owned was a Peterbald.

I’ll cover those a little further down the list.

14. Collies

You may not be old enough to remember the classic TV show Lassie. But Lassie, based first on a short-story and then a novel before the TV show, was a collie. This breed of dog is medium to large-sized with long hair.

So from a maintenance standpoint, there will be some brushing involved.

Collies don’t have an aggressive bone in their bodies and get along great with kids and other animals. They also aren’t the anxious kind of dog either. They will literally love you forever.

Because of their size though, it’s best to live in a house with a yard rather than a small apartment.

15. Basset Hound

“Smithers, release the hounds!” OK, if you’re not a Simpsons fan, that won’t make any sense. But The Basset Hound is a classic hound dog.

Short hair means no brushing.

And their sweet, devoted, and loving disposition make them a great choice to be your loyal companion. But no hiding food in the bed. Their sniffer is the 2nd best in the business followed only by the Bloodhound.

They will find it!

16. Peterbald Cats

I’ve owned a lot of cats in my life. At least 14 and I’m probably forgetting a few. But of all the cats I owned, one of the sweetest was a Peterbald named Oscar. Unfortunately, Oscar had feline leukemia and wasn’t with me that long. But I treasure those memories of him snuggling with me.

Peterbald cats are Russian in origin but look a lot like Cornish Rex or Sphynx Cats (again, picture Mr. Bigglesworth post-freezing from the Austin Powers movies.)

Because they are very short-haired cats, there’s no brushing AND no hairballs! But they also won’t want to be cold due to the short hair, so grab a blanket and prepare to snuggle!

17. Pit Bull Terriers

Pit Bulls get a bad rap due to bad owners sometimes training them to be aggressive.

But the term “Pit Bull” is actually a catch-all term to describe all the different kinds of Pit Bulls. Pit Bull Terriers are indeed a type of Pit Bull. But the temperament and disposition of these dogs are sweet and gentle.

They are literally bred to be a family dogs and they are a great companion and good around kids. And because of their relatively small size and really short hair, the maintenance is low.

18. Chinchilla Rabbits

Fur coats may have fallen out of fashion, but chances are you’ve heard of the chinchilla and can picture that soft velvety fur.

Chinchilla rabbits aren’t actually related to chinchillas (a type of rodent technically), but their fur is remarkably similar.

There are 3 different types, so let’s look at each one:

  • Standard Chinchilla Rabbit – 5 to 7 pounds. The original version. These other 2 were cross-bred from this one.
  • American Chinchilla Rabbit – 9 to 12 pounds. Stockier than the standard version too.
  • Giant Chinchilla Rabbit – These guys can get up to 16 pounds!

For a low-maintenance cuddly pet, I’m going to recommend the Standard Chinchilla Rabbit. But any of them would probably make a great pet. Just make sure they have a large enough habitat.

19. Bearded Dragon

I know. Most of you don’t think about cuddling with a dragon but hear me out.

This type of lizard makes great pets. They are calm, gentle, and sweet, and those qualities only improve as they age. And unlike a lot of reptiles, they actually love playing with people.

They love being held or having their head or chin scratched. 

Unlike snakes, there’s also no need to feed them live or frozen mice. They love a plant-based diet. But you can also throw bugs in there too.

They eventually grow to between 16-24 inches and can live up to 20 years.

20. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This low-maintenance dog is the 17th most popular pure-bred dog in the US. But they actually are British in origin.

They are fairly small dogs that gets up to 18 pounds.

These sweet dogs are gentle, playful, affectionate, and oh so patient if you have little ones. The fur is often a mix of white and tan or white and dark brown, with the hair being medium-length.

So they will need a little brushing on occasion.

21. Siamese Cats

Another great choice for a low-maintenance pet is the Siamese cat.

Very short hair means no brushing and a low likelihood of hairballs.

These cats are also incredibly loving and affectionate and lack the aloofness that many types of cats have.

They can also be incredibly loyal and are very smart.

22. Havana Rabbits

Despite the name, these did not originate in Cuba.

In fact, they first appeared in the Netherlands in the late 1800s.

They love living indoors or outdoors and make great pets. They are calm, gentle, and bond really well when a family adopts one.

They are also pretty mellow, so a nice snuggle is right up their alley.

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23. Leopard Geckos

Looking for a pet that you could literally leave alone for days while on vacation or something?

These little guys may just be perfect. They also don’t smell and don’t need a lot of attention, but do make great pets.

Do plan to take a little time to build a connection with them though before trying that first cuddle.

Unlike the tiny geckos that might climb on the outside of your house in the spring, these little guys can get up to between 8-11 inches in length.

24. Sphynx Cats

Like the Cornish Rex and Peterbald cats I mentioned above, the Sphynx cat is almost hairless.

So no brushing and no hairballs! But don’t mistake hairless for being rough-textured. They are actually very soft and cuddly. And because of the lack of hair, they will be snuggling with you all day.

These are at the top of the list for loving, affectionate, and friendly cats.

25. Irish Wolfhounds

OK, so this is definitely not the pet you want if you live in an apartment as they are quite large.

But these gentle giants make great pets if you live in a house. And they only require brushing a few times a month.

They will need to be walked regularly.

No aggression, so they can be great with kids who aren’t intimidated by their size. They can get up to 32 inches tall and up to 180 pounds. So do make sure you have a tall fence.

26. Pet Rats

I know. Rats aren’t for everyone. Especially if you’ve ever lived in a house with a rodent problem. But the reality is that pet rats are really low-maintenance, friendly, and affectionate.

They’re also quite smart too.

They are very social and will easily hang out in your lap or on a shoulder while you watch TV on the couch or have a cuddle in bed.

Rats, despite their reputation, are also incredibly clean and groom themselves. Just plan to get 2 or more as they love to have a friend or 2.

27. Shih Tzu

The favorite dog name for every 13-year-old boy, these dogs are from Tibet.

They are tiny with medium-length hair and floppy ears.

Because of their longer hair and small size, they can get overheated quickly. So they may not be right if you live somewhere hot like I do (Texas) and plan to keep them mostly outside.

And unlike some of the other dogs I’ve listed, you will need to brush them daily. But they’re so small that luckily that doesn’t take long.

But on the plus side, they love to cuddle and were bred for companionship and will be loyal, affectionate, and are great with kids.

28. Small Rodents

We’ve talked about rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and hamsters.

But there are other choices in the rodent family that make great low-maintenance pets that are loving, friendly, and cuddly. Those include:

  • Gerbils
  • Mice
  • African Dormouse
  • Common Degu

29. Smaller Turtle

Turtles can make great pets and will like to be held and played with.

But they like a calm, tranquil environment. So if you have a lot of other loud pets or young kids, this won’t be a great choice for you.

But it is a perfect choice if you live in a small apartment.

However, if you have a house with a fenced backyard, consider making a large contained area (think planter-box) and keeping the turtle there so it has room to roam a little. In colder climates, provide a little home and a heat lamp so it has a nice warm place to hang out.

There are many types of smaller turtles that make great pets, including:

  • Red-Eared Slider
  • Eastern Box Turtle
  • Mississippi Map Turtle
  • Spotted Turtle

30. Bichon Frise

Like the Shih Tzu I mentioned above, this is a toy dog that is tiny and sweet.

They get along great with other pets and with children. But I might avoid getting one if I had toddlers as they may snap if they get their hair pulled.

They don’t like to be left alone, so if you’re looking for a constant companion who is loving, loyal, and friendly, the Bichon  Frise is great.

Medium-length hair, so a little brushing will be necessary.

31. Parrots

I know. Parrots? But hear me out.

My middle child has a friend with 2 parrots. And they pretty much love to hang out with him. They climb all over him and just want to be near him.

I’m not a big fan of birds in cages, but it can work well to have a large cage with lots of stuff to climb on, but then leave the door open for extended periods so they can climb around the cage too or play with you.

Probably goes without saying, but not a great choice if you have cats.


Frequently Asked Questions

What pet is low maintenance?

Low maintenance simply means a pet won’t take up a lot of time to care for, nor will it cost a lot of money providing food, toys, etc.

Some pets, of course, are low maintenance but aren’t ones you would cuddle, and those include:

  • Goldfish or Beta fish
  • Finches or canaries
  • Sea Monkeys
  • Snakes

Arguably some people might want to cuddle a snake, but for the most part, those are the top low-maintenance pets that you would NOT cuddle.

Of course, as we’ll get more into below, there are also some low maintenance pets that are cuddly, such as:

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Rodents

With the exception of dogs and cats, you’ll notice everything else on the list would typically live in a cage or a tank.

Being contained in a small space is part of what makes a pet low maintenance as they don’t freely roam your house (and potentially add to your cleanup duties).

Which pets are the most affectionate?

We just covered the top low-maintenance pets, but of course, some of those, like a goldfish, aren’t terribly affectionate.

Some of the best pets to be affectionate with include:

  • Dogs (especially Golden Retrievers, Collies, and English Bulldogs)
  • Cats (especially Bombays, Cornish Rex, and Siamese)
  • Parrots (not terribly physically affectionate, but they grow very attached to their owners)
  • Pigs (especially pot-bellied pigs)
  • Horses
  • Rats

Are turtles low-maintenance pets?

The short answer is not really.

Turtles need the perfect environment to live in properly. That includes the right space, the right light, temperature, and water.

It’s also good to know that turtles can live for decades, so if you found one in the yard or just want to get one for your 8-year-old, remember it will need love and care long after little Johnny has moved on.

Think you’ll just let it loose in the yard? Think again. Turtles raised and bred in captivity don’t often survive when released in the wild, and sometimes spread diseases to other animals too.

Speaking of diseases, it’s also worth noting that turtles do sometimes carry salmonella which is why turtles under 4″ in length were banned for sale in the US in 1975 as smaller turtles were more likely to carry the virus.

So if you are looking for a low-maintenance pet, the turtle is probably not the right choice.

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Best small pets for cuddling

Cats

Cats are known for being a bit aloof and being affectionate when and where they want to be.

But there are some breeds that are more consistently affectionate than others. I don’t have any now, but in my life, I’ve owned 7 Cornish Rex cats (they look a bit like Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers movies after the cat shrinks).

They are incredibly affectionate and loving. Not fluffy, mind you. But loving nonetheless. But the sweetest cat I ever owned was a Peterbald.

Dogs

Not all dogs are small animals, of course. And not all dogs are affectionate. But when you get the right combination of size and temperament, you’ll get a best friend for life.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or a French or English bulldog make great choices as would almost any type of terrier.

Rabbits

Some rabbits are a bit more aggressive or aloof than others. But the Himalayan or Californian rabbit are a good option for a small cuddly pet. Fluffy and low maintenance, rabbits are easy to care for.

Best of all, they don’t make much mess and are really quiet, so they’re great for a small apartment. But they’re always ready for you to love on them when you’re ready.

Guinea pigs

More loveable than a rat or hamster, and almost as fluffy as a rabbit, guinea pigs make a great choice if you’re looking for one of the best small pets for cuddling. And they don’t take up much space either.

They show their emotions well, so you’ll know how they feel about you.

Plus, they don’t really need a lot of attention unlike many of the animals we’ve listed. But they’ll be ready to cuddle when you are.

Pot-Bellied Pigs

Of course, some pigs grow quite large, and when they live outside, they can be pretty dirty. Often those pigs have rough, coarse hair too.

But a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig is different!

These are as small as a small to medium-sized dog and won’t grow beyond that. Plus, they LOVE affection. They crave it, in fact. If you’re looking for a sweet, loyal animal who will follow you around and curl up on the couch with you to watch a show, this is your animal!

Low maintenance office pets

Sometimes it’s nice to have pets where we work.

It’s a nice distraction, tends to bring the staff together, and it’s fun to take care of animals and can improve the overall mood of the workplace. But don’t just take my word for it.

Banfield conducted an extensive study on pets in the workplace and its impact on:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Feelings about work-life balance
  • Productivity
  • Turnover

Overwhelmingly, that study found that “Pet-friendly workplace policies were shown to not only help companies retain current employees but to help them attract new hires as well”.

But, of course, not every pet is going to be a good pick for your office.

Some are too messy, some just need too much attention, and others would just be too big for the average office space. While people bringing their own dogs to work, is most common, other common pets that live at the office include:

  • Goldfish
  • Hamsters
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Rabbits

Final thoughts

In this post, we took an in-depth look at the world of super affectionate pets that don’t require a lot of upkeep.

After all, some are super loyal but are (literally) as big as a horse.

Others are just content in a cage or tank but don’t really interact with us or not, so we don’t even really know if they’re aware of our existence.

So we listed out all of the best low maintenance pets that like to cuddle, so you and your family can make the right choice for your household!

So, which one of these are you adopting soon? Let us know in the comments section.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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