What Are Dog Breeds That Don’t Play Fetch? 17 Dog Types

Do all dogs like to play fetch? No, fetch is not everyone’s cup of tea in the doggy world.

That is why in today’s article, I will walk you through the world of dog breeds that don’t play fetch.

Let’s explore who they are and what is special about them! You can also look forward to discovering activities that you and your pet can enjoy to strengthen your bond.

17 Dog Breeds That Don’t Play Fetch

dog breeds that don't play fetch

Dog breeds that don’t like playing fetch include Pugs, Bulldogs, Greyhounds, etc.

They avoid fetch due to health issues (Pugs’ breathing problems), body structure (Bulldogs’ short noses), or preference (Greyhounds prefer short sprints).

Below is the list of 1a7 dog breeds that are not interested in playing fetch.


Bulldogs are not really into fetch games or chasing tennis balls. One reason is that they have short noses, so they may struggle to breathe during strenuous activities like fetch.

In addition, their energy levels are low & moderate, and they prefer simple games, such as playing with soft toys or gentle tug-of-war games.

Moreover, Bulldogs are more laid-back and don’t need hours of daily exercise like some other breeds.

Dog parents can consider letting them chew toys, basking in the sun, or spending time with you as a bonding activity.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards are giant, calm dogs that aren’t typically interested in playing fetch. Their size and accumulation of energy make the repetitive task of fetching less appealing.

Instead, they enjoy stimulating or mentally stimulating activities that engage their intellect while being less physically demanding.

You should spend time to join them in these activities to keep them content.

Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds possess long bodies & short legs. Thus, the fetch games are a bit of a challenge.

They’re a low-energy breed and don’t require hours of daily exercise. Basset Hounds are more attached to activities that fulfill their powerful sense of smell than physical exercise.

They prefer leisurely strolls over chasing a ball.

They are content with simple games, for example, hide-and-seek, gentle tug-of-war, or puzzle toys that engage their senses and intellect without requiring vigorous physical activity.


Though strong and sturdy, Bernese Mountain Dogs are not known for their interest in fetch games. They are an athletic breed, preferring activities like hiking and pulling.

Fetching a ball is not to their liking. Instead, they are observant and may find relaxation in simply sitting outside and watching the world go by.

Afghan Hounds

Afghan Hounds have a regal demeanor and aren’t typically into ball throwing. They are an ancient breed known for their elegance.

Their energy levels are moderate, and they prefer stimulating activities over a game of tug.

Afghan Hounds would rather spend their time looking majestic and not necessarily pursuing a ball in anticipation.

Their calm and composed disposition reflects their unique breed characteristics.

Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are small, charming dogs that usually don’t engage in fetch games. They often avoid fetch games due to their petite and lovely nature.

Their size may not make them naturally inclined for vigorous activities.

They prefer shorter walks as their daily exercise and are pleased with less physical exercise and more companionship. Cuddles are their favorites.

Chows (Chows Chows)

Chow Chows are known for their aloofness and aren’t typically excited about chasing balls.

They have a calm disposition, prefer to be independent, and aren’t easily drawn into games of fetch.

Other activities they may want to be involved in include grooming sessions, where their thick coat receives attention, or short walks that offer gentle exercises.

Some mental challenges, like puzzle toys or obedience training, can pique their interest.


Pugs, with adorable wrinkled faces, don’t have a soft spot for fetch. They own a distinct body shape with short noses and flat faces.

As a result, it makes it difficult to breathe during vigorous activity like fetch.

Their brachycephalic nature means they’re prone to breathing issues and prefer gentler activities.

They find joy in cuddling and short, easy walks. As a parent, you can boost their mood by snuggling together and playing indoors. Pugs are all about quality time.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs are noble and protective. They prefer patrolling their territory over fetch, as their protective instincts make them less interested in games.

You should consider spending time with them by going for long, leisurely walks or hikes. They appreciate the security of being by your side while exploring.


Why doesn't my dog fetch the ball

Havanese dogs are charming and friendly. They’d rather play interactive indoor games like hide and seek or practice simple, fun tricks because they are small and delicate.

Your attention sends them sheer joy, so shower them with pets and cuddles for a happy Havanese.

Great Dane

Great Danes are gentle giants. While their size might make fetch seem like a suitable game, they’re prone to joint issues, and strenuous activities like fetch can be hard on their bodies.

Instead, take leisurely strolls with them and let them enjoy their surroundings. I normally give them the space they need and cherish the moments of peaceful companionship.


Newfoundlands are natural water dogs. Their dense, water-resistant coat and webbed feet are designed for swimming, so they’d rather be in the water than chasing after a ball.

They adore swimming and being around water. Let them swim and splash around if you’re near a safe water source.

They love it! Just make sure they don’t swim in a pool with chlorine.

Also, they’re gentle and friendly to kids. I recommend this dog type to families with kids, as they are fantastic family companions.

Spinone Italiano

Spinone Italianos are outdoorsy dogs. While they have the energy for fetch, their hunting instincts often take precedence.

They might be more fond of tracking scents than chasing balls.

They enjoy hiking and exploring. You should take them on outdoor adventures, and they’ll thrive.

Their love for the great outdoors makes them wonderful companions for active families.

Neapolitan Mastiff

Neapolitan Mastiffs are powerful and protective. They prefer guarding their home to playing fetch.

Practice obedience training and socialization activities to build their confidence. They’ll appreciate your dedication to their well-being.


Chihuahuas have fragile bones. The high-impact movements associated with fetch can pose a risk to their skeletal structure, so they tend to prefer less strenuous activities.

They enjoy indoor play and lap cuddles. Dog parents should teach them new tricks and pamper them with affection. They’re loyal and thrive on your love.

Miniature Mexican (Hairless)

Miniature Mexican Hairless dogs are known for their sensitive skin, which can make fetch uncomfortable or even painful if they bump into objects.

They often take part in gentler activities that don’t expose them to potential skin injuries.

They love sunbathing by the window or taking gentle walks in the shade. Protect their skin, and they’ll adore your dedicated caring.


What dogs aren't playful

Greyhounds have a reputation for their speed, but they’re couch potatoes at heart.

They enjoy short bursts of speed in a controlled environment, but the repetitive nature of fetch doesn’t align with their natural sprinting behavior.

They love lounging indoors. You guys can choose a movie from a list of movies dogs like to watch together. That is the treat; no need to engage in fetching.

When watching, pay attention to their reactions. If you notice that your pooch doesn’t really concentrate on the film, it’s best to engage in other activities.


Why Doesn’t My Dog Fetch The Ball?

If dogs don’t fetch the ball, it could simply because they find it uninteresting. Some breeds, like the German shepherd, prefer more mental stimulation games.

Dog parents can consider using reinforcement (positive) to encourage their pet to enjoy the fun of fetch.

Sometimes, they may need training to grasp the concept of retrieving a ball.

Why Won t My Dog Play Fetch Outside?

Distractions, discomfort, fear could be to blame for the refusal to play fetch outside.

Besides, certain breeds, like therapy dogs, aren’t keen on this physical activity. Use a long leash or try playing in a quieter spot to entice them.

However, if they don’t feel like moving, don’t force them to do anything. Your goal  is to ensure their happiness, not to put more stress on them.

What Dogs Aren’t Playful?

Dogs that aren’t playful often include low-maintenance dog breeds with calm behavior, like the Bulldog.

These low-energy dogs typically don’t get on well with the game of fetch.

Breeds with boundless energy, such as the Border Collie, prefer more stimulating activities like agility training.

Hence, as a dog parent, you should always factor in your dog’s breed tendencies and individual personality when choosing their favorite games.


Fetch might be a classic game, but there are dog breeds that don’t play fetch. In fact, you can still train them to do some fetching.

However, dogs, like people, have their own preferences.

So please don’t force them to do the things they don’t like unless that is something they must do for disease treatment or training.

Ultimately, the best activities with your pet are the ones that make them feel happy, and you two have a good time.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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