Your small living space doesn’t have to hold you back from bringing home the pup of your dreams. For apartment dwellers, it’s all about finding the right type of dog that fits in with your urban lifestyle. Here are recommendations for 10 dogs breeds great for apartment living.
Factors To Consider When Looking For Good Apartment Dogs
When you think of dog breeds that do well in apartments, most people think of small dogs. If you live in a tiny space, adopting a small dog might make the most sense. Giant paws, destructive tails, and long legs don’t always mesh well with tiny living spaces.
But contrary to popular belief, not all small dogs make good apartment dogs. Many small breeds are too high energy, too yappy, and too high maintenance to be happy in a high rise.1
So while size does matter, especially if you live in an extra small space, it shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor. Make sure you look at the full picture when picking out your pet rather than basing your decision on size alone.
Beyond the size factor, you want to pay attention to the temperament of your potential pet. Temperament refers to your dog’s general attitude toward people and other animals.2
Your potential pet’s temperament is important for apartment-dwellers to consider. Living in close quarters means plenty of socializing with strangers, neighbors, and other pups. Ideally, your dog will be able to handle this and hopefully even enjoy it.3
A dog’s temperament is largely based on instincts (i.e. they are born with it). But environment can also influence behavior.4 When reading breed descriptions, you want to look for dogs who are:
Dogs who are fearful or timid may be more likely to bark. When you have close neighbors and thin walls, this isn’t ideal.
Energy And Exercise Needs
Since apartments are typically small, high energy dogs who need vigorous exercise may not be a great fit. Many apartment dwellers look for a pet who is happy to go on a leisurely stroll around the block and call it a day.
If you have the time and desire to wear your dog out with daily physical activities and mental stimulation, a high energy dog may work for you. The important thing is to be realistic about how much time you actually have to give your dog the physical exercise they need. Here’s a general range of exercise requirements.
In this group: Pointers, Retrievers, Setters, Spaniels
Recommended exercise: 1-2 hours of moderate to high intensity exercise daily
In this group: Siberian Husky, Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher
Recommended exercise: 1-2 hours of moderate to high intensity exercise daily
In this group: Beagle, Coonhound, Bloodhound
Recommended exercise: 1-2 hours of daily moderate exercise
In this group: Sheepdogs, Collies, Shepherds
Recommended exercise: 60-90 minutes of high intensity exercise every day
In this group: Airedale Terrier, Bull Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier
Recommended exercise: 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise every day
In this group: Greyhound, Wolfhound, Deerhound
Recommended exercise: 20-30 minute daily walk with occasional hard sprints
In this group: Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Yorkshire Terrier, Pug
Recommended exercise: 20-30 minute daily walk with some play time
Non-Sporting Group And Mixed Breeds
In this group: Toy Poodle, French Bulldog, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Dalmatian, mixed breeds
Recommended exercise: needs vary widely in this group. Your best bet is to see which other group your dog most identifies with and use that as a guideline.6,7,8
Dog Breeds That Are Well Suited For Apartment Living
With those factors in mind, here are several recommendations for dog breeds who would do well in an apartment.
If you’re looking for a low maintenance cutie with easy grooming requirements, this just may be the breed for you. Here’s why they make great apartment dogs:
- They typically weigh 10-25 lbs, making them well-suited to apartment living.
- For the most part, their exercise needs can be met by regular walks, an occasional visit to the dog park, and a good romp around your apartment.
- They are often friendly to neighbors and strangers.
- They tend to bark only when necessary, which makes them ideal watchdogs.9
- They don’t do well in extreme temperatures.
- They sometimes snore.10
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Clocking in at 13-18 pounds, these silky pups will be perfectly happy in your studio apartment. Here’s why they make great apartment dogs:
- Their small size makes them easy to keep in apartments.
- They are docile and affectionate dogs.
- They rarely bark, and they are friendly with strangers.11
- They are relatively high maintenance when it comes to grooming.
- They don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time.12
Are you interested in something outside of the toy group? English bulldogs weigh 40-50 lbs. For many people, this is the sweet spot between not-too-small and not-too-big. These muscley medium-sized dogs may be perfect for you and your apartment. Here’s why:
- They are adaptable to small spaces. They don’t need much room to roam around.
- They only need brief daily walks.
- They love naps and are generally content to relax on your couch with you.13
- These dogs don’t do well in the heat or muggy conditions.
- They aren’t able to run or walk for extended periods of time, so don’t adopt this breed if you want a jogging buddy.14
Basset hounds – with their low bodies, long ears, and sad eyes – are one of the most recognizable breeds. If you’ve always wanted a Basset but aren’t sure if you have the space, here’s some good news: this breed is great for apartment living.
- They aren’t timid or shy, which is a plus for meeting other people in your apartment.
- Although they look clumsy, they are actually quite aware of their surroundings.
- They are friendly and easy to manage.15
- Because they are so loyal, they can be protective of their owners.
- They can be hard to train.
- They may bark or howl if left alone for too long.
- They tend to shed a lot.16
It seems like everyone on Instagram has a Frenchie these days, and it’s easy to see why. French Bulldogs are easygoing and adaptable to all sorts of environments. Here’s why they make great apartment dogs:
- They are outgoing and do well with strangers.
- They don’t need a ton of exercise. Daily walks are sufficient.
- Their coat is low-maintenance and easy to care for.17
- They can be territorial or possessive of their people.
- They can be difficult to housetrain.
- They don’t do well with heat. Air-conditioning is a must.18
This breed was originally bred to live with Chinese royalty, but they’ll happily settle for your humble apartment.
Here’s why these companion dogs do well in apartments:
- They are calm, quiet, polite neighbors.
- They don’t require a lot of space. They are happy as long as they are close to their owners.
- They are content playing with their toys inside rather than chasing a ball around outside.19
- They take some effort to groom.
- They love their humans, so if you are always gone, it might not be a good fit.20
Looking for an entertaining fluffball to hop on your lap as you lounge on your couch? Havanese dogs may be perfect for you. Here’s why these 10 lb pups make great apartment dogs:
- They are gentle and affectionate dogs.
- Their small size makes them suited to apartment living.
- They have more energy than other small dogs, so if you’re interested in a dog with higher exercise requirements, they may be a great pick.21
- They may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone.
- Their coat requires regular brushing and care.
- They may bark when they hear or see something through the window.22
Dachshunds are small and adaptable to almost any lifestyle and living space, including apartments. Why do they make good apartment dogs?
- Because of their size, they can easily play and get their energy out inside an apartment.
- They are great family dogs and get along well with children, which may come in handy depending on your situation.
- The smooth haired variety doesn’t require much grooming maintenance, and they don’t shed.23
- Dachshunds bark… a lot. This may not be ideal if you live right on top of your neighbors.
- They are prone to obesity if they don’t get enough exercise.24
If you’re looking for a medium-sized dog to fit into your apartment, this may be the breed for you. Greyhounds are taller than other dogs on the list, but they are thin. They can easily curl up and fit into small spaces.25
Here’s why they are suited for apartment living:
- While this breed is famous for its speed and athleticism, they generally prefer naps over races.
- They tend to spend a lot of time lounging around.
- They’re gentle and docile.
- They’re social and charming, which will be useful when you run into your neighbors.26
- They don’t do well in cold climates.
- If they aren’t properly socialized, they can be timid with strangers.27
Surprised to see the stately Great Dane on this list? This large breed can grow up to be 170lbs and 3 feet tall.
While their size may say otherwise, Great Danes are one of the best breeds for apartment living. If you want a large dog and you live in a small space, this may be your best bet.
Here’s why they are suited to apartment living:
- Their large size actually makes them more mellow.
- They rarely bark.
- Their short hair doesn’t shed much and is easy to maintain.
- Walks around your apartment complex will satisfy their exercise needs. Other than that, they’re content to lounge next to you on the couch.28
- If your apartment has a weight limitation, your Great Dane will definitely exceed it.
- When they are puppies, they can be destructive (as all puppies are). Great Dane puppies are big puppies.29
Bonus: Mixed Breed
Once you decide on the size, temperament, and energy level you want, why not look for these traits in a mixed breed dog?
Mixed breed dogs come with a wide range of personalities. They may be easier to train because they have a blend of characteristics rather than all of the traits of a single breed. Since they haven’t been bred for one specific thing, they may be more adaptable.30
If you want to save a life and bring home a great dog, consider adopting from a local animal shelter. Talk to your local shelter and tell them what type of dog you’re looking for. They should be able to help.
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