When you live in a small space but really want a four-legged friend, it can be challenging finding the best dog breeds for apartment living. It's important to consider factors such as size, energy level, and temperament. Your options will vary depending on whether you live in a pied-a-tier in Manhattan, or a condominium in Los Angeles. Or even a studio apartment in a walk-up vs. a two bedroom in a luxury building. But what else do you need to consider when figuring out what types of dogs are good for apartments and small spaces?
In this article, we are going to dive into:
What to consider when choosing the best dog breed to live in an apartment
Recommended large dog breeds for apartments
Recommended small dog breeds for apartment living
Low-maintenance dog breed options
Hypoallergenic dogs for apartments
What Should Be Considered When Choosing the Best Dog Breed for Apartment Living?
Consider the size of your apartment as well as the individual breed’s temperament and personality traits. How much time will you be able to spend exercising your dog? How much dog fur can you cope with cleaning up each day? If you have never owned a dog before, these are all things to consider, no matter where you live. There are a lot of factors to consider in order to give the right dog breed a happy and healthy life.
Sometimes, the best dog breeds for apartment living tend to have low energy needs, so a yard isn’t completely necessary, nor are hours and hours of walks each day. Daily walks or a trip to the dark park are more than enough for some apartment friendly dogs. The energy needs of dogs can vary due to a combination of factors, including their breed, size, age, health, and individual temperament.
Different dog breeds were originally developed for specific purposes, such as herding, hunting, or guarding. Breeds that were bred for activities that required less physical exertion may naturally have lower energy levels. For example, the smallest dog breeds, sometimes called toy breeds, or even brachycephalic breeds (those with short noses) often have lower energy needs compared to working or sporting breeds.
Large Dogs That Are Great For Apartment Living
Not all large dog breeds require a yard. Some are quite well adapted to living in apartments and small spaces, provided you give them an appropriate amount of daily exercise and daily walks. Some lower-energy large breeds are happy to live in an apartment, and we’d suggest taking a look at these options:
You’re probably thinking: what??!? But yes, Great Danes are PERFECT dogs for apartment living. These gentle giants are complete couch potatoes at home and suit apartments well. Like many of the much larger breeds, they don’t have high exercise needs so that they can live in an apartment happily, although you might need to get a bigger couch. Great Danes are notorious loafers, as well as super calm, friendly, and highly trainable. They are also not very loud or aggressive, and they generally get along well with other pets and children.
Greyhounds do need short bursts of activity, but other than that, they would love to curl up with you on your couch. They’re a very good choice for a large breed of dog who lives well in an apartment. Ex-racers often pop up in shelters, so you can be sure that you’re giving them a warm and loving new home to retire to. Greyhounds are all very individual and can be fun, lazy, silly, goofy, calm, easy-going, entertaining, gentle, playful, sweet-natured, affectionate, happy, independent, placid but are most of all loving.
By providing ample exercise and attention, Boxers can thrive in apartments and be wonderful companions for their owners. The Boxer breed is known for its energetic and active nature, making it an ideal companion for outdoor activities. While they are playful at home, they also like to snooze a lot, so they will be happy to curl up and watch Netflix beside you. They have a short coat that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and are generally quiet so that they won’t annoy your neighbors.
Small Dogs That Are Great For Apartment Living
If you have a small apartment, then a small dog breed is likely the best for you, as they won’t take up much room. With some of the toy breeds being even smaller than a cat, many of the best dog breeds for apartment living are highly adapted to the size of your space.
Some small dogs are considered to be a high energy breed. But even with high energy, they are satisfied with indoor playtime or a brisk walk. Just make sure to consider your neighbors when choosing a dog: You'll want a pet that doesn't bark incessantly and is polite when meeting other people, in the elevator, on the stairs or in the lobby. Here are some of the best small dogs for apartments:
Miniature Dachshunds do well in apartments, especially ones that are all on one level and without stairs (you should be careful with their backs going up and down stairs). Dachshunds can be excellent dogs in apartments due to their small size and moderate energy levels. They adapt well to indoor living and can be happy in an apartment as long as their exercise and companionship needs are met. It's important to provide them with regular opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation. They can be noisy and do love to bark, so it’s worth doing some positive reinforcement-based training so they don’t bark at your neighbors or your intercom!
Bulldogs, including the English Bulldog and French Bulldog, make fantastic apartment companions (and cuddle monsters!) While they’ll appreciate a walk around the block, accompanying you to buy your morning coffee, or just relaxing in the nearby park, both breeds tend to have low exercise needs, are generally quiet, and just want to hang out with you.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavaliers can be a great breed to choose for apartment living. They're the king of lapdogs and are very attached to their owners, so a small home is the perfect way for them to keep an eye on you, or cash in a belly rub. As long as they have plenty of time outdoors and are well trained, they'll make excellent apartment dogs. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has been called a "little clown" due to their goofy personality. They are loving, affectionate, easy to train, and have low exercise needs, meaning smaller spaces will be sufficient for them. They also don’t bark much, so they won’t stress your neighbors out.
Italian Greyhounds (aka Iggys)
The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the sighthound group and is perfect if you like the pointy-nosed slender look but are limited on space (though we’d argue greyhounds do fold up pretty small!) The delicate Italian Greyhound is safest and happiest living inside with his family. They make good apartment dogs, but must be taken out frequently to get adequate exercise. The short, fine coat of the Iggy sheds very lightly, so fur clean up is minimal. The so-called cats of the dog world will appreciate being wrapped up in a blanket indoors and stepping out in a snood and coat; perhaps you both can get matching ones?
Hypoallergenic Dogs That Are Great For Apartment Living
If you’re concerned about allergies, then you might be here looking for a hypoallergenic dog for your apartment. If you're craving a cuddle with an adorable and furry friend but have allergies to pet dander, then a hypoallergenic dog might just be the answer to all your needs.
Sometimes the best apartment dogs are those that shed the least. Dogs that are hypoallergenic can work great for people with allergies because they don’t shed as much as other breeds do. That means there's not as much dander coming off their coats and sticking to your upholstery.
While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, there's a threshold at which people with allergies tend to react to the dander (which is made up of dead skin cells) or saliva that causes sufferers to feel itchy, sneezy or short of breath. As an added bonus, dogs that shed less can help cut down on cleaning up all of that stubborn hair around the house. If it’s the shedding fur your senses don’t like, we suggest hypoallergenic dog breeds for apartment living.
Goldendoodles, one of the most popular dog breeds, consistently dwell at the top of the list of breeds that align well with apartments. Goldendoodles come in different sizes, from petite to standard. Goldendoodles are very versatile dogs that can adapt to several situations and spaces, including those we consider “small.” Goldendoodles are known for being relatively quiet dogs, which is a boon for apartment dwellers.
They’re not prone to unnecessary barking, but they do need social interaction. If left alone for extended periods, they might get bored and resort to barking or destructive behavior. While Goldendoodles aren’t the most high-energy dogs, they still require daily exercise to stay healthy and happy, so make sure you know where the nearby dog park is.
A cross between a Maltese and a Toy Poodle, Maltipoos are sweet little darlings who can make great apartment dogs due to their small size, lack of shedding, and loving nature. Many apartment and condo complexes restrict pets who weigh more than 25 or 50 pounds, making the Maltipoo a welcome companion almost anywhere. They have low exercise requirements but can be vocal, so practice some ‘be quiet’ training with a positive reinforcement trainer when you bring them home.
Even at its largest, the Bichon Frise is a small dog that can do well in an apartment environment. They don't need much exercise compared to larger breeds and can thrive in a small space. What's great about this breed is they shed very little or not at all, making them ideal for those with pet allergies. They are also extremely affectionate.
By the way: Bichon Frise dogs are not known for barking, which is great for apartments and city living - you won't receive any noise complaints here!
Because they are so small, Yorkshire Terriers do not need a lot of room to exercise. They can be paper trained consequently, which is another reason they make great small-space dogs. However, they also enjoy walks outdoors. The Yorkshire Terrier sheds very little, but their coat requires regular care to keep it in good shape and looking nice.
Thanks to their single coat of hair and their fine, silky coat texture, they are a very low-shedding dog breed. In fact, they're generally considered to be one of the best dogs for those with dog allergies because they shed so little. They’re affectionate, compact, enjoy training, and adapt to the amount of exercise you want to give them. This small breed is great for a small living space.
The Havanese dog can be a great hypoallergenic dog and suit apartment living well. They were bred for companionship and are known for their springy gait. The Havanese is an affectionate, friendly, and devoted companion. The long, silky double coat of the Havanese requires daily grooming, but they shed very little. They are generally quiet and have a loving and playful personality. The Havanese is a great choice if you have a family and live in an apartment, as they really like kids. A very apartment friendly, highly adaptable dog.
Also Read - Are Dogs Really Hypoallergenic? Truths vs Myths
Do Apartment Dogs Need a Lot of Exercise?
The exercise needs of apartment dogs will vary depending on their breed requirements. Some need more exercise than other dogs. Working and hunting breeds will generally require more exercise than toy and companion breeds. With enough mental stimulation, play, and training, you won’t need to walk your apartment dogs for hours. Living in an apartment often means limited outdoor space for exercise. To ensure your dog gets the physical activity they need, explore indoor exercise options.
Consider playing interactive games, such as hide-and-seek or puzzle toys that challenge their problem-solving skills. Many dog breeds love to play, so playing fetch, tug-o-war, or filling up a puzzle toy with dry food and/or treats will help keep your apartment dog busy and entertained. Trick training and canine conditioning are also fantastic ways to keep your apartment dog fit and healthy.
It's important to note that individual dogs may vary, and factors such as training, socialization, and exercise play a significant role in a dog's behavior. Additionally, mixed-breed dogs can also make great apartment pets. Regardless of the breed, it's crucial to provide regular exercise, mental stimulation, and proper training for a happy and well-behaved pet in an apartment setting. It’s not hard to live with a dog in an apartment if you don't mind taking them on a daily walk (or multiples walks) to the bathroom and making sure they have regular exercise and stimulation. If you are happy to go outside regularly with your dog, then they probably won't even notice that you don't live in a house.