Have a small apartment and still want a dog? Smaller breed dogs tend to do well living in apartments where exercise might be limited to leashed walks on a busy sidewalk. However, not all small dogs are the same, and there are some medium and large dog breeds that do well with apartment living.
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Just because a dog is a small breed doesn't mean they automatically are low energy or have minimal exercise requirements. For example, the Lhasa Apso was bred as a guard dog in Tibet, and your apartment neighbors might not appreciate that alarm barking. Similarly, the Jack Russell is a terrier that maintains a strong hunting instinct, and with their high energy they may struggle with living in a small apartments. Many mixed breed or purebred medium and large dogs who are older, or lower energy can do well living in an apartment as well.
Best dog breeds for apartment living
Before bringing a dog home to your apartment, it's important to find out about any size, weight, or breed restrictions that your apartment building/management might have in place.
When selecting a dog to live with you in an apartment the individual dog's temperament is essential to consider. That said generally because of the limited space, you want to look for breeds who have low activity levels and so only need moderate exercise. But remember, moderate exercise is not the same as no exercise. All dogs need exercise to be happy and healthy. Looking for dogs with low activity levels, medium to low barking, and breeds that are known for their even temperaments will be helpful when considering a dog for apartment living. Some breeds of dogs are generally happier living in apartments than others. Dogs breeds that have for generations been developed to have high energy and stamina for hunting or herding often will often struggle adapting to life in an apartment. Here are some of the best apartment dogs:
These lively and highly recognizable little dogs were initially bred as entertaining pets of Chinese emperors. Pugs are highly adaptable and moderate exercise requirements these little dogs and often do well living in big cities and apartments.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Affectionate and gentle, the Cavalier is a big dog in a small dog package. These are dogs who are adaptable and do well in an apartment, but will also be eager to get out and play in the park or go for long daily walks with their owners.
A compact and active little dog the Boston Terrier is a playful companion that is always up for adventure. This little dog is a constant source of entertainment for their owners.
Living in an apartment but don't want a small dog? The bulldog might be the right pup for you! These charismatic wrinkly dogs can weigh upwards of 50 pounds when full grown but are very happy to curl up on the couch with you.
This small medium sized dog is known as the "barkless breed" - although they are not actually silent and make a variety of yodeling type noises they are quieter than other breeds. The Basenji needs regular exercise but is considered a very independent cat-like breed and often do well living in apartments.
One of the most popular dogs in America, the French Bulldog can thrive in an urban environment and apartment living. This breed is playful, adaptable, highly social and doesn't require a lot of exercise.
The Bolognese is a calm, quiet and playful small dog that does well living in apartments. Important to note though the Bolognese closely bonds with their families and doesn't do well with long periods of time home alone but can be ideal companions for apartment dwellers who work from home.
A tiny dog with a big personality, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog. Sometimes weighing under 6 pounds when fully grown and with minimal exercise requirements, this is a little dog who is well suited to small apartment living—although anecdotally, alert barking is common in Chihuahuas.
A breed that is sometimes described as cat-like the Japanese Chin is a playful lapdog. This breed prefers spending time inside with their people. The Japanese Chin enjoys gentle exercise and activity with their families.
Although a giant breed, the Bull Mastiff is known for their laid back personality and low energy levels. As a result, despite their large size, these are dogs who in some cases can do well living in apartments. However, due to their size and the breed's risk of orthopedic injury and disease, they aren't a good match for apartment buildings without elevators.
The Chinese Crested comes in both the hairless variety and the coated or powderpuff variety. Chinese Crested are little devoted dogs that are very clean, hairless varieties that don't shed and often enjoy apartment life.
Sometimes called the monkey dog, the Affenpinscher is a charismatic and energetic dog in a small package. This breed is known for their playful sense of humor. With their small size and good natured personality the affenpinscher is well suited to living in apartments.
These solid little dogs have a lot of grooming requirements to keep their coat in good condition but they also thrive in apartments. This small dog was originally bred to spend their time inside Chinese royal palaces and they still thrive in small places and make ideal apartment companions.
Although these dogs were made to run, retired racing greyhounds that have been rescued from the race tracks can be ideal apartment companions. Sometimes referred to as a 40 mile per hour couch potato, greyhounds might have been bred for speed but they adapt well to living in small spaces.
Poodles come in three varieties: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. Toy and Miniature poodles in particular can thrive in homes with active apartment dwellers provided they get enough daily walks and exercise. Standard poodles are a large breed of dog that can also do well living in apartments provided they get enough exercise daily.
The Bichon Frise are small and sturdy little dogs. The dog is known for a hypoallergenic coat and sweet disposition. The Bichon is a social and happy small dog that thrives in busy cities and apartment living.
Playful and entertaining, the graceful and small Italian Greyhound makes an ideal apartment dog. Italian Greyhounds are fast moving little dogs, but they love spending time in the laps of their people.
Whatever breed you end up with, make sure they have plenty of opportunities for exercise, enrichment, and of course, cuddling.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- French Bulldog
- Japanese Chin
- Chinese Crested
- Shih Tzu
- 4 Greyhounds
- Italian Greyhound
- Bichon Frise
- Standard Poodle
- Toy Poodle
- Miniature Poodle
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