The Best Kind of Inside Dogs for Small Homes

By Cate Rushton

While dogs of all breeds make do with cramped living accommodations, some are better suited for small-space living than others. Dogs who are less energetic may be better suited to the confines of a small home than those who need lots of physical exercise. Consider adopting an older dog. Regardless of breed characteristics, most dogs require less exercise as they age.

General Considerations

Consider your specific situation. If you live in a small apartment or condominium, a less vocal breed may be best to keep peace with the neighbors. If you work long hours, an independent dog is less likely to suffer from depression than a dependent lap dog. While some breeds have overall characteristics that may be appropriate for small home living, keep in mind that individual dogs have different temperaments. Be prepared to accommodate your dog’s personality, even if he doesn’t conform to typical characteristics. No matter what breed you choose, realize that every dog needs regular exercise and plenty of human interaction.

Small Dog Breeds to Consider

While small breeds might seem perfect for small spaces, that isn’t always the case. Some small breeds, such as Jack Russell terriers, have high energy needs and can be frustrated without plenty of room to play. However, other small breeds are perfect for small living spaces. Cavalier King Charles spaniels are friendly and great with kids. Though they’re naturally athletic and happy to romp in the park, they also love to snuggle. They tend to get lonely, so are best for owners who are home during the day. Maltese shed little and are great for first-time dog owners due to their friendly nature and easy trainability. Their silky hair begs to be petted, but because Maltese are small and delicate, the breed isn’t recommended for homes with small children.

Larger Dog Breeds to Consider

Small living quarters doesn’t necessarily restrict owners to small breeds. Bulldogs are extremely affectionate; owners should be prepared for lots of sloppy kisses. In addition to fierce family loyalty, bulldogs are friendly to strangers, so they’re great pets for owners who like to entertain friends. They love to lounge around but will need regular exercise to avoid obesity. An enormous mastiff might seem like the least likely breed for small spaces, but these family friendly dogs are actually low energy and prefer hanging out on the couch to running around outdoors. Mastiffs can reach 220 pounds, so if your small space is cluttered with furniture and heirlooms, a mastiff may not be able to navigate a room without breaking things.

Old and Special Needs Dogs

Residents of small homes can find the perfect dog by choosing a rescue animal in lieu of a puppy. Greyhounds are trained to race at up to 45 mph, but once retired, are happy to spend most of their days napping. They’re docile, but also highly intelligent and easy to groom. These sleek, regal dogs are often abandoned once they’re too old to race. Check your local greyhound rescue group or animal shelter for a new family friend. Shelters are also full of dogs with special needs who often do well in small spaces. Elderly dogs and those with health problems can be easygoing companions, regardless of their breed, as long as their owners are prepared to provide veterinary care.