If you're a dog lover living in tight quarters, you may have held off on getting a dog because you thought Buddy would need more room. While space is nice, Buddy's temperament and exercise needs are more important. There are large and small breeds that do fine in small spaces.
Your Living Space
Whether you live in a small apartment in an urban environment or in a cozy house with a postage stamp for a yard, it's possible to find a canine companion that will share your space happily. Before you determine what sort of breed you're interested in, ask yourself if you're ready to make the commitment to sharing a small space with a dog. Also, if you rent, make sure you ask your landlord for permission.
Lifestyle is Important
Are you active? Are you interested in a running partner, or are you searching for a companion to share TV time with? How much time will you be gone? These all are questions you'll need to answer before you choose your canine friend. If you choose a dog that has a high energy level, yet you aren't interested in getting out and moving with him, it could turn out to be a poor match. You and Buddy will both be happier if you find a dog that matches your lifestyle instead of trying to change his natural inclination to meet your living situation.
If you determine you want a small dog there are quite a few breeds to choose from. Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, pugs and toy poodles are among the small breeds that are considered suitable for small spaces. Their statures and temperaments make them ideal candidates. Don't discount large breeds simply because of their size. Greyhounds, mastiffs and Newfoundlands may be large, but make great pets for someone looking for a low energy companion. Retired racing Greyhounds are known by some as "40 mph couch potatoes."
Most dogs, regardless of size and energy level, do best with a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day. If you can't provide Buddy with that, you may want to reconsider adding a dog to your life. An additional option is to look into hiring a professional dog walker to visit during the day, and give him a bit of extra attention and activity. Active breeds, such as border collies and weimaraners, may not make the best companions in close quarters. However, if you are someone who is active and can ensure that your dog will get enough activity to keep him stimulated (and not frustrated), an active breed still may be a viable option. The key to living successfully with a dog in a small space is to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a canine friend.
ASPCA: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adopting
Vet Street: Can a Big Dog Live Happily in a Small Apartment?
American Kennel Club: Dogs and the City
Purdue University Animal Sciences
Dogs: Selecting the Right Dog, I. Schroeder and C.M. Brady, Department of Animal Sciences, Purdue University (pdf)
Vet Street: 13 Dog Breeds Ideal for Apartments
About the Author
Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.