A barking pooch can present a challenge, particularly if you live in an apartment. Although small dogs have a reputation for being yappy, there are a few low-volume pooches who'll give you a quieter life and keep you in your neighbor's good books.
The African Basenji
The African basenji is known as the barkless dog. While it's true he doesn't bark, he's not completely mute and makes an array of sounds, ranging from growls and whines to a scream that breed fans describe more kindly as a yodel. The beagle is another non-barker, or at least he avoids barking. However, he does love to bay, which is what he does when chasing foxes. This is a long, drawn-out howl reminiscent of sound effects in a scary movie. Both these breeds are relatively small: the beagle is no more than 15 inches tall and the basenji around 17 inches.
The pug was made for small spaces and he loves a quiet life. He is able to bark, and he will happily alert you when someone comes to the door -- that's if he isn't having one of his many snoozes -- but he's certainly not a frequent barker. You're more likely to hear him snoring and snorting, and he does occasionally make a curious scream-like sound when he's excited. If a pug does bark, he's either bored or trying to tell you that something is wrong.
He's low maintenance in almost every way. He has a maximum height of 15 inches and weighs between 7 and 12 pounds, making him easy to carry when necessary. He's known for his quietness and sense of refinement so he probably isn't suitable if you want a breed who'll bark when strangers approach your home. In fact he doesn't like his owners making a lot of noise either. One downside of this pooch is his fragility. He's prone to breaking bones and you'll need to dress him up to go out in cold weather.
The Boston, Yorkshire and West Highland terriers are small dogs suited to small living spaces. Any terrier breed is prone to barking, but they're smart pooches and careful training early on keeps barking to a minimum. It's worth considering the fact that the terrier breeds are very protective. They're too small to be guard dogs, but they do make ideal watchdogs, as they'll bark loudly to alert you to trouble.
By Eleanor McKenzie
Dog Adoption and Training Guide: Apartment Dogs
VetInfo: Three Dog Breeds That Don't Bark
Basenji Club of America: Introducing the Basenji
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Basenji
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Beagle
Pugvillage: Pug Abandonment
ToyBreeds: Live With Italian Greyhound
About the Author
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.