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Best Dogs For Apartments: 21 Breeds For Small Spaces

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Last Updated: May 10, 2023 | 19 min read | Leave a Comment

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Are you looking for the perfect four-legged companion with which to share your apartment, condo, or small living space? While living in an apartment has often been seen as a hindrance to dog ownership, plenty of breeds fare well and thrive living in smaller spaces. This is fantastic news for the almost 40 million people in America that live in apartments. Dogs are amazing additions to our lives, and of course, we all want to be considerate and responsible neighbors. Therefore, finding the best dogs for apartments is important.

There is a lot to consider when raising a dog in an apartment. Of course, space is a significant consideration, as are neighbors, noise, and an owner’s ability to commit to walking, exercising, and caring for their pup. Fortunately, there are plenty of dog breeds to choose from.

Not all canine breeds that like living in apartments are small, though many are. A smaller breed like a Chihuahua, Bichon Frise, Corgi, or even French Bulldog might be a good pick for owners looking for a dog that only takes up a little room. While only some large dogs will live well in close quarters, some breeds are okay with a calm, quiet, cozy lifestyle. Let’s get into it and introduce you to some of our favorite dog breeds that do well with apartment living.

Reminders

There are a few things to remember when it comes to determining the best dogs for apartments. Size is a huge consideration, as is age, energy level, exercise needs, personality, and noise. Several breeds can be happy and healthy living in apartments if given proper care and the appropriate level of exercise. Of course, owners also need to consider noise level, as some breeds, especially smaller ones, tend to be very vocal. Apartment life is not for every dog, but with proper care and training, canines and humans can live happily together in smaller spaces.

Regardless of breed, owners must be ready to give their dogs plenty of outside access to use the bathroom, exercise, and socialize. Additionally, they will need entertainment, food, and fresh, cool water throughout the day. Regardless of where you live or the size of your home, all dog breeds need attentive, loving, responsible owners.

Plenty of big and small canines are happy to call an apartment home. Because there is no one dog that works best for apartment living, we are introducing you to several, in alphabetical order, below.

Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher Dog Running
Affenpinschers have very expressive faces, low shedding, and remarkably big personalities.

The sassy little Affenpinscher might be small, but he is full of confidence and spunk. The breed originated in Germany and was initially bred to chase rats. Today they make popular family pets and are a wonderful choice for apartment or condominium homes.

These pups do not get large, reaching just 7 to 10 pounds when fully grown. Affens are friendly with both other dogs and children, as well as are quite easy to train. Additionally, this is a wonderful choice for folks with dog allergies, as these are low shedding and tend to be less allergy-triggering than other breeds. Though their coats are longer and fluffy, their hair is wiry, and they do not shed much dander. Additionally, they are not pups prone to excessive barking. They generally only get vocal if they get scared, anxious, or overly excited.

The Affenpinscher is an easily adaptable pup, something that makes them an excellent choice for apartments. Along with their smaller size, They have relatively low-maintenance coats. Though these pups have a solid amount of energy, they do not require a lot of physical exercise. A short brisk walk, about 30 minutes, every day is a good amount. They also enjoy some interactive one-on-one play sessions with their owners throughout the day. This breed is highly intelligent and gets bored easily, so they need plenty of mental stimulation.

Basenji

A girl holding a sick Basenji dog's paws
The Basenji can be traced to the Congo and is one of the oldest canine breeds around.

The Basenji is an elegant, medium-sized pup with a prominent personality known for being incredibly quiet. In fact, this doggo is sometimes called the “barkless dog.” When they decide to be vocal, they can get quite loud, but these dogs are incredibly quiet, a big plus for apartment living. When they do start talking, they tend to howl or yodel rather than bark.

These pups are quite clever and very curious. They have a good amount of energy and an independent spirit. They have high energy, so they need a fair amount of exercise. As long as an apartment or condominium has been doggy proofed, these pups can be very happy in smaller homes. Basenji are quite clever and find ways to get into everything, including cabinets, closets, and small spaces. Though they do well in small houses, they are known to chase smaller pets, especially cats.

These are medium-sized dogs reaching between 21 and 24 pounds. Basenji are easy to groom and require only very occasional bathing. It is essential that this pup has regular opportunities to be outside, but because of their desire to chase things must always be kept on a solid leash. Basenji does very well with older children and can tolerate smaller pets as long as they have been raised with them.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise Dog With Human
The Bichon Frise is a well-known lapdog.

The French Bichon Frise is a fluffy, tiny, white pup who fits perfectly in about anywhere. Though they are quite small and well-suited for apartment living, these little fluff balls are not the right fit for everyone. They are notable for their immaculate white coats and have often been compared to clouds. The Bichon Frise is charming and has a bubbly, friendly, and affectionate personality. These little fluff balls are small, reaching only 7 to 12 pounds when fully grown. Bichons are long-lived and have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

This pup is a people pleaser and quite spry. A Bichon Frise needs moderate exercise, about 30 minutes a day. They do well with short walks but are perfectly happy to spend long hours snuggled up on the sofa. These little guys love to be the center of attention and are more than happy to be spoiled. These pups are extremely outgoing and sociable, so they easily make friends walking around the dog park or the apartment complex. One thing to know is that these pups can develop separation anxiety, so it is a great idea to crate-train them if they’re kept home alone.

This breed only takes up a little room in your home but will take up a big space in your heart and lots of your attention. Their small stature and agreeable personalities make them wonderful dogs to have around apartments. They do better in milder climates and do not like being in higher temperatures for long. Make sure to keep plenty of toys, games, and entertainment around for this curious little fluff ball.

Biewer Terrier

2 Biewer Terriers kissing
Though they are highly energetic, Biewer Terriers are quite fragile.

The elegant-looking Biewer Terrier is a rare, relatively new breed. They have long, silky coats and adorable button-nose faces. The Biewer is growing in popularity worldwide, and at just 4 to 8 pounds is an excellent choice for smaller living spaces. The Biewer Terrier is very friendly both with children and other dogs. They are quite easy to train. They require a lot of upkeep to keep their long glossy hair in good shape.

These pups were just four to eight pounds when fully grown and live about 12 to 16 years. These are designer dogs developed from the Yorkshire terrier. These pups are perky, energetic, and highly intelligent. They have very lovable personalities and are quite playful. They do need a lot of attention and will get lonely if left alone for too long.

This is an excellent pup for apartment living because they do not need a lot of outside room and are incredibly happy to be anywhere their people are. They also need to be handled very carefully. They like running around and playing but only need a little outside room. This pup can get exercise even in exceedingly small spaces. Just running up and down an apartment hallway can be a great workout. This is a wonderful breed for families and people with mobility issues.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier puppy bulling on rope toy
Boston terriers have a lot of energy and do need regular exercise.

The Boston Terrier, also known as a true American Gentleman, is a wonderful breed for a family pet and makes an excellent apartment life companion. This dog is native to America and is very recognizable for his suit-like coat. These dogs weigh 12 to 25 pounds and live between 11 and 13 years. They are quite friendly with children and other dogs. Boston terriers are versatile and can adapt to change and new situations. These pups are not a dominant breed but do crave attention.

Though this breed is a terrier, they do not have a high prey drive, meaning they make great pets to have indoors and with other small animals. Though they can live comfortably in small spaces, owners must ensure they get between 30 and 45 minutes of physical play every day. A brisk walk around the block a couple of times a day is a perfect exercise for this little gentleman.

Boston Terriers are great for apartments and not a breed that should be left outside unsupervised. They like to wander away, so owners always need to keep them on a leash when they’re outside. These pups are highly intelligent but also tend to be stubborn. Make sure to start training and socialization early. These pups do not require a lot of grooming, meaning they do not shed much, a big plus when living in any size home.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Woman in cozy home wear relaxing on sofa with a sleeping cavalier dog on her lap, holding tablet and reading
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are famous for their incredibly sweet and amicable personalities.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is commonly at the top of the list when it comes to popular dog breeds. Also known as the Comfort Cavalier, Cavi, Cav, or simply the Cavalier, this pup can be traced back to 17th-century Britain. These pups are very agreeable and get along well with people, other dogs, children, and small animals.

Cavis reach just 13 to 18 pounds when fully grown, making them a great breed for smaller homes like apartments and condominiums. Cavs are incredibly gentle and entirely dependent upon their humans. This is not an independent breed. They will become attached very quickly and hate to be alone. This breed can develop separation anxiety, something to keep in mind. The Cavalier likes nothing better than to jump up and cuddle in your lap for as long as possible.

Cavaliers need about 30 minutes of exercise every day but are not known to be highly active on their own. They do well in just about any living space as long as it is a calm, cool, well-cared-for environment. This is a breed that only does well outdoors for a short time. They will happily chase other animals, wander off easily, and are not adept at surviving independently. Because of his long coat, this breed needs brushing two or three times a week and bathing every three or four months.

Our Personal Experience With Cavaliers In Small Spaces

We’ve had two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels over the years, one a rescue girl in a condo and a puppy boy in a small home. Both hardly ever leave my side and love to sleep, making them perfect indoor companions. Whenever we go on walks, they like to do their business and then go home. Even at the dog park, they’d rather socialize with humans and sit in people’s laps than play with other dogs. Luckily I work at home so I can give my Cavs all the love and attention they crave.

– Sadie C., Washington DC

Chihuahua

Chihuahua Chewing on Knitted Item
These little pups may be small in size, but they are huge in personality.

Not only are Chihuahuas one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, but they are also the smallest. Their smaller size makes them a popular choice for apartments and condominiums. Even though they are small in stature, this breed needs a lot of attention and has a huge personality. They are generally very friendly with children and, with socialization, can do well with other dogs. Chihuahuas are easy to train, with moderate grooming needs.

These pups have a lot of energy and need regular exercise. They reach six to 10 pounds, and this little pup can live just about anywhere. Chis are also long-lived, with a 14 to 16 years lifespan. Chihuahuas need about 30 minutes of exercise every day, be careful not to overwork them due to their smaller bodies. A quick stroll around the block is a grand adventure and the perfect amount of exercise for this tiny tot.

Chihuahuas are known to be bossy, and some tend to be yappy barkers, something to keep in mind when living in close quarters. However, this breed has no downside other than their tendency to get away with a lot. Because Chis are so small, cute, and have bossy personalities, these little dogs often get away with a lot of naughty behavior.

Corgi

red welsh corgi pembroke cute dog lying down on a dog sofa
Once Corgis calm down, these fluffy pups make outstanding cuddle bugs.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, or simply Corgi, is one adorable pup. Corgis stand out for their charming appearance, smiling, fox-like faces, and delightful, friendly personalities. The Corgi has a lot of energy and is always up for an adventure. Corgis are known to bark, especially when they sense a stranger. They can be a perfect fit for apartment life with proper training and socialization.

Corgis reach 20 to 30 pounds and have a unique body shape due to being longer than they are tall. These pups are famous for big, pointy ears, round eyes, and sweet, smiling expressions. Corgis need about 45 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. This helps with both physical and mental health.

There are two breeds of Corgi, the Pembroke, and the Cardigan Welsh. Though the Cardigan Welsh is an older breed, he is less popular. Cardigans get slightly larger than Pembrokes, reaching about 40 pounds. Both breeds are very friendly, require an active owner, and are quite affectionate.

Coton de Tulear

Coton De Tulear with Owner
White, fluffy, and cuddly, the Coton de Tulear is well known for being a sidekick to their owners at all times.

The silly-looking poof ball called the Coton de Tulear is a delightful fluffy pooch with a huge personality. The tiny pups reach 8 to 15 pounds and are perfect for an apartment. If you are looking for a happy-go-lucky pup, look no further than the Coton de Tulear. You cannot find a friendlier dog, especially with kiddos.

This breed comes from Madagascar, specifically the port of Tulear. Though this is an African dog breed, they are often associated with France. Cotons are empathetic and know just when someone needs a cuddle to brighten the day. They love human companionship and crave affection. They also need between 45 minutes to an hour of exercise a day. Thankfully, they remain small, so the apartment lawn or a nice walk around the park will be just perfect.

Cotons are famous for their unique coats. They have a cotton-like texture, which lends to the breed’s name. These double coats are wavy, making them look similar to the Poodle. The Coton is quite long-lived, with a lifespan of 15 to 19 years. Cotons do not like to be left alone, so while they fare well in small spaces, they need attentive owners who will not be gone for more than a few hours. They are also prone to barking at new things, but early training can help curb this habit.

Dachshund

Dachshund Puppy With Long Hair
Doxies are the perfect size for condos and apartments.

Dachshunds are small to medium-sized dogs that reach 16 to 32 pounds and are also called Doxies or wiener dogs. Miniature Dachshunds reach about 11 pounds. These adorable sausage-resembling dogs came from Germany and were initially bred to hunt badgers. Dachshund translates to “badger dog.” Doxies are quite friendly with both people and other canines.

Dachshunds make fantastic apartment companions because they would much rather be inside, cuddled up on the couch, than outside. A couple of short walks a day, and these guys are happy as can be. Be careful not to overwork those short legs. They have a loud bark, so owners must train them to know when it is appropriate.

Doxies are very smart and easy to train and are generally well-behaved. This is an excellent breed to crate train, especially because they hate going outside, even to use the bathroom. So, crate train them from an early age. This friendly pup makes a perfect companion for just about any family, though they have a naughty streak. You will never stop laughing with a Doxie in the family.

French Bulldog

Woman combs a white French bulldog with a yellow comb on a gray background
Frenchies are perfect for apartments and smaller homes because they do not need a yard.

The always-recognizable French Bulldog is a good pick for apartment life. These stocky, flat-faced gentle pups reach 20 to 30 pounds and are friendly to almost anyone they meet. This includes kids, other pets, and people. Frenchies love to play and nap, making them perfect companions.

French Bulldogs are people-pleasers through and through. You can expect him to provide plenty of smiles. However, the breed can be stubborn, so owners need to set firm boundaries with gentle reminders. Frenches are very well-mannered and need truly little room to be comfortable.

This breed fares far better indoors. In fact, they are not even prone to destructive behavior or chewing, making them perfect for a family pet. They do need some physical exercise. A couple of 15-minute walks a day will be just fine. These doggies cannot be outside for too long and must stay away from the water as their round and heavy bodies cannot swim.

Great Dane

Great Dane Hugging Owner
Great Danes are called gentle giants due to their love and affection for their owners.

The mighty and massive Great Dane is not the first breed people think of when they ask about the best apartment dogs. However, despite their generous size, the Great Dane can fare very well in smaller homes. These pups have a remarkably calm temperament and love people. Many of these big sweethearts act like lap dogs, and size is not a hindrance.

Great Danes reach substantial sizes, between 110 and 175 pounds, and can stand 28 to 32 inches tall. So, space is necessary, but as long as owners don’t mind sharing it with a big dog, they can live happily in apartments. This breed needs about 2 hours of exercise daily, so owners must work a couple of walks into the daily schedule.

Greyhound & Italian Greyhound

Skinny Grey Dog Eating
Greyhounds are friendly, affectionate, independent, gentle, and quite regal.

The sleek and agile Greyhound can be traced back to ancient Egypt and was revered for many centuries. Though famous for high speed and agility, the Greyhound is a very lazy dog that is happy to sleep the day away. These dogs are medium to large, reaching 50 to 80 pounds. They do take up room but are quite slender and can make themselves very comfortable in an apartment.

They are rarely aggressive, which makes them a fantastic choice for apartments and condominiums. In fact, Greyhounds are often described as catlike. These pups are quite sensitive, so they always need kind owners who never yell. Remember that they will chase smaller pets but do like other canines and love children.

Italian Greyhounds, which are a much smaller version of the Greyhound, reach 7 to 14 pounds. These tiny dogs also make fantastic pets in apartments, are eager to please, and are very mellow. Whether you want the larger Greyhound or the more petite Italian, this breed is a beautiful choice for apartment living.

Havanese

Hungry Havanese Dog is Feeding at Home
These tiny tykes are incredibly gentle, very affectionate, and love human interaction.

Havanese are small, white dogs that share genealogy with the Bichon family. You might be hard-pressed to find a more doting dog. The Havanese are known for their adorable face and goofy personality. These guys are small, weighing only 7 to 13 pounds, but they live a long time, 14 to 16 years on average.

These pups love children and make unbelievably bad guard dogs, though they are always happy to see visitors. They are known to bark when strangers stop by but are never aggressive. Though small, they need a decent amount of exercise, between 30 and 60 minutes daily. This can be broken up into short walks or multiple play sessions. The great news for apartment homes is that this dog is small enough to get plenty of exercise right at home.

The Havanese is a highly adaptable, calm, extremely attached dog. He likes to chase things, so you may need to supervise small pets like rodents or birds. He is easy to train, takes up little room, and is relatively healthy but needs daily brushing.

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin laying in bed
They are quite charming, with silky coats and quiet personalities.

The Japanese Chin it’s another small dog that only reaches about 7 to 11 pounds when fully grown. These highly affectionate dogs are great with children and other canines. These dogs fare well inside and do not like the outdoors very much, making them an excellent choice for apartment living. While they have long coats, the Japanese Chin only needs to brush once or twice a week.

This breed is known for being quiet despite having a stubborn streak. Because of this, owners should always walk them on a leash. These dogs have a distinct look with flat faces, large round eyes, and soft, fluffy coats. This is another breed often described as catlike, and they love nothing more than curling up on your lap.

Their small size, quiet nature, friendly personality, and tendency to like the indoors better make the Japanese Chin a perfect choice for small homes.

Maltese

Posh White Dog Posing on a Chair
Due to its small size and calm nature, the Maltese is suitable for small spaces or city living.

The Maltese is a tiny breed, which weighs 8 pounds at most and is notable for their long, fluffy, white coats. Because they are small, the Maltese is a desirable choice for apartment living. They also get along well with children and other canines. The Maltese is a high-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming, as their coats need a lot of maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. Their fine long hair often needs professional grooming every few weeks.

Maltese are an excellent choice of dog for apartments because they do not need a lot of exercise. Thirty minutes a day, broken into two sessions, is perfect. These pups are quite charming and love to play. They must be bundled up in wintry weather and fare better indoors than out. Maltese are not known to be big barkers, and with proper training can learn to be quiet and not bark excessively. Many small dogs have a reputation for being yappy. Still, in many cases, like the Maltese, it is more a matter of training and individual circumstance than a breed or size characteristic.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer eating food from bowl on top of a bed
This breed is very protective and loves to play.

The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest of the three Schnauzer sizes, though his personality would say otherwise. This pup is feisty, independent, and ridiculously cute. Mini Schnauzers are a popular choice for apartments because they do not shed very much and are often referred to as hypoallergenic. The miniature schnauzer is a small dog reaching just 10 to 20 pounds and is overall healthy with an expected lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

He is very affectionate and wants to be involved in whatever his human family has going on. The Miniature Schnauzer needs about 40 to 60 minutes of exercise daily, so make sure to get a couple of walks and a few games of fetch daily. He is an incredibly smart dog and will always keep you on your toes. Because of his small size, he is well suited to apartment living as long as he gets enough exercise. Schnauzers love to bark, so they need to have vocal training young. Otherwise, barking can become a nuisance to the neighbors.

Poodle

Poodle happy sleeping on back in dog bed
With proper training from an early age, Poodles can be very happy and well-adjusted apartment dogs.

Poodles are an incredibly popular breed and come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Standard Poodles can reach 40 to 55 pounds, while the miniature reaches 12 to 15 pounds, and Toy Poodles generally weigh between five and 10 pounds. Poodles are long-lived, with an expected lifespan of 14 to 16 years.

The smaller-sized Toy Poodles may fit better in apartments, but standard size can also be amazingly comfortable in smaller quarters. Remember that these dogs, regardless of size, are incredibly high in energy and need between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise every day. It is better to break this up into two or three sessions rather than one long one. Poodles are retrievers and love to play fetch and take long walks around the neighborhood.

Poodles are generally obedient and friendly and do well around people and some other dogs. Keep in mind that Poodles are easy to train but require more grooming than other breeds due to their curly coats.

Pug

Pug with Brachycephalic Syndrom
With a flat face, stocky build, and curly tail, the Pug is famous for his unique look.

The adorable Pug has a colossal personality packed into a tiny little body. These are extremely popular dogs and get along well with people and other dogs. He is famous for being brave and curious and loves to play. Pugs reach 14 to 18 pounds, making them ideal for apartments, condominiums, and smaller living quarters.

Pugs make fantastic apartment dogs because happen to be inherently lazy. They like nothing more than to lay around all day, snooze, eat, and cuddle. Though they prefer laziness, Pugs require 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. Because they have such small bodies, they do not need a lot of room to get this physical activity.

Owners must remember that Pugs can be challenging to train, so this must start young, and owners must set firm boundaries. With proper training and socialization, the Pug is a perfect apartment dog.

Shar-Pei

Shar Pei Near Owners
These dogs stand out for their wrinkled faces, broad muzzles, tiny eyes, and short rough coats.

Though often not the first breed owners think about for apartments, the Chinese Shar-Pei makes a particularly good urban and apartment dog. Though they can get large, this breed is quite gentle and not known to bark. Shar-Peis are medium to large, between 45 and 60 pounds, and live between 14 and 18 years old.

Shar-Peis are a very laid-back breed. They get along with children but do not like other dogs. Owners should note that this breed can be challenging to train. This pup is one of the most stubborn breeds on the planet, so owners will need to start young and enlist the help of a professional trainer.

Though he is a large dog, this breed is perfectly content to live in an apartment. Shar-Peis are very low energy and laid back all the time. They need moderate exercise for about 45 minutes a day. But because this breed is relaxed and somewhat lazy, they do not need a yard and are perfectly happy with a couple of leisurely strolls around the block.

Shih Tzu

Female groomer brushing Shih Tzu at grooming salon.
The Shih Tzu has a remarkable appearance: a domed head, warm wide eyes, and a long plumed coat.

The Shih Tzu is another tiny, long-haired companion that does well in smaller spaces. It is believed that this tiny pup was bred by Tibetan holy men hoping to create a miniature dog resembling a lion. These dogs were bred simply to be companions, and they continue to make adorable family pets and affectionate buddies. This breed reaches between 9 and 16 pounds and does not take up much room at all. The Shih Tzu is friendly with children and other dogs, which is particularly important in apartment complexes.

Besides being small, this breed does not need as much exercise as others. A couple of short walks a day should be plenty. These are excellent dogs for children and seniors as they walk very well and do not pull. They do not do well outside and are pretty sensitive to the heat, making them great apartment dogs as they prefer to stay inside.

Final Thoughts

Living in an apartment or small home does not mean dog ownership is out of the question. Nor does it mean that a dog living in an apartment will be unhappy. Plenty of large and small breeds are perfectly content to live in small spaces. If owners provide them with plenty of exercise, space, proper nutrition, and love, these breeds are healthy and content living in apartments.

Owners must always consider a few things before bringing a dog Into an apartment. It is essential to ensure it is a breed that is okay with being indoors and does not need ample outdoor space. Also, take note of whether a pup is a loud barker or barks excessively. This can be unnerving and annoying to neighbors. On top of that, always make sure that where you live allows pets and that the area you keep your pet in is safe and secure. Additionally, owners are responsible for proper training, socialization, and ensuring that their pups are on a leash.

Yorkie at the vet with owner holding him and signing clipboard that vet is showing owner with expenses for services

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