The Best Apartment Dogs by Breed

The majority of adoptable pets in North America are dogs. Whether acquired from a shelter or purchased through a breeder, there are a lot of dogs out there looking for homes.

According to Orvis, 60 percent of all households in the U.S. have at least one pet. From apartment dwellers to those living in huge estates, there's a dog for any amount of square footage.

Living in an apartment, though, can present challenges when it comes to selecting the right dog breed.

How to select the best dog for your apartment

Restrictions written into your lease on dog size or breed can impact your choice, but don't let size be your only determining factor. If your apartment isn't too specific on weight restrictions for pets, the American Kennel Club says “many large breed dogs have lower activity levels and are more than happy to lounge on the sofa."

Some smaller breeds are too energetic for apartment living, while certain large dogs need minimal space to feel comfortable. To help you narrow down your choices, here are a few breeds to consider.

1. Dachshund

As small and expert snuggle dogs, Dachshunds can get by with minimal exercise. Their little legs mean they don't have to go far for a good workout.

A game of fetch with a squeaky toy right in your apartment can tire them out just as well as a brisk walk. Loyal, friendly and loving, they're a great apartment dog.

2. Bichon Frise

Well-known for having a great personality, this adaptable pup gets along with other dogs, as well as people. They're very friendly and easy to train.

With a happy and relaxed demeanor, they're a great dog to come home to at the end of the day. A bonus, their coats are hypoallergenic, for anyone coming over with an allergy.

3. Shih Tzu

There's nothing cuter than a little Shih Tzu with a bow in its hair. These small, low-energy lap dogs are very easy going.

Their average weight ranges between 9 and 16 pounds, making them a small dog with the proper temperament for an apartment dweller. They've got the best of both worlds.

4. Miniature Pinscher

While they look like a mini Doberman, Miniature Pinschers are actually their own breed of dog. They make great watchdogs, but this also means they may be wary of strangers.

Fearless, intelligent and confident, these dogs make a playful companion who learn quickly. Be sure to give them ample opportunity for exercise whether it be playing inside or going for walks.

5. Greyhound

A bit larger than other dogs on this list, the Greyhound is a perfect example of a bigger dog with an apartment mindset. These lazy dogs need minimal exercise and grooming. They're laid back and quickly-trained, happy to curl up on the couch while you're at work all day.

There are also a lot of Greyhounds in need of their forever home. Many retired racing Greyhounds end up in shelters. Organizations like The Greyhound Project help promote the adoption of these sweet pups.

6. French Bulldog

A quiet, friendly and loving breed, French Bulldogs are happy in small spaces. They're low energy and content to loaf around with their loved ones after a little play time.

Calm, composed and affectionate, this is one of the most unobtrusive breeds, but they can be hard to find.

7. Pug

Small, calm and generally quiet, Pugs can get a little clingy with their owners. It's best not to leave them alone for long periods of time to keep them content.

They're intelligent, very loving, playful and friendly, they do well around other pets and people of all ages.

8. Chihuahua

Affectionately referred to as a purse dog, Chihuahuas are loyal and charming, confident and adaptable. Maxing out at around six pounds, they're great for smaller homes.

Happy on their own, they'll still want some dedicated lap time when you arrive at the end of the day. Take special care when bringing these little guys outside in cold weather. Their thin coat isn't very insulating. Good thing they look cute in a puppy sweater.

9. Terriers

With a variety of breeds, from the Miniature Schnauzer to the Scottish Terrier, these dogs are generally small and energetic. They're low maintenance, but like to play and spend time outside.

As minimal shedders, they won't leave behind too much hair on their favorite napping spots, a.k.a. your furniture.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

An adorable dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels don't need a ton of exercise to be content. A few small walks during the week, paired with a more adventurers trek over the weekend, and they're set.

Sweet, playful and gentle, they love to cuddle when at home. While they're not big barkers, they do need time to get used to new noises before being able to ignore them.

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The best of both worlds

While you'll know more about the personality of your dog with a purebred, don't forgo adopting a pup in need. You can apply the knowledge of what pure breeds make good apartment dogs when looking at shelters.

Search for mixes with one or more of these dog breeds in their DNA to rescue your good apartment dog. Not only that, but some of these mixed breeds have amazing names:

  • Cavachon: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise
  • Chiweenie: Dachshund and Chihuahua
  • Shorkie: Shih Tzu and Yorkshire terrier
  • Chug: Chihuahua and pug

Getting ready to be a dog owner

Once you've begun your search for the perfect apartment pooch, it's time to get your home and yourself ready to be a dog owner. There's no recipe to finding the perfect dog, but knowing a little about breeds can help.

“As long as the dog matches your lifestyle, you'll have found the “best" breed for you," says Carolyn Steber from Bustle. Make sure you've got all the supplies for a happy dog and have thought about how to be a good dog owner in an apartment community.

Setting up a dog-friendly home

A few items you'll need right from the start include:

  • Dog bed
  • Food and water bowls
  • Large mat to catch any spills and prevent stains from eating or chewing on a favorite bone

You'll also need to think about what rules you'll have for your pup so you can practice them from the start. Decide what furniture they can and can't use. Establish if it's OK if they sleep with you in the bed. Set guidelines and then train your dog from day one to only go where they're allowed.

Exercising an apartment dog

Every dog needs exercise, whether it's a walk or some play time with a favorite toy. If you already know your work schedule is a little crazy, plan to get some help in this area. Send your dog out to doggie daycare a few days a week or hire a dog walker to come in daily.

Consider crate training your dog to make their time at home less stressful, and budget in time over the weekend for you to get out with your furry friend. A trip to a local dog park once a week could wipe them out for days.

Being a neighbor-friendly dog owner

The last thing you want is for your neighbors to dislike your dog — or you for that matter. Don't be a bad dog owner where they're concerned. Remember how close you all live to each other, that you share most outdoor space and act accordingly.

  • Keep your dog from excessive barking. Desensitize them to strange or new noises and people to keep barking down.
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Leash your dog at all times when not inside the apartment
  • Teach them not to jump when they meet someone new
  • Stay up-to-date with shots and regular vet visits

Remember that not everyone is a dog lover so being a respectful dog parent is important. Even owning pets from good apartment dog breeds doesn't mean everyone will want to interact with your pup.

As long as you give your dog the right amount of exercise, attention and training, they'll be a well-behaved member of the community that everyone can tolerate.