The best dog breeds to live with in an apartment



Cloudy with bone on sofaA dog? In an apartment? Er………

It is easy to empathize with what goes on in an apartment owner’s mind when we mention the idea of a dog living with him. Many concerns abound.

For yes, not all dogs are not suited for apartment living. Further, size, of both the apartment and the dog, is a factor that very much comes into play.So is potential mess, which can be very much a reality.

Still, pet lovers yearn to have the company of a little dog. Their concerns would likely revolve around which breeds of dogs would be suitable for apartment life and how to use persuasive powers on landlords if they wish to accommodate a dog.

Why owners hesitate

These are obvious concerns, but I highlight them as a reminder that they have to be gotten around if there is to be a solution for hapless pet owners and their dogs.

And it is quite a shame if such obstacles were to deter apartment dwellers from owning beloved pets.

The size of the dog

The size of dogs might deter people from owning them outright. Some are unquestionably bigger, putting in place the fear that bringing a dog into an apartment would be a disaster.

What counts more than size is the dog’s temperament. Some smaller dogs, such as Jack Russell Terriers, are really active and need loads of space to run. Apartment living, for them, can be a concern.

The opposite may be true of gentler giant breeds, like labrador retrievers, which can be gentle, quiet and adapt well to life in an apartment. As long as exercise requirements are met, many large dogs adapt well to apartment life.


Regardless of size, owners may be concerned about the amount of space available for a dog. The thought can be daunting, especially when a lot of furniture and such has to be factored in.

The solution to that would be to be rid of clutter and unnecessary objects.Create a little corner where the dog can be comfortable and teach him to recognize boundaries. There are other tips that can help apartment owners to accommodate dogs, which I shall share later.


I have to be honest and say that pet ownership comes with its icky side and a not so pleasant one at that. It can be extremely off-putting in small living spaces which one already finds hard to keep clean.

Establishing boundaries, again, can help a dog to get along with owners in small living spaces.

The best dog breeds for apartment living

Merianne Perdomo CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Creative Commons

Merianne Perdomo CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Creative Commons
A greyhound and a cat


Small or large, it is true that not all dogs are suited to life in an apartment, though that is more an issue of individual temperament.

There are, though, certain breeds that are pre-disposed to apartment lifestyles.

1. Yorkshire Terriers

Though more active, these little buddies do not require much space and feel comfortable wherever they are set to live. They bark little and adapt well to new environments.

2. French Bulldog

The practical demeanor of this breed makes them adaptable and ideal for apartment living. Although they bear traits of larger dogs, they are comfortable as long as they have a place in the apartment to call their own.

3. Maltese

Small, with a silky coat and no undercoat, the maltese does not shed easily. He also does not take a lot of space and is a quiet fellow who just loves his little space.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A friendly fellow, it can deal well with other dogs or tenants of a rented apartment. It is calm and adaptable.

5. Boston Terriers

This dog is a faithful fellow who will go where his owner does. As long as he can be nearby, apartment life will suit him just fine.
6. Bassett Hounds

I have observed a lady who brings her Bassett to church. As she prays, the slightly bigger than medium sized fellow sits by her side, or quietly sleeps through the proceedings. He has become a regular feature for church goers on Sundays!

Indeed, the quiet fellow is suited for apartment life, only requiring a little attention now and then.

7. English Bulldog

Like its French cousin, the slightly larger fellow is comfortable in small spaces. A couch dog-tato, it prefers TV sessions to a walk in the park.

8. American Stratforshire Terrier

Quite dog friendly, this fellow gets along well with other dogs. It also forms a tight bond with its owner. As long as it is well exercised, It can be a good apartment dog.

9. Great Danes

No doubt, this dog is big. But his temper is even and he is trainable. He will not poop all over if well taught, though it your couch would be fully occupied once he jumps on it. He is friendly and non-aggressive to humans and dogs.

10. Greyhounds

Again, as long as it gets its required exercise, the greyhound is a great companion to have in an apartment.

Tips for living with a dog in an apartment

Ileana n CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Creative Commons
An American Stratfordshire Puppy

Aside from setting boundaries for our dogs, there is a lot an owner can do to accommodate Fido in an apartment.

1. Take it one step at a time.

Assimilate the dog slowly, moving the dog into the apartment for short periods then for longer ones as it get used to the idea. A sudden attempt to spend long periods in its new home would overwhelm any dog.

2. Spend time with Fido.

To improve its sense of security in its new home, spend time with the dog as much as possible. To prevent separation anxiety, go out for shorter, then longer periods of time.

3. Create space

Get rid of whatever is not needed to create space for the dog.

4. Watch the lighting.

Dogs are comfortable in natural light. Keep the environment naturally lit as much as possible

5. Establish a routine

As the dog will not be able to go out unless the owner takes it for a walk, it is critical to establish a walking routine. MIne go out in the evenings after work for the day is completed and it is always kept that way.

6. Hire a dog sitter

If work keeps the owner away from the apartment for long hours, it might be a good alternative to hire a dog walker or sitter. It allows the dog to have its daily stretch.

7. Get a bench

A little bench would help the dog look outside, since they love looking at moving images. Be careful to have windows grilled. I once had flexible Jack Russell who somehow managed to squeeze through a narrow opening in the window and escaped. Fortunately, we live on the ground floor.

8. Invest in a gate.

This prevents escapes whenever the mailman delivers or visitors arrive. It also helps the dog to recognize boundary.

9. Find a good trainer

A good dog trainer will help a dog sort out problems like excessive barking or aggression.

10. Adapt!

It is perfectly fine to play games in the apartment as long as modifications are made. Fetch, for example can still be played as long as the fall of objects is muffled by rugs and no fragile objects are around.

Life with a dog in an apartment is not difficult, albeit with the right dog and a few adaptations.

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19 Replies to “The best dog breeds to live with in an apartment”

  1. Growing up in Manhattan, we had a few dogs. One of them was a Schnauzer. She was a great one to have.

    We lived by Central Park and would always see folks and their dogs there.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I don’t currently have a dog but I do have a cat. I love dogs! When I was apartment living my neighbor next door owned a Great Dane. That was such a BIG dog in such a little space but it was the happiest dog on the Planet!
    Healthy blessings

  3. I remember my uncle bought a “small” dog for his apartment. It ended up being a cross-breed and for some reason he wasn’t told. The little Yorkshire Terrier called Tiny grew up to be bigger than a Sheep Dog. It’s funny looking back at it but he had to adapt and ended up moving into a house shortly after.

  4. Excellent points and information I hope people take to heart when choosing a dog. I can’t imagine having one of our Labs in an apartment…not a good match if you ask me.

  5. Great tips and list! I have never had to live in an apartment before, but think my dog would probably do fine in one. She’s an American Pit Bull Terrier.

  6. I love the list you compiled here, I have always been a huge fan of every breed you have listed but especially the French Bulldog. Your list actually just helped me convince hubby our next dog should be a Frenchie. 🙂 We currently have two dogs, both mixes that we adopted… Honestly, I think an adopted mix dog will offer the most love but maybe that’s just my opinion!

  7. Wonderful tips. A lot of houses to rent and apartments are dead set against any pets at all. So glad I live somewhere where my pets can be also.

  8. Great list and I’m glad to see Greyhound made the list…they are total couch potatoes and when i worked at the ASPCA years ago, they always said that Greyhounds made great apartment dogs because they love to lay around. We live in a house now, but when we lived in an apartment many years ago, we had a Portuguese Water dog and he was the absolute worst dog to have in an apartment. He needed a TON of exercise and although we did our best to exercise him (we lived near Central Park and took him there a lot), it never seemed like enough. So, if you ever make a list of dogs NOT suited for apartment living, make sure you add PWDs to the list! 🙂

  9. Thanks so much for joining TNT. Very good tips. Most young labs I know (like all retrievers) are a bit active for an apartment. However, older dogs can be a good choice because they have usually lost the puppy wiggles. I think an older dog of any breed may work well in an apartment. 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing! Any dog can work in an apartment, so long as the dog receives adequate exercise and mental stimulation. If the dog is just expected to sit around and do nothing all day….well, prepare for daily messes! Or get a fish or stuffed animal. It’s also not fair to expect the dog to hold its bladder for 8+ hours every day, so we like that you added the part about the pet sitter =)

    Every dog is bred for a purpose and was meant to have a good deal of stamina to do its job. A daily walk will be fine for a lower energy dog, but 2 hr walk or intense exercise like fetch or swimming will keep a higher energy dog chill in the apartment =)

  11. Hi Y’all!

    Great information! My Human has heard that Danes can be great apartment dogs. Great information. Activity level of dogs should always be considered before adopting or purchasing a puppy. When people are not able to satisfy a dog’s needs as far as activity levels and breed drives they are in for a disaster for both dog and person.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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