Best apartment dogs: just because you live in an apartment complex doesn’t mean you have to avoid owning a pet. There are many dog breeds that can be suitable for apartment and city living (and no, they don’t always have to be of the miniature-sized variety). Knowing the right dog to own, though, can make it a lot easier on you and your pup.
What dogs are best for apartments? Well, truly, any dog can be an apartment dog. As long as you’re willing to provide them with enough activity outside there shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, there are some dogs that are more apartment-friendly than others…
Best Apartment Dogs 2020
If you’re thinking about adopting a new dog into the family while living in an apartment, you have come to the right place. Here are the best apartment dogs, categorized by noise level, activity level needed, and size:
- Noise Level
- American Hairless Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Border Terrier
- Coton de Tulear
- Activity Level (Exercise Needed)
- Basset Hound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- French Bulldog
- Japanese Chin
- Shih Tzu
- Size (Best Big Dogs for Apartments)
- Afghan Hound
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Great Dane
- Saint Bernard
- Shiloh Shepherd
Criteria for Best Apartment Dogs
One of the common misconceptions is that you must get a teeny-tiny dog breed if you live in an apartment. Sure, it’s a consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only. When we look at good breed/apartment fits, I consider 3 main things:
- Noise level
- Activity level
Noise level – This is a biggie. Nothing pisses neighbors (and apartment managers) off more than a yappy or constantly barking dog. You can train your dog to bark less. You can also find a dog that naturally barks less (the Basenji is barkless).
Activity level – Some dog breeds were bred for working or for sport, so naturally have more energy. They are better-behaved dogs when they get to perform that task or sport. Aside from those dog breeds, all dogs need exercise. And you shouldn’t expect that to happen inside the living space. So apartment-living vs. other living situations shouldn’t really matter. Think about it: do people living in homes set up race tracks for their dogs inside the home? Nah. Nor does every home have a fenced back yard. Going for a walk around the apartment complex is perfect for exercise/bonding time and can be a fun social time (for you and Fido). Please choose a dog whose activity level aligns with yours. More sedentary? Look into a Bulldog. More active? Try a Poodle or Poodle-mix (they have the added bonus of being hypoallergenic).
Size – I would argue that the size of the living space should have minimal impact on the size of the dog you get. Or vice-versa. Think about it: is any dog so big that they can’t fit through the apartment door? Or that they can’t walk around inside without bumping things off the shelves? You might have a hoarding problem, if so. But seriously, Great Danes can make great apartment dogs!
And the takeaway from these 3 considerations?
Some dog breeds are naturally “apartment dogs”, but any dog can be an apartment dog. It all depends on how much time and effort you’re willing to commit to molding him to fit your lifestyle.
Obligatory “adopt-a-dog” alert! Fostering a dog can be a great try-it-before-you-buy-it way to see if you’re a good fit for her and if she’s a good fit for you.
Best Dogs for Apartments (Based On Noise Level)
1. American Hairless Terrier
If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to best dogs for city living, the American Hairless Terrier is a top choice.
This is because not only is he a small and manageable breed that doesn’t mine confined spaces, but he is also an extremely light shedder that’s quiet and calm.
Aside from that, he also doesn’t require too much activity, which means a brisk walk around the complex and a few games here and there will leave him satisfied.
2. Bedlington Terrier
Have a love for barnyard animals? How about an adorable lamb? Well, the next best thing after a lamb is the Bedlington Terrier thanks to his sheepish appearance.
Aside from being downright adorable and bringing a barnyard vibe, the Bedlington Terrier is known for being a good moderately sized dog that doesn’t shed or bark too much. He does, however, need frequent walks to keep him satisfied.
3. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a big ball of fur that wants the attention of his family almost constantly. So, if you have little ones looking for a sidekick, he’s your answer.
The Bichon Frise, which is mistakenly called a Poodle more often than not, is a loveable breed that’s perfect for apartments. He’s tiny, quiet, but full of energy, so playing games and having fun indoors is a must.
4. Border Terrier
You won’t hear a peep out of this beloved breed, but what you will see is his powerful and energetic nature. The Border Terrier is one who loves to have a special job, specifically digging and hunting.
Make sure he has enough exercise day in and day out and you won’t struggle with this breed. The good news is, he’s extremely quiet and doesn’t shed too much, although weekly brushing is highly suggested.
5. Coton de Tulear
When we use the term ‘easily manageable’, we’re undeniably talking about the Coton De Tulear. This breed is really just your basic dog breed, all balled up into an adorable furry body.
He doesn’t need much energy and he’s quiet, making him the ideal companion for any apartment home.
You might not think that a Greyhound is good for apartment complexes due to his size, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, a Greyhound — as long as he is getting enough energy day in and day out — is a great choice and one of the best dogs for city living. He is friendly, sweet, and mild, perfect for apartments and families with younger children.
Known as the ‘velcro dog’, the Havanese is a loving breed that enjoys spending every second with their loved ones.
He’s not only a good dog that doesn’t bark or require much exercise…but he is also friendly to all people and pets, which means you can gladly accept this breed into your home whether there’s children, cats, or other dogs involved.
The Maltese is an adorable little pooch who loves to be surrounded by his family. However, he isn’t exactly the best with kids, so he might be best suited for a couple or a family with older children.
He’s also a quick learner and doesn’t tend to bark too often, making him a quiet, respectful dog that doesn’t mind the apartment lifestyle.
A lot of new pet owners look to the poodle because they are known to be sophisticated and regal pups that are also hypoallergenic, making them the ideal pet for those with allergies.
Their curly hair isn’t the only thing to love about this dog, though.
This intelligent breed is easily trained and doesn’t bark much. Make sure he is trained, though, so he doesn’t become too dominant. Also, ensure he is exercised regularly to keep him happy.
The Pug became popular for two major reasons:
- He has such a unique, yet completely compelling and adorable face…
- But he is also a huge goofball!
Being silly with his loved ones is a Pug’s favorite pastime. But aside from his goofy personality, he is also on the quiet side and doesn’t require too much exercise. What he does require, though, is a lot of attention.
Best Apartment Dogs, Based on Activity Needs
Looking for a dog that loves to lounge around the house? You will find the Barbet to be one of the simplest dogs to own:
- He is relaxed and calm in nature, which means he will have no problem simply hanging around your apartment.
- He also isn’t prone to shedding, which means no worry of excessive hairs strewn across the apartment.
Agreeable and cute, the Barbet is certainly a breed to consider for best dogs for apartment living.
2. Basset Hound
When you think of the ultimate lazy pup, who comes to mind? It’s none other than the Basset Hound!
These short, stalky little things are undeniably one of the laziest and calmest dog breeds, which means they have no problem lounging around in an apartment day in and day out.
However, you do have two things to worry about:
- Basset Hounds can be big barkers
- They are notorious droolers, so make sure he’s got a comfy, cozy spot to relax and drool all to himself.
Aside from the Basset Hound, another lazy breed that is ideal for apartment living is none other than the Bulldog.
These chunky babies love to relax all day, with a deep love for taking a long nap on their master’s lap. They only need a few walks here and there, as they would much prefer to stay inside and chill out. Just make sure not to overfeed this lazy bug or he may become overweight.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
When you’re in need of a dog that is simply an all-around good dog, look no further than the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
This delightful dog is a people-pleaser and has an overflowing love for his family members — which is why he is likely to be seen following them around day in and day out. He’s a great companion whether you’re watching TV or going for a hike.
Everyone knows the Chihuahua to be the smallest breed, but one of the feistiest, too. This is why it’s best not to leave this breed unattended for too long or have him around other animals he may be unsure of.
Alone, though, the Chihuahua can easily become your best friend. They are great with people of all ages and don’t mind the small quarters.
If you are looking for one of the easiest dogs to take care of, then you definitely want to consider the Dachshund.
This wonderful breed has been amongst the most popular for over 50 years and for good reason, too. They are mild-tempered and have a loving, caring personality.
They have just the right amount of energy to play games with kids without being excessively needy. They’re smart and easily trained, too.
7. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are probably best known for those lovely, oversized ears, but there is so much more to this breed. He has been deemed one of the best dog breeds for apartments because he loves to sit back and relax just as much as he enjoys a bit of playtime.
He is also known for being glued to his family, wanting to spend a whole lot of time with them — no matter what they are doing.
8. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin has a fun, cute little face and is known for being an excellent companion dog. He doesn’t like a whole lot of noise or activity, though, so he isn’t the best choice for those with families.
For older individuals or couples, though, he makes an enjoyable breed that loves to be inside with his family.
The Pekingese is certainly a breed who thinks they run the shots.
They walk in looking and feeling like they own the place, and why shouldn’t they? Their royal background makes them a bit snooty, but don’t fall for the facade. They are also extremely loving to their families and make one of the top picks for best dogs for apartment living.
He’s also a lounger who loves to kick back and relax, perfect for small apartment buildings.
10. Shih Tzu
What can we say about the Shih Tzu, other than he is undeniably one of the best dog breeds for apartments?
He’s outgoing, friendly, sweet, calm, and on top of it all, a huge fan of cuddling. He’s a top choice because he’s not a big barker and would much rather sit in your lax and watch a movie than run around. Don’t worry, though — this couch potato also loves to play with kids and other pets.
Top Big Dogs for Apartments
1. Afghan Hound
The Afghan Hound makes our list of best dogs for city living because he is known for his mellow temperament.
He’s a dog that can easily chill out on the couch for hours at a time, as long as he gets an hour or two of exercise throughout the day. He also requires a bit more grooming than some other dogs on this list, which is something to consider.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
Don’t let his rough and tough exterior fool you…
Although he may appear like he’s an aggressive dog you don’t want to mess with, he is really a loving and caring breed that enjoys spending time with his family. Make sure he gets enough exercise every day and train him at a young age to ensure he doesn’t get too territorial.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
For some, thinking about having a Bernese Mountain dog inside of the home seems impossible — but that simply isn’t the case.
Although this dog may appear larger-than-life, he is actually a rather quiet and well-behaved dog that can thrive in small spaces. All you need to do is ensure he gets enough physical and mental stimulation on a regular basis to keep him happy and healthy.
The Boxer is another large breed that’s great for apartment living.
This is because he is a fairly mild-mannered dog, especially after they have gone through their more wild puppyhood. These dogs are easy to train and only need about an hour of exercise daily. They should have mentally-stimulating toys lying around, though, to keep them from becoming bored.
If you are looking for the best large-sized dog for an apartment, it’s the Bullmastiff.
This dog truly has it all, whether you want him in an apartment or not. He is fairly quiet and doesn’t need too much exercise. He is also known for being a top pick for families with smaller children thanks to his docile and affectionate nature.
Aside from these fantastic qualities, he is also a light shedder, so little to no maintenance is required on his behalf. Do we really need to go on?!
6. Dogue de Bordeaux
The Dogue de Bordeaux easily ranks as one of the best dogs for apartment living because it isn’t crucial that he has a lot of space to be happy.
As long as he is exercised to exhaustion each day, he will happily be an indoor dog that takes care of his family. That being said, his guarding instincts will require him to be properly trained to avoid aggressiveness.
7. Great Dane
This larger-than-life breed is known to be one of the biggest breeds, while also being one of the most noble breeds.
This is a big dog you will want to have in your apartment as he is affectionate, calm, and protective, yet isn’t prone to barking. He is gentle with small children, too, and doesn’t need a whole lot of exercise to stay happy.
Hint-hint: Greyhounds made the apartment list twice!
If you don’t mind giving your dog a bit more exercise outside throughout the day, then a Greyhound can be a good pick for an apartment.
This is because they are incredibly loving and fun, although they don’t have the patience or tolerance to handle small children. Give him the exercise he needs and he will be a cuddler all night.
The Newfoundland breed can easily be noted as the laziest large-sized dog breed on the planet.
Let’s face it — Newfoundlands would prefer to laze around than spend their time outside going for a run. That being said, they are a great pick for apartments. Of course, they will need to be pushed a bit to exercise or they can become obese.
Did we mention they’re patient and happy with kids of all ages, too?
10. Saint Bernard
Almost everyone is familiar with Saint Bernard, but they might not consider this huge breed to be apartment-friendly. But that could not be further from the truth!
This docile, loving breed is perfectly calm and happy relaxing in an apartment. Just make sure he gets a little bit of exercise daily and he will be a great choice for an apartment, especially with those with children.
11. Shiloh Shepherd
You can easily refer to this dog as a ‘gentle giant’ as he is patient and adoring, even with smaller children who aren’t entirely sure how to handle a dog.
Although he is a massive breed, he doesn’t require too much exercise — a daily walk is enough to keep him happy. Otherwise, he would much rather be sitting on the couch with his best friend — you!
Whether you opt for a miniature-sized breed or one that is larger-than-life, you can rest assured that these top 30+ best dog breeds for apartments will be happy as ever relaxing in your apartment complex day in and day out.
…just make sure that you’re allowing for the proper exercise requirements for each to keep them not just happy, but healthy, too.
English Bulldogs are the best dogs for apartments because they require little exercise and are so lovable that your neighbors will be lining up to pup-sit them. 🙂
The top 3 best dogs for flats are Bichon Frise, Greyhounds, and Basset Hounds.
Basset Hounds are low-energy dog breeds who require little exercise and can be left alone during the day.
Greyhounds! They are quiet, dainty, and (surprisingly) require little exercise.