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Best Apartment Dogs for Smaller Spaces

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Let’s face it. Raising an English mastiff in a studio apartment just doesn’t make sense. While apartment sizes can range from tiny – teacup yorki sized small – to enormous, the fact of the matter is that most apartments are smaller than the majority houses. Apartments generally lack a backyard for dogs to play in and apartment walls abut neighbors’ walls, making barking dogs a serious nuisance to others.  That’s why finding the best apartment dogs for these types of spaces can be really difficult.  But don’t worry, we’re here to help!

So what is a good apartment dog? When trying to decide what breed of dog is best for an apartment, size is only one of the factors to consider.  Here are the factors you need to think about before turning your apartment into a dog apartment:

  • Size: Having your dog take up 20% of your living space is simply not an option. While your dog doesn’t have to be a teacup just because you live in an apartment, a Great Dane in an apartment simply won’t be comfortable
  • Barking: Unless you have the most understanding neighbors, a loud, constantly barking dog will not go over well with the people you see on a daily basis. Trust us, you don’t want to be the guy/gal that everyone is cursing under their breath whenever they see you. There are even some dogs, like the Basenji, that don’t bark!
  • Temperament: While training and environment has a lot to do with your dog’s behavior, some breeds tend to be shy or agitated around strangers. You don’t want your neighbors to be afraid of your dog
  • Exercise: Certain dogs are extremely active and require plenty room to run around. A backyard is a great way to facilitate their much needed exercise.  Without a backyard, however, you’ll have to take your dog on long walks or take them.  An alternative to long walks outside is to get an apartment dog that requires less exercise and therefore needs to be taken outside less

All of these are great ways to evaluate what kind of dog you should get for your apartment.  So what is the are best apartment dogs after taking these factors into consideration? Here are a few of the best breeds for your apartment needs:


A picture of a Basenji, one of the best apartment dogs

The basenji is a barkless dog that generally stays shorter than 20 inches and under 25 pounds. Basenji’s generally don’t do well if left along for long periods of time. The basenji’s size and the fact that it doesn’t bark makes it one of the best apartment dogs.

Bichon Frise

A picture of a Bichon Frise, one of the best apartment dogs

Bichon Frise generally grow to about a foot tall or smaller. They require daily exercise and love to play.

Boston Terrier

A picture of a Boston Terrier, one of the best apartment dogs

Boston Terriers are a great size and if properly walked and exercised are extremely friendly and gentle, making them particularly great for apartments. One the trats that really makes them one of the best apartment dogs is the fact that shed very little!


A picture of a bull dog, one of the best apartment dogs

The Bulldog is ideal breed for the couch potato. They require minimal exercise, are extremely gentle, and as you’ve all seen through the power of the Internet, are great skateboarders!


A picture of chihuahua, one of the best apartment dogs

Chihuahuas are a small breed that don’t require a lot of exercise. They love staying in close proximity to their owners but can become agitated with with strangers. They may require some additional attention and training but make for some of the best apartment dogs.


A picture of a dachshund, one of the best apartment dogs

Also known as the “hot dog” due to their long bodies and short legs, dachshunds require minimal exercise (due to their short legs) and make great apartment pets.

French Bulldog

A picture of a french bulldog, one of the best apartment dogs

French Bulldogs (“Frenchies”) require relatively little exercise, similar to a bulldog. They are small and love human contact, making them one of the best apartment dogs.

Japanese Chin

A picture of a Japanese Chin, one of the best apartment dogs

Japanese Chins were bred for companionship and despite their long hair, have relatively minor grooming requirements. They also require minimal exercise and are friendly.

Lhasa Apso

A picture of a lhasa apso, one of the best apartment dogs

Lhasa Apsos may require some additional work up front to train and socialize, but if you make the extra commitment, they definitely quality as one of the best apartment dogs. However, note that the Lhasa Apso have more stringent grooming requirements.


A picture of a maltese, one of the best apartment dogs

Maltese is a small breed and are great companions. They are lively but do not do well if left alone for long periods of time.


A picture of a pekinese, one of the best apartment dogs

Pekinese are “high maintenance” in the sense that they will want your constant attention. Like the Lhasa Apso, some upfront work may be required to socialize them, but once done will become some of the best apartment dogs.


A picture of a poodle, one of the best apartment dogs

Standard poodles are likely too large for apartments, but toy and miniature puddles make great apartment pets. Poodles are extremely intelligent and don’t require a lot of exercise.


A picture of a pug, one of the best apartment dogs

Often referred to as the “Men in Black dog”, pugs make great apartment pets due to their relatively low exercise requirements and minimal barking. While they do not do well alone for long periods of time, they are extremely playful when you are around.

Shih Tzu

A picture of a shih tzu, one of the best apartment dogs

Shih Tzus are a small breed that is also extremely friendly. They do well in lots of environments and have the features to be one of the best apartment dogs.

Yorkshire Terrier

A picture of a yorkshire terrier, one of the best apartment dogs

The Yorkshire Terrier (a.k.a. “Yorkie”) are a small breed that requires minimal exercise. They will require some training up front for their barking and shyness, but make great apartment pets.


At the end of the day, these are only suggestions. We’ve seen plenty of owners raise happy golden retrievers, Labradors, pit bulls, and even German Shepards in apartments, but that requires a serious level of commitment.

These breeds were selected based on suitability for an apartment. When selecting a new dog, you should consider numerous other factors including how good they may be with children, shedding, grooming requirements, trainability, etc… Just because your friend loves his/her poodle, doesn’t make it the perfect pet for you.

If you have the ability to do so, meet the dogs and see which ones you “click” with. Even within a particular breed, dogs have very different personalities. I live in an apartment and selected a pug due to it’s low energy and low exercise requirements. Little did I know our pug was one of the more energetic ones, which we love now, but was a surprise in the beginning.

Good luck and leave any questions in the comments section below. [contact-form subject='[Bone %26amp; Yarn’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

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