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The Best Dogs for Apartments

Sara Ipatenco
Sept. 2, 2015

Got a small space? Here's a list of 20 dogs that make great apartment pets.

Do you live in a small space but still dream of owning a dog? It's possible, you just have to find the right dog for your place. Though at first it might seem like small dogs would make some of the best dogs for apartments, this isn't always the case. In reality, size matters much less than temperament. The key, says Dr. Justine Lee, emergency critical care veterinary specialist and author of "It's a Dog's Life ... but It's Your Carpet," is to choose a dog that "does well in a small environment."

"Basic behavior training is crucial," notes Dr. Patty Khuly, an award-winning veterinarian. These 20 dog breeds are all well-suited to apartment living. For more information about any of these dog breeds, check out the American Kennel Club (AKC):

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
    Dr. Lee recommends this breed which appears in many paintings with kings and queens -- because they "don't need a lot of exercise and don't bark a lot," which means the neighbors won't get annoyed with a noisy pet. Learn more about these little guys at CavalierRescueUSA.

    cavalier king

  2. Greyhound
    You might picture a dog that loves to run, but a greyhound is actually a good apartment breed because it's one of the "lazier dogs," says Dr. Lee. This means that your lack of a yard won't be an issue. Greyhounds are also great with kids. The National Greyhound Adoption Program has lots of great info on these dogs and how to adopt one into your home.


  3. English Bulldog
    This breed, which is a common choice for high school and college mascots, is another lazy one, so a lack of space isn't a big deal. English bulldogs aren't big barkers, either.

    english bulldog

  4. Great Dane
    Yes, this is one of the largest dog breeds, but Great Danes are low-energy and quiet, which means they won't need space to run and won't bug your neighbors. As an added bonus, Great Danes eat far less than you would expect.

    great dane

  5. Pekingese
    This little guy, a favorite lap dog among emperors, tends to sleep a lot and doesn't bark excessively. Pekingese only need a couple walks a day and some indoor playtime, so they're great for people with a busier lifestyle.


  6. Havanese
    Havanese dogs reach weights between 10 and 15 pounds and don't need a lot of physical activity. They also have low-key temperaments, don't bark a lot and are among the smartest of dog breeds. They also have a curious and sociable nature.


  7. Pug
    This breed is playful, but doesn't need a yard or regular exercise to be happy. Pugs are highly adaptable and make great apartment pets because they can sleep up to 14 hours a day. The pug is one of the oldest dog breeds.


  8. French Bulldog
    These dogs, which are quite the snorers, are small, quiet and content to be near their owners. Best of all, French bulldogs actually like to be indoors.

    french bulldog

  9. Whippet
    Whippets are calm, playful and affectionate. They're quiet dogs that don't require a lot of exercise, but do enjoy the occasional game of chase and are really fast runners. They also don't spend a lot of time barking.


  10. Shih Tzu
    The shih tzus is a small dog whose main purpose is to be a companion and house pet. They are mostly quiet and affectionate dogs. Like the pug, this breed is thought to be one of the oldest on earth.


  11. Bernese Mountain Dog
    Dr. Lee notes that Bernese mountain dogs are good apartment dogs because they're "very inactive and don't need a lot of stimulation." This big, lovable breed also makes good watchdogs.

    bernese mountain dog

  12. Brussels Griffon
    This breed, a popular denizen of movies and television shows, is perfectly happy to spend lazy time indoors. Their affectionate nature makes them excellent companion dogs.

    brussels griffon

  13. Bichon Frise
    The delightfully poofy bichon frise is content without a yard, typically pretty quiet and is among the most social of breeds, with curious, playful personalities.

    brichon frise

  14. Corgi
    The smart, affectionate corgi, who is loved by British royalty, is fairly quiet and doesn't need a ton of exercise. They're very smart and might even try to herd you and your family!


  15. Chow Chow
    This proud pooch is low-key, doesn't need a lot of exercise and doesn't bark a lot. They also have a bluish-black tongue, which is unique to this breed and the Chinese shar-pei.

    chow chow

  16. Lhasa Apso
    Lhasa apsos, which were originally bred in Tibet, aren't athletic and are content to be relaxing indoors. While they may be a bit aloof around strangers, this breed will also be known as the family comedian!

    lhasa apso

  17. Japanese Chin
    Low-key and content with just the occasional walk, the Japanese chin makes a great apartment companion. It's also among the most obedient of breeds. Their long coat will require twice weekly brushing though.

    japanese chin

  18. Italian Greyhound
    This is another of the best dogs for apartments recommended by Dr. Lee. Like their larger counterparts, Italian greyhounds aren't highly active and tend to be quiet. Even better, their fur is odorless! These little guys are also very sensitive and affectionate.

    italian greyhound

  19. Papillon
    A papillon (French for "butterfly", and also known as the continental toy spaniel) is easy to please, lives quite well in an apartment and doesn't need a ton of exercise or stimulation. They're a happy breed and take well to training.


  20. Mastiff
    Sure, he's one of the largest dog breeds, but the mastiff is still suited to apartment living because he's inactive and likes to laze around. Make sure to train your mastiff well from puppyhood, because he'll soon become a very big dog!



Any dog you get must be properly trained to live in your apartment, notes Dr. Lee, who suggests crate training your dog and taking him for two 15-minute walks a day. Dr. Khuly adds that puppies should start being trained right away. "Be a responsible dog owner," Dr. Lee emphasizes, and your dog will adapt nicely to your apartment home.

And read Make Way for Lap Dogs!

Sara Ipatenco is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree, both in child development and elementary education. Ipatenco has been published in "Teaching Tolerance" and "Family Fun" magazines.

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