Best 15 Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

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Updated on: Jun 1, 2022
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Best 15 Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Top 15 Dog Breeds For Apartments

Getting a large, loud, and overactive dog in an apartment isn’t fun for anyone – neither you, your neighbors, nor even the dog. What’s the solution then, should you just get a cat, or are there dogs that actually live well in apartments? Let’s go over the Top 15 dog breeds for apartments below, as well as what makes them so good and what else you need to keep in mind beforehand.

What makes a dog breed good for apartments?

Hypothetically, any dog can live in an apartment. If you train your dog well enough, if the apartment is spacious enough, and if you spend enough time in the dog park every day, every breed should work, right?

Right. Still, that’s quite a few big “Ifs”. So, the much smarter solution is to pick a dog breed that’s just good for apartment life. Here are the 5 main factors such a breed should

  • Size – apartments are rarely large and spacious enough for larger breeds so that’s the first major factor. Even if you can envision a German Shepherd walking carefully around your furniture, consider whether there’s enough space for your dog to run and play too.

  • Exercise needs – the next question after space is how much exercise your dog needs. This means three main things: 1) how much outdoor exercise in dog parks, etc., 2) how much yard time, and 3) how much indoor exercise? Dogs that are overly energetic will usually require yard time which makes them unsuitable for life in apartments.

  • Barking – the big issue most people ignore. Yes, when you’re home you can command your dog to stop barking. But what happens when you’re at work? If you want to get a breed that’s known for being overly vocal, you will need to consider lots of obedience training, no-bark training, as well as what you’re going to do with your dog’s separation anxiety.

  • Potty training – this factor doesn’t seem directly related to apartments but it does matter. The thing about potty training is that it requires very swift action whenever you see your puppy is about to have “an accident” on the carpet. Such swift action can be problematic when you live on the 10th floor of an apartment building. Fortunately, there are breeds that aren’t so bad when it comes to potty training.

  • Shedding – this also isn’t directly related to apartment or house living but it is worth considering. If you have a more outdoorsy breed that spends a lot of time in the dog park and the yard, a lot of its shedding will be done outside while playing and running around. If your dog is of a mostly indoorsy apartment breed, however, all the shedding will end up on your couch.

What are the Top 15 dog breeds for apartments?

  1. Bichon Frise – low-shedding, hypoallergenic, small, affectionate, and social, the Bichon Frise is the perfect indoorsy animal for apartment dwellers. This breed is very playful but the small size guarantees that it can get its exercise indoors and not make too much noise while doing so.

  2. Pug – the Pug is also quite small and easy to take care of. There are some health factors to keep in mind but none of them make the Pug any less suitable for life in an apartment than the other dog breeds on this list.

  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – this little Spaniel breed is very active as all Spaniels but the small size makes that manageable. The Cavalier’s long coat will take some brushing and care, however, and keep in mind that this isn’t an indoors-only breed so you will still need to spend quite some time in the dog park. Yard time isn’t necessary, however.

  4. Havanese – these dogs are very similar to other small fluffball breeds such as the Maltese, the Bichon Frise, and others. They are just as easy to look after indoors and are relatively healthy too. Some basic socialization and obedience training will be needed to prevent barking and misbehavior but that’s it.

  5. Dachshund – the quintessential indoor breed, Doxies are playful and lively but they only need about 40 to 60 minutes of outdoor exercise a day. Potty training can be time-consuming, however, so keep that in mind. Back problems due to IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) are a possibility so you may want to install some ramps up certain furniture pieces or any indoor staircases.

  6. French Bulldog – Frenchies are small, playful, and very social. Their barking predisposition is moderate and isn’t anything you can’t deal with via basic obedience training. Keep in mind that, like the Pug, this is a Brachycephalic breed too so there are some health needs to watch out for.

  7. English Bulldog – bigger than the Frenchie but with a much more laid-back demeanor, the English Bulldog is a great choice if you want a bigger but still manageable, calm, and huggable pet with low exercise needs. Just note the health risks here too as this breed is also Brachycephalic.

  8. Barbet – if you do have a spacious apartment and want a larger breed, consider the Barbet. These dogs are extraordinarily fluffy but they don’t shed much and are near-hypoallergenic. They also don’t tend to bark much with the right training and their exercise needs are fairly moderate.

  9. Greyhound – sighthounds are probably the last breed group you’d consider for apartment life but they actually work very well. Dogs like the Greyhound need to run in the dog park, yes, but they don’t need yard time, they don’t bark much (or nearly at all), and they are very calm indoors.

  10. Shih Tzu – back to the tiny end of the size spectrum, Shih Tzu dogs have been an indoors breed for thousands of years. Great with kids and other pets, with low exercise needs, low barking potential, and moderate health, Shih Tzus do need some grooming but that’s about it.

  11. Maltese – many people mistake the Maltese for the Havanese and the Bichon Frise. And while that’s not fair cause they are a wholly separate breed, in terms of how well they fit in apartments, they are indeed similar.

  12. Bedlington Terrier – the breed with the most recognizable head, the Bedlington terrier is hypoallergenic, small, very social and friendly, and with only a moderate barking potential. This breed is highly energetic and will need extra time in the dog park but a yard isn’t necessary.

  13. Affenpinscher – this is an exceptionally low-shedding breed and it also has a fairly low barking potential. The Affenpinscher is quite energetic but its small size ensures that it’s not an issue for apartment dwellers.

  14. Italian Greyhound – like its American counterpart, the Italian Greyhound lives very well in apartments. It’s smaller in size too which makes it even easier to look after.

  15. German Spitz – often mistaken for a Pomeranian, the German Spitz is better for apartment dwellers due to its lower barking potential and slightly more manageable coat. Both breeds are tiny enough for an apartment, of course.

What to do if your dog isn’t suitable for apartment living?

As we alluded to above, dogs of every breed can work in apartments if you try enough. Some will just require a bit extra effort. What does this include?

  1. If you want to take a larger dog you will need to make sure your apartment is spacious enough. If it isn’t, consider moving some furniture around or maybe even getting rid of some things.

  2. If barking seems like it’d be an issue, you should take extra care to train your dog not to do so. This goes tenfold for breeds like the Husky and the Beagle that are extra vocal and love howling too. And it’s even more important if you work away from home as otherwise, your dog will drive your neighbors crazy.

  3. Get ready for lots of time spent in the dog park if you take a more physically active breed and you don’t have a fenced yard. Consider taking up jogging and/or doing long weekend hikes too.

  4. Get a carpet if you don’t have one – this will considerably lower the noise levels your downstairs neighbors are going to get.

  5. If potty training sounds like it’d be troublesome, you can get a puppy that’s a couple of months older and has already been potty training. Puppies are usually adopted around the 8th week or their 2nd month and that’s when potty training typically starts. So, if you just get a puppy that’s 3 or 4 months old, you can easily skip this step.

Of course, there are much more than just 15 breeds that can work well in apartments. Virtually all of these 15 breeds have numerous crossbreeds that are similar enough to be just as good in an apartment building. However, going off of the 5 criteria above, these are the first breeds we’d mention for anyone considering a dog.

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