The best dogs for an apartment are ones that are content in small spaces and don’t need a lot of exercise outdoors. If your apartment seems to be missing something—like an adorable furry friend to meet you at the door at night—then maybe a dog is in your future.
But is your home really the right place for a pooch? If your quarters are tight (hey, we’re still talking about your apartment), and you have no yard where your canine could stretch its legs, might you be setting up your pet—and yourself—for a miserable relationship? Not necessarily. Whether you’re dreaming of a greyhound, pug, French bulldog, shiba inu, or any other breed, read on.
Best dogs for apartment living
Many apartment dogs are born and bred homebodies, happy to lounge around at home, says Cyndy Bolte, senior scientist at Nestlé Purina PetCare. Certain breeds are also known for not being big barkers—a godsend for your neighbors. So before you give up on your dream of owning a dog, check out this list of (hot) dog breeds that are perfectly suited for urban living.
Note: We’re focusing on purebreds, because they display reliable personality traits, but it’s worth noting that mixed-breed mutts often display the best qualities of their various lines and that far more are available for adoption. Go, mutts! Without further ado, here are some of the best dog breeds for apartment living. All together now: Awwwwww!
At 10 inches or less in height, this is about as small as you can get without downsizing to a gerbil or, God forbid, an anxiety-ridden Chihuahua (don’t hate us, please).
With toy dogs, you get a dog’s big personality in a small package that gets pretty much all the exercise it needs running around your little place. Bonus: Poodles don’t shed (the downside, though, is they need to be bathed regularly and have their coat clipped every six to eight weeks). And while there are some wild and rather disturbing poodle cuts out there, the easiest is the “lamb clip,” an all-over short cut. Live on the 35th floor? No problem.
It’s no big deal to litter-train these apartment dogs or use potty pads, so you don’t need to take them outside for the required three to six times a day to answer nature’s call. That’s great for someone who lives in a high-rise or walk-up, has no urge to exercise, or prefers a pet that fits in a purse. You know who you are.
Love large dogs but worried they’ll run you ragged with their need for open spaces? Then the mellow mastiff is an unexpected choice for an apartment list.
Despite its gargantuan size, it doesn’t require much exercise. Its size, in fact, is the cause of its low energy. Being a mastiff is tiring!
“A simple walk daily” should do it, Bolte suggests.
Anyone who follows Marnie the Dog, a 13-year-old rescue and Instagram sensation, may be craving one of these mop-headed cuties. But here’s what you may not know: The Shih Tzu was bred to be a companion—it has no hunting genes! It is compact in size and quite happy staying indoors, which makes it an ideal apartment dog.
One caveat: All that long, silky fur requires daily brushing to prevent knots, and bathing as often as once a week. Also, much like humans, it needs regular hair-cutting every six to eight weeks. It’s a bit high-maintenance, but just think of how chic your companion will look strutting down the street by your side.
Sure, these droopy-jowled charmers are a robust size. But once they’ve outgrown their puppy stage, they become big, wrinkly couch potatoes, making them some of the very best apartment dogs. In fact, you may have to drag this breed out and about—so if you love regular trips to the park, you may be in trouble. For human homebodies, though, this is the perfect companion.
Watch: The Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces
Yes, the Great Dane can make a great dog for an apartment. On its hind legs, it can tower over humans; but indoors, it’s relatively inactive, thanks in large part to its large size (like the mastiff).
Known as a gentle giant, this affectionate, short-haired breed is relatively graceful, considering—so don’t worry too much about it knocking over your home decor.
Bonus: “They’re on the quiet side,” Bolte says. So odds are slim that this apartment dog will bark and annoy (or terrify) your neighbors.
Cavalier King Charles spaniel
If you prefer your dog to be seen and not heard, this brown-eyed beauty is for you.
“Spaniels such as Cavalier King Charles are small and known to be relatively quiet in demeanor and with barking,” Bolte says.
Made famous as the pet of Charlotte in “Sex and the City,” this serene spaniel is a surprisingly low-maintenance apartment dog. Its coat is no muss, no fuss, requiring just weekly brushing. Its energy level depends on you—it can go for a hike, or hike on to your lap, and requires just one walk daily.
A borkie is a combination of two great apartment breeds: a bichon and a Yorkie. You get the fluffy white fur of a bichon and the even-tempered personality of a Yorkie all in one.
Borkies don’t require much grooming or exercise, making them a good option if you’re away from your apartment most of the day.