What Kind of Dog Should I Get? 10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Updated on November 30, 2018
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Katleigh is an avid animal lover with a special penchant for poodles, ponies, and rats.

Close neighbors and tight spaces are some of the major problems apartment living brings.
Close neighbors and tight spaces are some of the major problems apartment living brings. | Source

What Makes a Good Apartment Dog Breed?

City and suburban life bring new and unique struggles to pet ownership, especially for those who chose apartment living. There are a few important characteristics to consider when choosing a good apartment dog breed.

  • Friendliness. They must be able to get along well with their neighbors, both human and canine. Some dog owners may also have to share a building with small children or the elderly, so mouthy or temperamental dogs may not be a good choice. Relaxed breeds that are socialized at an early age are ideal for apartment living.
  • Volume. Good apartment dogs can't wake up the other residents. Hounds and typical watchdog breeds might be an instinctive first choice, but a bustling city full of strangers might unnerve your pooch and their threatening howls and barks may raise flags with your fellow tenants. With so many people coming and going, you're going to have to find a dog that can use her inside bark.
  • Energy. Highly energetic dogs can be a lot of fun, but their need for exercise and constant attention can be a strain if you don't have an active lifestyle. Dogs that are naturally high energy can also be destructive if let alone in small spaces for a long period of time, like when you're at work.
  • Size. While not all small dogs make perfect apartment dogs, breeds that are smaller in stature tend to adapt more easily to what can be a cramped lifestyle. Large breeds need more room for their large frames and can more easily wreak havoc when you're not home.


The small size and beautiful coat of a Dachshund has won the hearts of many pet owners.
The small size and beautiful coat of a Dachshund has won the hearts of many pet owners. | Source

10. Dachshund

Dachshunds, affectionately known as Wiener dogs or simply "weenies" by their owners, can make a fun and playful addition to your family. While they don't warm up to strangers easily, they interact well with children and other dogs. Their small size and agreeability are the main features that put them on this list.

One of the biggest problems a dachshund owner might face is their tendency to howl or bark. While it might be endearing to you, it might be a problem to your neighbors. However, this can be overcome with persistent training and plenty of toys and activities to occupy their time. If left alone for too long, the dachshund can become a destructive breed, but much like their noise level, it can be easily overcome.


9. Coton de Tulear

Closely related to both the Bichon Frise and the Maltese, the Coton de Tulear is both an affectionate and intelligent breed. Their long, silky coats can make them difficult to groom, but they are relatively healthy and otherwise low-maintenance.

The Coton de Tulear, often shortened to "cotons" by enthusiasts, is an exceptionally friendly breed that loves children and many have never met a stranger. One downside to this breed is their potential to be mouthy, but with consistent and early training this can easily be avoided. They do require a lot of attention and don't do well being alone, so the coton isn't a good breed for those with long working hours or have to be away from home for a long time.


Pugs are known for their sweet, lovable nature and small stature - both of which makes them excellent dogs for apartment living.
Pugs are known for their sweet, lovable nature and small stature - both of which makes them excellent dogs for apartment living. | Source

8. Pug

Pugs were bred in ancient China to be the ideal lap dog for royal families. While many may not see their majestic appeal today, they are still excellent companion animals for families looking for an affectionate pet.

Pugs tend to be low-energy and happy to stay snuggled up inside, so they do well in less active families. You might have to encourage this couch potato breed to exercise. What pugs lack up in energy, however, they make up for in neediness. These dogs do best when a family member stays home and really only become yappy when their person is away for long periods of time.


7. Greyhound

While the Greyhound may be famous for their racing legacy, they make happy and well-adjusted apartment dogs. This beautiful breed is secretly full of couch potatoes; many Greyhounds prefer a nap on the sofa to a high-spirited game of fetch. Their grace and charm allow them to adapt well to apartment living but their sensitivity makes them ill-suited for socialites.

Because of their large size and natural athletic ability, a Greyhound will require more exercise than most breeds, but a brisk walk will suffice. If you're worried about their size messing up a small apartment, don't be. Their natural grace and gentleness allow them to be happy in all but the smallest of abodes.


The Shih Tzu can be a hard dog to resist.
The Shih Tzu can be a hard dog to resist. | Source

6. Shih Tzu

There are few dog lovers that can resist the happy yap of a Shih Tzu. They make excellent lap dogs and great companions for apartment dwellers. While they have the potential to be yappy, their ability to adjust to their environment and their friendliness with strangers make them a top choice for those living in small spaces with lots of people.

Their beautiful coats do require a lot of regular grooming, but the Shih Tzu is otherwise a low-maintenance dog. They are happy to spend time with you on the couch, but these little dogs have a tendency to gain weight. They are very playful, however, so as long as you are willing to play a game of fetch and monitor their food intake, you should have a happy, healthy Shih Tzu.


5. Maltese

Maltese have a personality that is best described as much bigger than they are. While they are generally a well-mannered breed, Maltese have a tendency to forget their small stature when meeting other dogs and thus require supervision when around other canines. However, they love the attention of people and respond well to training. They are gentle creatures with an almost royal gait and will quickly charm any human they come across.

Their most eye-catching feature is of course, their stunning white coat. They don't shed, which makes them great for people with allergies but grooming can become a problem if left unchecked.


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4. Chinese Crested

Though not for everyone, the Chinese crested is an incredibly loyal companion. These affectionate dogs have a face only a mother could love, but make up for it in their personality. The Chinese crested comes in two main coat variants: the regular hairless, and the recessive and aptly named Powderpuff.

Cresteds aren't very fond of strangers and can be a little nippy when nervous, so they aren't the best choice for people who live around children. However, if you're looking for a highly affectionate breed that will be happy to laze around all day under the covers, you've met your match with this apartment dog.


Bulldogs have a characteristically cute face with round, dark eyes and a flat nose.
Bulldogs have a characteristically cute face with round, dark eyes and a flat nose. | Source

3. English Bulldog

While they were originally bred to drive cattle and practice bullbaiting, the bulldog that we love and know today isn't a ferocious creature. Instead, these dogs make lovable companions that are well-adjusted for apartment living. English bulldogs today are well-loved for their charming personality and clumsy gait.

They are known to be good with children and happy to meet strangers, so they shouldn't be a problem if you have a lot of friendly neighbors.The bulldog is often a common mascot breed, so this may be a bonus if you live in a college town or are a devoted sports fan.

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2. Havanese

The playful Havanese is a somewhat obscure breed, but one that will be in your heart as soon as you meet them. They are incredibly playful and affectionate, and their friendliness makes them great for apartment living. They aren't particularly calm, but it isn't due to nervousness but rather an almost insatiable desire to please their owners. In spite of this, they play well with children and adjust well to just about any living situation.

What makes the Havanese so perfect for apartment living is their unique combination of small size, affectionate nature, and love of their humans.


Poodles are a popular choice for apartment living due to their high intelligence and adaptability.
Poodles are a popular choice for apartment living due to their high intelligence and adaptability. | Source

1. Poodle

Their elegant nature and regal appearance has drawn the eye of many admirers for years, but Poodles are much more than just a pretty face. The Poodle has the perfect mix of qualities to be the ideal apartment breed. They were originally bred in Germany to be water retrievers, and have since retained many desirable qualities from their colorful history. They are highly affectionate dogs, not only to their owners but to strangers. Poodles are also incredibly intelligent, ranking second only to the Border Collie in many obedience tests.

Like many on this list, the Poodle requires lots of attention from their owner and a lot of time apart can stress out this breed. They also have a moderate exercise need, but they can be easily met with a happy walk in a dog park. There's no doubt a well-trained Poodle will garner attention from everyone you meet.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Katleigh Merrier

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      • profile image

        Rick Dissly 

        5 months ago

        Is there a breed of dog that has these characteristics:

        1) calm, can stay in a home alone all day

        2) medium to large size

        3) can occasionally also be a hunting dog

        4) doesn’t shed

      • katleigh profile imageAUTHOR

        Katleigh Merrier 

        13 months ago from Georgia, United States

        That was a computer issue on my part; I forgot to publish some capsules. Thank you for the heads-up and thanks twice for commenting!

      • Rochelle Frank profile image

        Rochelle Frank 

        13 months ago from California Gold Country

        Great idea for a hub, I'm sure there are many apartment dwellers who would like to have a dog-- but what happened to # 7-1?

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