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Five Best Dog Breeds for an Apartment

Updated on October 9, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Greyhounds are great apartment dogs if you have an extra couch.
Greyhounds are great apartment dogs if you have an extra couch.

Are you looking for a great dog to share your apartment? I really want to apologize for any others who have written similar articles in the past. I did not agree with your choices and want to present the five dogs I think will do best in an apartment. Here they are:

5. Greyhound

This skinny dog breed is actually a good apartment dog, despite his size. If the owner is willing to take this fast dog and get out and provide him with exercise every day, he will stay happy on the couch the rest of the time. His coat is short and easy to keep clean, he comes in all sorts of colors, and if he is a retired racing dog he has been crated most of the day, all of his life, and will be glad to accept the change.

Greyhound owners usually comment that their dogs are less underfoot than the small dogs, and they are definitely quiet and are unlikely to bark at anyone in the hall; if you have an extra couch they are a good choice for an apartment.

The Greyhound easily adapts to apartment life.
The Greyhound easily adapts to apartment life.
Miniature Schnauzers like to be taken out for walks.
Miniature Schnauzers like to be taken out for walks.

4. Miniature Schnauzer

They do not shed much but do manage to bark a lot! The Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog, but not as tiny as most apartment dogs, and they have such a great personality that they have become popular almost everywhere. They are good at flyball, tracking, and obedience competitions since they are obedient, friendly, and make good watchdogs, whether you want that or not!

You do need to learn how to clip and comb your Miniature Schnauzer, or plan on taking him to the groomer whenever his coat gets long. Regular visits to the veterinarian are also important for this breed since some dogs have hyperlipidemia (high fat levels in the blood), pancreatitis, diabetes, comedomes (bumps on the skin filled with pus), and bladder stones.

Despite these issues, if you ask any Miniature Schnauzer owner they will tell you that this is a great apartment dog.

Back at your apartment, the Mininature Schnauzer will relax.
Back at your apartment, the Mininature Schnauzer will relax.
A white Toy Poodle.
A white Toy Poodle.
Toy Poodles are active and acrobatic.
Toy Poodles are active and acrobatic.

3. Toy Poodle

Besides being a dog breed that does not shed much, the poodle is a good apartment dog. He is intelligent and energetic so gets bored easily and sometimes he barks too much, gets into things he should not, and suffers from other behavioral problems; adequate exercise will help with everything. Just having a Toy dog does not mean that you will not need to take your dog out to exercise. I am not talking about taking your dog once around the block just to do his “business”.

You can also train your Poodle to respond to obedience commands and the dogs will learn tricks easily. Poodles come in a size for everyone but the Toy is best for a small apartment, as the dog is less than 11 inches at the withers.

If you like some of the characteristics of the Poodle but still want another breed of dog, there are a lot of hybrids available. Peekapoos are a Poodle and Pekingese cross, the Bichapoo are Bichon Frise and Poodle crosses, and Cockapoos are a popular Cocker Spaniel and Poodle cross. I have also heard of Yorkipoos, Maltipoos, and anyone looking for a larger dog can get a Labradoodle!

The Toy Poodle is an intelligent breed and learns tricks quickly.
The Toy Poodle is an intelligent breed and learns tricks quickly.
A Japanese Chin.
A Japanese Chin.

2. Japanese Chin

This small dog is not one of the big barkers, so if you have thin walls or nosy neighbors he might be your best apartment dog. Some of them are as small as a Chihuahua or Maltese and their silky coats are pretty easy to take care of. Your Chin may need to have his anal glands expressed at times, he will need his teeth brushed daily, and he will probably need his face cleaned up at times, but they are mostly easy to care for and a good apartment dog.

The Japanese Chin has the typical problems of a brachycephalic dog. He breathes out of his mouth since his nose is so small, and doesn’t do well in hot conditions. His large eyes can get scratched easily, younger dogs have bouts of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because they are so small, and when he gets older you will find that his lifespan is not as long as some of the small dogs.

If you are looking for a loving little dog who steps around the apartment like a cat, dances like a circus dog, but is still aloof enough to be a watch dog, the Japanese Chin may be the breed of dog you should pick.

A Japanese Chin on the beach.
A Japanese Chin on the beach.
A Maltese.
A Maltese.

1. Maltese

The little slacker breed is a perfect ornament for the back of a couch, and a great apartment dog if you can put up with a little barking. He only weighs about 6-9 pounds and rarely sheds so he will not cover that couch in his silky white hair. The Maltese does need his teeth brushed every day, and if you take a few minutes to comb him you can avoid any tangles or mats developing in his coat. They do need to be walked, of course, but as long as you avoid the mud puddles the Maltese will stay as clean as a stuffed toy.

Behavioral problems will most likely be the only problem you have with this stuffed toy in an apartment. As long as you train him in basic obedience and teach him a few tricks so that he will be occupied, let him meet the neighbors and other dogs so that he does not become fixated on his small world, let him know it is not okay to bark at all hours, and manage to avoid spoiling him with special treats off of your plate, he will be a great apartment dog.

The Maltese can also be more than an apartment dog. My Maltese went to work with me every day. When he was a puppy he fit in the bottom pocket of my lab coat and could go everywhere; as an adult he would wait quietly in a cage while I was in surgery. If there was snow and slush in the parking lot I could carry him, and when I got home he was always ready to frolic and a good playmate for my kids. This breed can be a great companion.

A Maltese relaxing at home.
A Maltese relaxing at home.

There are several other breeds that could have been listed here, as many dogs will do well in apartments as long as the family is willing to take them out to exercise. Even if you are in a studio apartment, you can still find a great dog breed!

My dog playing tug of war.
My dog playing tug of war.

© 2012 Dr Mark

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    • profile image

      vivian hanson 14 months ago

      I could not love a dog more than my Basset, Jakkey, now deceased. He was perfect EXCEPT for barking non-stop when I left the house...for hours..He had severe anxiety separation...This can be a strong trait with Bassets, ,,Please check this out before purchasing...

    • DrMark1961 profile image
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      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      That is interesting about Pikkle, as I have seen people list Min Schnauzers as a breed that does not bark much. In my experience most are like Peanut!

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 4 years ago from South Africa

      Glad you put schnauzers in the top 5 - I have 2 miniature schnauzers and I love them to death - they are great companions and very clever. Funny thing is that Pikkle hardly ever barks but Peanut barks a lot. (Funny cos they are brother and sister but from different litters)

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for your comment greeneryday. I am glad it helps.

      Highland Terrier, it is great to see your nik again. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 4 years ago from Some tropical country

      Thank you for the very useful information about which type of dog breeds for an apartment written on this hub! Voted up & useful and also bookmarked!

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Another very good hub. Interesting and educational.

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