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Which Dog Breeds Are Best for Apartment Living?

Robert is a life-long dog-lover and the co-creator of Telemark's Guide to Dogs, an interactive CD-ROM filled with dog information & photos.

The Top-Rated Dog Breeds for Apartments

To compile our list, we used the DogSpotters Dog Breed Selector, an interactive tool that allows you to find dog breeds that match your lifestyle, preferences, and physical requirements. There are several dog breed selectors available on the Internet, so we chose the one that allowed us to look for the specific things that make for "apartment friendly" dogs.

We looked for dogs that match the following criteria:

  • Small breeds
  • Not heavy shedders
  • Require a minimum amount of grooming
  • Don’t require a lot of exercise
  • Comfortable being left on their own sometimes
  • Not excessive barkers

It's important to note that these are overall breed characteristics. Individual dogs may vary! Also, training can have an impact on specific dog behaviors (e.g. training may discourage barking or barking may occur more frequently from being left alone for a while).

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier is a sturdy, alert, and amusing little dog. It's good with considerate children and other pets and is not "snappish."

TraitThis Breed

Size

Very small (< 10 inches, < 15 pounds)

Coat

Medium

Grooming

Regular grooming needed

Shedding

None (or very light)

Exercise

Very little exercise needed

Independence

Moderately dependent on people

Barking

Average barking

Training

Easy to train

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Welsh Corgi is the favorite dog of Queen Elizabeth II of England who has raised more than 30. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the closely related Pembroke Welsh Corgi are highly intelligent, obedient, protective, and robust. The breed is generally good with other non-canine animals and with other Corgis but can be combative with other dogs.

TraitThis Breed

Size

Small (9-15 inches, 15-35 pounds)

Coat

Medium

Grooming

A little grooming needed

Shedding

Seasonally shedder

Exercise

Moderate exercise needed

Independence

Not particularly dependent or independent

Barking

Average barking

Training

Easy to train

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A beautiful small spaniel and a very loyal and enthusiastic dog. This dog loves to play chase, so keep a tight leash on your dog when he's around squirrels, balls, cars, kids, or pretty much anything that moves! Its long hair gets mats easily, so this dog requires regular brushing.

TraitThis Breed

Size

Small (9-15 inches, 15-35 pounds)

Coat

Feathered

Grooming

Regular grooming needed

Shedding

Average shedder

Exercise

Moderate exercise needed

Independence

Very dependent - needs people a lot

Barking

Not much barking

Training

Easy to train

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Chinese Shar-Pei

This breed is devoted and loyal to his family but reserved with strangers. The Shar-Pei must be properly socialized or can become quite aggressive. These dogs become bored easily, so training needs to be varied, upbeat, and fun.

TraitThis Breed

Size

Medium (12-24 inches, 30-55 pounds)

Coat

Short

Grooming

Very little grooming needed

Shedding

Average shedder

Exercise

Moderate exercise needed

Independence

Moderately dependent on people

Barking

Not much barking

Training

Easy to train

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Glen of Imaal Terrier

Though not overly inclined to bark, the Glen of Imaal Terrier has a deep voice that makes the dog sound much bigger than he is. This dog is playful and active, but can be feisty with other animals, especially dogs of the same sex.

TraitThis Breed

Size

Medium (12-24 inches, 30-55 pounds)

Coat

Medium

Grooming

Regular grooming needed

Shedding

None (or very light)

Exercise

Moderate exercise needed

Independence

Fairly independent

Barking

Not much barking

Training

Not easy to train

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is inquisitive, fast, and agile. Unless well-trained, he will happily jump from chair to counter to table! The breed is sensitive to cold temperatures; this dog needs to wear a sweater to go out in cold weather. Italian greyhounds are naturally timid and startle easily, so be sure to gently expose your dog to a variety of sounds and situations.

TraitThis Breed

Size

Very small (< 10 inches, < 15 pounds)

Coat

Short

Grooming

Very little grooming needed

Shedding

None (or very light)

Exercise

Very little exercise needed

Independence

Very dependent - needs people a lot

Barking

Average barking

what-dogs-are-best-for-apartment-living

Be Sure Your Apartment Is Dog-Friendly

Whatever breed you choose (or currently own), it's important to find a place where you and your canine companion will be comfortable. Many apartment complexes are advertised as dog-friendly, but most are really just "dog tolerant."

To find an apartment complex that is really dog-friendly, look for these things:

  • An office staff that welcomes dogs and keeps treats on hand
  • Places where your dog can do his business, ideally with nearby poop-bag dispensers
  • Nearby parks or places to walk your dog
  • Nearby dog-friendly businesses and restaurants with outdoor seating where dogs are welcome
  • Other residents with dogs! (Talk to other residents to learn about any issues or problems.)
  • Dog walking or dog-sitting services available

Note that some apartments have restrictions on dog breeds or dog size. Most require additional deposits and may charge higher rent for dog owners. When considering an apartment, look for specific restrictions on their website and in the lease.

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.

© 2019 Robert Nicholson