When it comes to apartment pets, size does matter. Giant paws and long legs don’t always mix well with tiny living spaces. However, the size of your dog isn’t the only thing that matters. When choosing the perfect pooch for your apartment, you should also take into consideration the dog’s energy level, noisiness, and even friendliness (neighbors in close quarters means lots of socializing and meeting new people and other pooches as well).
With those general traits in mind, here are the 29 best apartment dogs that could be a great fit for folks with less space and tighter quarters!
The Basenji is a great option when you have close neighbors and thin walls. This barkless dog rarely gets taller than 18 inches or over 25 pounds. But beware, when left unattended for long periods of time, the Basenji can be a mischievous companion.
Even at their largest, the Bichon Frise (BEE-shawn FREE-say) won’t get taller than a foot. These little furballs are energetic, which means they love to play, but also need daily exercise. Bichons also shed less than similar breeds, making them ideal to leave with in close quarters or for people with allergies.
Another breed ideal because of their size, the Boston Terrier rarely grows taller than a foot and a half. These dogs can be particularly hyper, so they need daily, brisk walks to stay happy. But if you can keep them well-exercised, you’ll find these American Gentlemen to be wonderful, gentle, affectionate pets.
The Brussels Griffon is a lively, sturdy, small breed. They are highly affectionate and bond quickly with their owners. They love to snuggle, which might be a necessity, depending on just how small your apartment is!
The Bulldog is perhaps most well-known for his laziness, making them a perfect dog for apartments. A short walk is all these guys need to keep them happy. Otherwise, they’re content to just laze around and snooze. They’re an incredibly gentle dog breed and rarely get taller than a 18 inches high.
These dogs love to cuddle. They will lay on your lap and beg for belly rubs any chance they get. They’re very attached to their owners, so small homes are even better for them. The biggest concern comes with housetraining, as they can be hard to train. But, if you give them plenty of time outdoors and positive reinforcement, they’ll quickly become trustworthy apartment pets.
Known for its small size, the Chihuahua makes a great apartment dog. They require minimum exercise and love being close to their owners. Chihuahuas can be untrusting of strangers, so it’s best to carefully supervise them in any social situation.
The Chinese Crested is a remarkably laid back breed. These dogs make the perfect companion for a lower energy—even bedridden—owner. Their ability to lay in bed for hours, coupled with their small size, makes them the perfect low-maintenance apartment dweller.
Cotons are happy-go-lucky dogs that are well-fit for living in small apartments. They are small in size, have easy to care for coats, exceedingly friendly with humans and other animals, and low exercise needs. The Coton loves to play fetch and go for walks, but won’t suffer from being inside for a day either.
Dachshunds are the smallest of the hound dogs. (You probably know them for their tiny legs!) These are cute, lively dogs that often bring joy from their appearance alone. Their short legs allow them to be exercised entirely indoors, if needed.
French Bulldogs were originally bred in England to be miniature bulldogs. Their compact size and low activity needs made them good apartment dogs. Frenchies love to play and thrive on human contact. They also make great watchdogs, because they rarely bark without reason.
Nicknamed the “Velcro dog,” the Havanese will choose being inside with her owner over staying outdoors any day. However, don’t mistake their clingy personality with a lack of energy. These bouncy pups love to play, as long as their owners are near. Averaging under a foot tall, this breed makes a great apartment pet for someone with plenty of energy.
Number thirteen on our list may surprise… Greyhounds, though traditionally known for their high energy and lanky legs, make surprisingly great small home pets. Their energy needs are well-satisfied with a daily brisk walk and their friendly, calm nature makes them a great choice even for smaller apartments.
The Japanese Chin is a highly agile breed that makes a great indoor companion. Known for their catlike propensity for scaling tall furniture, the Chin can adapt to any living situation. Despite their elegant coats, the Chin needs little more than a weekly brushing to maintain. Their size, friendliness, and low-exercise needs make them great for apartment dwellers with less active lifestyles.
The Lhasa Apso thinks his a large dog, but lucky for your apartment they rarely grow taller than a foot. Early socialization and training are needed to bring out the best in this friendly, loyal breed. Unlike the Japanese Chin above, the Lhasa dogs have coats that require daily brushing and frequent bathing.
The Lowchen are a playful, gentle breed. They are a toy breed, making their overall stature compact. Lowchen make affectionate pets who love to play and roughhouse, but do not have high exercise needs. They get along well with other animals and, with proper socialization, are friendly towards all humans, too.
The Maltese has been a highly-regarded companion dog for 2,000 years. Because they have no undercoat, the Maltese are not shedders, which may be ideal if you have to live in close quarters with them. They are an affectionate breed, but frequently suffer from separation anxiety, so they are best suited for homebody type owners.
The Manchester Terrier is a very intelligent, responsive breed who is easily trained to apartment living. Their miniature size makes them ideal for even the tightest living quarters. This is another breed that does best with an owner who is home often; if left alone, they can become destructive and bark incessantly.
With an appearance like a tiny Doberman, the Miniature Pinscher is as confident as he is energetic. They make great watchdogs because they are suspicious of strangers. The Mini Pin’s small size makes him good for apartments, but this breed may not do well with small children, and must be socialized early with other pets.
The companion choice of the Chinese royal courts, the Pekinese require plenty of attention and affection. They will bark at strangers, so early training is a must. The Pekinese is best as the only dog in a household, though they can be socialized to accept other pets. They make great apartment pets due to their size and affectionate nature.
This feisty breed is a ball full of furry energy. They are not an overly dependent breed, so they make a good pet for someone who spends time out of the house. They need daily walks to work of their energy and weekly brushings. They’re also barkers, so early training is necessary to teach them when it’s appropriate.
Poodles are bred in three sizes: Toy, Miniature, and Standard. Toy and Miniature are a good size for a small apartment, while the Standard size can reach up to 70 pounds. Poodles are intelligent and exceedingly easy to train. Toy and Miniature Poodles have no trouble running of their energy in the aparment, though regular walks are recommended.
Recognizable for their squished faces, Pugs are playful and loyal pets. They need to be close to their owners as much as possible and do not do well alone. Pugs are not generally “yappy” dogs, which means that no special training is needed to keep your neighbors happy. Due to their inactivity, quietness, and size, Pugs make a good pet for apartments of any size.
The Schipperke is a small breed with a big personality. They are easy to train and do best when they always have a task. While not overly energetic, these dogs do need to be entertained. Their coats are easy to care for with regular brushing and they are not known to be a loud breed. All of that, along with their compact size, makes them a good option for small living spaces.
The Shiba Inu is a dog known for his independence. Averaging around 20 pounds, it is a medium-sized breed that will do well indoors. However, the Shiba needs rigorous, daily exercise, so they are best suited to owners who already live an active lifestyle. Shiba Inus are best for skilled dog owners who are ready for this unique, fantastic breed.
The Shih Tzu was bred to be a friendly lapdog. They make great companions, as they are affectionate and calm. A Shih Tzu will fit in to any living environment. They are friendly to owners, strangers, other pets, and even children (as long as they are gentle). This dog was practically bred to be the perfect apartment companion.
Another small dog with a big personality, the Silky Terrier is a loyal dog who bonds quickly with his owners. He’ll fit nicely into any apartment with his small size, though his barking could be an issue (basic training should take care of that, though). These dogs are full of energy, so they need daily walks to be happy in an apartment environment.
The Toy Fox Terriers are intelligent and easy to train. They’re a toy breed, making them a good size for even the tiniest of apartments. A Toy Fox Terrier makes a great companion who would love to curl up and cuddle. Personality is important here, as some Toy Fox Terriers will require more exercise than others.
Commonly known as the Yorkie, these affectionate dogs can make great apartment pets. They’re small and can be exercised easily indoors. The biggest challenge will come from their inherent “yappiness” and distrust of strangers, though this can be avoided with good training and socialization early on.
As always, it’s important to remember that every dog is an individual. While every breed has a general personality and disposition, there will always be variations. Do your research carefully and be sure to pick a pet that will fit your home, lifestyle, and personality. To find out more about different dog breeds check out our DogTime Breed Center.
Which breed do you think makes the perfect apartment dog? Let us know in the comments below!