20 of the Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

A dog can be your best friend, whether you live in a suburban house or city apartment. There are many dog breeds. But some of the most popular breeds in America feel more at home in a house with a yard than an apartment above street level. It’s not just the size of your home (or the size of the dog) that matters. You also have to think about how much time your dog will get to spend outside. And your neighbors will thank you if you do your research on which breeds bark a lot and which tend to stay quiet. Plus, you want a dog who will stay calm when meeting new people on the stairs or in the lobby.

Hoping to start dog ownership off on the right foot (or paw) by choosing the best dog for your space and lifestyle? Read on to check out some of our favorite dog breeds who will be happy to share your apartment.

1. Mastiff

South African Mastiff

Mastiff | iStock.com/Dmytro_Skorobogatov

Think the formidable mastiff would make a terrible apartment dweller? Think again. According to Vet Street, this giant’s gentle temperament and moderate energy levels make the adult mastiff “a fine companion for life in an apartment or condo, as long as you can provide him with a daily walk and survive the active, destructive stage of puppyhood.” Vet Street advises you don’t get a mastiff if you don’t have an elevator. (This pup will be way too big for you to carry up and down the stairs if necessary.)

Next: Greyhound

2. Greyhound

Greyhound outside

Greyhound | Neurodoc/Wikimedia Commons

Another surprisingly apartment-friendly dog? The greyhound. This tall (but thin) dog needs a lot less exercise than you might assume. In fact, Vet Street reports the greyhound “is a laidback dude who is satisfied with a stroll around the block or a chance to run full out in a safe place — for about five minutes.” After those five minutes run out, your greyhound will want to curl up on your sofa. Greyhounds also don’t bark much, and they don’t require much attention in the grooming department. Plus, many retired racing greyhounds need homes.

Next: Pekingese

3. Pekingese

Happy pekingese puppy outdoors on a sunny day on the grass in the garden.

Pekingese puppy | iStock.com/utreht

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Vet Street recommends the Pekingese as a great dog for apartment dwellers. These small dogs often stay quiet. And because of their small size, they require little exercise. (No hour-long jogs around the neighborhood necessary here.) Pekingese usually want lots of love from their owners. But they also have no problem snoozing during the day while you go to the office.

Next: Tibetan spaniel

4. Tibetan spaniel

A Tibetan Spaniel looking thoughtful

A Tibetan spaniel | iStock.com/Froholt 

The Tibetan spaniel, a breed that tops out at about 15 pounds, can happily coexist with many apartment dwellers because he only needs a moderate amount of activity. A Tibetan spaniel will go on long walks around the neighborhood with you. But he’ll also play inside. And he’ll even cuddle with you on the couch. And according to Vet Street, Tibetan spaniels stay alert and act as watchdogs. But they aren’t known for barking excessively.

Next: Cavalier King Charles spaniel

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Lady sitting on sofa drinking coffee and a lovely dog (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Blenheim) sleeping on her lap

Cavalier King Charles spaniel | iStock.com/Banepx

Another spaniel for apartment dwellers to consider? The Cavalier King Charles. These dogs famously like to be snuggled and loved. They’ll accompany you on walks, whether you want to take a 10-minute spin around the block or plan to be out for the entire afternoon. According to Vet Street, these dogs are equally game for hikes or trips to the beach as they are spending the afternoon on the sofa. Most of these dogs stay quiet. But some do “sound the alarm” when they see people or animals outside the window. According to Apartment Therapy, these dogs’ small size makes them “just right for a small-scale space.”

Next: French bulldog

6. French bulldog

french bulldog outside

French bulldog | iStock.com/WilleeCole

Ever wondered why French bulldogs take the cake as the most popular dog breed in cities, such as New York? Apartment dwellers love these easygoing dogs for their small size and quiet nature. They’re curious and good-natured, but they don’t need a ton of exercise. (Apartment Therapy notes French bulldogs love to lie around the house.) Just don’t leave your Frenchie outside on your balcony or patio on a hot day. Like other dogs with a similar short nose, French bulldogs should stay in the air-conditioning when it gets really hot outside.

Next: English bulldog

7. Bulldog

bulldog puppies playing

English bulldog puppies | iStock.com/onetouchspark

The English bulldog makes another lovable addition to the list of dogs who adapt well to apartment living. Vet Street characterizes the bulldog’s activity level as “restful.” In fact, a 10-minute walk during the morning or evening should suffice for this breed. Just be aware the bulldog is prone to heatstroke. That means he needs to live in an air-conditioned environment.

Next: Pug

8. Pug

Cute dog puppy Pug sleep by chin and tongue lay on Floor and look to the left for see or wait someone

Pug puppy | iStock.com/fongleon356

If you love the bulldog or French bulldog, you might also want to consider the pug. Vet Street explains these playful and mischievous dogs can adapt “to just about any environment and lifestyle.” They’ll go with you to the park. And they’ll chill out at home. Really, they’ll happily accompany you just about anywhere that you want to take them. They don’t need a lot of outdoor exercise, so spending most of their day indoors will work just fine. The only drawback? Apartment Therapy warns, “If you plan on sharing your bed with a pug, however, be aware they’re notorious snorers.”

Next: Havanese

9. Havanese

Playful havanese puppy running with his ball

Havanese puppy | iStock.com/Dorottya_Mathe 

Vet Street notes because the Havanese stays in the range of 10 to 15 pounds, “He meets the size limits of just about any stringent apartment’s or condo complex’s pet policy rules.” But despite the breed’s small size, these dogs are both sturdy and playful enough to get along well with children. They also get points for being “alert, but not especially yappy.” And though the Havanese has a long coat that needs regular grooming, he doesn’t need a ton of exercise.

Next: Lhasa apso

10. Lhasa apso

Cute lhasa apso puppy chewing a flower

Lhasa apso puppy | iStock.com/RuthBlack 

Another long-haired dog apartment dwellers should consider? The Lhasa apso. These small dogs weigh just 12 to 18 pounds. But they can be just as active as you are. According to Vet Street, “The Lhasa pegs his activity level to that of his family.” He’ll be up for a walk or for playing at home. Although they’re suspicious of strangers, Lhasa apsos don’t tend to bark excessively. But they do need frequent grooming, thanks to that long coat.

Next: Miniature or toy poodle

11. Miniature or toy poodle

Cute red Toy Poodle puppy sitting outdoors on green grass

Poodle puppy | iStock.com/Eudyptula

If you want a smart dog, you can’t go wrong with a poodle. And a miniature or a toy poodle will adapt easily to life in an apartment. These small poodles are smart and easy to train. Vet Street notes poodles win many hearts, thanks to “their sense of humor and sunny disposition.” They need less space and exercise than the larger standard poodle. But they do still need regular grooming to keep their coat from matting.

Next: Scottish terrier

12. Scottish terrier

Multiple scottish terrier run in a park,  on a beautiful autumn day

Scottish terriers | iStock.com/FluxFactory

If you specifically want a dog who will get along well with children, you should consider the Scottish terrier. Vet Street notes this dignified little dog can act aloof toward strangers. “But he loves his family with all his heart,” it says. He’ll get plenty of exercise with a daily walk and by playing with his toys around the apartment. And even though Scotties make great watchdogs, they don’t bark excessively unless you give them “nothing else to do.”

Next: Tibetan terrier 

13. Tibetan terrier

pretty in fall

Tibetan terrier | iStock.com/PharmShot

The Tibetan terrier makes another great choice for apartment dwellers. This dog weighs from 20 to 24 pounds, which means he’ll stay within the weight limit imposed by some apartment or condo complexes. He’s athletic enough to join you on regular walks, hikes, and jogs. But he doesn’t need so much exercise that you’ll run yourself ragged trying to tire him out each evening.

Next: Beagle

14. Beagle

Beagle

Beagle | iStock.com

Apartment Therapy reports the beagle makes a great canine companion for apartment dwellers. These dogs love spending time with people. So they’re happy to hang out at home with you or join you on a walk or trip to the park. They also need very little grooming. The only drawback? They have a very distinctive bark. You’ll need to be vigilant when your beagle is a puppy and ensure he gets training, so he doesn’t cause any noise complaints.

Next: Bichon Frise

15. Bichon Frise

White dog in bike basket

Bichon Frise | iStock.com/MarijaRadovic

Another small but spunky dog for apartment dwellers or condo owners to consider? The Bichon Frise. Apartment Therapy explains, “These cuties are in the poodle family but much more petite.” They have a lot of energy, so they do need regular exercise. (That’s perfect for a prospective dog owner who wants the motivation to get out more.) Plus, the Bichon Frise doesn’t bark a lot. And these dogs don’t shed.

Next: Yorkshire terrier

16. Yorkshire terrier

Beautiful yorkshire terrier playing with a ball on a grass

Yorkshire terrier | iStock.com/yevgenromanenko

According to Apartment Therapy, the Yorkshire terrier is a calm and quiet dog breed. (That might come as a surprise to anyone who’s had an unpleasant brush with a yappy terrier.) Yorkies take well to new people and other pets. Plus, they get pretty cuddly with their owners. That makes them “the perfect movie marathon companion” for people who opt for a relaxing night at home.

Next: Great Dane

17. Great Dane

Deutsche Dogge blauen Farbschlages auf einer Wiese

Great Dane | iStock.com/RalfWeigel

If you really have your heart set on a big dog, you can definitely find one who will be happy to share your apartment with you. Vet Street recommends the Great Dane as a “surprise contender for a condo or apartment companion.” This dog breed acts surprisingly mellow. A Great Dane will need a daily walk, but otherwise they don’t need a ton of exercise. Just provide a comfy place for your Great Dane to lounge in your apartment, and he’ll make himself right at home.

Next: Rhodesian ridgeback

18. Rhodesian ridgeback

dog rhodesian ridgeback puppy

Rhodesian ridgeback | iStock.com/tkatsai

Another large dog who adapts surprisingly well to apartment living? The Rhodesian ridgeback. Vet Street notes this breed counts as a hound. That means a ridgeback will usually act more laid back than many dogs from the herding or sporting groups. An adult will happily spend the day relaxing around your apartment or condo. But Vet Street warns you should “count on hijinks from a puppy. With his razor-sharp teeth and appetite for antics, a ridgeback pup will need plenty of supervision and training to make sure he doesn’t damage anything.”

Next: Chinese shar-pei

19. Chinese shar-pei

Shar Pei puppy standing

Shar-pei puppy | iStock.com/Ansaharju

Vet Street reports the Chinese shar-pei is perfectly suited for life in an apartment or a condo, despite the breed’s large size. These dogs like to attach themselves to one person, which is great if you live alone. Plus, shar-peis have a calm temperament and need only moderate levels of exercise. (Think a couple of short walks each day.) Just remember the shar-pei is sensitive to heat. So you definitely need to have working air-conditioning to keep him in good health.

Next: Basenji

20. Basenji

Cute basenji dog lying on the sofa

Basenji dog | iStock.com/Yurikr

Finally, DogTime has a recommendation for any city dwellers who want a dog but are worried about barking. The publication recommends the basenji, one of the oldest breeds of domesticated dogs, for those who live in apartments and have to stay conscious of noise. Some people refer to the basenji as the “barkless dog.” That’s largely true — but just be aware he does vocalize in other ways.

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