Pet owners

10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

    You’ve done it, and you are super excited. You’ve made the decision to add a furry baby to your life. As with any big decision, you have questions and concerns, especially since you live in an apartment and don’t want to annoy your neighbors.

    The question on your mind today is not whether to get a dog, but rather, which dog breed is best for apartments. You obviously want a quiet, well-mannered pup who isn’t destructive, but what else should you be concerned with? 

    You've come to the right place. We compiled a list of our 10 favorite dog breeds for apartment living. For each of our furry friends, we will give you what you need to know to make an informed decision. We've detailed each dog based on breed characteristics, activity levels, and grooming requirements. Do you also want to know how much they bark? We give you the low-down on that too.

    Read on, and let us help you find your perfect apartment pup.

    How to choose the best dogs for apartments

    Bringing a dog into a new environment is a time of great responsibility. When that environment is an apartment, there are extra concerns to address. These can include noise considerations, access to outdoor space, and behavior toward people you meet in confined hallways or elevators of apartment buildings.

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    And while we can make recommendations based on breed characteristics, nothing is for certain. Breed isn’t the only predictor of behavior. Every dog has their own unique personality. Just remember, no problem is insurmountable with proper training. Here are our top 10 best dog breeds for apartment living.

    We've presented our canine selections by size, from toy to large, making it easier to choose the perfect match for your living arrangements and cuddling requirements.

    Toy dog breeds

    Toy dogs weigh less than 14-18 lbs and average 12” in height. Bred as companion dogs, they are docile people-pleasers, perfect for apartment dwellers. You may have seen these little pups tucked away in a puppy purse, that’s how tiny they are.

    We’ve chosen 4 toy breeds to review, but there are plenty more to choose from including the quiet and graceful Japanese Chin and the beautiful Havanese from Cuba.

    1. Pug 

    Pugs are an excellent dog breed for apartment living. They are super friendly and lovie people, including children. Indoor playtime can make up a large portion of their physical exercise. Highly adaptable if daily routines change and easily trained with positive methods, pugs are a pleasure to own. 

    You won’t have any problems with noise as pugs rarely bark, and when meeting other people, they are docile and calm.

    Another pug plus, pugs don’t need a lot of grooming (every two weeks will suffice), but they can shed a fair amount of hair. This is the trade off for not requiring a costly cut.

    Pugs will eat to excess if allowed so keep them in trim by giving only occasional treats.

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    2. Chihuahua

    This breed has long been a favorite for apartment dwellers with its diminutive size and charming nature. Chihuahuas enjoy family life as long as the children are older. These little pups are too fragile for the rough and tumble of children's play. They make perfect companion dogs for seniors.

    The archetypal "purse dog,"  the chihuahua loves plenty of cuddle time with its owner. And who can resist those big soulful eyes? 

    These little ones don't need much exercise - short walks and indoor play are enough.

    If you decide to train your chihuahua, start early and be gentle but firm if you don't want them to twist you around a tiny paw.

    Grooming every month is adequate with this low-shedding breed.

    Chihuahuas adapt to routine changes, making them easy to live with. However, they are naturally vocal, although training and positive reinforcement for good behavior will help.

    3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is loving and affectionate with everyone, including family, children, and other dogs. Charming and gentle with an adorable face and a fabulous silky coat that demands a stroke.

    The tiny toy size belies its agility and athletic ability even though it requires an average amount of exercise. Good adaptability means this cute companion happily snuggles on the sofa with seniors or dashes around the park with active owners.

    This Spaniel's coat looks high maintenance. However, shedding is low, and requires grooming just every two weeks. Combine this with a medium barking level, and it's the perfect dog breed for apartment living.

    4. Shih Tzu

    Cute, charming, and affectionate with a desire to please, the Shih Tzu makes a fabulous apartment dog. They love their family, especially children, and are happy among other dogs.

    They make ideal companions with a size appropriate for the smallest space and an easygoing "indoorsy" nature. 

    Energy and barking levels fall in the average bracket for this easy-to-live-with four-legged friend.

    Surprisingly the Shih Tzu has a very low shedding level, but you'll need to take plenty of time to brush out that coat. Your reward will be one of the most beautiful dogs favored worldwide for a millennium.

    Small breeds

    Small breeds overlap in height with the toy breeds, but they tend to be heavier, up to about 30 lbs. These breeds don't fit in the toy section because of their typing (e.g., sporting or hunting). 

    While not bred specifically for companionship, the types here rate among the best dog breeds for apartment living. They are charming, cute, sociable and fun, each with their own, unique personality.

    In addition to our top two choices, consider the Coton de Tulear (particularly suited to a stay-at-home human) and the Bichon Frise.

    5. French Bulldog

    This small dog has bags of personality. Those deep, dark eyes and oversized ears make the French bulldog utterly adorable.

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    Highly adaptable, friendly, and fun, this little charmer is a good fit anywhere.

    If you need a quiet dog, "Frenchies" are a fantastic choice, with the bonus of requiring little grooming and an average need for exercise, much of which can be indoors. 

    If you need to be out during the day (a maximum of eight hours), French Bulldogs can cope. These dogs are high on the list of best apartment dog breeds. 

    6. Border Terrier

    Border terriers are happy, friendly dogs with wiry, easy-care coats. They love playtime indoors or out and have an excellent temperament making them wonderful child companions.

    Small terriers are known for being vocal, but this cheeky chap is less prone to barking (moderate level) than other terriers. In addition, their short, thick coat has a low level of shedding, which requires a bi-monthly groom. All in all, a great candidate for apartment dwellers.

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    Trainable and adaptable, the Border Terrier is happily at home in town or country, large spaces or small.

    Similar in temperament is the American Hairless Terrier, an ideal choice for family members with allergies.

    Medium breeds

    Dogs in this section are heavier, roughly in the 30 - 60 lbs bracket. They need a little more room than their more miniature and toy brothers but are still among the best apartment dog breeds.

    Medium-sized breeds will enjoy longer daily walks and family outings than smaller breeds; their larger size gives them greater stamina.

    7. English bulldog

    Despite its hefty appearance, the English bulldog is gentle, docile, and loyal. They are devoted to their humans and, even weighing 50 lbs, are convinced they are lap dogs. 

    Easily trained and with a calm attitude, this breed slots neatly into hectic households. 

    Bulldogs bark occasionally, primarily to alert their owners and make good watchdogs.

    Weekly grooming of their short glossy coats will help with their moderate level of shedding and keep a towel handy for the average level of drool.

    Air conditioning is recommended for warm days indoors to keep your furry friend cool. 

    Bulldogs enjoy plenty of moderate exercise, including daily walks.

    8. Golden Retriever

    The famous Golden Retriever, renowned for its use as a guide dog for the blind, is eminently trainable and adaptable. Moreover, they love people and are loved and admired in return. What more could you ask of your canine pal?

    The beautiful, gold-colored coat needs grooming every two weeks. It will shed more than most choices here—a fair exchange, however, for the company of this remarkably intelligent and devoted family pet.

    Exercise needs are moderate but include daily walks and a chance to run in the park.

    Golden retrievers enjoy obedience training and live to please. In addition, they rarely bark, usually to alert their humans. Overall, they make an excellent choice of pet for any situation, including apartment life.

    Large breeds

    Don't let size put you off a larger dog. Many large breeds are docile and sensitive, making them some of the best dog breeds for apartment living.

    While these dogs will need plenty of regular exercise, they are couch potatoes between times. They'll need an active human who is happy spending time outdoors, running, walking, or playing.

    9. Greyhound

    Greyhounds love to run and run fast. But, surprisingly, they are also happy to lounge around lazily. In addition, they are sensitive and affectionate, making fantastic family pets.

    This dog prefers active humans to meet their exercise level demands. However, regular walks and the chance to stretch out will keep this gorgeous hound happy.

    Greyhounds are one of the best dogs to leave home alone as they enjoy curling up and sleeping between bursts of energy. They are easy to maintain, shedding little, and managed with a monthly groom.

    Similar in look, temperament, and requirements is the Greyhound's smaller cousin, the Whippet. 

    10. Bernese Mountain Dog 

    This breed is known for its calm and gentle nature, making it a great family pet. They are devoted to their human family and are especially good with children.

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    Highly trainable and adaptable, the Bernese Mountain dog will fill any situation with a mass of cuddleable canine comfort. But, in exchange, be prepared for the shedding of this dog's fantastic coat.

    Berners have a moderate level of barking, making sure their humans are safe and alert to any perceived danger.

    While it would be good to have outdoor space, a large apartment still accommodates this gentle giant. Plenty of outdoor exercise with daily walks is a must.

    A fantastic alternative to our top two choices is the loyal and gentle German Shepherd.

    How to get your landlord on your side

    Whether you're just moving into an apartment or already settled and want a new pet, make certain you check in with your lease and your property manager/owner.

    Many landlords worry about a dog's effect on the property, such as damage to walls and carpets. They may also be concerned about other tenants' peaceful enjoyment of neighboring properties.

    However, landlords are considering the benefit-to-risk balance as more tenants look for properties where pets are allowed. PetScreening can help allay their fears.

    The long-term benefits to the landlord include a higher occupancy rate and more revenue from pet rent.

    PetScreening is a service to landlords that helps implement more inclusive pet policies to benefit themselves and pet-loving tenants. PetScreening can also help pet owners navigate tricky pet policies.

    Welcome home

    Now that you’ve done your research, imagine this:

    You get home after a day at the office. Your new best furry friend greets you.

    His joy at seeing you melts away the burdens of your day. 

    In the end, you chose well. Your neighbors actually love your dog, and your landlord respects how you handled everything.

    Plus, you've given a forever home to a dog in need.

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    So, consider our suggestions for the best dog breeds for apartment living to make this your welcome home.