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The Best Dogs for Apartments

By George Hadgelias

Think living in an apartment prevents you from becoming a dog owner? Think again. Whether you’re in a spacious duplex or a huge high rise, there are plenty of dog breeds that are well suited to apartment living. 

Some dogs are totally fine cohabitating in a compact space without a garden, others are quiet and unlikely to bother those you share walls with, and others still will be well-behaved in your building’s communal areas.

If you’re considering welcoming a pooch into your home, here are 17 of the best apartment dogs.

1. Bichon Frise

The fluffy bichon frise is obviously a great size for small spaces (these dogs tend to weigh 4-7 kilograms and measure 30 centimetres-tall) but it’s also an ideal apartment dog for a few other reasons: it doesn’t shed much, it has low exercise requirements, and it’s very content hanging out on your lap, if internal space is a bit lacking.

As with most dog breeds, though, you’ll still need to exercise your Bichon Frise at least once a day.

2. Yorkshire Terrier

Like the Bichon Frise, the Yorkshire terrier – affectionately known as the ‘Yorkie’ – is a low-shedding dog. It’s also a very small breed, weighing a mere 2-3 kilograms and standing only 20 centimetres-tall, so it’s particularly good if you’re in a one-bedder.

Yorkies are smart dogs so can usually be left at home to entertain themselves if you need to go out. That being said, you’ll need to train them from a young age to not bark – this breed can be a bit yappy.

3. English bulldog

English Bulldogs don’t need a whole lot to stay happy: a moderate amount of exercise, a nice spot to snooze away the day and plenty of belly rubs from their favourite humans.

They’re great in units because they’re quite slow-moving, they don’t bark much and they don’t need a lot of space, plus they’re one of the better breeds when it comes to being alone for the day.

4. Greyhound

Despite their athletic pedigree, greyhounds are actually fantastic apartment dogs.

They’re easygoing, independent and able to handle being the only dog in the family – ideal when you’ve only got space for one dog.

Plus, their exercise needs are surprisingly low. You can easily get away with taking them for a walk or a run around the dog park once per day.

5. Pug

Being a toy dog breed, it’s little surprise the pug is so well-suited to living in a small space.

Add to that the fact they don’t bark much, they’re content snoozing most of the day and they don’t have very high exercise needs, and you’ve got yourself one of the best apartment dogs.

It’s worth noting that pugs are true people dogs and are prone to separation anxiety, so they’re not great at spending the day alone.

6. Chihuahua

The chihuahua is another toy breed that’s perfect for apartment living.

On top of its miniature size (the chihuahua can weigh as little as 1.8 kilograms and measure 15-30 centimetres-tall), it doesn’t require a whole lot of exercise, so the lack of yard space certainly won’t be an issue.

But, chihuahuas are known for being quite… talkative. Their regular barking and yapping may not make your neighbours too pleased, so good training while they’re young is key.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier king Charles spaniels are top apartment dogs for lots of different reasons: they barely shed, they’re good-natured and well-behaved, and because they’re small, they won’t take up a lot of space.

They’re also quite low maintenance when it comes to exercise and are happy to spend a good deal of time indoors.

8. Shih Tzu

The shih tzu is very much an indoor breed, so if your outdoor space consists of a tiny balcony and a couple of plants, your pooch definitely won’t find this an issue.

This silky-haired dog is also mild-mannered and small, and doesn’t bark very much. When it does make noise, it’s more of a deep bark than a yappy one, meaning your neighbours are unlikely to get peeved off when your dog goes off at night.

9. Dachshund

Dachshunds are short in stature, measuring only 13-18 centimetres-tall, so they take up very little space. Given how short their legs are, they really don’t need much exercise – a decent 30-60-minute walk will usually do the trick.

But, because they’re quite smart dogs, they need a bit more stimulation than the average pooch. This means you’ll need to leave a good selection of toys, treats and puzzles to keep them occupied all day.

10. French Bulldog

Much like its English counterpart, the trendy French bulldog is another great apartment dog – which is probably why there are countless numbers of them in every trendy inner-city neighbourhood.

They’re low maintenance when it comes to exercise and they’re very quiet, so your neighbours will barely notice them.

They’re not great at climbing up stairs though, so make sure your building has an elevator or be prepared to lug your Frenchie up several flights.

11. Great Dane

A giant Great Dane may not be the most obvious choice for apartments, but this breed is actually quite good at living in tiny spaces.

It doesn’t require nearly as much exercise as many other big breeds and is a quiet dog who doesn’t bark much.

The Great Dane is also not particularly prone to destructive chewing due to being pent up in a small space.

12. Boston terrier

Boston terriers may be high energy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need a whole lot of space or exercise to release it.

You can most definitely live with a Boston terrier in an apartment and get away with doing one walk a day.

They’re also independent – meaning they can hang out on their own a bit longer than other breeds – and hardly ever bark.

13. Basenji

As long as they get enough exercise each day, Basenjis are great in apartments. They’re also small, don’t shed and are pretty easy to look after.

You may have heard that Basenjis don’t bark, potentially making them the perfect apartment dog. But that’s not necessarily true; they still make quite a bit of noise, but their sounds tend to be yodels, growls and whines.

14. Coton de Tulear

A close relative of the Bichon Frise and Maltese, the Coton de Tulear is a fantastic breed to keep in a unit. It likes to live indoors, gets along well with almost everyone (which is ideal when you’re living in close quarters with up to hundreds of other people) and is a smart dog that can be trained easily.

Being a social dog, the Coton is pretty terrible at being left alone for long periods. If you’re going to work each day, perhaps consider a more independent breed.

15. Maltese

Like the other small and fluffy dogs on this list, the Maltese is another great apartment breed that’s low on shedding and exercise needs.

It’s also a very friendly breed that gets on well with animals and humans alike. So, if you’re in a tiny space, a Maltese might just be the right dog for you.

However, Malteses tend to bark when they hear something unfamiliar, so keep this in mind if your block is particularly noisy.

16. Poodle

Be it a toy, miniature or standard Poodle, any variety of this well-mannered breed will suit apartment living.

Poodles are known for being obedient and easy to train, so can adapt quite nicely to a unit if taught to do so – this is important when it comes to potty training your indoor dog and teaching it to behave in common areas.

If you’re in an especially small apartment, consider a toy or miniature poodle over a standard one. Standard poodles are pretty big and need a bit more indoor space.

17. Toy Fox Terrier

The toy fox terrier has a thin coat, so it’s actually best suited to being indoors most of the time. And while it’s a rather active dog, it can get most of the exercise it needs by playing inside – no yard necessary.

The toy foxie is also small and loves nothing more than hanging out with its favourite humans.

If there are other dogs in your building, however, you’ll need to take charge when your toy fox terrier is around them.

Despite its small size, this breed is known to take on much bigger dogs and will need strong supervision and control to help it learn to cooperate.

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