10 Dog Breeds Perfect For Apartment Living

A dog pokes his head out of an apartment balcony.

A medium-sized dog plays a game with its owner in their apartment. Find out how you can keep your dog active. If you live in an apartment or condo, this should be a factor you consider when adopting a dog: will your new family member be happy in close quarters?

Contrary to popular belief, the most critical factor is not the size or breed of the dog but the dog’s energy and your ability to ensure that its needs are met. Can you provide daily exercise and adequate physical and mental challenges? Will the dog live under rules, boundaries, and limitations with a calm and assertive Pack Leader?

In general, lower energy dogs, independent of breed, can adapt more quickly to small spaces. With that said, certain breeds — and mixes — are more likely to do well with apartment living.

Breeds of Dogs for Your Apartment

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed has two particular traits that make them great for apartment living: small and pretty quiet. Typically, Yorkshire terriers are also social with other people and animals, so they’ll also adapt well to your neighbors and their companions.


Pugs are known for their cute face wrinkles and spunky personalities, but they are also adept at making friends — especially with children — and comfortable in close quarters.

English Bulldog

Not a fan of tiny dogs? This medium-sized breed is a bit bigger but still comfortable living in a smaller space. They are typically low to medium energy, so they don’t mind lounging on the couch after their daily walk — though you will have to deal with the drool!

Chinese Crested

This breed tends to win the World’s Ugliest Dog title year after year because of its unique (and often strange) hairless look. But don’t let that deter you! They are typically very affectionate with family members but less confident around strangers.


While Chihuahuas are typically active, it can be easier to tire them out since they are very small. Chihuahuas also enjoy the company of others in their breed, so why not adopt more than one? But beware of one common problem behavior with this breed that can cause problems with apartment living: excessive barking.

Shih Tzu

This breed usually isn’t high-energy, so it’s easier to meet their exercise needs with apartment living. However, you commit to regular grooming, most likely from a professional, to care for their hair.

Great Dane

This suggestion may seem crazy — after all, Great Danes are huge! But they are also typically calm, quiet, and low energy. So if you’re willing to sacrifice the room on your sofa, they can be a great apartment companion.

Bichon Frise

Small and quiet, these puffy cuties are often chosen as apartment companions — but there is one important caveat: they are usually high energy. However, if you’re high-energy yourself, taking frequent hikes and trips to the dog park, you’ll be a good match.


This breed’s name comes from the French word for butterfly because of its fringed ears that look like a butterflies’ wings. They’re small and won’t take up too much room in your apartment, but they are high energy, requiring physical and mental challenges to stay balanced.

Boston Terrier

Another quiet breed, these terriers are typically small-sized with medium energy. They also have active minds, so they may require more mental challenges to avoid problem behaviors.

Want to know which breeds are best to avoid? These are some of the best dog breeds for apartments, but the list isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t consider mixed breeds, which can often be a great fit. While there are no hard and fast rules, hunting and working breeds require more physical activity and mental challenges, making apartment living harder for them. Dalmatians, in particular, are notoriously high-energy dogs that don’t do well in small apartments.

Remember, every dog — no matter how small or low energy — needs a daily walk. Also, dogs need an opportunity to relieve themselves about every four hours, so if you cannot get your dog out of the house that often, train your dog to relieve themselves in a designated area of the apartment, like a litter box or an outdoor balcony.

Must-Know Tips and Things to Avoid in Your Apartment

Once you have chosen the dog breed that best matches your personality, you will need to get your apartment ready for your new four-legged friend. There will be the apparent supplies you need to purchase, such as food and water bowls, leash, food, etc. However, there are some factors to consider as you get your home ready for your new addition and how to make the transition as calm and comfortable as possible.

Implement These Tips

Set Up a Routine

Just as humans thrive on routine, so do dogs. It is essential to have a set schedule so your puppy can know what to expect. Please make sure you take them for bathroom breaks, walks, and exercise at the same time every day. A schedule will save you from avoidable clean-ups, and your dog will adjust to its new home quicker.

Exercise Appropriately

Knowing the amount of exercise your dog will need is key. You need to research and determine if you can commit to the amount of time they will need.

A woman takes her dog on daily walks for exercise and fresh air. Learn how to train your dog for your apartment.

Create a Calm Space

Give your dog a spot in your home that is just for them to retreat. Make it comfortable with a blanket and bed, and consider adding some toys. Make sure you set rules and boundaries for this space.


Pet owners can get so busy with their own lives that they don’t spend enough time with their pups. Connect with other dog owners in your apartment and set up playtime. Supervise the initial interactions to be sure they get along. Ask friends or family to come to take your furry friend for a walk if you have a long shift to work.

Make Training a Priority

It would be best to establish who the boss is right away, and it should not be your dog. Setting clear expectations from the beginning on what living in your apartment looks like will avoid headaches down the road. Each breed trains differently, so be sure to gear your techniques accordingly.

Avoid These Habits

Landlord Approval

It may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how often this happens. Check your lease first to make sure the puppy you would like to bring home is approved, then get consent from your landlord and get it in writing– nothing worse than having to move or rehome your dog because you didn’t follow the appropriate steps.

Clean Up Messes

Clean up pet messes quickly to avoid stains and odors setting in. Invest in quality cleaning supplies and, if you can, equipment such as a carpet cleaner. Lay down piddle pads for your dog as a precaution.

Vet Visits and Vaccinations

Your lease may require you to stay up-to-date on your dog’s vaccinations, and it’s a good idea for the puppy’s health to keep their routine check-up appointments.

Disturbing Other Tenants

Not everyone loves dogs, hard as it is to imagine, but it’s the truth. You need to keep your pup quiet and clean up after it at all times. You can train your dog to be a positive part of your apartment community with time and commitment.

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