The 10 Best Apartment Dogs: Why Size Doesn't Matter
Many dog owners will tell you that dogs and apartment living don’t go together. They’re wrong! There’s no need to have a huge yard in suburbia for your dog to be happy. You just need to follow some tips and, if you haven’t already acquired said pooch, you'll need to choose a breed or mix of breeds that are well-suited to apartment living.
Why Size Doesn’t Always Matter
Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’s suited for apartment life. Some small breeds are far too vocal to meet the requirements of being a good neighbor. Others are too antsy and have too much energy to be cooped up, even if their smaller size makes it seem bigger. For example, though it is the smallest of dog breeds, the Chihuahua can make a bad choice for apartment living because of the breed's tendency to bark and its energetic, nervous demeanor. However, many Terriers, though they are high energy, tend to be decent apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise.
Some large breeds also make excellent small-space dogs. For example, the Greyhound is often thought to need room to run because he was bred to do just that. But many rescued Greyhounds are retired racers and are much more inclined to lie around with that sexy, languid look than to chase bunnies on sticks. And, again, as long as exercise requirements are met, many large dogs can live comfortably in an apartment or small house.
10 Great Dogs for Apartment Dwellers (Small to Large)
1. Yorkshire Terrier -- at around 7 pounds, this extra-small wonder is a wonderful apartment dog not only because he takes up little space but also because he is not a barker. He is also friendly with people and other pets and very adaptable to new experiences.
2. Maltese -- The slightly larger Maltese (around 9 pounds) has a silky coat with no undercoat which sheds very little making cleaning in a small space easier. He is also a quiet dog who mostly wants to be where his owner is.
3. Boston Terrier -- At 12 to 18 pounds, this breed is also very attached to his owner which means he doesn’t mind being indoors in a small space as long as his owner is attentive. He is also an easily trainable dog.
4. French Bulldog - A smallish dog (around20 pounds) with the traits of a larger dog. He is calm and quiet, often relaxing on the most comfortable seat in the place. His practical demeanor makes him suitable for any living space.
5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel -- One of the friendliest breeds, making it easy to deal with other tenants and their dogs. At 13 to 18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also calm and very adaptable.
6. English Bulldog - The larger cousin of the French Bulldog at 49 to 55 pounds, a stable dog who is comfortable in small spaces; indeed, most seem to prefer the couch to the dog park.
7. Basset Hound -- This breed might seem less than apartment-friendly with his bulky stature (around 60 pounds), but like the Bulldog, he is a very calm dog who is easily kept busy with treat toys and lots of petting.
8. American Staffordshire Terrier -- The show dog version of the American Pit Bull Terrier is more dog-friendly than his cousin. He is easily trained and forms a tight bond with his owner. As long as he gets adequate exercise, he is a content and quiet apartment dog. He weighs 55 to 65 pounds.
9. Greyhound -- This racing dog (60 to 80 pounds) may seem an odd choice for small-space living, but retired Greyhounds are some of the biggest canine couch potatoes. They are very trainable and adaptable. They seem to appreciate a more sedentary lifestyle.
10. Great Dane -- Huge dog = great apartment dog seems like an oxymoron, but the Great Dane (at a majestic 100 to 130 pounds) is such a natural loafer that, though your couch will likely be fully occupied, he’ll take up far less space than might be thought. Add to that his calm demeanor, friendliness, trainability, and quiet nature, and the Great Dane makes an excellent choice for small spaces.
If you live in or need to move to an apartment or small house and already have a dog, don't worry. The following tips can help you both to live happily in a small space.
Ten Tips for Living with a Dog in an Apartment
1. Acclimate: If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog, or if you’re moving your current pooch into a small space, try to acclimate him slowly by visiting for shorter and then longer periods.
2. Be present: Again, if an apartment or small house is a new environment for your dog, try to stay with him as much as possible. Go out for short periods alone at first, and then lengthen them.
3. Create space: Think storage, storage, storage when it comes to furniture. Anything that takes up space should serve as storage as well. Try to keep as much floor space open as possible.
4. Darken and lighten: Apartments can be very dark because of the surrounding buildings. They can also get too much light if they’re high up. Drapes and special bulbs can help keep the lighting natural.
5. Establish a routine: Vital for dogs who have to wait to go outside. Feeding and walking times should be consistent.
6. Find a good trainer: If you’re having behavioral issues such as barking, find a trainer in your area who specializes in that issue.
7. Get a bench: A small or large bench against a windowsill gives your dog a place to jump up and observe the world -- and also makes the space seem larger.
8. Hire a dog walker: For the times when you can’t get your dog out and about for extra exercise, a trusted dog walker is a necessity.
9. Invest in a gate: If you have a studio or open floor plan, make sure you can put a gate up to keep your dog separated from others. Using the kitchen or bathroom often works. Also, make that space your dog’s haven with his bed and toys.
10. Juggle those balls: It’s perfectly fine to play fetch in your apartment, as long as it’s not too early or too late. Installing rugs helps absorb the noise of dog nails. You don’t have to be at the dog park to have fun with your pooch.
It’s easy to find a dog that will live well in an apartment or small-house setting. Size isn’t everything -- a quiet, lower-energy, non-working dog is really what fits the bill. And if you already have a dog who needs to adapt to a small space, remember: If our dogs are with us and we’re happy, they’re happy, too. Rather than fretting over sharing a small space, look at it as a bonding experience. After all, tripping over each other is just a game of tag, if you look at it that way.
Do you live in an apartment with a dog? What do you think of our tips? Let us know in the comments!