A Bullmastiff sizes up against a young girl.
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5 Large Breeds That Make Good Apartment Dogs

A Mastiff in an apartment? Yep, it turns out that some large breed dogs make good apartment dogs. Discover what other breeds made the list — and why!

Lynn M. Hayner  |  Dec 11th 2017

Which big dog breeds — or mixes of large dog breeds — make good apartment dogs? Size is but one factor*. Energy level, intensity, barking and adaptability are likewise important. After all, an apartment dog must live quietly and comfortably in the individual apartment, but also peacefully co-exist with other people and animals in the common areas, too. These large dog breeds may surprise you with their apartment suitability.

*Some apartments have rules limiting dog sizes or prohibiting certain breeds. Check your building or landlord’s regulations before adopting or buying a breed and see if your renter’s insurance will cover large dogs, too. 



Mastiffs are among the big dog breeds that make good apartment dogs. Photography courtesy Giselle Nevada.

I was developed to work in ancient militaries, guarding and fighting alongside my humans. These days, I’m a diplomatic, rather quiet family dog. I’m naturally a watchdog (and a heckuva deterrent with my size!), but I’m not disposed to needless barking. Although I weigh some 150 pounds, I don’t need a huge yard or living space. In fact, my exercise requirements are generally satisfied with daily walks. I’m inclined to snooze much of the day; either a large or small living space will do. And since I don’t ruffle easily around other people or animals, we’ll certainly meet new friends in the apartment complex. Perhaps keep some slobber towels handy; we’ll make more friends if you keep my drool mopped up!

Clumber Spaniel

A Clumber Spaniel.

Clumber Spaniels do well in apartment settings. Photography via Philip Watts, Some modifications made to fit specifications of the site.

We’re a rather large spaniel, weighing some 70 pounds or so. Developed in England as a gundog, I was named for the Duke of Newcastle’s estate, Clumber Park, in Nottinghamshire. Gentle and affectionate, I’m purposeful when I’m working (fetch or field work!?) but calm indoors. I’ll thrive with outings, but I’m also confident with some solo-snoozing hours while you’re at work. I’m also relatively quiet, unless you’re bothered by snores. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll confess I’m an enthusiastic shedder. Keep your full-size vacuum if and when you move to smaller quarters.

Shiloh Shepherd

Shiloh Shepherd

Shiloh Shepherds are larger, gentler versions of German Shepherd Dogs and make for good apartment dogs. Photography by iStock.

Sometimes weighing in at 100 pounds, we’re a new breed, developed in a New York kennel by Tina Barber in the 1990s. Barber wanted a larger, gentler variety of the more intense German Shepherd Dog. Our temperaments are often softer than the GSDs, and we’re not employed in serious protection work. While we use up space in small apartments, we won’t use up your patience nagging you for constant play. In fact, indoors, we’re rather calm and low maintenance. Outdoors, my coat protects me in just about any weather, so let’s keep walks on the schedule. Naps are on the schedule, too. While I have a working background, I sure don’t want to work all day!



Bullmastiffs may be big — but they make the best apartment dogs. Photography courtesy Shari and Tom Lowell.

We were bred from Bulldogs and Mastiffs to protect game on estates from poachers. My forefathers needed the strong temperament to threaten thieves, but the kind temperaments to live with their families. We’re generally quiet, since silence was a virtue when guarding estates. Today, we’re calm companions in the home, whether large or small. We relax most of the day, so although we take up space (I’m about 100 pounds!), we aren’t demanding. We require daily exercise, but not all-day workouts. And while we look tough, we’re not tough about warm weather. We may overheat exercising on hot days, so crank the air-conditioning up in the morning, and wait until sunset for our walks.

Standard Poodle

Bill Wright.

Standard Poodle. Photography courtesy Bill Wright,

Originally bred in Germany as working water retrievers, I’m smart, sporty and not nearly as stylish as you may imagine. In fact, my popular coat trim was designed for function, not flair. My trim allows me to move easily through water; the longer patches guard my vital organs and joints. Today, I’m a wonderful, adaptable companion. I also won’t shed all over your apartment! As long as you exercise my mind and body, I’ll comfortably reside in any size apartment. In fact, I’d rather live in a small home and have adventures with you than have alone time in a big house or yard. I’ll take you up on walks or park time, but I also excel in formal dog sports such as obedience, agility and rally. If we live near a dog park, you’ll find I’m generally social with both new dogs and people.

Tell us: In your experience, what large breeds make good apartment dogs?

Plus, get tips on living in a city with dogs of any size >>

Thumbnail: Photography by Eduard Ly Senko/Thinkstock. 

Why read breed profiles?
Dog breed profiles help everyone, whether you have a mixed breed or purebred dog, to better understand and improve the quality of your dog’s life. If you have a mixed breed dog, read up on all of the breed profiles that make up your dog. Not sure what breed your dog is? There are a number of easy DNA tests out there to help your find out.

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