Many dog lovers will tell you that dogs and apartment living don’t go together. But you don’t need a huge yard in suburbia for your dog to be happy. Here’s a look at some of the breeds that make the best apartment dogs.
Size Doesn’t Always Matter When it Comes to Choosing the Best Apartment Dogs
Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’ll make the cut for good apartment dogs. Some small-breed dogs are far too vocal to meet the requirements of the best apartment dogs. Others are too antsy and have too much energy to be cooped up, even if their smaller size makes the space seem bigger. For example, though he is among the smallest dog breeds, the Chihuahua doesn’t make our list of top apartment dogs because of the breed’s tendency to bark, as well as his energetic, nervous demeanor. However, many Terriers, though they are high energy, tend to make the best apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise.
Some large breeds also make excellent dogs for apartments. 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 a small house.
10 Best Apartment Dogs (Small to Large)
At around 7 pounds, this extra-small wonder makes the list of best apartment dogs 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.
The slightly larger Maltese (around 9 pounds) has a silky coat with no undercoat that 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, earning him a solid spot on this roundup of good apartment dogs.
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 (around 20 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, including an apartment.
This is 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:
This is the larger cousin of the French Bulldog who weighs 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 not seem likely to land on the list of best apartment dogs 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.
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 good apartment dog. He weighs 55 to 65 pounds.
This racing dog (60 to 80 pounds) might seem an odd choice for a list of best apartment dogs, 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 dogs” don’t seem to be good candidates for “great apartment dogs,” but the Great Dane (at a majestic 100 to 130 pounds) is such a natural loafer that, though your couch will probably be fully occupied, he’ll take up far less space than you might think. Add to that his calm demeanor, friendliness, trainability and quiet nature, and the Great Dane makes an excellent choice among best apartment dogs.
If you live in or are moving to an apartment or small house and already have a dog, don’t worry. The following tips can help you all live happily in a small space.
10 Tips for Having a Happy Apartment Dog
If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog, or if you’re moving your current dog 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:
This is vital for dogs who have to wait to go outside. Feeding and walking times should be consistent.
6. Find a good trainer:
One trait that all good apartment dogs have — they’re not prone to be excessively vocal. If you’re having behavioral issues such as a dog who won’t stop 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.
The best apartment dogs are the dogs who get adequate exercise and enrichment. For the times when you can’t get your dog out 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 dog.
A few final thoughts on the best apartment dogs
It’s easy to find a dog who will live well in an apartment or small-house setting. Size isn’t everything — quiet, lower-energy, non-working dogs are really what make the best apartment dogs. 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.
Tell us: Do you live in an apartment with a dog? What do you think of our tips? What other breeds — or mixes — should be on the best apartment dogs list? Let us know in the comments!
Thumbnail: Photography by berndstuhlmann/Thinkstock.
This piece was originally published in 2015.