Home » Dog Breeds » Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living


Many would-be dog owners cite living space as a top concern when it comes to potentially bringing home a pup.  While it is true that certain dog breeds make terrible roommates in small spaces, other breeds can thrive in apartments.  Listed here are the top dog breeds for apartment living.

Toy-Sized Breeds

Toy sized breeds are perhaps the most obvious choice when it comes to living in an apartment because of their convenient size.  Most apartment complexes have weight limits for the animals that live there, and a true toy-sized dog generally weighs less than 10 lbs.  Therefore, even the smallest studio apartment can accommodate one or more of these pets.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a popular apartment dog due to its adaptability and ease of care for novice dog owners.  This affectionate, fun-loving dog enjoys spending time with its owners, almost to a fault, as it is prone to developing separation anxiety.  Other reasons the Bichon Frise is popular is that this breed is easy to groom, generally healthy, and is easy to train.  Weighing 7 – 12 lbs maximum, this slightly larger toy breed is also more durable some of the tinier dogs on this list.

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a larger teacup breed, weighing 7 – 12 lbs when fully grown.  Similar in appearance to a Schnauzer, this breed is affectionate and sensitive, and gets along well with both dogs and other species.  Playful and energetic, this breed has a potential for wanderlust, so care must be taken to ensure this dog does not escape.


Chihuahuas are a go-to for apartment dwellers because of their low-maintenance needs.  They do not shed heavily, they have few exercise requirements, and they are not particularly destructive dogs.  However, they are best for households without small children, and they tend to get along best with other Chihuahua or Chihuahua mixes. Is a Chihuahua right for you?

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog is a somewhat rare hairless (or semi-hairless) dog that resembles the Chihuahua and indeed may have similar origins.  The Chinese Crested Dog weighs only 5 – 10 lbs but is extremely athletic and agile.  Due to their small size, however, their exercise requirements can easily be met with short walks around the neighborhood in the summertime, and vigorous play sessions in the winter when the weather is colder.  Since Chinese Crested Dogs have special needs (i.e. skin that sunburns easily and sensitivity to cold) they often do best indoors.  This breed can easily be trained to utilize potty pads, making the Chinese Crested the perfect apartment dog as it truly never has to leave the house. More about Chinese Crested dogs.


Dachshunds are pint-sized dogs with a lot of personality for their unique size and shape.  Their short coat makes grooming a breeze, and their exercise requirements are sparse.  In fact, their short and stubby legs mean that only short walks are necessary.  Like Chihuahuas, Dachshunds can be vocal and will alert you to any outside noise, which can be a downside for apartment living.  However, most Dachshunds can be trained to eliminate their barking behavior.


The Havanese is a highly adaptable breed that is suited to living anywhere close to humans.  This “Velcro” dog enjoys being the center of attention and does not do well when left alone.  However, for apartment dwellers that work from home, there is no better companion.  In addition to their cuddliness, Havanese dogs are easy to train and are not heavy-shedders.

Japanese Chin

This distinguished looking dog has few exercise needs and is highly adaptable, making it a great choice for living in small spaces.  When fully grown, Japanese Chins weigh 4 – 9 lbs, which is the perfect size for even the smallest apartment.  With only a moderate tendency to bark or howl, this dog is a companion that even your closest neighbors will love.


The Maltese is a wonderful apartment companion because of both its small size and minimal exercise requirements.  Reaching no more than 8 lbs, this toy-sized dog thrives in small spaces, and needs little more than 15 – 20 minute walk per day, as well as a couple vigorous play sessions.  Maltese dogs are also sociable with other species, and get along well with small animals such as cats.  However, like many small breeds, the Maltese is a great watch dog that is prone to barking.

Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher, also sometimes referred to as the Min Pin, is another dog breed that does well in apartments due to its small size.  Weighing 8 – 11 lbs when fully grown, these dogs do well in even the smallest enclosures.  This affectionate breed is highly adaptable to all living situations, and does best when it can be around people often.  An added bonus is that Miniature Pinschers have easy-to-maintain coats and few grooming needs.  They are very playful and can be adept escape artists, so apartment dwellers must beware of their potential for escape from open doors or windows.


The Pekinese is a distinguished looking dog due to its flat face and long, full coat.  A larger toy breed, these dogs reach 7 – 14 lbs, most of which dog owners would describe as fluff!  One reason that the Pekinese does so well in apartment living is that, due to its flat face and Brachycephalic nature, it cannot tolerate heat or exercise.  Therefore, the Pekinese is happiest when lounging on a comfortable cushion with a favorite human – just like its ancestors which were common among royalty in Imperial China.


The Pomeranian is a true toy-sized dog, reaching only 3 – 7 lbs when fully grown.  Another “floofy” dog, the Pomeranian often appears to consist entirely of fur, meaning this breed also sheds heavily.  However, it is a highly adaptable dog and one that also does well in cold weather conditions, making it one toy-sized dog that does not require a sweater in the winter.  Pomeranians tend to be easy to train and have few exercise requirements, but do have the tendency to bark, like many small breeds. More about Pomeranian dogs.

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodles are the smallest of the poodle breed, weighing only 6 – 9 lbs.  Despite their significantly smaller size, they retain many of the same characteristics of their larger relatives, such as impressive adaptability and extreme intelligence.  Since poodles have hair instead of fur, their shedding is kept to a minimum but frequent grooming appointments will be necessary.  Best of all, toy poodles are friendly, playful, and one small breed that is not prone to barking or howling.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are perhaps the most quintessential of apartment breeds because they truly thrive in small spaces.  Weighing in at only 4 – 6 lbs and requiring minimal maintenance are just two reasons the Yorkie is so popular.  In addition, the Yorkshire Terrier is friendly, easy to groom, a light shedder, and extremely playful.  When it comes to toy-sized dog breeds, the Yorkshire Terrier should be one of the first dogs considered for apartment living!

Small / Medium Breeds

Toy-sized dogs aren’t right for every situation, even if they are the perfect size for small apartments.  Toy breeds might not be best for owners with small children that may accidentally harm a small dog, or for owners that are away from home for the majority of the day.  After all, two common problems with companion-bred dogs are separation anxiety and the tendency to become yappy.  Instead, a small-to-medium sized dog might be the best option, which is generally considered to be a dog that weighs between 10 – 30 lbs.  For apartment complexes with weight limits, 30 lbs is often the maximum sized dog allowed.


The Basenji might look like a larger dog in pictures due to its long and lean frame, but this noble-looking hound dog only weighs 22 – 24 lbs.  Unlike many hound dogs, the Basenji is uniquely adapted to apartment life because of its low tendency to bark or howl.  In fact, the Basenji is known as a “barkless” dog, meaning it should get along great with your neighbors!  Other favorable apartment-dwelling attributes include low maintenance coat that is easy to groom, and a low tendency to develop separation anxiety.

Boston Terrier

Small and medium sized dogs tend to have more energy than their teacup counterparts, and the Boston Terrier is no different.  The Boston Terrier makes a great apartment dog because it is adaptable, friendly, and has low maintenance grooming needs.  However, the Boston Terrier is best for someone devoted to meeting the breed’s exercise needs, as it tends to be energetic and playful.  Reaching a maximum of 25 lbs when fully grown, Boston Terriers are sure to meet almost any weight requirement imposed by a landlord.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are wonderful apartment companions because they simply want to be next to their owners always.  On the small end of the small / medium sized dog spectrum, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels weigh 13 – 18 lbs when fully grown.  They are known for their spaniel-like playfulness and energy levels, but in a smaller package.  Their long fur sheds moderately, and they are relatively easy to groom.  Due to their short noses they can only tolerate short bursts of exercise and play at a time, but are perfectly content to cuddle on a loved one’s lap.

French Bulldog

French Bulldogs have become increasingly popular, thanks in part to their continual presence on social media and on television shows such as Modern Family.  This breed is great for apartment living because of its size (weighing 16 – 18 lbs) and its extremely low exercise requirements.  Like other bulldogs, the French Bulldog has a short nose and Brachycephalic nature making it intolerable to heat and vigorous exercise.  French Bulldogs tire easily, and do best with short, intense play sessions.

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is another small dog (12 – 15 lbs) that adapts well to apartment living, and indeed thrives as a companion dog.  Originally bred as a watchdog for royalty, the Lhasa Apso is a dignified dog that loves to serve as a guardian of his or her family.  As such, this breed has a strong tendency to bark or howl, as well as a healthy prey drive.  Although not particularly friendly towards strangers, Lhasa Apsos bond strongly with their family members, yet can still tolerate being left home alone.


The Lowchen is a highly rated apartment dog due to its ability to adapt well to new surroundings, particularly when other dogs or household pets are already present.  Weighing 9 – 18 lbs, a dog of this breed can be found to fit almost any size requirement.  Although the Lowchen is highly energetic and has moderate exercise needs for a dog of its size, it is also a very playful breed that is incredibly kid friendly.

Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier resembles a Miniature Pinscher, but is larger in size weighing in at 12 – 22 lbs.  This breed is great for apartment living because it is easy to groom, affectionate, and adaptable.  Like all terriers, the Manchester Terrier is energetic and playful, but this breed is more subdued than its terrier relatives.  Additionally, the Manchester Terrier tolerates being left alone better than many other small breeds, making it great for owners that are away from home for moderate amounts of time.


Pugs are a common apartment dog due to their low maintenance requirements, particularly when it comes to exercise and tolerability of outdoor conditions.  A moderately sized small breed, Pugs typically weigh 14 – 18 lbs, but have a potential for weight gain when not fed properly.  Due to their short coat, Pugs have few grooming needs, however they do shed heavily.  With a low tendency to bark or howl and a general friendliness towards strangers, this breed is one that is sure to be a hit with neighbors.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu was originally bred as a companion dog to Chinese royalty, which explains why the breed is so content to lounge comfortably inside as opposed to spend time outside in a yard all day.  Unlike many companion-bred dogs, the Shih Tzu also tends to do well when left alone, making this breed great for many modern dog owners.  Affectionate, kid-friendly, and playful, this breed is a great addition to any apartment dwelling family looking for a relatively low-maintenance dog that also has low exercise requirements.

Large / Giant Breeds

Although smaller dogs make the most sense for apartment dwelling owners, some people simply prefer a large dog.  Contrary to popular belief, certain large breeds do great in small settings – some even better than their much, much smaller counterparts.  Listed here are a couple large or giant dog breeds that adapt well to apartment living.


Even though the Greyhound has the reputation of speeding around a race track, this breed is laid back and easy going.  Affectionate and friendly with both kids and strangers, greyhounds are great for living in close quarters with other people.  They also have very little tendency to bark or howl, making them amenable to living in areas with many neighbors.  Although greyhounds are laid back, they do still require short bouts of vigorous exercise, meaning that living near a dog park is crucial for owners of these highly intelligent dogs.  The biggest downside for potential greyhound owners is that the breed – which generally weighs 50 to 85 lbs – may be over the weight limit for most apartment complexes.

Great Dane

Do you live in an apartment and want a truly giant dog?  Great Danes are surprisingly among the best for apartment dwellers, due to their gentle giant nature.  This breed tends to prefer sleeping over most other activities, and cannot be beat when it comes to friendliness.  An added bonus is that Great Danes are extremely quiet dogs, and do not bark unless seriously provoked.  Although Great Danes shed and drool heavily, they are also very easy to groom.  While exercise is a must, Great Danes cannot handle vigorous activity due to their size, and are also easy to train – which is a necessity for a dog that can weigh up to 200 lbs! More about Great Danes.

Ultimately, whether you are looking for a dog that weighs 2 lbs or 200 lbs, there is a dog breed on this list that is guaranteed to meet all your requirements.  When choosing a companion for your apartment, it is important to keep your specific lifestyle in mind.  If you are frequently gone throughout the day, it is important to remember that many toy- and small-breed dogs are prone to separation anxiety due to their companion-bred nature.  Additionally, some small breeds require more exercise than others, so just because a dog is small does not mean it does not require going for a daily walk around the neighborhood.  When adopting or purchasing a dog, always keep your living conditions in mind, as certain breeds make terrible apartment companions and should be avoided at all costs! For more information on this topic, you may want to check out Apartment Living With Your Dog.

Related Posts

Anna Weber

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.