9 Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

These breeds can make great apartment pets with the right training and exercise

By Megan Kriss | Dog Breeds

9 Best Apartment Breeds

Looking for a canine companion that will thrive in an apartment setting? Here are nine of the best dog breeds for apartment living.

It can be difficult to find a dog that can adapt well to an apartment setting. Don’t get me wrong, dogs can make great apartment pets, but that doesn’t mean every dog does well in an apartment.

Between weight restrictions and misguided “aggressive breed” restrictions that you’ll see from many landlords, the temperament concerns with living so close to other people and animals, and the problems with a lack of space, finding a dog that can handle apartment living can be challenging.

The good news is that some breeds can thrive in this environment – provided they are given the right amount of exercise. Here are 9 of my top picks.

Tip: Only have a balcony for your dog to do his “business?” Take a look at my list of the best balcony dog potties.

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is another low-maintenance dog breed that does well in an apartment.  They are relatively calm, even-tempered animals, and they love to cuddle, so while you may find them frequently underfoot, at least you won’t have to worry about space concerns.

They are small, a little bigger than the pug, and while they do require trips to the groomer, they are a relatively low maintenance. They do shed however, and can become destructive chewers if left alone for extended periods of time (no dog should be left alone for too long).

8. Greyhound


The Greyhound is a somewhat surprising candidate for a good apartment dog. After all, they are the fastest dog breed, so you might think they have high activity requirements.

In actuality, greyhounds are very relaxed dogs, and will be perfectly happy with an occasional jog or walk around the local dog park. If your apartment complex has an enclosed area where dogs can run around off-leash, as many pet-friendly places do, even better.

Greyhounds are typically friendly and not given to territorial impulses, so other people shouldn’t be a problem (cats or other small pets may be a different matter though!) The Greyhound is also an intelligent breed, so you’ll want to have some stimulating toys on hand if your pup is going to be left alone for an extended period.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll find that though they are quite fast, they are still excellent apartment dogs.

Note: Want to learn why we’re against greyhound racing? Click here for some shocking facts and statistics. If you rescue a greyhound and need to look for a harness, read our guide to greyhound harnesses.

7. Schipperke


The Schipperke is another small breed with an overly-abundant amount of personality. Originally bred as ratters and watchdogs for small coastal ships, the Schipperke is an intelligent and sociable dog that is perfectly at home in small spaces and tight quarters.

Despite their watchdog origins, the Schipperke is a relatively quiet breed. They are easy to care for, and other than regular brushings, need little grooming.

Because of their high intelligence, it is important that they be entertained as much as possible, so challenging and engaging toys are a must, and it’s a good idea to start training early on in your relationship so your Schipperke has plenty to do.

If you’re looking for an intelligent, loyal, and fun-loving small dog, the Schipperke is definitely one to consider.

6. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is ideal for families with an active lifestyle looking for an apartment-friendly dog. They are small, rarely growing taller than one foot, and while they look like little cotton balls with legs, they shed surprisingly little, making them good for people with allergies, or just those worried about pet hair taking over their life.

They are very energetic and playful, so they will need some exercise, but this can be handled with walks at the local dog park. The Bichon Frise is also known as an easily trainable dog that excels at tricks, which can be a great way to bond with your new companion, or to teach young children the proper ways to interact with dogs.

5. Poodle


The Poodle is one of the most popular dogs in the world, and for good reason. The Poodle is widely recognized as one of the most intelligent breeds, coming only behind the Border Collie.

They are also loyal, athletic, and affectionate, making them ideal for those who want an active companion. If you’re looking for an easily-trainable dog that will get along well with children and other pets, the Poodle is an excellent choice.

Though the exact origins of the breed are the subject of debate, the Poodle is doubtless a working dog, and will require a good bit of exercise. This, coupled with their surprising intelligence makes them a handful if not properly trained, but if you have a good handle on how to properly raise and train a willful pup, the Poodle will be an excellent companion.

4. Great Dane

Great Dane

The Great Dane is another dog you may not imagine would make for a great apartment dog, due to its large size. Granted, many apartment complexes won’t allow a dog of a Great Dane’s size, but if that’s not a concern, the breed’s surprisingly low activity requirements and friendly temperament makes it perfectly suited to apartment life.

While a Great Dane might have quite a big bark, they are actually relatively quiet most of the time, which means no angry letters from your neighbors. They’re very easy going, and don’t tend to be aggressive towards other people or animals.

Size aside, the Great Dane does quite well in close-quarters with strangers, and is very low maintenance. Their heavy footsteps may be an issue for neighbours below you though.

3. Mastiff


Mastiffs are another potentially surprising breed choice for an apartment. Like the Great Dane, they are quite large (well over 150 lbs in most cases) and certainly look fierce. Their low exercise needs and chill demeanor, however, means what you actually have is the world’s largest teddy bear.

Proper training and treatment is of course very important for any dog, but especially so in an animal that can reach weights of up to 230lbs. That said, if train and treat your Mastiff right, especially from an early age, you’ll have a gentle giant for life.

Despite their surprisingly gentle nature, the sheer size of a Mastiff can make them an excellent companion for women living alone, or anyone worried about security. It’s a rare individual that’s brave enough to mess with a dog the size of an NFL linebacker.

2. Dachshund


The smallest of the hound breeds, the Dachshund is a perennial favorite in the small dog world. With their short legs and long bodies, the Dachshund may look a little silly, but they make for seriously good pets.

With a rambunctious nature, and a tendency towards playfulness and joy, adopting a Dachshund is great way to bring joy into your home. They are an intelligent and inquisitive breed, and will poke their sensitive noses into anything you have going on.

Bred to be a hunting dog, the Dachshund does require a little more play to remain stimulated, but their short stature means it’s easy to give them a workout in even the smallest of apartments.

Tip: Looking for a harness for your dachshund? I’ve written a complete guide to the best dachshund harnesses – make sure you read this before you buy!

1. Basenji


The rest of this list is in no particular order, but the Basenji has the top spot for a reason. This barkless dog rarely gets larger than 18 inches tall, making it an ideal companion in close quarters.

The Basenji’s short coat requires little grooming or attention, and the dog’s intelligent (if slightly mischievous) nature makes them great for active families, or those who want to train their dog to do tricks. The dog’s barkless nature makes it a good option for those living in thin-walled apartments with neighbors close by – although they do yodel, so aren’t completely silent.

A drawback is that the Basenji requires plenty of exercise to burn off energy. If you have parks and walks nearby, however, they can be a good choice.


If you’re struggling to find a dog that will do well in an apartment, don’t despair! There are a number of breeds that will thrive in the close-quarters of an apartment.

In particular, look for a dog that doesn’t mind small living spaces, can be easily trained to deal with strangers and other pets they might meet in hallways, and doesn’t tend to bark.

Be sure to comment with any questions you have about these fantastic breeds. And feel free to share this post with apartment-dwelling friends who are thinking about bringing home a new four-legged family member.

About the Author

Megan Kriss has been a writer and editor for about five years and a lover of dogs for her whole life. She lives in Georgia with her Border Collie and Chow Chow mix, Ginger, her two cats, Pepper and Misha, and her fiance, Matthew.