10 Big and Small Apartment Dogs You Can Own


This website is reader supported and as an affiliate, we may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this website.

Large dogs don’t always thrive in the city. Since many of them requires a free space to romp, apartment living will prove to be challenging. The same goes for some small dogs with the energy of a large doggo. But what many aspiring dog owners don’t know is that there are some breeds which can adjust to apartment life. In this post, we will list down both the best big apartment dogs and small breeds that can stay happy even in your humble apartment.

The common dilemma of many dog owners including me is that moving in the city also entails living a pooch behind. For example, if I’m going to stay in our New York apartment for good, I’d have to give up my Beagle. That’s not an easy choice, but if you’re just picking a dog to own, you’re lucky because you can pick the breed that suits your way of living, be it small dog breeds for apartments or large ones.

What are apartment dogs?

These doggos are breeds that don’t require a large space to live. It’s also important to note here that size doesn’t matter when it comes to apartment dogs. You can have a small pooch like a Chihuahua yet it requires more exercise and space to run. In contrast, you can have a large yet laidback pooch that’s contented with this corner in the house.

Basically, apartment dogs are canines that can thrive in limited spaces and have the independence to be left alone. Usually, apartment dogs will have the following characteristics:

Very low tendency to bark. Apartments are only divided by walls or small gaps. If you decided to own a Beagle, you’re doomed with all the howling and barking.

Low energy requirements. Since there’s no yard to romp into, apartment dogs need to have lower physical requirements and intensity.

Calm indoors. Apartment dogs can stay calm even if left indoors for long. This means they won’t bolt the moment they see a door open.

Polite. If you leave in an apartment, your dog will be in contact with your neighbors. It’s important that they are polite, friendly, and not nervous when in the presence of a stranger.

But before you get that new pup, here’s Doctor Mike with some reminders:

Top 10 breeds that make great apartment dogs

1. English Mastiff

This may come as a surprise to many, but English Mastiffs are one of the best apartment dogs. Don’t be fooled by their large and heavy size because they are calm and can live without a large backyard to run to.

Still, you should walk a Mastiff around the block for it to stay fit and happy. Remember, these are large dogs and they can get obese easily. Also, it’s imperative to subject a Mastiff to obedience training first before putting them it in an apartment setting.

The good thing about Mastiffs is they don’t shed a lot but you’ll need to brush them weekly to keep their coat healthy. Also, you need to watch out for their intense drooling.

If you want, you can scout for a Mastiff that doesn’t drool as much as others.

Mastiffs also tend to be mouthy so training is necessary before bringing them into your apartment. Also, they aren’t great living with other dogs.

2. Great Dane

Scooby Doo, you say! Great Danes are large dogs but they also have a big heart for their owners, kids, and strangers. They love loafing around, often seen napping and relaxing on their bed or the couch. But since they are large, your spot in the couch will also be occupied.

Overall, Great Danes have a calm demeanor, very friendly, loving, and welcoming of other dogs. They are also easy to train which adds as a big factor to their quietness.

It’s a surprise given that they are one of the best big apartment dogs.

Just make sure that you take a Great Dane for a long walk to keep them satisfied. But one note, though: Great Danes have powerful tails. When this wags, it can topple knick-knacks on your apartment. If you have lots of ceramics and little, fragile decors, you may want to reconsider. Still, this breed is one for the books when it comes to apartment living.

3. Standard Poodle

This stylish doggos are common sightings on cities and apartment areas. Standard Poodles are calm, loyal, and not demanding of space. Their moderate energy levels only require daily walks.

Also, Poodles are hypoallergenic dogs which are good for families with allergies. They also have a low tendency to wander. If trained well, they can follow commands and even assist elderlies.

Poodles, though not one of the small dog breeds for apartments, also has a very low tendency to bark or howl which makes them a perfect choice for apartment living. Also, this dog doesn’t have evident prey drive which is good when it comes to mingling with other dogs. However, they can get anxious if left alone for long.

Although Poodles are great apartment dogs, they will need extra effort for grooming. That translates fees for a professional groomer. Also, Poodles have a high risk of gaining excess weight if not exercised properly.

4. Basset Hound

Although bulky in stature, a Basset Hound’s droopy eyes and ears indeed imbibe a calm demeanor. Unlike their cousin Beagles, Bassets are the total opposite: quiet, calm, and prefers loafing around than barking.

Bassets are great for novice owners since they have very low energy levels, low intensity, and low potential for playfulness. They are the “serious” dogs as many says.

These dogs are deep-chested so it’s not ideal for them to run around for long. Still, you should keep an eye on their weight as they can get obese if fed haphazardly as one of the best big apartment dogs.

The only thing you have to worry about is their tendency to wander and howl if stressed. This can be dampened through training. Bassets also love toys and lots of petting.

However, these hush puppies drool a lot and their ears require more grooming attention. They also weigh heavy which can be an issue for some dog owners. But if you’re looking for a quiet, calm, and low maintenance pooch, Bassets are good options.

5. Greyhound

Skinny yet a perfect apartment dog – Greyhounds are one of the skinniest breeds in the dog kingdom. Although they are lanky, they make great apartment dogs, thanks to their moderate energy level and low tendency to howl or bark.

Greyhounds are also affectionate and amenable to live with another dog. They are as welcoming to strangers as they are with their owners. Also, they have a pretty long life which can stretch to up to 15 years.

If you take this breed into a long walk each morning, it would spend the day being a couch potato. Another great thing about Greyhounds is their thin coat that only requires a quick brush. They also don’t drool so allergies are just a small issue.

Take note, though, that since Greyhounds are thin, they can’t tolerate cold weather. If you’re living in a wintery city, it’s best to keep the Greyhound cozy indoors.

best big apartment dogs

6. Maltese

Do you prefer a Velcro dog? Maltese pooches are the quintessential lapdogs and one of the small dog breeds for apartments. They are small, quiet, charming, and love to follow their owners around. This breed only requires a small space to live at which makes them an excellent apartment dog.

The glamorous coat of Maltese makes them more attractive as a pet. They shed very little which is good if you hate endless vacuuming and lint rolling. Still, they are not the easiest to groom and may require regular visits to a professional groomer.

Maltese dogs are very intelligent, friendly, playful, and easy to train. They tend to be aloof with strangers, but they aren’t aggressive either.

Also, Maltese doesn’t have the tendency to wander, often staying indoors and relaxing by the couch.

The only problem with Maltese dogs is they hate being left alone and they can’t tolerate very cold weather. Nevertheless, they are good for novice owners who don’t like best big apartment dogs.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Dubbed as one of the friendliest dog breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will definitely win your heart. Their small stature, droopy yet furry ears, and goofy ways make them an excellent companion dog. And with their moderate energy levels and quiet stance, they are also favorite apartment dogs.

Cavalier dogs are friendly to everyone – their owners, kids, strangers, and even other dogs. They are playful but they don’t require a lot of space to stay happy.

When it comes to maintenance, Cavalier’s shedding is manageable and they are fairly easy to groom as well. However, you’ll need more patience with training as they tend to be stubborn at a young age. But as Cavaliers grow old, they start to become more disciplined and attune with commands.

Like most lap dogs, Cavalier dogs hate being left alone. If you’re living alone in an apartment, you can get another dog to serve as their companion.

8.  Australian Terrier

As one of the small dog breeds for apartments, Australian Terriers have a very low prey drive and unwavering affection to their owners. However, they need to undergo training to limit their barking and intensity.

An experienced owner will have a better advantage of owning an Australian Terrier. Although they are small, they can be a handful if their playfulness and energy kick in. And as a terrier, they don’t mingle well with other dogs in the house.

The biggest benefit of owning this breed is that they shed very little and they don’t drool. Also, they are highly trainable and they are not known for mouthing and chewing.

Although Aussie Terriers are upbeat and active dogs, they don’t need a large yard to live. If you take them for a walk and give them enough play time, they will be happy in your apartment.

Watch out, though, because ‘bossy’ is Aussie Terrier’s last name. They will try to get their way around if you don’t show who the leader of the pack is.

9. Bolognese

If you want a fabulous-looking dog for your apartment, the Bolognese will not disappoint. This cloud pooch is very cuddly and affectionate to their owners, kids, and strangers. Although they tend to have an affinity with barking, it can be dampened since they are highly trainable.

Bolognese dogs are also one of the healthiest breeds. They also shed very little and never drools which is perfect for owners looking for a low-maintenance pet. Still, their coat will need additional attention to prevent matting.

When it comes to energy levels, Bolognese dogs are at a moderate level. However, they have a strong tendency to bark which can be reduced dramatically during training. Make sure that you practice consistency and patience as this breed can be difficult to housetrain too.

As members of the Bichon family, Bolognese pooches love cuddling and following their owners around. Also, they get heartsick if left alone for extended periods.

10. Bichon Frise

A dog that looks like a teddy bear, the Bichon Frise is loved by many for its sophisticated, cloud coat. They thrive in small apartments and advisable even for first-time dog owners.

Bichon Frise dogs don’t have a strong tendency to bark, howl, or wander which makes them great apartment dogs. They are very intelligent, too, which makes training an easy task.

This dog loves being with people – even strangers and kids. They can also deal with living with another dog. The only thing you have to think about is managing their energy levels and playfulness.

Bichon dogs don’t shed and drool which is why they are favorite dogs of families with allergies. But like the Aussie Terrier, they can get really bossy. It’s important that you show them that you’re the leader – especially for the female ones.

Lastly, this breed can’t tolerate being left alone for long. A companion dog will help reduce their anxiety.

The best big apartment dogs and small breeds are low-maintenance canines that have the right temperament to live in the city. Although you can’t find the ‘perfect’ apartment dog, you can always work around training your pooch and preparing them for the new urban environment.

Looking for more breeds? Check this video: