Behind The Breed Dogs

What Are The Best Dog Breeds For Apartment Life?

In many cities and urban areas around the world, apartments are a common housing option. In fact, nearly 39 million people in the US live in an apartment, with cities like Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York City having some of the most apartment dwellers in the county. Apartments aren’t actually that new, as the origins can actually be traced back to some cities in the Roman Empire, but the mid 19th century saw the construction of many inexpensive apartment buildings in urban areas as the Industrial Revolution brought more people to cities.

Depending on where you live, housing can be expensive and the more affordable places are sometimes also the smallest. Not every dog will be able to deal with small living quarters like apartments, as their size and activity level will make small spaces difficult to manage. Other breeds can, at times, be quite vocal, which annoy your neighbors if you live in close proximity to them. There are individual dogs that can’t handle stairs on a daily basis (for various health reasons) so you’ll also have to keep that in mind if you live in a building with no elevator.

But there are some dog breeds that are perfect for apartments! Here are just a few.

Basset Hounds

Surprisingly, Basset Hounds can actually make great apartment dogs. They’re medium in size and quite strong but their low energy and polite temperaments mean they’re more than happy being a couch potato at home. Unfortunately, there are some things to consider before getting a Basset Hound. These dogs generally don’t do well alone and have a tendency to bark or howl (which can annoy your neighbors). They also drool and shed a lot, meaning you’ll have to spend plenty of time cleaning up after them. If you can work from home or live with a partner/others willing to help and can put in the work, a Basset Hound may just be the perfect apartment dog for you.

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Boston Terriers

Next on this list are Boston Terriers, a breed nicknamed the ‘American Gentlemen’ because of their gentle nature and tuxedo-like markings. Their small size makes them perfect for apartments but these dogs do have a high potential for both wandering off and some general health problems. Daily exercise, training, and regular vet visits can keep Boston Terriers happy and healthy at home.

Chihuahuas

For most, these dogs are the epitome of ‘small dog syndrome’, the idea that small dogs are all yappy/loud and utterly unaware of their own size. In reality, chihuahuas can have attitude and behavior issues but training can make all the difference! If you live in an apartment by yourself, a chihuahua could make a great companion, as they are loyal to their people and make great watchdogs. They may be small in stature but have more than enough courage.

Dachshunds

Occasionally referred to as ‘wiener dogs’, dachshunds are short but long dogs that will love any active home, no matter the square footage! Like any breed with a long back, you’ll need to be mindful of possible back injuries with dachshunds and may have to carry them up and down any stairs. Two things to consider with this breed are that they can be difficult to housebreak and some have the tendency to bark, especially at things they see out the window. That may result in some noise complaints from neighbors and possible accidents. Doggie daycare can be a great solution if you can’t work from home.

English Bulldogs

English Bulldogs are strong, stout dogs that have a mushed face and waddled walk. Their short faces can cause health problems (like respiratory issues, sleep apnea, and pinched nostrils) and make it difficult for them to deal with hot or humid weather. But English bulldogs often love going for walks and also love to nap. If you’re looking for a goofy dog to join you in an apartment, a bulldog may just be for you. In fact, several bulldogs have world records for skateboarding-related tricks and the breed seems particularly adept at the sport!

Greyhounds

Greyhounds are another surprising addition to this list, as they can be quite tall and are often known for their racing. But these dogs are often well adapted to apartment living and are quite happy to be couch potatoes in any type of space. Retired racing greyhounds are especially great apartment dogs, as they often have a calm temperament and will spend a good portion of the day sleeping. A good walk or trip to the dog park can often keep a greyhound happy, as these dogs were bred for sprints and not endurance races. But make sure to keep them on a leash, as greyhounds have a high prey drive and will definitely chase after small animals.

Pugs

These little but mischievous dogs are great for apartments, as they’re small and have a homebody nature. Their short faces make more strenuous exercise difficult but pugs are still incredibly playful and loving. Like some other breeds, pugs love being around their people and don’t do well alone.

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Apartment Life With Any Dog

An important thing to keep in mind while you’re looking for the perfect dog is that some apartment buildings and management companies do have their own rules on what kinds of pets you can have in the apartment and often require a pet deposit and/or additional monthly fees. The rules can include the size and breed of dogs, as some places only allow dogs up to a certain weight and don’t allow certain breeds. Breed Specific Legislation is also something that some municipalities have, which bans certain breeds from living within city limits. While many places have overturned this type of legislation, it’s important to know what the rules are for your city and apartment building.

Daily life with a dog will depend on your own circumstances but there are some general things that can make life great for you and your canine friend. Keeping a schedule of feeding, activities, training, and walks can really make a difference for dogs in any living situation, including apartments. Getting a new dog (or any animal) can be really exciting but it can also be a bit stressful. It takes time for a dog to settle in with a new home and family and you might face some behavioral issues. Setting and keeping to a schedule can help establish a sense of normalcy and working with a trainer, animal behavioralist, and/or vet on behavior issues can also make a huge difference.


This list is by no means the ultimate end all, be all list of apartment dogs and can’t blindly determine if an individual dog will be good or bad in a small living space. Being left off this list doesn’t mean certain breeds can’t live in apartments, as many people have made things work with larger or more energetic breeds! The key, as with having a dog in any space, is finding the right balance and lifestyle for you and your dog. Plus, regular exercise, enrichment (like puzzle toys), and training can make a huge difference in life with a dog!

Have you ever had a dog in an apartment or do you currently live with one now? Let me know in the comments!

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