City Life

The Best and Worst Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

By On

So you’ve decided that you’re ready to add a furry family member- congrats! Having a dog is a big (but fun) responsibility, especially if you live in an apartment in the heart of a city. Making sure your dog is compatible with your lifestyle is key to finding the right dog for you. While all dogs are unique, here are a few popular dog breeds that tend to work well in apartments (and a few that don’t):

The Best Dogs for Apartments


This one might seem surprising, as greyhounds are famously huge. But despite their size, these cuddly breeds are lazy, so they just need one good walk every day to wear them out. They’re also quiet and shed very little, making them a perfect dog for someone who wants a big pet, but lives in a small space.


Whether American or French, these dogs are low-energy snugglers. While they do slobber, they don’t shed in large batches like labradors or other large dogs do. They also have a nice range in size (French Bulldogs can be quite tiny, whereas American Bulldogs can be heartily medium-sized), so you can find one that fits your preference.


Not only are these sweeties adorable to come home to, they’re also perfect for less active apartment dwellers. Their short legs mean that even one long walk a day is a big adventure for them, and their popularity means they’ll get stopped by everyone when they go outside. If you still need convincing, just look at that face!


Much like Dachshunds, Pugs are known for their sweet dispositions and low energy. These lovers tend to huff and puff just getting up the front steps to your apartment, so they won’t be needing long runs through the park every day. However, they can grow very attached to their owners, so they’re best suited for someone who spends a lot of time at home or can bring them to their work.


Though they’re not very popular in the U.S., Basenjis are great dogs for apartment dwellers looking for a small, low-maintenance dog. They don’t shed, rarely grow taller than 18”, and are the only dog that doesn’t bark. However, they do require a fair amount of exercise and lots of toys to quell their complex mind, so they’re better for more active and athletic owners.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

While their fanciful name may make it sound like they prefer a palace, these small and loving dogs make for excellent apartment pups. Unlike many small dog breeds, they don’t bark often, and tend to be more subdued. They will stick close to you while you’re home, but they don’t need much space – in fact, they’re one of few breeds that prefers to be inside next to you than outside roaming free.

Shih Tzus

It’s not very surprising that these tiny, snuggly dogs are perfect for apartments. They don’t require much maintenance or feeding, and due to their tiny nature, they’re best left indoors, where they’re not susceptible to extreme temperature changes. But while they’re not overtly energetic, they will bark at strangers in your building, so make sure your neighbors get to know the dogs well.

Boston Terriers

These “American Gentleman” have all the ruggedness and energy of a large dog with all the perks of a small one. They’re not a lap dog, but they’ll stick by your side day in and day out. It’s worth noting that Boston Terriers are very individualistic, so make sure to observe the individual pup you’re considering before opting for any boston terrier.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis

The queen may have a castle for her corgis, but most are content in your apartment. Corgis are watchful dogs, so they do well in an apartment with windows where they can watch the street outside. Their best situation is an owner who can take them on long walks and lives near a dog park, but they still work in small apartments due to their small size and cuddly nature. Keep a few enrichment toys around while you’re at work and your corgi will be plenty happy in your apartment.

The Worst Dogs for Apartments

Cattle Dogs & Border Collies

These beautiful, energetic dogs are built for living on farms and herding animals, which makes them a poor fit for your tiny apartment. They need wide open spaces and the ability to roam free, so even though they’re not very large, they aren’t well suited for a small apartment home.


Don’t let their sweet eyes suck you in – beagles are famously loud, barking dogs who don’t do well with neighbors. They were originally bred for hunting, so these pups have a tendency to sniff out any food you might leave out (and if they can sniff it, they will find it and eat it). They do best in a home with a fenced-in yard where they can chase down squirrels – not in a tiny townhome.

Chihuahuas & Yorkshire Terriers

Their small size makes them sound like great apartment dwellers, but don’t be fooled: these energetic, loud pups are best suited in homes without nearby neighbors. They bark at all hours of the day or night, have remarkable energy considering their small size, and sometimes have aggressive, territorial attitudes that can lead to conflict with other dogs.

German Shepherds

Just by looking at German Shepherds, you should realize why they’re not well-suited for apartments: they’re huge! They’re also high energy, requiring frequent attention and lots of activity. In case that wasn’t enough reasons to keep them out of a small apartment, german shepherds are naturally territorial, and though they’re not vicious, they don’t understand that the entire building isn’t their territory.


Photo by Patrice Alsteen

Like German Shepherds, these sweet companion dogs are big and energetic, requiring constant attention and activity. They’re also clumsy, often prone to knocking over everything from lamps to dishes to anything breakable. Keep in mind that they’re also very curious, so they may be jumping at the door every time a neighbor goes by.

Huskies & Malamutes

Would you ever try to raise a wolf in an apartment? Nope. So you probably shouldn’t try to raise a husky or malamute in one, either. Both these breeds are closely related to wolves, and as such, are high energy, extremely loyal to their pack, very large, and shed thick hair everywhere. In short: they are meant for anything BUT an apartment.

Need to bring home a new, dog-friendly couch? Or maybe there’s some non-pet-friendly furniture you want to sell, stat? Book a Dolly for any prep that needs a truck and some muscle.

Related Posts