Best Apartment Dogs: Top Dog Breeds for Compact Apartment Living

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A woman on a couch with her dog in an apartment

Does your apartment feel empty? Like it's missing something...furry? When you think of apartment dogs, you might picture small breeds like Chihuahuas and Yorkies. But the truth is, there are many medium and large breeds that thrive in apartments, too. With the right preparation and lifestyle, you can give any dog a happy home in your apartment. 

If you’re thinking of adopting a dog and live in an apartment, there are some considerations for finding the best apartment dog. Generally speaking, you should choose a dog breed that’s friendly in temperament and does well around other pets. The best apartment dogs are ones that can handle the social dynamic necessary for apartment life.  

Apartment complexes can be busy places, and your dog will likely encounter several other canines on your daily walks. Multi-family housing can be noisy, so it’s also important that your dog be comfortable with the sound of other people’s voices, doors closing, cars parking, etc. Additionally, apartment units are smaller than houses, which means big dogs with lots of energy are normally out of the question. Despite these restrictions, there are still many breeds which respond well to living in apartment units. 

Which Breeds Make the Best Apartment Dogs? 

Good apartment dogs are already equipped (or can be equipped) with certain skills and needs. While personalities can certainly differ in dogs of the same breed, breeds tend to share the same general temperament and energy levels. For instance, border collies need tons of exercise, as they were bred for working livestock. A border collie confined to a tiny apartment without a yard could become destructive due to boredom and pent-up energy. 

The best apartment dogs are not only perfectly content with moderate exercise, but they’re also people and dog lovers. A canine that isn’t friendly won’t be happy to run into others when you’re taking them for a stroll around your apartment. This can cause headaches in the long run and could even result in the apartment owner terminating your lease if your dog is deemed aggressive. 

Apartment Dogs That Are Good with Children 

When choosing a dog breed, it is important to consider how the dog will interact with both adults and children. Some breeds are more likely to get along with children than others. Apartment complexes are often full of small kids who aren’t old enough to understand how to approach dogs. 

In the blink of an eye, a toddler may pull a dog’s tail or get too close to his face. Some dogs may see these actions as signs of aggression and may react accordingly with a bark, nip, or full-on bite. Fortunately, there are many dog breeds that are known for their easy-going nature, especially around little ones. 

American Eskimo Dog 

The American Eskimo dog is a family-friendly breed that’s just the right size for children, whether they’re your kids or your neighbor’s. American Eskimo dogs exist in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. The smallest ones weigh just a couple of pounds, but the largest can grow up to 40 pounds. Their all-white fur coat makes them distinctive in appearance, but they’re just as notable for their quick-thinking minds. 

Intelligent dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. If they don't get enough mental stimulation, they can become bored and destructive. There are many ways to keep intelligent dogs busy in an apartment, such as providing them with puzzle toys and interactive games, training them new tricks, or teaching them a sport. 

Keep in mind that these dogs like to stay active. This shouldn’t be a problem if your home is shared by children who are always on the go! Children who are old enough to walk your American Eskimo dog can help them get plenty of exercise around the neighborhood. 

Shih Tzu 

The Shih Tzu is another dog breed that’s known for being comfortable around kids. This is good, considering their adorable size makes them a target for constant attention from others. These dogs are typically fine in homes that have other dogs or cats. Canine and feline companions can help keep your Shih Tzu entertained and their energy at bay, although they’re not known for needing excessive amounts of playtime. 

Widely known for their expressive large eyes and beautiful long fur, Shih Tzus are unusually friendly and adaptable when it comes to the world around them. These dogs are just as ready for an adventure with their owners as they are for a quiet evening snuggling on the couch, making them some of the best apartment dogs around. 

Apartment Dogs That Are Compatible with Other Pets 

Dogs are known for living in packs in the wild, but some pups enjoy being part of the pack more than others. For example, the Chihuahua is one breed that often doesn’t do well around other dogs for a variety of reasons. 

When selecting a dog to bring home to your apartment, spend some time researching breeds that love being in the company of other canines. This knack for socializing will come in handy on your daily walks. 


The Affenpinscher is sometimes called its English name, the Monkey Terrier, but it’s known for having more than just a cute face. Affenpinschers are also beloved for the relationships they build with other pets in the home. If your apartment complex has other Affenpinschers, that’s a plus because they gravitate toward their own breed. 

These dogs have plenty of personality and energy, so their animal friends will need similar dispositions. Smaller dogs such as these have a reputation for being yappy, and Affenpinschers are no exception. As with any other dog, ensuring plenty of mental stimulation through games, walks, and toys can reduce their barking in an apartment complex. Excessive barking can be deemed a nuisance, but it also signals your pet is unhappy. 

French Bulldog 

The French Bulldog is unmistakable thanks to its wrinkly face and small, round ears. When you’re searching for good dogs for apartments, don’t overlook this long-time favorite. French Bulldogs are prized for making great family dogs and being low-key with other animals. They’re typically just as at ease with their owners as they are at an apartment get-together like a barbecue. 

Another reason French Bulldogs make idea apartment pets is their low energy needs. While any dog needs to be walked and played with, French Bulldogs won’t go berserk if they don’t get to run around for hours on end. Another perk of the Frenchie is that their short hair doesn’t require much grooming, so you don’t have to worry about finding fur all over your small apartment. 

Keep in mind that French Bulldogs have been bred to such an extent that they’re almost guaranteed to have a range of health conditions. This is because breeders have focused on selecting for certain physical characteristics, such as a short snout, large eyes, and bat-like ears, at the expense of the dog's overall health. Adopting your Frenchie from a shelter is a great way to give a dog a loving home and reduce the demand for unscrupulous breeders. If you choose to go with a breeder, be sure to find a reputable breeder who screens their dogs for health problems. 

Apartment Dogs with Sweet Temperaments 

When you’re taking your new pup for some fresh air around the apartment complex, you can be sure that you’re going to get stopped several times by your neighbors. They may want to chat with you, compliment your dog, or even ask to pet him or her. 

No matter what type of interaction comes up, you’ll want a dog that doesn’t instantly start guarding you. Apartment dogs with sweet temperaments can make your daily walks less of a hassle. This means they’ll have more chances to socialize and make friends they can greet each day in passing. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are another example of good dogs for apartments because they love being around people. They form attachments with their owners and are affectionate with them. These sociable pups are also ideal companions because they’re adaptable when it comes to change. If your family dynamic changes in the future (ex., a baby arrives), these dogs will often go with the flow. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels need plenty of exercise. Because they’re social, you’ll want to schedule canine play dates with your neighbors who have dogs. At first glance, the breed may appear to be high-maintenance due to their long coat, but they only need weekly brushing in most instances. 

Toy Fox Terrier 

The Toy Fox Terrier is a breed of dog that is as loving as it is active. Dogs of this breed love protecting their families and will remain loyal to their owners, making them wonderful pets. They’re small but spunky and need lots of exercise, which is ideal for pet owners with an active lifestyle. 

They have endless energy and, like any other dog, may chew on objects when they’re bored or have bottled-up energy. Fortunately, toy fox terriers don’t usually grow larger than eleven inches tall, which means they’ll feel right at home in small quarters such as apartments. Be patient with this breed because they may need a little extra time when it comes to house training. Professional training can help if necessary. 


When you think of cute and sweet canines, you might picture a Havanese. These dogs have personalities that match their outward appearance. Havanese dogs have elegant fur that’s long and slightly wavy. This glamorous appearance reflects their love of attention and affection. 

This beautiful coat of fur comes with a price, however, as you’ll need to be prepared to have your dog groomed regularly. You can expect to pay a visit to the groomers each month to keep their coat healthy and tangle-free. While Havanese aren’t usually considered high-energy dogs, they do need exercise. Luckily, apartments typically offer plenty of space indoors for these little guys. 

Apartment Dogs with Low Energy 

Another trait the best apartment dogs exhibit is having manageable energy levels. While pet owners with freestanding homes and large yards have the option of letting their dogs roam several acres, you don’t have that luxury when you live in an apartment. 

A woman and a pug, a good low energy apartment dog, resting on a white couch.

Finding a dog breed with low energy levels is a smart idea because your dog will be more likely to be content in a smaller space. They don't need as much exercise and are less likely to get bored, which can lead to destructive behavior. 

Bichon Frise 

Many people argue that the Bichon Frise makes the best apartment dog. Their adaptable energy levels are perfect for pet owners who live in apartment complexes. This tiny breed is content to run around in compact spaces and won’t feel claustrophobic in a small unit. 

Another perk of owning a Bichon Frise is that they are hypoallergenic, making them healthy choices for people who are allergic to the dander that can accumulate in apartments. Keep in mind that their fluffy white coats will need constant grooming, however. On a positive note, these dogs are friendly and sociable, so they’ll be happy to be groomed and to get attention from everyone around them. 


When you look at a pug, they don’t exactly exude energy. The typical pug is somewhat chubby with a face full of wrinkles and a very curly tail. Their tiny, flat faces are cute and sweet, traits which match their friendly personalities. 

While pugs may be low energy, it’s still important that they get adequate exercise. Their fitness activities can be as simple as taking them on walks around the apartment building. Because pugs have been bred to exhibit certain traits such as snub noses, they’re more likely to develop certain health issues, including breathing problems. 

Large Apartment Dogs  

When choosing a medium to large sized dog for apartment living, there are many factors to consider. Some of the most important factors include the dog's energy level, temperament, exercise needs, size, trainability, and grooming needs. 


When you think of the best dogs for apartments, you probably don’t immediately envision a greyhound. These large, thin dogs are somewhat of a paradox. Despite their tall frames, they have surprisingly low energy needs, which makes them a good fit for owners who live in apartments. 

While they may not be as high-energy as certain other breeds, greyhounds still need to be exercised frequently. They may fit well into an apartment complex located near a dog park where they can easily get their daily exercise requirements. Keep in mind that some greyhounds may need extra socialization to interact well with other dogs. Socializing greyhounds when they’re young can help them get more comfortable around other canines. 


Whippets are a great breed for apartment living because they are relatively low-energy, quiet, gentle, and clean dogs. They are sprinters, not marathoners, so they need a good burst of exercise each day, but they are content to relax and lounge around the rest of the time. This makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments and don't have a lot of time to take their dog for long walks or runs. 

Whippets are also very quiet dogs. They don't bark excessively, and they are generally very well-behaved. This makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments and need to be mindful of their neighbors. They’re also very gentle dogs that are good with children and other pets and are generally very easy to train. This makes them a good choice for people of all ages and lifestyles. Whippets are very clean dogs. They don't have a strong odor, and they shed very little. This makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments and need to keep their living space clean and tidy. 

Basset Hounds 

Basset hounds are known for being laid-back and mellow dogs. They don't need as much exercise as some other breeds, and they are generally content to relax and lounge around the house. This makes them a good choice for people who live in apartments and don't have a lot of time to take their dog for long walks or runs. 

A basset hound, who make great apartment dogs, resting on a blue chair

Basset hounds are very gentle dogs, and this makes them a great choice for apartment living. They are known for being patient and tolerant, even with young children and other pets. This is important for apartment dwellers, who may have to live in close quarters with their neighbors. 

Tips for Apartment Living with Dogs 

Even the best dog breeds for apartments need extra support. All dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, even ones that are low energy. Get into the routine of taking your dog on at least one long walk a day to keep obesity at bay. So-called “brain toys” are great for taking care of your dog’s mind. These toys often come in the form of puzzles they must solve to get treats. 

Keeping your dog physically and mentally fit can cut down on unwanted behaviors such as barking and chewing. Due to the nature of apartment living, it’s essential that your dog’s barking is kept to a minimum out of consideration for your neighbors. 

Spend time helping your dog socialize with your neighbors and their pets. If your pup knows who’s living next door, they’ll be less likely to view them as a threat. Consider scheduling playdates with your neighbors’ dogs so they can all get to know each other. 

Because apartments are generally small, you can expect to spend extra time and money on cleaning and grooming. If your dog’s breed is one that sheds, you’ll likely find yourself vacuuming and sweeping frequently. Regular grooming can cut down on fur and dander. 

Finally, make sure to get pet insurance for your dog. Embrace offers dog insurance which is a convenient way to budget for your pet’s medical expenses. With a good insurance policy, you’ll never have to decide whether or not you can afford life-saving treatments for your beloved pet. 

Compare pet insurance plans to find the policy that’s the best fit for you and your pup. Your dog may qualify for a plan even if they have current health issues. Insurance for pets with pre-existing conditions can cut down on medical costs and help you feel more financially secure. 

You Have a Ton of Options for Good Apartment Dogs 

The best dogs for apartment living are a diverse bunch, but they all have one thing in common: they're great companions. Whether you're looking for a low-maintenance cuddle buddy or an energetic playmate, there's a perfect apartment dog out there for you. And who knows? Maybe getting a dog is just the thing you need to finally break out of your shell and start making new friends in your apartment building. After all, what better way to start a conversation than with a furry friend by your side?  

So what are you waiting for? Go out and get yourself an apartment dog today! You won't regret it.