12 Awesome Dog Breeds for Apartment Dwellers

Here’s a scenario many dog lovers are familiar with: You’re ready to become an owner for the first time, and after doing your research, you’ve got a few breeds picked out.

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Your mom would rather you hold off on your buying decision, but what does she know. You take a look around your cramped apartment, suddenly you’re worried she’s right and your lack of space won’t be in your prospective pup’s best interests.

Luckily, you’ve got options. A lot of breeds will be pretty content in a small space as long as they get regular exercise and some daily mental stimulation. Check out the 12 dog breeds below that will be as happy as fur-covered clams living in your rental adobe.

Best Dog Breeds For Your Tiny Apartment

1. English Bulldog

These lovable, occasionally stubborn four-legged tanks make great pets whether you live in a small apartment or a typical single-family home. They’re a medium-sized breed, but sometimes they can clock in at as much as 50 pounds. Still, bulldogs make great apartment pets because they’re calm, won’t disturb the neighbors with a lot of noise, and don’t need a huge amount of exercise (though they do need regular walks). In between jaunts, they’ll be more than happy to compete with you for who can make a deeper dent in the couch.

2. Bichon Frise

Nothing says cute like the white powder puff that is the Bichon Frise. Though they’re small dogs, they have a decent amount of energy. That means apartment-dwelling Bichon owners will need to commit to regular strolls around the neighborhood. But this breed adapts well to small spaces and won’t make much noise, keeping you in good standing with those living above and below you.

3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are some of the most happy-go-lucky pooches around. With their friendly nature, they’re almost guaranteed to charm whoever they meet in your building’s foyer. There’s no doubt that these small spaniels have energy, but if you can carve out time for daily exercise and want a lapdog that’ll really dish out the cuddles, you’ve found it.

4. Chihuahua

If your space is small—muy small—a Chihuahua might be your ticket to canine nirvana. Tiny in size but huge in personality, this breed needs only short potty breaks or quick trips to the park to stretch their legs. Beyond that, they’ll get most of their exercise scampering around your small space. While they’ve occasionally been cast as yappy, they’ll be perfect in your apartment building if they’re socialized properly and stimulated regularly with brain games.

5. French Bulldog

Known for their playful personalities and perky “bat” ears, the French Bulldog would love to wriggle its way into your rental unit. Frenchies don’t bark very often, which means neighbors won’t be complaining about excess noise. They’re small, need only a short daily walk, and, best of all, love cozying up to their two-legged roommates.

6. Greyhound

Among the best athletes in the animal kingdom, greyhounds might be a surprising choice for this list. While these pooches undoubtedly love to run, they’re also notorious lounge lizards. If you live in a small space, log a significant number of miles per week, and are looking for a furry running buddy, greyhounds may be perfect for your lifestyle. These graceful hounds can also be quite calm and gentle, making them ideal apartment residents.

7. Havanese

Looking for a happy, affectionate pup to keep you company in your apartment? Look no further. The Havanese has an excellent temperament; the breed is known for being lovable and friendly, so they’ll be poster-dogs for how to behave in a busy apartment complex. Havanese need regular walks, but it’s nothing an active city dweller can’t handle.

8. Maltese

With its luxurious white coat, the Maltese might call to mind some of the worst stereotypes of the Toy Group: spoiled, insolent, unapproachable. But these long-haired beauties are nothing of the sort. They’re incredibly sociable, which will help with making friends—human and canine—in your building. The breed can also be excellent athletes, so make sure to walk them and stimulate their bright minds regularly.

9. Pomeranian

Though these big bundles of fluff may need more coat maintenance than other breeds, Pomeranians will make up for it with their alert, sprightly dispositions. They also have low exercise requirements, as they don’t long walks or hours of fetch at your neighborhood’s nearby park. Just make sure they stay mentally stimulated when they’re at home, and you’ll be one happy Pom owner.

10. Pug

Pugs have one of the most recognizable mugs of any dog, and people the world over will attest that it’s not one only a mother could love. Families, couples, singles, whatever—they all cherish this breed’s affectionate, lovable temperaments. Pugs are an easy-going type of dog—they’re great for city apartments and rural homesteads alike. Plus, they don’t need much exercise. They’ll be in doggie heaven following you around your place and then squirming into just the right position in your lap.

11. Shih Tzu

As a born and bred house pet, Shih Tzus don’t need much exercise—just a short walk a day or some quality park time should do the trick. Once back at home, they’ll be much happier cuddling with you on the couch. Shih Tzus are a bonafide member of the Toy Group, which means they’re small—usually 9 to 16 pounds, perfect for romping around small spaces. But they have less intensity than some other Toy breeds are said to have, so they’ll be cool, calm, and collected when navigating your rental residence’s common areas.

12. Yorkshire Terrier

When someone mentions a Yorkshire Terrier, you’re likely to imagine a classic picture: feisty eyes, black and tan coat, red bow adorning its head—and, of course, its miniature size. These tiny canines are cheerful balls of energy that will devote themselves completely to their owners. If socialized early and taken out for regular walks, they should adapt smoothly to apartment living. Though some consider Yorkies prone to barking, they’ll respond well to training on when being vocal is fine and when it’s better to pipe down.

Remember that while a dog’s size does sometimes play a role in determining whether it’ll thrive in your apartment, other factors matter: Does it get along easily with people and other dogs? Does it bark a lot? Does it need a significant amount of exercise—more than a couple quick walks around the block every day? If you take these things into consideration when picking out a pet, you’ll ensure your new dog feels at home in your temporary (but welcoming) space.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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