Many of us think of small breeds when we think of good apartment dogs but size is not the only consideration. In fact, many small dogs are not suited to apartment living because they are noisy, dog or human aggressive, or extremely high energy.
So what characteristics make a good apartment dog?
- Quiet breeds – When there is only a wall between you and your neighbors, quiet is the number one consideration. Many breeds fall under the criteria of ‘yappy’ and although many large breeds are not overt barkers, larger lungs mean a bigger bark. Be careful choosing a breed that is known to be quiet.
- Human Passive breeds – Breeds that have a guarding behavior are frowned upon in apartments as well. Apartment living means you and your dog come into contact with more people then people who live in self-contained housing. A guard dog will be inclined to protect you in the elevator, parking garage, and hallways – not always a good idea when you must interact with your neighbors in a friendly way.
- Dog Passive breeds – Dog aggressive breeds are also a problem in apartments. It is one thing to live in a house with a dog that does not like other dogs, but what about sharing the elevator with your dog aggressive Shar-pei and a yappy Bichon?
- Low energy breeds – High-energy breeds tend to be more destructive, suffer from separation anxiety, and prone to nuisance barking.
Breeds that make Good Apartment Dogs
Affenpinscher – A small, quiet, low exercise breed that is known for its reserved but friendly behavior around strangers.
Australian Terrier – A small, friendly, high-energy ‘ratter’ who, with proper exercise, makes an ideal apartment dwelling dog.
Bedlington Terrier – This sweet, gentle, medium height terrier prefers a quiet, calm household making it a perfect dog for an apartment.
Bloodhound – Although big, the Bloodhound is a ‘gentle giant’ among dogs. Calm, bordering on lazy, the Bloodhound is a great apartment dog with moderate exercise.
Boston Terrier – Happy, friendly, and generally quiet, the Boston Terrier is a ideal apartment dog with an outgoing, but not overwhelming, personality.
Borzoi – Another big breed, this Russian sighthound is a quiet, calm house dog with proper exercise.
Boxer – Friendly and outgoing, with enough exercise the Boxer can be an ideal apartment dog.
Cairn Terrier – The Cairn is generally a happy go lucky, sweet breed if exposed to other dogs, strangers and children at a young age.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – One of the gentlest of all breeds, the Cav is easily in the top five of good apartment dogs.
Clumber Spaniel – Laid-back with an easy-going, content demeanor, the Clumber is the gentlemen hunter’s dog.
Chinese Crested – The Chinese Crested is a friendly, happy dog that loves everyone and everything.
Coton de Tulear – Another of our top five apartment dwelling breeds, the Coton de Tulear is a easy going, friendly small dog that barks far less then similar breeds.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier – Dandie Dinmonts are family dogs that love playing with their children. Good with other dogs and strangers, Dandie’s make great apartment dogs as long as they are well exercised.
English Bulldog – Funny, loving and couch potatoes, Bulldogs are again in the top five apartment living breeds!
English Cocker Spaniel – Better behaved then the American version, the English Cocker Spaniel is a small, fine boned Spaniel with a friendly demeanor. They do require two walks a day.
Flat Coated Retriever – High energy but easily contained, the Flat Coated Retriever is a stately and friendly dog that thrives in apartments as long as he receives enough exercise.
French Bulldog – Another clown of the canine world, the French bulldog is quiet, calm and outgoing.
Greyhound – Like the Borzoi, the Greyhound is a calm, quiet, respectful apartment dog if well-exercised and allowed to stretch those long, sighthound legs regularly.
Havanese – The Havanese loves everyone and relatively quiet making them one of the best apartment dogs.
Italian Greyhound – Small, delicate and quiet, the Italian Greyhound thrives in an apartment.
Japanese Chin – Playful, affectionate and calm, the small Japanese Chin is happy living anywhere as long as he is with his people.
Keeshond – With ample exercise, this happy and affectionate breed can make an ideal apartment dog.
Lhasa Apso – Lhasas are one of the best apartment dogs. They are quiet, calm and yet fun and affectionate with their people.
Maltese – Although they can be a little yappy, the tiny Maltese is a great apartment dog that is wary of strangers but loves their family.
Miniature Bull Terrier – Strong as nails but one of the friendliest and funniest of the canine community. A great apartment dog that loves everyone but strong enough looking that ‘bad guys’ tend to avoid them. Great combination of happy house dog and intimidating protection.
Miniature Dachshund – Small, happy, easy to train, the Miniature Dachshund is a good apartment dog as long as trained early not to bark.
Miniature Poodle – Smart, happy, energetic, the non-shedding Miniature Poodle is a perfect choice for the moderately active apartment dweller.
Norwich Terrier – With enough exercise, the Norwich Terrier is a happy, quiet, friendly dog that is ideally suited to living in an apartment.
Papillon – Although caution must be taken around children or other dogs because of their fine bones, the happy, quiet and loving Papillon is almost the perfect apartment dog.
Pekingese – Smart and sturdy, the Pekingese is a great apartment dog although they do not tend to like children so care must be taken.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV) – The PBGV is a happy, entertaining breed that works well in apartments as long as they receive a moderate amount of exercise.
Pug – Another one of the canine clowns, the Pug is a happy, quiet and fun apartment companion.
Scottish Deerhound – Although they look like a high-energy breed, the Scottish Deerhound is a couch potatoe by nature. Peaceful and calm, Deerhounds make a great apartment dog as long as they are exercised regularly.
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier – The gentlest of the terrier breeds, the Wheaten Terrier is a high-energy but friendly and well-mannered apartment dog.
Tibetan Spaniel – Stubborn but affectionate and friendly to strangers, the Tibetan Spaniel is a good apartment dog that does not require a lot of exercise.
Tibetan Terrier – with enough exercise, the Tibetan Terrier is a good apartment dog with a friendly, outgoing demeanor.
Toy Fox Terrier – Affectionate and entertaining, the tiny Toy Fox Terrier makes an ideal apartment dog.
Toy Poodle – See Miniature Poodle.
Whippet – Elegant but playful, the Whippet is reserved but friendly with strangers and can be considered lazy if given enough exercise.
Yorkshire Terrier or ‘Yorkie’ – Great apartment dog if you control the barking from the very beginning. Affectionate with his people, the Yorkie is one of the best of apartment dogs.
Breeds that can make Good Apartment Dogs with Training
Bichon Frise – Bichon are generally happy, friendly dogs but they can be dog aggressive if owners are not careful. Watch for early signs of aggression.
Chihuahua – These dogs can be both people and dog aggressive as well as noisy. Early training is required for them to make good apartment dogs.
Dachshund – Dachshunds are a lot of dog in a small, innocent looking package. Watch for aggression.
Miniature Schnauzer – Much like Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers can be dog and/or people aggressive. Early training is required.
Pomeranian – A happy, fun breed, Pomeranians can be yappy. Early training is required for them to be great apartment dogs.
Shetland Sheepdog or ‘Sheltie’ – Much like Pomeranians, Shelties can be barky. Early training is required to keep them quiet but otherwise they are ideally suited to apartment living.
Shih Tzu – Shih Tzu are generally great apartment dogs but watch for aggression to strangers and other dogs.
Smooth Fox Terrier – A hunting dog by nature, Fox Terriers can be great apartment dogs with enough exercise and early training to keep barking to a minimum.
West Highland Terrier or ‘Westie’ – Westies can be almost perfect apartment dogs but early training is required to keep them from being noisy and care must be taken around other dogs and children.
There are always exceptions to the rules and many breeds not listed here can make excellent apartment dogs. Research breeders well and ask to see both parents to ensure they have a suitable temperament for living in an apartment building. Early training class and puppy kindergarten are essential as is regular and consistent exercise. Lastly, always inform your building manager about your intentions and make sure that your pet complies with apartment rules.
Just because you live in an apartment does not mean you should do without the comfort and companionship of a four-legged best friend.