Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
We’re reader-supported. When you click on our chosen products, we may receive a commission. Learn more.

The essentials

  • Breed isn’t the only important factor — The breed you choose is important, but so is the dog’s age, health, and unique personality. Every dog is different, just like every dog owner.
  • Your lifestyle is key — Great apartment dogs are comfortable in small spaces for long periods of time and don’t bark at every little noise. But the right dog for you depends on how much you’re home, your energy level, and your personality.
dog sitting on grass

Portuguese Water Dog, 📷 by Eli Christman

Portuguese water dog

Adult weight: 35-60 lbs.
Energy level: High

Portuguese water dogs make wonderful apartment dogs because of how intelligent and trainable they are. They get along well with other animals and are affectionate with humans too.

Energetic and full of personality, this breed is high energy and needs a fair amount of exercise in the form of regular, long walks, and indoor playtime. Their beautiful coat of curly hair is hypoallergenic and incredibly soft if snuggling is your thing.

As the name should tell you, Portuguese water dogs love the water. So, if you live near the ocean or a swimmable lake or pond, you could make some lucky Portie the happiest dog in the world. But even if you don’t live near water, she still might be the happiest dog in the world!

chow chow sitting

Chow Chow, 📷 by Marius Kristensen

Chow chow

Adult weight: 45-70 lbs.
Energy level: Moderate

Busy people take note. This stout creature can go for hours on end without needing a trip outside, making this breed a great choice for folks who spend less time at home. Like all dogs, she’ll need daily walks and might want to play when you’re home, but she can handle plenty of alone time as a couch potato.

Just like the Portuguese water dog, the chow chow is adored for its unique look, but that thick coat comes at a price. They need to be brushed at least a couple of times a week, and you’ll have to take extra precautions to guard against fleas and ticks.

dog sunning on deck

Basset Hound, 📷 by Don DeBold

Bassett hound

Adult weight: 40-65 lbs.
Energy level: Low

You probably know the bassett hound from its long ears and sad-looking eyes. At home, this is a mild-mannered breed who will lounge around for hours on end but expect a different animal when you go outside.

With their incredible sense of smell, Bassets will whine and pull on leashes unless you let them check out every single scent. Therefore, bassets will be happy in apartments with a nearby dog park or fenced-in area where they can be off-leash and follow their noses.

Bassets are also serious shedders, so look elsewhere if you hate the idea of sweeping up dog hairs. However, this problem can be kept under control with regular brushing.

dogs sitting

Keeshond, 📷 by Alexas_Fotos


Adult weight: 35-45 lbs.
Energy level: Moderate to High

That alert and energetic look on a keeshond’s face is no lie. They love to interact with people, and they love to be affectionate — in fact, they need it. For this reason, keeshonds are a great choice for someone who works from home a lot or has roommates who like playing with dogs. This breed will hang out with humans all day, the more, the better.

Keeshonds need exercise but can adapt to different amounts of it, and they love to be athletic. If you’re up for some frisbee in the park, chances are this breed can learn to catch and fetch.

dog sitting

Brittany, 📷 by Craige Moore


Adult weight: 30-40 lbs.
Energy level: High

Love the outdoors and love exercise? Brittanys are tireless creatures who need a lot of time outside, walking, or running alongside their favorite human.

Originally bred as a bird dog, Brittany’s are highly intelligent, easy to train, and almost always upbeat. They’re also known for their good health — as long as they get the exercise they need. Plus, their short, wavy coat is easy to care for.

Silken Windhound

Silken Windhound

Silken windhound

Adult weight: 20-55 lbs.
Energy level: Moderate to High

If friendliness is your top priority, the silken windhound is for you. They love just about everyone and are eager to please and easy to train. In fact, the silken windhound can adapt to any living situation. They’ll be happy hanging out with lots of people or very few, spending extra time outside or the bare minimum, and living in large or small apartments.

Such friendliness will make your silken windhound a big hit in the neighborhood but a total failure as a guard dog. Instead of barking at strangers, they’re more likely to smother them with kisses.

french bulldog

French Bulldog, 📷 by Alexandr Ivanov

American and French Bulldogs

Adult weight: American bulldogs, 40-50 lbs.; French bulldogs, 16-28 lbs.
Energy level: Low to Moderate

To some, American and French bulldogs are the ideal apartment dogs.

They’re quiet and lazy lapdogs when they’re indoors and just fine with low to moderate exercise. In fact, they can develop breathing problems if they overexert themselves. They’re also cute as heck – but in different ways. Stout and a bit taller and heavier, American bulldogs have a matter-of-fact look on their faces while French bulldogs are smaller with long ears that make them seem more curious.

Both breeds are great for people of all ages because they’re friendly and easygoing. Even though they can be difficult to train, they never forget a new command once they learn it.

The main distinction for owners of American and French bulldogs is that American bulldogs can require more intense grooming. They need to be brushed two-three times a week while French bulldogs only need to be brushed about once a week.

Tips for making the best possible choice

Before you talk to a breeder or visit a shelter, make a list of characteristics you’re looking for in a dog. You can also write down questions to ask. Try getting information about the dog’s parents and health history. In some cases, you may even be able to meet the parents, which will give you a sense of her personality.

If you’re at a shelter, find out about the dog’s previous living situation. You’ll want to know if the dog has been well-trained or if he or she has been mistreated.

Don’t forget to talk to your landlord or property management company

Even if your apartment building officially allows dogs, you still need to speak to the people in charge, and your lease may need to be revised. You can help your cause by creating a pet resume with a photo, obedience training certifications, and a list of vaccines. This can also be handled with a letter from a veterinarian.