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The best dog breeds for apartment living

If you’re an apartment dweller and want to welcome a furry friend into your home, choosing the right breed for your lifestyle and living space is key to a happy, healthy companionship.

Apartment living means close quarters with neighbors, shared common spaces, elevator rides, and a lot of potential distractions, so it’s important to do your research about which dog breeds are the most suitable for this type of environment. Factors to consider include size, temperament, energy level, grooming requirements, and trainability. 

Here are the best small, medium, and large dog breeds for apartment living.

The best dog breeds for apartment living

Best small dogs for apartment living


Adult weight: 14-18 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate

Pugs are naturally well-suited to live in smaller spaces due to their compact size and moderate exercise requirements. While they still need daily walks and playtime, they’re pretty content to just relax and snuggle inside.

These adorable pups are very friendly, meaning they’re likely to get along with both human and pet neighbors in the building. Lastly, pugs are not typically loud barkers, which is something fellow residents of your community will appreciate.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Adult weight: 13-18 lbs

Temperament: Moderate

With their long, floppy ears and expressive eyes, Cavalier King Charles spaniels are not only cute, but they also make perfect apartment dogs. 

Their friendly disposition, even temperament, and gentle nature appeal to prospective pet parents looking for an adaptable canine companion. They require less exercise than your average dog and are likely satisfied with a short walk or quick play session. On top of that, Cavalier King Charles spaniels don’t shed a lot or require frequent grooming, so you can rest assured that your apartment will be easier to clean and keep hair-free.


Adult weight: 2-6 pounds

Energy level: High

The small size of a Chihuahua is what makes them so manageable when it comes to apartment living. Weighing as little as two pounds, these portable pups can go with you anywhere.

While Chihuahuas tend to have moderate to high energy levels, they don’t require a lot of exercise. A few short walks will give those little legs a pretty good workout. Their social nature also means they’re likely to enjoy meeting both human and pet neighbors in your complex.

Shih tzu

Adult weight: 9-16 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate

Shih tzus are affectionate, adaptable, and sociable dogs. They’re not a very vocal breed and have low exercise needs, so a snuggle session indoors is likely to appeal to them more than a demanding workout. 

While a shih tzu’s long, silky coat requires grooming maintenance, you won’t have to worry about excessive shedding. Regular brushing and grooming sessions can help keep their coat looking elegant, prevent tangles, and ensure your apartment won’t be covered in dog hair.

Yorkshire terrier

Adult weight: 4-7 lbs.

Energy level: High

Petite in size and bursting with personality, Yorkshire terriers, aka “Yorkies”, make for great apartment dogs. This lively and confident breed is friendly and adaptable. Although they have higher-than-average energy levels, they don’t need a ton of space to get the stimulation they require.

One thing to note: If you decide to live in an apartment building with a yorkie, consider investing in professional training, as these adorable pups are very prone to barking.


Adult weight: 7-13 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate

Intelligent and easy to please, Havanese make ideal apartment companions. They tend to be very quiet dogs and do well when confined to small spaces, as long as you provide enough enrichment. 

Havanese also have a very friendly personality, so if they’re properly socialized, they shouldn’t have a problem getting along with neighbors and pets in the community. 

Best medium dogs for apartment living

Portuguese water dog

Adult weight: 35-60 lbs.

Energy level: High

Portuguese water dogs are ideal for apartment dwellers because they’re smart, highly trainable, and get along well with other animals and people. 

They’ll need a lot of physical activity to stay happy and healthy, so long walks and frequent indoor play sessions should be a daily priority. When it’s time to settle down, they make perfect cuddle buddies with their soft, curly, and hypoallergenic coat. 

As you might guess from their name, Portuguese water dogs really love being in the water, so if you live near the ocean or a lake, your Portie will be extra happy!

Chow chow

Adult weight: 45-70 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate

If you’re the “always on-the-go” type pet parent, a chow chow could be a great companion. These pups can go hours without needing to go outside and are very content being a couch potato as long as you play with them when you’re home.

One thing to look out for is their thick coat. You’ll need to brush your chow multiple times a week and be extra diligent about protecting against fleas and ticks.

Basset hound

Adult weight: 40-65 lbs.

Energy level: Low

The basset hound is easily recognizable by their long droopy ears and sorrowful eyes. At home, they tend to be laid-back and enjoy lounging, but a more energetic side of their personality emerges when they step outside.

Thanks to their highly developed sense of smell, basset hounds have an urge to explore every scent they encounter, which can result in whining and leash-pulling. Living in an apartment with access to a nearby dog park or a fenced-in area is ideal so your pup has the freedom to follow their nose off-leash.

Keep in mind that basset hounds shed a lot, so if you don’t want to clean up dog hair, you might want to consider other breeds.


Adult weight: 35-45 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate to High

The alert and lively expression you see on a keeshond’s face is a true reflection of their nature. These dogs enjoy engaging with people and thrive on affection – in fact, they need it. This makes them an excellent option for a pet parent who works from home or has roommates who love dogs. 

While keeshonds do need regular exercise, they can adjust to varying levels of physical activity.

Brittany spaniel

Adult weight: 30-40 lbs.

Energy level: High

If you love to stay active and spend a lot of time outdoors, a Brittany spaniel could be your perfect companion. Brittanys have boundless energy and truly thrive when they’re outside, whether it’s going for long walks or jogging alongside their favorite human.

Bred initially for bird hunting, Brittanys are incredibly intelligent, making them easy to train. Plus, their short, wavy coat is low-maintenance, making grooming a breeze.

Silken windhound

Adult weight: 20-55 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate to High

Silken windhounds are happy to be friends with everyone and are always eager to please. They can easily adapt to any kind of home or living situation, regardless of how much space you have or how many people are around.

Keep in mind, if you’re hoping for a guard dog, they might not be the best choice. Instead of barking at strangers, silken windhounds are more likely to show their affection by showering them with kisses.

American and French bulldog

Adult weight: American bulldogs, 40-50 lbs.; French bulldogs, 16-28 lbs.

Energy level: Low to Moderate

American and French bulldogs make perfect pets for apartment living.

These friendly and laid-back pups are quiet and love lounging around. They’re perfectly okay with not needing a lot of exercise. In fact, too much activity can lead to breathing problems given their flat noses.

The main differences between owning American and French bulldogs are size and grooming requirements. American bulldogs are bigger and more solidly built, while French bulldogs are smaller and more agile. American bulldogs need more frequent brushing — around two to three times a week — while French bulldogs only need brushing about once a week.

Even though training bulldog breeds can be a bit challenging, once they learn a new command, they won’t forget it.

Best large dogs for apartment living


Adult weight: 120-230 lbs.

Energy level: Low to moderate

Mastiffs have a calm nature and easy going temperament, which is a big plus when introducing a pet to an apartment building. Speaking of big, because they’re heavy, it could be quite loud for the people living below you.

These loveable pups need long walks every day, but they’re perfectly fine lounging around the apartment the rest of the time. Consider getting a bed made for large dogs to make sure your mastiff is comfortable in your smaller living space.

Lastly, it’s important to talk about mastiffs’ tendency to drool a lot. You’ll need to be prepared to spend some time wiping drool off their face and your floors!

Bull mastiff

Adult weight: 100-130 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate

If the drooling problem is a deal breaker, a bull mastiff may be a better option. Originally bred from mastiffs and American bulldogs, not all bull mastiffs experience drooling issues. This is something you can find out from the breeder, shelter, or current owner.

Similar to mastiffs, bull mastiffs have a relaxed nature as long as they receive daily exercise. They will likely require firm obedience training and are prone to pulling when on leash. If you’re up for a little strength training on your daily walks, a bull mastiff could be your perfect large apartment dog.

Great Dane

Adult weight: 110-175 lbs.

Energy level: Moderate to High

Great Danes are known for being intelligent, affectionate companions and they love forming strong bonds with their owners. They won’t require a lot of rigorous obedience training because of their innate desire to please.

One thing to remember: Great Danes get really excited when you come home or have visitors, and their powerful tail can easily knock things over. Remember to keep fragile items safely out of reach!


Adult weight: 60-70 lbs.

Energy level: High

Greyhounds are incredibly calm, often spending hours sleeping at home. However, this tranquility can shift to stress and anxiety rather quickly. Since many greyhounds were bred for racing and lacked early socialization, they might become uneasy and fearful when outside or around visitors. This makes them a good fit for an owner who is patient and understanding.

A greyhound’s short coat makes them ideal apartment dogs because they don’t require a lot of grooming. With that said, if you live in a cold area, you’ll want to have a dog sweater or coat to keep them warm.

Afghan hound

Adult weight: 50-60 lbs.

Energy level: High

Afghan hounds need a lot of exercise, so you should only consider this breed if you love the outdoors and have access to a fenced-in, dog-friendly area. If they don’t get enough physical activity, they can become destructive, especially inside small spaces. With proper stimulation, though, a content Afghan hound will behave much like a greyhound, sleeping and lounging the day away.

Bred in Afghanistan, these dogs possess striking long hair that once shielded them from mountain winds. While this adds to their beauty, it also calls for frequent brushing. Without consistent grooming, their coat can become matted and require a painful and potentially expensive visit to a professional groomer.