21 Best Apartment Dogs: Hearts to Fit Any Size Space

From petite pups to magnificent giants, there's a perfect apartment-friendly dog breed for every size of living space.

Updated October 31, 2023
woman with her dog

Whether you're a fan of pint-sized pups, mid-sized marvels, or large and lovable hounds, there's an ideal apartment dog for everyone. But remember, not every breed suits every lifestyle, and many landlords have specific restrictions. Make sure your furry friend's personality, exercise needs, and your living situation align for a harmonious coexistence in your cozy abode.

Apartment Dogs at a Glance

Apartment dogs need to be relatively quiet, calm, and ok with low-to-moderate exercise. Lucky for you, dogs of varying sizes check all these boxes. 

Small Breeds Medium Breeds Large Breeds
Pomeranian Bulldog Greyhound
Shiba Inu Whippet Newfoundland
Japanese Chin Cocker Spaniel Great Dane
Shih Tzu French Bulldog French Mastiff
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Keeshond Afghan Hound
Pekingese Basset Hound
Pug Shar Pei
Italian Greyhound
Quick Tip

Small breed dogs have smaller bladders, which means they'll need to urinate more often than a big dog. Consider litter box training your dog (yes, you heard us right!) to cut down on outdoor potty breaks. This is especially helpful if you live on a higher floor. 

Small and Toy-Breed Apartment Dogs

Many small dog breeds are well-suited for small apartments. Most of these dogs are light enough to carry but can also easily manage stairs. This can be especially helpful in buildings without elevators or when your pup gets older. Remember, while these dogs are small, regular exercise and socialization are just as important for these pint-sized pooches as any other.


Pomeranian Pup in Autumn

Pomeranians are fluffy little dogs that do well in smaller homes. They become incredibly close with their owners and love nothing more than cuddling up on the couch for a night in. 

Poms have a playful side and will need attention and engagement to keep them busy. Because they're so intelligent, training and possibly even agility are fantastic activities for this breed. 

Shiba Inu

Japanese pet shiba inu

Shiba Inus are independent dogs, making them suitable candidates for apartment life because they can spend time alone.

Shibas require more exercise than many other small breeds and can become bored and destructive if not given the chance to burn off energy. You may also consider some simple boredom busters to keep your dog occupied.

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin puppy sitting in a flower garden

Japanese chins make lovely companions and can be thrilled living in an apartment. They are very intelligent and friendly, but they're reserved around strangers and don't bark excessively.

These dogs need moderate exercise, so plan to take them out for walks several times a week. They need to go outside to relieve themselves several times, but can easily handle stairs independently.

Shih Tzu

Two Maltese Shih Tzu

The shih tzu breed does very well in apartments. They bark a little, but not excessively. Shih tzus are playful but also have a calm nature and are happiest when they can cuddle up to their human companions.

This toy breed needs a walk around the block at least once a day and will need several trips outside to relieve themselves.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and family

Lovely little cavaliers are well-suited for apartment life. They are alert, but they're not excessively noisy unless someone comes knocking on your door.

Cavelier King Charles spaniels don’t take up a lot of space, but they do best with moderate exercise to help burn off excess energy.


Young Pekingese Sitting On Floor

Pekingese make an excellent apartment dog, especially if your home is tiny. They get plenty of exercise just walking around the apartment!  They do enjoy going out for a longer walk a couple of times a week for some fresh air and mental stimulation. Keep in mind that their small size will mean frequent potty breaks throughout the day, unless you consider a doggy litter box.

As for barking, these dogs are quiet and relatively calm. Pekes are prone to heatstroke, so make sure your apartment has air conditioning for those hot summer months.


Pug running

Pugs can do very well in an apartment setting. They're only moderately yappy, and mostly when greeting you as soon as you get home. Pugs are fairly energetic, but shouldn’t exercise too rigorously because of their short snout. These cute, flat faces mean they’re more prone to heatstroke. 

A pug needs about three to four trips outside daily to relieve themselves, but they can easily walk up and down the stairs.


Sleepy chihuahua dog

The tiny Chihuahua is the perfect size for apartment living, and can get sufficient exercise just by running around indoors and on a daily walk.

Chihuahuas are more vocal than many other breeds and are known for having a large-dog personality. Their teeny bladders can also pose a challenge for owners who work long hours — Chihuahuas usually need to go out about every hour.

Fast Fact

Are there dogs that don't bark at all? No! However, there are dog breeds who rarely bark and might be a good choice for an apartment. 

Italian Greyhound

Little white Italian Greyhound sitting among green bushes

Italian greyhounds are great in apartments! Often called "Velcro dogs" because they become so attached to their chosen people, these guys would much rather curl on your lap than run a marathon. They also enjoy the quiet, and are less likely to be yappy. Sometimes called the mini-greyhound, this dog has a small frame and is very delicate, which means they're not the best choice with young or exuberant children. 

Need to Know

Keep in mind that a lot of apartments and condos do have size restrictions, so it might be harder for you to find a future rental if you have a dog over 25 lbs.

Best Medium-Sized Apartment Dogs

Many medium-sized dogs are gentle family pets and content with just short bursts of exercise. Bonus, their larger size also means fewer potty breaks! Check out whether any of these pups check all the boxes for you.


Bulldog sitting on chair.

The bulldog is known to be good-natured and a loveable companion. This dog snorts rather than barks when it needs to communicate! Neighbors may fall in love with this dog, so if you're looking for a breed to help you meet new friends, the bulldog might be a great match. Keep in mind, it's important to keep weight off bulldogs, which involves regular exercise. Most bulldogs do best with three or four walks a day.


Whippet Dog

The whippet is a sensitive breed that behaves well in the house and is gentle with children. With that in mind, this dog is the ultimate runner. Pet lovers looking for dogs to hike and run with will have the motivation they need as this breed will need regular exercise.

Cocker Spaniel

Golden cocker spaniel stairs into the camera

The easy-going cocker spaniel is a superb choice for apartment living because of their size and personality. Even though they’re sturdy enough to enjoy outdoor adventures, this breed loves being an indoor dog. Cockers are affectionate, curious, and love to cuddle with their humans. Their luscious locks require maintenance, and these dogs are shedders, so plan to invest in some grooming equipment (or take them to a groomer) and a heavy-duty pet vacuum to keep your apartment free of fur.  

French Bulldog

Fawn French Bulldog

French bulldogs are one of the most popular breeds to own, and you’ll be happy to know they do well in smaller homes. This breed is the epitome of a couch potato, but daily walks are a must to keep them at a healthy weight. Even though they’re incredibly loyal and playful, Frenchies have a stubborn streak, which can make training difficult.

Know that these special dogs are prone to several health problems, so make sure you’re ready for the financial commitment that can come along with them.


Happy Keeshond

Keeshonden (yes, that’s the plural form of Keeshond!) were originally bred to be companion dogs, so they have “best friend” in their blood. What makes these fluffy dogs a superb choice for an apartment is their adaptability. They can do well in different settings and are pretty adaptable. They were also watchdogs originally, so you can expect your Keeshond to give a warning bark whenever someone comes to your door.

Keesdhonden need a moderate amount of exercise, so you’ll have to commit to taking them out for a few good walks a day.

Basset Hound

Basset Hound puppy dog sits on couch at home with cute expression

The low and slow basset hound is a great fit for apartments because of their easy-going nature. These dogs are great family pets that get along well with everyone, including children. Daily exercise is a must have to keep them from putting on too much weight, which is dangerous for their joints. Their long bodies are better-suited for elevators over stairs.

Unfortunately, this breed is prone to separation anxiety. Training can help address this, and providing your basset with a canine buddy can help. Keep in mind, bassets are hounds and they have a loud howl, which could be a deal breaker in some apartment buildings.

Shar Pei

Adorable shar-pei dog sitting next to the sofa at home

Shar pei are well-known for their adorable wrinkles, but they’re also incredibly loyal, protective, and independent pets. They’re more “one-person dogs” than social butterflies, so probably won’t warm up to everyone in your apartment complex.

Shar pei’s independent personalities can make training a bit of a challenge, so may do better with experienced owners. But, if you have training expertise and are looking for a reliable partner who will be there for you no matter what, this breed may be the right choice.

Large Dogs Great for Apartments

If large dogs are your preferred cuddle buddies, fret not — there are many large dog breeds that are great apartment dogs. Just keep in mind that any dog can struggle with stairs as they age, so an elevator building might be easier for these pups as they approach their golden years. 


greyhound sitting on sofa at home

When it comes to exercise, all you need to do with your greyhound roommate is a few walks every day. This breed only needs moderate exercise and is content if you can find a park with a fence to throw the ball. 

Greyhounds don’t weigh as much as most large breeds because they’re so slender, but they’re still big. They’re gentle and easy to live with, even if the apartment is small. Keep in mind, greyhounds can have a strong prey drive, so be careful with cats or other small animals and adopt one that’s lived with small animals before.

Quick Tip

Keep in mind that a bored dog can destroy your furniture, carpet, and clothes, so providing your pup with enrichment activities is key to a great apartment dog.


Newfoundland Dog In Sea

Newfoundland might not immediately jump to mind as a great dog for an apartment, but make excellent apartment dogs under the right circumstances.

Newfies are famous for their common sense and gentle nature. They don’t bark for amusement, so they won’t disturb the neighbors. They can also get by with moderate exercise, so a few longer walks around the block will get you through most days. If your apartment is reasonably large, the Newfoundland can be a good fit.

Great Dane

Great Dane

Great danes are often considered the apartment dog because they’re easy-going, low-energy, and “gentle giants.” These sweet dogs love to be close to their owners. Danes are intelligent and usually bark if they sense danger, but aren’t yappy. 

These dogs need roughly the same amount of exercise as the Newfoundland with long daily walks to stretch their legs.

French Mastiff

French Mastiff dog

French mastiffs are big, but also excellent apartment dogs. They typically aren't too active, and will spend many hours each day napping. Although mastiffs enjoy a leisurely daily walk, they are not high-energy dogs. They also have an instinct for guarding their owners, but they don't bark needlessly.

Just know that French mastiffs are susceptible to heatstroke, so it's important to have air conditioning in the apartment during the summer to keep your pet cool. 

Afghan Hound

Dog, gorgeous Afghan hound

Considered “cat like” because of their aloof and independent nature, Afghan hounds are another great large breed for apartment living. They’re happy hanging out on their own but are very affectionate toward people that they’re bonded with.

The Afghan’s long hair needs a lot of maintenance, so be prepared for that. And, unfortunately, if you have cats, this breed may not fit. If you have small animals, be sure to get an Afghan who has lived successfully with small animals before.

Finding the Best Apartment Breed for You

If you live in an apartment, there are many factors to consider before getting a new dog. The good news is that pet lovers have a lot of options and aren't limited to only toy breeds. Many large and medium-sized dogs don't bark a lot and only need a few walks each day, so they can make a great choice for a smaller living space. Of course, adopting an older dog who has less interest in adventure could always be a great bet for apartment living as well, just consider their mobility needs as they age. If you're in a ground-floor apartment, or elevator building, any of these breeds are great.

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21 Best Apartment Dogs: Hearts to Fit Any Size Space