15 Best Apartment Dogs: Suitable Breeds of All Sizes

Updated December 15, 2020
woman with her dog

The best apartment dogs are all sizes and shapes. Small, medium, and large dog breeds can be suitable for apartment living. It doesn't matter how big or small your apartment is; what does matter is choosing the best dog breed to fit your lifestyle.

Best Apartment Dogs for Small Layouts

Some small dog breeds are well-suited for small apartments. Most of these dogs are light enough to carry but can also easily manage stairs. While these pets are small, they still need to be taken out and exercised regularly.

Shih Tzu

The shih tzu breed is the ultimate companion, and they do very well in apartments. They bark a little, but it generally isn't excessive. They're playful but also have a calm nature. They're happiest when they can cuddle up to their human companions.

This toy breed enjoys a walk around the block once a day, but they will need three or four trips outside daily to relieve themselves.

Two Maltese Shih Tzu

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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

These dogs don't take up a lot of space, and they need moderate exercise to help burn off excess energy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and family


A Pekingese makes an excellent apartment dog, especially if your home is tiny. They get plenty of exercise just walking around the apartment, although they'll enjoy going out for a walk a couple of times a week for some fresh air and mental stimulation.

As for barking, these dogs are quiet. They tend to be relatively calm unless they hear something that alarms them. Pekes are prone to heatstroke, so make sure your apartment has air conditioning for those hot summer months.

Pekinese puppy


Pugs can do very well in an apartment setting. They are only moderately yappy, and mostly upon greeting their owners when they come home. They are fairly energetic, but they can burn off a lot of that trotting around the apartment.

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

Pug running

Shiba Inu

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

Shibas require more exercise than many other small breeds, so plan to take them on daily walks. They need about three trips outside daily to relieve themselves. Letting them walk up and down the stairs will help burn off a little energy as well.

Japanese pet shiba inu

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chins make lovely companions and can be very happy 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 a day, but they can easily handle stairs independently.

Japanese Chin dog


Tiny Chihuahuas are the perfect size for apartment living, and they can get sufficient exercise just by running around indoors and a daily walk.

Chihuahuas are more vocal than some other breeds. They are also known for having a large-dog personality.

Chihuahua dog

Best Medium-Sized Apartment Dogs

Some medium-sized dogs are gentle family pets and content with just short bursts of exercise. These three dog breeds vary in personality, but all share one important characteristic. They only need a few walks a day.


Beagles are easygoing. This breed is friendly and requires moderate exercise throughout the day. They do bark when they pick up a scent, so this hound dog is an excellent addition if you live in an apartment more extensive than a studio with a small yard.

This scent hound weighs up to 24 pounds, and there are two sizes. The smaller size is under 13 inches, and the larger size is between 13 and 15 inches.

Beagle puppy running


The sprinter is a calm dog with a sweet disposition. 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.

Its coat is almost odor-free, so neighbors won't mind sharing an elevator ride with this dog.

Whippet Dog


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 weigh up to 60 pounds, but they are gentle and easy to live with even if the apartment is small. Watch your cats, though, as greyhounds are known to have a strong prey drive.

Blue and White Italian Greyhound

Many Large Dogs Are Lazy Enough for Apartments

The following dogs can be good choices if you live on the ground floor and have a patio door. These dogs are better suited for larger apartments due to their size.


Although a Newfoundland might not immediately jump to mind as a good dog for an apartment due to its size, these dogs make excellent apartment pets under the right circumstances.

Newfies are known 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 good walk around the block will get you through most days. If your apartment is reasonably large, it can be a good fit.

Newfoundland Dog In Sea

Great Dane

Great Danes are another large breed and known to be gentle giants. They love to be close to their owners. Danes are intelligent and tend to bark only if they sense danger. They are easy to train as long as you use positive training methods.

These dogs need roughly the same amount of exercise as the Newfoundland, mainly long daily walks.

Great Dane

French Mastiff

Another excellent choice for apartment life is a French Mastiff. They typically aren't active, and they spend many hours each day napping. Although they 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.

French Mastiffs are also susceptible to heatstroke, so it's important to have air conditioning in the apartment during the summer.

French Mastiff dog

Quiet Dogs Help Keep Neighbors From Complaining

Are there dogs that don't bark at all? No! However, these two dog breeds are known for their calm nature, and they rarely bark.


This dog snorts rather than barks when it needs to communicate with pet owners. The bulldog is known to be good-natured and a loveable companion. To keep weight off this breed, he needs regular exercise.

Neighbors may fall in love with this dog, so if you're looking for a breed to help you meet new friends, this is the match. This dog is a symbol of courage and tenacity.

British bulldog

Italian Greyhound

This breed is devoted to its pet parents and enjoys plenty of interaction with people. Also known as a mini-greyhound, this dog is hardy despite its small frame.

Riding in an elevator or walking up and down the stairs are activities the Italian greyhound is sure to enjoy. Pet lovers must exercise this breed multiple times a day as they do have sudden bursts of energy and need an outlet to chase the ball.

Curious Italian Greyhound Dogs

Friendliness May Be More Important Than Size

Living with a dog that's friendly needs to be a priority when researching the best apartment dogs. There may be a time when your dog shares an elevator with another canine neighbor, and those few minutes can make or break the relationship you have with the folks living next door. Part of the vetting process needs to include meeting various dogs and breeds to ensure personality and size match your lifestyle.

Check Your Apartment's Pet Policy

Keep in mind that a bored dog can destroy your furniture, carpet, and clothes. Some apartments don't allow pets for this reason. Some landlords stipulate just how large a dog you may have, and you have to consider whether your small dog can easily walk up and down the stairs.

Choose the Right Breed for You

There are so many factors to consider when researching dog breeds if you live in an apartment. The good news is pet lovers have 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.

15 Best Apartment Dogs: Suitable Breeds of All Sizes