Recommended Dogs for a Small Apartment

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It is absolutely possible to have a dog in an apartment, as long as you are cautious when choosing the breed. Here is a list of 5 dogs for a small apartment based on size and temperament:

1. Pug (~15-20 lbs)

These dogs are small, however don’t mistake that for fragile. They are a sturdy breed and excellent companions. They are generally good-natured and playful, but without being overly energetic. One downside is that they shed a lot year-round.

2. Poodle (teacups can be as small as 2 lbs, standards can be as large as 45-65 lbs, with many sizes in between)

Poodles are an extremely intelligent breed, making them one of the easiest to train.  They do not shed, making them an excellent choice for people with allergies. On the downside, they are very sensitive – often reacting poorly to stress, loud noises, etc.  Poodles and poodle mixes are naturally timid creatures, therefore, socialization is key.

3. Bulldog (~20-30 lbs)

Bulldogs are typically easy-going animals who do not require a great deal of exercise and do not bark excessively.  They are very easy to groom, though they do shed. Drooling is one of the downsides, along with flatulence and snoring.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (~10-20 lbs)

This a very happy-to-please, peaceful, cuddly dog.  However, if left alone for long amounts of time, they can begin to develop separation anxiety. This is another breed that requires socialization if you want them to not be timid or fearful.

5. Pekingese (~6-10 lbs)

These are independent and sweet animals who are generally calm and relaxed while indoors.  As they are independent dogs, you must be willing to be just as strong-willed in training them.  One downside of this breed is that they are excessive shedders.

Other Ideal Breeds

Other breeds that are ideal for apartment living are:

  • Basset Hound
  • Maltese
  • Chihuahua
  • Boston Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Dachshund


Though most of the dog breeds listed above fall into the small to medium size category, please know that it’s not impossible to have a large dog in an apartment.  It just requires a much larger level of responsibility from you as the owner.  All dogs need exercise, and large dogs will not get it lying around your apartment.  If you are willing to commit to long walks and appropriate exercise, you can ostensibly have any size dog.

Though descriptions of breeds can be helpful in narrowing down your dog selection, please remember that all dogs are different. Spend time with any dog you plan to bring home prior to bringing them home. Ideally, work with a shelter to determine the right dog for you. Their goal is to match owners with appropriate animals, and that includes taking the type of living situation into consideration.

Regardless of the breed you choose, you must be willing to put in the time to socialize and train your dog in order to have a pet-friendly apartment, where you have a good relationship with your dog (and your neighbors). Dog ownership is a lifelong commitment.

Remember to confirm with your property management company or landlord that pets are allowed in your rental.

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