29 Great Dog Breeds for Small Apartments

updated Jun 1, 2022
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Listen up, animal lovers living in small apartments! We have good news: Your snug square footage doesn’t mean you’re disqualified from adopting a dog.

Dog trainer Russell Hartstein, CEO of Fun Paw Care Dog Training in Los Angeles, says dogs are more time-intensive than space-intensive. That means the time you spend with them ultimately matters more than the size of your home. “As long as you are exercising your dog both physically and mentally, your dog doesn’t care how big or small your apartment is — within reason,” he says.

In the market for a pup to keep you company in a smaller home? Here are Hartstein’s recommendations for the best apartment dogs that’ll be content in almost any space.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These dogs are so friendly toward humans and other dogs, so they’re perfect for apartment buildings and their size is just right for a small-scale space.

2. Greyhound

Many assure us that these large, lanky dogs are perfect for apartments because they only need a little bit of space and they love short bursts of exercise before sleeping the day away. Sounds like my weekends. Also, there are so many retired racing Greyhounds that need homes!

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3. Poodles 

Poodles don’t shed much, so if you’re not up for constant vacuuming, they could be a great fit. Just make sure to train your friendly and intelligent poodle well to keep them mentally and physically stimulated!

Credit: Minette Hand

4. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are bred to be smaller than their standard Bulldog cousins so they’re perfectly suited to an apartment (although both breeds are worth considering). They have short hair that doesn’t need much grooming and they love to lie around the house. Plus, Hartstein says they’re goofy class clowns who are tons of fun to be around.

5. Pug

Playful pugs are perfect apartment pets because they’re tiny, eager-to-please, and can get along just fine with a little indoor exercise along with their daily walks. If you plan on sharing your bed with a pug, however, be aware they’re notorious snorers.

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6. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus require regular walking, but Hartstein says they’re more independent than other, more needy breeds. Also, they tend to be more on the quieter side of the spectrum.

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7. Beagle

Beagles are the right size for an apartment and they need very little grooming (in fact, baths too often can dry their skin). They love being around people so they’re happy to hang around the house most of the time but are also up for activities like the park. Be aware that they have a very distinctive bark, so they need the right training so they don’t cause noise complaints in your apartment building.

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8. Rhodesian Ridgeback

While the Rhodesian is a larger dog, they are also well-suited to lounging with you until it’s training and walking time. These pups are also more independent and on the quiet side, which your neighbors will be happy about.

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9. Bichon Frise

These cuties are in the poodle family, but much more petite. They’re energetic so they need regular exercise, but they are not big barkers and they don’t shed. A win-win!

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10. Mastiff

If you love big dogs, this breed is actually surprisingly great in apartments because they are so calm and docile. They love being lazy and rarely bark. The only problem you’ll have is finding a place for them to sprawl out their huge bodies!

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11. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are tiny, cute, and love to cuddle, so they’re the perfect movie marathon companion. They are also quiet and calm, but are great with new people and other pets. One caution to consider: Hartstein says Yorkies tend to be a bit louder than other dogs, so if you’re concerned about noise disturbances, you may want to avoid this breed.

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12. Shar-Pei

Don’t let the scowl fool you: Shar-Peis are known for their lifelong loyalty to their owners. While Shar-Peis need socialization and training (as all dogs do!), Hartstein says they make wonderful pets to live in an apartment. 

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13. Italian Greyhound

Siblings to the Greyhound, Italians share some of the same apartment-ready qualities — they’re known for being quiet, friendly, and graceful dogs.

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14. Bernese Mountain Dog

While they shed lots and need regular grooming, Bernese are relatively quiet cuddlers. Take them out to play and exercise daily, and they’re likely to be happy in your small space.

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15. Saint Bernard

Another larger breed that needs lots of grooming and loves to be walked, the Saint Bernard is a quiet, friendly dog that’s not likely to disturb your neighbors. But watch out: All your stuff might accumulate drool and fur. 

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16. American Pit Bull Terrier

If your complex doesn’t archaically and ignorantly ban Pit Bulls, Hartstein says they make great apartment pets. Pit Bulls need lots of training, socialization, and exercise, but they aren’t very loud dogs.

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17. American Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers are larger, energetic dogs that aren’t too yippy. If you can meet your dog’s energetic needs by taking them for lots of walks and training, or hiring a professional to help, Hartstein says they would make a great apartment dog.

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18. Basenji

Bred to not bark, the majestic Basenji will not disturb your neighbors — but they will need lots of exercise, socialization, and training.

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19. Golden Retriever

Goldens can be hit or miss, according to Hartstein. Many are not too loud; however, they need constant training, socialization, and exercise to meet their needs. As with most social, gregarious dogs, they wouldn’t do well being left alone for many hours at a time. 

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20. Chow Chow

Get ready to clean your apartment a lot, but don’t worry about getting evicted because of your loud dog. Chows are a quieter breed and very affectionate to their parents. 

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21. Boston Terrier

These bundles of joy have big personalities in a small package. While energetic, they don’t require a tremendous amount of space. They do require exercise and dog training, but so do all dogs. Harstein says Boston Terriers also make great cuddle partners!

22. Shih Tzu

Typically friendly with other dogs and not very loud, the small-sized Shih Tzu is perfect for a a smaller living space.

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23. Pekingese

Pekingese are widely loved because of their spunk and character. Hartstein calls them “big dogs trapped in a little dog’s body.” On top of being entertaining, Pekingese are not loud, are very small, and love to be trained and walked for short distances. 

24. English Bulldog

Your English Bulldog might keep you up with its snoring (and require a bit more attention than other breeds), but it won’t require a ton of exercise or space, making the breed a great pick for an apartment dweller who doesn’t mind going the extra mile with training and exercising.

25. Labrador Retriever

Labs require lots of exercise and adventures, so if you’re quite active outside the home, this super-trainable breed could be perfect for a small indoor space. 

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26. Havanese

This small dog won’t take up too much room in your digs, and it doesn’t require tons of exercise. The oh-so-cute Havanese, Hartstein says, also loves to learn and is great with kids and families. 

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27. Maltese

The Maltese is a great fit for a smaller space simply because it’s also small. While this breed is known for its playful personality, it doesn’t require a tremendous amount of exercise. 

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28. Chinese Crested

This dog is known for its unique look, with hairless areas all over its body. The Chinese Crested is also affectionate and easy to train, making it the perfect match for cozying up in a snug apartment. “They’re small and don’t require a lot of room, and they’re very affectionate with their families,” Harstein says. 

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29. Chihuahua

Another great option for a tiny apartment is the Chihuahua, which is known for its tiny size. Because Chihuahuas are so small, they don’t need a lot of space to run around. Just be aware you’ll need to train your pup not to bark — especially if you live in a multi-unit dwelling. 

Time to tell us: What breed works well in your small space?

Additional reporting by Jennifer Hunter.