The 20 Best Dogs for Apartments—Whether You’re in the Studio or Penthouse

Apartment living is an art. If you’ve ever shared a building with other tenants, you know exactly how tricky it can be to maintain harmonious relationships with neighbors. Plus, you’ve got to make the most of limited living space. Roughly 40 million Americans reside in apartments. Even more popular than apartment living? Dog ownership! Almost 64 million households in the U.S. have at least one pet dog. Yes, it’s possible to live comfortably in an apartment with a dog. No, not all breeds will enjoy the apartment lifestyle. The best dogs for apartments can adapt to limited space, aren’t reactive towards strangers and, for the most part, know how to stay quiet throughout the day.

And let’s remember: Every apartment is different! There are loft-style spaces with high ceilings and open-floor plans. There are studios with barely enough square footage for a full-sized bed. Think about whether or not you and your dog will run into other people frequently in the elevator. Is your dog allowed in the halls for short walks? Before adopting a dog or buying all the dog toys Chewy has to offer, it’s imperative you consider what your apartment can—and can’t—handle.

Finally, don’t be fooled by the size of the dog. Some small pups are too antisocial or vocal to make good roommates in a well-populated building. Some large canines are quiet couch potatoes that thrive in a tiny one-bedroom. As always, breed standards will only tell you so much about a particular dog. All dogs are individuals, and their behavior can vary depending on training, upbringing and confidence.

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best dogs for apartments american eskimo
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1. American Eskimo Dog

Average Height: 10.5 inches (toy), 13.5 inches (miniature), 17 inches (standard)

Average Weight: 8 pounds (toy), 15 pounds (miniature), 30 pounds (standard)

Personality: Energetic, intelligent

Activity Level: High

At their core, American Eskimo dogs are indoor animals who want to be near you as much as possible. Even standard-sized Eskies are small enough to live well in an apartment. They learn commands quickly and enjoy meeting new friends. The only drawback to apartment life might be their energy level—especially their intelligence. Keep them amused with interactive toys to avoid boredom (which can turn into destruction).

best dogs for apartment basset hound
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2. Basset Hound

Average Height: 13 inches

Average Weight: 47.5 pounds

Personality: Mellow, charismatic

Activity Level: Low

It’s hard not to love the droopy face and ears of a basset hound! They are ideal pets for low-key lifestyles and do very well in apartments because of their tendency towards laziness. Bassets are so easy-going that they make great cat companions. They’re not keen on following commands and do have an independent streak. However, their mellow temperament balances this out and you won’t have to worry about any unpleasantness with neighbors.

best dogs for apartments biewer terrier
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3. Biewer Terrier

Average Height: 9 inches

Average Weight: 6 pounds

Personality: Calm, friendly

Activity Level: Low

The tiny Biewer (pronounced “beaver”) terrier is a playful pup with a calm disposition. Honestly, a strut back and forth down the hallway of your building is usually enough for them. Biewers are so charming, it may be more like having a funny little kid around than a dog (except nap time will probably come more easily).

best dogs for apartments boston terrier
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4. Boston Terrier

Average Height: 16 inches

Average Weight: 18.5 pounds

Personality: Alert, outgoing

Activity Level: Moderate to high

The American Kennel Club calls Boston terriers people-oriented, which means there’s no need to fret when trotting down the halls. Any tenants you run into will be charmed by their big eyes, pointy ears and friendly personality. Playtime should be interactive (they’d rather play fetch with you than run around alone).

best dogs for apartments bulldogs
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5. Bulldog

Average Height: 14.5 inches

Average Weight: 45 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, brave

Activity Level: Moderate

One of the most affectionate breeds out there is the bulldog. These powerful oafs think of themselves as lap dogs and enjoy being with their people. While they need regular exercise to stay healthy (and avoid obesity), bulldogs tend to be pretty chill and know how to relax. Plus, they adapt well to many different environments.

best dogs for apartment cairn terrier
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6. Cairn Terrier

Average Height: 9.5 inches

Average Weight: 13.5 inches

Personality: Curious, friendly

Activity Level: Moderate to high

As long as you get your Cairn terrier outside for his daily adventure, he’ll be a spectacular apartment roommate. These wire-haired pups are super loyal and likely see you as their partner in crime. Their high prey drive could lead to extreme excitement if they see other pets in the building, so be sure to instill commands like “down” and “sit” early.

best dogs for apartments corgi
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7. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Average Height: 11.5 inches

Average Weight: 30 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, sweet

Activity Level: High

Training a Cardigan Welsh corgi is a cinch. Not only do they learn quickly, but they also love pleasing you. Great with kids and other animals, these canines are some of the friendliest you’ll meet. They also adapt to your lifestyle, whether you’re a homebody or a social butterfly (though they much prefer to go with you on outings to staying home and waiting for your return).

best dogs for apartments cavalier
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8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Average Height: 12.5 inches

Average Weight: 15.5 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, affectionate

Activity Level: Low

Soft as silk and about as low maintenance as they come, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels make excellent apartment dwellers. Like corgis, they can shift gears to adjust to just about any living situation and household. Good with kids? Check. Cats? Check. Other dogs? Check.

best dogs for apartments chihuahua
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9. Chihuahua

Average Height: 6.5 inches

Average Weight: 5 pounds

Personality: Charming, independent

Activity Level: Moderate

As true lap dogs, chihuahuas need very little space to themselves. They just want to sit on you! Take them anywhere (but don’t carry them all the time—they’ve got to walk and run to maintain a healthy weight). Though stubborn and trickier to train, chihuahuas are ideal apartment pets because of their diminutive size and charming personality.

best dogs for apartments cocker spaniel
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10. Cocker Spaniel

Average Height: 14.5 inches

Average Weight: 25 pounds

Personality: Sweet, happy, obedient

Activity Level: Moderate

Cocker Spaniels are versatile canines with so much love to offer their families and yes, they make great family pets. Plus, they are one of the best breeds for people with Autism or Asperger’s. Calm when necessary and playful at the drop of a hat, Cocker Spaniels can adapt to just about any scenario.

best dogs for apartments french bulldog
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11. French Bulldog

Average Height: 12 inches

Average Weight: 22 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, even-tempered

Activity Level: Low

The combination of a low prey drive and extreme affection make French Bulldogs ideal apartment companions. Frenchies don’t need tons of outdoor time and rarely bark. They make friends easily (with animals and humans) and could be content in a high-rise studio apartment or a large house in the country.

best dogs for apartments greyhound
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12. Greyhound

Average Height: 27.5 inches

Average Weight: 65 pounds

Personality: Independent, sweet

Activity Level: High

Surprise! A big dog that works well in apartment settings. Greyhounds definitely need to get outside every day for a walk (and hopefully a run). But, beyond that, they’re eager to relax with you and snuggle in for the night. Greyhounds don’t necessarily get along well with other dogs—it’s more like they ignore other dogs altogether. So while you might not participate in your building’s doggy play dates, you won’t have to worry about your greyhound getting into a scuffle.

best dogs for apartments japanese spitz

13. Japanese Spitz

Average Height: 13.5 inches

Average Weight: 17.5 pounds

Personality: Charming, alert

Activity Level: High

Doesn’t it look like these dogs are always smiling? The Japanese Spitz is a charming, fluffy breed that loves playtime, people and putting their feet up at the end of the day. Exercise can— and almost certainly should—include teaching tricks and interacting with your Japanese Spitz.

best dogs for apartments maltese
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14. Maltese

Average Height: 8 inches

Average Weight: 6 pounds

Personality: Sweet, elegant

Activity Level: Moderate

Maltese pups are confident, which means they make friends easily but can be stubborn when it comes to training. They do well in small apartments though, and only need regular walks to keep them happy. Loyal and sweet, they’ll happily guard your unit while you’re out and eagerly welcome you home whenever you arrive.

best dogs for apartments mastiff
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15. Mastiff

Average Height: 33 inches

Average Weight: 175 pounds

Personality: Patient, protective

Activity Level: Low to moderate

Mastiffs are big, sturdy and calm canines who enjoy lounging around their homes. Though intimidating to meet, these gentle giants just want to protect and love their family. As puppies, socialize them with lots of other dogs and people, but don’t overexert them physically. This will help them better interact with new friends and stay limber as they age.

best dogs for apartments miniature schnauzer
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16. Miniature Schnauzer

Average Height: 13 inches

Average Weight: 15.5 pounds

Personality: Social, smart

Activity Level: Moderate

Talk about an all-star breed! Miniature schnauzers thrive with large families and with introverted singles, in big spaces and in small studios. They’re athletic and enjoy walks where they meet friends. Be sure to keep their minds engaged in playtime and through training, or they can become frustrated and bored.

best dogs for apartments toy poodle
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17. Toy Poodle

Average Height: 10 inches

Average Weight: 5 pounds

Personality: Intelligent, athletic

Activity Level: Moderate

Poodles of all sizes are incredibly smart and loyal. Toy poodles specifically make ideal apartment pets because of their small stature; walks around the building combined with interactive playtime meets their exercise goals. Their hypoallergenic coat also makes Toy poodles perfect for cuddling and lounging, which they’re happy to do whenever you’re around.

best dogs for apartments pug
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18. Pug

Average Height: 11.5 inches

Average Weight: 16 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, charming

Activity Level: Low to moderate

For pugs, the optimal apartment has air conditioning or is located in a cooler climate. Hot, humid conditions can make running and playing difficult. Other than that, they can adapt to spaces of any size. Friendly, low-maintenance and semi-lazy, this breed is all about that homebody lifestyle.

best dogs for apartments shih tzu
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19. Shih Tzu

Average Height: 10 inches

Average Weight: 12.5 pounds

Personality: Cheerful, loving

Activity Level: Low to Mmderate

Similar to the Biewer terrier and the Maltese, Shih Tzus are toy breeds that can handle the most modest apartments. Short walks here and there suffice for exercise and activity. The key to a happy life with a Shih Tzu? Housebreaking them ASAP. They can be unreceptive to commands at first, so embarking on that journey early is best. After that, get ready for an adorable companion who would spend all day on a chaise lounge if they could.

best dogs for apartments whippet
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20. Whippet

Average Height: 20 inches

Average Weight: 32 pounds

Personality: Loving, playful

Activity Level: Moderate

Whippets are actually a lot like cats—they spend their afternoons napping in the sunshine and have sporadic energy bursts during which they’re happy to run up and down the halls. Then, back to lounging. Barking isn’t their thing. Neither is following orders, so try to get the basics down during their young puppy stage.

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Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...