The 13 Best Indoor Dogs for Homebodies

As humans, we tend to consider cats indoor pets and dogs outdoor pets. Surprise! Some dogs love being inside. Each feline and canine breed has a different environmental preference—generally speaking. Of course, an animal’s unique history and personality will tell you much more about what they need to be happy and healthy. But breed tendencies can help prospective dog owners decide which pup is best.

For the most part, indoor dogs require less exercise or need less space to effectively blow off steam (aka, no long-distance running or intense games of fetch). Dogs with low prey drive do better indoors than their high prey drive counterparts who love nothing more than tracking a scent as far as it’ll take them. Indoor dogs are also easily entertained, can entertain themselves or really don’t care for entertainment at all.

Now, do not confuse the word “indoor” with “low-maintenance” or “calm.” Indoor dogs are simply predisposed to enjoy being inside; this doesn’t mean you can ignore socializing them with other animals and people. Nor does it mean you will never have to take your dog on a walk! Homebodies eager for a couch potato partner in crime need to remember that dogs are dogs. Your lifestyle should still have plenty of room for training, playing and paying attention to your pet.

Finally, what does “indoor” mean, exactly? For city dwellers, it’s imperative to choose a smaller breed or a dog well-suited for apartment living. Having a big home with extra bedrooms opens up the possibility of adopting larger breeds who enjoy indoor lifestyles. At the end of the day, you and your dog should be able to thrive in the environment.

best indoor dogs for homebodies american hairless terrier
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1. American Hairless Terrier

Average Height: 14 inches

Average Weight: 14 pounds

Personality: Playful, Curious

Activity Level: Moderate

American hairless terriers are good to go after swift walks because they enjoy being indoors. Plus, it’s better for their health! Owners must help these dogs protect their skin from the sun (with doggy SPF) and the cold (with doggy sweaters). They are hypoallergenic, too, which is great news for allergy sufferers who want a companion in their home.

best indoor dogs for homebodies basset hound
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2. Basset Hound

Average Height: 13 inches

Average Weight: 47.5 pounds

Personality: Mellow, charismatic

Activity Level: Low

Loyal beyond belief, basset hounds are hardcore couch potatoes who enjoy low-key, indoor lifestyles. Yes, they need a daily walk (ideally around other dog friends), and they may get carried away following a scent. Once you’re home again, get ready for a lazy snooze.

best indoor dogs for homebodies bulldog
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3. Bulldog

Average Height: 14.5 inches

Average Weight: 45 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, brave

Activity Level: Moderate

As with all breeds with shortened snouts, bulldogs shouldn’t participate in rigorous exercise or be left outdoors in hot weather. They need enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight, but beyond brisk jaunts they’re content putting their feet up next to you on the couch (or in your lap if you’ll let them).

best indoor dogs for homebodies cavalier king charles spaniel
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4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Average Height: 12.5 inches

Average Weight: 15.5 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, affectionate

Activity Level: Low

One of the most adaptable pups available is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These dogs are more than happy to adjust to your lifestyle—especially if that means cuddling under blankets. Sure, they’re down to play outside with kids and other pets, but if you’re a homebody, they’ll follow suit.

best indoor dogs for homebodies chihuahua
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5. Chihuahua

Average Height: 6.5 inches

Average Weight: 5 pounds

Personality: Charming, independent

Activity Level: Moderate

These little companion dogs won’t want to leave your side when you’re home—and are fine venturing out for short bouts. Chihuahuas are examples of dogs who can thrive in apartments and smaller spaces simply because of their size. A run down the hall or playtime in the bedroom is enough exercise for one day.

best indoor dogs for homebodies chow chow
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6. Chow Chow

Average Height: 18.5 inches

Average Weight: 58 pounds

Personality: Aloof, loyal

Activity Level: Moderate

These large, fluffy animals don’t need much extreme outdoor exercise or interaction with others. In fact, they are incredibly devoted to their families and aren’t keen on strangers. Catlike in their habits, Chow Chows are known to be gentle and independent.

best indoor dogs for homebodies coton de tulear
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7. Coton De Tulear

Average Height: 10 inches

Average Weight: 11.5 pounds

Personality: Lively, goofy

Activity Level: Moderate to High

Coton de Tulears are silky soft and full of personality. This is another one of those active, playful breeds whose needs can easily be met indoors. If you’re in the market for an outgoing, funny companion, get one of these (or two!). Be sure to provide them with plenty of toys for entertainment.

best indoor dogs for homebodies french bulldog
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8. French Bulldog

Average Height: 12 inches

Average Weight: 22 pounds

Personality: Affectionate, even-tempered

Activity Level: Low

Consistently on our lists of the most adaptable and city-friendly dogs is the French bulldog. These pups don’t ask much of you and don’t feel the need to bark to announce themselves. Outdoor exercise? Meh. Indoor playtime? Please.

best indoor dogs for homebodies finnish lapphund
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9. Finnish Lapphund

Average Height: 18.5 inches

Average Weight: 43 pounds

Personality: Calm, Friendly

Activity Level: Moderate

Long walks with you or quick playdates at the dog park is all a Finnish Lapphund needs to get in a good work out. These fluffy dogs are true homebodies—as long as you’re home, too. Folks who work late hours or aren’t home most of the time shouldn’t get a Finnish Lapphund. Their emotional intelligence and sensitive feelings will be hurt if you can’t put them first.

best indoor dogs for homebodies japanese chin
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10. Japanese Chin

Average Height: 9.5 inches

Average Weight: 9 pounds

Personality: Quiet, loving

Activity Level: Moderate

These quiet pups will happily tag along for a walk, but don’t let them wander! Japanese Chins can be stubborn and much prefer indoor playtime (but plenty of it). Bred as companion animals for Japanese nobility, they are dignified and love doting on their humans.

best indoor dogs for homebodies maltese
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11. Maltese

Average Height: 8 inches

Average Weight: 6 pounds

Personality: Sweet, elegant

Activity Level: Moderate

Similar to the Japanese Chin, the Maltese was bred among royalty and you can tell. They’re dignified little dogs who adapt well to just about any lifestyle. Quieter and calmer than other toy dogs like the Bichon Frise or Papillon, Maltese are content to lounge inside with you as often as you please.

best indoor dogs for homebodies pug
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12. Pug

Average Height: 11.5 inches

Average Weight: 16 pounds

Personality: Adaptable, charming

Activity Level: Low to moderate

Like bulldogs and French bulldogs, pugs require enough exercise to keep them slim, but not so much that they overheat or run out of breath. These pups are one of the most popular city dogs because of their adaptability. Also, get ready for tons of affection.

best indoor dogs for homebodies shar pei
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13. Shar Pei

Average Height: 19 inches

Average Weight: 52 pounds

Personality: Protective, mellow

Activity Level: Low to Moderate

The Shar Pei is a fascinating breed. Very wary of strangers, they make loyal watch dogs. However, this means extra socialization as puppies is crucial if you want them to exhibit good behavior later on. Serene in familiar environments, Shar Peis could become aggressive if an unwelcome dog or person enters their homestead. Bottom line: They can adapt well with effective training and do well at home.

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Freelance Writer

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...