The 20 Best Apartment Dogs for Smaller Spaces

Erica Puisis
By Erica Puisis. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM on Apr. 28, 2024
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For pet-lovers who live in small spaces, there’s still room to have a furry friend—but it’s especially important to choose wisely to ensure your pet will thrive (and your sanity will stay intact). The best apartment dogs are usually small in stature and have more minimal needs for daily exercise, though there are also some larger pups that can fit into the apartment lifestyle well.

So, what are the best dog breeds for apartments? We’ve compiled some of the most popular small and large breeds to consider, along with what to expect from each.

1. Affenpinscher

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Compact but charismatic, the Affenpinscher adapts well to apartment life. These small dogs grow to a height of less than 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh 10 pounds or less. Affenpinschers are adaptable and highly intelligent, so they’re quick to learn.

And while the breed’s alert nature makes them prone to barking at unfamiliar sights or sounds, their personality and compact size earns Affenpinschers a nod as one of the best apartment dog breeds.

2. American Eskimo Dog

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There are three sizes for the American Eskimo Dog: toy, miniature, and standard. If you’re looking for the best dog for apartment living, your best bet is a toy or miniature Eskie, which tops out at 10 and 20 pounds, respectively.

This is an active breed, so be prepared to give your Eskie a vigorous daily walk, coupled with training activities to stimulate their mind. The breed can also be prone to separation anxiety and barking, which is not an ideal combination if you’ll be away from home for long stretches of time. American Eskimo Dogs are a better pick for apartment dwellers who are often home during the day. 

3. Basenji

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For an active companion that also makes a good apartment dog, consider the Basenji. This dog breed requires extended exercise every day (plan for at least an hour of walking or jogging) but other qualities make the Basenji an excellent fit for small spaces.

For instance, Basenjis are rarely vocal, so barking won’t be an issue. The breed also has a reputation for cleanliness and will even self-groom like a cat. Finally, this small hound breed typically weighs less than 25 pounds when full-grown.

4. Basset Hound

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Despite being low to the ground, don’t mistake the Basset Hound for a small dog breed. The breed typically matures to a weight between 40 and 75 pounds and is about 15 inches tall. 

Even still, the Basset Hound qualifies as one of the best apartment dogs because of their laid-back nature and minimal exercise requirements—a daily walk around the block is enough to keep them happy. And Basset Hounds are notorious for napping, an activity that’s easily accommodated by apartment living. 

That said, these short dogs might not be a good fit for walk-ups, especially as they reach their senior years. Make sure your apartment building has an elevator to accommodate your Basset.

5. Bedlington Terrier

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Looking like a lamb might be what this breed is best known for, but the Bedlington Terrier is also praised for having a gentle and affectionate disposition. Despite being part of the terrier group, Bedlingtons aren’t known for being overly energetic or vocal, although daily exercise and mental stimulation are a must.

6. Bichon Frise

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The small size and intelligent nature of the Bichon Frise make this breed one of the best dogs for small apartments. A daily walk or game of indoor fetch or tug-of-war is typically enough exercise to satisfy this lapdog.

Plus, the breed’s curly white coat is low-shedding and considered “hypoallergenic,” so you don’t need to worry about cleaning up dog hair in your small space. However, daily brushing and regular groomer visits are a must, so be prepared for that upkeep. 

7. Biewer Terrier

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The Biewer Terrier is closely related to the Yorkie, sharing a similar small size and alert, active personality. These pocket pups only weigh between 4 and 8 pounds when full-grown, so based on their size, the breed is one of the best small dogs for apartments.

Of course, you’ll need to challenge the mind and expend the energy of this tiny terrier—consistent walks and playtime are needed, along with regular grooming to keep the Biewer’s long, silky tricolor coat looking its best.

8. Bolognese

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The Bolognese is one of the best small dogs for apartments, thanks to their calm demeanor. Bred to be companions, these dogs are happiest when spending time with their family. A daily walk and plenty of time spent by your side suits the needs of the Bolognese. These dogs stay small, usually weighing less than 14 pounds.

9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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Adaptability is the strong suit of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which makes the breed an excellent pick for apartment life. Bred to be a lapdog but descended from sporting dogs, this small spaniel is game for outdoor adventures but also relishes time spent snuggling with human companions.

With a mature height of 12–13 inches and weight of 13–18 pounds, this dog breed doesn’t need much room to spread out and can easily live in small spaces, including condos or apartments. 

10. Chinese Crested

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The dainty Chinese Crested has been described as having a cat-like personality, making the breed one of the best dogs for apartments. Don’t be surprised to find your Crested curled up on the back of the couch or looking for a spot in your lap. 

Weighing only 8–12 pounds when fully grown, these pups are satisfied with a short walk or some interactive play each day. There are two types of Chinese Crested dogs to choose from: hairless (with tufts of hair on the head, feet, and tail) and powderpuff (with a long, silky double coat covering the body).

11. English Bulldog

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The Bulldog (commonly referred to as the English Bulldog) is a big dog in a small frame, weighing between 40 and 50 pounds but standing only about 15 inches tall. The breed makes one of the best apartment dogs because they are characteristically low-key—some would even say lazy. Just make sure your apartment has an elevator, as Bulldogs might not be able to climb too many steps—especially as seniors.

That being said, pet parents should still provide physical and mental stimulation for a Bulldog by means of a daily walk, interactive play, and consistent training. Because the breed is sensitive to hot weather, you might need to focus on active indoor games during periods of high heat and humidity. 

12. French Bulldog

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The French Bulldog is affable and adaptable, making them not only a great apartment dog but also the most popular dog breed in the U.S. Their stout, compact build and calm demeanor mean they’re a great fit for small spaces. But make sure you’re ready to meet the Frenchie’s potential health issues (and maybe invest in pet insurance).

13. Greyhound

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One of the best big dogs for apartments is the Greyhound, a slender and tall breed with a gentle, even disposition. Expect a full-grown Greyhound to weigh between 50 and 85 pounds and measure up to 30 inches tall at the shoulder. 

Despite the breed’s athletic build, a little exercise goes a long way for the Greyhound. They thrive from expending energy in short bursts and are then content to rest up on a comfy couch or dog bed.

14. Havanese

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The Havanese is best known for their affection, intelligence, and attractive silky coat. Combined with the breed’s small size (7 to 13 pounds), it’s easy to see why the Havanese is a natural fit as one of the best dogs for apartment living. That said, Havanese are quick to bark at unfamiliar people and sounds, so consistent training is necessary to teach your dog not to bark excessively

15. Maltese

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The Maltese only weighs about 7 pounds, but this tiny white dog is big on personality. You can expect a playful and affectionate companion, and exercise needs are minimal thanks to the breed’s small stature. A short walk and some interactive play are typically sufficient. 

The Maltese loves to spend time with its human companions, so it’s best not to leave this dog alone for many hours at a time. The breed can also be vocal, so keep that in mind if you’re living in a condo or apartment with neighbors in close proximity. 

16. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

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The Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, also known as the PBGV, will bring big dog personality to your apartment without overtaking your space. These dogs mature to a height of 13–15 inches and weigh up to 40 pounds.

They’re active and athletic enough to take part in whatever activities you have in mind, including hiking, agility, flyball, running, and hunting. You’ll want to keep them on move, as PBGVs have energy to expend and can become restless if cooped up for too long.

17. Pug

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A Pug is a compact breed that isn’t built for vigorous physical activity—which makes them one of the best small dogs for apartments. Pugs love to lounge with their people and enjoy short walks or active play indoors.

It doesn’t take much to tire out a Pug, but be forewarned that this flat-faced dog breed is prone to snoring. If you can tolerate that, the Pug is an otherwise quiet companion. 

18. Shih Tzu

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The Shih Tzu is a true lapdog that thrives on close companionship and doesn’t require much room to roam or run. Just 20 to 30 minutes of walking each day is sufficient for keeping a Shih Tzu healthy and active. 

These dogs stay between 9 and 16 pounds and are known for being sociable with children and other pets, making them an easy addition to any family—as long as you provide them with the basics of training and socialization.

19. Silky Terrier

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If you can commit to consistent daily exercise and don’t mind taking the time to brush your dog’s coat at least twice every week, then the Silky Terrier might be the apartment dog for you. Silkies share similar characteristics to Yorkies and Australian Terriers, since both breeds contributed to the development of the Silky Terrier.

Although the Silky Terrier is small in size, the dog has plenty of energy, so you’ll need to plan for one or two hours of exercise each day. This active breed is a great choice if you want a pint-sized partner for daily walks, weekend hikes, or trying out canine sports like agility and flyball.

20. Yorkshire Terrier

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The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the best apartment dog breeds because of their petite size. They typically mature to just 7–8 inches tall and weigh 7 pounds or less. But these tiny companions have big personalities, so early training is important to establish good routines and minimize unwanted behaviors—like excessive barking. 

Yorkies are playful and affectionate, so make time for interactive games as well as a long daily walk. The breed loves to curl up in your lap or receive praise and attention from family members and guests alike. The signature silky coat of the Yorkshire Terrier requires regular brushing to avoid tangles, but grooming is significantly easier if you keep the coat clipped short.


Erica Puisis

WRITTEN BY

Erica Puisis

Freelance Writer


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