Finding Your Perfect Pooch: A Guide to the 12+ Best Apartment Dogs

Just because you’re living in a small rental space, doesn’t mean you have to go without your favorite furry companion. However, it is important that you put thought and consideration into the type of dog you’re going to be bringing home, as not all breeds are well-suited to apartment living. Whether they’re extra rambunctious or bark at every person who walks by, most rental agreements stipulate that pets are not allowed to damage rental property or disturb neighbors. Read on to learn about the ideal traits found in the best apartment dogs.

Traits in the Best Dogs for Apartment Living

In general, you will want to look for pups that don’t mind being indoors for most of the day and living in a small space. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re limited to tiny terriers as many big dogs are actually suited to apartment living as well.

illustrated list of best traits in apartment dogs
  1. Energy Level – Almost any dog is going to be unruly as a puppy, but it’s important to choose a breed that tends to mellow out as they get to be 1–2 years old. Dogs that need a lot of physical and mental exercise, such as border collies, would not be a good choice. You’ll want to pick a breed that is satisfied with just morning and evening walks and is fine to snooze during the day, unless you can afford a dog walking service.
  2. Barking Tendency – Another big consideration is your dog’s tendency to bark. If they woof a couple times when you come home every day that’s okay, but there are some breeds that will bark at anything and everything throughout the day and will likely drive your neighbors crazy. Little dogs are usually the worst offenders here, such as cairn and Yorkshire terriers.
  3. Friendliness to Strangers – Dogs that are very territorial and act threateningly when their space is invaded are another bad choice for apartment living. You are likely going to be running into neighbors in elevators and hallways, so the dog you choose is going to need to meet strange people every so often. A couple of the more territorial dog breeds include Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers.
  4. Attachment Style – Sometimes, a dog’s love can be a little too much. Unless you work from home, you won’t want to choose a dog that’s going to get overly attached to you. They will be miserable during the day while you’re gone, and their constant whining will be sure to bug your neighbors. Some breeds known for separation anxiety include German shepherds and cocker spaniels.

Now that you know which traits to look for in your perfect pooch, here are our recommendations for the best apartment dogs by size.

Best Small Dogs for Apartment Living

These little pups are the perfect size for apartment living, and won’t yip and yap at every little noise in the city.

1. Bichon Frise

photo of bichon frise on carpet

Who wouldn’t fall in love with these friendly snowballs? Bichons are known for their sunny personalities and happy-go-lucky attitudes, and of course their soft, poofy white fur.

  • Weight: 13–17 pounds
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Traits: Curious, friendly, happy
  • Doggy Detail: Bichon Frise is French for “curly lap dog”

2. Boston Terrier

photo of boston terrier in front of window

This goofy little gentleman makes friends wherever he goes, and his short stature and calm nature make him an ideal dog for city living.

  • Weight: 15-25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Traits: People-oriented, comedic, jaunty
  • Doggy Detail: They were the first official dog type bred in the U.S.

3. Corgi

photo of corgi by a lake

The Pembroke Welsh corgi reached internet fame for a reason – their outgoing attitudes and stout bodies are both adorable and hilarious.

  • Weight: 25 – 30 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Traits: Lively, athletic, sensitive
  • Doggy Detail: Legend has it that they were magical steeds ridden by fairies

4. French Bulldog

photo of french bulldog on bed

One of the most well-loved breeds in the U.S., the Frenchie is known for its over-large ears, compact body, and strange but oh-so-cute face. In recent years, this breed has become increasingly popular with city-dwellers in particular.

  • Weight: 20 – 25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Traits: Alert, playful, companionable
  • Doggy Detail: They are sometimes known to “sing” along to music

Best Medium-Sized Dogs for Apartment Living

If lap dogs aren’t your thing, there are plenty of medium-sized dogs that can thrive in the city as well.

5. Barbet

photo of barbet with tongue sticking out

Originating in medieval France, today the barbet is one of the most beloved family dog breeds. Barbets are instantly recognizable for their huge mop of curly fur and energetic nature.

  • Weight: 35 – 60 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Traits: Intelligent, sweet, calm
  • Doggy Detail: They were bred for duck hunting and still have webbed paws

6. Basset Hound

photo of basset hound laying by a tree

The basset hound is an American classic, known for its endearing droopy ears, sad eyes, and hefty little legs. Though its bark can be alarming, a well-trained basset hound is the perfect apartment companion.

  • Weight: 45 – 65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Traits: Loyal, steadfast, agreeable
  • Doggy Detail: They have one of the strongest senses of smell in the dog world

7. Bulldog

photo of a bulldog laying in the grass

The iconic face of the bulldog can’t be mistaken for any other breed. Though they do enjoy a lazy day spent inside, they also love daily walks and exercise around the city.

  • Weight: 40-50 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Traits: Docile, friendly, easygoing
  • Doggy Detail: They were originally bred to attack and bait bulls or other sport animals

8. Japanese Spitz

photo of japanese spitz laying on the grass

This distinctive breed has a fox-like face and a pretty tail that curls over its back. They are true people-pleasers and are always looking to earn attention.

  • Weight: 15 – 25 pounds
  • Lifespan: 14 years
  • Traits: Playful, adventurous, loving
  • Doggy Detail: Their puppies can be hard to find, costing up to $2,500

Best Large Dogs for Apartment Living

For some people, it’s go big or go home. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually a number of large dog breeds that are well-suited to small apartment living provided they get enough daily exercise.

9. Great Dane

photo of great dane laying in the grass

Great Danes are imposing at a first glance, as they are taller than most people when standing on their hind legs. However, Great Danes are actually gentle giants and make excellent family companions.

  • Weight: 115 – 180 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Traits: Gentle, patient, people-pleaser
  • Doggy Detail: They were once thought to ward off evil ghosts and spirits

10. Greyhound

greyhound standing outside in the sun

Bred for their incredible speed, these lanky, lovable dogs tend to mellow out when they reach adulthood and make ideal home pets with sufficient walks every day.

  • Weight: 60-70 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Traits: Independent, gentle, sweet
  • Doggy Detail: They have a noble history dating back to the Ancient Egyptians

11. Mastiff

photo of mastiff outside in the fall weather

Mastiffs are one of the biggest dog breeds out there, with many far outweighing their owners. Though they are powerful, they’re also very sweet dogs and you can get lost in their soulful, wrinkle-protected eyes.

  • Weight: 130-230 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Traits: Patient, kind, protective
  • Doggy Detail: The world record for heaviest dog was a mastiff at 343 pounds

12. Poodle

photo of poodle with tongue out in house

Despite their reputation as fancy show dogs, poodles are actually great companions for city-dwellers because of their intelligence and adaptability. Plus, there are three different sizes of poodles (standard, miniature, and toy) if you’re confined to a very small apartment.

  • Weight (standard): 45-65 pounds
  • Lifespan: 14 years
  • Traits: Intelligent, active, adaptable
  • Doggy Detail: Their fur never stops growing, unlike dogs that shed

Apartment Pet Honorable Mentions

Many landlords don’t allow dogs because they are relatively high-maintenance pets, so if you find yourself in this situation there are plenty of other animals that make excellent companions.

illustrations of other small apartment pets
  1. Cats: The obvious alternative and rival of dogs, many landlords will choose to allow cats because they are quiet and generally lowkey animals. Though they have a reputation for being aloof, many cats are just as cute and cuddly as dogs. Their small size, indoor potty training, and independence are also great “cat”ssets.
  2. Bearded Dragons: If you have a fur allergy or a landlord that is very restrictive about pets, you may want to give reptiles a try. Bearded dragons have become popular family pets over the last decade because of their easy care routine and sociability. However, they are not for the squeamish as they will need to be fed live insects to remain healthy.
  3. Tarantulas: Speaking of squeamish, tarantulas actually make excellent pets despite their fearsome reputation. These furry behemoths are pretty cute once you get used to them, and easy to care for as long as you have a good-sized tank kept at the proper humidity. If you’re looking for a lowkey pet, tarantulas are ideal as it is not recommended that you handle them (for both your own safety and theirs).
  4. Rats: You’re telling us to bring more rats into the city? Yes! Though they do have a “garbage” reputation, rats are one of the best rodent pets a person could ask for. When not left to fend for themselves, they are actually quite clean creatures and many enjoy snuggling. They’re also highly intelligent and easy to train. However, it’s important to note that they are social creatures so it’s recommended to have two rats to keep each other company.

Now that you know all about the best apartment dogs and other pets, download our visual guide below to take this information with you and help you make your important decision:

button to download guide to best apartment dogs

Just because you live in a small apartment, doesn’t mean you have to do without a beloved animal companion. It just takes a little extra time and research to find the right furry (or scaly) friend for you. Landlords looking to find the perfect tenants and pets for their rentals can visit TurboTenant’s rental application and tenant screening services.

Sources:American Kennel Club | Dogtime.com

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