A small living space shouldn’t stop you from being a pup parent.
Apartment living means no lawn care to worry about and less square-footage to clean, but those perks also come with a few disadvantages. Sharing a wall with a loud neighbor isn’t fun, and there’s also the fact that less living space and no yard doesn’t exactly scream “dog’s dream home.”
There are some dog breeds that absolutely need an outdoor space where they can run and be free. If they don’t, say goodbye to your couch cushions and your sanity. But fear not, dog-loving apartment dwellers. There are plenty of small dog breeds that thrive in apartments. They’re the dogs that prefer naps on the couch to long games of fetch, and they won’t take up the whole room when they’re stretched out on the carpet. Any one of these dog breeds would be happy to be your newest roommate.
1. French Bulldog
It’s hard to resist the smushed-up face and giant bat ears of a French Bulldog. This small dog breed has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and part of that is because they’re great apartment dogs. Every dog, even the tiny ones, needs exercise, but Frenchies are perfectly content with a short walk or indoor playtime. In fact, their short nasal passages basically disqualify them for any rigorous exercise, and they’re better off in your lap than out running miles. The fact that they rarely bark also means they won’t annoy your neighbors.
2. Yorkshire Terrier
Tipping the scale at an average seven pounds, Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest dog breeds out there. They’re even smaller than the average house cat, and they won’t take up much room in your apartment. The thing to remember with Yorkies, however, is that they like to yap. If they’re bored or hyped up, they might get in the habit of barking about their feelings. You’ll need to make sure your Yorkie gets moderate exercise and training.
3. Bichon Frise
It’s impossible to look at a Bichon Frise and not smile. These tiny, curly-haired white dogs are the definition of “happy-go-lucky.” They love everyone, and they’re known for being confident and charming. They need a good walk to keep them happy and healthy, but they’re not interested in running miles or playing fetch until your arm falls off. A Bichon is a small dog breed that’s definitely a favorite among apartment people. And best yet, their fluffy white fur is hypoallergenic.
4. Miniature and Toy Poodles
Poodles come in several different sizes. The two sizes fit for apartment living are the toys and the minis. A Toy Poodle doesn’t weigh more than 10 pounds, and a mini usually weighs less than 20 pounds. Their small size is great for a small apartment, and Poodles are also know for being one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They’re a joy to train, and they adapt well to indoor exercise and enrichment. It’s even common for Poodles to be litter trained. If there are a lot of stairs or a long elevator ride between your dog and their outdoor potty spot, litter training can help prevent messy accidents.
5. Italian Greyhound
An Italian Greyhound is a smaller version of a Greyhound. They’re slender, short-haired, and surprisingly laid-back. You’ll need to let these small dogs get their energy out in a safe space, but they’re mostly content to lounge around on the couch. As some of the fastest dogs in the world, Italian Greyhounds have two modes: cheetah and couch potato. When they’re not showing off their speed, they’re fairly lazy dogs that do well with apartment living.
A little on the mischievous side, Pugs are small dogs that can adapt to almost any living environment. They need exercise to prevent obesity, but their short legs and thick bodies are best designed for a daily walk or indoor playtime. If you let them, a Pug will probably choose to spend an entire day on the couch. And at only about a foot tall, there will be plenty of room for you to join them. Pugs are happy as long as they have a soft spot to sleep and a human who loves them.
7. Shih Tzu
With a history of being prized pets of Chinese royalty, the Shih Tzu is a sweet and affection dog breed. They weigh between 8 and 15 pounds and make good dogs for people in apartments. Unlike a lot of other small dog breeds, the Shih Tzu isn’t much of a yapper. They’re not territorial, and they’re more likely to wag their tail at a passerby than they are to bark. With consistent training, these small dogs adapt well to bustling city life.
8. Shiba Inu
The largest dog on this list (but still weighing around 20 pounds), the Shiba Inu is a beautiful dog breed. They’re the face of many a dog meme, and they have fun and friendly personalities. Shiba Inus are the type of dog that will help you stay active yourself, but they won’t have a meltdown if you’re forced to skip your daily walk. They like to run and explore, but they’re also content playing games in the living room or learning new tricks during training.
Small dog breeds are great for people who live in apartments as long as you commit to regular exercise and training. Whenever you bring a new dog into the family, remember that they’re all individuals. Every dog has a unique personality that comes with their own set of needs. Take the time to get to know a dog before you make it official—you want what’s best for both you and your new fur kid. And don’t forget that you can find all of these breeds at animal shelters and rescues.
Next up, learn more about the most clingy dog breeds that just want to follow you everywhere. Click here for the list.