Best Apartment Dogs: Choosing the Right Breed

Anyone looking to add a canine companion to the household needs to take a close look at their living situation and consider if it could support a pet — and that’s especially true if you live in an apartment. It takes time and preparation to make sure you and your dog, and your landlord are happy with the arrangement.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Considering Apartment Dogs

Before you get ahead of yourself and head to the nearest shelter, ask yourself three questions:

Do I have the space? All dogs need a bit of space to roam throughout the day, and if you have a small apartment and not much of a yard, you’ll need to make consistent trips to the dog park.

Do I have the lifestyle? If you’re traveling consistently or are frequently gone for eight or nine hours every day, a dog probably isn’t a great fit with your lifestyle. You should plan to return home to let your pup out every four hours.

Do I have the money? The costs involved with pets can really stack up, from food and treats to flea and tick protection and regular veterinary check-ups. According to Petfinder, you should plan on spending at least $500 a year to keep your pup happy and healthy.

Yes, yes, and yes? It’s on to apartment shopping!

Finding Pet-Friendly Apartments

As crazy as it sounds, some people don’t want pets in their homes or properties. If you’re already in the middle of a lease and want to bring a dog aboard, check your lease terms carefully to see if it’s prohibited by the landlord or would be accompanied by an additional security deposit or monthly fee.

If you’ll be finding a new place, there are tons of pet-friendly rentals out there, and many of them have fantastic dog-friendly features like  pet-washing stations or dog run areas. On Rentable, you can add your dog or cat filter alongside your other hopes and dreams (in-unit laundry or balcony, perhaps), and find dozens of places that fit the bill.

Or, you can head to our pet-friendly apartments page, which has resources — like an adorable pet resume — to get you started.

Keep in mind that many properties have breed and size restrictions, so check the listings in your area to see what the norm is before getting your heart set on getting a bullmastiff.

With a pet-friendly apartment secured, it’s time for the fun part — finding your new best friend.

Best Apartment Dogs

Earlier, we mentioned that all dogs need room to roam — but some dogs require a lot more than others. Hunting and herding dogs, such as pointers or border collies, need to let loose and get plenty of exercise in order to be happy and healthy. No matter how many square feet your apartment is, your pup will go nuts stuck inside.

Instead, consider a low-activity breed and, logically, a smaller frame that can more easily fit into your apartment. These breeds make good apartment dogs:

Pugs are one of the best small breeds for renters

Best Small-Breed Apartment Dogs

  • Terriers — Yorkshire, toy fox, silky, Boston and other terriers are the perfect size for apartments. Some breeds have the tendency to bark if left alone, so be sure to invest in training and socializing your affectionate terrier.
  • Bulldogs — Lazy enough for any lifestyle, bulldogs are great apartment pets, even if sometimes they seem more like a furnishing. They can also do some amazing stuff; you won’t believe these mind blowing facts about french bulldogs.
  • Dachshund — This breed’s compact size sells itself, and with such short legs, dachshunds tire out even with only mild exercise.
  • Corgis — Much like dachshunds, they’re small, adorable, and wonderfully stubby-legged.
  • Pugs — They’re very low-energy pets that won’t require much outdoor exercise.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel — Like all Spaniels, this affectionate breed is a great size for small spaces and has relatively low activity needs.

Best Medium-Sized for Dogs for Apartments

  • Greyhounds — They seem large and energetic, but a daily walking is enough to tide this docile breed over.
  • Basenjis — It’s not just possible property damage that gives landlords pause about accepting dogs; it’s also the noise. This barkless breed is small enough for apartment life and with regular exercise, will be a great companion.
  • Poodles — Poodles have their quirks, such as hyperactivity and a love for chewing as a puppy — but if you can power through, you’ll have a loyal and extremely intelligent roommate.

Best Large-Breed Apartment Dogs

  • Great danes — They’re like house horses, but if you have the space, great danes are a great option for apartments because they’re quite low-energy and most require only a daily walk.
  • Mastiff — These gentle giants continue to mellow out throughout their years, and can make a great companion for any renter with the room.
  • Irish wolfhound — Even larger than great danes, these sweet, majestic hounds can get by with daily walks if you augment that with some weekend trips to the dog park. But if you don’t let this breed run free once and awhile, they can get a bit destructive bouncing around the house.
  • Shar pei — This wrinklesome breed doesn’t always get along the best with other dogs, but they’re loyal, low-energy pets that can be happy with a walk or two every day.

Regardless of the breed, you should always plan to spend some time every day and weekend exercising your new roommate, and pay attention to behaviors that could indicate anxiety or boredom, such as excessive chewing, barking, or making a mess in the house.

For more tips, read our complete guide to pet-friendly apartment living.