The 15 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Dwellers

Not all dogs are well-suited to apartment living. These adorable pups have what it takes to make the most of small spaces.

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Sassy and loyal Chihuahuas have lit up the big screen in films like Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Legally Blonde. These pint-sized pups prefer to be close to their owners and do well in small spaces, like apartments. They also don’t need a lot of exercise, but if you go out in the cold, keep him warm with a sweater. Chihuahuas can lose body heat quickly. Inside, you may find that this pup’s favorite spot is on your lap, settled in for a Netflix marathon.

French Bulldog

French bulldogs are well-mannered and affectionate. They love to play and spend quality time with their humans, making them fantastic companion dogs. However, they also value their beauty sleep (Frenchies can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day). These pups are compact and don’t require a lot of activity. French bulldogs also don’t bark much - at least not for no reason - and have much love to give. No wonder Frenchies are the most-hashtagged dog breed on Instagram.


The lesser-known Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. This small, spunky pup is also the only dog breed native to this tropical island nation. Havanese doggos love to play, but always with a watchful eye, making sure their owner is near. This pup’s not clingy; he’s just loyal to his human. The Havanese does well in small spaces and doesn’t shed much, despite its thick coat of fur (a bonus for those with allergies).


In German, Lowchen means "little lion dog," but this dog is more friendly than fierce. Once among the rarest dogs in the world, this toy pup’s numbers grew in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, he’s a popular companion dog, especially in Europe. This pup is smart, playful and one of the healthiest breeds, often living 15 years or more. The Lowchen is gentle and devoted without high exercise needs. He’s no couch potato, but he will make a good sofa pal in a small apartment.

Shih Tzu

The lovable shih tzu may have been bred as a lapdog, but this gentle pup enjoys frolicking at the park, too. However, he can easily get all the exercise he needs roaming about your apartment. This cuddly canine is eager to be your best friend and a loving companion for life. As a bonus, the shih tzu tends to be less yappy than other toy breeds. It’s hard to go wrong with such a friendly and good-tempered pooch.

Yorkshire Terrier

It’s hard not to love a Yorkshire terrier thanks to his gentle, affectionate nature. Yorkies are petite pups that can get a day’s worth of exercise scurrying about your apartment. With strangers, they can be cautious, even feisty, but they’re simply being protective of their humans. These cuddle-bugs will love a good snooze on your lap, but you’ll want to acclimate them to the world outside your apartment. This will help ensure a secure and social pooch.

Bichon Frise

The clever and charming bichon frise loves to be around people and is thankfully hypoallergenic, a plus for allergy sufferers eager to add a furry friend to their lives. The bichon frise is also a great pick for first-time pooch owners given their calm, even-keeled personality. These small pups don’t need a lot of exercise - a romp around your apartment will do - but these doggos are so adorable you may want to show them off around the neighborhood.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sex and the City fans may instantly recognize the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the breed owned by Charlotte York in the series. This loving and friendly dog is well-known for its comforting nature, snugly falling into place on your lap. Thanks to its small size - the breed tops out at 18 pounds - they don’t need much to stay active, but they can also be taken out for long walks. A small apartment is fine for this pooch, though you may find he keeps close wherever you roam.

Boston Terrier

Nicknamed "American Gentleman" for his tuxedo-like coat, the Boston terrier is a gentle, loving pup that’s eager to please and doesn’t require much exercise. A couple of daily walks is just fine for this doggo. Thanks to their short hair, Boston terriers are easy to groom and won’t shed much on your furniture. It’s easy to fall in love with this pup at first sight thanks to his inquisitive expression and large eyes that seem to peer deep into your soul.


We all love the Royals, and by association, we all love corgis. Queen Elizabeth herself has owned more than 30 corgis since taking the throne in 1952. These fluffy and adorable pups have little legs that don’t require long walks, making them well-suited for small spaces. They’ll do just as well in big spaces too, like Windsor Castle. However, this loving doggo does like to shed, so brush him regularly and keep several lint rollers within easy reach around the apartment.


A cross between a Maltese and a toy poodle, the Maltipoo is, in one word, adorable. This little furball is smart, sweet and friendly. He’s also well-suited for apartment life, weighing in at just 10 pounds and not needing loads of exercise. He may scamper about your living space from time to time, but he’s equally keen to cuddle up with you on the sofa. A good choice for first-time dog owners, Maltipoos are relatively easy to train and are fast learners.

Chow Chow

The chow chow may be larger than many other apartment-friendly dog breeds - they can weigh up to 70 pounds - but they’re not especially active and will do just fine in smaller spaces. Chow chows are also quieter and more independent than smaller breeds, but their soft, fluffy coats draw you in for a warm hug. These pups are protective, so socialize them to ensure they are comfortable around family and friends. Keep their heavy coats trimmed in the summer to stave off grouchiness.


The whippet is another medium-sized dog that does just fine in an apartment. These doggos may not make good watchdogs, but they do make loyal and loving companions. A relative of the greyhound, whippets aren’t fluffy or furry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love a good cuddle. They’re also calm and love themselves a good snooze session on the couch. More prone to cold than other breeds, keep them warm with a jacket or sweater in winter months.


A greyhound may be able to hit speeds of 45 miles per hour, but despite popular belief, they don’t need lots of exercise. Instead, a couple of daily walks will do, but more for the mental stimulation than the physical activity. You may find that a greyhound’s favorite space in your apartment is your sofa, like the entire sofa, since they can weigh in at nearly 90 pounds. These gentle giants rarely bark and agreeably adapt to new living situations.


There’s so much to love about the poodle. The breed is well-behaved, even-tempered and hypoallergenic. They’re also quick learners. Smaller poodle breeds (e.g., toy poodles) are better suited for apartments and require less daily exercise. Standard poodles, however, need more activity to burn off energy if you have the time to dedicate. Poodles don’t like to bark and prefer calm environments with minimal chaos. These pups are natively people-pleasers and enjoy a good social session with neighbor dogs and humans.

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