My 9 Best Apartment Dogs

best apartment dogs

Most dogs suitable for apartments will be small, but that does not mean that all small breeds will make the best apartment dogs list.

There are larger dogs that would make better apartment pets than some smaller breeds! Take the Great Dane, for example. You will find it surprising that these dogs would be more suitable for an apartment than a Jack Russell.

Why? It all comes down to a breed’s activity level. Despite their huge size, Great Danes are quite placid and require only a certain amount of exercise per day. They are not very active and tend to enjoy lounging about house. Therefore, the Great Dane would make the best big dogs for apartments list any day of the week.

Unfortunately, the Great Dane does not make this list of the best apartment dogs strictly because of its size.

The smaller Jack Russell, on the other hand, can be quite active, boisterous, and requires lots of exercises, which makes it one of the worst dogs for apartments.

An apartment will frustrate a Jack Russell, while a Great Dane can be very comfortable in the same apartment.

Therefore, the best apartment dogs chosen for this article have two particular qualities:

1. They are happy with a certain amount of exercise per day

2. They tend to be comfortable indoors or in smaller spaces

Here Are My Nine Best Apartment Dogs

1. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a great family pet. They do not need an overly active, busy owner or family. However, these dogs love to be where the action is! This breed is surprisingly challenging, and they do well with children. The Shih Tzu also make great companions to other pets. However, always supervise introductions to ensure a smooth start to their friendship.


This dog requires consistent training by an experienced or a very patient handler due to stubbornness. Due to their short attention span, the training sessions should be short, frequent and fun.

They are a highly intelligent dog with a stubborn streak. Do not overfeed your Shih Tzu, as they tend to gain weight quickly. They’re also excellent watchdogs. It is a no-brainer why the Shih Tzu is considered one of the best apartment dogs.

The Shih Tzu is one of a variety of dogs that don’t shed as much as many other breeds, which also makes them an ideal dog for those looking for a hypoallergenic canine companion.

2. Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is not recommended for houses with very young children as this breed tends to guard food and toys. Older children must learn how to handle the Affenpinscher gently.


The Affenpinscher enjoys being with her family and other pets, with whom she is properly socialized. A mark of her terrier ancestry is the Affenpinscher’s tendency to challenge or become hyper-excited around unfamiliar (sometimes larger) dogs.

Take care to ensure proper socializing with other dogs as a puppy, so she is less likely to acquire this habit.

This breed requires consistent training by an experienced handler due to stubbornness or a need for variety. Cheerful and mischievous, the Affenpinscher requires fun and variety in training sessions.

Repetition will bore the Affenpinscher and slack handling will cause the dog to rebel. This breed is capable of learning new commands very quickly.

3. Basset hound-dog

The Basset Hound is a good family dog. They are highly affectionate with children and get along great with other dogs. This breed requires consistent training by an experienced handler due to stubbornness.


Basset Hounds can be stubborn. Therefore, patient and positive handling is a requirement. The best trained Basset Hound can be difficult to handle when she’s picked up a scent!

Keep in mind that the Basset Hound is well-known to excel in competition obedience, so good training does have a positive impact on this breed.

4. Beagle

Beagles are typically good with other dogs as they were originally bred to hunt in packs. However, Beagles may not be good with other small pets due to their natural hunting instincts.


The Beagle is excellent with children. She makes a lovely, merry and ever-ready play companion! They are easy to train, like to please, but is easily distracted.

Generally obedient, the Beagle is easily distracted by smells around her. Beagles require firm and patient training.

The Beagle can be single-minded at times and it can be hard to hold her attention when she is on trail of a scent. Therefore, keep training sessions for a Beagle short and fun.

5. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise needs regular human interaction and affection to be happy. These dogs are highly social and expect their owners to take them wherever they go. They are suitable for children and other dogs, which is why they are on this list of the best apartment dogs.


Bichon Frise is intelligent, bright, and attentive and motivated to learn. This breed is a very intelligent dog and can be taught many little tricks that will impress any audience!

This is an easier dog to train because she is highly motivated to please her owner, although keep in mind that house training may take more time and patience.

6. Bolognese

The Bolognese can get along well with children. As the Bolognese is small,  families with very young children need to take special care that no harm comes to this sensitive little dog.


Although the Bolognese gets along with other dogs and pets, this breed will happily become a family’s only pet.

They are intelligent, bright, and attentive and motivated to learn. These intelligent dogs are relatively easy to train as they love to please their owners and find learning easy.

As this dog is very intelligent, variety and fun should be central to any training session.

7. Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers top the list as the one of the best apartment dogs because they are great family pets. They are good with strangers, elderly people, and children. This is an affectionate breed that wants the owner to treat her like a family member.


Despite being ‘terrier’ by name, Boston Terriers are not ‘terrier’ by nature. As such, if socialized well, the Boston terrier typically gets along with other household pets and dogs. Actually, the Boston would also be a great candidate for the best dogs for apartments and cats list.

The Boston terrier can do anything to please her owner, making her very trainable. These dogs are incredibly clever and quick to learn.

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an excellent companion for dogs and other pets in the family. You cannot have a list of the best apartment dogs and not have this dog at or near the top.

As they love to chase, proper socialization is essential so the Cavalier learns how to get along with her animal companions and not to give them a chase around the house.


Cavaliers are a peaceful breed that tries to get along with any dog, even those of a larger size! Early socialization with other dogs will enable the Cavalier to harness her natural friendliness and confidence with other dogs.

Cavaliers are generally good with children. However, these dogs can be especially fragile. Therefore, do not leave them alone with younger children who may accidentally harm them.

The Cavalier’s primary motivation is to please her owner and attract positive attention; this makes them great dogs to train in either obedience or tricks.

This dog is intelligent, quick and very responsive, making her easy to train. Positive methods coupled with consistency will serve the Cavalier well.

9. Chihuahuas

As Chihuahuas are very loyal dogs, they may show aggression towards others when in the arms of their owners.

This may seem funny and harmless at first, but this behavior must be firmly discouraged from the beginning. If allowed to develop, this behavior may result in the Chihuahua actually biting and nipping at anyone, even other family members.


Once this behavior is ingrained it will be difficult to reverse. The Chihuahua needs extensive socialization to be tolerant of others throughout her life. This breed will need a firm and consistent owner.

Chihuahuas want to please their owners, so teaching them obedience and house rules can be a pleasure if done well.

It’s also important to consider the size of your apartment when choosing a breed. The most important question to ask is: “Will the dog be able to wander around comfortably in my apartment?”

Some apartments will simply be too small for a larger breed. You must also consider how much free space your apartment has.

It’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to the size breed your apartment can house. In this way, you will not feel guilty about your dog’s comfort level.

Other Apartment Dogs to Consider

Recommended For You