How to Choose the Right Breed and Size of Dog for Apartment Living?

Living in an apartment does not mean you should miss out on the joys of owning a dog. However, it does require some careful consideration to ensure your pet fits well into your apartment lifestyle. Not all dogs are well-suited to small living spaces, and some breeds may struggle with the lack of outdoor space, or cause nuisance to neighbors with excessive barking. Therefore, the key to harmonious apartment living with a dog is selecting the right breed and size, with the right energy levels and trainability.

Consider the Size of the Dog

When talking about dogs and apartments, the first thing that likely comes to mind is size. It seems logical to think that a smaller dog breed would be a better fit for a smaller living space. However, size is not the sole determining factor.

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You might assume that a large dog would feel cramped in a small apartment, but many large dogs are actually quite relaxed and require less exercise than some smaller, high-energy breeds. Some large dogs, like the Greyhound, are known as "couch potatoes" and can do quite well in apartments.

However, it’s also important to consider the dog’s size in relation to your apartment’s rules and restrictions. Some apartments have weight limits for pets, so always check these before bringing a larger dog into your home.

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Evaluate the Breed’s Energy Level

While considering the size of your dog, it’s crucial to also evaluate the breed’s energy level. The breed’s energy level can often be more important than their size when determining if they’re a good fit for apartment living.

High-energy dogs, such as Border Collies or Jack Russell Terriers, may become frustrated and act out if they do not have enough space to run around and burn off their energy. On the other hand, breeds with lower energy levels, such as Bulldogs or Bichon Frises, are often content with short walks and indoor playtime.

Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. Regardless of their energy level, regular exercise is crucial for all dogs to maintain their health and prevent behavioral problems.

Assess the Breed’s Trainability

Another important aspect to consider is the breed’s trainability. Dogs that are easy to train can be taught rules more easily, which can make apartment living smoother and less stressful for both of you.

Breeds that are known for their trainability include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles. These dogs are often eager to please their owners, which can make training easier. However, each dog is individual, and their trainability can also depend on their personality and past experiences.

Training your dog to be well-behaved in an apartment encompasses more than just basic commands. It also includes behaviors like not barking at every sound they hear in the hallway, being calm when visitors come over, and being comfortable with being alone for periods of time.

Look at the Breed’s Tendency to Bark

No one wants to be the neighbor with the constantly barking dog. Therefore, it’s important to consider a breed’s tendency to bark. Some breeds are more prone to barking than others, which could potentially lead to conflicts with neighbors in an apartment setting.

For example, hounds are known for their loud howls, while terrier breeds often bark when they detect movement or noises. On the other hand, breeds like the Basenji are known for being relatively quiet, which might make them a better fit for apartment living.

Remember, while some breeds might be predisposed to barking, a lot can be done through training and socialization to manage this behavior. It’s also important to ensure your dog has enough mental stimulation to prevent nuisance barking due to boredom.

Consider the Dog’s Friendliness Towards Strangers and Other Pets

Lastly, consider your potential pet’s friendliness towards strangers and other pets. In an apartment setting, your dog will regularly encounter other residents, visitors, and pets. Breeds that are known for being friendly and sociable, such as Beagles and Retrievers, can often adapt well to this kind of environment.

However, more reserved or territorial breeds, such as Rottweilers or Chow Chows, may find the constant presence of strangers stressful. Remember to also consider the dog’s compatibility with other pets, especially if your building has a communal pet area.

Choosing the right dog for apartment living can seem like a daunting task. However, by considering these factors and understanding the needs and behaviors of different breeds, you can find a canine companion that will thrive in your apartment home. Remember, the best dog for you is one that fits well with your lifestyle and is happy and healthy in your care.

Understand the Dog’s Exercise Needs

Dogs, irrespective of their size or breed, require physical activity to maintain their health and well-being. A regular exercise routine not only helps in maintaining your pet’s physical health but also plays a significant role in their mental stimulation. Considering your dog’s exercise needs is, therefore, another critical aspect of choosing the right dog for your apartment lifestyle.

Typically, dogs that are high in energy like Border Collies or Beagles require a lot of exercise and playtime. Failing to provide them with sufficient physical activity can lead to boredom, which can manifest in destructive behavior such as excessive chewing or barking. However, not all dogs require a large amount of exercise. Breeds like Bulldogs or Basset Hounds are known for their laid-back nature and require comparatively less physical activity.

If you live in an apartment, the availability of outdoor spaces, such as parks, can also influence your decision. Dogs that require a lot of exercise will greatly benefit from having a park nearby where they can run freely and expend their energy.

Learn About the Dog’s Grooming Needs

In addition to size, energy levels, and trainability, taking a dog’s grooming needs into account is also important when choosing a pet for apartment living. Dog breeds differ greatly in their grooming needs. Some require daily brushing and frequent professional grooming sessions, while others need only occasional baths and minimal brushing.

For instance, Poodles, Maltese, and Shih Tzus have hair that grows continuously, which requires frequent grooming to prevent matting and skin issues. On the other hand, dogs with short coats like Beagles, Dachshunds, or Boston Terriers require less grooming.

However, a dog’s grooming needs do not stop at their coat. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also important aspects of a dog’s grooming routine. Be prepared to invest time and effort into maintaining your dog’s health, irrespective of the breed you choose.


The decision to bring a dog into your apartment lifestyle is one that should be made with careful consideration. Each dog breed has its own unique set of characteristics, including size, energy level, trainability, tendency to bark, friendliness towards strangers and other pets, exercise needs, and grooming requirements. Therefore, it is essential to understand these traits and how they align with your lifestyle and the regulations of your apartment building.

While considering these factors may seem overwhelming at the onset, it does not need to be a daunting task. With the right information and a bit of patience, you will be able to find a dog that fits perfectly into your apartment living situation. Remember, the key to a positive pet ownership experience in an apartment setting is ensuring that both you and your dog are happy and comfortable with the arrangement. Whether you choose a small, low-energy breed with minimal grooming needs or a large, high-energy breed with a lot of grooming requirements, your new pet will certainly add joy and companionship to your life.