Best Apartment Dogs: Our Picks of the Best Urban Canines

Best Apartment Dogs: Bull dogs, cavalier king charles spaniel, pug, greyhound, large dog breeds, small dog breeds, city dogs

Big city living is a whole lot of fun! There’s always something to do, most things are within walking distance, and there are plenty of people to interact with. However, with big-city living comes confined spaces. In cities like New York or Philadelphia, you don’t always have the option to live somewhere spacious, and that can make it hard to have pets. However, many cities are incredibly dog-friendly.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself living in an apartment, where you have neighbors and no private yards. Not all dogs can bode well with circumstances like that. Have no fear, though. Some dogs are very good at living in spaces like this.

Keep reading to find out more about the best dogs for apartment dwelling:

Should a Dog Live in an Apartment?

This is a hotly debated topic. On the one hand, some people believe that keeping a dog in an apartment can be like keeping them in a prison. Apartments aren’t always that spacious, and they can begin to feel cooped up in them.

However, many people have reported that no matter the size of the dog, they’ve seen success in keeping their pooches in apartments. They’ve just had to take some extra steps to make it work as well as possible.

Tip 1: Take Your Dog Outside More Often

A big benefit to living in a house is that your dog can typically go outside whenever they want to. In an apartment, they may not have that luxury. As such, it’s important that you have the time to get them out of the apartment more often than not. Being outside provides enrichment, exercise, and the opportunity to relieve themselves. 

Plan on taking your dog out several times a day, with two of those times being explicitly for exercise. Additionally, having a day during the week where they can get some intense exercise is also a good idea. This helps them escape the possibly cramped apartment and burn off some of that excess energy.

Tip 2: Know Your Dog’s Behaviors

Sometimes, an apartment isn’t an ideal situation for a dog not because of their size but because of their behavior. Some dogs are more vocal than others, which can be a dealbreaker in an apartment. Others have far more energy than others naturally. These are things that are unique to every dog’s personality.

Before introducing a pup to apartment living, make sure that you know their temperament and their personality. The last thing you’d want to do is adopt a dog that wouldn’t thrive in their living situation.

Tip 3: Make a Space Just For Them

Dogs living in an apartment aren’t given the luxury of having copious amounts of space to inhabit. As such, they need to be given a dedicated space that’s theirs in an apartment. It can be just a corner in the bedroom or living room, but it needs to be entirely dedicated to them. Put a nice dog bed in it, some of their favorite toys, and take them there when you want to give them treats. This can make them feel comfortable and happy during stressful times.

Tip 4: Visit Friends at the Park

This is a great way to get your pup out of the house and to get them the socialization that they need. This can help them feel like they’re part of a pack, which is highly important. It’s also one of the advantages that you should take advantage of when you’re living in a big city.

Tip 5: Visit the Vet Often

Living in a big city means that your pup might be more exposed to germs and illnesses because they will likely encounter more dogs. As such, make sure to take your dog for regular vaccinations. These checkups will help keep your pup healthy and can prevent them from getting diseases or parasites that they may be exposed to.

Tip 6: Train Your Pooch

In an urban environment, training is everything. This final tip is arguably the most important. Training a dog to respond to commands in an area full of distractions can make or break their ability to thrive in an apartment.

Apartments are full of people and other dogs. So, being able to keep their attention and prevent any issues from happening is key to living a happy life. Train your pup daily, keep them up to date on commands and good behaviors, and, of course, reward them for it. This is the best way to thrive in an apartment with a pooch.

Can Any Dog Live in an Apartment?

Yes… to an extent. Obviously, you don’t want to keep an Irish Wolfhound in a studio apartment; there wouldn’t be enough space for the two of you! However, most dogs can do well in an apartment, given the proper training and resources.

Now, there are some breeds that are better suited for apartment living. Most people would assume that these dogs are all small; however, some are a bit bigger than others. 

These dogs are all the best breeds for living in an apartment! When adopting a pup for urban life, consider finding a pup that’s got roots in these breeds.

The Bulldog

The Bulldog may be the perfect candidate for apartment living. These dogs are small and don’t require a huge amount of exercise, making small space living ideal. They’re also generally very friendly, even if their origins aren’t. These dogs are ready for an urban area due to their pleasing nature, their quiet disposition, and their relaxed disposition.

English Bulldogs only reach about 15 inches tall at the shoulder and generally weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds. They’re kind and affectionate and do reasonably well with small children and other dogs once they are given the time to warm up and get acquainted. If you’re looking for a great companion for your apartment, a Bulldog or Bulldog mix would be perfect.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This dog breed may not have its roots in urban living, but it is well-suited for it. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are noted as being some of the friendliest dogs around and have kept royal families company for centuries. As the name implies, these pups were kept by both King Charles I and Charles II. 

These pups have one of the friendliest demeanors in the dog world. Everyone they come across is their new best friend, including both people and other dogs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are toy spaniels and are much smaller than the English Bulldog mentioned above. They rarely reach a height of more than 13 inches at the shoulder and often weigh anywhere from 13 to 18 pounds. They have a friendly face and a long coat and are sure to make plenty of friends in the big city.

The Pug

Pugs are excellent apartment-dwelling dogs. The roots for the dog date back to Buddhist monasteries in China, where they kept monks company. They are loyal friends to their owners and have been described as being a lot of dog in a small space. 

Pugs do well with people and children and tend to make friends with other dogs easily, too. They are very vocal in some cases, and many videos of screaming pugs can be found online. However, they aren’t loud all of the time and are rarely described as “yappy.” Pugs are small in size, generally reaching about 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing about 18 pounds on the heavier end.

The Greyhound

The Greyhound is the largest dog on our list, standing at around 30 inches at the shoulder. They weigh about 70 pounds when fully grown. While this may seem big for an apartment, greyhounds are actually very well-suited for apartment living.

Greyhounds are known for being very attached to their owners and love to stay close to them, which is exactly what an apartment provides. They need to be monitored around children and dogs that are much smaller than them but do very well with people. They don’t mind the confines of a small living space and sometimes even prefer it. Many are rescues from old dog-racing ventures. If you want a slightly bigger dog built for an apartment, a Greyhound will work well for you.

Big Love in Small Spaces

While many dogs can adapt to apartment living with the right tips and tricks, there are some breeds that are better at it. If you’re looking for a dog, though, don’t hold out on adopting just because of a pup’s breed. Find a dog that you connect with and help them adjust. You’ll find a new friend for life when you do!


How to Keep a Dog Happy and Healthy in a Small Apartment | Apartment Guide
Best Dogs for Apartments | American Kennel Club
Best Cities For Dogs 2021 | Forbes Advisor