Best Indoor Dogs: Top Breeds That Adapt Well to Small Living Spaces

Best dogs for small indoor spaces

Small indoor dogs may be small, but they make up for their small bodies with playfulness and great personalities. Celebrities have turned these small fluffy balls into popular fashion accessories, however, they are not toys. These dogs can be great companions to your children and you. There are many small dog breeds and each one has different needs, temperaments, and personalities.

Choosing the perfect breed for you may be difficult and depends on many factors, primarily on the dog’s energy level and exercise routine. This means that dogs with lower energy levels would require less exercise than the bigger dogs that need frequent outdoor activities like walking or jogging.

However, you should keep in mind that even though these types of dogs are small and their energy levels are low, they still need to exercise or they can become depressed and overweight, which you would never want to happen. This also means that due to their small stature they may be more sensitive to certain diseases. Be it a small or big dog, they need love, friendship, and constant care all the time.


If the dog is of small indoor breed that does not mean that you can leave him alone in the apartment for hours. This article will provide you with a guide to some of the best indoor dogs, their needs and characteristics.


The Maltese dog is probably one of the most popular companion dog breeds in the world. The Maltese dog is also one of the most ancient breeds and with a history that can be traced to the early cultures of Greece and Rome. However, the exact origin is still unknown, and this cute dog is known as the ‘ancient dog of Malta’ and the ‘Roman Ladies’ Dog’.

The Maltese dog has a glamorous, silky, long and white coat which looks noble and elegant; however, the looks can be really deceiving because this little white doggy can be fierce and fearless. He is used not only as a companion, but also as a therapy dog and competitor in dog sports such as obedience, rally and tracking. Most importantly, the Maltese simply love to be with his people.

When it comes to their size, the weight is up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and the height is up to 12 inches at the shoulder (30 cm). You should avoid the so called ‘tea cup’ Maltese that weight less than 4 pounds at maturity because that means that such dogs are more prone to genetic disorders and higher health risk in general. Their life span is up to 15 years.


When it comes to their personality, they are known for having a lively personality and they take well to training and positive reinforcements since they love to be around people. They also respond well to food rewards, praise and play. They are fearless in the presence of other dogs and people and their cuteness and sweetness enables them to always get their way, even if the masters have no intention of spoiling them. This means that they are also irresistible.

The puppies are often curious, playful and willing to approach people and be cuddled by them. You should always choose the puppy that is cheerful and playful, not the one that is hiding in the corner. They need early socialization in order to become comfortable with people and the environment in general.

Maltese do not have the undercoat, which means that they do not shed much, or not at all. However, you should comb and brush it regularly in order to keep it shiny and healthy. They also need to have their nails trimmed regularly and the hair that grows in their ears should be removed too. You should also know that you must brush their teeth regularly in order to remove the bacteria and tartar.

Clean the eyes of your Maltese with warm water to prevent tear stains and you should also wash his beard after the meal. You do not want his silky white coat to be dirty. If you happen to notice that your doggie’s nose is becoming pink, then you should take him outside more often because he is not getting enough sunshine.

Maltese do not get along well with small children or babies, simply because they can easily hurt the dog during a game by dropping him or holding him too tightly. That is why many Maltese breeders do not sell the Maltese puppies to families with small children.  They would do much better in a home with quiet and older children or just adults.

They can also get along well with other dogs and cats, but only if you socialize with them from an early age. Their fierceness can be seen in the fact that they are unaware of their tiny size and they are ready to take on a dog that is ten times their size.


The Pomeranian is another good indoor dog breed that was named after the Pomerania area in Central Europe (the modern-day Germany and Poland). They descended from the large sled dog breeds and they are also known as “the little dogs who think they can”.

When it comes to their size, the weight is up to 7 pounds (3.5 kg) and the height is up to 11 inches at the shoulder (28 cm). Their life span is up to 16 years. Nowadays the Pomeranians come in any color or pattern you can imagine, and that includes white, black, brown, reddish, spotted; plus combinations of those colors.

The most common colors are brown, black or cream and white. The Pomeranian’s coat is thick, stand-out and double with a soft, thick and fluffy undercoat. The frill around Pom’s neck makes him look even more proud.

When it comes to their personality, they are extroverted, small and vivacious. They love meeting new people and they get along with other animals, however, you must socialize them from an early age. Do not let them challenge bigger dogs because they are never aware of their small size. They are also very curious and inquisitive so they make excellent watch dogs that would bark at any stranger.

However, you should teach them to stop barking at your command, otherwise they will continue barking all day long and you will go crazy. You will see that they are very loyal to their family and they are very suspicious of strangers.

You should pay attention to your Pom so he does not get exposed to high heat and humidity or else he can have heat stroke. Watch your Pom closely when you are taking him for a walk. This breed should never be kept outside – they are too sensitive but that also means that they make a great choice for an indoor companion.

Pomeranian Dog

Do not forget that their small size makes them an easy prey to owls, eagles, coyotes and other wild animals. That is why you must never leave them alone outside, especially if you live in the countryside or in the area where some of the predatory animals can be found. Additionally, their popularity makes them a frequent target for dognappers, which is another reason for you not to leave them alone outside.

Pomerians are very active indoor dogs and choosing a Pomerian is a great choice if you want a smaller pet that is not in need of longer walks and exercises. They are sensitive to heat so never take them out during the worst dog days. They love challenges and they can easily get bored or depressed if left alone for a long time, so make sure to give them lots of toys and training, however, their attention span is short so the training sessions should be short too.

Just like with Maltese, Pom is best suited for older children or adults. They are too tiny and fragile, and children can unintentionally hurt them.


The Peke is believed to be one of the oldest dogs ever and his origin can be traced 2,000 years ago in China, Beijing. He has been a companion to princes and members of the royal family. According to a Chinese legend, the Pekingese was made by Buddha who reduced a lion in size but let him retain his great heart and character in order for him to wed a marmoset. And that is why this breed is called today the ‘lion kind of imperial China’.

The Pekingese weight up to 14 pounds (6.4 kg) and the height is to 9 inches (23 cm). When it comes to their coat, the breed has all sorts of combinations. Most of them are gold, red, brown, black, white etc. Regardless of their coat color, the muzzle, nose, lips and eyes are always black. They also shed a lot, which means that you should comb and brush them frequently. A life span is 15 years.

The Pekingese has a strong stand-up character and he may look fluffy and small, but he really is a lion at heart. He is stubborn, confident, loyal and protective. He is suspicious of strangers and a protector of his master. Since he is so much stubborn, you must train him with firm consistency so he does not end up barking all day long or simply refusing to listen to you. Like with other dogs, you must socialize him from an early age so he can get used to other people, dogs, animals in general, the environment etc.


The Pekingese almost always snore, even loudly, because they have short noses. They do not tolerate heat well and they are difficult to break. They also tend to be one-person dogs and they will get attached to one person who takes care of him the most.

They make amazing apartment dogs and they can be happy in an apartment. They love to explore and wander off. They also like to go for walks, however, do not forget that their tiny legs are not suitable for tiresome exercises and they can have heat stroke. They should never live outdoors. If you are looking for a loyal, devoted and unique friend, then this breed may be for you. The Pekingese needs a friend who is able to understand his needs and unique personality and he will for sure return your love and affection.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire terrier aka Yorkie originates from the 19th century in Yorkshire, England and he was used primarily as a dog for rat-baiting.

The Yorkshire terriers weight up to 6 pounds (2.7 kg) and the height is up to 9 inches (23 cm). When it comes to their coat, it must be glossy, fine, perfectly straight, and silky. They have only one coat which means that they shed very little; however, you must comb and brush them regularly. It is interesting that all Yorkie puppies are born black; however, as they get older, due to hormonal changes they become lighter and their color is turned into a grayish color. A life span is 15 years.


When it comes to their personality, they are smart, self-assured, cheerful, spirited, mischievous, cuddly, perky, outgoing. Some of them can be shy while the others can be really too out-going and active. If you spoil them you will make your life very difficult because it is hard to correct bad habits later on. Your Yorkie can be a wonderful companion if you set limits and train him. However, remember that they are small and fragile (even if they act as much bigger dogs), and they should never be kept outside or forced to train too much.

And just like with other dogs, most dog breeders won’t sell them to families with small children. That is because kids can unintentionally hurt them, step on them or squeeze them too tight. They are fragile and that is why you must take care of them as if they were family members, which they are.


The Chihuahua, or the smallest dog in the world, is a dog breed that originates from Mexico and it is named after one of its states. However, nobody is really sure about the exact origin. The most common theory is that Chihuahua is a descendent of the Techichi, a companion dog, but some even say that the Aztecs raised them as food.

The weight is never more than 6 pounds (2.7 kg), but the height may vary and it is usually between 9 and 9 inches (15 and 23 cm). When it comes to colors, they come in any color or pattern possible. When it comes to their coat, they can be smooth or long.


The Chihuahua is often said to be terrier-like, which means that it is very bold and confident even though it is the smallest dog in the world. Being the smallest has many cons though – they are the obvious prey to larger animals and predators, which means that you should never leave it alone in the public or in the countryside. They are the indoor dogs and they should never be left alone for a long time outside.

It is also very common for Chihuahuas to bond to only one person even though they are willing to make friend to other people and animals. They are usually reserved and suspicious; they can be timid if you do not socialize them from an early age.

Other Good Indoor Dog Breeds Worth Checking Out:

  • Affenpinscher
  • Bichon Frise
  • Bolognese
  • Boston Terrier
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chinese Crested
  • Coton de Tulear
  • Dachshund (Miniature)
  • Havanese
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Maltese Shih Tzu
  • Maltipoo
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Papillon
  • Peekapoo
  • Poodle (Toy & Miniature)
  • Pug
  • Rat Terrier (Toy & Miniature)
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Yorkipoo

To sum up, there are many indoor dogs, and every breed has its unique characteristics, pros and cons. Most of good indoor dogs are of small size and that makes them perfect companions for apartments and small houses. They are also easy to take traveling with you, having in mind that you do it with care.

It is also very interesting that even though most of these indoor breeds are tiny, they make it up for it in their temperament and heart. They are loyal, protective and devoted. They will love the family or the person they are with and they will ask for your attention and return affection.


The most important thing to remember is that you must be able to provide for the dog’s needs, take him for walks etc because even though he is small, that does not mean that his needs should be ignored. They differ from other dogs in lower energy levels which make them the perfect friends at home and they must not be kept outdoors. All in all, they are still as important as any other breed.