Best Dog Breeds for College Students: Friendly Low Maintenance Best Friends

Best Dog Breeds for College Students
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Dog ownership is a lifetime commitment. Your personality, lifestyle and interests can greatly impact your choice of dog breed. Taking care of another living life requires time and money, 2 things that college students do not have a lot. This is one of the reasons why parents do not let their kids take their pet dogs with them to college.

However, if they can comfortably fit taking care of a dog with their time and budget, there is no reason why college students should not have pet dogs. Learning about the best dog breeds for college students can make selecting a dog easier. Luckily, there are many dog breeds that can fit into a college student’s busy lifestyle. Some of these dogs are ideal for dorm or apartment living.

Every dog breed needs different care but certain dog breeds that are much suited to a student’s lifestyle. If you have decided to get a dog while you’re still in school, you have just entered into a serious commitment. Being in college, you would want a dog that is medium sized, low energy level and low maintenance. These types of dog breeds are easier to integrate to your college lifestyle.

College Student with Dog

Some dog breeds make better pets for college students than others. They are more suitable for your lifestyle and are waiting to become your best friend. Here are some of the best dog breeds for college students.

Best Dog Breeds For College Students


Living in a dorm or apartment means sharing living space with other people, for this type of living situation you need a friendly dog. A Papillon is a dog breed that originated in France. They make excellent apartment dogs and do well in dorms too. They are small dogs around 20–28 cm in height and weighing approximately 3.6 to 4.1 kg.

Papillons are friendly, alert, energetic and happy. They like everybody including strangers so they would not be out of place in a shared living space. Since the Papillon dog is small, many landlords do not have problems letting you keep them in your apartment. The dogs shed moderately so you need to have your vacuum ready. They require regular brushing and love walks.

Papillon Dog

However, they can also get their exercise if you play with them indoors. They are smart dogs that will not yap you to death. Papillon dog breeds are generally healthy with a lifespan of around 15 years. Their health concerns include PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) in the eyes, luxating patellas in the knees, liver shunt and heart murmurs.


Greyhounds are known for their racing abilities and were originally bred for this sport. However, they are also calm and well-mannered dogs making them perfect for student life. Greyhounds are not into roughhousing with other dogs or kids. In fact, they have the nickname “world’s fastest couch potato” because they generally like to just hang around.

Greyhound Dog

This dog breed was originally created for the race track so they can hurt themselves when running unsupervised. It is best to have them on a leash for long walks. Adopting a retired greyhound can be a different story. However, they can quickly adjust to civilian life. Greyhounds make good college pets because they require minimal exercise for an animal their size.

2 good walks or 1 long one per day should be enough exercise for them. Greyhounds were bred for racing., so if you have an apartment with a fenced yard, your greyhound will love you for it. If you don’t have one, an hour or two per week running around the dog park is good enough for them. Greyhounds originated in England are low shedders, especially if you brush them regularly.

Greyhound Dog

Greyhounds are medium sized dogs and are around 68 to 76 cm in height and weigh between 26 and 40 kg. They have no major health issues. However, some greyhounds develop esophageal achalasia or osteosarcoma. Retired racing greyhounds could also have racing injuries especially around their toes, hock and muscle injuries.

Clumber Spaniel

The favorite activities of a Clumber spaniel is lounging around the house and eating. These dogs have low energy levels making them ideal college pets. However, exercise is still necessary so you still need to take them for walks once a day to keep them healthy. Clumber Spaniels are not very friendly to strangers but they are very loyal to their owners.

Clumber Spaniel

They have long coats so they need to be brushed at least 3 times a week. This dog breed is gentle, calm and loyal and originated in England. This dog breed has a lifespan of around 12 years. Clumber Spaniels are a small dog breed measuring 43-51 cm in height and can weigh up to 38.6 kg.

Prince Albert, King Edward VII and King George V had Clumber Spaniels as pets. Clumber puppies are playful but are generally sedate and like to curl up on the couch when they are adults. Clumber Spaniels have no health issues. However, they can suffer from temporary lameness between 6 to 12 months as their bones grow.

Clumber Spaniel

They can also suffer from impacted anal sacs which need attention from a veterinarian. Female clumbers also have difficulty giving birth which could require caesarean sections.

English Bulldog

It’s a dog that does not like exercising and loves taking naps and eating all day. These are just some of the reasons why the English Bulldog is perfect for college students. This undemanding friend will still need to be walked; however, there is no pressure for you to do so as they are quite happy to lounge around your apartment or dorm room.

English Bulldog

They also do not shed very much and do not need to be brushed often. English Bulldogs love kids and people. They are ideal for college students because they are very manageable and calm. The dogs do not shed very much but the wrinkles can trap dirt so you need to bathe and brush your bulldog regularly.

English Bulldogs are known to be drool machines so you need to be prepared for that. This dog breed is playful when they are puppies but grow to become slow-moving, calm and not easily provoked when they become adults. It would be hard to find a bad tempered English Bulldog.

English Bulldog

When it comes to eating, English Bulldogs can be very greedy. Owners must ration food amounts to prevent the dog form becoming overweight. Generally speaking English Bulldogs have a lifespan of 8-12 years, measure 31–40 cm in height and weigh 24–25 kg. Health concerns of this dog breed are skin disorders, eye problems and hip dysplasia.

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is going to be very appealing for female college students or guys who have no problems with their manliness. The Lhasa Apso can look like a puffball but this dog breed is also stubborn, tough but really friendly and playful. They are the best dogs when you need cheering up since they have a clowny nature. The Lhasa Apso is slow to mature, only reaching adulthood at around 3 years old.

Lhasa Apso

Despite their size, this dog breed is not a glorified lapdog. As their Tibetan names suggest, they can also be lions when they need to be. They are clever and alert but also calm and composed. This dog breed does not have separation anxiety so you won’t have problems leaving them in your apartment or dorm room.

Lhasa Apso can live up to 14 years. Adult dogs can measure up to 28 cm and weigh up to 6–8 kg. The breed originated in Tibet where they used to be sentinels in Buddhist monasteries and alerted monks when strangers arrived. Lhasa Apso dog breed has long coarse hair and they shed like humans do. The heavy hair prevents strands from becoming airborne so the amount of dander is low. This is a good dog breed for people with dander allergies.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The name is a mouthful and sounds high maintenance but the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are perfect for dorm and apartment life. They are a small dog breed reaching only around 12-13 inches in height and weighing approximately 13-18 pounds. However, the Cavalier is friendly, loyal, active and playful. Take them for a walk and they like to sniff around and explore. However, it does not take long to tire them out so short daily walks for this breed is acceptable.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This dog breed originated in the United Kingdom but has gained popularity in the United States. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is ideal for college students because they can easily adapt to any environment. They are curious and playful but also like to sit and cuddle. Cavaliers are also obedient and agile and gentle. Like all dogs Cavaliers also need exercise however, they are also happy just sleeping on the couch.

A healthy Cavalier can live up to 15 years. However, they are prone to Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) which can lead to heart failure. MVD can be common in Cavaliers and is a common cause of death. Other health issues of this dog breed include syringomyelia (SM), hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and vision disorders. Despite this, Cavaliers are friendly and good companions. Spending time with them is enough to keep them happy.


This is a good companion to college students who want a large dog breed. At 200 pounds, the Mastiff is certainly one big dog. But don’t let his size fool you because Mastiffs are gentle giants. They make good guard dogs and great companions. Because of their large size, Mastiffs need space so that they can move around.

English Mastiff

However, this breed needs to stay indoors because they are very heat sensitive. Mastiffs are good natured and docile but also very courageous. Once he bonds with you, they treat you as family and will defend you when necessary.

Mastiffs make good apartment and dorm dogs because of their calm and dignified manner. However, they need to be exercised, making them better suited for college students who like to exercise and are active. Mastiffs are big and heavy and eat a lot. If you have time for exercise and space in your budget for food, this dog can easily fit in your college lifestyle.

Neapolitan Mastiff

These gentle giants have short life spans, usually around 7 years. However, there are mastiffs that live longer. Male mastiffs are big and can reach 70–91 cm in height and weigh up to 104.3 kg. Female mastiffs are a bit shorter and weigh a bit less. Some health concerns of the breed include hip dysplasia and gastric torsion. Mastiffs tend to be massive so they need to exercise regularly to avoid obesity.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound was originally bred for war and was used to crag soldiers off horses. But don’t let that fool you because wolfhounds are perfect for college students who live in apartments and dorms due to their gentle and friendly manner. They love to cuddle so you can invite them to bed with you. When they are indoors, wolfhounds are calm, quiet and patient.

The breed is very old and originated in Ireland around 7,000 BC. Modern wolfhounds are some of the tallest dog breeds with some dogs reaching 79cm in height and 7 feet when standing on their hind legs. But don’t let their size deter you from getting them as pets because they are generally not destructive, are introverted, intelligent and reserved. They are also easy to train and respond well to consistent but firm and gentle leadership.

Irish Wolfhound

Just like other large dog breeds, Irish Wolfhounds have short life spans, usually around 6-10 years. Most wolfhounds die due to dilated cardiomyopathy and bone cancer. The breed is also prone to hereditary diseases like portosystemic shunt. Irish Wolfhounds are also suited to rural settings. However, their low energy level also makes them ideal for the college life of their masters.


You won’t worry about your neighbors complaining about yelping and barking because Borzois are quiet, intelligent and well-mannered. Just like the wolfhound, this dog needs to stretch its legs in order to thrive. Daily exercise with a chance to sprint is good enough. If you can give him that, you will have a loyal dog for life.

They generally do not display dominance and aggression and make very good couch potatoes. This dog breed is generally reserved but affectionate to people they know.  Originally from Russia and Belarus, this dog can live up to 12 years. They can reach up to 79 cm in height and weigh up to 47 kg.

Borzoi Dog

Although this breed is large, they do well indoors because they are not active when inside. They do well in dorms and apartments provided that they are given room to run and have opportunities for regular exercise. Borzois are prone to OCD, hip and elbow dysplasia health problems. Gastric dilatation volvulus is another serious health problem that can be potentially fatal for this breed.


The Pekingese dog breed was a favorite among the emperors of China. Many students and kids overlook this dog because he tends to be snobby. However, Pekingese make good dogs for college students because they have low energy so they do not require a lot of exercise and they are not yappy. This dog breed is excellent as lapdogs and as loyal companions.

Pekingese Dog

The breed is over 2,000 years old and has barely changed in all that time. The only major change for this dog is the preference of show dog judges to have their manes long over the traditional spaniel cut. The Pekingese is a small dog usually reaching around 15–23 cm and weighing 3.2 to 6.4 kg. Pekingese are affectionate to its owners but not clingy, good with kids and are very loyal.

They also have low hunting instincts since they were bred to be the emperor’s pet. However, the long hair of the Pekingese can require daily grooming. You can also have it trimmed so that it is shorter and becomes low maintenance. Pekingese require little exercise and are happy to sit and wait for you to do something.

Pekingese Dog

Pekingese should not be kept outside since they can develop breathing problems due to their flat faces. The heat or cold makes it hard for them to regulate their breathing. This dog breed has a long life span of around 15 years.

They are prone to congestive heart failure but if detected early can be treated with medication. Because of the flat face, Pekingese dogs are also prone to respiratory problems.

In The End

College students should choose a dog breed that best suits their lifestyle and budget. Even though most of the dog breeds mentioned above is suited for apartment or dorm life, they should not be kept inside all day long and should be provided with regular exercise. Some dogs also eat more than others especially large dog breeds. Students should also consider their budget when choosing a type of dog, because aside from food, dogs can also rack up vet bills.

Best Dog Breeds for College Students

Fortunately, there is a dog breed for every size and budget. That being said, we urge college students to carefully consider if the responsibility of taking care of a dog is something they can commit to aside from pursuing their studies. Dogs are some of the most patient and friendliest of animals on the planet. They are loyal and many of them are intelligent, as such they should be treated accordingly.

College students should only get a dog when they are ready for the responsibility and costs of owning one. Dogs can’t wait to become your friends. Are you ready to own a dog? Tell us what dog breed you are getting by commenting below.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.