Best Dogs for Apartments: TOP 20 Canine Specimens That Fit in

The Bichon Frise on the sofa in the apartment
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

Certain canine specimens are considered to be the best dogs for apartments. They have an exceptional versatility, being able to feel great both indoors and outdoors. The most important thing for them is to be close to their owner and please him or her. Among all the dog breeds that exist in our days, there are 20 of them that present the needed characteristics for living in an apartment. However, not only these types of dogs can live between 4 walls.

There are other dog breeds that can adapt, but they need longer and more often walks than the others. The ideal apartment dog should be a little lazy, not bark a lot or bother the neighbors. Also, it shouldn’t emanate a pungent smell, leave too much hair around or need intensive exercise.

Dachshund in the apartment

Discovering perfect pooches for apartments

Let’s see what some of the best dog breeds for apartments are (our top 20).

West Highland White Terrier aka the Poltalloch Terrier #1

The West Highland White Terrier is an intelligent, daring, curious, confident, brave, lively, playful and alert dog. However, it can also be stubborn and has a strongly independent side. It is loyal and attached to its owner or to an entire family. It is suspicious when it comes to strangers, but not with children. It is a really good playmate for children and befriends them real quick.

West Highland White Terrier aka the Poltalloch Terrier

The representative of this breed gets along well with other animals only if it had animals around when it grew up. Otherwise, it tends to chase smaller animals such as cats, showing its dominant side with them. It can adapt to any living conditions, being able to live in a yard or in a small apartment. It’s the type of canine specimen that likes to socialize, move around a lot and loves training sessions as well. As for its size, it is a small dog, with a muscular and proportional body. If you’d like to learn more, it’s best you take a look the West Highland White Terrier.

Shih Tzu aka the Foo Dog or the Chrysanthemum Faced Dog #2

Called the Shih Tzu, a dog from this breed is intelligent, cheerful, gentle, active, proud, respectable and peaceful. Although it may be considered too independent and somewhat stubborn, it befriends everyone fairly easy. Exceptions are certain strangers that look rather suspicious than friendly. In that case, it acts cautious. This specimen is affectionate and devoted to its owner, as well as friendly and sociable with children.

Chrysanthemum Faced Dog

Shih Tzu gets along well with other dogs or other animals from a household. It is a dog that feels very well in an apartment as a companion for a careful, caring and loving owner. Its level of activity is low, so it can be easy to please with short walks. Training sessions and socialization are required. As for its looks, it is a small dog with a strong, vigorous and balanced body. You can discover more by reading about the Shih Tzu.

Shar Pei #3

The Shar Pei is brave, fearless, intelligent and pretty vigilant as well. It is devoted to its owner and to the owner’s family members. It also gets along nicely with children. The same cannot be said about its behavior with strangers though. It doesn’t like strangers too much. On the same train of thoughts, it is not too fond of other dogs either. It tends to act dominant when it is around other pooches.

Shar Pei dog inside

However, it has a normal relationship with other animals except dogs. As for where it feels best, that would be outdoors. Shar Pei is an active type of dog that likes to move a lot. After consuming its energy, it can relax peacefully in an apartment or condo. It doesn’t take up a lot of space even if it is a large dog with a strong body. Discover more about this wrinkly breed in our article on the Shar Pei.

Pekingese aka the Sun Dog or the Lion Dog or the Sleeve Dog #4

The Pekingese is an intelligent, lively, brave, confident and slightly independent dog. Its stubbornness levels are highly elevated, being known for its whims. It likes to play with people, but in order to play with a Pekingese dog it has to know you better first. Otherwise it tends to be mischievous. It is affectionate and faithful to its owner and a great companion for children. However, its nap time is really important and it wouldn’t like a kid waking it up.

Pekingese aka Sun Dog

As for other dogs or other pets, it is quite alright with any. The Sun Dog is the type of dog that loves to be indoors, hang around with its owner and spend time with the owner’s family as well. Its breed is not part of the active types, so it doesn’t like to go on long walks. Because it is such a small doggy, children tend to play with it like it is a toy, so situations like that must be avoided. Otherwise it likes to meet people socially and it has a well-built body. Interested in adding this breed to your family? See if they’d bee a good fit in this article on the Pekingese.

Bichon Maltese #5

An intelligent, lively, smart, playful, very friendly, sociable and sensitive dog, the Bichon Maltese is obedient, affectionate and devoted to its owner. It loves kids and also loves to be around then and play with them. Things are different with strangers though. Other pets are not a problem for it. A Bichon Maltese can cohabit with other pets in a small apartment without feeling trapped or uncomfortable.

Bichon Maltese on the bed

All that it needs is a caring owner who has time to take it for a walk daily. Since its activity level is low, it should not be forced to walk longer than it wants. It is a very elegant small dog with a square aspect that simply stops when it doesn’t want to walk anymore.

Standard Poodle #6

The Standard Poodle is characterized by intelligence and sensitivity. It is a sociable dog type, eager to learn something new every day. In addition, it is very obedient and devoted to its owner, so it learns fast just to please its owner, who could be, in this case, a better dog trainer than a professional one. It must be introduced to other pets and people while it is young because otherwise it can develop a certain feeling of restraint towards them.

Standard Poodle in the apartament

Any living conditions are great for this pooch type, as long as its owner takes it out for regular walks and to play sports such as swimming, flyball or even participate in agility competitions. It is part of the medium sized dog category.

Miniature Poodle aka the Barbone or the Caniche #7

As the name says, the Miniature Poodle is a small dog. Its body shape is kind of square. Alike its relative, the Standard Poodle, it is easy to train mostly because of its intelligence. It is eager to learn and it has the amazing ability of being a fast learner too.

Miniature Poodle

With the help of gentle, but consistent training sessions, this dog specimen can learn all the needed requirements in a short period of time. It is not a better apartment dog than the Standard Poodle. It is just smaller. Otherwise it presents the same features and qualities.

Miniature Schnauzer #8

The Miniature Schnauzer is an intelligent, alert and lively type of dog. It is responsive to any noise or movement. Vigilant and tireless, this dog specimen is also loyal, devoted to family in general. However, although it is devoted to every member of its family, there is one person that it considers to be its owner and cherishes that individual more than others.

Miniature Schnauzer

Children and other pets are not an issue for it. This type of pooch lives nicely outdoors and in an apartment. It is a quite active dog, but it can adapt to an owner with less energy or activity levels. According to its name, it is a small sized breed, with a body shaped like a square.

Lhasa Apso #9

A dog from the Lhasa Apso breed is characterized by calmness, peacefulness and joyfulness. Intelligent and proud, it can sometimes act a little stubborn. Intelligent and devoted too, the Lhasa Apso knows how to interact with other animals, as well as with young children. An apartment can become its home for life because it meets all its needs.

Lhasa apso

A person with a less active lifestyle can adopt or buy such a dog. Its body is small, robust and long. It’s a social dog that acts polite when it meets other individuals.

Bichon Havanese aka the Havana Silk Dog #10

The Havana Silk Dog is a dog full of qualities. It is intelligent, lively, cheerful, playful, gentle, sensitive and sociable. When it comes to the relationship it has with its owner, it can be characterizes as attached, obedient and devoted. Children can turn into its play mates, but not for long though. If it gets tired, it just goes away in a silent corner of the house. The same goes for other animals that might live around the house.

Depending on the circumstances, it can become noisy. Regarding energy levels, it doesn’t have a lot, but what it has is enough to spend in an entire day filled with activities.

Bichon Havanese puppies

There isn’t an ideal type of owner for this dog breed because it adapts easily to the owner’s lifestyle, personality and living conditions too. This small sized pooch likes to take walks more than once daily and loves the attention of an entire family.

French Bulldog #11

The French Bulldog is intelligent, very brave, active, disciplined, cheerful, sensitive and sometimes stubborn too. It is very affectionate and devoted to its owner, but shares its love and patience with children too. A vigilant dog that announces the moment when strangers arrive on its territory, this Bulldog breed becomes friendly quickly.

French Bulldog sleeping

However, jealousy is a feeling that may occur in case its owner is too busy paying attention to someone else. Any household that ensures love and attention is ideal for it. It’s not a type of dog that can be left alone because it feeds with attention. With a relatively small body, this pooch is not very active, so a short walk per day would be enough to meet its needs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel #12

This dog type is active, lively, gentle, intelligent, sociable and friendly. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can easily adapt to the company of children, other animals and people or it can just be a devoted pet for a single owner. It is not pretentions when it comes to exercising, training or living conditions.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A long walk is not something it would refuse, but a short walk is more than enough as well. Since it is a small sized dog, its energy doesn’t last long until it’s fully consumed. Its body is well-built and has an overall graceful look.

Dachshund #13

For a Dachshund, the family it lives with becomes the center of its life. Anything about that family comes first in its life. Therefore, its attachment level is high. Thus, it is quite reserved with strangers or when it first meets new people. Otherwise it is an intelligent, lively, clever, obedient, and a very brave dog. Its sense of smell is well developed, fact which makes it curious and active.

Dachshund dog breed

The company of kids or other pets must be introduced in its life as a puppy. When it is all grown up it might not accept them anymore. Thanks to its reminiscent hunting instincts, it can chase cats or act reckless with other dogs. This dog type is adaptable to any living conditions offered by its owner, especially an apartment. This is because it is a small, short dog with small feet and a vigorous, long body.

Chihuahua aka the Mexican Terrier #14

The Mexican Terrier is an intelligent, very brave, quick, lively, energetic, very watchful, alert, sensitive and playful dog. It is also boisterous with a bark sound that gives the impression of a much larger dog. Although it acts stubborn sometimes, it is very fond of its family and its owner. It can develop friendships with other Chihuahuas if they meet while their first years of life. The same goes with other people, kids and pets.

Chihuahua dog

It is a dog specimen that feels best in a house or in an apartment. A sedentary owner and lifestyle are not a problem for a Chihuahua. If it moves around the house it is more than enough. Sensitive to cold, moisture and drafts, this small sized pooch needs special attention. It needs a coat on when it gets cold outside. It has a well-shaped body that can be considered solid, but it is still too fragile to be left alone with a bunch of kids that can overwhelm it.

American Bulldog #15

The American Bulldog has a strong personality. It’s imposing and dominant, as well as smart, calm, brave and determined. In addition, features such as loyalty and a loving attitude towards family and children can be noticed. However, its aggressive nature comes to surface when it meets strangers and other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Therefore, it’s not recommended to keep another dog in the house that is of the same sex. One more dog of the opposite sex is the maximum number of canine fellows the American Bulldog can stand near it.

American Bulldog

This is a breed with a high level of activity that feels amazing both outdoors and indoors with one condition, namely not to skip its needed daily walks. It loves to play with children, take long walks, run and play ball. An American Bulldog is a medium to large sized dog that requires training and socialization.

Brussels Griffon aka the Belgian Griffon #16

A Brussels Griffon is a calm dog. It is eager to learn, lively, cheerful, playful and even mischievous sometimes. It doesn’t trust strangers, but it is curious and sociable at the same time. It needs love from its owner and it gives back tenfold. It cares for children and other animals as well.

Brussels Griffon characteristics

Although it is a small sized dog, its energy level is considered medium. All the extra energy that it cannot consume inside the apartment, it consumes it when its owner takes him outdoors for a walk. Its body is short and vigorous, fact which makes it good at different sports too.

Japanese Chin aka the Japanese Spaniel #17

The Japanese Chin is a dog with a great memory. Besides intelligence, cheerfulness, calmness and liveliness, the following features characterizes it: eagerness, stubbornness, devotion and a notable lust for life. It offers affection to its owner, to children, other animals and other dogs too.

Japanese Chin

However, since it is a small dog with quadratic and pleasant form, it cannot defend itself if it is attacked by much larger dogs. It doesn’t bark too often and it doesn’t bite either. As long as it is surrounded by people who love it, the Japanese Chin can live just fine in a corner of a room from a small apartment. It doesn’t require more. Running is an activity that it likes even if it doesn’t have a lot of energy to spend on it.

Yorkshire Terrier aka the Yorkie #18

The Yorkie is a brave and determined dog. Among its qualities are intelligence, vigilance, an alert spirit and being cheerful. This dog type is sensitive, so it should be treated with kindness and a great deal of affection. It is obedient and devoted to its owner and it acts well in the presence of children for as long as they don’t tease it too much.

Yorkshire Terrier small dog breed

The same goes with situations when other animals are present.

Some specimens of the Yorkie breed may have a reckless attitude towards other dogs. In another train of thoughts, it is an excellent apartment dog that feels happy when it goes for a short walk and when its owner treats it gently. It looks quite small, but it is well-proportioned.

Bichon Frise aka Bichon à poil fries or the Bichon Tenerife #19

Dogs from the Bichon Frise breed are intelligent, cheerful, playful, sociable, active, sensitive and gentle. They are highly affectionate and devoted to their owner and accept children in their lives as well. They only become suspicious if someone they don’t know tries to get comfortable on their territory. However, they are tolerant with other pets hanging around with them. Among their requirements is attention.

Bichon Frise dogs

In terms of space they have plenty in an apartment. An owner of a Bichon Frise should have enough free time to play and go out with his or her pooch. This dog breed doesn’t feel comfortable when it is left alone. It looks fluffy and small.

Pug aka the Mopshond or the Carlin or the Mops #20

Besides being incredibly cute, the Pug is a dog breed with countless qualities. A pug is intelligent, calm, sociable, sensitive and reliable. It is very affectionate, devoted, loving and patient with both owners and the owners’ children. It becomes friendly in no time, but at first it acts vigilant. It tends to be jealous if someone else of something else requires its owner’s attention.

Pug puppie

It wants to be in the center of attention and in the permanent companionship of its owner. Being left alone and feeling lonely is bad for a pug. An apartment can easily accommodate a pug without having to redecorate or hide stuff from it. It is a stocky, small dog that requires short, daily walks.

Taking the right decision

This is not a top 20. These dog breeds are not arranged according to their importance or their adaptability levels. They are all equally fitted for different types of owners. For example for HDB apartments approved dog breads are:

HDB Approved dog breads

When you choose a pooch, it is mandatory to consider certain aspects besides the way it looks or how cute it is. Apartment dogs are not necessarily small or medium sized dogs, so you shouldn’t be surprised when you see a dog breed like Shar Pei on this list. Try to think of how much free time you have and how active you are as a person before choosing.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.