Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

best dog breeds for apartments

Research shows that 36.8 million Americans currently live in an apartment. These units can range from small, one-room studios to spacious, multi-level dwellings. 

While each building will have its own features and amenities, there are a few factors that most apartments share, including close proximity to neighbors and limited outdoor space. 

This can pose a unique challenge for dog owners, who want to make sure their pooches can thrive inside and outside their homes. Thankfully, many pups fit in beautifully in these spaces!

Today, we’re sharing the best dog breeds for apartments and how proud pet parents can prepare to welcome their new best friend.

Important Factors to Consider

Before we dive into our list, we want to share more about how our team chose these breeds. While our selection isn’t exhaustive, these are some of the pups best suited for apartment living, primarily because they share these three characteristics: 

  • Smaller size
  • Lower energy
  • Low shedding
  • Low barking

While most breeds require space to run and explore, others don’t need to exert as much energy to be healthy and happy. In fact, some prefer to live in a smaller space!

Bigger breeds who need a lot of daily exercise may not feel comfortable being confined to an apartment. Over time, they can become restless and anxious, even engaging in destructive behavior to get their excess energy out. 

That’s why our list is filled with small dog breeds that have calm, laid-back temperaments. We also looked for pups that don’t shed or bark excessively.

Shedding can make it difficult to keep your apartment clean and also triggers allergies. Barking can disrupt the neighbors above, below, or beside your unit. While you won’t find a completely quiet breed that never sheds, the ones on our list are known for their gentle nature and hypoallergenic coats. 

Let’s take a look at some of our top picks!

Bichon Frise

With an average adult weight of just 12 to 18 pounds, Bichon Frises are adorable lap pups that adapt well to living in an apartment. 

Agile and friendly, these dogs are usually great with children, which makes them wonderful family pets. If you start early, you should also find that they’re easy to teach and train. 

While they will need a little exercise every day, their energy needs aren’t too high. A short walk around the block is all most Bichons require to sleep and eat well. Their cute, curly coat is low-shedding, which is also a win!


A type of toy dog similar to a terrier in appearance and personality, Affenpinschers are funny, curious little furballs. 

Their serious expression offers around-the-clock comedic relief, especially for Star Wars fans, who think they look like mini Ewoks! Standing just under a foot tall, they have a confidence and swagger that outsizes their bodies. 

One thing to note about this breed is that Affenpinschers love companionship. They thrive in apartments where they’re the only pet and will want to stay close to you. They’d make an excellent buddy for someone who works from home and can give them the attention they crave. 

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

If you’re searching for a lap dog that will give you endless amounts of loving snuggles, then look no further than a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. 

These dogs love keeping a close eye on their humans, which helps them acclimate well to apartment life. With a moderate amount of exercise, a little room to move, and a lot of love, they’ll become your life-long companion. 

While this breed sheds a little more than others, their easygoing mood and friendly demeanor make up for it!

Basset Hound

Those floppy ears! Those droopy eyes!

Basset Hounds are instantly recognizable and always endearing. Standing under 14 inches full-grown, these pooches might be low in stature, but they’re built tough. 

Basset Hounds have muscular bodies, heavy bones, and powerful (albiet short) legs. This gives them strength and stamina, which they’ll proudly display on walks around the complex. This breed also has an incredibly sharp sense of smell, second only to a Bloodhound, so don’t be surprised if they come running as soon as you start dinner!


Many people confuse Malteses with Bichon Frises, as the dogs are similarly sized and usually have soft, white coats. However, these pups usually have straight locks instead of a Bichon’s trademark curls. 

Weighing only about 10 pounds, there’s a reason why Malteses are one of the most popular small breeds. They offer boundless amounts of love and adoration, as well as a gentle, affectionate nature. Their coats are also easy to maintain and low-shedding!

Keep in mind that that your Maltese will love being the center of attention, and can become resentful when left alone for long periods of time. 


Stocky and muscular, Bulldogs are gentle, low-slung bruisers with a sturdy size that’s balanced perfectly by their docile, loving nature. 

From their wrinkled skin and furrowed brows to their smushed noses and adorable underbites, you’ll want to stare at your bully’s unique face forever. While they can weigh up to 50 pounds, you don’t have to worry about them wreaking havoc in your apartment. 

Most Bulldogs prefer to live their lives as oversized lap dogs, curling up next to you on the couch or bed, especially when it’s time for a snooze!

Miniature Poodle

While a Standard Poodle might feel a little cramped in an apartment, a miniature poodle is just the right size! Weighing around 15 to 18 pounds and standing just 11 to 15 inches tall, they’re the perfect mix of playful and petite. 

Mini poodles are social and intelligent and love spending time with their owners. They have a good amount of energy and enjoy activities that stimulate their minds and bodies. 

Like Bichons, they have a gloriously low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat so feel free to snuggle away!


Pekingese have low energy needs and a small body, which makes them a natural pick as an apartment-mate. However, they can be a little harder to train than other breeds, and their glorious manes will need a little more upkeep. 

As long as you’re up to brushing their coat regularly, being patient with them, and giving them a hearty dose of daily attention, they should fit in just fine at home. 


Like Bulldogs, Pugs are known for their adorably upturned faces and flattened noses. Small but solid, they’re total lovebugs that want nothing more than your adoration. 

With their large, round heads, furrowed brows, and permanent smiles, they make great family pets and are known as one of the best house dogs around. They’re also mild-mannered and make delightful, human-like expressions!

One note: Pugs love to chow down, so they’ll need regular exercise to stay trim.


Small and active, Havanese dogs are only about 10 inches tall and weigh around 10 to 14 pounds. They’re affectionate and playful, and always willing to learn something new. 

In addition, they’re used to adapting to smaller, more confined spaces and don’t need much room to roam. They’ll love to cuddle up in your apartment! While their coat does require routine grooming, they don’t shed much and are one of the most quiet dog breeds. 

Shih Tzu

One look at a Shih Tzu and you’ll be Googling “doggy hair accessories” in an instant. Their name is Mandarin for “little lion” and they have the tresses to show for it. Their big, dark eyes and innocent expressions complete their diva-like looks!

While they’re obviously super cute, these pups are also smart and strong. Their coats come in a variety of different shades, and they’re affectionate with adults and kids alike. You can’t ask for a better companion to come home to!

Basset Hound

Yes, the Basset Hound is one of the largest and heaviest breeds on our list, but what they lack in small stature, they make up for in disposition. 

These dogs are intelligent and great sniffers. They love to perform activities that require them to use their noses! Sweet and gentle, they make great snoozing buddies, especially with those adorably floppy ears. 

Keep in mind that Basset Hounds can have a relatively loud bark, especially when they’re startled. Try not to leave yours alone for a long time, and remember to shower them with love when you’re home.  


Paris Hilton might have made Chihuahuas a famous fashion symbol, but these miniature pups are regal in their own right. Usually weighing fewer than six pounds, they’re tiny and lightweight. Even the smallest apartment will feel like an open prairie to them!

These dogs bond strongly with their owners and prefer to be by their sides. For this reason, they’re best suited for families with just one pet. 

Find the Best Dog Breeds for Apartments

Apartment living is full of perks, and owning the perfect pet can be one of them! When looking for yours, try to find a pup that’s smaller in size, not prone to heavy shedding, and relatively quiet. 

These are only a few of the best dog breeds for apartments. There are lots of others, so have fun and enjoy the process of finding your forever friend! 

Once you bring your pal home, bring them to us at All Animals Veterinary Clinic! From the smallest breeds to the biggest furballs, we take care of them all. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment!

The All Animal Vet Clinic is here to help guide you through the journey of owning a new puppy.

Contact us to schedule an appointment in our Lebanon, Indiana Clinic.