Best Dogs for Apartment Living – 14 Breeds

The following list consists of the best dogs for apartment living. Easygoing breeds that will fit right in to a smaller home life. They’re either low-energy and content to lounge on the sofa or high-energy but happy to play inside. These dogs are also quiet and good with other people and strangers so they’re perfect for passing by many other people in apartment lobbies and elevators. Even if you don’t live in small surroundings, a small, quiet and low-exercise breed may be just what you’re looking for!


  • Height: 10-13 inches
  • Weight: 14-18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world having originated in China around 700 B.C.! Only emperors were allowed to own them and they were even guarded by soldiers.

This breed is even-tempered, loyal and curious by nature. When you take Pugs outside they like to explore but the rest of the time they like relaxing and lounging around. They have playful personalities and get along well with adults, children and other pets. Pugs are small and stocky and come in fawn or black with a well-defined “mask” on their muzzles. They are seasonal shedders and require only occasional grooming. Training is fairly easy and Pugs only bark when necessary. Life expectancy is long at 13-15 years. The height and weight of Pugs is 10-13 inches tall and 14-18 pounds respectively.

Yorkshire Terrier

  • Height: 7-8 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11-15 years

In 1871 Northern England, the Yorkshire Terrier was recognized as its own breed and traces back to the Waterside Terrier.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

Now lapdogs but originally bred to hunt rats in clothing factories. Yorkies, as they’re commonly known, are sprightly and affectionate with big personalities. They are very low-maintenance in terms of low exercise, low barking and very low shedding, however they do need daily grooming. With supervision, they are good with children and other dogs. Training the Yorkie is a little more challenging since they are independent by nature. Yorkies live a long life at 11-15 years and are a tiny 7-8 inches tall and weight only 7 pounds.


  • Height: 28-30 inches (male), 27-28 inches (female)
  • Weight: 65-70 pounds (male), 60-65 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Greyhounds are mentioned in The Bible, The Odyssey and other ancient texts as far back as 4,000 B.C.!

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

They originally come from Egypt, Greece and Persia during their heyday and were long prized as royal hunting dogs. We know them today as incredible racing dogs who often need a good home in which to retire. Greyhounds are considered to be gentle, sweet and mellow house dogs and don’t require a lot of exercise beyond a daily sprint at the dog park. They’re smart and easy to train but have an independent nature. Good with other dogs and children (with supervision). They shed seasonally and only require occasional grooming. Greyhounds only bark when necessary. Their lifespan is between 10-13 years. Height and weight for males is 28-30 inches tall, 65-70 pounds; and the females are slightly smaller.

English Bulldog

  • Height: 14-15 inches
  • Weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

In the early 1500s, England developed the “bull” dog for a cruel, wagering sport known as “bull-baiting” and this lasted for some 350 years.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

They were bred for aggression and would bite the nose of a tethered, one-ton bull and try to bring them down. This is how the Bulldog’s neck and head developed to be so big and strong over time. Many were maimed and killed by the bulls. Luckily, in 1835 this was outlawed and this breed became the sweet-natured dog we know today. Calm, dignified but amusing, courageous and very protective of their humans. They don’t require much exercise outside of regular walks and occasional vigorous playing. English Bulldogs are good with children and other dogs and respond well to training. They’re seasonal shedders and require weekly grooming. Bulldogs are quiet. The lifespan of an English Bulldog is, unfortunately, rather short at only 8-10 years. Medium-sized dogs, they are 14-15 inches tall and weigh 50 pounds (females 40). Lots of colors to choose from: brindle, white, red, fawn, fallow or piebald.


  • Height: 5-8 inches
  • Weight: not exceeding 6 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

Descended from the Techichi dog which was domesticated by either the Mayans or Toltec sometime between 1,800 B.C. and 900 A.D. Mexico.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

The modern-day Chihuahua comes from the city of Chihuahua, Mexico near the United States border where they were sold to American tourists. Perfect apartment dogs because of their tiny size and portability. Their temperament is sweet and very sassy and they form close and loving bonds with their humans. They like running and playing but mostly prefer being indoors. Good with older children and other dogs (with supervision). They shed seasonally and need occasional grooming. A little effort for training since they are independent. They only bark when its necessary and they have a nice, long lifespan of 12-20 years! Teeny-tiny at only 6-9 inches tall and 3-6 pounds!

French Bulldog

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: under 28 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Originally bred in England as a toy-sized bulldog for companionship, many lace makers in England moved back to France and brought their adorable pets with them where they eventually came to be known as French Bulldogs.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

Cute, friendly and just plain jolly, “Frenchies” don’t bark much like their bulldog cousins, and require less exercise than many other breeds. They have playful dispositions, so they get along well with strangers and children. Supervise them with other dogs and don’t give them too much exercise as they’re not very active. In fact, be very careful of the Frenchie overheating. Seasonal shedders who need occasional grooming and though they are a bit stubborn you can train them without much trouble. Height/weight is 11-13 inches and 28 pounds or less. Life expectancy is 10-12 years.


  • Height: 8-9 inches (standard), 5-6 inches (miniature)
  • Weight: 16-32 pounds (standard), 11 pounds & under (miniature)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-16 years

Dachshunds date to 15th century Germany where they were bred to scent, chase and flush out ground-dwelling animals like badgers and rabbits.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

More than 300 years later, this short, energetic hound breed has become a beloved choice for families across the globe. They are considered very intelligent dogs, which means they become bored easily. If you plan on leaving them alone for long periods make sure there’s plenty to keep them entertained. They have spunky personalities and are somewhat active. Good with children and dogs as long as there is supervision. Seasonal shedders who need occasional grooming. Dachshunds respond well to training and bark only when necessary. Lifespan is 12-15 years. Their height/weight is 8-9 inches/16-32 pounds for standard and 5-6 inches/11 pounds and under for the miniatures.

Boston Terrier

  • Height: 15-17 inches
  • Weight: 12-25 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11-13 years

In 1870 Boston, the Boston Terrier aka “American Gentleman” (from its tuxedo markings) was recognized as its own breed.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

A mixture of Bulldog, White Terrier and French Bulldog originally bred to fight. Friendly, calm, lovable, and very adaptable; their charms have made them popular in the United States for over a century. They don’t need a lot of space or exercise so a brisk walk will usually suffice. Good with children and dogs (with supervision). Infrequent shedding and occasional grooming. They are eager during training. Quiet dogs with a lifespan of 13-15 years. Height/weight: 15-17 inches/10-25 pounds.

Shih Tzu

  • Height: 9-10.5 inches
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

Originated in Tibet or China in 800 B.C., “Lion Dogs” were prized by the Dalai Lama and Chinese Royals.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

With their big eyes and gorgeous coats its no surprise they have been so beloved for a thousand years! These popular toy dogs are surprisingly sturdy and solid for a small dog. The coat is worth the time you’ll put into it—few dogs are as beautiful as a well-groomed Shih Tzu. Their personalities are outgoing, playful and charming and they are lively, trusting and friendly. Good with children and dogs (supervised). Infrequent shedders that need occasional grooming. They are pretty easy to train and only bark when necessary. Height/weight 8-11 inches and 9-16 pounds.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Height: 12-13 inches
  • Weight: 13-18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

One of the largest toy breeds that still has the sporty nature of his spaniel ancestors.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

Once the preferred pet of King Charles II of England for its affectionate, graceful and gentle nature. They’re somewhat active and good with both children and other dogs. Easy to train and only bark when necessary. Seasonal shedders who need occasional grooming. Height/weight is 12-13 inches and 13-18 pounds. Life expectancy of 12-15 years.

Bichon Frise

  • Height: 9.5-11.5 inches
  • Weight: 12-18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-15 years

Descended from the Barbet (Water Spaniel) from which came the name “Barbichon” which was later shortened to “Bichon”.

These little cotton balls are bred to be hypoallergenic and their white, curly coats rarely shed but they do require daily grooming.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

This breed is easily trained and carries a charismatic, cheerful, and curious disposition. They have a long history of being pampered by French royalty so they’re tolerant of being adorned in bows and bling, should you feel the urge. Energy levels come in short bursts balanced with lots of cuddly, lovable periods. Good with both children and dogs. Easy to train and only bark when necessary. Height/weight is 9.5-11.5 inches/12-18 pounds. Lifespan of 12-15 years.


  • Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
  • Weight: 7-13 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

The national dog of Cuba is a descendant of the Bichon type dog brought to Cuba from Spain in the 16th century.

Havanese (singular or plural, the name’s the same) are outgoing, funny little dogs with a spring in their step and big, brown eyes.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

A curled-over tail is a breed hallmark, as well as the gorgeous silky coat, which comes in a variety of colors. Enjoy a good romp but have no special exercise needs. Good with children and dogs (supervise). Infrequent shedders who need weekly grooming. Intelligent and easy to train. Bark only when necessary. Height/weight 8.5-11.5 inches/7-13 pounds. Lifespan of 14-16 years.


  • Height: 7-9 inches
  • Weight: under 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Another ancient breed from over 2,000 years ago, the Maltese originate from Malta in the Mediterranean Basin.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

Thought to be of Spitz or Spaniel relation. Gentle, playful and affectionate; they are also fearless and look like little toy dogs! Classic lapdogs but still like walks, playtime and even learning tricks. They’re better with older children and fine with dogs if supervised. Infrequent shedding and weekly grooming. Train fairly easily and only bark when necessary. Height/weight is 8-10 inches and 6-8 pounds. Life expectancy of 12-15 years.

Chinese Crested

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 8-12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-18 years

A hairless breed who originated from Africa or Mexico and taken by Chinese merchants in the 1500s and bred down to a smaller size with “cat-like” temperaments.

They also come with fur on a recessive gene and this is known as “powderpuff”. This is an alert dog that enjoys human companionship.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living - 14 Breeds

They are funny little dogs that like to please their owners, and upon finding something that amuses you, are likely to do it again to get your attention. Their activity level is medium to high but they enjoy quiet times with their family and adjust well to apartment living. Chinese Cresteds learn quickly and are easily trained. The Hairless will require a little attention to make sure it is not sun-burned or exposed to the cold. The Powderpuff can be kept in full coat with a little brushing every day or clipped for an easy care companion. Both varieties are loyal and entertaining. Good with children and dogs as long as they are supervised. Shedding is infrequent, they are hypoallergenic and they need grooming weekly. They bark when necessary. Height/weight is 11-13 years, 8-12 pounds. Lifespan is 13-18 years.

Final Thoughts

These are all wonderful dog breeds and would make great pets for you in your apartment. Before spending thousands of dollars at a breeder check online for clubs who re-home these purebred dogs and check the local shelters. Think about adopting a mixed breed who has one or more of these great pedigree breeds within them. Mixed breeds have less health problems than pedigrees and are very intelligent because of their superior mixed genes. I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you have any questions or comments I hope you’ll leave them below. I try to reply within a couple of days.

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