9+ Best Small Dog Breeds For Apartments


If you’re anything like me, having a dog as a companion is one of life’s most treasured experiences. They’re not just pets; they’re family. But when you live in an apartment, there’s often a big question looming: Which breed will thrive in a smaller space?

Having been a proud dog parent and navigating apartment life for years, I understand the intricacies of finding the perfect furry match for our cozy corners. A lot is riding on making the right choice – for both you and your potential four-legged family member.

Choosing a breed isn’t just about the size, but about understanding their personality, exercise needs, and how they mesh with the unique challenges and benefits of apartment living.

So, if you’re scouring the web, trying to find that ideal breed to join you in your apartment, you’re in the right place. Stick around as we dive into the 13 best small dog breeds that are tailor-made for apartment dwellers.

Trust me, by the end of this, you’ll be better equipped to find that perfect pint-sized pal for your home.

Why Size Matters in Apartments

Ah, the age-old debate: Does size really matter when it comes to dogs in apartments? Yes. But perhaps not in the way you might immediately think. Now, let’s clear the air – this isn’t solely about space. Of course, in an apartment, there’s the obvious limitation of square footage.

A sprawling Great Dane might find it challenging to maneuver around a one-bedroom apartment, compared to, say, a compact Pomeranian. But size, in this context, goes beyond just physical dimensions.

1. Adaptability to Space

Smaller breeds often have an easier time adapting to limited spaces. Their petite stature means they can comfortably stretch, play, and roam within the confines of an apartment.

2. Exercise Needs

Here’s a twist – size doesn’t always dictate energy levels. Some small dogs have an energy reservoir rivaling larger breeds! But, the advantage is, that many of their exercise needs can be met with indoor play, making it a tad easier for apartment dwellers.

3. Noise Levels

In apartments, we must be mindful of our neighbors. Larger dogs might unintentionally cause more noise, be it from heavier footsteps or a more resonant bark. Small dogs, while they can be vocal, typically have softer footfalls, making them more ‘apartment-friendly’ in this regard.

4. Manageability

Let’s face it, it’s easier to manage a smaller breed in tight spaces, especially in scenarios like bath time or when you’re trying to prevent them from darting out the door.

5. Building Restrictions

Many apartments and condos have restrictions on pet size, mainly for liability reasons. Smaller breeds often fit comfortably within these guidelines, making the leasing process smoother.

The 13 Best Small Dog Breeds For Apartments

Ever wondered what the best dog breeds are most suitable as apartment pets? The following are 13 options you can certainly choose from;

1. French Bulldog

Characterized by their bat-like ears and short snout, French Bulldogs are both adaptable and lovable. They tend to be quite low-energy indoors, making them perfect for apartment dwellers. Just be ready for some snoring, as these little guys are known for their distinctive sleeping sounds.

2. Dachshund

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

These elongated pals, often nicknamed “wiener dogs,” have a curious nature. Dachshunds are lively but not overly hyper, fitting well in apartment spaces. They do appreciate a good walk, though, so ensure you have time for outdoor strolls.

3. Chihuahua

chihuahua lying on white textile
Photo by nishizuka on Pexels.com

Don’t be fooled by their petite stature; Chihuahuas pack a ton of personality into their tiny frames. While they adore lounging on laps, they’re also spry and playful, making them well-suited for both relaxation and indoor play in an apartment.

4. Pug

Source: Abuk SABUK// Wikimedia Commons

With their wrinkled faces and big, soulful eyes, Pugs are all about companionship. They’re generally laid-back and get along well with other animals and humans. They’re not big on intense physical activity, making them another great fit for smaller living spaces.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are known for their long, silky hair and spunky temperament. Though they have a lively spirit, they are small enough that a game of fetch in the living room might suffice for their exercise on some days.

6. Shih Tzu

Bred originally to be a companion dog for Chinese royalty, Shih Tzus is affectionate and adaptable. They’re equally content with indoor play or a short walk around the neighborhood.

7. Boston Terrier

Often dubbed the “American Gentleman” due to their tuxedo-like markings, Boston Terriers are friendly and sociable. They adapt well to apartment living and make for loyal companions.

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These dogs radiate elegance and affection. While they do enjoy outdoor activities, their real passion lies in cuddling and being close to their owners, making them great for the indoor confines of an apartment.

9. Maltese

Source: Ed Yourdon//Wikimedia Commons

With their flowing white coats, Maltese dogs are known for their beauty and friendly demeanor. They have moderate energy levels and are often content with indoor play or short walks.

10. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise
Source: Bernt Fransson//Wikimedia Commons

Bichons, with their curly white hair, are cheerful and resilient. They have a playful disposition but don’t require a ton of space, making them apt for apartments.

11. Havanese

Originating from Cuba, Havanese dogs are adaptable and lively. They thrive on human companionship and are often content with playing indoors.

12. Pomeranian

Source: Rob Hanson//Wikimedia Commons

Their fluffy coats and fox-like faces make Pomeranians instantly recognizable. These dogs are energetic but, given their size, can often get the exercise they need within an apartment setting.

13. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear
Source: CamilleVila//Wikimedia Commons

Known for their soft, cotton-like coats, Cotons are affectionate and thrive on human companionship. They are well-suited to apartment living due to their size and moderate energy levels.

Key Considerations For Keeping Small Dogs in Apartments

When deciding to bring a small dog into your apartment, it’s not just about choosing the breed. As with any living arrangement with a pet, there are essential considerations to keep in mind to ensure both you and your furry friend have a fulfilling, harmonious life together.

1. Daily Exercise

Even small breeds need their dose of physical activity. Whether it’s a brisk walk around the block, a game of fetch indoors, or a fun-filled session with a toy, it’s crucial to keep them engaged and active.

2. Social Interaction

Dogs are social creatures. Living in an apartment often means closer proximity to neighbors and their pets. Setting up playdates or visiting dog-friendly parks can be beneficial for your pup’s social well-being.

3. Mental Stimulation

In tighter spaces, dogs can sometimes become bored more quickly. Toys, puzzles, and training sessions can keep their minds sharp. Rotate toys regularly to keep things fresh for them.

4. Training

Proper training is even more vital in an apartment setting. Ensuring your dog is well-behaved, especially with commands like “stay,” “come,” and “quiet,” can make life smoother, particularly when you have guests or maintenance visits.

5. Noise Sensitivity

Apartments can sometimes be noisier, with sounds from neighbors, the street, or communal areas. Consider this when choosing a breed and work on acclimatizing your dog to various sounds to reduce anxiety.

6. Potty Training

Having immediate access to outdoor spaces might not always be possible. It’s essential to establish a reliable potty routine. Products like indoor potty pads or grass patches can be handy for those emergency moments or late-night needs.

7. Space Management

Ensure there’s a dedicated space for your dog, like a cozy corner or a bed. It helps them feel secure and gives them their own spot in the apartment.

8. Grooming

Some small breeds require regular grooming. While this isn’t directly related to the apartment itself, remember that a well-groomed dog will shed less and keep your limited space cleaner.

9. Safety Precautions

With balconies, open windows, or even staircases, ensuring your apartment is safe for a small dog is paramount. Baby gates or balcony nets can be beneficial. Always check with your building’s management about pet policies, not just regarding size, but also about breed restrictions or any other guidelines.


In the end, choosing the right dog for apartment living isn’t just about size. It’s about understanding their unique personalities, energy levels, and needs. By doing your homework and looking beyond common myths, you can find the perfect furry companion to share your space with, ensuring happiness for both of you.

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