The Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

By Rachel Monroe

Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you live in an apartment, you may think owning a dog is out of the question. However, as long as you provide adequate exercise and playtime, certain dogs can thrive as apartment dwellers. Researching various breeds will help you determine what kind of dog is best suited for your situation and lifestyle. When selecting an apartment-friendly dog, keep in mind that size is not the only factor to consider. The ideal dog will be calm, friendly, easy to housetrain and relatively quiet.

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Certain small breeds are highly adaptable to apartment living. The Boston terrier is a quiet dog who requires little exercise. Pugs are 10 to 14 inches tall and weigh between 14 and 18 pounds. If you provide a daily walk and lots of love, they will be very happy living in a small space. Chihuahuas are tiny dogs who weigh between 2 and 6 pounds. Generally, they are a low-energy breed. Dispositions vary between Chihuahuas with some dogs being extremely quiet, while others may enjoy yapping. The good news is their bark is not very loud and you can train them to keep quiet. Other small breeds including the Havanese, Pekingese, Lhasa apso, French bulldog and Cavalier King Charles spaniel may do well in apartments.

Gentle Giants

A dog does not have to be small to live in an apartment. There are large dogs who enjoy being couch potatoes and easily can adapt to small spaces. Mastiffs tend to be quiet, lazy and low-energy once they enter adulthood. Reaching speeds of 45 mph, you may think the greyhound is a hyper, headstrong dog requiring extensive exercise. In reality, these dogs are extremely quiet and enjoy snuggling on the couch or bed. They rarely bark and their short coat is easy to care for. The Afghan hound and Newfoundland are also docile, mild-mannered breeds to consider.

Proceed With Caution

Some dogs are not designed for apartments. Dogs who require hours of physical exercise most likely will become destructive and noisy in a small space. According to the American Kennel Club, some of the most active dog breeds include the Shetland sheepdog, border collie, Australian shepherd, Siberian husky, Labrador retriever, Irish setter and German shepherd. Certain small breeds also are extremely active and should not live in apartments. These include Russell terriers, miniature pinschers and beagles. Be aware that most landlords impose restrictions on pet ownership. This may include breed and size restrictions. A study conducted in 2005 and entitled “Companion Animal Renters and Pet-Friendly Housing in the U.S.” notes that 91 percent of landlords in the country have pet restrictions. The most common breeds banned from apartments include pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and Rottweiler’s. Talk to your landlord before adopting or purchasing a pet.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment

If your landlord is unsure or opposed to pet ownership, you may be able to negotiate by offering to pay a pet deposit, providing a statement that you will clean up after your pet and repair any damage he may cause to the property. You also may agree to enroll your dog in obedience school. If you currently own a pet and are looking for a new place to live, offer to let your potential landlord meet your dog in advance. Provide a letter of recommendation from your current landlord proving you are a responsible pet owner. Request a letter of reference from your veterinarian stating your pet is up to date on immunizations and showing you have been diligent in providing medical care. The Humane Society of the United States maintains a database of pet-friendly apartments in each state. Visit their website as a starting point in searching for a new home for you and your dog.

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  • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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