A dog sitting in a chair in an apartment living room.

Who says you need a fenced-in yard before you can adopt a dog? There are plenty of dogs in apartments that adore the lifestyle as much as you do. All they need is a short walk and plenty of time to loll on the couch with you.

But not every dog breed will feel at home in a high-rise. Generally, you’ll want a breed with an easygoing personality and low to moderate exercise needs. Out of consideration for your neighbors, look for breeds that aren’t excessive barkers and who can greet tenants in the hallways and elevators with courtesy and a friendly tail wag.

Surprisingly, size is not always a determining factor, as long as the space allows and your building doesn’t have particular breed or size restrictions.  It’s a good idea to check to see if there are extra fees for pets (such as pet deposits) and if there’s a limit to how many pets you can have.

Here are just a few of the dog breeds that can fit happily into apartments.

Boston Terrier

Averaging around 15 pounds, Boston terriers are both adaptable and affectionate. They’re generally happy to cuddle with children and quick to make friends with neighbors and even cats. They don’t shed much, making it easy to keep your space tidy. Bostons are typically quiet, except when it comes to sleeping: They can be boisterous snorers.

Bichon Frisé

With a French name that means “curly coated,” bichons don’t shed much, which means less dander for those prone to allergies. While they don’t require a lot of exercise, they are known for the “bichon blitz,” a wild, full-speed race in which they lap the living room several times, then collapse into your comforter for a snooze. A word to the wise: bichons often need professional grooming and can be a challenge to housetrain.

Shiba Inu

The most popular companion dog in Japan, shiba inus rarely bark. Averaging 25 pounds or less, these independent dogs can be the perfect size for apartments. Available in several coat colors, such as sesame, cream, or black and tan, those with red coats are often likened to a fox. These adorable dogs typically blow coat twice a year and are escape artists, so be careful opening your apartment door.


These gentle dogs are often known as 45-mile-per-hour couch potatoes because after a high-speed dash around the dog park, they’re happy to couch surf with you while you binge Netflix. They’re generally quiet, affectionate and easy to groom. Even retired racers can be satisfied with a short walk and a long nap. Greyhound puppies, however, typically need quite a bit of exercise, so consider adopting an adult for your apartment.


Small in stature, the Pekingese is big on personality. These dogs like to rule the household, as they did in Chinese palaces long ago. They will also guard your apartment fiercely but aren’t overly yappy to disturb the neighbors. Pekingese get along well with children if they’re brought up with them, but otherwise prefer adult company.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These toy dogs will follow their owners everywhere until they can use those big, brown eyes to earn a seat in your lap. They’re big on snuggling but prefer not to make a lot of noise. Always walk your Cavalier on a leash because they’re apt to chase after birds and squirrels without warning.

French Bulldog

Frenchies require very little exercise, and are the perfect match for who live in confined spaces. They love almost everyone they meet and are likely to flirt with your neighbors in the hallways. Frenchies can be destructive with their toys, so make sure not to give them anything that can be chewed up and accidentally swallowed.


The national dog of Cuba, Havanese generally get along with other dogs, cats and children. Typically happy with a springy gait, these dogs are at their best in the company of their owners — consider another breed if you can’t spend much time at home. With low exercise requirements, the Havanese sheds very little and is a cheerful and loving addition to any apartment.


Beneath the wrinkled brow and worried expression beats the heart of a truly devoted companion. Eager to please, pugs are good sports about being dressed in embarrassing costumes, from dinosaurs to butterflies. They require little grooming or exercise, but you might need to have a vacuum at hand for shedding. If you need a full night’s sleep, consider sound cancellation headphones because pugs have a propensity for snoring.

And don’t forget about mixed breed dogs — there are plenty of good-natured mutts that also make perfect apartment roommates.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.