The best dog breeds for urban apartment living

By Harriet Piercy

Published Oct 7, 2020 at 07:00 AM

Reading time: 4 minutes

To start off, let’s be very clear about one thing—dogs are not plants, you can’t pop one in the corner and feed it from time to time and still expect it to be happy. That being said, here are the best dog breeds that won’t mind cosying up with you at home, and the critical factors you’ll need to take into consideration before you commit.

You can’t simply choose a dog for its size and expect it to be just fine in your apartment, there are other factors to take note of, such as fur shedding, barking and the energy requirements that they will need to stay fit and healthy. This is a living, breathing thing remember, it is not something that you have the choice of getting bored of like a toy.

Best breeds of dogs for apartment living

American Eskimo Dog

A breed that isn’t very well suited to a life outdoors is the American Eskimo Dog. It’s a very intelligent dog that loves family, so it’s great around kids if you have any. However, it loves people so much that you can’t leave it alone for long periods of time—you shouldn’t leave a dog for a long time anyway—but this pup is particularly needy. Eskies do take the job of announcing when strangers come and go through your home though, so take note it may be a little noisy if you have a social flat. Although, distraction techniques and training should do the trick over time.

To note: Shedding is high, barking is moderate and energy is high too.

Australian Terrier

Highly charismatic, with facial expressions to tell you exactly what it wants and when, if you’d like a good laugh then this is the perfect dog for you. Terriers do thrive on being active though, so it’s not the dog for a homebody. This humorous little creature will love you until the ends of the earth, and never let you out of sight.

To note: Hardly sheds fur, barks piercingly when it has something to say and has high energy.


Although this larger than most apartment dog loves the water, without it they’ll do just fine too. With a calm and peaceful nature, it’s quite happy to lounge about and walk slowly by your side. That being said, several walks a day and a good chance to sniff around outside will make a very happy Barbet.

To note: Doesn’t shed much but loves a good grooming, a quiet and floppy dog.

Basset Fauve de Bretagne

Now this is a dog to fit any household, small or large. It’s friendly and active, loves a ball and catch game and doesn’t grow to an enormous size, so if you like a bed dog—the Basset would be much obliged. They do get a little hot in warmer countries though, so give them a good trim and they’ll be alright.

To note: They don’t shed much, you can keep your white sofa. And your neighbours for that matter, they don’t bark much either. A higher energy than most.

Basset Hound

A much larger Basset. With much larger poops, but if you have kids and are looking for a laid back dog that’ll give you the eye if you tell it to ‘fetch’ then this is a perfect hound for you. They do drool a bit, so keep that in mind. If you have stairs, your dog might struggle to get up and down because, let’s just say this breed isn’t known for its long or elegant legs, and they weigh a tonne.

To note: They have a surprising amount of fur to shed, and a loud and deep bark with quite a bit to say. Other than that, it’s a chiller.


A popular breed for apartments, with an easy going temperament, it’s a kid’s best friend and it loves a lap to sit on. They don’t enjoy huge amounts of sporting activity, so don’t pass too many snacks under the table or you’ll be buying a bigger basket.

To note: Doesn’t shed too much fur, but they do bark. Mainly at mealtimes. Other than that you won’t hear much more than the occasional snore.

Cairn Terrier

Otherwise called a ‘Scotty dog’ as they originate from the Scottish Highlands, Cairn Terriers are very good apartment dogs. They are charismatic, clever and have a lot to chat about, so you won’t get lonely. Training is a must, or they tend to simply go about like they’re the boss, but if you get the balance just right, it’s the perfect dog for an independent household.

To note: Moderate fur shedders, they’ll hear a visitor from a mile away and alert the whole household and your neighbours. They have energy, so I hope you do too.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

A dog fit for a queen (literally, the queen has many). These fine specimens are great watchdogs that keep a smile on their face while barking at you to say there’s something suspicious in the next room, even if there is not. Greedy little things, so don’t feed them too many delectable queeny treats. They’ll need to be socialised as puppies, otherwise that something suspicious could be just about anyone in your close family quarters.

To note: Their fur sheds like a beast, and they sound like one too for their size. But it’s all bark and no bite, they won’t move for most of the day if you don’t.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

One of the best apartment dogs for young families and elderly households. Loyal as can be, where you go they go and there won’t be much you can do about it. They’re also overly friendly, stranger danger is not in their nature, so expect there to be lots of hello how are yous in the park.

To note: All round moderate and considerate dogs, they won’t go fluffing up your carpets or waking the baby at night either.

Cocker Spaniel

If you’ve ever met a people pleaser, boy, this is it. They are the most trustworthy and loyal dogs, if you need to be reminded of how wonderful, perfect and lovable you are, then this is the dog for you. Quiet commands are recommended in training to control their barking, otherwise they’ll take to telling you how much they love you too.

To note: Keep your white pillows, an ideal bed dog. Barking, if trained, is not an issue. Keep your walking boots too, because they love to play all day and will if you give them a chance.


Doggo a la sausage, or, just a sausage dog. These long-bodied, short-legged lovely companions are perfect for any home situation. They are easy to be around, and get just as excited in the playground indoors as they will be outdoors. Quite unfussed really with a huge character that you won’t get bored of.

To note: They haven’t got much fur to shed, unless you get a long-haired, but even so they don’t get rid of much around the house. They do bark though, it seems the smaller the dog the feistier the bark.


Elegant and clever, be careful not to spoil or undertrain, or they will take full advantage of you before you even know it’s happened. Stay alpha. They are sweet natured with friendly faces, and will be even happier with an active owner that likes a lounge on the sofa after their run in the park.

To note: Surprisingly shedless for such furry friends, they also don’t talk much, you’ll know exactly what they have to say with a look.

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