Owning a dog isn’t just for people with acres of property, as even city folk love to spend time with their pets. Choosing the right dog breed is crucial if you live in an apartment, as space constraints will make owning some breeds impractical. Certain breeds will simply feel too cooped up inside a small apartment, which can lead to behavioural problems.
So that both you and your dog can thrive together, we’ve put together a list of some of the best dog breeds for apartment owners. These are breeds that are small enough to fit any size of home, but with the right temperament to not bother the neighbours.
Size: 10–15 pounds
The Toy Cavoodle (or Cavapoo, or Cavadoodle) is a mixed-breed dog that is the product of the breeding between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Toy Poodle. As a mixed-breed, the Toy Cavoodle inherits many of the positive qualities of both the parent breeds. Since both parent breeds are toy breeds, there’s no chance that they’ll grow to be too large for an apartment.
The Toy Cavoodle is one of the most popular breeds in Australia, combining the cleverness of the Toy Poodle with the sweet disposition of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Depending on the dog’s coat type, they can even be hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for people with dog allergies.
Size: 3–7 pounds
The Pomeranian is a small, spunky toy dog breed that is perfect for those who want a lapdog. Pomeranians are very active little dogs that need plenty of exercise, despite their small size. They can be very long-lived, with many living for over 16 years.
They’re friendly and outgoing dogs, and are great at watching out for intruders. Despite their talent in warning their owners of approaching strangers, they aren’t aggressive and will happily get along with almost anyone once introductions are made.
Size: 2–6 pounds
The Chihuahua is the smallest toy breed, and is perfect for those who want a tiny companion. Chihuahuas are known for being loyal and protective of their owners, and some might even call them ‘feisty’. They typically live between 12 and 20 years.
Despite their small size, they’re also incredibly brave dogs and will not back down when challenged. They need to be socialised early and trained well, otherwise they may develop some serious small dog syndrome. However, all that work is worth it, as a well-behaved and friendly Chihuahua is a wonderful family pet.
Size: 7–9 pounds
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small toy dog breed that is perfect for city living. These tiny dogs have a silky, long coat that requires regular grooming, but gives them a glamorous look that is instantly eye-catching. Yorkies are active little dogs that need plenty of exercise and stimulation to avoid boredom. They typically live between 13 and 16 years, so any Yorkie owner can look forward to their companionship for a long time.
Yorkies tend to be smart and confident dogs, and are typically playful and gentle with children. However, it’s still a good idea to supervise any interaction between them as Yorkshire puppies can be fragile.
Size: 6–9 pounds
The Toy Poodle is a smaller version of the Standard Poodle, but retains all the cleverness and calm confidence of its larger cousins. Toy Poodles are highly intelligent dogs that are easy to train but need plenty of mental stimulation to avoid boredom. They typically live between 12 and 15 years.
Toy Poodles were originally bred to be companion animals, unlike the Standard or Miniature Poodles. However, they can be just as athletic as their larger counterparts, and it’s not uncommon for Toy Poodles to take part in agility or obedience competitions.
Size: 13–18 pounds
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small toy dog breed that was originally bred as a companion dog. Cavaliers are gentle dogs that love spending time with their families but can also be independent when necessary. They typically live between 9 and 14 years, but it’s not uncommon for them to live even longer.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are suited to both low- and high-activity households, and will adapt to suit their owner’s needs. They tend to be friendly and easygoing, and get on well with kids, dogs and strangers.
Size: 9–16 pounds
The Shih Tzu is a small toy dog breed that was originally bred in China as a companion dog for Chinese royalty. Shih Tzus do not require much exercise but love spending time with their families. Most Shih Tzus will live between 10 and 15 years, but there are reports of especially long-lived Shih Tzus reaching over 20 years old!
Their name translates to ‘lion dog’ and it’s reflected in their confidence and charm. However, most Shih Tzus aren’t fierce at all, being very affectionate and gentle dogs who love to make friends and play around. They’re not especially active, but are almost always up for some pets and scritches, and will happily bounce around when it’s time to play.
Size: 4–7 pounds
The Maltese is a small toy dog breed that was originally bred on the island of Malta. This ancient breed has been popular for well over 2000 years, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Malteses are low-energy dogs who enjoy lounging more than exercise. You can expect a Maltese to grow as old as 12 to 15 years, as the breed is generally very healthy.
The Maltese retains the same sweet, easygoing nature that made it popular in ancient times. Despite being a non-working breed, they excel at being therapy dogs and can bring comfort to people of all ages.
Size: 7–13 pounds
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba where it was originally bred as a companion dog. This breed has both razor-sharp wits and charming silken hair, making them ideal companions for those who want their dog to be both trainable and glamorous. They typically live up to 12 to 16 years.
Despite their flowing locks that mark them as a toy breed, these dogs are surprisingly athletic and energetic, so they’ll require more playtime and exercise than other small dogs. They tend to be outgoing and social, and will jump at the opportunity to make new friends. They play well with both children and seniors, as they know how to be gentle and sweet.
If you’re thinking about getting a dog, please consider adopting a rescue animal. You can find almost any breed of dog at animal shelters and many of them are just as sweet and devoted as animals that come from dog breeders.