Top 7 Small Dog Breeds for Small Apartments

Most of us live in small spaces such as apartments and small houses. But that does not change the fact that we love dogs just like anyone else. Living in a small space does not mean that you have to forget about dogs.

Living in a small apartment does, however, limit the type of dog you can adopt. You cannot go for a large dog like a shepherd or husky. Luckily, several small dog breeds would be perfect and would be happier in your small apartment.

In this post, we highlight the best dog breeds for small apartments and living spaces. We will highlight everything you need to know including their history, size, as well as their general appearance. Let’s get started.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Dog Breeds for Small Apartments Short List

Size is a very important factor to consider if you are thinking of getting a small dog for an apartment. Long legs and giant paws are not always great for small living spaces. But the size is not all that you have to look at.

When you are deciding which dog to get for your apartment, you have to think about how noisy your dog is, its level of energy, as well as friendliness to neighbors. Meeting new people and socializing is part of living in small spaces and your dog should be okay with that. The dog you have should love socializing.

The best dog breeds for small apartments should be as little as 7 inches and only as tall as 18 inches. Some of the dog breeds that fall under that height limit include:

  • Bichon Frise
  • French Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Havanese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boston Terrier

Top 7 Dog Breeds for Small Apartments

Dog BreedSizeAppearanceCost
Shih Tzu10 Inches, 16 PoundsBlack, Gray & white, black & white, red & white$1250 – $4000
Bichon Frise11 Inches, 12 PoundsWhite$250 – $2500
Havanese11 Inches, 13 PoundsBlack, white, black and white$1000 – $1500
French Bulldog12 Inches, 28 PoundsCream, fawn, brindle$1500 – $8000
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel13 Inches, 18 PoundsRuby, black & tan, tricolor, Blenheim$1800 – $3500
Pug14 Inches, 18 PoundsBlack, fawn-colored$600 – $1900
Boston Terrier17 Inches, 25 PoundsBlack, brindle, seal$1000 – $2000
Size, appearance and price comparison of small dog breeds for small apartment

1. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise dog breeds for small apartment
Bichon Frise

This dog breed might be one of the most mischievous but is full of love.

It is not clear where this dog breed started its population. Several beliefs try to explain where this dog is from including that he is a descendant of the Barbet dog. However, there are very early records from around the 14th century that prove that the dog was introduced to France from Tenerife by French sailors.

An adult Bichon Frise normally grows to around 11 inches and will weigh around 12 pounds.

This double-coated dog breed is always white.

One of the most outstanding features of this dog breed is its cheerful attitude. The dog appreciates love and attention from people around him. This dog loves charming everyone including the family, groomer, vet, as well as neighbors.

Even though this dog can be active mostly, he can be a perfect apartment dog. But to make that possible, you will have to provide the dog with adequate play and exercise. You should be careful not to leave the dog for a long time because there is a chance that it might mess up your house. You can choose to leave the dog in a crate.

2. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
French Bulldog

French bulldogs are very affectionate dogs.

The dog is native to England where it was created as a smaller version of the bulldog. It was a very popular dog breed for lace workers in Nottingham. When these workers moved to France looking for better lives, they took their dogs with them.

Dogs of this breed will grow to around 28 pounds with a height of 12 inches max.

The coat of this dog is short and might be in a range of colors including cream, fawn, and brindle shades.

A French bulldog is always loving and you can notice that the dog mostly wants to spend time with you. He is a freethinker that will respond well to training, especially if you provide play, praise, and food rewards.

This breed has a low level of energy, which is perfect for apartments. They do not need a lot of exercises. But that does not mean that you should not provide it. Exercise is important to ensure that the dog does not get any health-related problems. Short walks or a bit of play should be adequate.

3. Pug

Pug dog breed
Pug dog breed

Pugs are known for their sense of humor and tendency to show off.

This dog breed is originally from China during the Han dynasty. There are different beliefs that this breed has a relation with the Tibetan Mastiff breed. These dogs were highly appreciated and were taken good care of, sometimes even guarded by the emperor’s soldiers.

Adult pugs normally weigh around 18 pounds for both and males and females and will grow to a height of around 14 inches.

This double-coated dog breed can be black or fawn-colored.

You should not expect to find a pug guarding, hunting, or even retrieving. The main reason this dog was created was for companionship and they know how to do that perfectly. Your dog will crave affection and will normally sit on your lap. If you do not reciprocate his devotion, the pug will be unhappy.

A pug is low-maintenance, which makes it a perfect dog for older owners. The dog is quiet and small. You will also realize that it is inactive. It is a dog meant for living in apartments. Pugs can be a bit sensitive to humidity and heat, which means that you have to limit their outdoor time to avoid any health issues from developing.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This is a very affectionate and playful dog breed.

The King Charles spaniel is a new breed that has lived less than one century. However, the dog has a prototype, which is a toy spaniel. This prototype has been around for centuries and was especially loved by nobility and royalty. The Cavalier is a breed that descends from that toy spaniel.

The small breed has a height of around 13 inches and normally weighs about 18 pounds when fully grown.

This dog’s coat is available in four main colors. The dog can be ruby, black and tan, tricolor, as well as Blenheim.

Cavaliers are full of humor and love. The dog breed loves meeting new people and would love it even more if these people offered a treat or a lap. There are different cavaliers. Some are quiet while others are rambunctious. It all depends on the parents of the dog.

The quiet nature and small size make this dog a perfect breed for condos and apartments. They are not very active when indoors. For exercise, all you would require is a small yard. If you do not have access to a small yard, you can take the dog for some short walks on a leash.

5. Havanese


Havanese dogs are affectionate to everyone even cats.

This breed was developed in Cuba. It developed from interbreeding between small companion dogs brought to Cuba by some Spanish settlers. This is after Cuba was claimed for Spain by Columbus around 1492.

The dog breed grows to a maximum height of 11.5 inches and a weight of around 13 pounds.

The coat of a Havanese is light, soft, and silky. It can be in a range of colors including black, white, and black and tan.

You will love that a Havanese is very affectionate and gentle. The dog breed loves human companionship and will do anything to get it even if it means following you around the house from room to room. If left alone, there are chances that he might get a bit anxious. This dog is also intelligent and making you laugh is one thing he loves.

This small breed is full of energy that needs to be burned. That can be achieved by a game of fetch or simply a long walk. Havanese does great in different homes including smaller ones like apartments and larger houses with yards. It does not matter as long as he is indoors. Life in the backyard is not for this dog breed.

6. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu

A Shih Tzu is an affectionate, outgoing, loving, and happy dog.

This is one of the oldest breeds on the planet and there is a ton of controversy and mystery surrounding it. Research has proven that it is one of 14 ancient breeds. There are different beliefs regarding its origin. One of the most popular beliefs states that the dog was developed by monks and offered to Chinese royalty as gifts.

Males and females of this breed are similar in size. They have a height of 10.5 inches and a weight of 16 pounds.

The gorgeous coat of a Shih Tzu can be in a range of colors including black, gray and white, black and white, or red and white.

According to history, this dog was meant to be a companion and it is exactly what the dog wants to do. It is a desire of a Shih Tzu to be around you. You should never expect this dog to guard, hunt, or even retrieve. It is not the style of a Shih Tzu. The dog breed is affectionate and always wants to be on your lap.

It does not matter to a Shih Tzu what the living situation is. The dog is comfortable even in a small apartment. All that matters to the dog is that you are right there with it. You need to know that this dog breed is an indoor dog and is not suited to live in a kennel. However, a bit of play in the backyard is always welcome.

7. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
Boston Terrier

The Boston terrier is affectionate and gentle just like a gentleman.

It is known that this terrier came into existence in the 1800s in Massachusetts. However, different stories explain how the breed started. One of the most popular stories states that it was born after cross breeding a bulldog  and an English white terrier, which is now extinct. It was created mainly for fighting purposes.

An adult will normally grow to around 17 inches tall with a weight of around 25 pounds. However, some will only grow to around 15 pounds while some will get to 19 pounds max.

The coat of this gentleman is smooth and fine. It is mostly in three colors. Black, brindle, or seal. The muzzle, however, is always white, as well as the chest and the face.

The dog was nicknamed the American Gentleman because of his coat. This dog is gentle, affectionate, lively, and smart. However, the dog can be a bit stubborn. Therefore, when training the dog, you have to make sure that you are persistent and consistent.

Even though this breed is lively, there is no requirement for excess exercise. A Boston terrier is not so active indoors and is a perfect choice for an apartment. Taking a walk is one of his favorite things to do, which is good because it handles the exercise requirements. Remember, the dog cannot handle much cold or heat.

Taking Care of Indoor Dogs

Let’s assume that you have chosen the dog that appeals most to you. How do you take care of it indoors? Well, there are very simple things that you need to do to ensure that your dog has an amazing time in the house and is healthy.

First, you have to make sure that the environment is very clean for the dog. You also have to ensure that water is close so that your dog remains hydrated.

You need to prevent obesity by following the recommended diet and providing adequate exercise. To make sure that your dog is in the best health condition, you should visit the vet regularly.

You must develop a bond with your dog. This is achieved by providing your dog quality time so that you can understand its needs and recognize any signs of illness.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have checked out the best dogs for an apartment, all you have to do is find one that you love. You should be very careful with indoor dogs.

They need proper care to avoid certain illnesses and weight problems. Make sure to provide adequate exercise because these dogs might be a bit lazy.