The Best Small Dog Breeds for an Apartment

Before bringing a dog home to live in your apartment, it's important to read your lease and ask your landlord questions about your building's pet policy.

Some apartment communities restrict large dogs and breeds that are thought to be more likely to damage property or cause physical harm to strangers.

According to Psychology Today, insurance companies have blacklisted many common breeds including pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, chows, Doberman pinschers, wolf hybrids, great Danes and Siberian huskies.

What dogs are best suited to apartment living? Here are the pros and cons of some of the best small dog breeds for an apartment.

Dogs under 25 pounds

Yorkshire terrier

Yorkshire terrier

  • Pros: These beauties are admired for their floor-length, silky coats, and are feisty, brave and full of personality. They have good hearing and make fine little watchdogs.
  • Cons: Yorkies can be energetic and stubborn. They require daily brushing, as well as regular visits to the groomers for shaping and upkeep.

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

  • Pros: Known for being friendly, playful and eager to please, these adorable pups make for great apartment dogs. They rarely bark. They're easy to train and don't require a lot of exercise or space.
  • Cons: Cavalier King Charles spaniels often develop health issues as they age, including heart disease, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, gum disease and slipped discs. Their average lifespan is just nine to 14 years. They require regular grooming to maintain their coat's beautiful appearance.


  • Pros: Pekingese make perfect apartment dogs as they have a calm and friendly temperament. They are small and easy to carry around. They are affectionate and loyal and adapt well to living in small spaces.
  • Cons: They have thick fur, which can require a lot of maintenance. They are prone to overheating in hot weather and tend to have breathing problems.

French bulldog

  • Pros: French bulldogs make for an excellent apartment dog. They don't require much exercise and are extremely affectionate and playful. Due to their short coats, they are extremely easy to groom.
  • Cons: French bulldogs are prone to a number of health issues, such as brachycephalic upper airway syndrome and laryngeal edema, both of which make it harder for them to breathe. Hip dysplasia is a common condition that prevents their hips from operating properly and may lead to an inability to walk or run as they age.


  • Pros: With their floppy ears and soulful eyes, beagles are adorable and a favorite breed for families. Low maintenance in terms of grooming, they are also sociable and easily trained.
  • Cons: Beagles are trackers and will follow a scent and root through garbage looking for food. They may bark loudly, too.

Dogs under 50 pounds

Australian shepherd

Australian shepherd

  • Pros: An Australian Shepherd is a herding dog with boundless energy. They are intelligent, loving and easy to please. Aussies make a good family dog.
  • Cons: As they are highly energetic, this breed needs regular exercise and lots of attention. They can sometimes develop serious spinal defects. Hip dysplasia is another possible health issue in some of these dogs.


  • Pros: Keeshond is the quieter, more sensible and less dominant breed in the “spitz" family. They are friendly and polite to strangers and adapt well to apartment living, but do require outdoor playtime.
  • Cons: They shed a lot and require a good amount of grooming. Be ready to vacuum.

Chinese Shar-Pei

  • Pros: Known as the rarest breed on Earth, these medium-sized dogs have a unique appearance that includes a rough, sandy or sandpaper-like coat, a black tongue and an unusual head shape. They are strong, intelligent and loyal. With early training, Shar-Pei can become affectionate and accepting of strangers. They were historically bred as guard dogs.
  • Cons: Shar-Pei can act stubbornly and must receive consistent training. They can develop skin problems and eye disease.

What are the best apartment dogs?

It's easy to find a small breed dog that will live well in an apartment. Quiet, low-energy dogs easily adapt to a dog-friendly apartment.

Take time to play fetch, go for walks, establish routines and enjoy your pup. Respect your neighbors, clean up after your dog and keep them quiet whenever you're outside your apartment. Before you pick your small dog breed, check your apartment's pet policy to make sure it's allowed and keep your dog and landlord on good terms.

Rachel Cooper Rachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. She has written for, Washingtonian, Federal City Council, Montgomery Parks, Destination Maryland, Conde Nast Traveler, Payscale, Valpak,, Washington Parent and more. Her books include Quiet Water: Mid-Atlantic, AMC’s Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Best Ponds, Lakes and Easy Rivers; 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C. and Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

The Most Beautiful Apartments in Nashville

No matter what you're looking for, there's an apartment in Nashville that can meet your needs.

Best Air Purifiers of 2023: Expert Reviews and Buying Guide

Breathe easy with these top picks.