21 Best Dog Breeds for First-Time Owners in Apartments


Dogs are fun companions. They’re also perfect buddies for kids, and just flat-out adorable.

Yet, if you live in an apartment, you might have second thoughts about this due to the limited space that the puppy will stay in. But not to worry, I’m here to provide you with a list of the best dog breeds for first-time owners in apartments.

Let’s take a look at our candidates!

1. Affenpinscher


The Affenpinscher is a perfect choice for anyone who isn’t experienced in keeping pets. This is due to its active personality and easygoing character.

Affens are also quite intelligent, making it fun to train them.

Better yet, this dog breed doesn’t shed as much as other breeds do. Not to mention that its tendency to drool is low.

Still, an Affenpinscher might not be the right choice for households with infants or toddlers. Its instinct makes it more drawn to older kids and adults.

What Makes an Affenpinscher Good for First-Time Owners

  • It adapts well to apartment living
  • A friendly dog breed
  • Has a unique personality
  • Playful and smart
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Low tendency to bark or howl

2. Basenji


Another breed that you should consider is the Basenji. It’s highly intelligent, up to the point of stubbornness. This makes it a bit tricky to train, but many owners love the challenge.

Also, it doesn’t bark often. Therefore, you can keep a Basenji in an apartment without worrying about waking your neighbors up.

A Basenji likes to play, but not in the adorably silly way that most dogs do. Plus, it doesn’t shed a lot, which makes it the ideal option for perfectionists.

What Makes a Basenji Good for First-Time Owners

  • Good adaptability
  • Kid-friendly
  • An affectionate dog
  • Likes to play
  • Easy to groom
  • Minimum shedding and drooling

3.   Basset Hound

Basset Hound

Who doesn’t automatically love a Basset Hound? Its long, fluffy ears, short body, and upturned eyes make it irresistible to kids and adults alike.

It mostly just lies around the house, preferably in your lap. Thus, a Basset Hound feels lonely pretty quickly and might develop a destructive behavior as a result.

Because it’s a bit on the lazy side, it can gain weight fast. Therefore, you’ll need to make sure it exercises properly and eats healthy snacks.

What Makes a Basset Hound Good for First-Time Owners

  • It’s a highly affectionate lapdog
  • Loves to be around children
  • A natural hunter and tracker
  • Bonds smoothly with other pets

4. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise

This cute puppy owns the hearts of many with its white coat, black eyes, and bubbly personality.

Because it’s enthusiastic and playful, your kids should have a wonderful time playing with it. Even better, it doesn’t mind being left alone for hours.

It’s also easy to train, and generally friendly towards people and other pets alike.

A Bichon Frise tends to shed more than the previous breeds, but you can pretty much keep up with it.

What Makes a Bichon Frise Good for First-Time Owners

  • Likes to play, especially with kids
  • Energetic demeanor
  • Intelligent
  • Doesn’t mind some alone time
  • Friendly to other pets

5. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is generally affectionate to all family members. It’s also quite gentle and unaggressive, which makes it perfect for life inside an apartment.

However, it’s more likely to snort or drool due to its tiny nose.

Because a Boston Terrier is energetic, you’ll probably love playtime with it. Yet, being smart means that it can be pretty tasking to train.

What Makes a Boston Terrier Good for First-Time Owners

  • Lovable personality
  • Lively attitude
  • Gentle and friendly towards little kids
  • Adapts well with apartment life

6. Bulldog


There are many reasons why Bulldogs have such popularity among apartment-dwelling parents. Despite their relatively big size and muscular body, they might be the friendliest breed out there.

Bulldogs bond well with all family members, including little kids. However, they might have trouble with other dogs in your household.

They’re quite easy to take care of, and they’re simple to groom.

Bulldogs can gain weight swiftly. Therefore, you’ll have to make sure that yours moves and has a healthy diet.

What Makes a Bulldog Good for First-Time Owners

  • Affectionate
  • Easy to groom and train
  • Friendly towards strangers
  • Adapts to apartment living
  • Doesn’t mind being left alone for a while

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

With wide round eyes and especially adorable ears, the Cavalier is sure to become your family’s best friend. It’s a toy breed that enjoys being athletic, filling your home with energy and joy.

Cavaliers love the outdoors. Therefore, a dog of this breed can be your faithful companion if you’re a beach person.

Also, they’re exceptionally sociable with everyone, from family members to strangers to other dogs. Not to mention that it can be easy to teach them tricks.

What Makes a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Good for First-Time Owners

  • Low tendency to bark or howl
  • Easy to groom and train
  • Warms to everyone
  • Playful and entertaining

8.   Chihuahua


This small dog breed is also friendly and lovable. It gets along with everybody, maybe except for strangers or other pets. Still, its lively personality and active character make it an immediate heart winner.

Chihuahuas require minimum exercise and grooming. Also, they don’t shed or drool, which you’ll likely appreciate if you like your apartment to be impeccably clean.

Let’s not forget that they don’t put on weight easily because they naturally move a lot.

Even though they occasionally bark, Chihuahuas are considered well-mannered dogs.

What Makes a Chihuahua Good for First-Time Owners

  • Easy to train and take care of
  • Energetic and intelligent
  • Doesn’t shed a lot
  • Affectionate

9. Chinese Crested Dog

Chinese Crested Dog

Another remarkable breed is the Chinese Crested dog. Its unique looks, calm temperament, and devotion make it perfect for first-time parents.

If you want a companion to lay on the couch for hours in front of the TV with you, this dog should be high on your list.

However, you may want to note that it’s incredibly sensitive, so you shouldn’t leave it alone for a long while.

Additionally, you’ll appreciate that it doesn’t shed much.

What Makes a Chinese Crested Dog Good for First-Time Owners

  • Easy to train and play with
  • Very affectionate
  • Requires minimal exercise
  • Highly intelligent

10. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear

This sweet dog breed with a white, cotton-like coat might be all you need in a companion. It likes giving hugs to everyone in the house, no matter their age.

Despite its beautiful locks, the Coton de Tulear can be hard to groom for first-timers. However, you’ll be relieved to know that it doesn’t shed too much.

This cute breed is big on playtime, and it can get lonely pretty easily. Also, it’s remarkably smart, making training an enjoyable task.

What Makes a Coton de Tulear Good for First-Time Owners

  • Smart and easy to train
  • Playful and gentle
  • Tolerates both hot and cold weather
  • Minimal shedding
  • Gets along with people and pets

11. Dachshund


Also known as Weiner Dog and Sausage Dog, the Dachshund is another great option for first-time owners. With its short legs, draped ears, and long body, your children will absolutely love it!

The Dachshund can be pretty intelligent when it’s time to play. It likes chasing things around the house, which is only natural because it’s bred to hunt small game.

Yet, you might want to know that it barks a lot and requires some patience to be trained.

What Makes a Dachshund Good for First-Time Owners

  • Adorable appearance
  • Smart and playful
  • Friendly to all family members

12. Greyhound


Even though Greyhounds were originally bred for hunting, these dogs make for great couch companions. Despite their energy and unbelievable speed, they have a sweet character that new owners will appreciate.

Yet, they can be quite sensitive to being left alone.

Yes, Greyhounds tend to shed and drool, but they’re also easy to groom and train. Not to mention that their tendency to bark is relatively low.

What Makes a Greyhound Good for First-Time Owners

  • Adaptable
  • Affectionate to everyone including kids, strangers, and other dogs
  • Smart
  • Gentle

13. Havanese


This adorable dog breed is popular for its silky strands, adorable eyes, and a body that’s perfect for cuddling. But don’t let its looks trick you. It’s one of the smartest dogs out there that’s ready to compete in dog sports.

If you’ve decided to bring it home, just remember that it needs constant companionship. After flooding it with love and affection, a Havanese will give you tons in return.

What Makes a Havanese Good for First-Time Owners

  • Intelligent
  • Gentle and loving
  • Friendly towards children and strangers
  • Almost no shedding
  • Very easy to train

14. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is another cute dog you might want to take home. It’s mild-mannered, easygoing, and doesn’t mind being left home alone.

In addition, training shouldn’t prove an issue. We also like how playful and intelligent it is, which should keep you entertained for hours.

What’s remarkable about this dog is that it can be quickly affected by its environment. Therefore, if your household is a quiet and friendly one, the Japanese Chin will soon adapt to its surroundings.

What Makes a Japanese Chin Good for First-Time Owners

  • Quick to train and smart
  • Well-mannered and friendly
  • Playful
  • Adapts well to new environments

15. Maltese


Another favorite of pet owners is the Maltese. Its long, silky coat and overall cheerful personality are two obvious reasons why that’s so.

Yes, you’ll most definitely need a professional when it comes to grooming, but other qualities can make up for that. For instance, it’s a great family dog that loves cuddling, although it gets lonely pretty easily.

Not to mention that it’s so smart you’ll want to get started with training at once. The only issue you might face is that a Maltese tends to bark often.

What Makes a Maltese Good for First-Time Owners

  • Easy to train
  • Doesn’t shed much
  • Cute appearance and lovable personality

16. Pekingese


Originating from China, the Pekingese has an aura of grace and nobility about it. However, it can get along with almost anyone.

Even though the Peke loves children, they might accidentally hurt it because it’s so small. Therefore, it’s recommended for households with teens or older people.

After showering it with care and love, a Pekingese will be your loyal companion forever. Yes, it tends to bark and sheds a lot, but a lot of parents overlook that in exchange for its winning personality.

What Makes a Pekingese Good for First-Time Owners

  • Easy to train
  • Friendly companion
  • Doesn’t mind being alone for a few hours

17. Pomeranian


The Pomeranian might have a small body, but its character can be larger than life. It’s full of energy, playfulness, and enthusiasm.

Due to these characteristics, it tends to bark a lot. Yet, we love so many things about it like its affection towards all family members and its intelligence.

Even though it sheds a great deal, it can be okay with some owners. If that’s the case, then getting a Pomeranian can bring joy into your life!

What Makes a Pomeranian Good for First-Time Owners

  • Highly intelligent
  • Easy to train
  • Friendly and loving

18. Pug


This short-muzzled, curled-tailed, goofy dog is one of my absolute favorites! It loves to do all sorts of funny moves, especially around a family that gives it plenty of affection.

Because it likes nothing more than human interaction, it can get lonely pretty fast. Thus, leaving it at home on its own is not an option.

A Pug tends to be stubborn if you start training it, but you can get impressive results with enough patience.

What Makes a Pug Good for First-Time Owners

  • Lovable with a winning personality
  • Funny and charismatic
  • Easy to groom, train, and look after

19. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is adorable, very friendly, and will follow you all around the place demanding hugs and pats. Ultimately, it can be trained for agility and obedience competitions.

It also gets along well with other pets and children. However, you’ll want to be sure that your kids are careful when holding it.

The Shih Tzu has no trouble being left alone while you go about your day, but don’t leave it for too long.

Plus, grooming can be challenging, so you might need to hire a pro.

What Makes a Shih Tzu Good for First-Time Owners

  • Affectionate towards everyone
  • Intelligent
  • Perfect family dog

20. Whippet


Even though it’s bred as a hunter, a Whippet is a friendly dog breed you’ll most likely admire. It rarely barks, but might be sensitive to being alone.

Its slim looks and energetic nature has won many hearts. Not to mention that it can participate in agility, flyball, rally, and other dog contests.

Due to its short fur, it’s very easy to groom. Yet, you’ll want to make sure it exercises a lot to let out its naturally high energy.

What Makes a Whippet Good for First-Time Owners

  • Well-mannered
  • Doesn’t bark, not even at strangers
  • Affectionate
  • Perfect for dog sports

21. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Being one of the most popular dog breeds in the US, the Yorkie has a lot of distinctive personality traits to grasp your attention.

This small buddy loves family time. It’s decidedly playful, intelligent, and appreciates all the care that it receives. Yet, you might find it high-maintenance, especially when it comes to its dental health. Not to mention that its thick coat makes it hard to groom.

In addition, it has a tendency to bark occasionally.

However, its lovable character and cheerful attitude are enough to make it one of our favorite candidates!

What Makes a Yorkshire Terrier Good for First-Time Owners

  • Smart and quick to learn tricks
  • Adorable
  • Overall friendly
  • Adjusts to apartment living with ease

Final Thoughts

After reading our list, you probably have a better idea of which dog breed to bless your family with. Even though being a first-time owner can be challenging in the beginning, all should be well if you give your canine friend the love that it deserves.

Through patience and proper training, you should find the perfect balance between discipline and affection.