23 Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartments


When you’re looking for an apartment dog, there are several things that you need to take into consideration. Size, noisiness, energy level and friendliness are among the traits that you should think about.

As a matter of fact, there are many small dogs perfect for apartment dwellers that can do very well living in a small space. So, which small dog breeds make the best apartment dogs?

In this article, we’ll talk about 23 of the best small dog breeds that can make great apartment pets.

1. Basenji

Basenji dogs

This dog is native to Africa and has an excellent sense of smell that qualified it to be an outstanding hunting dog. It’s usually known as the “Barkless” dog from Africa, weighing around 24 pounds and measuring 18 inches at the shoulder. It’s likely to live for 12 years.

It has a short coat that covers its small muscular body in addition to small erect ears and a little curled tail. 

The Basenji is great apartment dog that is an intelligent dog, but it might be a bit stubborn. Your Basenji needs a lot of mental stimulation as it can get bored very easily. You should never leave the door open as your curious little friend will try to leave and explore the world.

A Basenji dog sheds very little and is quite clean but is a bit hard to train. It can get a bit noisy as it starts to scream to grab your attention. This dog considers itself to be part of your family and is great with kids and extremely friendly with strangers.

This high-energy dog needs lots of exercise and attention and shouldn’t be left alone. Raising a Basenji with other pets like hamsters and gerbils isn’t an excellent idea as its love for hunting might take over.

2. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise dogs

There’s a lot to love about the Bichon Frise. It’s a playful curious pet that has a hypoallergenic coat that feels extremely soft and velvety. It’s quite adaptable and will get along great with kids and other dogs, making it a good option for living in a small living space.

If you’re looking for a watchdog, then the Bichon Frise isn’t the right one for you. It’s a friendly pet that loves everyone and has lots of love to give.

This dog breed reaches a maximum weight of 12 pounds and a height of 11 inches at the shoulder.

The Bichon Frise is always happy but doesn’t like to be left alone for long. It’s prone to suffering from separation anxiety, so if you are planning to leave the house for long, then this might not be the right pet for you.

The Bichon is easy to train and it likes tricks. Lots of people think that it’s an excellent therapy dog.

It doesn’t bark much but needs professional grooming every now and then. Bichon puppies are tiny and children should be supervised while playing with them.

3. Bolognese

Bolognese dogs

This small dog breed loves being with his family and will enjoy life in an apartment. However, it can’t tolerate being left alone for long periods so you need to be committed to giving it enough attention and love.

The Bolognese can live up to 14 years, reaching a maximum weight of 14 pounds and a height of 1 foot. It loves going for regular walks and playing with the kids, so make sure that it has plenty of exercises to keep it busy.

It originates from the city of Bologna, just like the famous sauce, and it takes some time to be trained. A patient owner is the best choice for this curious and loving pet. It’s likely to bark to show its excitement or to ask for more attention from the owner.

As a dog owner, you should make sure that your dog is eating high-quality food as it’s prone to gaining weight. Its fluffy coat doesn’t shed much, which makes it a suitable pet for people who suffer from allergies.

4. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier dogs

This dog breed is characterized by its distinctive coat that looks like a tuxedo, which gives it the nickname “The American Gentleman”. The Boston Terrier is a small loving roommate for apartment dwellers and dog lovers that can reach a maximum weight of 25 pounds and a height of 17 inches.

It has round eyes that show its good nature as it’s known to be eager to please. Easy to train, however, early socialization is always recommended.

The Boston Terrier isn’t much of a chewer, but it will bark occasionally. It doesn’t drool much and should be kept on a leash if you go outside because it will be interested in exploring the surroundings.

If you’re an outgoing person, you’ll find that your pup is eager to join you for walks and jogs. The Boston Terrier will experience some shedding so use a brush frequently to remove the loose hair.

5. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon dogs

The Brussels Griffon is a good apartment dog breed and an ideal pet for owners who need a dog that would do well with frequent walks and doesn’t need to run all day. It can live up to 15 years and has a tiny body that measures 10 inches high and weighs 10 pounds maximum.

The dog’s coat comes in several shades of red, beige or reddish-brown, black and tan, and black. It takes about an hour or less of exercise every day being an energetic and active dog.

Although this dog is considered a toy dog breed, it has a rather serious face thanks to the whiskers and black muzzle. This look is the reason why it’s called the bearded dog. 

Some barking and howling should be expected from this miniature dog. You also have to consider that hates being left alone and isn’t a good candidate for rough play with kids.

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs

At first glance, you’ll notice the sweet and loving look of the Cavalier King Charles that combines the playfulness of a toy dog breed and the activeness of Spaniels. The Cavalier reaches a maximum height of 13 inches as an adult weighing between 13 and 18 pounds. This dog breed will live up to 15 years.

The silky coat and the big round eyes of the Cavalier is the reason why it was so popular among aristocrats. Regular brushing is a chance to strengthen your bond with the dog as it enjoys receiving attention from its special human. It doesn’t drool and will only bark occasionally.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a calm dog breed that will enjoy occasional walks as much as belly rubs. It’s one of the friendliest apartment dogs with other pets, adults, and kids.

It’s highly adaptable and will grow to like what the owner prefers, making it perfect for a small living space and one of the best apartment dogs.

7. Chihuahua

Chihuahua dogs

A small dog breed with a larger than life personality, reaching a maximum height of 8 inches and a weight of 6 pounds, making the Chihuahua a good apartment dog. However, this dog breed can live up to 16 or 18 years, so it’s a friend that will last for a lifetime.

This dog has bright eyes that show off its sassy personality and erect ears to complement its smart and bright look. Don’t let its small size deceive you because, without proper training, can be quite difficult to control.

Chihuahuas either have short coats that need occasional brushing or long-haired ones that should be brushed once a week to avoid tangles. It doesn’t need much exercise and can do well while following its favorite human around the house.

This is a good apartment dog that is aware of how lovable it is and needs a firm but loving attitude to be trained properly. It will bark to show you how excited it is or to ask for more attention. Due to its small size, Chihuahuas are not suitable for rough play with kids and should be kept warm in extremely cold weather.

8. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dogs

The Chinese Crested is a small dog breed that belongs to the toy breeds and can live up to 18 years. It stands at a height of 13 inches and weighs 12 pounds in a little boned body that can be hairless or coated.

The most distinctive physical traits of this little fellow are its spiky hairdo and alert round eyes. The hairless version is typically a favorite apartment dog because it doesn’t shed and has no odor. However, regular care is still recommended to protect your hairless friend from skin infections, sunburn, and allergies.

A Chinese Crested will bark occasionally, but it’s not going to wander alone when you go outside. It doesn’t need intensive exercising but will enjoy occasional walks with you.

The Chinese Crested loves giving and receiving love so it makes an excellent therapy dog. It’s rather sensitive and won’t respond well to harsh training. It also needs time for socialization with other people and dogs, preferably, since it is a puppy.

9. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel dogs

This dog breed will love to snuggle with you on the couch or play with your kids as it’s extremely affectionate and loving. It reaches a height of 15 inches and a weight of 30 pounds.

The Cocker Spaniel is a clever hunting dog, but it’s still an excellent pet for families and kids as it likes to play and be pampered. If you have a 9 to 5 job, your dog will suffer due to its sensitive nature. It’s a great choice for households where there’s always someone around.

Regular and professional care is necessary to keep your Cocker Spaniel in shape. Special attention should be given to the long ears because the skin is rather delicate and thin towards the end. It doesn’t bark all the time but will do this to grab your attention from time to time.

Because it’s quite sensitive, the Cocker Spaniel will always try to please you. The more love you give, the more responsive your pet will be.

10. Dachshund

Dachshund dogs

The Dachshund comes in two sizes: the standard and miniature. Standard dogs weigh around 32 pounds reaching a height of 9 inches, while the smaller miniature dogs weigh less than 11 pounds with a height of 6 inches, making the Dachshunds a perfect apartment dog.

This small dog breed is tireless and will enjoy playing with you and your family, but it’s not that fond of long runs and swims. It is an enthusiastic barker but can be trained to stay quiet.

The coat can be smooth, long-haired or wirehaired and the amount of shedding will vary accordingly. Trimming the nails every month is a must to make sure that your dog won’t suffer from any pain.

The Dachshund is an excellent choice for novice owners as it’s agreeable. It won’t react well to harsh training and needs praise and love. Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t respond on the spot as its curious nature usually takes over whenever they see something interesting.

11. French Bulldog

French Bulldog dogs

The French Bulldog has a compact body that reaches a maximum height of 13 inches but can weigh up to 28 pounds. Just like a Bulldog, it’s characterized by its square-like head and heavy wrinkles above the nose.

This is a rather rare breed that was once known for being excellent ratters. Today, the French Bulldog is a perfect choice for apartment living and new owners since it’s extremely friendly. The French Bulldog isn’t much of a barker and gets along well with other apartment dogs and animals.

French Bulldogs don’t shed much, so it’s an excellent choice for busy owners. A short daily play session with the owner is enough to keep your dog motivated as it enjoys relaxing with its special human at home.

Early training can help recognize and deal with problems related to the dog’s stubbornness. French Bulldogs need proper and continuous motivation so it can show its true loving nature.

12. Havanese

Havanese dogs

Another toy breed, the Havanese is a small dog that is native to Cuba but is currently one of the most popular dog breeds among apartment dwellers. It lives up to 16 years, growing to reach a maximum height of 11 inches and a weight of 13 pounds.

It has a silky coat that requires special attention and regular brushing. Some owners prefer to style it in different ways to give their small dogs a distinctive look.

Your Havanese is likely to stay close to you, earning the nickname “Velcro Dog”. It’s quite energetic and this is why it’s one of the most popular dog breeds to participate in circus shows.

This small breed can make a good watchdog, but it will keep its barking to a minimum; a trait that will especially appeal to someone living in an apartment.

This miniature dog is sensitive and will only enjoy playing when it’s with its favorite human. Playing inside its home is good enough for this little calm and lazy apartment dog as it can get tired easily.

13. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound dogs

Once a favorite companion of the noblemen and women of Italy, this small toy dog has enough endurance and strength to participate in a small hunt game. It weighs 14 pounds and reaches a height of 15 inches, so it’s the perfect lap dog for apartment living.

The fine long-boned legs qualify this dog to take part in regular runs. Due to its low-fat body, it requires special care in extremely cold weather.

Bathing is unnecessary as using a brush or cloth is usually enough to keep its short coat clean. However, daily dental cleaning is highly recommended to keep your dog’s teeth in good shape.

This dog is tiny but won’t mind picking up a fight with a bigger dog. Playing at a dog park should be done under strict supervision. 

Choosing this pet as your lifetime friend means that you should be expecting some barking and a high energy level as it’s likely to chase anything that moves.

14. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin dogs

The Japanese Chin has been raised as a companion dog for more than a thousand years. It has an elegant mane around the neck and pants on the legs that made it quite popular in the Chinese and Japanese imperial courts.

This small breed grows to reach a height of 11 inches and a maximum weight of 11 pounds. Despite the eye-catching coat, this isn’t a high maintenance dog as it only requires weekly brushing and a monthly bath. Trimming the nails is necessary as they tend to grow pretty fast.

Proper socialization is needed at a very young age as the Japanese Chin tends to be rather shy. It will enjoy slow regular walks with its human but isn’t interested in high-intensity exercising. If training gets boring, this dog will choose to do something that it finds more entertaining.

It barks occasionally and is generally friendly towards other dogs and cats. It might not be a suitable choice for a home with very young children as they might accidentally hurt it.

15. Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz dogs

As long as you’re committed to meeting the exercise needs of this dog, it will be a perfect candidate for apartment living. It will grow to reach a height of 15 inches and a weight of 25 pounds. This dog is known to be a little comedian who will try its best to make its owner laugh.

As a companion dog, the Japanese Spitz truly enjoys spending time with its family and shouldn’t be left alone. It has a white coat and a mane around the neck with a tail that curls over the back.

The erect ears allow this dog to hear everything that is going around, making it very alert. It’s a low maintenance pet that doesn’t require much grooming and gets along great with kids.

This small watchdog will bark to warn you when something is off. This is one of those small dogs for apartments that adapts well as long as it’s not left alone at home for long.

16. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso dogs

Once a guard of Tibetan monasteries, this dog is currently a family companion that will go that extra mile to protect its family from danger.

The body of the dog reaches a maximum height of 11 inches and a weight of 15 pounds. However, this small dog breed usually thinks that it’s a very big dog and will act accordingly.

It’s famous for its floor-length coat which parts in the middle that gives it a gentle look. However, you’ll be surprised by the resilient and independent nature of this pet.

Special attention should be given to his long lavish coat even if you decide to give it a trim. The dog should be bathed two times a week and regularly brushed.

If you’re too busy, your Lhasa Apso will find a way to keep itself busy by running around the apartment. It’s a great therapy dog as long as you keep the training session interesting and stimulating. Although it’s a loving pet, it’s a bit shy when it comes to dealing with strangers.

This dog isn’t all about pleasing you as it likes to do things on its own. If you love the independent demeanor, then you shouldn’t mind the frequent barking.

17. Maltese

Maltese dogs

The Maltese believes that everyone is a potential friend. This tiny dog will reach a maximum height of 9 inches and a weight that doesn’t exceed 7 pounds. For centuries, the Maltese has acquired a special spot in the laps of noblemen and women.

It has a long silky coat that can be styled in different ways and large eyes that will melt anyone’s hearts. It lives for about 15 years, and it’s always eager to make friends of all ages. It’s also friendly towards other dogs.

Regular bathing and using a high-quality conditioner is recommended to keep the coat looking its best. Daily walks are enough to keep this little dog motivated.

This intelligent dog knows its way and doesn’t like to bark much, which your neighbours will appreciate. You should be consistent with your training to make sure that your dog follows the rules.

18. Papillon

Papillon dogs

This alert and happy dog lives up to 16 years, reaching a height of 11 inches and a maximum weight of 10 pounds. It gets its name from the French word Papillon which means butterfly and is used to describe its erect ears, although some dogs have their ears pointing down.

The coat usually has a white base and features several color combinations. The dog has been frequently portrayed in medieval paintings. It doesn’t shed or drool much and is quite easy to take care of.

Apartment dwellers love that the Papillon doesn’t seem to bark much. It’s also quite easy to train as it’s always eager to learn and please its human. This is a pet that shouldn’t be left alone for long periods.

This dog enjoys exercising indoors and outdoors. You should, however, keep an eye on your Papillon as it doesn’t usually realize how small it is and can get itself into trouble.

19. Pekingese

Pekingese dogs

This dog has the distinctive facial features of an oriental dog. It reaches a maximum height of 9 inches and grows to weigh 14 pounds. It was very popular among the ruling classes of China and is currently considered as one the best apartment dogs.

This stocky dog has a coat that reaches its maximum length around the neck, giving the look of a mane. It requires at least one hour of brushing per week to keep its coat looking its best.

The Pekingese can tolerate kids but won’t be happy with too much rough play. It likes to exercise at its own pace and should be given its space to relax when needed.

This dog doesn’t tolerate the heat very well. It will bark quite often if it’s trying to get your attention. Maintaining a good and healthy diet is necessary because this dog is prone to gaining weight.

20. Pomeranian

Pomeranian dogs

The Pomeranian has a smiley foxy face and a double coat that comes in several colors, although the most common one is orange or red. This tiny dog can live up to 16 years. It belongs to the toy miniature group and reaches a height of 7 inches and a weight of 7 pounds.

This miniature dog will enjoy its lifestyle, whether it’s living indoors or outdoors, making the Pomeranian a great apartment dog. However, you should train your Pom not to jump off couches or beds as it might hurt itself.

Regular brushing is necessary, but you need to schedule professional grooming once a month to keep your Pom in good health.

This is a barker that will show its enthusiastic nature. You should keep an eye on your small Pom as big predatory birds can mistake it for a rabbit.

21. Pug

Pug dogs

If you’ve never owned a dog, then a Pug might be the right choice for apartment living. It reaches a height of 13 inches and a weight of 18 pounds which makes it perfect for living in a small space.

It was considered to be the most favorite companion of Chinese and Dutch royalties.

Pugs are either silver, apricot fawn with a black face or all black. Most people believe that the wrinkled face of this dog gives it human-like expressions.

It has a smooth short coat that requires little maintenance. Baths are needed only when the dog gets itself into a mess, but brushing is enough to get rid of loose hair.

The Pug is a calm dog that will enjoy snuggling on the sofa, perfect for couch potatoes owners, but won’t mind occasional walks. It loves indulging into its food so owners should pay attention to its diet as it’s prone to gaining weight. It will enjoy its time when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold.

Apartment dwellers love how adaptable the Pug is. It will tolerate living with kids, seniors, other dogs, and being on its own. It also doesn’t bark much, making it one of the best small apartment dogs out there.

22. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu dogs

The Shih Tzu is a lifetime friend living up to 18 years. It will reach a maximum weight of 16 pounds and a height of 10 inches.

A Shih Tzu knows how cute it is and enjoys its time, especially with children. It was once the popular choice for Chinese royalties, so it’s not that fond of digging in the backyard. It will prefer some quality time with its favorite human over everything else.

Daily brushing and layering the hair is necessary to make sure that you’ve reached the skin. The hair on the head should be trimmed or tied in a knot so it doesn’t irritate the eyes.

Minimal exercise is needed to keep a Shih Tzu in good shape. It doesn’t bark much so it’s an excellent indoor roommate and a good apartment dog.

23. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier Yorkies Dogs

Also known as the Yorkie, this dog will reach a maximum height of 8 inches and a weight of 7 pounds. It has a glossy floor-length coat that is usually steel blue with a golden tan.

This dog is small in size but has a big personality that makes it one of the most popular apartment dog breeds in the US. It’s very intelligent but, since a puppy, requires regular training to make sure that it follows your directions.

It only barks occasionally but it has high energy level. Daily exercise is recommended to keep your pet healthy and happy.

In spite of its long coat, it doesn’t shed much, which makes it an excellent choice for people who have allergies. The hair is more like human hair than animal fur.

The hair on the top of the head should be trimmed or tied to prevent irritating the eyes of your Yorkshire Terrier. It’s a bit shy so early socialization is recommended.

Final Thoughts on Small Apartment Dogs

Living in a small size apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t add a furry friend to your family.

Although there are other small dog breeds that can make great apartment pets, such as the Shiba Inu, the Coton De Tulear, the Australian Terrier, the Biewer Terrier, the Toy Poodle and the Miniature Pinscher, these 23 small dogs are excellent candidates for apartment living because they are well-suited for a small living space.

Each one of these apartment dog breeds has a set of distinctive qualities that make each dog unique. You need to think about your lifestyle and what you’re looking for in a dog so you can find your perfect match.