It’s not common to think large dog breeds can be great for apartment life. It is generally thought that small dogs are better suited to live in an apartment.
But in reality, size is not a decisive factor for a dog to adapt well and have a good life in an apartment. Other things must be considered, such as their temperament and attention and exercise needs.
There are advantages of having a big dog in an apartment. On one hand, large dog breeds tend to go to the bathroom less often than small dog breeds, which implies fewer potty trips outside. On the other hand, there are large dogs for all kinds of lifestyles of apartment dwellers.
Whether you are an active person who likes to run or jog or a lazy person for whom a short walk a day is more than enough, there are large dog breeds that may be perfect for you.
Here you will find a little glimpse of 17 best large dog breeds perfect for apartment living.
1. Afghan Hound
Known as the “King of Dogs” for its aristocratic air, although they can also be silly clowns sometimes.
It’s a large breed that may look distant and aloof, but are loving, sensitive and loyal dogs with a laid-back personality.
Generally, they are peaceful dogs with low levels of dominance. They are good with big children who know how to treat dogs and are also friendly with other pets. Although, if they are not properly socialized from an early age, they can be distrustful with strangers and other pets.
On the other hand, they are difficult to train and housebreak. You have to train them kindly and calmly, but firm. With patience and perseverance, they can be obedient and eager to please dogs.
The Afghan Hound is a high maintenance dog breed. This means he needs to be groomed and brush carefully a couple of times a week. Their long, fine coat requires considerable care.
Also, they need a lot of physical activity, even more than other large breeds. They require a daily long walk and even a jog session.
If Afghan Hounds have enough exercise, they can adapt well to living in a small apartment. They are happy and love to live indoors. They will spend much of their time hanging out on the sofa, which will make many apartment dwellers very happy.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
Although they are quite intimidating at first glance, they are actually loyal, affectionate and good nature dogs.
They are obedient, intelligent and very affectionate with people, especially children.
They are prone to be protective of their family and territory. If they think there is a threat, they can become aggressive. But with proper socialization and training, they are very obedient and excellent companions and create strong ties with their owners.
They are easy to train, but since it’s an intelligent dog, it’s important to be consistent with discipline. You have to be firm and gentle with the training.
They also need to exercise regularly. It’s important they have their daily walks and to encourage them to play and stay active.
If they don’t have enough activity, it’s common they get bored and restless. It’s advisable to take them to obedience classes to keep them mentally and physically active to avoid boredom and stay stimulated.
While they have their daily exercise sessions and are mentally stimulated, they can adapt well to apartments.
3. Bernese Mountain
The Bernese Mountain dogs have a cheerful, friendly and kind personality. They are affectionate and patient with children and are friendly with strangers and relate well with other pets.
Curiously, they are distinguished by maturing slowly and tend to behave like puppies longer than other breeds.
Also, they are good watchdogs since they are confident and alert dogs, but you have to consider they tend to bark a lot and loud.
The Bernese Mountains is an intelligent and sensitive pet and have to be trained gently but firmly. As with all big dog breeds, it’s necessary to socialize them properly from an early age and train them regularly throughout their lives.
They are dogs that need physical activity but don’t have much endurance. Regular exercise is an obligation, and keeping them mentally occupied is as important as their physical activity so that they can stay healthy and happy.
Although, because of their big size, their movements can be uncomfortable in tight spaces, they are suitable for apartments since they are quiet and well-behaved indoors as long as they have the proper physical and mental stimulation.
Along with other dog breeds, such as the Labrador and the Golden Retriever, Boxers are commonly used as therapy and service dogs. Also, they are reliable, alert and good watchdogs.
They are vivacious and playful companions and very affectionate with their family. They like to be surrounded by people and are happy spending most of their time with their families, although they can become shy and distrustful with strangers.
Boxers need to be trained consistently and patiently. They don’t respond well to harsh treatment, It’s necessary to start training them with simple things so they can build their self-confidence before moving on to more complicated things. Although, housebreaking a Boxer is easy as they tend to be quite clean.
Concerning their activity level, they are very energetic dogs until they are two or three years old. They are animated, playful and like to jump and ramp. But then they become mild and loyal companions for the rest of their lives.
They need at least one hour of exercise a day. They can have long walks or even a vigorous play session, although it’s necessary not to exercise them in hot climates since they are prone to heatstroke.
They must have a lot of mental stimulation and be socialized from an early age to develop a stable attitude.
Boxers can live well in a small apartment with the proper physical and mental activity.
They are characterized by being mild, docile, affectionate dogs with an even temperament. Likewise, the Bullmastiffs are very loyal, devoted and protective with their family.
They are also excellent family dogs that tend to be very tolerant with children and get along well with other pets as long as they are appropriately socialized.
The Bullmastiff dog breed needs little coat care. They are easy to groom, although they shed regularly and they need to be brushed often.
As they are very intelligent and always willing to please dogs, it’s really easy to train them. Although, they are quite stubborn, so they need early socialization and training to control their dominant attitude.
They are not active dogs. Bullmastiffs like to take things easy and be calm inside their home. If you add that they don‘t bark much, while they have their daily walks, they can be great apartment dogs.
6. Clumber Spaniel
Although they are gentle, affectionate, loyal and easygoing dogs, they are also intelligent and independent. So without proper training and leadership, they can be very willful.
But at the same time, they are easy to train and respond well to calm and assertive dog owners.
They are good and playful with children and other pets, but they are aloof with strangers, so it’s necessary to socialize them since an early age.
Puppies are very playful and energetic, but adults are not very active. In fact, they are happy resting on the couch, sleeping and eating. But they need to have at least one hour of daily exercise to stay healthy.
They adapt well to apartment life since they are not barking dogs and are not active indoors.
7. Dogue de Bordeaux
Despite being fearless and strong dogs, are of a friendly and pleasant temperament. They are characterized by being mild, patient and devoted to their family, including children.
As a good guard dog, you have to be careful they don’t become suspicious of strangers and other dogs. It’s advisable to socialize them so they can learn from an early age when there is a real threat and when not.
It is important they are properly trained. Clear leadership and limits are essential. Without a firm and calm leadership, consistent training, and socialization, they can be quite stubborn, dominant dogs, and manifest negative behaviors.
The Dogues are dogs that are generally inactive indoors and only need moderate daily physical activity, which makes them great apartment dogs, But it’s necessary to make sure that they are exhausted after their exercise sessions because it’s essential for keeping them healthy and happy.
8. Golden Retriever
Excellent guide and service dogs and the perfect family dog. Very intelligent, obedient, good nature, and always eager to please and to learn.
Loyal and sociable dogs that love to interact and have fun with people and are very good with children of all ages.
The Golden hardly barks and doesn’t have guard instincts, which makes them bad watch dogs.
They are one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. Goldens are easy to train and respond well to obedience training.
They like physical activity and attention very much. In fact, they are not happy about staying alone for long periods of time.
The Golden Retrievers are good companions for people who like to have outdoor activities such as hiking or camping.
They are quite active and energetic and need rigorous daily physical activity to stay healthy and don’t manifest chewing or behavior problems.
Because they are very friendly dogs with people and other animals, and while they have their physical activity needs covered, Golden Retrievers can be great apartment dogs.
Despite their reputation as racing dogs, the Greyhounds tend to be one of the best apartment dogs that are quiet, well-mannered and independent dogs.
They are loyal, lovable and affectionate dogs that enjoy the company of people. Although they are known to be shy, adequate socialization helps them to be more confident and sociable.
They like quiet environments, without much hustle. This causes them to have little tolerance for children. They are not recommended in homes with children under eight years of age.
Greyhounds are also sensitive and independent dogs, so training them requires patience and perseverance.
They enjoy physical activity more than they need, but, at the same time, they love to have long naps and to cuddle on the sofa. But it’s important not to let them become inactive.
They like long walks, but with short walks several times a day is more than enough to cover their needs.
10. Great Dane
Known as the “gentle giant”, the Great Dane is one of the largest dog breeds and one of the noblest.
They are excellent family dogs that are characterized by being loyal, friendly, sympathetic and affectionate, as well as playful and patient with children.
They are also known to be good water rescuers and watch dogs, although they rarely bark.
Always with a good disposition, easy going and an energetic personality, the Great Dane responds enthusiastically to training.
They need little exercise and are very inactive indoors, where they like to rest and snuggle.
They must have a daily long walk, but you have to be careful because running too much can cause them problems. Mainly the puppies should not be over-exercise since they can have hip and joint problems.
Although it’s a very large breed, they adapt well to apartment living since they are not active dogs and are fairly reliable and get along well with everyone.
It can be said without any doubt that the Great Dane is one of best big dogs for apartments.
11. Irish Wolfhound
Because it is known as the highest breed, many people don’t consider them to be the ideal pet to live in an apartment.
But because they are easygoing, mild and very inactive indoors, they can adapt well to apartments.
They are friendly and affectionate with their family and very good and patient with children of all ages because they are very gentle when they play.
Also, they are friendly with strangers and other pets, but it is advisable to socialize them with other dogs and people, so they don’t get scared easily.
The Irish Wolfhound is a smart dog breed and they like to please, which makes them easy to train. It’s recommended to start training as soon as possible since, due to its big size, it’s easier to handle a puppy than an adult.
They need to exercise regularly to stay physically and mentally healthy. Although sometimes it seems they don’t want to, they need to go out daily to walk or run twice a day.
In many ways, the Irish Wolfhounds are considered the perfect companions and best friends.
They are easy dogs to get along, great companions and perfect guard dogs.
Friendly, loyal and gentle, they like to be around people and bond closely with their family.
Although they are confident and vigilant, they are known to be patient and great with children.
The Mastiffs, although they barely bark, they tend to defend their territory and their family. But they need to be socialized so they don’t become reserved with strangers.
Although they are stubborn sometimes, they are smart and eager to please so they are easy to train and housebreak.
They are moderately inactive indoors and even tend to be pretty lazy.
But you have to provide them with regular daily physical activity. Daily walks help them stay relaxed and burn their mental and physical energy. But don’t exaggerate as they may have hip and joint problems.
For the same reason, puppies need light exercise. They need to have activity, but you have to avoid overworking them.
With enough exercise, they are a great large dog breed for apartment living.
This big dog breed is an excellent family dog, having a sweet, affectionate, gentle and friendly personality.
Protectors with their family, they are brave dogs that usually get in the middle of them and potential danger.
Also, they are excellent with children, besides being protective, they are patient and gentle with them.
They are very intelligent and are one of the easiest dog breeds to train. It is even said they can housebreak by themselves.
They are known to be one of the laziest and inactive dog breeds indoors. For this reason, you have to monitor their physical activity. Although they have minimal physical activity needs, regular exercise helps them prevent obesity and health problems.
The Newfoundland is an excellent big dog for apartment life. They adapt well to small spaces since they are not active dogs, and they are very careful with the objects that cross their path.
14. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Intelligent, strong, and close and protective dogs with their family, although reserved with strangers.
Even though they are loyal and good nature, they may not get along with children as they tend to play a little rough.
The Ridgebacks are calm, gentle and obedient big dogs. But also quite stubborn, so you have to start training them since puppies.
As they are intelligent and stubborn dogs, it’s easy for them to get bored and distracted while you train them. For this reason, it’s recommended for very dedicated dog owners.
It’s necessary to establish leadership from an early age, have daily training sessions and provide enough physical and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy.
This large dog breed is quite active and with high energy. They need vigorous and regular physical and mental activities.
But, although they are very active outside, they are calm and polite indoors. So, if they are provided with the appropriate amount of exercise, the Rhodesian Ridgeback can be a good apartment dog breed.
15. Saint Bernard
A friendly, gentle and calm dog breed that loves to be around their family and is patient and extremely tolerant with children.
Although they love to be around people, they need early socialization so they can bond well with other people and animals.
They are protective dogs and excellent companions for apartment dwellers. Tend to become very close and protective of their family. To keep them happy, you have to provide them with love, time and training. But as they are known to be intelligent, It is an easy to train dog.
Despite being a large breed, they only need a moderate amount of daily physical activity. But they need regular exercise to prevent them from getting bored. Although you have to be careful not to over-exercise them as they can also develop joint problems.
The Saint Bernard, despite being a big dog breed, adapts well to apartment life if they are provided with the time, training and necessary exercise.
16. Shiloh Shepherd
With a stable, friendly and passive temperament, these gentle giants are excellent family pets, gentle and good nature.
They tend to be loyal and loving while being protective of their family and are also considered the ideal companions for children because they are very patients. But it’s necessary to socialize them since some tend to have a very protective personality.
They are relatively easy to train since they are very intelligent and are always willing to work.
Because they are smart dogs, they need to be mentally stimulated and have regular exercise.
They are not high energy dogs, and even some Shiloh Shepherds are soft tempered and all they want to do is to sit in their owner’s lap.
They can live and be happy in small apartments if they are provided with the proper exercise, such as a daily long walk.
17. Standard Poodle
They are soft and sensitive big dogs that prefer quiet environments, with little activity or conflict.
With a lively and playful personality, but at the same time, they are calm and with a need for company and attention. Likewise, they are polite with strangers and get along well with other dogs and pets.
They are also excellent watchdogs, and some may have sensitive protective instincts, but they don’t become aggressive.
They are considered one of the most intelligent and easy to train and housebreak dog breeds. But this implies that they need to have some kind of regular mental stimulation. Agility classes or advanced obedience training helps them a lot.
They need enough daily exercise. Their energy can vary from moderate to high and require jogging, brisk walks, and vigorous playtime to burn off their energy.
With little attention and activity, they get bored easily and can be restless and destructive. But with proper exercise, they are calm and relatively inactive indoors and will be happy relaxing and sleeping in your apartment.
It turns out that the size of a dog is not as essential, as one might think, for apartment living.
As it was seen before, in many cases big dogs can have characteristics that allow them to adapt better to an apartment than a small breed.
But we always have to know well the needs of our dog’s breed in order to offer him a happy and healthy life.
- Largest Dog Breeds by The American Kennel Club
- The Best Giant Dog Breeds That Make Great Pets by The Spruce Pets