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Top 9 Small Dog Breeds for Apartments

You love dogs. You absolutely love dogs. You don’t just casually think about how much you want a dog, it is your obsession. We can’t blame you, we do too! The thing about dog lovers is they are extremely passionate about their favorite pets. Here’s the tough reality you might be facing though: you live in an apartment. You have a busy schedule. Your building might not allow dogs over 60 lbs, so dogs that need a ton of exercise or take up too much space are out. That’s fine though, there are plenty of adorable, friendly, easy-to-train, and cuddle-happy dog breeds that can’t wait to become a part of your family. We’ve done our homework and created a list of 9 of our favorite small dog breeds that are just perfect for apartment living.


English Bulldog

This lazy, gregarious meatball is the gruff roommate you’ve always needed. The biggest pooch on our list, weighing in at a hefty 50 pounds fully grown, the English Bulldog is a bully who tries to intimidate other pups or people, but has a heart of gold underneath the exterior. Courageous and protective, the English Bulldog can be playful at times, but the respiratory problems shared by the group act as a barrier to endless romping. Most of the time though an English Bulldog will just lay around, nap, and wait for meal time. They’re quite heavy, so an apartment with stairs might be a tough sell if you’re carrying this fella a few times per day. If you have kids, an English Bulldog is a perfect match for babies and toddlers, though don’t expect him to go for a jog, he’ll be just fine over here sitting. They are way too lazy to bark (your neighbors will love that). He will only need to be brushed about once per week, but like all dogs with extra skin and wrinkles you’ll need to clean inside the folds often to avoid rashes and irritation. PS – watch out for smells coming from all ends of this dog.

Bichon Frise


This cuddly little white puff ball is a wonderful companion and will instantly love you as much as you love him or her. Fully grown it will be about twelve pounds, maybe less, and grooming is not as intensive as the ‘show dog’ version would have you imagine. Unless you want to prance around the ring with your Bichon Frise, you don’t have to brush out its coat to an afro style, you can brush and comb it a normal amount. This gregarious breed loves humans, and pretty much assumes it is one, so it is not like it DOESN’T get along with other pups, it just doesn’t care to. It wants to sit at the table and be a part of the family. It is very gentle, relatively quiet (not yappy), and is highly trainable. They don’t need a ton of exercise, just a walk a day. Bichons do not shed and are hypoallergenic. A wonderful apartment pet.



The idea of a fat pug lounging around your apartment is just too cute to deny. A full grown will tip the scales at 18 pounds, but could settle into the 13-16 range with proper exercise and no table scraps. This wrinkly, wiggly pup will follow you around as you do errands, and will want to sleep in bed, so we hope you don’t mind another source of snoring. A pug gets along well with other people and other dogs, but careful with playing too much, a pug has difficulty breathing so staying cool and catching breath can be a challenge. You will need to be on high alert and clean the dog’s wrinkles every day as facial debris can get infected. Pugs shed a ton, so be ready with a lint roller and a vacuum cleaner.

French Bulldogfrenchie

Unlike their bigger cousins, the French Bulldog is a cuddly apartment lover who loves to play and thrives on human contact. They share the respiratory issues, and the adorable face with the English Bulldog (see above) but they are a more active breed overall. A great choice for those who can’t decide between a Boston Terrior or an English Bulldog, the Frenchie is quiet, patient, loyal, and lazy just like the English, but has the small size of the Terrier. A Frenchie is perfect for novice dog owners too, so this is a strong choice for a first pup. They are extremely smart, so training is usually not an issue.


Low maintenance, but loud, the yappy Chihuahua makes for an adorable purse passenger and couch cuddler. With a ton of personality, it is easy to see why the Chihuahua is the star of TV and movies. You need to be a strong owner, because the Chihuahua can turn into a nasty diva if catered to endlessly. Topping out at 6 pounds, this light weight lover is extremely intelligent and can be well trained. Try to socialize around small kids, but keep an eye out because these pups can be hurt easily since they are so small too. Chihuhua’s need a lot of exercise (about 30 minutes per day) and they do live a long time, almost 18 years on average! Lastly, be mindful of other dogs, as a Chihuahua can be a bully, despite its stature.

Cavalier King CharlesCavalier_King_Charles_Spaniel

The ultimate brat (in a nice way) Cavalier King Charles love to be spoiled, petted, doted upon, and picked up after. They really do not like being left alone, so be mindful of your work schedule, and they are a wonderful choice for those who work out of their apartment. Topping out at 17 pounds, these pups love to play fetch and love to chase due to their hunting instinct, so be careful if you have a cat or some other pet cohabiting with the Cavalier King Charles. They don’t bark often, but they do need a lot of brushing, almost four times per week if you want to keep that high gloss coat. The best attribute of a Cavalier King Charles, they get along VERY well with children and they are patient with the probing hands of toddlers. They pee often though, so be mindful that house training can be an issue as they can’t hold their little bladder.

Chinese CrestedChinese-Crested

The world’s ugliest dog needs some love too. So ugly it can be cute, though, right? This 12 pound best friend will lie in bed with you all day if you’re sick or skipping work, and won’t judge how much Netflix you watch. What’s great is the Chinese Crested laps up the sun, and doesn’t mind extreme heat, so it is perfect for warm climates. On the flip side, don’t house a Chinese Crested if you live in New England, because this breed does not do well in the cold. Although mostly hairless, it does need trimming from time to time. They do well with kids, need little to no exercise, but do tend to be quite loud at times. Another issue to consider – if you have a busy work schedule, the Chinese Crested can get a bad bout of separation anxiety, and will cause a scene if left alone too long by misbehaving or even escaping.


For over 2000 years the Maltese has been a companion dog for humans. They are hypoallergenic and do not shed due to their lack of undercoat, so clean up is easier for owners. Another breed with separation anxiety issues, a Maltese is best owned by someone who is around often. A very playful and friendly breed, the Maltese loves making new friends! This expressive pup shows its emotions, and you’ll be hard pressed to disappoint them by denying an extra treat. A bit of house training difficulties shouldn’t scare you away from this breed at all. The perfect apartment companion.


The Pekingese bring so much joy to the world with their appearance, these low-riding, rug-rubbing pooches require plenty of attention and affection, but give it back in spades. They like to be an only ‘child’, so having another dog pekinesemight be an issue. They also mistrust other humans, but that can be helped with early socialization. As a bonus, the Pekingese vigilant nature makes him a superb watchdog, but he’s not overly yappy. They are prone to respiratory distress if he’s not kept cool. You can see why the Pekingese was a imperial dog from China and was the preferred pet of Emperors!

So good luck with your search for the perfect furry friend, we’re here to help with real reviews and apartment advice for buildings and complexes around the country, including whether or not they are dog-friendly and up to what pound limit. Life can be ruff sometimes, don’t let finding an apartment-friendly dog breed add to it.

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