American Service Pets Logo
Dog Looking at you

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

If you live in an apartment or smaller house, it doesn’t mean that you can’t own a dog. You actually have a lot of options! Many breeds of dogs are adaptable to smaller living conditions. If you are thoughtful about making the best choice of breed for your family and your living space, you will find that your furry companion will thrive living the apartment dog life.

Table of Contents

Dogs That Make Great Neighbors

Every dog breed has its own personality and temperament. It’s important to consider what traits make dogs good candidates for apartment living. This type of assessment will help to decide if the breed you have selected is a good fit for your lifestyle and your space.

Here are some general characteristics of dogs that are well suited for an Apartment Environment:

Get Your ESA Today


Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.

Under 25 Pounds:

You want to make sure that your furry friends have enough space to stretch their legs! Dogs up to 50 pounds are usually allowed in apartments. However, it is easier to find smaller breeds that live well in apartment spaces. Although they might be small, they take up a lot of room in our hearts. Little dogs make great companions since they usually love to cuddle and travel easily. At this size, they don’t require much space to live active, happy lives.

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Calm Demeanor & Friendly Nature:

If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend. This old saying is true of dogs and humans alike! When choosing dogs for apartment living, you will want to select a breed that is friendly and not super territorial. Less territorial dogs will generally be less likely to bark, bite or be possessive. Apartment dwellers will want to select a breed with an overall calm nature.

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Need A Moderate Level of Exercise:

An occasional case of the Zoomies is normal for all breeds of dogs. But if your dog is running laps through your apartment at all hours, you are certainly going to get some noise complaints from your neighbors. Most dogs require daily walks so having access to the outdoors, nearby walking paths and green spaces is important.

Responsible Doggy Citizens:

Landlords appreciate responsible dog owners that respect their neighbors, maintain a level of cleanliness and are able to maintain an appropriate noise level. The Canine Good Citizen Training Program is accepted almost nationwide as the standard for properly training our four-legged companions. Getting a training certificate like this is a great way to highlight that you and your furry friend will be great tenants.

Apartment Friendly Dog Breeds

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Apartment Dog Breeds for you to consider.

1. French Bulldog

Ok. I have to admit. I put “Frenchies” at the top of the list because they’re my personal favorite. 

Here are a few of the reasons why they make great apartment dwellers! They are small, they don’t bark often and they don’t shed a lot. Plus, they don’t require a lot of exercise and overall they are low maintenance. French Bulldogs are said to be the best small dogs for families with kids. They are happy to find a cozy spot on the floor or your lap to fulfill their most coveted role of cute little lazy lounger.

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

2. Chihuahua

They definitely meet the small dog requirements for size and can fit into virtually any space! All of their daily exercise needs can be adequately met without ever leaving your apartment. They’re known for their sassy personalities and can be yappy barkers, but can be trained to not bark as much.

3. Bichon Frise

They weigh in around 25 pounds and are known to be one of the best apartment dogs due to their happy demeanor. They don’t bark a lot and don’t shed a lot either. They are in the poodle family, but much smaller. The Bichon Frise breed is also known for their performance in agility competitions, but at home they love to lounge and snooze! Given their demeanor and love for people, they are the ultimate snuggle buddies!

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

4. Shih Tzu

A toy dog breed from Asia that is outgoing, fun, and playful. They are small but have big personalities. They are known to be an affectionate breed that is very good with children. These were originally bred to be companions of royalty, and they live very comfortably as house dogs. Take note that they have beautiful, long coats that require daily brushing.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

“Yorkies” are generally happy and energetic dogs.They are tiny and cute and love a good snuggle fest, which make them great companions for a Netflix binge. They can bark a lot and need to be trained and socialized well to avoid that.


Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are a toy dog breed. They are small and quiet giving them a great reputation for being the perfect apartment dog. Most owners would also tell you that they make the best family dogs as well because they are very loyal and intuitive. They are very friendly towards both humans and other dogs.

7. Boston Terrier

These terriers are nicknamed the “American Gentlemen” partly for their look and partly for their temperament. They have a tuxedo looking coat, big dark eyes and one of the most boop-able noses ever! They are a compact size and thrive with regular exercise. They can get most of their daily exercise needs met within a small space and won’t irritate the neighbors doing it. And true to their nature, they love a good game of ball chase. They are loyal, loving and spunky!

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

8. Corgi

Corgis are very intelligent, hard-working dogs. They appreciate an active lifestyle to match their higher energy levels. Corgis are a fluffy mix between a German Shepherd and a Dachshund. All of that floof will need regular brushing! They tend to need slightly more training than other breeds but can make great apartment companions.

9. Maltipoo

Cute and cuddly, the Maltipoo is a popular crossbreed between a Maltese and a Toy Poodle. They are friendly and affectionate companion dogs and are bred to be hypoallergenic. This is a great breed for first-time dog owners. They are easy to train and do well in small spaces. They have a cute name, they’re adorable and they sound like they’re just waiting to make you their new best friend!

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living
Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

10. Basset Hounds

These hounds are a great choice for apartment living. Basset Hounds are famous for their endearing features – their long, velvety ears, big, sad eyes and wrinkly foreheads. At times, they can be stubborn, but for the most part, they are pretty easygoing. They can have a “big” voice, but they don’t bark often and have a pretty low-key, agreeable personality. On average, these hounds only require one walk per day to stay healthy. Outside of a daily walk, they are pretty happy to nap most of the day.

Tips for Finding a Pet Friendly Apartment

If you’re just beginning your apartment search, finding the perfect apartment can take time. Considering that almost 70% of households own pets, many new apartments are adding pet friendly features. Some include luxury pet amenities such as the following: a Dog Run, Indoor Pet Relief Area, a Bark Park, a Pet Wash Station, and even a Doggy Pool.

If you do not qualify for a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal, a refundable deposit is required by 40% of apartments that are pet-friendly. However, you’ll generally get this deposit back after your lease ends, unless there is damage caused by your pet.

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

If you will be a first-time dog owner, take a look at our blog on “things to know before getting a dog“. It’s a great resource that is full of valuable information you’ll want to know as you explore pet ownership!

You can also do more research through the American Kennel Club. They have a unique “Dog Breed Selector” that is really interesting to use. You answer some basic questions and it matches you to the breed that would make the best “fur-baby” for your family. It gives users the option to do side-by-side comparisons of the breeds that most interest them.

Info for First-Time Owners

Additional Considerations

● Know the Pet Policy:

Check your lease and read up on the policy and any restrictions at your apartment.

● Extra Fees:

Pet Deposit: This is a refundable deposit that you’ll get back at the end of your lease if there is no damage caused by your pet. According to Apartment List, 40% of pet-friendly apartments require a deposit, and the current average of a pet deposit is about $287.

Pet Rent: Some apartments also require you to pay what we call “Pet Rent.” It is an additional monthly fee that you pay specifically to have a pet (or pets) present. This fee is often $25 – $100 in addition to your regular monthly rental fee.

Protections for Service Animals: Service Animals (including Emotional Support Animals) are not subject to pet fees. Even if the lease agreement prohibits pets, the law protects people with Service Animals (including Emotional Support Animals) against discrimination. These protections also extend to the breed of a dog. Dog breeds cannot be discriminated against even if the breed is typically restricted. You have a right to have your service animal with you – without paying additional fees. Many people don’t realize that they can qualify for a service animal. You can take this quiz to see if you do!

● Common Pet Restrictions:

Limit Number of Pets in a Unit: Typically only 1-2 pets are allowed in a single

Weight Restrictions: A maximum weight of 50 pounds is the upper limit of what is allowed. Some apartments may charge additional fees for larger animals.

Restrictions of Aggressive Dog Breeds: There is no official list of restricted breeds. Here is a list of dog breeds that are often considered risky by landlords and insurance companies:

■ Pit Bulls
■ Dobermans
■ Rottweillers
■ German Shepherds
■ Great Danes
■ Alaskan Malamutes
■ Terriers

Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

The Adaptable Nature of Dogs

It is not challenging to find a dog breed that will live well in a smaller space. In general, dogs have an adaptable nature. Although it might be simpler, breeds for apartment living don’t have to be limited to smaller dogs. With the proper training, plenty of exercise, and even some creativity in adjusting your habits, other breeds can happily cohabitate in smaller apartment spaces. The truth is, as long as you are happy and your dog is happy, the size of the space doesn’t matter much.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


More Great Resources

American Service Pets Logo only

You're In!
Check your inbox for your 15% off code.

You've got 15% off waiting for you

Enter your email for your code, plus other offers & updates from American Service Pets

You're In!

Check your inbox for your discount code.

Please allow a few moments for delivery, and be sure to check your spam/junk folder if you don’t see it.