I am often surprised at how often, and how forcefully, people will insist that dogs and apartments are a bad mix. It’s not fair to the dog, they say. Or it’s a recipe for conflict with your neighbors. Or they’ll ruin your apartment and you’ll be on the hook for repairs.
Well, from my perspective, I don’t even know where they’re getting “not fair to the dog,” I don’t believe that a well-behaved dog is going to tick off the neighbors, and I could point to any number of toddlers who are far more destructive than a well-trained dog. Besides, when you think of how many cities there are where the cost of a house is so far out of reach, apartment living is the only solution for many people, and I don’t think it’s right that they should be deprived of canine companionship.
So, let’s talk about the best dogs for apartment dwellers, and how to make sure that you and your best buddy can live comfortably, coexist with others, and avoid problems.
It’s Not Necessarily About Size
Don’t assume that a dog’s size necessarily means that he will be a good or bad fit in an apartment. Much of the time, the tendency is to favor a small breed because of space constraints. The trouble with that is a lot of the time small dogs can be very high-energy, and can actually feel very cooped up in even a large apartment. Some small breeds also have a tendency to bark a great deal, and that is the sort of thing that will get you in trouble with the neighbors.
Large dogs can be a very good fit in an apartment, provided that they get enough exercise. Some breeds are actually laid-back by nature, and will happily snooze throughout most of the day, asking only for a walk a couple of times a day.
Which Breeds are Best?
So now, with the size issue out of the way, let’s consider which breeds are best for apartment dwellers. I’ve done a lot of research, and come up with my top six, ranging from small to large.
1. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies typically top out at about seven pounds. You could fit one in a bed-sitter! They are also one of the small breeds that are not “barky,” which is a big plus. And Yorkies usually get along well with people and other animals.
2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These dogs usually weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. They are among the friendliest breeds, so you should have no issues with other tenants or their dogs. The Cavalier King Charles is also quiet, calm, and very adaptable.
3. English Bulldog
Moving into the midsize range, the English Bulldog is perfect for people who want a somewhat bigger buddy to cuddle up with. And in fact, cuddling is what these dogs do best. They would rather snuggle than go to the park!
4. American Staffordshire Terrier
Forget all the bad press you have read about AmStaffs. As long as you make sure they get regular exercise, they will be quite calm, and good with people and dogs. You can expect an adult American Staffordshire to weigh 55-65 pounds.
You might think of a racing dog as being a strange choice for apartment living. The truth is, though, that these dogs would far rather relax on the couch than run around a track. Greyhounds are very adaptable and trainable, and weigh 60-80 pounds.
6. Great Dane
Great Danes can weigh anywhere from 110 pounds for a small female and 170 for a large male. Now, you may need a big couch, but you won’t need a big apartment – Danes love to loaf! These dogs are very calm, quiet and friendly, which makes them a great choice for apartment dwellers.
So, if you are living in an apartment and thinking of getting a dog, now you have some ideas. If you already have a dog, though, you should still be able to get him used to apartment living.
Getting Your Dog Used to an Apartment
The most important thing you can do, if you are moving to an apartment with your dog, I to be with him as much as you can. He will need time to get used to his new surroundings, so try to minimize your trips out by yourself at first. Exercise can go a long way, too, toward burning off excess energy and calming your dog down so he will be more receptive to his new surroundings.
It is also important to have a routine, with consistent walking and feeding times. This will prevent “accidents.”
You also don’t want your dog to feel isolated, so consider providing a bench or a comfy chair under a window so he can look outside.
Now, as to getting along with the neighbors, if your dog is a barker, you will want to deal with this immediately. The Humane Society has very helpful suggestions for correcting barking, or you could consider hiring a trainer who specializes in behavioral issues.
Now, about the issue of possible damage to the apartment, which could get you in trouble with the landlord, you may want to declare some areas “off limits.” To help you with that, a pet gate can be a great solution. Midwest Homes for Pets has a durable steel gate available on Amazon. It swings in both directions, and requires no tools or hardware to install. Available in white or textured graphite, this gate will suit any décor. Ordinarily, it lists for $86.88, but you can have it now for $58.03, and get free shipping as well.
It is not difficult to find a great dog who will adapt well to apartment living. Size doesn’t really matter – what you want is a low-energy, quiet breed. And if you already have a dog, you can get him acclimated. Who says dogs and apartments are a bad mix? I certainly don’t.