The 10 Best Apartment Dogs Might Surprise You

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Today, let’s talk about the best apartment dogs. First off, many dog owners will tell you that dogs and apartment living don’t go together. But you don’t need a huge yard in suburbia for your dog to be happy. If you live in an apartment and you want a dog, there’s a wide variety of breeds that make good apartment dogs. If you haven’t already acquired a dog, check out our list of breeds (or mix of breeds; we LOVE mutts) below that make the best apartment dogs.

First, Size Doesn’t Always Matter When it Comes to Choosing the Best Apartment Dogs

A Greyhound dog.

Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’ll make the cut for good apartment dogs. Some small-breed dogs are far too vocal to meet the requirements of the best apartment dogs. Others are too antsy and have too much energy to be cooped up, even if their smaller size makes the space seem bigger. For example, though he is among the smallest dog breeds, the Chihuahua doesn’t make our list of top apartment dogs because of the breed’s tendency to bark, as well as his energetic, nervous demeanor. However, many Terriers, though they are high energy, tend to make the best apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise.

Some large breeds also make excellent dogs for apartments. For example, the Greyhoundis often thought to need room to run because he was bred to do just that. But many rescued Greyhounds are retired racers and are much more inclined to lie around with that sexy, languid look than to chase bunnies on sticks. And, again, as long as exercise requirements are met, many large dogs can live comfortably in an apartment or a small house.

10 Best Apartment Dogs (Small to Large)

Yorkshire Terrier.

1. Yorkshire Terrier:

At around 7 pounds, this extra-small wonder makes the list of best apartment dogs not only because he takes up little space but also because he is not a barker. He is also friendly with people and other pets and very adaptable to new experiences.

2. Maltese:

The slightly larger Maltese (around 9 pounds) has a silky coat with no undercoat that sheds very little, making cleaning in a small space easier. He is also a quiet dog who mostly wants to be where his owner is, earning him a solid spot on this roundup of good apartment dogs.

3. Boston Terrier:

At 12 to 18 pounds, this breed is also very attached to his owner, which means he doesn’t mind being indoors in a small space as long as his owner is attentive. He is also an easily trainable dog.

4. French Bulldog:

A smallish dog (around 20 pounds) with the traits of a larger dog. He is calm and quiet, often relaxing on the most comfortable seat in the place. His practical demeanor makes him suitable for any living space, including an apartment.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

This is one of the friendliest breeds, making it easy to deal with other tenants and their dogs. At 13 to 18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also calm and very adaptable.

6. English Bulldog:

This is the larger cousin of the French Bulldog who weighs 49 to 55 pounds, a stable dog who is comfortable in small spaces. Indeed, most seem to prefer the couch to the dog park.

7. Basset Hound:

This breed might not seem likely to land on the list of best apartment dogs with his bulky stature (around 60 pounds), but like the Bulldog, he is a very calm dog who is easily kept busy with treat toys and lots of petting.

8. American Staffordshire Terrier:

The show dog version of the American Pit Bull Terrier is more dog-friendly than his cousin. He is easily trained and forms a tight bond with his owner. As long as he gets adequate exercise, he is a good apartment dog. He weighs 55 to 65 pounds.

9. Greyhound:

This racing dog (60 to 80 pounds) might seem an odd choice for a list of best apartment dogs, but retired Greyhounds are some of the biggest canine couch potatoes. They are very trainable and adaptable. They seem to appreciate a more sedentary lifestyle.

10. Great Dane:

“Huge dogs” don’t seem to be good candidates for “great apartment dogs,” but the Great Dane (at a majestic 100 to 130 pounds) is such a natural loafer that, though your couch will probably be fully occupied, he’ll take up far less space than you might think. Add to that his calm demeanor, friendliness, trainability and quiet nature, and the Great Dane makes an excellent choice among best apartment dogs.

If you live in or are moving to an apartment or small house and already have a dog, don’t worry. The following tips can help you all live happily in a small space.

10 Tips for Having the Best Apartment Dogs — No Matter What Breed(s) Your Dogs Is

French Bulldog lying down by Shutterstock.

1. Acclimate:

If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog, or if you’re moving your current dog into a small space, try to acclimate him slowly by visiting for shorter and then longer periods.

2. Be present:

Again, if an apartment or small house is a new environment for your dog, try to stay with him as much as possible. Go out for short periods alone at first, and then lengthen them.

3. Create space:

Think storage, storage, storage when it comes to furniture. Anything that takes up space should serve as storage as well. Try to keep as much floor space open as possible.

4. Darken and lighten:

Apartments can be very dark because of the surrounding buildings. They can also get too much light if they’re high up. Drapes and special bulbs can help keep the lighting natural.

5. Establish a routine:

This is vital for dogs who have to wait to go outside. Feeding and walking times should be consistent.

6. Find a good trainer:

One trait that all good apartment dogs have — they’re not prone to be excessively vocal. If you’re having behavioral issues such as a dog who won’t stop barking, find a trainer in your area who specializes in that issue.

7. Get a bench:

A small or large bench against a windowsill gives your dog a place to jump up and observe the world — and also makes the space seem larger.

8. Hire a dog walker:

The best apartment dogs are the dogs who get adequate exercise and enrichment. For the times when you can’t get your dog out for extra exercise, a trusted dog walker is a necessity.

9. Invest in a gate:

If you have a studio or open floor plan, make sure you can put a gate up to keep your dog separated from others. Using the kitchen or bathroom often works. Also, make that space your dog’s haven with his bed and toys.

10. Juggle those balls:

It’s perfectly fine to play fetch in your apartment, as long as it’s not too early or too late. Installing rugs helps absorb the noise of dog nails. You don’t have to be at the dog park to have fun with your dog.

Get more tips for living with your dog in a city here >>

A few final thoughts on the best apartment dogs

It’s easy to find a dog who will live well in an apartment or small-house setting. Size isn’t everything — quiet, lower-energy, non-working dogs are really what make the best apartment dogs. And if you already have a dog who needs to adapt to a small space, remember: If our dogs are with us and we’re happy, they’re happy, too. Rather than fretting over sharing a small space, look at it as a bonding experience. After all, tripping over each other is just a game of tag, if you look at it that way.

Tell us: Do you live in an apartment with a dog? What do you think of our tips? What other breeds — or mixes — should be on the best apartment dogs list? Let us know in the comments!

Why Dogs Make You Happy

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By Susanna Newsonen

It’s morning. The alarm goes off. You open your eyes and you’re met with another pair of them as well as a wet nose. You can tell from the way his head is swaying that he’s wagging his tail. You smile and he takes that as a note of permission to start licking your face. You giggle, give him a cuddle and jump out of bed.

 Photo by The Happyologist Ltd
Source: Photo by The Happyologist Ltd

You know getting up in the morning is a lot easier and more fun when you’ve got a dog who’s so excited to see you open your eyes. He’s even more excited as you get dressed to go out and grab the leash by the door. By now he’s jumping up and down and making weird, excited maneuvers chasing his own tail. It’s as if going for a morning walk is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to him. You can’t help but smile.

This is the thing with dogs. They make your life better. They make you smile more. They force you to move. They encourage you to be more mindful of the present. They make you feel loved. Perhaps that’s why it’s no surprise that science has shown dogs improve your physical, mental and emotional health. Here’s exactly how:

1. Dogs improve your mood.

Study after study has shown that owning a pet can help you to maintain a more positive, optimistic perspective on life and what you’re faced with. Better yet, they can even lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are many reasons why this might be the case but author and animal expert Karen Winegar sums it up beautifully: “The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can.”

2. Dogs make you feel loved.

Spending time with dogs, and even more so petting them and cuddling them, increases your levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin, known as the “lovehormone,” is a neurotransmitter that calms your nervous system down, relaxing you, whilst also increasing your trust.

3. Dogs lower your stress.

Petting dogs not only ups your oxytocin but also lowers your cortisol, the stress hormone. In line with this, studies at the University of New York found that people experienced lower levels of stress when conducting a stressfulassignment when they had a pet with them. Studies in workplaces have also shown that taking dogs to work lowers your stress, improves your recovery after challenges and even increases positive social interactions.

4. Dogs help you to be social.

If you’re shy, an introvert or simply not that confident in social situations, your dog can help you with this. As your dog greets another dog, it’s natural to exchange a few words with the dog’s owner. It’s easier to chat because you already have one common ground (i.e. dogs) and having these simple interactions can help up your confidence.

5. Dogs keep you healthy and fit.

If you own a dog and you love them, you take them out for walks. You play with them. You keep them entertained. That means you’re active throughout your day which naturally boosts your physical health whilst also, as an added bonus, improves your mood. In line with this, clinical studies have shown that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both reducing the risk of heart-related illnesses.

These are only a few of the many ways that dogs improve the quality of your life. If you’ve got a dog, make sure you give them an extra cuddle today and tell them how grateful you are for them. Don’t worry about whether they will understand or not. They will feel it — and so will you.