31 Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

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Are you living in or do you intend moving to an apartment that is pet-friendly and you want to know what small dog breed would make a perfect apartment dog?

Well, look no further, as I have done my research and compiled a list of the best small dog breeds for apartment living.

See below the 31 best small dog breeds for apartment living.

  1. Affenpinscher
  2. American Hairless Terrier
  3. Australian Terrier
  4. Bedlington Terrier
  5. Biewer Terrier
  6. Bolognese
  7. Boston Terrier
  8. Brussels Griffon
  9. Cairn Terrier
  10. Cesky Terrier
  11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  12. Chihuahua
  13. Chinese Crested
  14. Cocker Spaniel
  15. Coton De Tulear
  16. French Bulldog
  17. Havanese
  18. Italian Greyhound
  19. Japanese Chin
  20. Japanese Spitz
  21. Lhasa Apso
  22. Maltese
  23. Papillon
  24. Pug
  25. Russian Toy
  26. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
  27. Shih Tzu
  28. Toy Fox Terrier
  29. Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
  30. Whippet
  31. Yorkshire Terrier

The list above was compiled while taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Barking Level: The small dog breed should bark only when it’s necessary and infrequently.
    We don’t want dogs with loud and incessant barking that would upset the neighbours and create commotions, just those that could alert us to unwanted guests and not bark at the sight of every pizza delivery man or at the ringing of the doorbell.
  • Activity Level: The breed should not necessarily require large spaces only and should do just fine with minimal indoor exercises to stay fit and healthy.
    Playing games like fetch or a game of tug, for at least an hour at a time should be sufficient in maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle for the bred.

    Check out other indoor games and activities you could do with your dog to keep them active and healthy here.
  • Trainability: The breed should be easy to train, self-sufficient and independent enough to figure stuff like where to go potty and know what is out of bounds.
  • Friendliness: The breed should be friendly and approachable. This is because you most likely would be having friends over in the apartment as well as bumping into your neighbours when you take your dog out for a walk.

    How the dog was raised comes to play here; if it was properly socialized at a young age, it should be friendly and less aggressive. Nevertheless, some small dogs breeds are naturally aggressive and might be instinctively overprotective of its owners.

Now we have that aside, let’s dive into these small dog breeds with a little summary on each.


Black Affenpinscher
Photo credit @baeretriewers_kaethe on IG

Affenpinschers are loyal and fearless toy dog breed. They have been referred to as monkey dogs due to their Ape-like facial appearance.

Their toy-sized nature makes them a perfect option for an apartment dog, as a daily short walk down the hallway, a quick game of fetch or playing with their favourite toys can go a long way in keeping them exercised and healthy.

American Hairless Terrier

Dog breed American Hairless Terrier is standing on table

The American Hairless Terrier is a hypoallergenic dog breed that requires just moderate exercising to keep it fit and healthy; playing indoors or outdoors for a brief period would be sufficient.

It is important to note the need to apply sunscreen or provide protective clothing if they are to play outside in the sun. This will prevent sunburn which can be harmful to them.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier with tongue out
Photo credit @dogdaysnz on IG

Originally bred in Australia, the Australian Terrier is an alert and smart small dog breed that loves the attention of its human companion and is ever ready to entertain and love.

The Australian Terrier is also an energetic breed and would really appreciate a play session indoors or outdoors. This should be sufficient to satisfy their exercise needs.

Bedlington Terrier

Two white bedlington terrier
Bedlington terrier dogs on a white background

Originally bred in England for hunting, the Bedlington Terrier looks like a lamb and is known to be gentle as one too.

They have evolved from being amazing hunting dogs into a small dog breed that would appreciate some game of fetch and a cuddle in front of the t.v.

It is important to always keep a Bedlington Terrier on a leash when out on a walk because they still possess their hunting instinct and won’t resist the urge to chase after a small animal.

Biewer Terrier

biewer yorkshire terrier in front of white background
Biewer terrier

The Biewer Terrier (pronounced Beaver Terrier) is an easy-going, playful and always smiling small dog breed that doesn’t mind accompanying you on those long walks or hikes, as well as curling up in front of a t.v and just chilling all day.

The Biewer Terriers are known to self-exercise and as such can keep themselves entertained in the apartment until you return home.

A short walk down the hallway and a play session can be sufficient for all their daily exercise needs.


Photo credit @ansj60 on IG

Originally bred in Italy, the Bolognese is an easy-going and calm dog that is well suited for apartment living.

Short walks down the hallway or play session indoors can be sufficient in satisfying their daily exercise needs.

Boston Terrier

Boston Bull Terrier
Boston Bull Terrier

The Boston Terrier spots a tuxedo-like coat and is a people-oriented dog that is well suited for urban and apartment living.

They are ever ready to engage in some play session with their human owner and are also willing to go on a walk to the nearest coffee shop.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon Dog Sitting Looking Up
Brussels Griffon

Nicknamed the Bearded Dog because of their muzzle and whiskers, the Brussels Griffon is a loyal and Alert small dog breed with a big personality.

They love to chase after a ball and play fetch, as such they can get their required exercise from a play session.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn terrier walking
Cairn terrier

Originally bred to root-out foxes, the Cairn Terrier is a cheerful and fearless small dog breed that fit nicely into our apartment as a loving companion and family member.

Playing and training sessions can be great activities to get the Cairn Terrier exercised and in shape.

Cesky Terrier

A cesky terrier on a white background
Cesky terrier

Cesky Terriers are the national dog of the Czech Republic. They are family-oriented, smart and alert, as such, they make great watchdogs without being loud and obnoxious.

A Cesky Terrier can get all its daily exercise needs from going on walks or having a play session with its human owners.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

pure-bred dog, puppy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, lie on white background, isolated
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Originally bred to be a lap dog in England, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a graceful, active dog that is capable of accompanying its owner on a walk as well laying on the couch in front of the t.v.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should never be walked without a leash on as they have a strong ability to retain a scent and it would instinctively follow it.


chihuahua sitting in front of white background

The chihuahua is a popular toy dog breed and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you find one or two in an apartment as their sizes make them ideal for any space; big or small.

Chihuahua requires just short sessions of play and walk as they are not built for tasking activities. They love being cradled and snuggling.

Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dog standing in front of a white background
Chinese crested

The Chinese Crested, like their name implies, were originally bred in China.

They come in two different variants; smooth-coated and hairless. Their size, smarts and affectionate nature make them ideal for apartment living.

An outdoor, as well as an indoor play session, would be sufficient for their daily exercise needs.

It is important to note that sunscreen or protective clothing has to be used if the hairless Chinese Crested is to play outdoors.

Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel in front of white background
cocker spaniel

Originally bred as a hunting dog, the Cocker Spaniel has evolved into a great and loving companion that is eager to play with other dogs and its human owners.

Daily play and training sessions with other dogs or human owners, as well as going for regular walks can be enough exercise to keep the Cocker Spaniel’s muscles well-toned and fit.

Coton De Tulear

Coton de Tulear in front of white background
Coton de Tulear

Coton De Tulear, the royal national dog of Madagascar, are witty and amazing companions.

They are fairly active and as such requires minimum exercise to keep them fit and healthy. A short walk down the hallway or a game of fetch would suffice.

French Bulldog

A cute little blue colour French Bulldog
French Bulldog

Frenchie, as they are affectionately called, are amazing companion dogs, known for their bat-like ears and alert nature.

They do not require lots of outdoor activities src, and as such, they are great for apartment living.


Photo credit @its_stanleysworld on IG

Originally bred in Cuba, hence their name, Havanese. They are ideal city dogs that are adapt well in most situations src.

The Havanese doesn’t require a lot of exercises and should never be overexercised. This, in turn, makes them a great option for an apartment dog.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhound

Due to their hound nature and ready to sprint physique, the Italian Greyhound might be disregarded and probably never considered as a viable candidate for an apartment dog.

You would be right to think the Italian Greyhound is fast but you would be wrong to think they won’t fit into an apartment living.

Generally regarded as a couch dog, they would rather be on your lap or the bed than the floor src.

An indoor or Outdoor play session with other dogs or its human owner is usually sufficient enough for an Italian Greyhound to get well exercised.

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin on a white background
Japanese Chin

This generally quiet toy dog bred is great for apartment living, as they are considered as a tiny indoorsy dog that would rather spend time on your lap than run around in the park.

A slow walk down the hallway to take the trash out or a short play session would be sufficient for their daily exercise needs.

Japanese Spitz

Purebred Japanese Spitz dog outdoors
Japanese Spitz

They are ever ready to tag along with you on periodic hikes and a trip down to the countryside, as well as, snuggle next to you in front of a t.v.

The Japanese Spitz make for an amazing apartment companion as they are able to adapt in various conditions.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa apso sitting
Lhasa Apso

This thousand-year-old breed has evolved over centuries, from times spent in monasteries, palaces and now in our apartments. The Lhasa Apso is great at adapting.

They are great at self exercising as they would run around the room and play to burn off some of their energy. This makes them a very self-sufficient dog.


Maltese sitting in front of a white background

Maltese are intelligent, alert and hardy dogs that have spent centuries living with humans and being amazing companions and lapdogs.

Daily walks or play sessions are sufficient to keep a Maltese fit and well-toned.


Papillon on gray studio background

Papillons are an athletic toy dog breed that excels in various canine sports activities.

This should not discourage you as papillons are quite really an indoor dog and do not require a lot of exercises to stay fit and healthy.


pug on a white background

The Pug is reported to have been around for over 2000 years, evolving over time as a companion to Chinese emperors to lounging indoors with us in our various apartments.

They have also been named by its owners as ‘a house dog’ src

Pugs would prefer to just lay down and eat, making them prone to obesity. This makes it necessary to keep it active with regular play sessions. Luckily Pugs do not require a lot of exercises to stay fit.

Russian Toy

Russia Toy in front of white background
Russia Toy

Just like most toy breeds, the Russian Toy is well suited for apartment living.

Dating back to the Russian aristocratic era, the Russian Toy was the breed of choice as regards to go-to breed for lap dogs.

The Russian Toys are fairly energetic and would require some form of exercise; either going on a walk or having them dash through the hallway.

Luckily, because of their small size, a regular-sized hallway or lawn would be sufficient enough to give them room to let out some steam.

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonki are the ultimate apartment dogs.

Their name translates to ‘Russian Colored Lapdog’ src and they are mainly coveted for their charming and friendly personality.

The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka does not require a great deal of exercise to stay fit, as a play session (which they love) can suffice their exercise needs.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu puppy (6 months old) in front of a white background
Shih Tzu

Unlike some dogs that would love to chase after cats and other smaller animals, the Shih Tzu would rather snuggle next to you while you watch your favourite Netflix show.

Bred originally to be a house companion, the Shih Tzu could get its daily exercise needs from going on short walks or having a play session with their human owner src

Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier in the spring garden
Toy Fox Terrier in the spring garden

The Toy Fox Terrier might seem out of place on this list because of their energetic nature.

If you love the outdoors, love to go hiking or on a run and live in an apartment, the Toy Fox Terrier might just what the doctor prescribe.

They are eager to please and easy to train, making them an ideal choice for an apartment dog.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Like the Toy Fox Terrier, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is an energetic small dog breed that would make a perfect choice for active owners as they adapt well in various situations and conditions.

They can let off steam by having some indoors, as well as, outdoor play session.



This gentle small dog breed is wicked fast.

They rarely bark and would love to just stretch for long hours while keeping their human owner company.

Natural sprinters, the Whippet is ever ready to play fetch with its human owner while taking the same opportunity to let off some steam.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier sitting in front of a white background
Yorkshire Terrier

The elegant Yorkshire Terrier was bred in the late Victorian times as fashionable lapdogs src

With their glossy, floor-length, silk coat, might make you see them as just cute, fashionable dogs, which they are, but, the Yorkshire Terrier has its origin as ratters in mines.

They have evolved to great companions that would turn heads during walks if elegantly groomed.

They require a fair amount of exercise to stay fit and healthy.


Living in small spaces or apartments with no yard can be discouraging when thinking of getting a dog.

This is where the above listed small dog breed shine, serving as amazing companions as well as great family members.

Did we miss any small dog breed? Please rich out and let us know.

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