Best Dog Breed For First-Time Owners Who Live In Apartments

Dogs in an apartment

If living in an apartment has deterred you from finding your new best friend, we should
set the record straight. You don’t need a big house or fenced-in yard, or anything special to get a
dog. Our research for the best dog breed for first-time owners who live in apartments proved that you are not restricted to few choices.

While there are considerations for size, energy level, obedience, noise level, and grooming
of your potential apartment dog, each of these characteristics can be made to work to your
advantage. Out of hundreds of unique dog breeds and millions of dogs who are waiting to be
adopted, you are sure to find the right dog for you.

Factors To Consider

Size of the breed.

Let’s start with one of the most significant factors when living in a smaller space like an apartment.

As one would expect, smaller dogs fit better in smaller homes. However, some various shapes and sizes do well in apartments, some large dogs included. As a rule, so long as a dog has good manners indoors and gets enough exercise, living in a small space should not be a major issue.

Energy Level.

Perhaps the second most important consideration when getting the best dog breed for first-time owners who live in apartments is the activity and energy level. If you are a couch potato by nature, do not bring home an energetic dog in hopes they will change you. Likewise, if you go for a run every day, you shouldn’t get a
dog who prefers to relax. The right dog for you will be one who matches your energy and enjoys the same activities.

Related read: Puppy Socialization Stage

The dog’s intelligence level.

Another characteristic to keep in the forefront of your mind is your potential dog’s obedience/intelligence.

It will probably be less stressful and more valuable to
get an intelligent, eager-to-please dog as a new dog owner. Although any dog you bring home will need some
basic training, this type of dog will make that training more manageable and more enjoyable.

Noise level.

Noise is a big deal when you live in an apartment, as it is considerate to think of
your neighbors. So it is essential to find a dog that is less likely to bark all day. While
some breeds enjoy being vocal and noisy, others are content to be quiet, and those
are the kinds we want.

Grooming requirements.

Last but not least (although maybe the least favorite) is grooming. Although
seemingly few and far between, some dog owners enjoy caring for and admiring
their dog’s long hair. I think it’s fair to say that most people prefer as little as hair to brush,
comb, sweep, and vacuum up as possible. Plus, some breeds require regular professional
grooming because of their hair type.

Related read: Best Low-Maintenance Dog Breed.

Now that we have a little information on fundamental characteristics to be on the lookout, here’s a list of the best dog breeds for first-time owners who live in apartments.

Best dog breed for first-time owners who live in apartments


Despite being known for fast-paced careers as runners, this large breed prefers to sleep and relax in their free time. They have a quiet, calm disposition and tend to be very affectionate.
You should be aware that their strong hunting instincts may encourage them to chase cats and small animals.

Greyhound 2

As short-haired dogs, they have minimal grooming needs but tend to get cold without a sweater or blanket. Which means they are even happier to snuggle with you!

Some Greyhound dogs are energetic; some are easy-going. They form a solid bond with their owners but hardly barks. They have an exceptionally mellow nature and do not need the amount of exercise that many other large-breed dogs require. In fact, because of their laid back and gentle soul, they make excellent pets for people living in apartments; they are safe around furniture and kids.

Bichon Frise

Fantastic family dogs, Bichon Frise, are great with adults, kids, and other pets. They are
intelligent and playful without getting out of hand or becoming too mischievous. They are also
hypoallergenic, which makes them great for people with allergies! Despite that and their limited
shedding, their coat type will require regular brushing several times a week and professional
grooming every few weeks.

They will bark at you to get your attention, although they are considered to be quiet dogs. Bichons like to be the center of attention and don’t want to spend
much time alone, so if you’re home a lot, this could be an excellent match for you.

With adequate training and enough attention, this breed will make for an excellent apartment dog.


This small breed has earned the nickname ‘velcro dog’ for its strong desire to always
be by your side. They are super affectionate, even with strangers, children, and other animals.
They’re also highly trainable, energetic, and eager to please, which is great for new dog owners
who are moderately active. They are quiet, rare in small dogs, as some breeds tend to get yappy.

Note that keeping their coat long will require brushing multiple times
per week and bathing every one to two weeks, so many people choose to cut them trimmed with
a puppy cut.

French Bulldogs

Also known as ‘Frenchies,’ French Bulldogs are great family dogs. They are happy to
relax or play as long as they have your attention. They are friendly and affectionate dogs. But sometimes, they tend to be aggressive. With proper training and socialization, they will have beautiful personalities. Many owners insist that the Frenchies training
should be consistent and firm, as they are intelligent and will otherwise get bored.

French Bulldog.

Like most short-haired dogs, they are easy to groom but tend to shed. The folds of skin on their face require
a little extra scrutiny and you should clean regularly.

Frenchies are known for being goofy, little comedians, sure to brighten up your every day.

They are not know to be big barkers, but love to communicate with their owners; like they would tell you when you have a visitor at the door.


Traditionally used as working dogs, Poodles have all the right qualities to be excellent pets.
They are intelligent and may need a firm hand to understand who is in charge.
High activity levels mean they are best suited for people who stay active. Although their hair
type means they don’t shed a lot, they need to be brushed every day and professionally
groomed every few weeks.

They tend to bark at different situations. But because of their intelligent demeanor, you can easily train them not to bark. Regardless, they make a good dog for beginners and even come in different sizes, toys, miniatures, or standards!


Apartment living should not be dog-free. With thousands of different dog breeds out there, there’s always a good chance you will find the best dog breeds for first-time owners who live in apartments. Once you know your preferences on size, energy levels, intelligence, noise, and grooming, all of the hard
work is out of the way. You can use breed quizzes online or speak to an adoption agency near you
to take the next step in finding your forever friend! We gave you a small list of the best dog breed for first-time owners who live in apartments.
If a breed you were considering is not listed here, please remember that the best dog for you will
be a dog that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Listed below are some additional breeds that may be a good match for you!

American Hairless Terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Coton De Tulear
Shih Tzu
Yorkshire Terrier

References and Resources

Advantage Petcare. (2020). The 5 Best Dog Breeds for Apartments and Small Homes. Advantage

Cannon, A. (2020, January 31). 29 Best Apartment Dogs for Small Spaces. DogTime.
Man of Many. (2021, January 9). 44 Best Dog Breeds For Apartment Living. Man of Many.
Pitpatpet. (2020, August 18). Best dog breeds for first-time owners. PitPat.
Sanders, W. (2020, January 16). 10 Dog Breeds That Bark The Least! Cuddle Clones.

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