Are you considering getting a new best friend, but you’re concerned that your living space might be too small?  You might think that you can’t have a dog because you live in a cramped apartment or a small house.  But the fact is, many breeds (even some larger dogs) can be comfortable in a tiny area. So, what are the best dog breeds for small spaces?

The best dog breeds for small spaces include:

  • Basenji
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Greyhound
  • Pug
  • Yorkshire terrier

But before adopting your new fur baby, there are a few things to consider, such as, if you rent, does your lease allow for pets? Also, since you are low on interior space, will you be able to exercise your pup outside? 

If you’ve always wanted a dog but have decided against the idea because of your living situation, we invite you to reconsider. While there are many other breeds that we could add to this list, this article will cover five of the best and most commonly recommended.

Small Space Concerns?  Things To Consider Before Getting a Dog

Getting a dog is a big commitment, especially if you lack space in your house and you don’t have a yard. However, despite what many believe, being low on space shouldn’t stop you from being a pup parent and limit you to small dog breeds. But there are things that you need to consider first before bringing home a furry friend.

  • Does your landlord allow pets or have breed restrictions? Some landlords and apartment complexes might not allow you to have a dog. Some might be pet-friendly, but they prohibit certain breeds or dogs of a particular weight. So, make sure to ask the property owner, get approval first, then check your renters insurance
  • Do you have enough space for the dog to run around? All breeds need exercise, so, ideally, your pup has some room for him to move around. But many doggos can thrive in small spaces and are suited to the apartment lifestyle because of their easy going temperament. If you live near a dog park or a walk path, that can also keep most breeds happy.
  • Will the dog be difficult to train? If you live in a small apartment, it’s essential that your furry friend is easy to train and housebreak, or else he’ll destroy your meager furniture and make you crazy.
  • What’s your lifestyle like? You have to spend time with your dog for playtime and exercise. Some breeds are very active and have high energy, so if you’re too busy with your job, you won’t be able to work off your pup’s excess energy. That could make him unhappy, and a bored and anxious dog can turn destructive.
  • Will the dog annoy your neighbors? Some breeds are more vocal than others, so if you live in an apartment complex, you might want to avoid yappers. You should also consider the pup’s temperament and personality because aggressive dogs can scare other people off or make them nervous.
  • How much hair will the dog shed? It’s normal for dogs to shed, but some breeds can do so excessively. If you don’t want to always clean up after your fur baby sheds, you might want to consider getting a hypoallergenic dog because they shed less than others.

The 5 Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces Including Apartments and Small Homes

Now that you know the things you need to consider before owning a pup, below are just five of the best dogs suitable for small apartment living and typically don’t need a lot of space.


Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces | Basenji

A Basenji is known as the “barkless” dog. Though not mute, this breed has a uniquely structured larynx that only allows for occasional chortles or yodels, so you won’t have to worry about irritable neighbors and thin walls.

Besides being one of the quiet dog breeds for apartments, they’re also compact as they rarely grow more than 18 inches (45.72 cm) tall, making them ideal for small spaces.

Basenjis seasonally shed like most dogs, but because they have short coats, it’s barely noticeable. If that’s an important factor for you, this breed is perfect since they’re considered low shedders.

What’s unique about Basenjis is that they belong to the hound family, but they exhibit cat-like tendencies, such as grooming themselves a lot. They’re also escape artists, so if you leave them alone for long periods with nothing to do, they’ll look for things and spaces to get into. If you have a yard, unless it’s a securely made fenced area, these dogs can find a way to break free.

Because they’re spirited, they need consistent training and positive reinforcement and require more exercise than the other breeds in this list because they do come from a hunter species. Regular two thirty-minute walks or play sessions can keep them happy and burn off their excess energy, and as long as you can commit to this routine daily, they’ll be content to lounge around the house too.

An overview of Basenji:

HeightMale: 16-17 in (40.64-43.18 cm)

Female: 15-16 in (38.1-40.64 cm)

WeightMale: 22-26 lbs (9.98-11.79 kg)

Female: 20-24 lbs (9.07-10.89 kg)

Tendency to BarkLow
Energy LevelHigh
Exercise TimeAbout an hour/day

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces | Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A Cavalier King Charles spaniel is bigger than other toy breeds, but they generally don’t require that much room to move around. They’re a pretty lazy breed, so they don’t mind being at home, and they’re content with snuggling up to their owners.

However, these are still active dogs, so they need exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. But this can change as they grow older since they’re prone to health conditions, such as heart disease and joint problems.

Cavaliers are also intelligent and highly trainable, so while they tend to bark from time to time, they’re not aggressive toward other animals and people. They’re actually one of the friendliest, making them an ideal choice to have with other tenants and their pets around.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are moderate shedders, so this might be a deal-breaker for you. But they don’t have thick, wooly undercoats that other dogs do, so when regularly groomed, their shedding is more manageable as they won’t blow their coats periodically.

An overview of Cavalier King Charles spaniels:

Height12-13 in (30.48-33.02 cm)
Weight13-18 lbs (5.9-8.16 kg)
Tendency to BarkLow
Energy LevelHigh
Exercise TimeAt least 20 minutes/day


Best Dog Breeds For Small Spaces | Greyhound

Wait!  Aren’t Greyhounds big?…and natural runners?  Well, despite their size, speed and racing prowess, Greyhounds are pretty chill and generally live life at a slow pace, lounging around the house and even being couch potatoes if you let them!

While this breed can benefit from daily activities such as running around and chasing after a tennis ball, surprisingly, they don’t need that much exercise. They can be perfectly happy with a daily 20-minute brisk walk while on a leash.

Greyhounds are adaptable and can easily be trained, so don’t worry about accidents or any destructive behavior when in a small space. Though large dogs, they’re friendly, affectionate, and calm, and they don’t tend to bark, which can make your neighbors very happy.

This breed is a moderate shedder when it comes to shedding, though they tend to shed seasonally. But with their short coat, just regularly brush their hair, which can help reduce how much fur they lose.

An overview of Greyhounds:

HeightMale: 28-30 in (71.12-76.2 cm)

Female: 27-28 in (68.58-71.12 cm)

WeightMale: 60-88 lbs (27.22-39.92 kg)

Female: 55-75 lbs (24.95-34.02 kg)

Tendency to BarkLow
Energy LevelMedium
Exercise TimeAbout 20 minutes/day


Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces | Pug

If you’re low on space, pugs are a great option because of their compact size, lazy demeanor, and they’re even-tempered. This breed is playful, but they prefer sedentary activities, such as sleeping and being cuddled. They still do need moderate exercise, though, but they require little room to run around the house, and short walks outdoors will do.

Pugs aren’t as highly trainable as other breeds, but they respond well to basic training (particularly if it’s food motivated). The good thing is they aren’t barkers, so they won’t bother your neighbors.

This breed is also considered to be one of the most passive and gentle, and child-friendly. While they’re loyal and protective of their owners, they’re friendly around strangers too, so they likely won’t make good guard dogs!

There’s one factor that could stop anyone from choosing pugs, and that’s how much they shed. They have short coats, but they’re heavy shedders. Having a short coat means a short hair growth cycle, and since they also have thick undercoats that continuously grow and push the top coat, it can be hard to control.

An overview of pugs:

Height10-13 in (25.4-33.02 cm)
Weight14-18 lbs (6.35-8.16 kg)
Tendency to BarkLow
Energy LevelMedium
Exercise TimeAt least 20 minutes/day

Yorkshire Terrier

Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces | Yorkie Yorkshire Terrier

No list of pups for small spaces would be complete without the Yorkie. This affectionate and adaptable breed only weighs about 7 lbs (3.18 kg), so they’re the perfect choice for homes with small spaces and if you’re mainly looking for a small pup.

Yorkies are easy to train, so even though they can be vocal, their barking can be managed if properly trained. They’re also quite friendly toward other pets and people, so they won’t be a nuisance to your neighbors.

This breed is also hypoallergenic. Their hair is like that of humans, and they shed little, making them a great option if you have pet allergies. They also don’t have undercoats, so they don’t have a tendency to seasonally shed either.

In terms of energy level, while Yorkies are energetic, they can be content to just sit on your lap, and due to their size, they won’t require that much exercise. Ten or 15 minutes a day will do, and you can easily do this indoors.

An overview of Yorkshire terriers:

Height8-9 in (20.32-22.86 cm)
Weight5-7 lbs (2.27-3.18 kg)
Tendency to BarkHigh
Energy LevelHigh
Exercise TimeAbout 20 minutes/day

Final Thoughts about the Best Dog Breeds for Small Spaces

There are hundreds of recognized dog breeds.  So it’s understandable that choosing the perfect dog breed for your living situation can be a daunting task.  If your dog will spend his time in the wide open, like a military working dog would, then a breed that needs constant exercise and engagement makes sense.  But if you have a smaller space to raise your pup, the decision-making process gets easier since we have helped to narrow down the list.

While being low on space shouldn’t stop you from bringing in a dog into your life, you still need to accommodate his specific needs. Make sure that there’s enough floor space for your pet to walk around, and you should be there for him as much as possible. Some breeds might be content with lounging around and being on their own, but some can be needier and always want your attention.

Additionally, always remember that all dogs need regular physical and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.


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