If you’re an apartment dweller wondering if it’s time to get a dog, here’s your sign: go for it! Studies have found that owning a dog can improve your mental and physical health and guard against loneliness, especially for people living alone.
But now that you’ve decided ownership is for you, you’re faced with an important question: what are the best dogs for apartments?
It’s a tough question! To help you find the answer, the Villas at Nexton team has put together a list of six of the best apartment dogs and what to consider before picking a pup to bring home.
First, what should you look for in a good apartment dog?
The happiest apartment pups can live in a community with nearby neighbors, be content with smaller indoor spaces, and meet apartment pet policy requirements. Here are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when visiting the pet shelter:
- Breed. Many apartments have a list of restricted dog breeds, including larger breeds and those considered stereotypically “dangerous.” The most commonly restricted types of dogs include pit bulls, wolf-dogs, rottweilers, mastiffs, Dobermann Pinschers, German Shepards, Akitas, and some kinds of terriers.
- Size. Some rentals restrict dogs according to their weight rather than their breed. Weight limits can range between 25 and 50 lbs per pet. While you may be tempted to fudge the rules and pass your 55-lb Golden Retriever off as weighing less, your landlord may require a vet to certify your dog’s weight. If you’re unsure how big your puppy will grow, see this chart from the American Kennel Club for each breed’s typical weight.
- Activity levels. Some dogs, like Border Collies, need to spend a lot of time playing and getting in their daily physical activity. Others, like beagles, are more low-key and may be satisfied with only one or two daily walks. High-energy dogs can live in apartment complexes if owners can keep up with their needs, but keep each breed’s activity requirements in mind before bringing home your new best friend.
Here at the Villas at Nexton, our cottages feature personal outdoor yard spaces—perfect for doggies to play. For even more room to run, visit our Bark Park, a natural green space dedicated for the furriest members of our community. (P.S. Contact us to learn more about our pet policies!)
#1 – Bichon Frise
Cute and fluffy Bichon Frises have a long history as loving lap dogs. Bichons were prized by French aristocracy as city companions thanks to their calm demeanor, friendliness, compact size—and the fact that they don’t shed much. These dogs typically weigh under 20 lbs, putting them neatly under the weight limits of most apartment complexes.
Bichons can get wild streaks of energy that send them running up and down the hall, but their activity levels are manageable for most apartment dwellers. Furthermore, these little white cotton balls tend to develop separation anxiety, so Bichons require careful separation training (or owners who work at home).
#2 – Shiba Inu
Shiba inus are an incredibly beloved companion pup in their native Japan and have been growing in popularity in the US in recent years. Rarely topping 25 lbs and with moderate energy levels, shibas are ideal for apartment dwellers searching for a jolly, loving animal partner.
However, as easy-going as they are, shibas are notorious for their stubbornness, which can make behavioral training a challenge. They also shed a lot, which can irritate symptoms of asthma and allergies. But if you’re able to dedicate time to training (and vacuuming!), you’ll find these charming dogs settle into apartment life very comfortably.
#3 – Terriers
The terrier dog type includes a wide range of breeds. Small terrier breeds, such as tiny toy Yorkies and happy-go-lucky Boston Terriers, tend to be naturally suited for living in modest spaces because of their size and trainability. Some of the most popular small terriers include:
- Yorkshire Terriers (Yorkies)
- Silky Terriers
- Boston Terriers*
- Scottish Terriers (Scottie dogs)
- West Highland Terriers (Westies)
- Rat Terriers*
- Irish Terriers*
(*These breeds are known for being great for families with small children!)
Note that most apartment complexes don’t typically accept terrier breeds that are crossed over with bulldogs (like Bull Terriers). Others, like Jack Russell Terriers, may be an accepted breed but have too much energy to adapt to apartment living.
#4 – Beagle
The American Kennel Club describes beagles as a “friendly” and “merry” breed. Beagles are often favored as therapy dogs because of their just-right size and natural ability to get along with just about everyone they meet—even complete strangers. This adaptability means beagles are right at home in apartments of all kinds.
Beagles are known for their distinctive baying howl (which they may let loose because of a passing car or just because they’re happy to see you), but they can be trained to stay quiet in community living spaces. Beagles are another breed that tends to develop separation anxiety, so consider getting them a canine companion if you can’t be home to keep them company.
#5 – Chihuahua
Chihuahuas have a reputation for being as sassy as they are small. While they can show aggression towards strangers when they’re scared, Chihuahuas that are well-trained and treated gently are perfectly friendly. Because their size makes them fragile, these tiny pups aren’t suited for families with young children who tend to play rough.
A Chihuahua can get its daily fill of activity just by zooming around the apartment and playing tug-of-war with a favorite toy. These dogs are great for those living in very small apartments and who have the time to socialize their Chihuahua to behave around strangers.
#6 – Dachshund
Dachshunds, or weiner dogs, are good-natured, playful, and always curious. Mini weiner dogs weigh around 11 lbs, but full-size dachshunds may be between 16 and 32 lbs. They can be stubborn to train, but dachshunds do well when they have enough space to run and plenty of time to patrol outdoors.
Unfortunately, dachshunds’ unique anatomy means they’re prone to spinal injuries. Dachshunds are NOT suited for living in apartments that can only be accessed by climbing stairs. These dogs can make the trip on occasion, but repetitive stair climbing can lead to a condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease. Stick to ground-floor living if you want to bring home one of these sausages.
Explore Comfortable, Dog-Friendly Living
While we only covered six in this article, there are tons of medium and small dog breeds out there that thrive in apartment living! And if you’re looking for dog-friendly living in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place.
The Villas at Nexton community is welcoming to all kinds of doggies, puppies, canines, pooches, and hounds. To learn more about our pet policies (or just to hear more about the Bark Park we mentioned earlier!), contact our team online or by calling 803-991-4900.