There are pros and cons about living in the city, or simply living in an apartment. Many think this means you can’t have pets, for one, or at least not a dog, but that’s not quite true. There are countless dog breeds out there, and they’re all bred for different purposes ― different temperaments, different jobs, different sizes.
What makes a good city living dog?
You’d think it’s mostly about size, but size plays a surprisingly small part in whether or not a dog is suited for apartment living. Some bigger dogs can lounge around all day, while some smaller ones have boundless energy that needs to be dealt with. Is the dog quiet, or a barker? Neighbors on the other side of the wall may have something to say about the volume of a loud dog, at all hours of the day. Simply put, there are some breeds that are better suited for apartments and city living, than others. And in a lot of cases, it’s a matter of compromise, since very few dogs have the whole package of being small, quiet, and low-maintenance. It’s often just a matter of deciding which aspects matter most to you. Therefore, some of these breeds hop between lists, given their very varied personalities and traits.
Near the top of the list are some obvious choices. You’ve got the smaller lapdog breeds, like the Yorkshire Terrier, the Maltese, the Lhasa Apso, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These breeds have been shaped to be the ultimate companions, just as portable as they are loving and calm. They do well with city living, as they don’t need much space or exercise. They can be barky, though, and need a lot of mental stimulation. But even then, you don’t need a lot of space to even create something like a miniature version of an agility course, or teach your dog tricks, or exhaust them with some tug-of-war. Other smaller breeds might work just as well, but tend to have a lot of attitude, instead. The Chihuahua is a good example; this tiny breed is often seen carried around, but has the personality of a much bigger dog.
The Dachshund is another good apartment dog. Affectionately known as the Wiener Dog, the Dachshund is the smallest of the hound breeds, and was originally bred to hunt prey in burrows, hence their particular shape and size. This, in turn, can make them prone to digging, which is something to keep in mind, if there’s no access to a yard. If you value your cushions and floors, it might be a good idea to keep your Dachshund properly entertained and stimulated.
Perhaps the most popular city living dog is the Pomeranian. Aside from their adorable face and disposition, they’re actually quite independent. They need you to feed them and take them on walks, of course, but they’re otherwise pretty fine with being left alone during the day. They like being independent, but at the same time, they’ll cuddle up with you every chance they get. Just remember to brush that luscious, fluffy coat, lest you end up with your entire apartment covered in hair.
Not all dogs bark, or communicate primarily through vocal means. Some dogs just won’t shut up ― Husky breeds tend to hold long monologues of howls and noises if they feel like it ― but most are average. Some barely “talk” at all.
Some breeds that generally stay quiet are the English Bulldog, the French Bulldog, the Borzoi, the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel also makes its way onto this list; their small size, quiet disposition, and adorable face make them popular and ideal city living dogs. The same goes for the Papillon. A breed that’s well-known for its silence is the Basenji, a medium-sized breed that doesn’t bark at all. It’s not completely silent, though; when they do decide to speak, the sound they make is more like a hissing yodel.
Some smaller breeds are known for being “yappy”, which is a little unfair, since this behavior is often just the result of boredom and restlessness. But this reputation persists, and most assume it’s simply a trait of these breeds, rather than something that can be curbed with proper training and stimulation. Among these are the Jack Russell Terrier, the Chihuahua, the Miniature Pinscher, and the Miniature Schnauzer. Most of which still suit apartment living just fine. Some bigger dogs are bred for herding or hunting, which sometimes means they generally don’t bark at things like the mailman, or suspicious sounds ― their main purpose isn’t to guard. Such breeds include the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Australian Shepherd, the Boxer, and the Irish Setter.
Chill, relaxed dogs that don’t need a lot of exercise come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s where the Maltese joins another list, for example, as it’s well-known for being calm, docile, and friendly. It takes a bit to rile up a Maltese. But small size doesn’t necessarily mean low-maintenance. Some particularly calm, bigger breeds are the Chow Chow, the Great Dane, the Mastiff, and ― ironically, some might say ― the Greyhound. Going from running faster than any other breed to chilling on the couch seems like a bit of a paradox, after all.
Another well-known low-maintenance dog is the Golden Retriever. Originally a hunting dog, this pup has become incredibly versatile, and this is the main reason it’s so popular. The Golden Retriever will be just as happy chilling at home with the family and being cuddled by children, to roaming around the woods on long walks or hikes. This makes them work well for city living, as long as they get the attention and stimulation they need.
Smaller breeds that are happy just to nap on the couch for extended periods of time are most of the lapdog breeds, including the Pekingese and the Japanese Chin. Additionally, breeds like the West Highland White Terrier, the Brussels Griffon, the Basset Hound, the Pug, and the Akita, are all well-suited for city living. The Akita is a hunting and working dog, though, so while daily walks are enough to satisfy this couch potato’s exercise needs, they still require proper training and stimulation.
It’s all about compromise
It’s hard to compile a list of the best city living and apartment dogs, since there are so many factors to consider. Small dogs may take up little space, but bark a lot. Dogs that need little exercise might get bored from too little mental stimulation. Bigger dogs may be calm and quiet, but are simply too inconvenient to have in an apartment. Some dogs simply have too much attitude, despite being otherwise fine with apartment living. Whether or not a breed is suitable for city living is, in other words, really up to the individual owner. What are your priorities? Silence or independence? Long walks or teaching tricks indoors? These are the questions you need to consider, when trying to find the right city living dog for you.