Top 15 dog breeds for people living in apartments

Some dogs are so lively you could take them on a hike and they’d still knock you over in excitement at the mention of the “W” word. While some are perfectly happy going on a 20-minute stroll and spending the rest of the day taking up half the sofa. Then you’ve got the dogs who shed so much that you could make a whole winter wardrobe out of their fur – I’m looking at you Huskies and Samoyeds. And some are literally bald. Completely hairless. 

The point being, all breeds are different. Some are more suited to certain lifestyles than others. So while a big, hulking Mastiff would love a big house with a massive garden, others are perfectly at home in a bustling city apartment. 

No matter what dog you opt for, it’s important to make sure they have plenty of space for play, zoomies, and sleep. If you have access to a garden area, even better, and it’s important to make sure you make plenty of time for walks. 

If you’re looking for a pooch to fit your urban lifestyle, here are our top 15 picks…

Photo courtesy of @bellamybean

English Bulldog 

English Bulldogs are affectionate, lovable, and lazy. There’s no way you’ll ever get used to their deadly farts and crazy loud snoring, though. You don’t need a lot of space as they’re content chilling anywhere they can park their butt.

Despite their easy-going personalities, English Bulldogs can be a high-maintenance breed. Bulldogs are known for their health issues. Their squishy wrinkles need a daily wipe and they’re prone to allergies. 74% of English Bulldogs suffer from hip dysplasia and many have trouble breathing, especially when the temperatures rise. But if you put the work in for your Bully buddy, they’ll love you back twice as hard.

Photo courtesy of @mr.ralph___

French Bulldog

The Frenchie is the English Bully’s smaller cousin, so they share some similar traits. They love a bit of playtime as much as a midday nap, and they share that same ability to produce otherworldly smells.

Like English Bulldogs, a Frenchie’s vet bills can get expensive. They can suffer with health problems like hip dysplasia, cherry eye, breathing difficulties, and allergies. And they’re especially prone to skin conditions like hives and dermatitis. 

If you’re not sure how much time you can fit in your day, then you’ll be glad to hear they don’t require a lot of exercise. A couple of short walks that add up to an hour a day is perfect. If you’re looking for a pup to join you on your morning jog, a Frenchie might not be the doggo for you.

Basenji

The Basenji is a top dog for a million reasons, but there’s one quality that makes them different from every other pup on the list. Basenjis don’t bark; they yodel instead. So if you’re looking for a singing partner, this might be the dog for you. Their smaller size – typically growing to 18” tall – combined with a low-maintenance coat that minimally sheds, make them great apartment dwellers.

But they require a lot of stimulation, both mental and physical. When they get bored, they’re known for chewing up furniture and even climbing trees as they’re constantly seeking adventure. If you’re a couch potato or rarely at home, it’s a good idea to look for a pup who likes a good nap instead of the curious Basenji. They can also be shy, nervous, and suffer from separation anxiety, so a loving, patient pawrent is a must.

Photo courtesy of @oscarthelazypug

Pug

Look at that face; you’re sold already! Pugs are so popular because they’re small, chill, a bit lazy, and funny enough to brighten anyone’s day. They tick all the boxes. These pocket-sized pups can fit in even the tiniest one-bed flats.

As you might already know, pugs suffer from breathing problems. They’re also prone to allergies and require a daily wrinkle clean like other wrinkly breeds. All dogs need a lot of attention, but pugs take the crown. 

But you can be sure you’ll have a friend for life. They’ll happily follow their humans into the bedroom, kitchen, and will probably even want to watch you go to the bathroom. So if you like a bit of privacy, a pug might be a bit too intense. Oh, and pugs shed. A lot.

Photo courtesy of @thecorgiandthebear

Corgi

The Queen is a big fan of Corgis – and we can see why! These nosy pups love to people-watch and they need a good amount of stimulation each day. A couple of walks or some intense playtime should do it. If not, you better believe they’ll be vocal about their disapproval. Thankfully, they only have short legs, so you won’t have to walk very far.

But those tiny legs are a characteristic of dwarfism. Yes, every Corgi has dwarfism. Because of this, they can develop health problems like hip dysplasia. They’re also prone to problems with their eyes that can lead to blindness. 

Corgis are very easy to train thanks to their high intelligence. But that also means they can be a bit cheeky and bossy! These independent little guys might not play well with children as they like to do things their own way. And they’re very sensitive. If they sense that you’re angry with them, they can easily get upset. They’re basically little fluffy children. Patience is key to being a top Corgi pawrent.

Photo courtesy of @mylittleraptor

Staffordshire Bull Terrier 

Staffies make great pups for first-time pawrents. They’re active, affectionate, and inject themselves into your routine as much as possible. Need a Netflix binging buddy? They’ll join you. Reading a book? They’ll intently get in your face and read along with you. Taking a nap? Make some room.

Health-wise, Staffies are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. This breed can also suffer from allergies that can lead to problems with their skin.

Make no mistake, Staffies are very intelligent. With this often comes stubbornness. A firm pawrent is needed to train these pups. Something else to note is that, due to their size, Staffies can rarely swim. If you decide to take them to a park with a lake, you need to keep an eye on them at all times.

Photo of Ted the Dachshund!

Mini Dachshund

Mini Dachshunds make great fur babies because these little sausages love hanging out with their human. But if you’re looking for a dog to go on long walks with, you might want to look elsewhere as their little legs can only handle leisurely strolls.

If you’re thinking about adopting a sausage, you better be in it for the long haul. They have a lifespan of around 12 years, but some Mini Dachshund owners report their pups living over 18 years! These doggos can also be quite loud and feisty at times, and difficult to toilet train. While it’s definitely possible to train them, it requires patience and consistency. 

Like many breeds, there are certain health conditions you’ll need to look out for. 1 in 4 suffer from back problems, and a propensity for obesity can make this even worse. As well as this, they’re always ready to eat. This is just another reason why Mini Dachshunds need a firm pawrent.

Photo courtesy of @ronaldbasset

Basset Hound

The most laid-back companion you could wish for, the Basset Hound has a reputation of looking down but will definitely add some joy to your life. Bassets are mellow, gentle, and well-behaved, making them perfectly suited to smaller spaces. 

Don’t be deceived by their appearance; they love getting out and about, requiring a minimum of an hour of exercise a day. =

Bassets are prone to skin conditions, eye problems, elbow dysplasia, and gastric dilation volvulus (GVD), a condition where their stomach bloats and twists. And since eye problems are common with this breed, it’s recommended you take them for a check-up every year. And these floppy boys fancy themselves as singers, so if you have paper-thin walls, your neighbours might not appreciate you bringing one of these into your home.

Photo courtesy of @loopylottiethechi

Chihuahua

The original handbag dog. There’s a reason they’re so popular with urbanites. Chihuahuas are bold and confident with a larger-than-life persona. Despite their tiny legs, they still need a good run around the park and a bum or two to sniff like any other breed.

Chihuahuas love to be held as they get cold very easily. And when it hits winter, make sure they’ve got a good coat to keep them warm. But when it gets too cold for them to go outside, you’ll have to play with them indoors to get all that pent-up energy out. As they tend to be lone wolves,  they don’t usually get chummy with other dogs or children. They’ll always love their human though. 

Due to their tiny frame, you need to keep a lookout for them at all times. In terms of health problems, Chihuahuas are prone to eye problems, dental issues, and hip dysplasia. And since they don’t like to be alone, a full-time pawrent is needed to keep one happy.

Photo courtesy of @punx30218690

Greyhound

Greyhounds are adaptable, caring, sociable, and only need around an hour of exercise a day. Once they get all that energy out, they’ll sleep for hours. But they aren’t fond of loud noises, so if you have noisy neighbours, a Greyhound might struggle to settle in.

They’re generally healthy dogs and are less likely to develop health problems compared to other breeds. But issues like hyperthyroidism and gastric torsion can still rear their head. And since Greyhounds are so lean, they’re very sensitive to anaesthesia. Like Chihuahuas, they get cold very easily. A coat or jacket for the colder months is essential to keep them warm. 

As shy dogs, you’ll need to take the time to create a positive, encouraging environment so as to not encourage their fears, be it of fireworks or children. Being there for your Greyhound to show them it’s not scary is important for their development.

Shih Tzu

A polite little pup, Shih Tzus have a calm temperament and don’t yap much. They’re also known for being “one-person dogs”, meaning they’re super devoted and can’t get enough of their human. If you’re single in the city, this could be the partner in crime you need.

A Shih Tzu’s fur can easily become matted and tangled, so it’s important to stay on top of daily grooming. Despite this, they surprisingly don’t shed much. 

If left alone, they can become quite destructive when separation anxiety kicks in. If you’re away often, a Shih Tzu might not be the best choice for you. Something to bear in mind before bringing this teddy bear home is that they tend to have breathing problems because of their short, soft palate. So extra supervision during the summer is a good idea.

Shiba Inu

Shibas are known for being loyal, confident, and funny (check YouTube, you’ll see what we mean). It’s good to set some behaviour rules from the offset with your Shiba – you don’t want your neighbours pounding on your door due to the bizarre screaming they’re known for! Seriously, they sound like something from a horror film. 

But note that they’re notoriously difficult to train. They’re stubborn. So much so that many owners often feel like they brought home a giant cat rather than a dog. And if they don’t like something, they won’t keep quiet about it. 

Shibas also have thick coats and shed a lot. And while they’re generally pretty healthy, like all dogs, they’re predisposed to some health problems. In this case, it’s hip dysplasia, eye and knee problems, and allergies.

Photo courtesy of @nala.and.maisie_adventures

Boxer

Boxers are the perfect companion. With the exception of the slobber you might find draped across the sofa like a blanket, they’re generally clean, friendly, and quiet. They may also be the goofiest dog breed around with 99% zoomies and laughter, so if you do have an apartment, make sure they have plenty of space and exercise! 

An active lifestyle is a must for Boxers. They can become destructive when they haven’t had their two hours of exercise. That’s right. Two hours. Every day. But despite that, they’re gentle and patient, which makes them perfect around children. As puppies, they can forget how big they are and get easily excited, which can be overwhelming for children, so do be careful. 

Their squishy faces also make them more prone to overheating, which can be difficult to manage as they still need their two hours a day. Walking Boxers at night in summer is common so they can safely get their exercise. Sadly, Boxers are especially vulnerable to cancer and heart conditions such as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. This mouthful is also known as Boxer cardiomyopathy, so be prepared.

Picture of Buster the Boston Terrier puppy!

Boston Terrier

These little guys earned the nickname “American Gentlemen” because their markings look a bit like they’re wearing a tux. How can you not love that? This breed is low fuss, very sociable, and known for an even temperament – perfect for apartment living.

Boston Terriers are prone to cherry eye, cataracts, heart murmurs and deafness. Their squashed noses can cause breathing issues too. These pups also tend to prefer being an only child, easily getting jealous and possessive. But that’s nothing that some dedicated training can’t fix. 

Depending on their age and individual personality, you can usually leave them alone for around four or six hours, but eight is the absolute maximum. These little gentlemen have a track record for overeating, so you need to manage their portion sizes. They also need a good amount of mental and physical stimulation. Without it, you might come home to chewed-up shoes.

Photo courtesy of @willow_the_sharpei_uk

Shar Pei

Obviously I’m going to be biased on this one with Big G being a Rott Pei. Shar Peis are gentle giant wrinkles. They’re great for those living alone as they become your world, and you’ll quickly become theirs too. For the first three years of his life, George grew up in an apartment and he loved it. They’re calm and, despite their size, only need a couple of short walks a day. Big man gets stroppy when he doesn’t get his 21 hours basking in the sun. 

The wrinkliest of all wrinkles, Shar Peis are prone to skin inflammation and infections, and have allergies that can make their skin worse. They also have relatively small ears, which makes them open to infection. Eye problems are common too. 

They make great guard dogs, but this can make them suspicious of unfamiliar faces and anxious when you’re out of sight. Leaving a Shar Pei on their own for more than four hours can cause separation anxiety. You must be patient and consistent (same with any dog, really) and, preferably, will have had a doggo before. 

Hopefully, this helped you make a decision, or at least narrow down your top picks. Having a pup by your side will genuinely change your life. There’s no better feeling than knowing your fur baby is there to help you after a bad day at the office. Whichever you pick, you’re guaranteed a best friend for life.

Only the best will do for the newest addition to your pack. Swagwags packs everything your pup needs into a nutritious, mouth-watering kibble your pooch will love. And we understand that all you want is more time to cuddle and play fetch, so we deliver your pup’s new fave kibble right to your doorstep. Check out our range today.

If you’re ever concerned about potential allergies, take one of our sensitivity tests. It’s non-invasive and takes 5 minutes to do – a small price for perfect pup health!