Dogs for Apartments
Your Dog And Your Life

Best Medium-Sized Dogs for Apartments

The best medium-sized dogs for apartments are:

  • Whippet
  • Chow Chow
  • Shar Pei
  • Boston Terrier
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
  • English Bull Dog
  • Basset Hound
  • French Bull Dog

However, not all of these breeds will suit your specific apartment or lifestyle. Some of them have difficulties climbing stairs, for example, or being left alone for long periods of time.

Continue reading to learn what makes a dog good for apartment living, and all about these good medium-sized apartment dogs.

We hope that, by the end, you’ll be inspired to adopt a new pup that’s perfect for you!

Table of Contents:

What Makes a Dog Good for Apartment Living?

There are several factors to consider when adopting a dog that is suited to apartment life. We’ll discuss these first, and return to them throughout the article so that you can better understand which dog is best for you.


Small breeds are typically best for apartment living because they tend to have lower energy requirements and are quieter in some ways than large breeds.

Many small breeds were actually bred to be lap dogs, such as the Shih Tzu.

Shih tzu
Shih tzu

When living in an upstairs apartment, you should think about the dog’s grown weight and how they will sound to your downstairs neighbors as they chase after a chew toy or pounce on the floor.

Of course, if you don’t have downstairs neighbors then this will be less of a concern, and your dog’s weight won’t really matter.

Energy Levels

Dogs with low energy levels do best in apartments, though this isn’t a hard rule.

Many high-energy breeds can live happily in apartments in the right circumstances and when given the proper care, but most people don’t have the time or energy to accomplish it.

High energy breeds need plenty of outdoor time
High energy breeds need plenty of outdoor time

For example, if you can take your high-energy dog out to a dog park for hours, go for long runs around your neighborhood, or otherwise provide the exercise they need, living in an apartment won’t be a problem.

The obstacle here for most people is a busy lifestyle that simply doesn’t allow for that kind of time.

While someone in a house could simply walk outside and throw a Frisbee in the back yard, apartment living provides more hurdles when it comes to getting your pup’s energy out.

Just know that, if you choose to adopt a high-energy dog while living in an apartment, you’re also committing to the extra work it takes to keep them fit and healthy!

Tendency to Bark or Howl

In an apartment, you’re in close proximity to your neighbors. If your dog is constantly barking or howling, someone’s bound to get fed up and start complaining.

Although every dog’s personality is different, I suggest avoiding breeds that are bred to be noisy unless you’ve confirmed that your particular dog is quiet enough for apartment life.

Howling Dogs are not welcomed by neighbors
Howling Dogs are not Welcomed by Neighbors

Dogs bred to guard fall into this category. Guarding breeds may also be under a lot of stress trying to “protect” an apartment from the constantly-present neighbors, which will pose other problems for you and your pup.

Hounds and other breeds known for howling are some others you may want to avoid.

You should also keep in mind that dogs with separation anxiety will sometimes bark or howl while you’re away from home. This can be difficult to correct.

If you are away from home often, such as working full-time outside the house, it’s best not to choose a breed that’s prone to separation anxiety.

Your choice not to adopt these breeds that are unsuited to your lifestyle will help not just your neighbors, but also your future dog!


Like we discussed above, every dog’s personality is different. The best dogs for apartments are calm and non-reactive to the noises of people bustling around outside the door.

They have an energy level you can keep up with despite your limited space, and don’t make enough noise to upset the neighbors.

If the dog has shown aggression toward other people or animals, they’re likely unsuited to live in close proximity to other dogs and people.

Another factor to consider is how long you’ll be out of the apartment and if your dog can tolerate being left alone for that span of time.

When you’re looking for a particular set of traits, such as a dog who lives well in an apartment, your best bet is to adopt a grown dog from a rescue group that houses dogs in foster homes.

This way, you can ask someone who’s actually lived with the dog what they’re like.

Shelters are a great place to adopt a dog, but often dogs act differently in that environment than they would in a home.

I was told by an amazing shelter that my Labrador was shy and timid—but from the moment we got him home, we knew he was everything but!

This wasn’t the shelter’s fault, as I’m sure he did act differently when surrounded by other dogs and locked into a small space. They also weren’t able to observe him 24/7, even at this small shelter, because they had many dogs to attend to.

Your other option is going to a breeder. While a breeder can make an educated guess about who a puppy will grow up to be based on genes and current personality, they can never be completely sure.

Puppies don’t yet have determined personalities, and many of their traits may change as they grow older. It’s a bit like guessing what a person will be like as an adult based on their behavior as a toddler.


Older dogs tend to be better suited to apartment life due to their lower energy levels.

As puppies, dogs are ready to go, go, go! They’re prone to short bursts of energy many times throughout the day, which makes exercising them outside more difficult to keep up with.

Puppies are more likely to pounce around and annoy the downstairs neighbors or bark out of frustration and boredom when they haven’t had enough to do that day.

You’ll also run into more behavioral problems due to the fact that puppies aren’t yet trained. While older dogs may have been taught things like not peeing on the carpet in a rental or barking every time a neighbor passes by, puppies are still learning these skills.

By all means, there are ways to live happily with a puppy in an apartment—you’ll just likely find it to be more of a challenge than with an adult dog.


Unfortunately, talk of older dogs brings us to the health section of this article.

Dogs who have health problems, are elderly, and/or disabled may all have trouble in apartment complexes.

Stairs are a common problem for dogs who have sore or stiff joints. Some breeds such as Daschunds and Corgis shouldn’t climb stairs regularly, even when in good shape.

Apartment Rules

The rules of your apartment complex will determine the breed of dog you can adopt.

Pitbulls, for instance, are often banned from buildings due to being seen as an aggressive breed.

While I personally disagree with this happening, it’s important not to adopt a breed that’s banned by your building. If you’re caught, you’ll face consequences that will likely include having to give up your dog.

In addition, apartment complexes often have rules about how much a dog can weigh. This can pose a problem with the medium-sized breeds we discuss in this article.

Lastly, make sure your pup has a way to go potty throughout the day. Some buildings ban keeping grass or puppy pee pads on the balcony, in which case you’ll need to either keep them indoors or walk your pup outside when they have to go.

Local Laws

Just like apartment complexes, some cities have laws that ban breeds that are seen as aggressive. If you’re caught with one of these breeds, you’ll likely have to give up your dog—which is bad for both of you, so just don’t do it!

Pitbulls are the most commonly banned breed in the United States, but other breeds that frequent this list include Rottweilers, mastiffs, bulldogs, and Chow Chows.

I’ve found some cities that ban unexpected breeds as well in my research, so look into your own city’s laws and regulations before adopting.

10 Best Medium-Sized Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Now, we’re onto our list of good medium-sized apartment dogs. These breeds are listed in no particular order.

We hope that we can help you make a decision when it comes to your new furry friend!

1. Whippet

Whippets are around 18-22 inches tall and weigh 25-40 pounds.

These slim dogs aren’t prone to problem barking, but they are bred to run. Although racing dogs is highly unethical, your Whippet will still need regular exercise to suit his natural inclination to sprint.

At their fastest, these dogs can run up to 35 miles per hour!

Although Whippets do well with a fenced yard to get their zoomies out, they can also thrive in an apartment setting so long as they’re getting outside regularly for a walk, run, or playtime at the dog park.

These dogs tend to be shy and a little difficult to train due to their stubbornness. Be sure to socialize your dog with all kinds of people as early in their life as possible so that they learn to be friendly with neighbors.

When it comes to training, consistency and positive reinforcements are key.


The grooming requirements for Whippets are low. Brush them weekly and bathe them when they get dirty or begin to smell. Trim their nails regularly.

Many Whippet health problems are a result of too much weight straining their bodies. Be sure not to overfeed your pup to avoid these.

If you choose to adopt from a breeder, be sure to choose one that is reputable. A reputable breeder will always provide veterinary paperwork including vaccine records and health screenings for common genetic health conditions in the breed.

Walk away from any breeder who claims their breed has no common health conditions—this is always a lie. It’s also a huge red flag that you’re adopting from an irresponsible breeder or even a puppy mill.

Other great options if you’d like to adopt a Whippet are browsing your local shelters or looking into breed-specific rescues in your area.

2. Chow Chow

Chow Chows stand at 17-20 inches tall and weigh 45-70 pounds.

Before adopting a Chow Chow, look into your local laws as well as the rules of your apartment building. Although this breed isn’t banned as frequently as some, I have seen it on a few lists during my research.

Never attempt to go around a breed ban, as getting caught will likely lead to having to give up your dog. Chances are, breaking the rules will hurt you both in the end.

These fluff balls are known for being cleanly and easy to potty train, making them great pups for a rented space.

Chows do require regular exercise. The American Kennel Club recommends 4+ daily walks to keep them happy and healthy.

However, these dogs don’t do well exercising in very hot or humid conditions, and they prefer slower walks to heavier exercise.

Chow Chow
Chow Chow

Chow Chows are well known for their stubbornness, and as a result, they can be difficult to train. Some people veer toward the dominance theory of training with difficult dogs, but this is a surefire way to damage your relationship.

Instead of this outdated and sometimes abusive training method, opt for positive reinforcement training techniques. Make your Chow Chow want to work with you and you’ll have a well-trained dog without causing damage to your relationship with them.

If you need extra help or are a first-time dog owner, training classes are an excellent idea. Just make sure the trainer running the class uses humane, up-to-date training methods.

These pups can be handfuls in the grooming department as well, mostly due to their thick double coat. Brush them twice weekly, making sure to be thorough to remove and prevent matts through all layers of their coat. Bathe them as needed and trim their nails regularly.

Chow Chows are prone to joint problems, allergies, and thyroid issues.

This is also a brachycephalic breed, meaning that they have a shortened airway due to poor breeding practices. Dogs bred this way have shortened snouts, which makes it difficult for them to regulate their temperature.

Because these dogs are poorly bred, there is no ethical way to purchase one from a breeder. I highly advise looking into shelters or rescue groups in your area instead.

3. Shar Pei

Shar Peis are 18-20 inches tall and weigh 45-60 pounds.

These wrinkly pups have average to high exercise requirements, though the exact exercise required depends on the specific dog and what they are used to.

You should expect to go on at least a few short walks every day, and know that a Shar Pei can keep up with more activity if you’d like to do more with them.

Shar Peis are smart and stubborn dogs, which can be a bad pairing when trying to train them! When they think they know best, it may be difficult to change their minds.

This breed can also be quite wary of strangers. They must be trained and socialized early to avoid problems, especially living in such close proximity to people.

Shar Pei
Shar Pei

While your dog will need to know who’s boss, never try to dominate them. This theory is outdated, inaccurate, and often leads to abuse.

Instead, use positive reinforcement techniques to train your pup, and seek the help of an expert if needed. Training classes run by trainers who use humane, up-to-date methods can set your dog up for success throughout their life, and are certainly worth the money.

Bathe your Shar Pei monthly, being sure to care for the folds in their skin. Trim their nails regularly.

Watch for eye, skin, and joint problems.

I highly recommend avoiding Shar Pei breeders due to the unethical breeding practices of brachycephalic dogs.

These pups are bred to have short muzzles which cause difficulties regulating temperature and breathing during exercise, especially in hot, humid conditions.

4. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are 15-17 inches tall and weigh between 12-25 pounds.

Lovable and somewhat clingy, these dogs are best for homebodies as they don’t like to be left alone for long periods. They’ll also thrive in family homes where someone is always around to spend time with!

Boston Terrier
Boston Terrier

These pups don’t like to exercise alone in a yard, which makes them perfect for life in the city. Take your pup on at least one walk daily and provide some daily play to keep them healthy.

Avoid exercising in hot or humid weather, as your pup may have difficulty breathing if they get wound up in these conditions.

These pups are a breeze to train and they love people. Simply use lots of positive reinforcement and socialize them early in life so that they are used to being around people.

Although they aren’t big shedders, a weekly brushing will keep your Boston Terrier’s coat healthy. Bathe them as needed and trim their nails regularly.

Watch for eye conditions, which the breed is predisposed to.

As with the other brachycephalic dogs on this list, I recommend never purchasing a Boston Terrier from a breeder. Instead, try a shelter or breed-specific rescue group.

5. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are 10.5-12.5 inches tall and weigh 25-38 pounds.

Don’t let their short stature fool you—these dogs are incredibly energetic! They thrive on multiple walks and games of fetch daily.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Choose activities that keep them on the ground, as too much jumping or stair climbing can cause injury to their fragile backs. This may be a breed to avoid in an upstairs apartment unless you can use an elevator or carry them up the steps.

Corgis are relatively easy to train using positive reinforcement techniques. They are social critters who love people, but should be socialized so that they learn how to interact appropriately.

Brush your pup weekly, trim their nails regularly, and bathe them as needed.

Although this breed is beloved for its short little legs, their health is also harmed by this poor breeding practice. I advise against purchasing from unethical breeders, and instead adopting your Corgi from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group.

6. Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are 13.5-15.5 inches tall and weigh 20-30 pounds.

These sporty pups need regular exercise in the form of walks or games of fetch. However, they aren’t overly energetic when not exercising and so are fairly adaptable to your schedule so long as they’re getting enough physical movement.

Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are people-loving, which makes them easy to train and socialize. Like any dog, they should be trained using positive reinforcements and socialized with people so that they learn how to interact appropriately.

Although these dogs tend to be easy-going, their long coat is high-maintenance. Comb them thoroughly but gently every day, as their coats become easily tangled with painful mats. Bathe them and trim their nails regularly.

Watch for joint and eye problems, but this is a relatively healthy breed. Still, if adopting from a breeder, always ask for veterinary paperwork. This should include vaccine records and health screenings for the pup and their parents.

Always ensure you’re purchasing from a reputable breeder, and walk away if you notice any red flags such as refusing to show you the parents, paperwork, or the place in which the puppies are raised.

Alternatives to breeders include shelters and breed-specific rescues. Cocker Spaniels are a popular breed that shouldn’t be difficult to find through rescue if you desire.

7. Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen

Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens are 13-15 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 25-40 pounds.

If you’re looking for a couch potato, then these energetic dogs aren’t for you! But if you live an active life and want to bring your pup along for the adventure, they’re excellent companions.

They’ll love joining you on long hikes or runs, but shouldn’t be allowed off-leash due to their tendency to wander.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Good training is a must for stubborn breeds such as this. Their smart nature may have them rebelling against your ideas in favor of their own.

Never try to dominate your dog. Instead, use positive reinforcement training or find a training class that uses positive reinforcement methods.

These dogs are typically very friendly, but should still be socialized to learn how to interact with people.

Brush your pup’s thick coat at least once every week to avoid mats and tangles. Bathe them and trim their nails regularly.

Watch for Epilepsy and eye conditions, although these can be screened out by a reputable breeder. Always ask for veterinary paperwork for your pup and the parents if purchasing a dog from a breeder.

If you’d like to rescue instead, browse your shelters or find a breed-specific rescue group in your area.

8. English Bulldog

English Bulldogs are 14-15 inches tall and weigh 40-50 pounds.

The very first thing to do if you’re considering this breed is to check your local laws and regulations to ensure it isn’t banned. Then, check with the rules for your apartment building.

English Bulldog
English Bulldog

English Bull Dogs are seen by many to be an aggressive breed. Although I personally disagree with banning breeds, I urge you to follow the rules in place because not doing so can and likely will hurt your dog in the long run.

If you are caught, you will likely have to give up your pup, and it simply isn’t worth the risk.

With that out of the way, English Bulldogs tend to be calm dogs and love to be around their families whether they’re chilling on the couch or having some playtime.

They do require regular exercise including daily walks, but be wary of overworking them, especially in hot, humid conditions.

This breed doesn’t do well with stairs and shouldn’t climb them regularly, posing a challenge if you live in an upstairs apartment. If you cannot use an elevator or carry your pup, consider choosing another breed.

Bulldogs need to be brushed a few times a week, but more important is to care for the folds of their skin. Make sure their wrinkles are kept clean and dry to avoid skin problems and infections.

Bathe them and trim their nails regularly.

Watch for skin and joint problems, trouble breathing, and heart conditions.

I don’t advise purchasing a Bulldog from a breeder due to poor breeding practices with brachycephalic breeds (breeds that are bred to have shortened muzzles).

However, this is a highly popular breed that can frequently be found in shelters and through breed-specific rescues.

9. Basset Hound

Basset hounds are up to 15 inches tall and weigh 40-65 pounds.

While these pups love lounging around, they do need some exercise to keep in shape and ensure they aren’t putting too much weight on their little legs.

Basset Hound
Basset Hound

One walk daily should suit them fine, and then they’ll be happy to chill out on the couch or lounge around the house.

You might also consider allowing them to play with other dogs, as they’re very social!

Basset hounds shouldn’t be allowed to regularly climb stairs or jump off of furniture, as this can injure their fragile backs.

Bassets were bred for independent hunting, so it can be difficult for them to respect commands. Good training is important. With lots of positive reinforcements, time, and patience, you can teach them to respect what you say.

These friendly dogs love people, but should be socialized to learn how to interact appropriately.

Brush your Basset Hound once a week to keep their coat healthy and shedding to a minimum. Bathe them as needed and trim their nails regularly.

Clean their ears regularly and learn the signs of an ear infection, as this droopy-eared breed is prone to them.

Keep an eye out for joint problems, thyroid disease, and bleeding disorders.

I strongly advise against purchasing a Basset Hound from a breeder due to poor breeding practices in this breed.

Although their short legs are cute to look at, they cause problems for the pup’s back and, as discussed above, their mobility has to be limited to avoid injuries.

Instead, find this breed in your local shelter or rescue group. Breed-specific rescues are great when you have a certain breed in mind!

10. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are 11-13 inches tall and weigh under 28 pounds.

As with the English Bulldog, you must first ensure that bulldogs are not banned from your city or apartment building.

If they aren’t, then you’re in luck!

French Bulldog
French Bulldog

It’s incredibly easy to meet these pups’ exercise requirements in an apartment, as they only need a short daily walk or some playtime to keep them healthy and happy.

Be careful when exercising them in heat, as their shortened muzzles can cause difficulties with breathing and temperature regulation.

French Bulldogs are relatively easy to train. They should be socialized heavily as early in their life as possible, especially due to the bulldog’s reputation as an aggressive breed.

When living close to the neighbors, it’s important to consider how people will perceive your dog. Teach them how to interact with people appropriately to avoid problems.

Brush their coats weekly and bathe them regularly, paying extra attention to the folds in their skin. These should be kept clean and dry to prevent skin problems or infections.

Trim your pup’s nails regularly.

Watch for health problems concerning the joints, eyes, heart, and breathing.

Avoid purchasing from breeders, as brachycephalic (short-muzzled) dogs are subject to bad breeding practices.

Instead, adopt your Frenchie from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group.

We hope these ten best medium-sized dogs for apartments have led you in the right direction and helped you to choose the right pup for your home and lifestyle.

We’re sure you’re going to love life with your new furry friend!