best big dogs for apartments
Your Dog And Your Life

Gentle Giants! The 10 Best Large Dog Breeds for Apartment Life

A lot of people simply just assume that large dog breeds are unsuitable for apartment life. Many people stay away from bigger dogs for a variety of reasons, including their need for more space and the expenses that may be involved.

In truth, size is not considered a decisive factor for a dog to adjust well to apartment life. The main factors that need to be taken into consideration include the exercise needs of the dog and their temperament. 

This article takes a look at some of the large dog breeds that are best suited for apartment life, including the Bull-mastiff, Afghan hound, Bernese Mountain, Standard poodle, Saint Bernard, Greyhound, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Golden Retriever, and the Newfoundland.

Table of Contents:

Large dog breeds for apartment living


Big Dogs for Apartments Bullmastif

Bull-mastiffs have a short, solid muzzle. The breed is a combination of the English Mastiff and the now-extinct Old English Bulldog.

Bull-mastiff males reach heights of around 25-27 inches and weigh anywhere from 110-130 pounds, whereas females are slightly smaller, standing at 24-26 inches and with weight ranging from 100-120 pounds.

They are known for being docile, calm, and affectionate with an even temperament. They make very devoted pets that are protective, and loyal to their family. They are also very tolerant of children and tend to get along with other animals you may have as pets as long as they are properly socialized.

Bull-mastiffs don’t require much coat care. They are quite easy to groom, although they tend to shed regularly and require to be brushed often.

They are very intelligent, and because they are willing-to-please breeds, they are also easy to train. However, they can be a bit stubborn, so you will want to socialize them as early as possible and train them to ensure that they are well-behaved.

They are not excessively active, preferring to remain calm and take things easy at home. Additionally, they don’t bark too much, which makes them ideal for apartment living.

Afghan Hound

Big Dogs for Apartments Afghan Hound

The Afghan Hound is a tall dog breed, with a standing height of 24-29 inches and a weight of 44-60 pounds. They are known for their aristocratic appearance, and as a result, may come across as distant and aloof. However, they are very sensitive and loving dogs with a laid-back personality.

In general, the Afghan Hound is peaceful with a low level of dominance. They are exceptionally good with older children who know how to treat dogs and are also quite friendly with other pets. However, if they are not socialized from a young age, they can be distrustful with strangers and other pets, especially smaller sized ones.

The Afghan Hound is a high maintenance breed. Their long coat requires a lot of care, with frequent grooming and brushing to maintain its fine texture.

Additionally, they require a lot of exercise, even more than other large dogs. They need daily long walks and regular jog sessions. They also require a lot of training to become obedient, so you will need to be patient, kind, and persevering with them.

With adequate training and exercise, Afghan Hounds can adapt well to living in a small apartment. They are cheerful and love to live indoors, spending the majority of their time on the sofa. This makes them especially ideal if you have a small apartment.

Bernese Mountain

Big Dogs for Apartments Bernese Mountain

This is a large, heavy dog with a distinguishable coat. It has a black and white chest, rust-colored markings on the sides of the mouth, above eyes, and front of legs. There’ll also be a bit of rust around the white chest.

Males are about 25-27.5 inches tall and 80-120 pounds in weight, while females range from 23-2 inches in height and weigh anywhere from 75 -100 pounds.

They are known for their friendly, cheerful, and kind personality, as well as their ability to demonstrate patience and affection with children. They also relate well with other pets and are friendly with strangers.

Bernese Mountains are confident and alert, which makes them great watchdogs. However, they tend to bark a lot, meaning they will be noisier than the average large dog.

They are also very intelligent and sensitive, so they will require gentle but firm training. As with any other big dog, you will want to socialize them adequately from an early age and continue to train them regularly.

They need physical activity, but they don’t have a lot of endurance. Regular exercise is a necessity, and keeping them mentally occupied will ensure that they remain healthy and happy. All in all, they are well-behaved and calm indoors, making them suitable for apartment life.

Standard poodle

Big Dogs for Apartments Poodle

The standard poodle is an active and well-proportioned dog that is the biggest size of the poodle breed. Unlike most dogs, poodles don’t have a double coat. Instead, they only have a single-layer coat that is made up of dense, curly fur that rarely sheds.

They are sensitive, preferring an environment that isn’t excessively noisy. They are quite playful and lively and enjoy attention and companionship. They also get along well with other dogs and are polite with strangers.

Although they are not bred to be guard dogs due to their lack of aggressiveness, poodles have been known to demonstrate loyalty and protectiveness when they sense their owner is in danger.

Poodles are highly trainable and do really well in obedience training. They are considered to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, which implies that they require regular mental stimulation. Advanced obedience training or agility classes have proven to be very helpful with them.

Their energy varies from moderate to high, so they require brisk walks, jogs, and vigorous playtime regularly to regulate their energy levels. With proper exercise and mental stimulation, they can be relatively inactive and relaxed indoors.

Saint Bernard

Big Dogs for Apartments Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a breed of large dog that weighs between 140 and 260 pounds or more, with heights of up to 35 inches. They can either have a rough or smooth coat with a red shade mixed with white.

This dog is known to be gentle, friendly, and calm. They are very patient and tolerant with children and generally enjoy being around people. However, they need to be well socialized first so that they grow up without fear and possible territoriality and aggression.

Although they are not known to be instinctively protective, a Saint Bernard may bark at strangers. Plus their size makes them efficient at deterring intruders.

Despite being large, a Saint Bernard only requires a moderate amount of physical activity daily to keep them from getting bored. Be careful not to go overboard with exercising them to keep them from developing joint problems.

With adequate training and exercise, the Saint Bernard can make for a great apartment companion despite their massive size.


Big Dogs for Apartments Greyhound

Despite being racing dogs, Greyhounds can adapt quite well to apartment life.

They have short fur that is easy to maintain as well as long skulls and elongated muzzles. Adults range anywhere from 26-30 inches in height and 55-88 pounds in weight.

Because they wear muzzles during racing, some believe that greyhounds are aggressive breeds. This couldn’t be less true. Greyhounds are well-mannered, quiet, and quite independent, allowing them to adapt to apartment life easily.

They have lovable, loyal, and affectionate personalities, but they are also known to be shy and aloof with strangers. This is why they need adequate socialization to help them become more confident and sociable.

Greyhounds are not bred for endurance, so they do not need daily exercise for extended periods. That being said, they still require moderate daily exercise and enjoy physical activity. However, they also love long naps and cuddles on the couch.

Great Dane

Big Dogs for Apartments Great Dane

The Great Dane is a German dog breed that is known for its large size, with a height of up to 44 inches and a weight of up to 120 pounds.

Despite their large and imposing appearance, they are very friendly and are renowned for their affectionate and gentle personalities. This makes them excellent family dogs too because they can be very patient and playful with children. They are also good watchdogs even though they rarely bark.

They generally don’t exhibit high aggressiveness and are well disposed toward other pets and humans that they are familiar with.

The Great Dane is easy going and responds very well to training and if properly socialized. They are also confident and polite in new environments and to strangers.

They do not need too much exercise, and when indoors, they are very inactive, preferring to snuggle and rest. To maintain their health, they must have long walks daily without too much running around to prevent joint and hip problems.

Despite being a very large breed, they easily adapt to apartment living because they are not overactive and are sociable.

Irish Wolfhound

Big Dogs for Apartments Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is among the tallest dog breeds, with minimum heights of up to 32 inches and a minimum weight of 120 pounds. Despite its large size, this breed is rarely boisterous or destructive around the house, making it a great companion for apartment life.

They are known to be introverted, intelligent, and easygoing. They are affectionate and friendly with their owners and are very gentle with children. They are also friendly with strangers and other dogs especially when they are well socialized.

Due to their intelligence, this breed is relatively easy to train, responding well to gentle but firm and consistent leadership. They are very independent, so they are not too keen on defending spaces, but they make loyal and devoted pets.

Because they are often friendly towards strangers, they are not reliable as watchdogs. However, their size can be a natural deterrent and they can also be very protective of their owners if they perceive danger.

To maintain their mental and physical health, they need regular exercise, including daily walks and regular runs.

Golden retriever

Big Dogs for Apartments Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is a large dog breed that has a dense wavy coat that is water-repellent. When fully grown, they can stand at a maximum height of 24 inches and weigh up to 75 pounds.

They are known to be friendly, confident, and kind, which makes them great family pets, especially since they are very patient and gentle with children. They are also loyal and social.

Because they hardly bark, they make less than ideal watchdogs.

They are highly intelligent, making them very easy to train. They enjoy physical activity and are great companions for those who like outdoor activities such as camping or hiking.

Due to their high activity levels, Golden Retrievers need to get rigorous physical exercise daily so that they remain healthy.

As long as you cover their physical activity needs, Golden Retrievers can be great dogs for apartment life due to their friendly and calm nature.


Big Dogs for Apartments Newfoundland

The Newfoundland is a large dog that can either be white-and-black, brown, or black. They can weigh up to 176 pounds on average, although some varieties have been known to weigh over 200 pounds.

The Newfoundland is calm, sweet, strong, and docile. They are very gentle and protective of their owners in addition to being friendly, calm and patient with young children. This dog is also very brave, usually able to face potential danger with ease.

Because of their high intelligence, the Newfoundland is easy to train and housebreak. They tend to be very inactive and lazy indoors, so you will want to keep a close eye on their physical activity – they might not need much of it, but regular exercise will keep them from developing health problems.

This is an excellent large dog breed for apartment life as they adapt well to small spaces and are smart enough to be careful not to knock over objects on their paths.

Related Reading: The 10 best mixed dog breeds for apartments

Can I have a big dog in an apartment?

Some people believe that the bigger the dog, the more energy it has and therefore, the more space it will need. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many large dog breeds are less energetic than smaller ones.

Large dogs can live successfully in an apartment if you go about it the right way. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Find the right neighborhood

There are neighborhoods and surroundings that are more suitable for dogs than others. As you look for an apartment, try to find one that’s located in a neighborhood that has plenty to offer your dog.

You want some grass nearby for your pooch to do his business, places to go for walks, and maybe a reputable doggy daycare or dog park.

You also have to keep in mind that your dog will always have to be leashed whenever you go out for walks. If you want to provide some off-leash time and your dog is social and well-behaved, consider looking for a neighborhood that features an off-leash dog park.

Some neighborhoods also come with dog-friendly stores. Pet supply stores are often a good starting point. In addition to the convenience of having a place to buy toys and food for your dog, many pet supply stores have training programs that you can sign up for.

Apartment rules

Before you bring your new pet home, you have to make sure that your apartment building is friendly to dogs of different sizes. Many apartment complexes, especially those that are under the supervision of property management companies, have breed, size, and weight restrictions.

That being said, dog-friendly apartments do exist. If you are having a hard time finding one, it might be a good idea to create a pet résumé for your dog. Include a detailed description of your dog’s personality, proof of health and vaccinations, any obedience training, a photo, and letters of recommendation from your previous neighbors and landlords.

You can also set up a meeting between your dog and a potential landlord to show how well-behaved your dog is, and demonstrate your intention of taking of the apartment by providing the landlord proof of renters insurance.

Barking control

As the owner of a big dog, you have to do your best to be neighborly when you live in an apartment building. Don’t let your dog bark for extended periods, don’t allow him to go to the bathroom in common spaces of the building, and always ensure that you clean up after him.

Many people assume that large dogs are generally dangerous and more destructive than smaller ones. People who are not fond of dogs may be uncomfortable even with the best-behaved canine neighbors, especially if it is a large dog that looks physically threatening.

The quality of exercise

All dogs – regardless of their living situation or size – require adequate exercise to remain happy and healthy.

While taking your dog for a daily walk is great, it is also important to get your dog’s heart rate up by incorporating more vigorous exercise. This is where access to dog parks, daycare, and training classes come in handy.

The amount of exercise that your dog needs will depend on his health, age, and temperament.

Maintain an organized home

A big dog means that you will have to invest in large-sized dog items – dog beds, chew toys such as the Multipet Gumby Dog Toy, bowls, crates, and more.

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Furhaven XL Orthopedic Dog Bed Ultra Plush Faux Fur & Suede Mattress w/ Removable Washable Cover - Gray, Jumbo (X-Large)
PRODUCT DETAILS: Gray; Jumbo, 40" x 32" x 4"; NOT SUITABLE for pets with excessive teething or destructive chewing behavior
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Midwest SL54DD Ginormus Double Door Dog Crate for XXL for the Largest Dogs Breeds, Great Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard, Black
Midwest SL54DD Ginormus Double Door Dog Crate for XXL for the Largest Dogs Breeds, Great Dane, Mastiff, St. Bernard, Black
Age Range Description: All Life Stages; Included Components: Removable Abs Composite Plastic Pan
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Multipet Gumby Plush Filled Dog Toy, Green, 9 inch (Pack of 1)
Multipet Gumby Plush Filled Dog Toy, Green, 9 inch (Pack of 1)
Officially Licensed and perfect nostalgic pals for your pet; Plush dog toy with flexible arms and legs
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This doesn’t mean that you have to be a minimalist, but it certainly helps to maintain an organized home. Ensure that you keep the dog clutter down by rotating toys in and out of storage. This way, your dog will look forward to playing with “new toys’ and you won’t have to worry about constantly tripping over chewing toys in the middle of the night.

If you have a small apartment, invest in crates and beds that are visually pleasing because these pieces often become the focal point in such small spaces.

Understand your lifestyle

Before you bring in a big dog into your life, it is important to take some time for self-reflection. Do you like to socialize with friends after work? Do you spend your weekends indoor or do you prefer to be out and about?

Go for a dog with an energy level that will match your lifestyle. All dogs, regardless of their size, require attention, training, and physical and mental exercise. If you are rarely at home, ensure that you have a budget in place for dog walkers or doggy daycare.


As you can tell from these examples, the size of a dog is clearly not that important when it comes to apartment living. A lot of times big dogs possess characteristics that allow them to adapt to apartment living even better than smaller breeds.

As long as you are aware of the needs of your dog, you should be able to provide him with a happy apartment life. 

Last update on 2022-01-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API