The Top 20 Dog Breeds for City Living

Living in the city doesn’t mean that you need to live your life without a dog. While some breeds do better in wide open spaces and country living, there are many dogs that do very well in apartments or in small houses. As long as you are able to give your pet the love and care that it needs, along with a regular walk or other type of exercise, it should be healthy and happy. We’ve chosen the 20 top dog breeds for city living based on the characteristics that make them a good fit with owners who have neighbors nearby, and often, just on the other side of the wall. These dogs are also known for their adaptability and calm natures so they’re not likely to disturb neighbors throughout the day if you’re away.


The Basenji is an excellent breed for owners with nearby neighbors or thin walls. They’re a popular choice for apartment dwellers because they are generally calm and quiet pets. Basenjis are not talkative and they rarely bark unless there is a good reason to do so. These dogs reach a height of 18 inches or more and often reach a weight of more than 25 pounds. They’re a medium sized dog, but don’t require a lot of living space. To keep your Basenji in good health and well toned, take him on a daily walk. The exersise will be good for both of you and it will give you some alone time together to bond. Basenjis love to please their owners so house training and leash training shouldn’t be a problem if you use positive reinforcement methods and are consistent. Basenji’s are minimal shedders so there won’t be a lot of additional cleanup. A weekly grooming is all that your Basenji will need.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise are a small breed of dog that do not reach heights of more than 12 inches. They, like the Basenji do not shed much and only need to be brushed once or twice a week to keep the coat in good condition. These dogs are energetic and they do need to have one to two walks per day, but they are relatively easy to train for walking on a leash. Bichon Frise are a good choice for people who have allergies because of the low shedding. They are quiet dogs who don’t usually bark unless they are frightened, terribly excited or need something from you.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are handsome little dogs who usually reach a height of 18 inches or less. Males are generally on the taller side and females are smaller in size. What makes Boston Terriers such a popular choice for city living is their small size and affectionate personalities. They shed only slightly, and with a weekly grooming, you’ll discover that the shedding is ot a big deal. These dogs are known to be little gentlemen and are easily trained to be well behaved house pets with a gentle disposition. This makes them a good choice for families who have children. The one potential drawback is that Boston Terriers tend to have high energy levels. You can offset this by establishing a regular walking time each day. These dogs do well in leash training and most are easy to house train for toileting. They are wonderful companions who love snuggling and love.

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a good choice for city living because they are a small dog breed that is also sturdy. This dog breed is known for their affectionate temperament. They make wonderful house pets for singles or for families because they truly enjoy human companionship Brussels Griffons are quick to bond with their owners and they readily show affection. These dogs are usually calm and quiet. They prefer to stay in the house and enjoy your company. You may need to coax your dog to go out for a daily walk, because it’s necessary for their continued good health. Most do well on a leash if they are properly trained in advance. Brussels Griffons don’t bark unless there is a good reason for doing so.


Bulldogs are perfect apartment dogs who do very well in smaller spaces. They do not require a lot of exercise, so you’ll only need to schedule a short daily walk. They are known for their laziness, so you may need to remind your pooch that it’s time to go for a walk. Bulldogs generally reach a maximum height of 18 inches. Although they look like they could tear your leg off, most have very sweet and gentle personalities. Their appearance may even ward off would-be tresspassers, but it will be your secret that your dog may invite them in for a visit. Another benefit of owning a bulldog in the city is that they are minimal shedders and they are usually quiet unless they get really excited about something.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Long known as a popular choice of the Royals the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a beautiful dog with a kind and affectionate personality. They are lap dogs who do tend to beg for attention and belly rubs now and then. They quickly bond with their owners and do not mind living in smaller spaces. They make good family pets and are loyal to their owners. There are a few drawbacks with having this breed in an apartment though, but many don’t find these to be deal breakers. They do shed their coats moderately, but brushing the fur twice a week cuts down on the amount of shedding. In addition to this, they can be difficult to house train. It does take a little patience and consistency, but if you hang with it, your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will become a well-mannered house pet. You may need to remind him that it’s time for a walk.


Chihuahuas are a breed that come in a couple of different sizes. Standards are small and teacups are tiny. Their small size makes them wonderful companion dogs for small houses or apartments. They don’t mind living in a small space. They come in two sizes and also two variations. Short hair chihuahuas do shed, but it’s minimal. The long haired chihuahuas will need a little more maintenance with two brushings a week to keep the shedding under control. These dogs are not trusting of strangers and if you live in an apartment, it’s best to keep them on a leash when you take them out for their daily walk. You won’t need to go far, because these small dogs don’t need a lot of exercise, but they do need some. You may need to go a little slower because their short little legs can only go so fast. Just watch them around strangers so they don’t bark and cause a scene. With some effort and patience, you can train them to be less assertive around new people.

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested are an elegant and laid back dog. They are a low energy dog that would lie around the house all day if you allow it. It’s important to take them out for a brief walk daily, just for the sake of exercise and good health. They won’t usually demand it, so this will be totally up to you. Chinese crested are small in size and they’re usually calm and quiet dogs. They are low maintenance with minimal shedding and they bond quickly with their owners. This dog makes an excellent companion dog for anyone who lives in a small area. They adapt well to new environments and do well in homes of practically any size. A Chinese Crested was the dog featured on the Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey film, “How To Love A Guy in 10 Days.” For the show, he was affectionately named, “Krull the Warrior King.”

Coton de Tulear

Cotons are a dog breed with a cheerful disposition. They are happy-go-lucky and adapt well to whatever surroundings they are in. They do well in larger homes or smaller apartments because of their small size. They don’t need a lot of exercise so a short walk will do. Their coats are easy to take care of and they don’t shed much. One good brushing a week will suffice. Cotons are known to be extremely friendly with other animals and with humans. They do well around strangers and are not given to bouts of barking or whining. They make wonderful companion pets. They do love to play games or fetch and go for a daily walk. They like living by a daily schedule and are easy to train. They prefer the indoors, so apartment living will suit them well.


Dachshunds are hound dogs, but they are the smallest variety. These dogs are easy to identify because all you need to do is look for a pup that is shaped like a hot dog. They are often referred to as “weiner dogs.” They are friendly little dogs with a long body and tiny short legs. They are usually cheerful and friendly pets who love to play and put on a show. If you prefer a dog who is a character, then a Dachshund may be your best bet. Their coats need minimal care and they are easy to train. This intelligent dog loves to learn new tricks. They don’t need a lot of exercise so you can either choose to walk them outdoors on a leash, or let them get their exercise indoors. On a side note, Dachshunds are amazing competitors. They love to race against other dogs in competitions. You may find other Daschund owners at the dog park who have trained their pups to do some very interesting tricks.

French Bulldog

French Bulldog

French Bulldogs were bred in the UK to be a miniature version of the bulldog breed. They are small in size and they don’t require a lot of physical activity. Although it’s a good idea to take your French bulldog for a daily leash walk, it isn’t required. As long as you engage in somewhat vigorous play with your pup daily, he’s likely to get the amount of exercise that he needs. Be forewarned that this breed thrives on contact with the owner. French bulldogs are loving and affectionate and they not only desire your company, they seem to need it. They also make great watchdogs for homes in the city because they are not prone to barking, but they will if a stranger is nearby. They are good at letting you know if someone is there who shouldn’t be.


The Havanese breed is also referred to as a “Velcro dog.” This is because they are clingy by nature and will become your new shadow. If you live alone in an apartment and want to ease your loneliness, the Havanese is probably one of your better choices. These pups love to be near their owners. They are small lap dogs who love to play with their pet parents. They only reach twelve inches or less in height when full grown. They’re usually happy if you play with them now and then. It’s also a good idea to go for a daily walk to help them burn off the extra energy that builds up. This dog is an average shedder and a weekly brushing should keep the coat in good condition.

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a low maintenance dog breed that is highly adaptable to any size house or apartment, whether large or small. They act more like cats than dogs. The Japanese Chin is a smaller dog who is also very agile and loves to jump up on furniture. You can train them to resist this urge, but it will take a little effort and patience. They have elegant and lovely coats that only need to be brushed once a week. They do shed, but the shedding is minimal to moderate. They are friendly dogs who do’t require much exercise to stay in good shape.

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a small dog of less than twelve inches at maturity, but he has the heart of a giant. This attractive little dog has a long and gorgeous coat that does require daily brushing. Frequent bathing will help to keep his coat looking its very best. Although a little more work on the maintenance side, the appearance is something that makes the Lhasa Apso so unique. The breed is known for being loyal and very friendly, if properly socialized and trained at an early age. This dog is not usually yappy, but will bark if he is frightened or if something is amiss. He makes a wonderful companion for city living if you don’t mind the high maintenance coat.


The Lowchen is a very small toy breed of dog. They are among the most compact in stature in the dog world. these tiny little dogs are known to need a lot of exercise because of their high energy levels. They are highly affectionate and enjoy playing with humans and with other animals. They are loving pets who would love to be your lap dog if they could sit still long enough. They are minimal shedders which makes them great companions for people who are not fond of pet hair on the furniture.


Maltese are an old dog breed that has been around for hundreds of years. One of the things that makes them so attractive to apartment dwellers is that they do not shed their coats. This also makes them a good choice or people who have allergies. This is because the dog does not grown an undercoat. They have less fur than many other breeds to begin with. These dogs are highly affectionate and they make wonderful city dogs, but only for owners who don’t mind a ton of affection. These dogs tend to have issues with separation anxiety so they are the best choice for people who are home during the day versus those who lead busy careers and are gone for hours at a time.

Manchester Terrier

Manchester Terriers are among the most intelligent and responsive breeds of dog. They are very easy to train which is a benefit for owners who live in an apartment setting. They are miniature in size which makes them perfect for smaller houses or apartments. Small living spaces are not an issue with this highly adaptable dog. These dogs are only recommended for the stay at home owner though. They are much like the Maltese in that they suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too often. In addition, when the Manchester Terrier is lonely or bored, he has a tendency to bark incessantly and to become destructive, making messes and chewing things up in the home.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers strongly resemble a full sized doberman, but in a smaller version. Your friends and neighbors may actually think that you have a Dobie pup when he’s full grown if you don’t tell them otherwise. This breed is a popular choice for apartment or small home living because they are small in size and adapt well to smaller living spaces. When properly socialized from an early age, the Mini Pinscher can be a good house pet. They are not necessarily the best option for homes with small children. They are great watchdogs because they are suspicious of strangers. This dog isn’t a heavy barker, but will let you known if a stranger is nearby.


Pekinese are a regal dog with an attractive show coat. He likes to be the center of attention and if he doesn’t get enough, he’ll let you know. This tiny little dog doesn’t even reach a foot in height, but has a big personality and an attitude to go along with it. Despite the fact that the Pekinese is a bit of work, it’s one of the more popular dogs in hoe that are located within the city limits. The breed is known for its dramatic appearance and although he carries himself regally, he has a serious underbite that makes him really cute. You will probably want to make sure that he is the only dog that you have in the house, because he is an attention hog. Although you can socialize him to be more accepting of other pets, he’s not fond usually fond of anyone who is trying to steal his thunder. He may become irritated with other dogs or cats and let then know about it with a yip and a nip. He’s an affectionate dog that will give you plenty of love, but he’s going to expect you to give a lot more than you get.


Pomeranians are among the cutest small dogs and also one of the most popular choices for people who live in the city. These tiny little balls of fur are energetic dogs, and they need to have their daily walk on the leash so they can expend the buildup of energy that happens. They tend to be fiesty and will bark if you don’t teach them otherwise. Pomeranians are a good choice for people who work during the day, but return home after work. Unlike some of the other smaller dog breeds, Pomeranians are not that dependant upon humans. It’s true that they need your help to get food, water, shelter and medical care, but this is where tthe dependence ends.

Pomeranians enjoy being independent, or at least believing that they are. If you’re gone throughout the day, it won’t be a big deal to them. They do need to be brushed weekly because of their thick and ample fur coats. One other drawback to owning a Pomeranian is that they do tend to be barkers. If you begin training them not to bark unless there is a good reason, you may be able to get a better handle on the barking when strangers are around. If you don’t start this conditioning early, it’s hard to stop a Pom from yapping. This could potentially be a problem if you live in an apartment with very thin walls and neighbors right next door.

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