Above: NYC Maltese brothers Dior and Obi-Wan in their matching DJANGO Adventure Dog Harness and Leash Sets
Before getting our dog Django back in 2015, Mike and I (Steph) did a lot of research into what dog breeds were best for city and apartment living. At the time, we were living in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. We wanted a dog that would happily trot down the busy sidewalks of New York City with us, ride NYC’s noisy subway in a dog-friendly carrier bag without any hesitation, and not take up too much space in our very compact apartment.
There are several things to consider if you’re looking to welcome a four-legged companion into your apartment or city home. Will the dog bark a lot and disturb your neighbors? How energetic is the breed, and will the dog do well without a huge house or large backyard to run around in? Is the dog breed sociable, or will the dog be prone to nervousness and/or fear around crowded sidewalks, noisy subways, and loud dog parks?
If you are looking for a dog well suited for apartment living and an urban environment, this article is for you. Here are the top dog breeds best suited for compact residences and the hustle and bustle of city life.
1. Basset Hound
Basset Hounds are sociable and low-key dogs with an incredibly strong sense of smell (second only to Bloodhounds!). These hound dogs were originally bred for hunting and are known for their stout legs, big head, floppy ears, and forlorn look in their eyes. Although Basset Hounds require moderate activity to maintain a healthy weight, these dogs will happily sleep throughout the day once they’ve had a chance to stretch their legs. Despite their moderate to large size at 40-60 lbs, Basset Hounds’ pleasant disposition, chill personality, and friendly nature make them excellent apartment and city companions.
2. Border Terrier
Border Terriers are happy and energetic little dogs weighing no more than 12-15 lbs and with an easy-to-maintain wire coat. Their easy-tempered nature make them amicable to both city and country life, and their small stature makes them great travel companions (think dog carrier bags in the subway). Given their energetic nature, Border Terriers need a good dose of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy – either a long daily walk or run in the dog park will keep them content at home. Bred as hunting dogs, Border Terriers also have a strong instinct to chase squirrels and other small animals. For this reason, it is wise to always keep these adorable pups on a leash when out and about.
3. Boston Terrier
Boston Terriers are moderate sized dogs weighing no more than 25 lbs and with an average height of 15-17 inches. They have a sociable, happy, and curious disposition and will always be down to explore city streets, parks, and trails at your side.
Did you know that Boston Terriers were (unsurprisingly) named for the city of Boston? As the American Kennel Club elaborates, “It’s a safe bet that a breed named for a city—the Havanese or Brussels Griffon, for instance—will make an excellent urban pet. Bostons are no exception.”
4. Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon, also known as Griffon Bruxellois, was named after the city of Brussels, Belgium. These adorable little pups weigh anywhere from 5-15 lbs and have an oversized, self-important, and comedic personality. Brussels Griffons’ small size and positive disposition make them wonderful apartment dwellers, easy travel companions, and loving four-legged companions. Have a city job that requires you to leave your apartment for endless hours on end? If so, a Brussels Griffon may not be your ideal canine companion. These big-hearted dogs are more sensitive to loneliness than other dog breeds on our list.
Bulldogs are medium-sized dogs weighing up to 50 lbs and averaging 14-15 inches in height. Although Bulldogs are known for their stocky, muscular, and even intimidating appearance, Bulldogs are an incredibly friendly, calm, and lovable dog breed. Their calm and laid back disposition makes them wonderful apartment pets. With that said, don’t mistake their chill demeanor for low energy. Bulldogs love being out and about and need routine exercise to keep them fit and at a healthy weight.
6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cavapoo, and Cavashon
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and other King Charles mixed dog breeds, particularly Cavapoos and Cavashons, are gentle, affable, and easy going dogs. Although they love a good romp in the dog park, these dogs are also fantastic lap dogs and will happily cuddle or nap by your side for hours on end.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are incredibly sociable and do well around lots of people and dogs. This makes them great city pups and family dogs. Their smaller size at 13-18 pounds and disinclination to bark a lot also make them low maintenance apartment dwellers and easy travel companions.
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, weighing no more than 6 lbs and averaging 6-8 inches in height when full grown. Chihuahuas’ small stature makes them wonderful apartment pets and travel-friendly pups. Are you commuting across town or spending the day exploring your city? Chihuahuas are the most convenient companions. Sure, they may tire more quickly than one of the larger city-friendly dogs on this list, but they are incredibly easy to carry! Invest in a high quality, comfortable dog carrier bag or pet purse and never leave your Chihuahua home again.
Chihuahuas are loving and sassy little dogs, but they can also be prone to nervousness. For this reason, it’s important to socialize your Chihuahua and regularly take him or her out into the world from an early age.
Dachshunds are playful, athletic, and sociable dogs that crave affection and love a good run in the dog park. They are fiercely local and will happily follow their owner down any city sidewalk, suburban street, or park trail. Although Dachshunds are wonderful adventure dogs and do well in the great outdoors, they are also excellent lap dogs and love being babied. Dachshunds will gladly cuddle up against you in bed or lazily relax around the apartment.
The smaller build of miniature Dachshunds (<11 lbs) and “tweenie” Dachshunds (11-15 lbs) is especially ideal for apartment and city life. Yes, some Dachshunds may bark more than others, but for the most part Dachshunds do great in small spaces and crowded areas. Although sausage dogs’ short legs may tire sooner than yours, mini and tweenie doxies are light enough to carry around town in a comfortable dog carrier bag when they need a few minutes to rest their legs.
We got our long-haired sausage dog Django in late 2015 when we were living in Brooklyn and have enjoyed life with him in New York City for years. When Django was a puppy, he’d strut confidently down crowded city sidewalks, not minding the hundreds of strange legs around him and unrelenting city noise. To this day, Django is completely at ease whenever we’re walking down a city sidewalk or take a long stroll in Central Park.
Life with Django in New York City was the inspiration behind our high quality, uber-fuctional, and city-friendly dog carrier bag.
9. French Bulldog
French Bulldogs are friendly, mild-mannered, and smart dogs perfectly suited for apartment and city life. They are also one of the most popular small dog breeds for city inhabitants! Why are Frenchies so popular among urbanites? Aside from being absolutely adorable, French Bulldogs’ calm disposition and disinclination to bark excessively makes them a wonderful household dog if you have neighbors living above or below you. Frenchies’ smaller stature – they typically weigh no more than 25-28 lbs – also means that they don’t take up a huge amount of space and are incredibly easy to tote around town.
One important thing to know before getting a French Bulldog is that they can be prone to breathing difficulties and overheating in certain environments. Frenchies are a brachycephalic dog breed. Due to the narrow shape of their nostril openings and tracheas, brachycephalic dog breeds are more prone to difficulties breathing and/or heat stroke in hot and humid weather. For these reasons, it is always important to make sure your French Bulldog does not get overheated and always has access to air conditioning in the hot summer months.
10. Great Dane
We know what you’re thinking… Great Danes?! The huge dogs that can weigh up to 175 lbs?? Apartment and city dogs?!? Yes! Believe it or not, city-dwelling dog lovers that want a supersized canine companion should consider Great Danes.
Great Danes are incredibly friendly and calm dogs that are known for their patience. They make wonderful family dogs for these reasons! While they will happily go on daily walks with you, Great Danes are also known for their laid back demeanor and relatively low energy levels – especially compared to some higher strung small dog breeds. Great Danes’ gentle nature, sociable personality, and low key temperament make them popular city dogs – at least with dog owners that are not afraid of a huge four-legged friend!
Havanese dogs are small (7-13 lbs), intelligent, and spirited dogs with a friendly and social disposition. Although Havanese dogs will can keep up during adventures and outdoor excursions, they are not overly energetic or excitable and do nicely with modest daily exercise and in smaller residences.
Havanese dogs’ small stature and disinclination to bark excessively make them wonderful city dwellers and travel companions. Because they get quite attached to their human companions, Havanese dogs should not be left alone all day,
12. Italian Greyhound
Italian Greyhounds are slender, affectionate, and athletic dogs weighing no more than 13-15 lbs when full grown. While Italian Greyhounds’ sleek and muscular body allows them to get up to a fast gallop with ease, they are also wonderful and loving lap dogs who need to be cuddled. As the American Kennel Club states, Italian Greyhounds “would much rather be in your lap or bed than on the floor”. Italian Greyhounds do very nicely with routine exercise and will be incredibly content to curl up on your lap afterwards.
One consideration? Given their thin frame, Italian Greyhounds are much more sensitive to the cold than other dog breeds. For that reason, it is important to bundle up Italian Greyhounds in high quality dog coats and sweaters on chilly and cold days to ensure they’re well protected from the elements.
13. Maltese and Maltipoo
Maltese dogs are a toy dog breed known for their gentle and affectionate disposition and long, silky hair. Their petite statute and adaptable nature them wonderful apartment and city pets. On average, Maltese weigh anywhere from 2-8 lbs when full grown.
Maltipoos are a cross between Maltese dogs and Toy or Miniature Poodles. They tend to inherit both the gentle disposition of their Maltese ancestors and energy of their Poodle relatives. Routine, modest exercise will keep your Maltipoo happy and healthy.
14. Miniature and Toy Poodle
Standard Poodles are incredibly intelligent, and Miniature and Toy Poodles are no different. These smaller-sized poodles are smart, easily trainable, and sociable. They have a gentle disposition and do very well around other people and dogs. Miniature Poodles grow to be 10-15 lbs on average.
Miniature Poodles are active dogs and need a healthy dose of daily exercise to keep them fit and mentally at ease. So long as you can exercise your Miniature or Toy Poodle regularly via routine walks and runs in the park, your canine companion should adapt wonderfully to apartment and/or city life.
15. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Although most herding dog breeds are too energetic for apartment and city life, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are a wonderful exception. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are stocky, muscular, and athletic dogs typically weighing 27-30 lbs. They are intelligent, affectionate, and easy to train. Corgis’ social personality and eagerness to learn make them excellent dogs for families and people with roommates.
While Pembroke Welsh Corgis were bred for herding and the outdoors, these dogs easily adapt to any environment including city streets and smaller apartment spaces. Since corgis are indeed smart little herding dogs, regular daily exercise, playtime, and stimulation are important. After a good trip to the dog run or city park, your corgi will be content cuddling up against you or your roommates at home.
Two caveats? For one, corgis shed. A lot! Second, despite their smaller stature, corgis have a big dog bark and may annoy your apartment neighbors if they are untrained and particularly yappy.
Pugs are loving, loyal, and mischievous dogs that make wonderful family companions and city pets. Although Pugs have a muscular and stocky body, they are rarely aggressive and do very well with small children and kids. Pugs are also very adaptable to their surrounding environment and will easily thrive in both city and suburban settings.
Pugs require regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Akin to French Bulldogs, Pugs are a brachycephalic dog breed and can be prone to breathing difficulties and/or heat stroke after excessive exercise or time spent hot and humid weather. For these reasons, it is always important to make sure your Pug does not get overheated and always has access to air conditioning in the hot summer months.
17. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are small and sturdy dogs known for their outgoing and alert temperament and beautiful, flowing, and silky locks. Although Shih Tzus are incredibly loyal to their dog owners, they are also incredibly social and will gladly curl up against a stranger if it means getting a few extra cuddles in!
Shih Tzus’ small size and easy going nature make them wonderful apartment and city dogs. Similar to Dachshunds, they can be prone to stubbornness. For this reason, they require routine training at an early age to prevent disobedience later in life.
18. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest dog breeds, weighing no more than 7 lbs as adults. Yorkies are loving, affectionate, and feisty dogs and tend to bark more excessively than other dog breeds.
Yorkies’ petite size makes them popular “purse dogs” and travel companions. Given their tiny stature, only light exercise is needed to keep them fit and happy. Yorkshire Terriers are adaptable to their surroundings and will gladly be toted around town or in a subway in a high quality and comfortable dog carrier bag or dog purse.
DJANGO’s waxed canvas and leather dog carrier bag is designed for you and your pup’s daily commute or next weekend adventure. A soft and sturdy foot pad and bag-to-harness tether ensures your pup’s comfort and security. Four exterior and interior zip pockets ensure essentials (poop bags, keys, your passport) don’t get lost in the fray. Inspired by life in New York City with an adventurous city dog.