If you're living it up in an urban area — presumably in a smaller apartment, with lots of noise, and little outside space — then you might be wondering which are the best dogs breeds for city living. And the answer is: pretty much any of them. As long as you and your dog are a good match for each other, it doesn't really matter which breed you adopt. You can go for a specific breed, or a mix of a few, and be perfectly happy.
There are, however, a few specific breeds you might want to consider. These are the dogs that often require less exercise, and thus don't need a huge backyard or ten trips to the park per day — if that's not something you have time to do. They also include dogs that tend to be mellow, since city life can be a bit loud and overwhelming, as well as others that don't mind living in smaller apartments.
These are factors you may want to take into consideration — being sure to remember that each and every dog has its own specific temperament — as well as what you can offer your dog. "When choosing a dog, you should think about the kind of owner you will be and choose a dog that fits your lifestyle," Robert Trimble DVM, co-founder and head of Veterinary Services at Fuzzy, tells Bustle. "If you are a very active person and want a dog that will ... run with you, then an English Bulldog is probably not a good fit for you, regardless of the size of your apartment ... If you need an active dog then as long as you make sure his energy needs are met you will be fine even in a small apartment." With all that in mind, here are a few breeds you should think about looking for when adopting a dog, since experts say they tend to be happy in cities.
Dachshunds are tiny, cute little dogs that don't mind hanging out in smaller spaces. "They are snugglers and attention lovers," Jenna Regan, a professional pet photographer, tells Bustle. "They can be quiet, but also quick to bark at a knock at the door. With those little legs, they don’t need that much space to get a workout, so a backyard isn’t a necessity."
Pembroke Welsh Corgis, also known as Corigis, are small dogs that "love attention, cuddles and being with their human," Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, a certified cat and dog behaviorist and CEO at Fun Paw Care, tells Bustle. They also "make good alert dogs" and are easily trained; two traits that make them well-suited for city life.
3Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Looking for a smaller dog who will happily chill be your side? "Cavalier King Charles spaniels like a quiet lifestyle and can be entertained playing fetch in even a small apartment, and they generally are not barkers with things like noises in the hallway of busy buildings," Sally A. Morgan, PT, CST, a holistic physical therapist who specializes in pets, tells Bustle. They typically stand at about 13 inches, so they're perfect for smaller living spaces.
If you're in the market for a little guard dog, consider a Yorkie. They're "great at alerting you of break ins, or anyone knocking at your door," says Harstein. They're also portable, which means they can easily travel with you into stores. Just make sure you give them ample stimulation, and exercise, and you should be all set.
As if you need another reason to love pugs, they just so happen to do well in smaller apartments, and are happy to trot around a city. "With a quiet personality, compact size, and a generally medium to low energy level, this friendly and adaptable breed is a great fit in the city," says Regan. "Their adorable looks make them easily recognized and adored." So if you want to bring them into a store or cafe, that may just work in your favor.
If you can, look for a dog that has a little Shih Tzu in its mix. "Shih Tzus are the perfect dogs for busy city-dwellers who love the easy-going attitude of big dogs, but don’t have a big apartment," Angela Hughes, a Veterinarian Geneticist at Wisdom Panel, and Caitie Steffen, a Pet Behavior Expert at Whistle, tell Bustle. "[...] the breed is alert and active, so they’re great for park trips and short walks around a city block. Shih Tzu owners don’t need to worry about their pup needing long outdoor excursions."
If you'd like a larger breed, then a greyhound may be a good idea. "Retired racing Greyhounds are known as couch potatoes," Lynette Whiteman, of the dog therapy program Canine Caregivers, tells Bustle. Do know what you're getting into, however. "They tend to be high maintenance and need someone who is familiar with this breed. Since they can be sensitive, they may need a little help getting used to city life. But once you do that, they can be quite happy.
Another recognizable breed, the French bulldog may be the perfect companion for your weekend errands and trips to sidewalk cafes. "French bulldogs seem to be the city dog of my clients," Regan says. "Their mellow personalities fit right in with city life. They are content, quiet, and don’t require much exercise or activity." A short daily walk or two, and they're all set.
Another mellow breed is the English bulldog. "They spend a lot of time lounging and sleeping and are a great fit for city life, [since] they don’t need a backyard to be happy," Regan says. "When you do walk them and take them out and about, it won’t take much to tire them out. They do often have more health needs and can be a more expensive breed to own." So make sure you have the means to take care of them, before adopting.
Terriers can be tricky, since many are barkers due to their reactive, high-energy natures. But once trained, they can be the perfect roommate in a small space. "The Boston terriers I’ve worked with seem to be adaptable to their environment," says Regan. "They are quiet and lazy indoors, but will play for short bursts of time outdoors when given the opportunity."
If you're looking for a bigger dog to take to the park, look into adopting a boxer or boxer mix. "Boxers are active and would be well suited to someone who likes to run in the city," says Morgan. "They are also good family dogs."
While large breeds like labs and retrievers may be happier in the country where they can run free in the fields, other larger breed dogs have an easier time adjusting to city life. "Some of the larger breeds great for city life include the standard schnauzer, [which are] quieter than the ... small version, and very athletic," says Morgan.
Another big lovable breed? The standard poodle. As Trimble says, "I find that the breeds that work best for apartment living are those dogs that tend to bark less." And he includes standard poodles — who are known for their intelligence — as part of that list. They'll need daily walks (or runs) and trips to the park, but are so well-behaved once trained that they can do well in cities and apartments.
German Shepherds can do well in cities, as long as you take them outside often. As Harstein says, they're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and playful. They're also easy to train, which is great news in an environment with so much going on.
If you're looking to keep your neighbors happy in an apartment building, then a Basenji may be for you. "This medium-sized breed doesn’t typically get bigger than 30 pounds and due to their barkless-ness, they’re a good fit for a small apartment with neighbors that don’t appreciate yappy pups!"
Malteses are sweet dogs that are often happy in smaller spaces, "due to their size (on average only five to 15 pounds!) and calm demeanor," Hughes and Steffen say. According to the American Kennel Club, they're also very affectionate dogs.
Newfoundlands, or "Newfies," are a large breed dog that, despite being huge, tend to do well in cities. "According to Whistle, Newfoundlands are the least active out of all dog breeds, which means these life-size teddy bears don’t need to take long romps in the park," Hughes and Steffen say. "They’d much prefer to just snuggle up on a couch and take a nap. This breed is also known to be calm and friendly, meaning they won’t freak out at the slightest noise."
While a Chihuahua may need to be trained not to bark, this breed can still be a great choice. "These pooches are a bit shy around new people, but are affectionate towards their 'person,'" Hughes and Steffen say. "If you’re looking for a smaller breed that lives well in areas with limited space, look no further than this small, yet feisty breed."
If you want a little poof of a dog with a great personality, consider a Bichon Frise. "This breed is known to be adaptable, easy to train, and friendly — all great characteristics for a city dog," says Regan. "They also don’t shed much, which is a plus." Sound good? Then a Bichon Frise, or a mix thereof, may be right for you.
You might be surprised to hear that one of the largest dog breeds, the Great Dane, could do well in the city, but Trimble gives them his stamp of approval. And that's because, while they need exercise and attention just like every other breed, they're often quite happy to hang out at home. Also, if you're looking for a breed to help you feel safer, this one's large size should do the trick.
All of that said, when adopting a dog, don't get too hung up on breeds If the dog has the right temperament, and seems like they would suit your lifestyle and be happy in the city, then you've likely found a good match. "The bottom line with dogs is that they just want to be with you," Trimble says. "That is the most important thing to them. As long as they get plenty of love and the exercise they need to keep their bodies and minds busy, they will be happy no matter where the two of you live!"