Choosing the Right Dog Breed for Apartment Living

Posted by Jackie Ly on

dog sitting on a sofa

It’s a sad life for apartment dwellers if they can’t have dogs. Your building or landlord allows dogs—yay! With so many breeds out there, each with their own unique personality and needs, how do you pick the right one for your apartment?

Things to consider when owning dogs while living in an apartment

Living with a canine companion in the cosy confines of your apartment can be a delightful experience. However, there are some things you should take into account when creating a space for you and your dog.

Your apartment’s rules when it comes to owning pets. Can you own a dog in your apartment to begin with? If so, ask for the specifics. There may be certain allowable breeds and sizes, as well as a limit on the number of pets per household. Whatever the case, do your part by making sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, and they have your details on their collars.

Consider your neighbours, too. If Janet next door is working nights, they would not appreciate a dog getting frisky in the mornings when Janet sleeps. Additionally, take extra caution if your neighbours have children.

Your schedule. It’s not good to leave your dog alone for too long. Before you get one, consider your present circumstances. If your job involves you travelling a lot, or if you need to check in on a faraway relative quite often, think twice before getting a dog.

While it is important to curb separation anxiety through proper training, don’t get a dog when you won’t have time to care for and pay attention to them.

Features to look out for

The right dog breed can turn your apartment into a haven of joy no matter how big or small. There are a range of traits to focus on when looking for a canine companion in an urban setting, from energy levels to grooming needs.

A happy size. A golden retriever can technically live in an apartment, but consider how happy the dog would be without space to run around in. Generally, smaller apartments are not good for bigger dogs and dogs with high energy levels.

Small dogs don’t necessarily mean they can live in apartments either. High energy dogs or loud, sensitive dogs like chihuahuas and terriers would do badly in the close confines of apartment buildings. Some friendlier breeds include the Australian Terrier, Miniature Poodles, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Energy levels and temperament. Some dogs are the type to sit quietly and enjoy a Netflix show with you, while others are just constantly raring to hit the city streets. To keep the peace in your cosy abode, you might want to consider “lazy” breeds, like pugs, shih tzus, and bulldogs. If you like taking a walk outside or driving to nearby hikes, then by all means get a labrador. These sweet little couch potatoes, including the lab, are more than happy to just lounge around.

Consider adopting senior dogs, too. Their energy levels may not be the same as they used to be, but they’ll still be a warm addition to your space. Note that you do have to be made of strong stuff to face the inevitable heartache down the line, but then that’s true for all dogs of all ages. 

Quiet and independence. Unless you want your apartment to be the best known karaoke hangout for dogs, you might not want breeds known to “sing” when alone, like huskies, Beagles, and Basset Hounds. You don’t want your landlord and angry neighbours to come banging on your door!

If you tend not to stick around your house for too long, go for independent dogs, like the Pekingese and the Cairn Terrier. While these breeds may come across as strong, independent pups, remember that that same attitude will make it harder for you to train them!

Easy grooming. If you have dogs that tend to shed quite a lot, like Yorkies and Chow Chows, expect to brush and vacuum a lot. No matter how careful you are with the dander, check on your neighbours if they have severe allergies. 

Though poodles also are quite the shedders, they’re known for being hypoallergenic, so there’s less chances of triggering an allergic reaction with them around. No dog is 100% hypoallergenic, but it’s still an important factor to consider.

Training your dog to lead a happy life in your apartment

There is no bad dog, only bad owners. Technically, any dog can be trained to live well in an apartment, but of course you should pick a dog of the right size and temperament. Next,  help your dog settle into life as an urban dweller through proper training.

Indoor potty training. Cleaning up after your dog is not the most glamorous part of being a dog owner. Still, someone needs to do it, especially since you live in an apartment where unwanted smells can travel a lot faster.

Invest in a pee pad or a litter box that you can train your dog to use to relieve themselves. You should also stick to a regular schedule of bringing your dog outside for them to pee and poop.

Enrichment and exercise are a must. An apartment is a small space with not much to look at or interact with. Get your dog toys or other forms of enrichment, such as sniff mats, slow feeders, and puzzle toys. This’ll keep boredom and destructive behaviour at bay.

Take your dog out for regular walks, too. Your dog can go potty outside, the two of you can get much-needed exercise, and you get to show off your cute pup to the neighbourhood—it’s a win-win!

Crate training. One of the supplies you’ll need before bringing a dog home to an apartment is a crate. With a crate, you’ll be giving your dog a place to call their own. Think of it as their apartment within yours.

Having a crate keeps your dog from wreaking havoc on your apartment. With enough training, they’ll start to associate the crate with a safe environment, and it in turn will help in curbing separation anxiety.

No matter what or where you call home, living with a dog is a unique journey, from tail-wagging greets at the door to cosy cuddles on the couch. By considering factors like size, temperament, and energy levels, you can be sure that life with your pup in your apartment is one full of love, laughter, and an overall paw-some experience.

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