Dogs are adaptable, but some are better choices than others for life in confined quarters. Such dogs possess laid-back personalities, don't tend to bark excessively and have low-to-moderate exercise needs.
In your quest to find an apartment- and condo-suitable breed, size is not always a factor. In fact, ideal apartment dogs come in all sizes. Vetstreet spotlights a dozen for your consideration.
Mastiff - Gentle Giant (photo credit: Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/Vetstreet.com)
Yes, he's a giant breed, but his gentle temperament and moderate activity level can make the adult Mastiff a fine companion for life in an apartment or condo, as long as you can provide him with a daily walk and survive the active, destructive stage of puppyhood. If you live in a building with multiple floors, you should have access to an elevator for ease in getting your dog up and down. Carrying him won't be an option. Another warning: Mastiffs drool, so keep a supply of cleaning products to keep your walls shiny and clean.
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Pekingese - Low-Energy Lover
This imperial dog from China has a reputation as a snob, but people who love the Pekingese know that he is an affable and quiet companion who requires little exercise but lots of love. Nonetheless, he's not needy and will snooze the day away until you come home from work, ready to kowtow to your little canine emperor. As a bonus, his vigilant nature makes him a superb watchdog, but he's not overly yappy. Word to the wise: His flat face makes him prone to respiratory distress if he's not kept cool.
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Greyhound - 45-mph Couch Potato
The Greyhound is widely known as the 45-mph couch potato. You might think this breed needs a lot of exercise, but he is a laidback dude who is satisfied with a stroll around the block or a chance to run full out in a safe place - for about five minutes. The rest of the time, he is content to curl up on your sofa or any other soft, comfortable spot that will cushion his bony body. Bonus: He's not much of a barker, and grooming his short, smooth coat is a cinch.
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Tibetan Spaniel - Pint-Size Snuggler
The Tibbie , as he's nicknamed, has a moderate activity level. He'll be happy to go on long walks with you, but he's equally satisfied to snuggle with you in bed or on the sofa, and can play with toys or race around the house when the weather is bad or your schedule doesn't allow for a walk. At 9 to 15 pounds, he fits perfectly into any size home. He is highly alert, making him a great watchdog, but he's not known for barking excessively.
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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - Sturdy Little Snuggler
The easygoing Cavalier was bred for life in a palace, but as long as he has a comfy lap and plenty of treats and love, he can live anywhere, including a studio apartment. He will enjoy walks of any length and is sturdy enough to go on hikes or chase birds at the beach, but lolling on the sofa with you while you watch television is also high on his list of fun things to do. Most are quiet, but an occasional few will sound the alarm when they see people, birds or squirrels outside the window.
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Tibetan Terrier - Inactively Athletic (photo credit: Alice van Kempen, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
Mild-mannered and friendly, the Tibetan Terrier, TT for short, weighs 20 to 24 pounds, putting him under the weight limits set by many apartment or condo complexes. His sturdy athleticism makes him suitable as a walking, hiking or jogging buddy, but with his moderate activity level he won't run you into the ground. Pros and cons: He's a good watchdog, but his long double coat must be brushed or combed at least twice a week.
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Havanese - Affectionate and Adaptable
This cheerful and affectionate dog is alert, but not especially yappy. At 10 to 15 pounds, he meets the size limits of just about any stringent apartment's or condo complex's pet policy rules, but he is sturdy and playful enough to enjoy the company of children. The Havanese is happy to go for walks, but short bursts of zooming around the house - up and down the halls and on and off the furniture - is plenty of exercise for him. Heads up: His long coat needs regular grooming.
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Pug - Companionable Charmer
The pint-size Pug contains more charm than should be legal. He's playful, mischievous and affectionate, but more important, he's adaptable to just about any environment and lifestyle. As long as they're with you, Pugs are equally happy to chill at home, go for a walk, dress up in costume for a pet parade, or visit people in nursing homes or hospitals. No yard is necessary; indoor playtime will meet their exercise needs just fine. Warning: Pugs snore.
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See Also: 5 Best Dogs For Your Golden Years
Lhasa Apso - As Active as His Family (photo credit: Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
At 12 to 18 pounds, the Lhasa Apso is small but sturdy. He's affectionate with family members, but independent enough that he doesn't need constant attention. Lhasas are suspicious of strangers and make excellent watchdogs, but they don't tend to bark excessively. The Lhasa pegs his activity level to that of his family. A brief walk is a good way to get him out and about, but he will also enjoy playtime in the home. Note: The Lhasa's long coat is beautiful but requires frequent grooming.
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Miniature or Toy Poodle - Small but Smart
Smart, sassy and stylish, Poodles are super companions for anyone who appreciates their sense of humor and sunny disposition. The small- and medium-size varieties of this breed are easy to train, get along with everyone - including other pets - and can be happy with less space and less exercise than their big brother, the Standard Poodle. Beware: The curly coat may not shed much, but it requires regular clipping to prevent painful mats from forming.
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Bulldog - Relaxed and Restful
Beneath his frowning face, the Bulldog is good-natured and lovable with an activity level that is best described as restful. A 10-minute walk during the cool morning or evening suits him just fine. Watching TV with you or supervising as you prepare meals is about as active as he wants to get. The downside: He is prone to heatstroke and must live in an air-conditioned environment. He can also develop health problems that are expensive to treat.
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French Bulldog - Quiet and Cute (photo credit: Britta Jaschinski, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
His distinctive appearance, small size - less than 28 pounds - and quiet nature make the Frenchie a popular choice for city dwellers who live in apartments, condos or co-ops. He has a short, easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors, and he doesn't need a great deal of exercise. Be sure you can keep him in air-conditioned comfort, however, because his pushed-in snout makes him susceptible to heat-related collapse
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