dog watching owner work in apartment

Best Apartment Dogs

LAST UPDATED 16 February 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Maree Monaghan BVSc (Hons)

You live in an apartment and you want a pet but you're not really a cat, fish or bird type of person? You really want a dog but you're not sure which is the best breed for your compact living space? Don't worry! There are plenty of dog breeds that are ideal companions for apartment dwellers.

There's a lot to consider when finding a breed that best suits you, including your lifestyle, your work life, and everyone in the family. But there's no need to feel overwhelmed: you're absolutely spoiled for choice these days, so finding the perfect dog breed for you can be super exciting! So, whether you're seeking out a breeder or looking for your perfect breed at a shelter (always a good decision!), we've put together a little guide to help you make a well-informed decision.


Best small dogs for apartments

Best big dogs for apartments

Best apartment dogs for full-time workers

Best apartment balcony dog potty

Further reading

alaskan malamute with head through apartment balcony railing

Best Small Dogs for apartment living

bichon frise sitting on outdoor chair

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise don't shed so they are a great choice for allergy sufferers and people who don't like everything covered in dog hair. They rarely bark and don't need much exercise - only 20 to 40 minutes a day.

italian greyhound lying on bed

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is a toy-sized dog with a big personality! With their sweet, affectionate nature, preference for indoor living and short fine coat, the Italian Greyhound makes an excellent apartment dog.

shih tzu dog being held like a baby

Shih Tzu

Bred purely as a companion dog for Chinese royalty, the Shih Tzu has no desire to hunt, retrieve or herd and prefers being pampered and cuddled by their adoring owners.

maltese playing with family on sofa


With non-shedding fur and small stature, the Maltese is a pamper-loving pooch and perfectly suited to living in small spaces alongside their humans.

Best Big Dogs for apartment living

British bulldog sitting on lounge

British Bulldog

The British Bulldog has a friendly and playful disposition and loves to be part of a family. Their very low exercise requirement makes them ideal for apartment living and they don't shed much although they do drool a lot!

sleeping Shar Pei dog

Shar Pei

The Shar Pei is a quiet and independent dog that does not require a lot of exercise and is naturally clean and easy to housetrain. They can be wary of strangers and intolerant of small children and other animals so they are best suited in situations where their prowess as a guard dog can be appreciated.

Great Dane lying on grass

Great Dane

If you have a large apartment, the Great Dane is just the dog for you! Despite their imposing size, the Great Dane is a gentle and affectionate dog that can be very patient and playful with children. This gentle giant loves to snuggle and snooze and only needs a daily walk to stretch those extra long legs.

Bulmastiff sleeping


The Bullmastiff is another gentle giant that likes to take life easy and is very tolerant of children. They are extremely loyal and will go to the ends of the earth to protect their family. Bullmastiffs are another low shedding but high drool factor dog.

Best Dogs for full-time workers

A big drawback to the traditional 9 - 5 job is that there's a good chance that your dog will be left alone for at least eight hours a day...which some breeds simply cannot handle. Separation anxiety and destructive behaviour may occur in breeds that love human and family interaction. There are breeds that will not be too bothered with the idea of being home alone and you can always keep them entertained with an interactive toy.

Basset hound sitting on bed

Basset Hound

Like most dogs bred for hunting, the Basset Hound is an independent soul and is quite happy to spend the day lazing around your apartment on their own. Short hair and a low exercise requirement makes the Basset Hound a good choice for an apartment dog although they are also champion droolers.

greyhound sleeping on bean bag


Despite their extraordinary running skills, Greyhounds are surprisingly lazy and enjoy the 'couch potato' lifestyle. An hour walk per day will suit them fine and they are content to snooze the rest of the day away. Adopting a retired racing greyhound is the ideal way to find yourself a loving companion who is already leash, toilet and crate trained!

Lhasa apso sitting by water

Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a calm independent dog that is quite happy to be left to its own devices. Although they require regular grooming, they are a low shedding breed and only need a moderate amount of exercise.

French bulldog in harness

French Bulldog

Frenchies are the ultimate urban dog that doesn't require a lot of exercise or grooming and is not prone to barking. Your Frenchie will happily keep the couch warm for you while you're at work and greet you with the biggest smile and waggly bottom when you return home!

Best Apartment Balcony dog potty

Apartment balcony potties are the best solution for dealing with apartment dogs' toileting needs. An apartment balcony potty usually consists of a grid covered with fake or real grass over a tray or reservoir. Pee flows through the grass into the tray and poop can be picked up in the usual way.

Training your puppy or dog to use a potty involves placing them on the potty after every meal, sleep and playtime and rewarding them with treats when they use it.

Before you put the potty on your balcony, it is very important to make sure the area is safe for your dog. This involves blocking off areas where your dog could fall off the balcony and removing any chemicals, toxic plants and sharp objects.

Things to consider when choosing a balcony potty for your dog include cost, choosing the size most appropriate for your dog and ease of cleaning. It is recommended to clean your dog's potty daily by emptying urine from the tray and rinsing with warm, soapy water. Once or twice a week, the entire unit should be rinsed out with a hose.

Petsafe Cleaner

Wee Care is the original and recommended Pet Loo cleaner.The natural enzyme-based formula removes odours and stains without leaving dirt, bacteria, or residue behind.

Poowee Grass Patch

Ideal for toilet training, the PooWee Grass Patch looks and feels just like real grass to encourage your dog to go potty! The tray catches liquid waste and slides out for easy clean up.

Paws for Life 2 Layer Potty

The grid divides your pets urine from the grass and their feet. The base tray at the bottom catches any urine when your dog uses their potty, which can be easily and hygienically cleaned up.

Paws for Life 3 Layer Potty

This potty is great for puppies who use the bathroom more frequently as the grid helps keep the grass and your dog's paws dry.

Further Reading

How to dogify your apartment

How to choose a dog breed that's right for you

New puppy guide

Which dog toy is best

Boredom busters for dogs

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