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14 medium-sized breeds that make the best apartment dogs

Apartment doesn't always mean small dogs! These medium-sized breeds can all thrive in smaller living spaces.

For apartment dwellers ready to welcome a dog into their family, it's easy to think that your options are limited to tiny breeds. With most apartments being on the smaller side, and weight restrictions on the dogs allowed in many dog-friendly apartment buildings locally, larger breeds may not be the best choice for renters in the city. However, there are actually a number of medium-sized dog breeds that are more than happy in an apartment under the right circumstances. Taking into consideration energy level, shedding, friendliness and noisiness, we've compiled a list of the best medium-sized breeds for apartment living. According to breed information from Dog Time, and American Kennel Club, these breeds are all very well-suited to small living spaces, so here are 14 breeds that would happily become your new flatmate!

1. Golden Retriever

This kind and even-tempered breed makes an amazing family dog, and thrives in most households.

Happy, loyal, affectionate and active, these dogs can do very well in apartments, but do require lots of exercise to stay healthy and happy, and regular brushing to keep their coat tangle-free.

Training is essential but luckily, it's not difficult, as Retrievers love to learn and are not only intelligent, but also very eager to please.

Size: 55-77lb Mood: Kind and Trustworthy

2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Affectionate, smart and alert, this breed is a great companion without being needy. Despite their little legs, they love adventure and physical activity so are a great choice for Vancouverites - and as they are watchful pups they'll love an apartment with windows overlooking the street. Apartment guests are generally greeted warmly by this friendly breed, and your neighbours will be pleased as they make very little noise.

Size: Up to 30lb

Mood: Fun-loving and Playful

3. Shar-Pei

These dogs make beloved companions and are calm enough to live happily in an apartment. As long as they receive sufficient exercise outside (at least 30-60 minutes daily), they will be perfectly content in smaller spaces. Overall you can expect minimal barking but as this breed is not fond of strangers, do beware if you have noisy neighbours. Not recommended for a novice dog owner, this breed needs a leader they respect as they can be stubborn.

Size: 35–64lb Mood: Independent and Loyal

5. Whippet

Whippets are low energy dogs when indoors, which can make them great apartment pets, but they do require lots of exercise to ensure they don't become destructive or overactive.

With enough exercise, these adaptable and gentle dogs are often very content simply spending time with their owners.

Whippets don’t enjoy being left alone for long hours of the day and can develop separation anxiety, so It's important to spend time with them, giving them the freedom to follow you from room to room, lay at your feet, or snuggle on the couch with you.

Size: 25-40lb

Mood: Gentle and Quiet

6. Chow Chow

As long as you don't mind cleaning your apartment often, these fluffy dogs can make a great companion in smaller living spaces. Chows happily take to city life, and with moderate exercise needs, as long as they get a few shorter walks a day, they'll be content to chill out on the couch with you. Very affectionate to their humans, very clean with little doggy odour, easily housebroken and relatively quiet, these pups are a great choice for apartment dwellers.

Size: 45-70lb

Mood: Aloof and Adaptable

7. Poodle

All three varieties of Poodle (Standard, Miniature and Toy) are known to be extremely easily trained due to their high intelligence.

Fast learners, eager to please and naturally a quiet breed, despite the regular grooming needed, these loving pups are non-shedding so are great for anyone with allergies.

Highly adaptable and people-loving, this breed does well in a wide variety of households, including those with children, and as they need a lot of daily companionship, they are perfect for those working from home.

Size: 11-70lb

Mood: Active and Intelligent

8. English Cocker Spaniel

This lovable, happy and affectionate breed adapts extremely well to apartment life, and whether they are working, playing or at home lounging on the couch, their tail rarely stops wagging. Devoted and eager to please, this breed is easy to train as long as they love and respect their owner, and never fear them. They thrive on being around their people and can become destructive if left alone often, but with plenty of exercise and affection these merry, loving dogs will thrive in smaller living spaces. Size: 26-34lb

Mood: Playful and Merry

9. Beagle

Compact and hardy, beagles love spending time with their people and are a great size for an apartment. Fun loving, gentle and loyal, beagles need very little grooming but do need at least an hour of exercise every day, and can become destructive if left alone inside for long periods of time. This breed is vocally expressive and while most of the noises are low and tolerable, it's something to bear in mind if your walls are on the thinner side! Size: Up to 30lb

Mood: Friendly and Curious

10. English Bulldog

Incredibly gentle, docile and devoted, this breed is content to laze around at your feet and snooze, with a short walk enough to keep them happy, making them a perfect apartment companion. Although very easy-going, they aren't lazy and do enjoy the occasional brisk walk - just make sure it's not on a hot day as their short snout can cause breathing difficulties when it's too warm for them.

Size: 40-55lb

Mood: Gentle and Friendly

11. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds have big-dog strength and stamina, but with short little legs their size lends itself very well to an apartment. These lovable and easy-going dogs are patient and loyal, and are more than happy to cuddle up on the couch with their human, as long as they get some moderate exercise daily! Basset Hounds are very independent meaning training can be a bit of a challenge, but they are patient, agreeable and steadfastly loyal. Size: 40-65lb

Mood: Charming and Patient

12. Labrador Retriever

Loyal, kind and affectionate, Labs make wonderful family dogs and their sweet and easy-going nature makes them one of the most popular breeds worldwide.

Enthusiastic, high energy and eager to please, Labs are obedient and do well with training, and with a committed owner, they can make excellent apartment dogs.

This breed is social and loves people, and are happy just about anywhere - as long as they can sit by your side.

Size: 55-80lb Mood: Outgoing and Gentle

12. Portuguese Water Dog

Extremely smart, easy to train and eager to please, this adventurous breed can be very well suited to apartment live. Like many of the breeds on this list, in order to thrive in an apartment these dogs will need plenty of exercise daily, so are best suited to owners with an active lifestyle. Porties love spending time with their humans, don't shed much and are quiet around the home, making them great apartment companions. Size: 35-60lb

Mood: Adventurous and Affectionate

13. Boxer

If you love getting active, going for hikes or running in the evenings, this breed could be a perfect choice for you as they are high energy and very active dogs. Despite being such an energic breed, they can do well in apartments, but they will need ample exercise every day in order to thrive, Intelligent, alert, fearless and friendly, boxers are instinctive guardians who love human affection and being close to their owners, and make great family dogs and loyal companions.

Size: 60-70lb

Mood: Devoted and Friendly

14. Shiba Inu

This independent medium-size breed will do well in smaller living spaces, but they do need rigorous daily exercise so are best suited to owners who already live an active lifestyle. Although training may be more difficult for this breed, they make for an attentive and excellent companion. They are also extremely clean, generally quiet and easily house-trained.

Size: 17-23lb

Mood: Alert and Confident


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