Good Dogs for Small Homes

by Betty Lewis
    Although greyhounds are known for their speed, they are actually couch potatoes and suitable for apartment living.

    Although greyhounds are known for their speed, they are actually couch potatoes and suitable for apartment living.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    If you're a dog lover living in tight quarters, you may have held off on getting a dog because you thought Buddy would need more room. While space is nice, Buddy's temperament and exercise needs are more important. There are large and small breeds that do fine in small spaces.

    Your Living Space

    Whether you live in a small apartment in an urban environment or in a cozy house with a postage stamp for a yard, it's possible to find a canine companion that will share your space happily. Before you determine what sort of breed you're interested in, ask yourself if you're ready to make the commitment to sharing a small space with a dog. Also, if you rent, make sure you ask your landlord for permission.

    Lifestyle is Important

    Are you active? Are you interested in a running partner, or are you searching for a companion to share TV time with? How much time will you be gone? These all are questions you'll need to answer before you choose your canine friend. If you choose a dog that has a high energy level, yet you aren't interested in getting out and moving with him, it could turn out to be a poor match. You and Buddy will both be happier if you find a dog that matches your lifestyle instead of trying to change his natural inclination to meet your living situation.

    Breeds

    If you determine you want a small dog there are quite a few breeds to choose from. Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, pugs and toy poodles are among the small breeds that are considered suitable for small spaces. Their statures and temperaments make them ideal candidates.
    Don't discount large breeds simply because of their size. Greyhounds, mastiffs and Newfoundlands may be large, but make great pets for someone looking for a low energy companion. Retired racing Greyhounds are known by some as "40 mph couch potatoes."

    Other Considerations

    Most dogs, regardless of size and energy level, do best with a minimum of 30 minutes of activity a day. If you can't provide Buddy with that, you may want to reconsider adding a dog to your life. An additional option is to look into hiring a professional dog walker to visit during the day, and give him a bit of extra attention and activity.
    Active breeds, such as border collies and weimaraners, may not make the best companions in close quarters. However, if you are someone who is active and can ensure that your dog will get enough activity to keep him stimulated (and not frustrated), an active breed still may be a viable option. The key to living successfully with a dog in a small space is to be honest with yourself about your lifestyle and what you are looking for in a canine friend.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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