7 Best Indoor Dogs for Apartment Living

Key takeaways

Indoor pets are becoming more and more popular, especially among young people living in cities. But people often wonder if keeping a dog indoors, or without a garden, is possible.

The good news is that small dogs can make great indoor pets. As long as they get enough outdoor exercise, they can live long and happy lives in an apartment.

We explore what an indoor dog is, before exploring the 7 best dog breeds for indoor living.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. What is an indoor dog?
  3. 7 Best indoor dog breeds
  4. FAQs
  5. Final thoughts

What is an indoor dog?

An indoor dog is one that is suited to a quiet lifestyle mostly spent cuddling their owners in the warmth of their house. Breeds that are well suited to the indoors often have similar characteristics that include:

Not barking

Low energy levels

Low level of athleticism

Non-shedding coat

These kinds of dogs are a great option for elderly owners, city dwellers, and those who don't have enough time to walk their dogs for hours every day.
A dog sleeping on a bed

Can you keep dogs strictly indoors?

No, you cannot keep dogs strictly indoors. For a healthy and happy life, dogs need to be walked, socialized with other dogs, and interacted with. The outside world offers plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and without regular access to the outside, dogs can become anxious, depressed, and unhealthy.
Different breeds need different amounts of exercise, but all dogs do need regular outdoor time. If you don't have a garden where they can roam, then getting an indoor dog breed is the best idea. But it's important to note that this doesn't mean you shouldn't still walk them regularly.

The outside world offers plenty of mental and physical stimulation, and without regular access to the outside, dogs can become anxious, depressed, and unhealthy.

A dog chasing a butterfly

7 Best indoor dog breeds

There are certain breeds that make the best indoor dogs. This can be down to their energy levels, size, and coat. For example, a small dog that doesn't shed will be more suited to indoor living compared to larger dog breeds.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a gorgeous breed of dog with silky long hair and loveable faces. They are the smallest breed of spaniel and make the perfect lap dog.
While they do have quite a lot of energy, as long as they are walked a couple of times a day, they will happily spend the rest of the time snoozing the day away.
They are intelligent animals and can be trained well, making them suited to apartment living.

2. French bulldog

One of the best indoor dogs is the tiny French bulldog. They are loving companions who can adapt calmly to many situations, from young children to other pets. They require minimal exercise and prefer snoring next to you while you work!
Despite this, they are still alert dogs that will take an interest in your life and activities. They aren't big barkers, meaning they're a perfect choice if you're worried about your neighbors.
A dog being checked by the vet

3. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus were bred to relax in the palace of the Chinese Emperor. This regal pup was ultimately a watchdog, but people soon began to love their company enough to stop them from working and instead get lots of cuddles and love.
So, even if your small apartment doesn't quite feel like a royal palace, your Shih Tzu will be none the wiser and will curl up on your lap or drape on your furniture, relaxing.
They do have high levels of energy, so as long as you get them running on your daily walks, they'll be happy to simply keep you company for the rest of the day.
A small dog on a bed

4. Boston Terrier

This quiet dog needs under an hour of exercise every day, meaning if you live in a city or an apartment, a brisk wander is all they need to be content for the rest of the day.
Originally, these Boston terriers were bred for fighting, which means they have a muscly body. They enjoy a good play time but be slightly careful around small children as sometimes they don't know their own strength!
These dogs are fantastic companions because they're fun and affectionate. Instead of snoozing the day away, they'll be happy pottering around with you, going about your daily routine, and keeping you company.

5. Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise is the perfect canine companion for those living in a city. They are tiny toy dogs that have distinct personalities, making them a loved best buddy.
They are generally happy dogs that have a happy-go-lucky demeanor and affectionate nature, making them wonderful family dogs with kids of all ages. They aren't a demanding breed and suit indoor living well because of this.
It's worth noting that they are quite vocal and will often bark at visitors or strangers. So, if you live in a busy apartment block, this cute little ball of fur may not be the best option for you, if you want to maintain good relations with the neighbors!
small dog surrounded by people in living room

6. Chihuahua

Out of all dog breeds, these small dogs would happily remain indoors for the majority of their time. Although, this isn't to say they should! They require minimal exercise and make great lap dogs.
However, it's important these powerful little creatures are trained well! Without this, they can become very confident and can end up ruling the house, resulting in some behavioral issues.
Despite this, they are fiercely loyal and loving. They can be protective over you, but once they begin to trust visitors, they will share the love and affection in their nature.

7. Poodle

Poodles are one of the most intelligent breeds of dog. And while they do need a fair amount of exercise, they make great indoor pets because of their obedience and agreeable nature. They can be trained very well, meaning apartment living isn't out of the question.
Because of their intelligence, they will need lots of mental stimulation. It might be worth investing in a dog walker if you can't provide the kind of attention they need.
We'd suggest a Poodle for a young and active owner. Living in a city with a Poodle is definitely doable, but just make sure a dog park isn't too far away!

8. Yorkshire terrier

One of the sweetest indoor dogs you can own is the Yorkshire terrier. These cuddle monsters won't leave your side and are fiercely loyal and protective. Some have the tendency to be quite vocal, especially if there's a knock at the door! However, the majority of the time, they are peaceful pups.
Their small size means that a small apartment or house isn't an issue for them. However, they do have quite high energy levels and are very intelligent. This means you'll need to make sure they're getting the stimulation they need.
Toys, games, and cuddles are all this pup needs. They have a high prey drive, so their desire to run when you're out walking will be high. Try to let them when you can, and then they'll snooze the rest of the day, resting their little legs!


Which dog is best to keep inside a home?

Many dog breeds are suited to being kept inside the home as long as they have regular outdoor exercise as well. One dog that suits being indoors is the French bulldog.

What is the best dog for a house pet?

There are many dogs that make great house pets. Smaller dogs like Yorkshire terriers, French bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and Shih Tzus make great indoor dogs.

What is the cleanest indoor dog?

A Poodle is a very clean indoor dog. Their fur doesn't malt or shed, and they are very hygienic. This means they make good indoor dogs.

What is the best indoor dog that doesn't shed?

Poodles are a great indoor dog that doesn't shed. They make great indoor companions as long as they get enough outdoor exercise.

Are indoor dogs happy?

Indoor dogs will be happy as long as they get enough mental stimulation and company and are taken out for regular outdoor walks.

What is the safest family dog?

Labradors make a great family pet and are extremely safe. They have a docile and affectionate nature, which makes them perfectly suited to children.

Do indoor dogs live longer?

Yes, indoor dogs do live longer than dogs kept outside, on average. This is because they aren't subjected to extreme temperatures and aren't vulnerable to predators.

What dog is the easiest to take care of?

A Boston terrier is a very easy dog to take care of. They have low energy levels and make for a great companion.

Final thoughts

So, if you're considering getting an indoor-living pet, then a small dog might be your best bet! Research the breed you are considering thoroughly, and remember to always go to a reputable breeder.
Always make sure you are meeting your pup's needs to keep them happy. If they are used to apartment living, make sure you keep their routine fun and interesting.

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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