Renting With Pets Tips & Tricks for Renters

Worst Apartment Dogs: From Large Breeds to Even Larger Personalities

Dog lovers might argue that all dogs are good boys and girls, so there’s no “worst” dog breed to keep you company — and they’d be right. But, when you combine apartment pet restrictions with some furry friends, you’ll see that confined spaces are not ideal for a number of breeds. While many dogs can fit right into an apartment lifestyle, deal-breakers include excessive shedding, size and — probably the most apartment-restrictive concerns — noise and energy levels.

You may already have a good idea of which types of dogs likely need to avoid small spaces. So, we won’t tackle large mountain breeds — such as Mastiffs, Bernese, Samoyeds, or Alaskan Malamutes — based on the improbability of them ending up in an apartment.

Then, it boils down to breeds that usually don’t suit apartment living. So, even if you have a large balcony in your Dallas condo or your new rental in San Francisco is close to a dog park, keep in mind that the following dog breeds would still be happier with fresh air and open space:

1. Briard

Why not?

  • Requires exercise
  • Shedding
  • Size

Dogs with long, fluffy coats are usually unsuited for apartment living, especially if they need a lot of exercise on top of extensive grooming. For instance, underneath that long, shaggy coat, Briards are some of the most athletic breeds out there. They’re guard dogs turned shepherds who could easily become agitated in crowded apartment buildings. They are also curious and have an innate instinct to chase everything — mainly children and other animals.

2. German Shepherd

Why not?

  • High-energy
  • Territorial
  • Size

Along the same lines, if your furry friend has wolf characteristics, it most likely won’t love your apartment as much as you do. German Shepherds are known as one of the most exuberant breeds and need an extensive amount of exercise, which makes them ideal companions to any active owner. However, even if we look past their size, shedding and inclination to chase anything in sight, German Shepherds also have highly sensitive hearing and can easily become territorial. Consequently, they would not be happy living between thin walls in a cramped apartment complex with multiple neighbors and city noises everywhere.

3. Siberian Husky

Why not?

  • High-energy
  • Shedding
  • Size

These sled dogs thrive on the great outdoors. They love physical challenges and require extensive exercise regimes. Without these routines, you might end up with a pretty depressed pooch. What’s more, huskies thrive on cold weather and socializing with people and other dogs. Add to this their average weight of 45 to 60 pounds, and you have plenty of reasons to either choose a different breed or consider a home with a yard instead.

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Why not?

  • Obedience training can be challenging
  • High-energy
  • Loud

Although surprizing, here’s a great example that it’s not the size of a dog that you should consider, but rather its personality. Keeping a Yorkie — or any other terrier, for that matter — in an apartment can be a handful, even though they are one of the most popular apartment dog breeds out there. Don’t let its small, cuddly frame fool you. This breed needs exercise, gets bored easily and loves open space and fresh air more than anything. Although they’re quite clever, Yorkies can also prove fairly difficult to house train, especially if you try curbing their natural instinct to bark. Instead, give them enough open space to roam around and you might end up with the happiest dog on Earth.

5. Chihuahua

Why not?

  • Obedience training can be challenging
  • High-energy
  • Loud

Big personalities don’t do well in small spaces. While temperaments vary from pup to pup, Chihuahuas are known for having an attitude and being high-energy, yappy doggos that are pretty difficult to contain. At first glance, Chihuahuas seem to be perfect for apartment living — they’re petite, don’t shed much and don’t need a lot of exercise. Still, you might find them on certain lists of restricted breeds due to their boisterous character.

6. Labrador Retriever

Why not?

  • High-energy
  • Requires exercise
  • Chews when bored

The Lab is one of the most popular breeds in the world for a reason. It’s hard to find another pet that’s as gentle or better suited for families. Labs keep us happy, but keeping them happy will take a bit more than a small apartment, although they’ll gladly follow their owners anywhere. They are prone to joint problems, so climbing stairs too often may cause health issues. Labs love playing fetch, running everywhere and even swimming when the opportunity presents itself. This point-and-retrieve dog is a big ball of energy that needs many walks on top of playtime — and won’t do well in small apartments.

7. Border Collie

Why not?

  • Shedding
  • High-energy
  • Needs daily physical and mental stimulation

Breeds that are prone to herding are generally a hard sell in apartments. So, if you plan to share your life with a Collie, expect excessive shedding, bursts of energy and potentially destructive behavior when your furry friend is left to its own devices for long periods of time. As a result, Border Collies are on top of the list of dog breeds that find living in a confined space agonizing. That’s because they’re incredibly smart and tend to get bored fast without the right stimulation. So, getting them out of the apartment and into a nice fenced-in yard is the best decision a dog owner could make.

8. Beagle

Why not?

  • Obedience training can be challenging
  • High-energy
  • Loud

Small size does not an ideal apartment dog make. The Beagle’s small stature and tolerable shedding pattern might make you think that these furballs are the perfect apartment companions. But, your neighbors might not love your vocal dog as much as you do. Deep inside, Beagles never forgot that they were bred for hunting — and that instinct tends to jump out at the most random of times. Chasing, howling and generally being all over the place is the norm for this breed, which makes Beagles less suitable for apartments and more suitable for a nice backyard.

9. Dalmatian

Why not?

  • High-energy
  • Requires exercise
  • Training can be challenging

There are energetic dogs, and then there are Dalmatians. These spotted athletes are guard dogs — originally bred to follow alongside carriages — so running is in their blood. You might think you’re athletic enough to exercise every day with your playful Dalmatian even if you live in an apartment. However, you’ll soon find out that these independent dogs can easily overexert their owners and need to blow off energy on their own, as well. Their impressive stamina makes them ideal for hiking, cycling, jogging and just about any athletic activity that gets them out of the house.

10. Weimaraner

Why not?

  • Size
  • Requires exercise
  • Chews when bored

We end our list with another breed suitable for owners who are constantly on the go. Weimaraners are active dogs that love the outdoors, can run for miles and play fetch for hours. But, what really sets them apart is their love of swimming. These smart pups don’t handle being left on their own very well and they’re usually dependent on having an active owner who is willing to spend as much time together as possible. Clearly, being cooped up inside an apartment is not healthy for this hyperactive breed — no matter how large the apartment.

Every dog has its own personality, and most dog parents know that these are just generalizations. Plus, if you live in a pet-friendly community or can get around apartment size restrictions, you might be surprised that some larger breeds — like Great Danes or Newfoundlands — can actually make great apartment companions. At the end of the day, if you and your furry friend click and are happy together, that’s all that matters.

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About the author

Alexandra Ciuntu

Alexandra Ciuntu is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she has previously covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance. She now enjoys researching and writing about the renting lifestyle, renter demographic shifts, and residential real estate market trends and news. You can connect with Alexandra via email.

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