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What Are The Best Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living?


The Benefits of Owning Small Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Even for those outside of NYC, owning small dog breeds for apartment living comes with a unique set of benefits. Many prefer it over all. Big dogs, while certainly beautiful, take up a lot more of your space and time. They require more room to roam, more attention, and more care. They’re prone to certain health issues, especially in their joints, requiring more expensive supplements and vet visits overall. Plus, they tend to have shorter lifespans—-meaning you’ll likely get less time with your new best friend. In many ways, it can make more sense to get small dog breeds for apartment living. They’re easy to carry, cuddle, and travel with. They’re easier to feed, and easier to bathe. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For potential dog owners in NYC, the smaller—the better.

A Small Dog Is Easier to Travel With

Those living in New York City, particularly those who rent, are no strangers to the dreaded ‘move in day.’ When one lease is up, the process starts all over again. With smaller dogs, moving becomes just that much easier. There’s tons of carriers available for smaller breeds–and they can even sit on your lap in the Uber.

They’re also easier to bring with you when it comes to vacations and that bi-annual family weekend away. Whether it’s a long car ride or a trip on JetBlue, small dogs can handle both with relative ease.

A Small Dog Is Easier to Feed

While smaller dogs need more calories per pound than larger ones, they’re still easier to feed. As they’re prone to less health issues than their bigger counterparts, they can sustain a more diverse diet without some of the potential risks. Still, it’s always important to watch what your dog eats. Here’s a helpful guide to feeding smaller breeds.

Small Dogs Tend to Live Longer

Losing a pet is devastating, and a longer lifespan can be appealing to some. Knowing you have the potential to make even more memories with your furry friend is surely a gift. However, it’s still worth adopting an older animal, as well! Giving them a few great years is something you can always look back on fondly.

Don’t Worry–They Can Still Ward Off Intruders

A lot of small dogs have a bark significantly worse than their bite. Many apartment owners worry constantly about home security. Smaller dogs can deceive an intruder with their bark; making them second guess their intentions.

They’re Easier to Walk

New York City sidewalks are crowded enough. When it comes to daily strolls, smaller breeds are a lot easier to handle. Dogs need walks as much as they need water. If a smaller dog tugs on the leash, odds are they won’t take you with them. In addition, they can easily be scooped up and moved when necessary.

It’s called “walking the dog” for a reason. Don’t let the dog walk you!

A Small Dog Sheds Less

Smaller dog breeds tend to shed a lot less than larger dogs. Keeping any apartment neat and tidy is difficult on its own; without your furry friend leaving fur on every surface.

The Best Small Dogs for NYC Apartment Living

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies are a very popular choice for those living in apartments. They’re small and easy to care for, yet still quite active and fun!

Yorkies are known for being vocal; barking at nearly everything. For some, this might be comforting. Whether it’s the FedEx man with your latest package or a straight up home invader, your yorkie will make their presence known.

Yorkies shed a lot less than other pups, and are considerably hypoallergenic. Their size and overall energy make them perfectly equipped for apartment living.

French Bulldog

French bulldogs are more popular than ever—-and can be seen dotting nearly every street on the Upper East Side. In fact–there are even NYC Frenchie meetups for those looking to socialize with (or simply show off) their little companion. (Follow @frenchiesofues on Instagram for more info and some totally precious pics!)

Frenchies are simply adorable–with big ears and sweet faces. They’re one of the most coveted small dog breeds today for good reason.

Frenchies aren’t too loud, but still observant. They might not bark at every passerby, but they’ll still keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Frenchies are prone to obesity—so regular exercise is recommended. Take them to a Frenchie meetup–or a stroll through the neighborhood.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are fantastic, apartment-friendly dogs. Fair warning– they’re a bit destructive when left unattended and can weigh up to twenty pounds in muscle. Still, they’re easy to care for and quite lovable too! Make sure to buy them lots of toys, so they don’t choose your favorite sofa as a suitable replacement.

They’re prone to separation anxiety, and are born to socialize. They love long walks and days at the dog park!

Boston Terriers make wonderful companions, and can thrive in an apartment setting.


Malteses aren’t just small, they’re practically miniature. They typically weigh up to only seven pounds. (In essence, they make perfect pets for apartments in need of some extra square footage!) They’re relatively calm, and don’t need too much exercise to stay healthy.

They’re happiest in your company and can spend a whole day curled up at your side.

They are prone to dental issues, so brushing their teeth daily is a necessity.

Toy Poodle

Their name is no coincidence. These Poodles are so tiny one could mistake them for a stuffed toy at first glance. They don’t shed, and can be cuddled and carried easily.

They’re bursting with energy, yet easy to exercise. A simple stroll or a game of fetch is enough to keep them happy and healthy! They’re great with children, easy to train, and relatively well behaved. They stand no more than ten inches tall, yet possess the personality of a giant. Toy poodles are easy to travel with and make excellent ‘purse dogs.’

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are known for their regal appearance and superior intelligence. Their small size makes them perfectly suitable for life in a high-rise. They’re loyal and loving; perfectly fit for families.

They aren’t crazy barkers, yet still exceptionally observant pets.

Their coats come in many different colors and patterns, yet all cocker spaniels have those signature long, floppy ears that are difficult not to adore. They’re certainly energetic and love to take long walks around the block.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are tiny, curly-haired pups with great personalities. They’re playful and affectionate with unique personalities.

They’re exceptionally easy to train, and will thrive anywhere. A busy city is no exception. They’re curious dogs and love to explore. NYC will quickly become their personal playground. They’re extremely loving; attention is practically their sustenance. Bichon Frises are great with children, making perfect additions to homes of any shape and size.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

It’s no shock that another Spaniel makes this list. They’re gentle and calm dogs, perfect for cuddling up beside after a hard day’s work.

They can thrive in an apartment setting and their size makes them easy to care for. They get along with other dogs well and can be a perfect addition to homes with other pets.

Their large, sweet eyes and droopy ears make them positively adorable companions. Despite their long and silky coats, they still don’t shed nearly as much as their larger counterparts. Like other dogs, they love to take long walks and play in the park, yet know when to behave when the day is through.

They adore your company, and will absolutely lap up every second you spend together.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are perfect apartment dogs, staying calm and quiet throughout the day. They are exceptionally clingy. They should only be adopted by someone willing to provide an abundance of attention.

They’re known for their luscious coat, which can be styled to your liking. They’re affectionate with adults and children alike, and love to accompany their owner on outings. Like Toy Poodles, Shih Tzus make perfect purse dogs and travel with ease.


This list could not be complete without the Chihuahua. Known for their tiny size and abundance of energy, Chihuahuas are made for an apartment existence.

While they’re very affectionate with their owners, it’s not recommended to keep Chihuahuas with small children or other dogs.They weigh no more than six pounds, yet they’re packed with a vivacious personality. Known for being “sassy,” Chihuahuas make their moods known. They love to be spoiled and taken everywhere.

Their eyes and ears are especially expressive and they’re confident wherever they go. They’ll truly appreciate walks around town and weekly shopping trips by your side.

Looking to Adopt? Here’s Where to Start!

NYC Animal Shelters:


NYC Breeders: