Best dogs to own if you live in a flat

Best dogs to own if you live in a flat

So you’d love to own a dog, but think you’d need to buy a house first? Think again.

Living in a flat doesn’t have to be a barrier to canine ownership. With careful consideration, you can find a pooch that’s perfect for your pad.

Just remember – no matter how you house your hound, you need to look after its health. Get insurance for your pet to help you cover vets’ fees.

Considerations for dogs in flats

There are several reasons why dogs and flats don’t always go together. Most concern the pup itself, while others are about you and your neighbours.

Make sure you consider the following thoroughly before buying your animal. It’s all part of being a responsible dog owner – just like getting straightforward pet insurance to protect your four-legged friend in case of illness or injury.

Indoor space

In many countries, apartment living is the norm in cities – and plenty of people do own dogs. But these tend to be quite large apartments with several rooms, not studio flats.

Dogs need space in which they can move around, wag their tails and generally behave in a doggy way. A Border Collie in a bedsit would have much the same effect as a bull in a china shop!

Don’t do it. Instead, consider the size of your apartment and pick a dog breed to suit.

Outdoor space

Dogs need to get outside on a regular basis, for exercise and to go to the toilet. A good walk once or twice a day, depending on its breed and age, is a must.

Garden flats do make dog ownership a lot simpler: you can turf your Terrier outside to go to the toilet, stretch its legs and have a sniff around.

Most breeds also need a park, woodland or other outdoor space nearby where they can run freely off the lead, explore, and get to know other dogs.

If you don’t have a garden or an accessible park, then sadly a dog is probably not the pet for you. Have you considered a cat instead?

A puppy in a harness sitting on a garden lawn


Picture this: you take your furry friend for a long walk, arrive back home exhausted – and then you’re faced with several flights of stairs.

If you choose a dog breed with small legs, will it manage all those steps? And if not, are you strong enough to pick up your pooch and carry it upstairs?


The big downside to apartment living is noise. Carpets and other soundproofing measures can help, but nothing’s going to fully muffle the noise of a big barking Beagle.

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, depending on their breed and temperament – it’s how they communicate. They might be bored, frightened, eager to greet people, or trying to scare off potential intruders.

If you want to stay on the right side of your neighbours – and avoid complaints to your landlord or the council’s Noise Abatement team – then don’t put a dog in a flat or small house without proper consideration and training.

This is particularly important if you’re out a lot, as canines are pack animals which love companionship. Even a mellow mongrel will start barking if left alone for too long while you’re at work, so get in a dog walker during the day to keep your pup – and your neighbours – happy.

Top 10 dog breeds for apartments

Generally, the smaller the dog, the better it’s suited to life in a flat. Make sure it has plenty of toys to keep its mind stimulated, and ensure you give it plenty of exercise.

Although breeds do tend to have certain characteristics, each dog is an individual and will change over its lifetime.

If you’re buying an older pooch, for example from a rescue centre, you should be able to get a good idea of its personality.

If you’re buying a younger dog, be prepared to put in the hours with training.

Whichever pooch you pick, remember to make sure it’s covered for injury or illness with pet cover.

Bichon Frise

Few breeds look as adorable as these fluffy white dogs with their dark, inquisitive eyes. They’re small, cheerful, snuggly and love to be around people, so adapt well to apartment life and city walks.

They need a good run around every day, so you’ll need to have a garden or live close to outdoor space. 

However, some dogs are prone to barking and separation anxiety. If you’re a flat dweller who’s out a lot, this is probably not the breed for you.

A Bichon Frise dog walking inbetween apples on some grass

Yorkshire Terrier

This toy breed is a popular one among those living in small houses and flats due to its tiny size – just 20cm high.

These lively little animals love running and jumping around but are as happy in a home environment as in the big wide world – though be warned that they’re not always easy to house train.

In fact, they’re so small and fragile that they’re often safer indoors. Keep a close eye on them around bigger dogs, and make sure you’ve got insurance for pets to cover vet fees.

Yorkshire Terriers don’t like being left alone, so this breed is better for households where someone’s in most of the day.

They do have a tendency to be yappy if not trained and socialised from a young age. However, they’re intelligent animals and eager to please, so if you buy a Yorkshire Terrier puppy and train it well, this could be a great companion for apartment dwellers. 

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You might be surprised that an animal that’s bred for racing could be suited to life in an apartment.

But the great thing about Whippets is that they just need one good run a day – and the rest of the time, they’re happy curled up on the sofa next to you.

So if you have good outdoor space near your flat, then do consider one of these graceful animals for your new pet. A word of warning – they can race off, so take care when taking them off the lead.

Another fantastic factor that makes Whippets your perfect flatmate? They’re quiet. Most Whippets rarely bark, particularly if trained properly from a young age.

The only disadvantage really is that if they don’t get the exercise they need, they could become destructive. However, this is true of just about any bored or lonely pooch, so get a dog walker if you’re out a lot – or be prepared to find your belongings shredded on your return!


Another toy breed, Papillons are pretty similar in many ways to Yorkies. They’re tiny in size but big in character, and they just love being around people.

On the plus side for flat dwellers, they’re adaptable, intelligent, and eager to please. Puppies can easily be trained and socialised, which is important to stop them yapping. Although they’re active little animals, they don’t need lengthy walks.

On the downside, they do suffer from separation anxiety, so are not a great choice for you if you work outside the home. Perhaps you could take your Papillon into work with you?

With its silky coat, dainty looks and playful nature, your Papillon pup is sure to be a hit with your work colleagues.

A Papillon breed of dog

Miniature Dachshund

These tiny sausage dogs are very adaptable, so can be perfectly happy living in an apartment. They’re affectionate, so love snuggling up with you on a sofa, and only need around 40 minutes’ walk a day.

However, your neighbours may be less happy as these tiny Sausage Dogs don’t like being left alone – and will let the world know about it! Plus, their bark is surprisingly loud for such a small creature.

Also, those little legs will struggle with stairs, so Miniature Dachshunds are not a great option for high-rise living if your lift is unreliable.

Although they’re highly intelligent, they’re also notoriously stubborn. Buy a Miniature Dachshund only if you’ve got the time and energy to put into training and socialising it, and the lifestyle to keep it company.


These sweet, loyal, affectionate fluffballs will certainly melt your heart – but are they right for your household?

They’re sure to be happy, as they don’t need much exercise and just love being around people. So long as you give them plenty of attention, and enough toys or games to keep them mentally stimulated, then they’ll do just fine in your flat.

However, as is so often the case with toy breeds, they do have a tendency to yap, particularly if left alone. So if you’re out for long periods, you might return to your apartment to find annoyed neighbours and a distressed Pomeranian pup.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This tiny, long-haired, floppy-eared breed will be happy to make your apartment its castle. It’s a very adaptable dog, content to curl up indoors and with relatively low exercise needs.

Cavs, as they’re affectionately known by their many human fans, are highly intelligent, so you’ll need to keep them mentally stimulated.

Although they love being around people, they are better than many other small breeds at being left on their own for moderate periods of time.

Best of all, they tend not to bark. So your neighbours will love your Cav almost as much as you do!

As long as you can keep up on the grooming front, Cavs could be a great flatmate for you and your family.

Sadly, they’re susceptible to several inherited health problems, so make sure you’ve got a good level of lifetime specialist pet insurance.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel running on a walk


Barkless dogs have got to be brilliant for apartments with thin walls, right?

Indeed, Basenjis do generally make pretty great flat mates as far as your neighbours are concerned, but be warned – instead of barking or yapping, some Basenjis yodel or scream instead!

They’re on the small side, so don’t require huge amounts of living space. And they love to play, so it’s relatively easy to keep them entertained in a small flat.

The negatives? While they’re intelligent enough to be trained to understand your commands, they may just choose to ignore you.

They’re also a hunting breed, so need a couple of walks a day – and they hate getting wet, making it difficult to exercise them on rainy days.

Also, they’re notorious for running off, so make sure your chosen pet insurance covers lost and straying animals.

Basset Hound

If you’ve got limited living space, you want a laid-back companion. Enter the Basset Hound, a mellow mutt who’ll add joy and fun to your apartment life.

Basset Hounds are gentle, well-behaved dogs. Their expressions can be mistaken for mournful, but they’re actually contented and playful pups.

They’re happy to curl up indoors, but they do need exercise as they have a tendency to grow lazy and overweight.

Although they’re usually calm and collected creatures, their bark carries a long way – which may not endear them to your neighbours. So buy a Basset Hound only if you can put in the hours to train them.


This last one on our list is perhaps another surprise, as Bulldogs sound as if they ought to be too, well, bullish for small spaces.

However, both French and English Bulldogs are popular with apartment dwellers, and for good reason.

Although they’re medium-size dogs, they don’t require as much space or exercise as many other breeds of canine – just one or two 10-20-minute walks per day is ample.

They are bred as companion animals and do require a lot of attention from the humans in their lives.

You might think they’re happy to be left snoozing on the sofa, but you could well return home to a distressed dog and irate neighbours!

A bulldog running through a flowery meadow

Get a quote today

Whichever pooch you pick for your apartment, Purely Pets can provide an insurance policy that suit your needs & budget.

There are 15 levels of cover to choose from, depending on your budget and your dog’s needs.

As well as vets’ fees, policies cover loss or straying, third party liability, complementary treatment and special diets.

Get a quote today to keep your furry flatmate happy and healthy!

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