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  • Writer's pictureTracie Koehnlein

7 Little Known Breeds that Thrive in Apartments

When considering what type of dog to bring home, you must consider what breeds will be appropriate for city life. Some of the qualities to look for in a good apartment dog are features such as low to medium energy, a dog that gets along well with people and other dogs, a less vocal animal, and often one on the smaller side. Here are a few lesser-known breeds that can thrive as apartment dogs.

Brussels Griffon

Highlights: low-energy, affectionate

The Brussels Griffon (7-10 in./8-10 lbs.) is a small dog created in Belgium that later developed into a lapdog. These are frisky, self-important little dogs who are emotionally sensitive and like being with their people at all times. Griffons typically do well with other pets and families with gentle children. This breed has moderate exercise requirements, and they can adjust well to apartment life. However, they can be vocal, so you must work on training them so they aren’t the yappy dog in the building! This breed is low-shedding and depending on their coat type requires daily or weekly brushing. Griffons have good longevity, but do have some health issues common to flat-faced dogs. The Brussels Griffon is a clever little dog who can fit into a variety of homes including novice dog owners, as long as their people give them the attention and love they require.

Chinese Crested

Highlights: unique, “Velcro” dogs

Chinese Cresteds (11-13 in./8-12 lbs.) are an ancient companion breed from China who are mostly hairless, except for their head, paws and tail. Chinese Cresteds are affectionate Velcro dogs who demand attention. Typically good with other pets and older or teenage children, Chinese Cresteds enjoy playtime. Sensitive and stubborn, they need an owner who is willing to take some extra work to train them. Low to moderate energy these dogs will be satisfied with a short walk and play session each day, making them good apartment dwellers. Despite their lack of hair, this breed is high maintenance, as you must care for their skin with sunscreens, lotions and make sure they have enough sweaters and protective gear for colder weather. Not a fan of the naked dog look but like the sound of them? Chinese Cresteds also come in a coated “powderpuff” variety (though those do require daily brushing and frequent trips to the groomer). The Chinese Crested is a unique pup who is sure to turn heads every time you take him down the street.

English Toy Spaniel

Highlights: good for first time dog owners, low energy

Though many people know the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they usually aren’t well acquainted with their sister breed, the English Toy Spaniel (9-10 in./8-14 lbs.). These pups are low energy and are ok with 1-2 short walks or potty breaks a day and maybe a game of fetch indoors. They’re cuddly and affectionate, doing well with other pets and gentle children. Smart but stubborn, an English Toy Spaniel needs a trainer who won’t give in to their goo-goo eyes. They are moderate shedders and require some brushing and extra care for their ears and eyes. English Toy Spaniels are easy keepers that make fantastic apartment dogs, and good companions for first-time dog owners and the elderly.


Highlights: non-shedding, highly intelligent

The Lowchen is a small (12-14in./10-18 lbs.) companion breed that was a popular pet for noble ladies during the Renaissance. These days, Lowchens are doing less posing for paintings and are happiest when they are playing and snuggling with people. They are highly intelligent, easy to train and love going on walks, swimming, and typically do well with children, dogs and other pets. They’re great for an active person who also wants a dog who can do well in small spaces. Due to their rarity, they are a healthy breed with great longevity. An extra bonus is that they do not shed, so rarely affect allergies, though this does mean they require regular brushing and trips to the groomer (but they don’t need the traditional “lion” haircut if you don’t like it!).


Highlights: very small, highly trainable

Named for their “butterfly” ears, Papillions (8-10 in./5-10 lbs.) are French companion breeds also kept as pets by noble ladies, including Marie Antoinette. These little dogs have a fun and frisky nature and do well with an owner who wants a small, but active dog as they are moderate to high energy for an animal so small. In fact, they are one of the top breeds who compete in agility! They’re intelligent and love to train and do tricks, go on walks and hikes, and can make good service dogs. They usually do well with children, other dogs and pets, as well as first time dog owners. These dogs are moderate shedders who do require regular brushing and some trips to the groomer. Papillions can make great companions for many different apartment dwellers as long as they have the time and energy for these little spitfires.

Sealyham Terrier

Highlights: great for city apartments, good with kids

The Sealyham Terrier is a small dog (10-11 in./20-25 lbs.) originally bred to hunt foxes, otter and badgers with larger Otterhounds. More personable and affectionate than other terriers, the Sealyham usually does well with kids and other dogs, though some terrier pushiness may emerge! They’re trainable but can be stubborn, and only have moderate exercise requirements that are satisfied by a few leisurely walks a day and a game of tug. They do not shed much but require brushing and trips to the groomer, and care to keep their snowy coats clean! The Sealyham is a healthy breed that is happy in a variety of homes, including apartments in the city.


Highlights: quiet, little grooming necessary

Often mistaken for a Greyhound puppy, the Whippet is a smaller sighthound (18-22 in./25-40 lbs) created as a rabbit hunting and racing dog of the Victorian working class in England. Playful and affectionate, Whippets are loving dogs who usually do well with kids and other dogs—though they are not a fan of rough play and can be easily injured by large dogs if play isn’t closely monitored. They are typically quiet dogs that fit in well to apartments, but their people must take efforts to make sure their Whippet is well socialized to the hustle and bustle city lest they become anxious. These dogs are healthy with good longevity, and their sleek coats shed very little, requiring almost no maintenance. However, if you live in a colder climate, make sure to invest in some sweaters for the winter!


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