Imagine living in a one-bedroom apartment and own a Saint Bernard or giant Bernedoodle. There simply isn’t enough space! There are a few different points to consider when considering good medium sized dogs for apartments.
However, just because you live in an apartment does not mean a miniature dog is the only option. With careful planning (low shedding and temperament), you can find the perfect medium-sized dog for your apartment life.
Dogs can offer the owner companionship, as well as help improve mental health. Dogs of all sizes are just so cute!
Many people assume that the requirement of having a dog is a large house and a spacious yard with plenty of space for the dog to run around. While having such things is undoubtedly a luxury, with planning, you can own a small or medium dog comfortably in almost any apartment.
As long as dogs are permitted in your apartment building, it can be an excellent environment for a dog. However, you do want to have the right breed of dog with the right personality. Here are good medium-sized dogs for apartments.
Top 5 Good Medium Sized Dogs for Apartments
We go into detail on the considerations for apartment life below – but if you are just after the fast takeaway, here are 5 good medium-sized dogs for apartments.
English Bulldog (amazing personality and one brisk walk will suffice)
Labradoodle (low to no shedding and no odor)
Cockapoo (easy to maintain the coat, trainable)
Welsh Corgi (small to medium with a low center of gravity)
Chow Chow (chilled but loyal)
What to consider when getting a dog in an apartment
Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t have a dog, but you need to be thoughtful. You need to put yourself in the best position possible. You want your dog to be happy, safe, and comfortable while also protecting your home.
Breed selection is critical. If you pick a dog with too much energy or a dog who needs more space than you can allow, they can get restless.
This can lead to the dog trying to escape or chewing up your furniture and blankets, costing you money and causing stress to all.
Noise must be considered too. Another consideration is that you have neighbors when you live in an apartment. You don’t want to introduce a dog who will bark all day into the building.
If your dog is very vocal, you’re going to want to get a shock table or make sure the walls are soundproof.
Picking your dog toilet solution is also an essential factor for having a medium-sized dog in an apartment. Some decide to train the dog to relieve itself outside only when taken.
Many choose to make a toilet area on a balcony or bathroom. There are plenty of DIY and budget at-home porch potty dog toilet solutions.
You could even make a luxury self-draining porch potty as I did for our Labradoodle Max!
Can big dogs thrive in apartments?
As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to help your pet thrive. You can do this by putting them in an appropriate environment.
For some more substantial dogs, an apartment would not be suitable. Size really is a barrier for giant dogs. Other hyper-energetic dogs like an Australian Shepard might post challenges for the apartment dweller.
With other dogs, an apartment is a perfect home. Don’t automatically assume that you can’t have a medium-sized dog in an apartment. However, you may need to make some adjustments to ensure that your dog has the best home possible.
Your dog needs to be able to play to be happy.
Give them toys and space to play.
You should also make sure they are comfortable with a beautiful place to relax and sleep.
Finally, you want to make sure the apartment is safe.
As long as you meet these requirements, your dog will thrive.
Unexpected hazards for apartment dogs
Having a medium-sized dog in an apartment can produce some unique hazards you want to prepare yourself for.
Since there is less space, your dog may be able to get into more. It can be challenging to dog-proof the home every single time you leave the house.
You don’t want your dog to choke or eat something poisonous. Some of the most significant hazards you may not have considered include:
plants (many broadleaf plants are poisonous to dogs!)
Are small dogs always better in apartments?
There is a common misconception that small dogs are better in an apartment setting. However, that’s not the case.
Case by case, some small dogs actually bark more than larger breeds. No neighbor wants to hear a high pitched bark at night when they are trying to sleep.
There are also several small dogs with extremely high energy levels. These dogs need more space and more time outside than an apartment can accommodate.
Temperament and personality of the breed are more important than size when picking an apartment-friendly dog.
Why medium dogs are a great fit
Medium dogs are ideally ideal for a person or family living in an apartment. The dog isn’t so big that it doesn’t have enough room to enjoy themselves.
They will have plenty of room, especially if you give them access to most of the apartment throughout the day.
Many medium dog breeds only require a limited amount of exercise throughout the day, so they shouldn’t need more than a daily walk and some active play throughout the day.
Using a puzzle toy like a frozen Kong is an excellent option to mentally enrich AND burn some real energy for your apartment dwelling dog. It is super simple to put together and you can pre-prepare a few. Easy!
Tips for having a dog in an apartment
If you have a medium dog in your apartment, there are some things you can do to make it a pleasant experience. Here are some tips for having a dog in your apartment:
1. Tire the dog out before you leave
A tired dog is a happy dog. If you get the chance – consider shifting the exercise for your dog to the morning or early time before you leave them alone. If they are weary, they will rest!
The experience will show you that you don’t want to leave your dog in the apartment alone without taking them out for a nice long walk or a game of fetch.
This will tire them out and get rid of any pent up energy. Nine times outta ten, the dog will relax and sleep after all that activity!
If they have too much energy, they may decide to take it out on your couch or favorite pair of shoes. Of course, you’ll want to take the dog out as soon as you return home.
If it is raining or too cold – consider some indoor dog games and activities to burn some energy. Here is a list of 35 indoor dog games for inspiration.
It can be as simple as throwing soft tennis ball indoors
A vigorous game of tug of war (it is okay to let the dog win sometimes!)
Or some mental enrichment like scent training or a puzzle game
Check out the mega list if indoor dog activities for more inspiration
2. Dog proof the apartment
All dogs are curious and seek to have fun. Sometimes destroying a pillow or eating a letter is a fun pastime for your dog! Even the best-trained dog will occasionally engage in destructive behavior. It is our responsibility to limit the opportunities for mischief.
If you plan in advance, you can stop your favorite things from getting destroyed while you are away. You should move everything you don’t want to be damaged placed for out of reach of the dog. This is why low to the ground dogs like the Corgi or Bulldog are good medium-sized dogs for apartments. They simply cannot reach tables and countertops!
You may want to keep the dog in one particular room or shut the door to rooms with valuable items.
You should scan for anything that might be dangerous to the dog, especially things they can choke on. If you want constant surveillance, you can set up a camera in your home. You should be able to check on your puppy to monitor for mischief.
3. Adopt the right breed of dog
Many of the problems that dog owners in apartments face can be overcome by selecting an appropriate dog breed. If life allows you to adopt and have a choice in the breed – selectively choose to match your lifestyle and available space.
Certain breeds are known for being able to adjust to apartment living quite well. What qualities make a dog suitable for life in an apartment?
Generally speaking, you want a low energy dog that won’t make a lot of noise in your absence.
Some of the best medium-sized apartment-friendly breeds include
Bulldog (French or English)
Poodles (or and Oodle dog mix)
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Portuguese Water Dog
Of course, all dogs are unique and have different personalities. Just because a particular breed typically does well in small spaces doesn’t mean you should assume your dog will.
4. Get a dog walker during the day
If you are gone for long periods throughout the day, your dog can get stir crazy. They may also need to go to the bathroom. Don’t make them wait eight or nine hours for you to come home!
We are lucky in the 2020s that there are local services and even apps that easily organize a trusted and safe dog walker. Look for highly reviewed walkers and ask other people you know with dogs who they use.
Hiring a service to come to take your dog on a walk halfway through the day. This will allow your dog to use the bathroom and get some fresh air while working. This should also prevent any problems you may find when you get home.
5. Send your dog to a training school
Dog training school can be an excellent option for you if your dog isn’t adjusting as well as you’d like. The dog will learn to be patient and obedient to the school. Positive reinforcement training can help reduce separation anxiety.
When separation anxiety is addressed, there is typically much less destructive behavior. Problem barking and paw chewing are common problems for lonely dogs. They are acting out because they don’t understand how to behave while waiting for their owners!
Thorough training will reduce separation anxiety, which will come in handy when the dog is left alone. You may even be able to leave the dog there throughout the day for a couple weeks during class.
Picking a medium dog rather than a large dog for your apartment will reduce the risk of problem behavior continuing.
There simply is not enough space for a large dog to act up even a little! With a medium dog, you have a smidge of leeway for problem behaviors to not be a catastrophic problem.
You simply cannot assume that dog training classes can make all large breeds become instantly suitable for life in a small apartment. Training and consistent positive reinforcement are essential.
6. Consider doggy daycare
A backup option for a destructive dog. If you have tried everything but are still encountering destructive behavior – consider an alternative. In these cases, you may want to find a doggy day-care in your area for care while you are away.
This is inconvenient for many, but sometimes essential
More prolonged absences might make this necessary
Dogs can develop a dependency on the social aspect of the care
Costs must also be considered – doggy day-care is excellent but not always budget-friendly!
Dogs are one of the many joys of life. If you are a dog lover, you will want to provide a comfortable and safe place for the dog to thrive.
As long as you take the proper precautions and pick good medium-sized dogs for apartments, an apartment can be the perfect home for you and your four-legged buddy.