Top 10 Dog Breeds for Living in the City

Boston Terrier

Though some dogs do best in a home that gives them ample room in which to stretch their legs and play, there are other dog breeds that can adapt very well to city life. Apartment living has its challenges, but so long as there are parks to play in and spots to get in a good walk, many breeds can live quite contentedly in the city. City sidewalks offer some interesting things for dogs to enjoy. From sniffing out the canine calling cards left on fire hydrants, light poles, and trees by other doggy friends to remnants from someone’s lunch or supper, your dog may soon find being a city slicker has its definite perks. 

What Qualities Should I Look for in a Breed Suited to City Life?

The truth is if you’re willing to put the time in to overcome obstacles that come with breeds that tend to do better in a country setting, nearly any dog can adapt to city life. Also important to note is that every dog is highly individual. This means that even if a specific breed is normally well suited to city living, you may encounter one that just prefers life in the country. Conversely, you might luck out and stumble across an Australian Shepherd or an Alaskan Malamute that thinks apartment living in the bomb. However, these situations are the exception and not the rule. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to assess your lifestyle and your living environment and select your best canine pal accordingly.

Here are a few qualities that indicate a dog breed may be well suited to life in a city:

  • Small in size

Small dogs typically adapt very well to city living. Because of the compactness of their bodies, they don’t require a lot of space to live or to play in. In addition to this, small dogs are easily able to accompany you on elevators and to find their way between crowds and in congested hallways. If you live in a city that allows dogs on public transportation, small dogs are nearly always welcome to join you.

  • Sociable

Some breeds are naturally very social. Dogs that look forward to meeting new people and even other dogs tend to do very well in the city since a large part of their lives will involve sharing spaces like sidewalks and elevators with strangers. Dogs that can be territorial or that are reactive or excessively protective of their family members are ill suited to life in an apartment or in the city.

  • Highly trainable

While it is important for all dogs to learn good canine manners, it is especially critical for dogs that live in cities. Cities pose unique hazards that residential or country dwelling dogs may not face, so it’s vital that you teach your dog to be prepared for any situation. With this in mind, it is a good idea to select a breed that enjoys training and is not resistant to any efforts you make to teach your dog new skills.

If you live in an apartment, you will need to make note that house training your dog is going to take more effort on your part since you may have to take an elevator or the stairs to get to the great outdoors. This could mean that adopting an older dog is a better choice for you.

  • Not excessive barkers

Though all dogs will bark when the occasion warrants it, you aren’t going to want a dog that is constantly making noise if you live in an apartment building. Choosing a breed that is typically quiet is a great way to make sure you maintain neighborly relations.

  • Low to moderate activity needs

If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to exercising your city dwelling dog, it is a good idea to select a breed that has low to moderate activity needs. Dogs that have higher energy levels will become frustrated and bored if not sufficiently exercise. Even dogs with lower energy levels may become overweight if not given a daily walk.

What are Some of the Breeds Best Suited to City Life?

There are several dog breeds that are very well suited to life in the big city. Finding the right dog for your family’s lifestyle is key to your success. Here is our list of some of the most popular choices for city-dwelling pooches: 


Weighing in at 7 pounds or less, the tiny Pomeranian is a great choice for people living in the bity city. Though the Pomeranian is small of size, no one told him that! As a result, this dog has a big personality and often challenges dogs much larger than himself.

Bred to be a companion animal, the Pomeranian does very well as a pampered city lap dog. Highly intelligent, the Pomeranian learns new skills with ease.

Because of his small size, the Pomeranian can easily be picked up and carried on the elevator or down the stairs when it’s time for a potty break. However, as with most toy breeds, the Pomeranian can be very difficult to house train.

Bichon Frise

A sweet natured breed that is perennially happy, the Bichon Frise is a friendly little pup that has never met a stranger. A breed makes new friends with ease, the Bichon Frise is extremely well suited to city living, greeting strangers and other dogs with hearty enthusiasm.

As an added bonus, the Bichon Frise is a low shedding dog that many claim is hypoallergenic. However, the Bichon is not a low maintenance grooming breed, so this should be taken into consideration before adding this pooch to your home.

Small of size, the Bichon Frise does very well living in an apartment, but like some other small breeds, can be difficult to house train. 


The Whippet is not considered to be a small breed but is still well worth consideration if you are a city dweller. A breed believed to have been developed through thoughtful matings of Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds, and even some terriers, the Whippet has earned a distinctive nickname: the poor man’s Greyhound.

Exceptionally fast, Whippets are a sprinting breed. Because of this, you will need to take your Whippet for a good brisk walk each day, but he will not require lengthy outings to satisfy his need for speed. Once fully exercised, your Whippet will be quite happy to recline on the couch catching up on his zzzz’s.

A breed that loves children, Whippets make for ideal companions for families with kids. The breed does possess high prey drive, and thus, is not a good choice if you also own cats.


The comical Pug is a true delight to share your life and home with. A breed that was born to entertain, the Pug makes friends wherever he goes.

The Pug excels in his role as a lap dog. A breed that likes being with people, your Pug will happily follow you wherever you go. However, this intense focus on people can mean the Pug will suffer from separation anxiety if isolated from his family regularly.

A dog that sheds quite profusely, the Pug is not the best breed for people that suffer with allergies to dog hair and dander. A breed that struggles to learn proper house training, you’ll want to make use of crate training to help your Pug learn to potty outdoors.

The Pug loves to eat. Because of this, it’s important that you take your Pug for a daily walk and carefully monitor how much he eats to prevent him from becoming overweight.

Boston Terrier

A dog breed that was largely developed in the United States and that is often referred to as the American gentleman, the Boston Terrier is a comical little lad with energy to spare. With low grooming requirements, the Boston Terrier is a great addition to any city dwelling home. He is neither a drooler or much of a shedder. However, the Boston Terrier can suffer from flatulence, so you’ll need to watch his diet carefully.

A highly sociable chap, the Boston Terrier is an excellent addition to city dwelling families with children. Highly intelligent, the Boston Terrier can learn, but this breed can also be rather obstinate.

The Boston Terrier needs a once daily walk to help him positively expend his energies. 

English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is charming, stocky fellow with a flat face that can make him predisposed to breathing challenges in extreme cold or hot temperatures. Still, this adorable pooch is a great addition to families living in the big city. The Bulldog has low activity requirements and loves to spend his days reclining on the couch next to his fave family pals.

Because the Bulldog gains weight easily, it is very important to be sure that your Bulldog maintains a healthy body condition. This is best achieved through a once daily walk of a moderate length and the monitoring of this dog’s daily meals and treats.


The handsome Corgi comes in two varieties: the Cardigan and the Pembroke. Both breeds are well renowned for their friendliness, making them an excellent choice for city-dwelling families. Corgis love people and eagerly make new friends of strangers. However, the Corgi is not always so welcoming to dogs.

The Corgi does like the sound of his own voice, so apartment living may not be ideal for this dog type. The breed is also hardy and full of energy. Daily activity is a must for the Corgi. Corgis do shed profusely, so you will need to be prepared to do a lot of vacuuming to rid your home of excess Corgi hair.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a devoted family companion. Sweet natured and exceptionally laidback, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is ideally suited to life in pretty much any living situation from the busiest city to the most relaxed country setting. Easy to train, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great choice for first time dog owners. 

A breed that is loving and deeply affectionate, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel values nothing more than making you happy. The breed is a natural friend of children, strangers, and animals including other dogs. 

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is available in two different varieties: hairless and powderpuff. A breed with a unique appearance, the Chinese Crested is known to chill easily, and thus, you’ll need to stock up on sweaters to keep your pooch comfy cozy on walks. A dog breed of high intelligence, the Chinese Crested enjoys the opportunity to learn new tricks and commands with his owner.

The Chinese Crested is a cute dog that is highly sociable. They bond very deeply with their family and do not like being left on their own for any amount of time. This breed loves children, making them a good choice for families with kids. 

Norwich Terrier

The charming Norwich Terrier is a true delight. The smallest breed in the terrier group, the Norwich Terrier is loving, feisty, and fun, and is the perfect size for apartment life.

A breed that loves children, people, dogs, and even strangers, the Norwich readily makes friends everywhere he goes. However, the Norwich does have energy to spare and must be exercised on a daily basis to remain physically and mentally content.

The Norwich is a very smart little pooch and takes great pleasure in training sessions with his family. The breed is quite sensitive and in tune with his owner’s emotions. Norwich will readily alert bark at unusual noises or the presence of a perceived intruder.

If you live in the city and are thinking of adding a pooch to your family, consider our list of some of the top breeds that thrive in the city. You just might find the perfect pal for your home!



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