Apartment dwellers who want to be dog owners will find that there’s limited space in their homes and will likely have a smaller green space as well. As such, you probably don’t want to trap a bigger dog inside smaller spaces; fortunately, there are a few large breeds that thrive inside apartments. Depending on how much space your apartment offers and the amount of time you have to spend with your pets, they might just thrive in these conditions — here are the 13 best large dogs for apartments.
Large Breed Restrictions When Living in an Apartment
Getting your big dog to become used to living inside an apartment building could be quite a challenge. There are plenty of restrictions when it comes to living in small spaces, even for the best apartment dogs. Large breed dogs, in particular, will feel cramped and could become destructive if they aren’t given enough exercise or taken out for outdoor activities.
For those that live in a bigger house with its own yard, a larger dog can be left alone while they get sunshine and fresh air without the need for human interaction. But the same can’t be said for families that live in an apartment — even if you took your big pooch for daily walks around the dog park, you may not have the same natural space in your home. Consider the construction of your apartment complex to see if it can sustain the physical activity that big dogs need to live a comfortable and healthy life.
Best Large Dogs for Apartments
When you’re working with small spaces, the most important thing is to give your best friend plenty of time and attention. Here are the best dogs to choose from when you have a small apartment but want a good boy on the large side.
1. Great Dane
The Great Dane is always referred to as a gentle giant — as one of the biggest dog breeds in the world, you would think that their intimidating stature should be feared. In truth, they are friendly, affectionate, sympathetic, and loyal, as well as patient and playful with children. These dogs possess a good disposition and rarely bark, which contributes to their career as great watchdogs and water rescuers, and allows them to respond very well to training.
When kept in an apartment, Great Danes are inactive indoors, love to snuggle and rest, and won’t need much exercise. However, they will need to go on a long walk daily and puppies shouldn’t get too much exercise since this could lead to health problems related to the hips and joints. Despite these issues, their great temperament helps them completely adapt to living an apartment life, and are among the best big dog breeds.
2. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are obedient, intelligent, and good-natured dogs that hardly bark and are highly interactive with people, making them great apartment dogs. Because they’re so smart, they’re very easy to train and will respond to obedience training very quickly but because they also love attention, they can’t be left alone for too long. As long as you give them a lot of exercise, they won’t develop behavior or chewing problems, which means they’re golden for city life.
3. Saint Bernard
This gentle and friendly breed is also known for its calm nature that helps them stay highly tolerant and patient with children. These large-breed dogs only need moderate exercise and can be a great option for apartment living when provided with training and time. While they enjoy being around people, it’s best to provide them with early socialization to help them bond properly.
4. Afghan Hound
Known for its dramatic hair, the Afghan Hound comes in a large size but contains a laid-back personality and is also sensitive, loving, and loyal. However, they are a high-maintenance breed with a lot of energy, and can be hard to train but with perseverance and patience, they will want to please their owners. Once you’re able to provide for their activity level, they can quickly adapt to living in a smaller apartment and will be happy to spend time with their human on the couch.
5. Basset Hound
While the Basset Hound doesn’t have much energy, it won’t do well in an area without some kind of outdoor space. Be sure to take them for a walk around the neighborhood or you can even take them on a hiking trip due to their long endurance. This pooch loves to spend time with their family indoors but will surely appreciate some time chasing butterflies — once they do this, they can be great companions.
6. English Bulldog
This medium-sized indoor pup doesn’t need a backyard to keep it happy; in fact, it’s not good for them to be out all day. Because they don’t tolerate hot or cold temperatures very well, they can’t be outside for long but on sunny days, you can take them out for some exercise and play time. To keep it healthy in an apartment, pet owners will need to be attentive to this dog to help it become the right dog breed for smaller spaces.
7. Irish Wolfhound
Despite their massive size, the Irish Wolfhound is mild and easygoing while also being inactive when placed indoors, placing them among the best big dog breeds for apartments. They are affectionate and patient with young children and are gentle with their family, other pets, and even strangers. This smart dog will need training at an early age to help them get a hold of their size but once you get a handle on this, they can be your best friend and perfect companion.
8. Bernese Mountain Dog
With a kind, friendly, and cheerful personality, Bernese Mountain dogs are one of the best large dog breeds to have around in your apartment because they’re so friendly and patient with everything. Interestingly, these dogs mature slower than others and will exhibit puppy-like behaviors longer compared to other breeds. They also make for great watchdogs; they tend to bark loudly so they will need obedience training.
While they don’t have much endurance, they will need some form of physical activity — the good news is, you can use mental stimulation as part of their exercise. As long as you keep them mentally and physically active, they will remain well-behaved indoors. Just make sure that you train them well for indoor life so be gentle but firm to get the best out of these great canines.
9. English Mastiff
Contrary to popular belief, English Mastiffs are easygoing, amazing companions, and can become great guard dogs. They’re also gentle, loyal, and friendly, and will always look to bond with their family — while they never bark, they will defend their family and territory. These dogs tend to have lower energy and will only need a moderate amount of exercise such as a daily walk to keep them healthy and to set them up for apartment living.
10. Standard Poodle
These sensitive and soft dogs don’t need much space and prefer quiet places with no conflict and little activity. The Standard Poodle has a playful and lively personality, but also hosts a calm temperament with a need for attention and company. Because it’s so easy to get along with them and never become aggressive, they get along well with dogs and other pets.
To help them adjust to life inside an apartment, give them some kind of mental stimulation daily — obedience training and agility classes should help you here. Moreover, they will need moderate to high amounts of daily exercise, so be ready to take them for walks, jogging, and playtime. When they’re indoors, they can be relatively inactive and will enjoy sleeping inside the apartment.
11. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Strong, protective, and intelligent, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a great addition to any apartment, making them one of the best big dogs around. With a loyal, calm, and good nature, they are well suited for life indoors but they can be highly active outdoors. With this dog, you’ll need to ensure that you establish leadership early on and provide them with training, physical and mental stimulation to keep them in check.
They can also be stubborn at times, so you’ll need to be dedicated to raising them to get the most out of this dog. Even though they have a loving and loyal disposition, they might not be the best with children because they can play rough. Even so, they are a great breed for apartment living as long as they are given the right amount of attention and exercise.
12. Giant Schnauzers
These may look like older dogs, but Giant Schnauzers can become great apartment dogs thanks to their even temperaments, basic grooming needs, and minimal exercise needs. While it can be a challenge to own a Giant Schnauzer, they can be a good breed for a small apartment. They are considered to be low-maintenance for such big dogs, making them a great option for smaller spaces.
To keep them from any disruptive behaviors, you only need to meet their basic socialization and exercise needs. Giant Schnauzers don’t need much time for exercise and are also relatively easy to look after, which is why they’re great pets for apartments. Plus, they’re big enough to be intimidating but small enough to fit in tight spaces.
13. Dogue de Bordeaux
Despite being strong and fearless, the Dogue de Bordeaux carries a pleasant and friendly disposition, and are known for their patient, devoted, and mild manner with everyone, including kids. They are great guard dogs, but it’s advisable that you socialize them at an early age to help them discern a real threat from one that isn’t. Without calm and firm leadership, this dog can become dominant, and stubborn, and may display aggressive behavior.
Because of this, it’s essential that they get proper training, as well as clear boundaries and leadership. In general, these are inactive dogs and will need moderate physical activities daily, which is why they’re great apartment dogs. Just be sure to tire them out after every exercise session to keep them happy and healthy.
Living with Large Dogs in an Apartment
Most dog lovers will opt for small breeds that are both low maintenance and have low energy levels — their small size plays an important factor in making a suitable living environment. As such, the best dog breeds that are well-suited for apartment life include the following smaller breeds:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Bichon Frise
- Shih Tzu
- French Bulldogs
But if these small dog breeds just aren’t a good match, you can aim for a medium-sized dog or large low-energy dogs. Remember that even if your big dog is easygoing, it will still have exercise needs that will help to keep them from going crazy and resorting to destructive behaviors. Using toys can be a great way to distract pets that live in a small apartment.
Another way to exercise high-energy dogs is to ask your neighbor or hire a dog walker to take them out for a quick walk around the area. Make sure that you don’t leave them locked in a kennel or chained up because all dogs need mental stimulation to keep them from barking all day long. Obedience training will also help put them in the right mindset so that neighbors don’t complain about how loud they might be.
Apart from giving them regular exercise, another thing you need to consider about large dogs is that they might shed a lot, especially if they have a long coat. They will also need a lot of maintenance during times when they drool or forget their house training every now and then. But as long as you get your furry friend out of the house as much as possible, they should be able to adjust well to a smaller home.
While it might seem that smaller dogs are the way to go when living in an apartment building, you may be surprised to learn that even big dogs can be companions in small spaces. But to help them adjust to their environment even better, be sure to pick a dog-friendly area that offers outdoor space to give your fur baby the exercise it needs. Apart from their physical needs, you can also use mental and social stimulation to make sure that they avoid negative behaviors and stay happy in any space you put them in.