Though it might make sense, not all small dogs adapt well to living indoors. In fact, most of the toy dogs have high-energy levels and are constantly yapping to get attention or ward off intruders, or even bark for no apparent reason at all. As such they do not make good companions for apartment dwellers or those living in the quiet suburbs. So instead of just looking at small breeds, many would-be dog owners consider three main categories for the best indoor dog breeds: energy level, size and shedding.
The best dog breeds for indoors usually have low energy levels, are docile indoors and require little exercise.
Most toy breeds and tracking dogs are high energy. They have the tendency to demand attention and need to either have a job to do or play constantly. These dogs are difficult to keep indoors because of their spunk and sprightliness. The best indoor dog breeds do not have this burning need to run around your apartment or townhome.
Instead they are content to snuggle up on the couch and are less likely to resort to destructive behaviors when left alone for extended periods of time.
One other characteristic dog owners often look for when considering indoor breeds is size.
Most indoor dogs are small enough to be able to meander around indoors without knocking into people and furniture wherever they go. However, this is not always the case. Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds are giant dog breeds, but have such gentle demeanors and low energy levels that these qualities often make up for their monstrous size.
Just make sure you have the means to provide enough food if you do end up bringing one of these gentle giants home with you.
The last thing many dog owners want in indoor breeds is low to medium shedding.
If you keep your dog indoors the majority of the time, it would be best if you did not have to follow them around the house with a lint roller. Some of the dogs on this list have short coats that are super easy to maintain. They don’t shed nearly as much as other breeds and some are even considered to be hypoallergenic because they do not have an undercoat.
However, with that in mind, not all dogs in the same breed are the same. They will not have the same temperaments or personalities. Some small dogs will be quiet and polite indoors and some shedders could make the best companions. Just be sure and consider all the angles before making your final decision on the best indoor dog breed for you and your family.
Top 10 Indoor Dog Breeds
Boston Terriers are also one of the most people-friendly dogs; affectionate, loving and playful.
These dogs are conveniently small and will not annoy the neighbors with constant yapping. They easily recognized by their dapper black and white tuxedo-like coats. These gentlemanly dogs are definitely indoor dogs, as they cannot handle the heat or the cold very well. They are also easy to house train, are not likely to tear your house apart when left alone, and only need occasional brushing. Generally Boston Terriers weigh between 10 and 25 pounds with an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. They are generally healthy dogs, but some common illnesses include cataracts, patellar luxation and heart murmurs. They can also be gluttons, so their food intake will need to be closely monitored.
While training these dogs respond best to positive techniques that include rewards, praise and motivation.
These dogs have a long history and have been treasured companions for more than 2,000 years.
They are one of the best small dogs for indoors because they are easy to maintain, adapt well to living with other pets, and are devoted to their people. However, these dogs can become intolerant of small children and can be protective of their relationship with their owner. They rely heavily on human contact and can resort to barking or destructive behavior when left alone for hours on end. Though these dogs appear to be delicate, they have quite a bit of energy. They will enjoy routine walks or playing out of doors, but don’t do well in extreme hot or cold weather. Malteses generally weigh up to 7 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Some common illnesses these dogs suffer from include protosystemic liver shunt, progressive retinal atrophy, hypoglycemia, and collapsed trachea.
They will require early socialization and training so they will get along well with both children and other pets.
These dogs are commonly used as therapy dogs, but also have talent as seizure alert dogs because they are so sensitive to humans.
They are easy to train and maintain, and make great indoor dogs because they do not shed. Though these dogs are small enough to lounge in your lap, they are also happy to run and romp around. These dogs are also known to be extroverts, loving to be with people and love to make friends. They will want to be a part of whatever it is you are doing at all times. Generally Papillons weigh between 4 and 9 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Some common health issues of this breed include hypoglycemia, open fontanel, and collapsed trachea.
These make great indoor dogs because they are easy to housetrain as long as you maintain a schedule and keep them crated when you cannot supervise them.
These dogs are utterly charming and great for apartment or condo dwelling.
They are alert, but calm dogs. Though they will be protective of their homes, and will bark when threatened, these dogs are not known to get yappy without a cause. They will require little exercise, but are prone to heatstroke. You should reserve outdoor activities will need to for times of day when the temperature runs cool. These dogs do not need a lot of grooming or entertaining either. However, because they depend so much on human interaction they cannot be left alone for hours on end. These dogs are more of a constant presence, happy to lie at your feet if you are working from home or follow you around the house while you complete your chores. Generally French Bulldogs weigh between 16 and 28 pounds with an average lifespan of 11 to 14 years. Some common health issues for Frenchies include intervertebral disc disease, cleft palate and hip dysplasia.
They make good indoor dogs because they have lower energy levels and will not need that much exercise. All they need are small walks and playful romps around the yard.
These dogs are known for their companionship and are fiercely loyal to their families.
However, for a pint-sized breed these dogs can be commanding and are always entertaining companions. They also have minds of their own and are curious animals, which means they can get into some mischief around the house. Pomeranians have large barks for being such small dogs, and will actually make an excellent watchdogs. But they can get yappy if not trained to stop barking on command. Generally Poms weigh between 3 and 7 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. Common health risks associated with this breed include allergies, epilepsy, eye problems and dental problems. They have a moderate activity level and will need playtimes spread throughout the day to burn off some of their energy.
As for training, Pomeranians have short attention spans so they will require short training sessions if you hope to teach them anything new.
These fluffy white dogs love to entertain. In fact, they were commonly used in circus performance because they were so cute, cuddly and intelligent.
Though they may be boisterous and friendly with family, they are known to be a little more reserved when it comes to meeting and greeting strangers. If intruders are around, this dog will announce their presence. Though they are not overly aggressive dogs, American Eskimos can become problem barkers if not taught proper barking protocol for your home. And barking is not their only method of vocalizing. They are also known to yowl or mumble, their owners are often convinced their Eskies are speaking to them. Generally American Eskimos weigh between 18 and 35 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Some common health risks for this breed include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and juvenile cataracts.
Though these dogs can adjust well to almost any circumstance, they like the colder climates best. They are also indoor dogs through and through and will do best when with their family.
These dogs are most often recognized for their agility, whipping around tracks at lightning speed.
However, this does not mean they require a large yard with open space to run. In fact, these dogs can thrive in smaller spaces. They are actually quiet, gentle and surprisingly mellow. They could spend all day lounging on the couch if you let them. However, you need to keep greyhounds on a leash when you take them out for walks because they are likely to dart after the other animals that skitter across their paths. They are great pets to have for those with allergies as they have a short, smooth coat and no undercoat. Easy to groom and very low maintenance. Generally Greyhounds weigh between 65 and 80 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. These are usually healthy dogs, but can be prone to anesthesia sensitivity, hypothyroidism, osteosarcoma, and bloating.
Greyhounds are also known to be a bit stubborn, and training them will take consistency and sensitivity.
These are another of the well known, ancient breeds with ancestors dating back to over 5,000 years ago.
These dogs are huge, but if you have the room for them they actually make excellent indoor dogs. Mastiffs are calm, great with children and have a low energy level. However, because they are so large, these dogs make great protectors as well. Strangers will think twice about confronting these giants and the dogs will bark to alert you if something suspicious is going on. Generally Mastiffs weigh between 130 and 220 pounds with an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years. Some common health problems for this breed include seizures, cystinuria, and bloating.
Also, because they are so tall you will need to keep food out of reach. Mastiffs, though powerful, will only need leisurely, 20 minute strolls as far as daily exercise.
Historically these dogs were popular companions for the nobility of Spain. They make great indoor dogs because they are small, smart and trainable.
Though they are toy dogs they are also stocky, compact and sturdily built. They are known to get in the way and have proven to be crafty, so you might have to watch out. Fortunately these dogs are not high energy, often remaining docile while indoors. They will form close bonds with their owners and will respond well to obedience training as long as they have proper leadership. Generally Bologneses will weigh between 8 and 14 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
Bologneses will only need short walks for exercise; the rest will come from play. In the outdoors these dogs will be ready to run and romp, while indoors they will be docile and happy.
Though not a purebred, these are a fairly recent “designer dog” or mixed breed of a Pug and a Beagle.
These dogs are known for being fairly low maintenance, cheerful and laid-back. Puggles are loyal, loving, and eager to please their owners. They will need an occasional run around the yard or a walk to burn off some energy but will tire quickly and won’t be up for longer, more strenuous workouts. They are very sweet dogs and will easily fill the empty space in your family you never knew existed. Generally Puggles weigh between 18 and 30 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Some common illnesses of this breed include epilepsy, cherry eye, patellar luxation and hypothyroidism.
These dogs love their owners and will want to be indoors with them. Substantial exercise will keep them from becoming unruly and will help them adapt to all living quarters.
I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.
We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.
On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.