The best dog breeds for flats

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  • Owning a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of asthma and allergies in kids, and lower stress levels.
  • Most people think the size of your home should determine the size of your ideal dog.
  • You want a dog who’s not a big barker, is sociable with new humans and other dogs, and is comfortable with loud noises and crowded streets. 

Owning a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce the risk of asthma and allergies in kids, and lower stress levels.

You might think the size of your home should determine the size of your ideal dog. But that’s not always true.

Turns out, tiny dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier tend to have a big set of pipes with an even bigger attitude.

"A lot of small dogs are actually really good alert dogs, good little watch dogs. And they're gonna bark when they hear people walking down the hall or talking in the lobby passageways,” says Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary.

Not a great attribute if your neighbours live a few metres away. So, what should you look for in an flat-friendly pooch?

"Dogs sleep about 16, 17 hours a day and as long as you can provide a dog with the right amount of mental simulation and exercise, even a big dog can be happy in a small place."

For starters, you want a dog who’s not a big barker, is sociable with new humans and other dogs, and is comfortable with loud noises and crowded streets. Mixed breeds can make an amazing apartment pet. But if you’re looking for pure-breds, here are the blue-ribbon winners for apartment living, according to the American Kennel Club.

First up is the … Greyhound?! 


That’s right! They may be the world’s fastest canine, but these guys often spend 16-18 hours sleeping. Just make sure, in addition to regular exercise, they have the chance to sprint a 2-3 times a week.

Next is the Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka — or Bolonka for short. 

(Svenska Mässan/Wikimedia)

You may have never heard of it but these guys were actually bred to be the ultimate apartment pet. They don’t need hours of daily exercise — in fact, the American Kennel Club suggests a long walk a few times a week in addition to their daily routine. They’re also excellent at learning new tricks. But they do like to alert their owners of goings-on in the neighbourhood. So it’s best to teach them proper barking manners early on.

Now, if you had your heart set on a Yorkie, you might want to try a Biewer instead. 

(Detlef Breiting/Wikimedia)

They were bred from Yorkshire Terriers, but are more mellow and easy-going. They enjoy the outdoors but will also play catch inside, and are easy to teach new tricks.

Next up is an especially popular breed among city dwellers, the French Bulldog

Despite its name, this breed actually came from England. A short daily walk is typically sufficient to keep them in shape. They also enjoy canine sports like obedience and agility. But the flat-faced breed often has difficulty breathing. So make sure your frenchie doesn't overexert itself in hot weather.

Last but not least is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

That flashy title isn’t a coincidence. These guys were the breed of choice for 17th Century British nobility. They’re known for their smarts, are easy to train, and readily adapt to new people and environments.

Now it’s important to note that breed doesn’t guarantee anything.

“Each individual dog, even within a specific breed, is gonna have its own temperament and personality. And so a good owner spends time with their dog and figures out what makes their dog most happy,” said DiNardo.  

 “It’s fun to do things with your dog, and by spending more time with your dog, your bond increases.” 

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