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Best Large Dogs for Apartments: 19 Top Picks

Looking for the best large dogs for apartments? You’re not alone.

Finding a big dog for an apartment can be a real challenge. Even if you do manage to find an apartment building that will allow dogs larger than a certain weight, you need to find a breed that will fit into your lifestyle.

It’s a myth that big dogs can’t live in small spaces, but you do want to make sure you find the right one. In this post we’re exploring large dog breeds suitable for apartment living. Whether you’re a first time renter or moving to a new dog-friendly place, these are the best large dogs for apartments.

Best Large Apartment Dogs

Labrador Retrievers like this super cute black one make some of the best large dogs for apartments.

1. Labrador Retriever

Weight: 29-36kg (Male), 25-32kg (Female)
Height: 57–62 cm (Male), 55–60 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 80 minutes
Temperament: Playful, Warm, Friendly
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

With their friendly disposition and intelligence, Labrador Retrievers can be wonderful apartment dogs. They’re able to get along harmoniously with pets AND people, which can make them great small home buddies.

But they are large dogs, so their success in smaller space will rely heavily on regular walks and outdoor activity. These cute dogs are adaptable to apartment living, so long as you train them with consistency and live.

As long as you’ve got the physical space for them (they’re going to need a bed) and you’re active enough to ensure you can meet their exercise needs, they can thrive in a compact living situation. 

Technically medium-sized dogs, bulldogs LOVE a good apartment life.

2. Bulldog

Weight: 18-25kg (Male), 18-23kg (Female)
Height: 31-40 cm (Male), 31-38 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Low
Daily Exercise Requirement: 20 minutes
Temperament: Calm, Courageous, Affectionate
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Known for their wrinkled face and stocky build, Bulldogs exude a calm demeanor and charm. Their laid-back nature suits apartment settings, effortlessly coexisting with both kids and adults.

However, their brachycephalic build means they can get overheated, so indoor chills are their favorite. They could also turn out to be a more costly breed with long-term medical conditions, so make sure you check your budget to make sure it can handle the cost of a dog!

Provide them with a cozy corner and some toys, and they’ll be your serene city companion. Regular check-ups and indoor play will keep them happy in snug quarters.

Surprisingly, Great Danes make for great apartment dogs because of their laid back temperament.

3. Great Dane

Weight: 54-90kg (Male), 45-59kg (Female)
Height: 76-86 cm (Male), 71-81 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Friendly, Dependable, Reserved
OK for First Time Owners? No

Dubbed the “gentle giants” of the canine world, Great Danes bring grace to apartment living, especially if you’re living alone.

Their calm and placid nature can be misleading given their towering stature. Though they might stretch out on your couch, their low energy levels mean less mischief indoors.

Daily walks and open spaces will ensure they stay fit and content. If you have room for their sprawling naps and can offer a routine stroll, they’re ideal urban pals.

The Saint Bernard is a handsome and apartment friendly dog.

4. Saint Bernard

Weight: 64-82kg (Male), 54-64kg (Female)
Height: 70-90 cm (Male), 65-80 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Gentle, Watchful, Friendly
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

With their heartwarming eyes and massive build, Saint Bernards are big bundles of love.

Although originally mountain rescuers, they adapt surprisingly well to apartment vibes. They’re peaceful, getting along splendidly with families. Their size demands a bigger bed space (so get ready to share!), and their drool might require some clean-up.

Regular outdoor ventures and cuddling sessions will keep them ecstatic in smaller homes.

Basset Hounds do great in small spaces, as long as there's an elevator.

5. Basset Hound

Weight: 25-34 kg (Male), 20-29 kg (Female)
Height: 30-38 cm (Male), 28-36 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Low
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Gentle, Adaptable, Tenacious
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Characterized by droopy eyes and long ears, Basset Hounds bring a unique charm to city living.

Their docile temperament and moderate energy levels make them excellent for apartments. While they love leisurely strolls, they’re equally content lounging indoors. A comfy bed and some nose work games can keep them entertained.

With the right balance of relaxation and play, they can flourish in close quarters.

Despite their speedy reputation, Greyhounds also make for good couch buddies.

6. Greyhound

Weight: 27-40 kg (Male), 26-34 kg (Female)
Height: 71-76 cm (Male), 68-71 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Low
Daily Exercise Requirement: 20-60 minutes
Temperament: Gentle, Quiet, Independent
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Slender and swift, Greyhounds are the athletes of the dog world.

Yet, contrary to their racing reputation, they’re nicknamed “couch potatoes”. Their affectionate and gentle nature makes them great for apartments. A soft couch, daily walks, and some playtime are their basic requirements.

If you offer them a peaceful environment and regular exercise, they’ll settle beautifully into urban living.

Siberian Huskies are sassy little dogs that can make an apartment work for them.

7. Siberian Husky

Weight: 20-27kg (Male), 16-23kg (Female)
Height: 53-60 cm (Male), 51-56 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: High
Daily Exercise Requirement: 60-120 minutes
Temperament: Outgoing, Independent, Loyal
OK for First Time Owners? No

With striking eyes and a wolf-like appearance, Siberian Huskies are a blend of beauty and energy. While they’re adventurous and lively, they can adapt to apartments if their energy is channeled right.

Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and play are crucial. Their sociability makes them fantastic neighbors, but they do have a talkative side! If you can commit to their active lifestyle and vocal nature, they can be your snowy-faced city companion.

Newfoundlands are basically large gigantic teddy bears.

8. Newfoundland

Weight: 59-68kg (Male), 45-54kg (Female)
Height: 69-74 cm (Male), 63-69 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Gentle, Sweet-Natured, Patient
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

With their gentle giant persona, Newfoundlands are affectionate beings that bring warmth to any space.

Their kind-hearted nature allows them to blend seamlessly with children and other pets. While their size might seem intimidating, their docile temperament is tailor-made for apartment living. However, they do love a good swim and outdoor play.

Secure them a comfy sleeping spot, indulge them in water games when possible, and they’ll be your loyal apartment ally.

Boxers are great, albeit grumpy-looking companions.

9. Boxer

Weight: 27-32kg (Male), 25-29kg (Female)
Height: 57-63 cm (Male), 53-60 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: High
Daily Exercise Requirement: 60-90 minutes
Temperament: Fun-Loving, Bright, Active
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Boxers, with their boundless energy and expressive eyes, can be vibrant additions to city homes.

Their playful antics and love for humans make them delightful indoor companions. They require a good dose of daily play and walks to channel their enthusiasm. Training them early on and providing engaging toys can help them adjust to apartment life.

Dedicate time for their workouts and enjoy their affectionate cuddles in return. As a bonus, they can make for great small-space friendly guard dogs – extra security measures!

Golden Retrievers need A LOT of exercise but they make for great bed buddies.

10. Golden Retriever

Weight: 29-34kg (Male), 25-29kg (Female)
Height: 58-61 cm (Male), 55-57 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: High
Daily Exercise Requirement: 60-90 minutes
Temperament: Friendly, Intelligent, Devoted
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Golden Retrievers, with their radiant coats and ever-wagging tails, epitomize joy.

Their sociable nature and intelligence make them beloved family members. While they are large, their adaptability and eagerness to please make them suited for apartments. Regular play sessions, walks, and consistent training are key.

Give them a cozy corner to rest, and they’ll shower you with unconditional love in your urban abode.

American Staffordshire Terriers are great companions, despite their shady rep!

11. American Staffordshire Terrier

Weight: 25-30kg (Male), 18-27kg (Female)
Height: 40-48 cm (Male), 40-45 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: High
Daily Exercise Requirement: 60-90 minutes
Temperament: Confident, Good-Natured, Loyal
OK for First Time Owners? No

Known for their robust build and heart of gold, American Staffordshire Terriers blend strength with sensitivity.

Their loyalty to their humans is unparalleled. They thrive on human interaction and can fit well in apartments if given enough exercise. Regular walks, playtime, and positive reinforcement can mold them into ideal city pets.

Secure a space for them to relax, and they’ll be your devoted guardian and friend. Note that these are NOT a great dog for first-timers as they need some real structure!

Bernese Mountain Dogs are another gorgeous choice for apartment dogs

12. Bernese Mountain Dog

Weight: 38-50kg (Male), 36-48kg (Female)
Height: 64-70 cm (Male), 58-66 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Intelligent
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Originating from mountainous terrains, Bernese Mountain Dogs bring a blend of strength and tenderness.

Their tricolor coat and gentle eyes make them visually captivating. Though sizable, their serene disposition makes them apartment-compatible. They cherish human company and outdoor adventures in equal measure.

Commit to their grooming needs, offer them a spacious bed, and they’ll be your calming presence amidst city chaos.

Bullmastiffs are MASSIVE dogs that are shockingly apartment friendly, as long as they have the right amount of exercise.

13. Bullmastiff

Weight: 50-59kg (Male), 45-54kg (Female)
Height: 63-69 cm (Male), 61-66 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Protective, Courageous, Calm
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Sturdy and noble, Bullmastiffs are guardians with a soft side. Their protective instinct is paired with a love for lounging indoors. Their low activity levels are a boon for apartment dwellers.

However, they need structured training to polish their manners. Ensure they have a roomy resting place and engage in regular walks, and they’ll be your trustworthy city sentinel, always watching over you.

Afghan Houns are a good choice for a large hypoallergenic dogs.

14. Afghan Hound

Weight: 25-27kg (Male), 23-25kg (Female)
Height: 68-74 cm (Male), 63-69 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Independent, Sweet-Natured, Aloof
OK for First Time Owners? No

With their flowing, silky coats and regal demeanor, Afghan Hounds exude an air of elegance.

Their graceful nature is coupled with a playful side, making them charming apartment companions. Though they enjoy running, their indoor manners are impeccable. Commit to their grooming needs and offer them regular outdoor jaunts.

With a cozy bed to lounge on and an owner who understands their majestic ways, they’ll glide seamlessly into apartment life.

Rhodesian Ridgeback are pretty dogs that can live in apartments

15. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Weight: 36-38kg (Male), 29-32kg (Female)
Height: 63-69 cm (Male), 61-66 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Loyal, Mischievous, Dignified
OK for First Time Owners? No

Rhodesian Ridgebacks, known for their unique spine ridge, are a blend of courage and affection. They have an innate protective instinct, but their warm heart allows them to befriend both pets and people.

Despite their athletic build, they adapt well to indoor living. Regular exercise sessions and consistent training are vital. Secure a snug spot for them, and they’ll stand as both your sentinel and your loving companion.

Standard Poodles can be good apartment dogs.

16. Standard Poodle

Weight: 27-32kg (Male), 18-23kg (Female)
Height: 45-61 cm (Male), 45-61 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Energy Level: High
Daily Exercise Requirement: 60-90 minutes
Temperament: Intelligent, Active, Alert
OK for First Time Owners? Yes

Highly intelligent and ever so stylish, Standard Poodles are a delight to have in apartments.

Their keen intellect means they’re quick learners, and their hypoallergenic coat is a bonus for indoor living. They love being in the company of their humans and bond harmoniously with other pets.

Regular grooming and mental stimulation are key. Dedicate a plush bed for them, and they’ll be your sophisticated, feathered friend in the city.

Irish Wolfhounds are apartment friendly dogs.

17. Irish Wolfhound

Weight: 68-91kg (Male), 54-77kg (Female)
Height: 78-86 cm (Male), 71-77 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 20-40 minutes
Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Generous
OK for First Time Owners? No

Tall and gentle, Irish Wolfhounds are giants with soft hearts. Their history as hunters doesn’t stop them from being gentle giants in apartment settings.

They love lounging and are surprisingly low-energy indoors. They do, however, cherish the occasional romp outside. With adequate space to stretch their long limbs and regular walks, they can be a calm and loving presence in city homes.

Shar Peis are cute, but can be territorial.

18. Shar Pei

Weight: 25-29 kg (Male), 18-25 kg (Female)
Height: 46-56 cm (Male), 43-53 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Low to Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 30-60 minutes
Temperament: Independent, Loyal, Calm
OK for First Time Owners? No

Distinct for their wrinkled skin, Shar Peis are loyal dogs with a touch of independence. They are often reserved but deeply devoted to their families.

Their moderate energy levels make them suitable for apartment living, but they appreciate routine and structure. Regular check-ups for their unique skin and a soft bed to snuggle in are essentials.

With proper care and training, they’ll be your steadfast, folded friend. It’s worth noting that Shar Peis can sometimes be territorial dogs, so make sure you socialize them from a young age.

Dogue de Bordeaux are a beautiful, apartment-adaptable dog.

19. Dogue de Bordeaux

Weight: 54-65kg (Male), 45-54kg (Female)
Height: 60-67 cm (Male), 57-65 cm (Female)
Hypoallergenic: No
Energy Level: Low to Moderate
Daily Exercise Requirement: 20-40 minutes
Temperament: Courageous, Affectionate, Calm
OK for First Time Owners? No

Powerful yet affectionate, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a gentle giant at heart. With their deep-set eyes and strong build, they can be both protective and tender. They thrive on human interaction and can settle well in apartments with enough space.

egular walks, play sessions, and a spacious bed are a must. Show them love and consistent training, and they’ll be your loyal protector and cuddly companion in urban settings.

Worst Large Dogs for Apartments

While some large dogs are simply misunderstood because of their size, not all large or medium-sized dogs are suitable for apartment living.

The environment in which a dog thrives often comes down to its breed-specific characteristics, energy levels, and temperament. When living in an apartment, it’s crucial to consider these factors to ensure the well-being of both the dog and the residents.

Here are some breeds that might be challenging to keep in an apartment setting:


While some Rottweilers might adjust to apartment living, many of them possess a natural guarding instinct. As a result, an apartment’s confined space might make them feel overly protective, leading them to become suspicious or aggressive towards strangers.

Their size and strength can also make them a handful in such spaces, especially if they aren’t trained or socialized well from a young age. If you have personal experience with one, you’d know how crucial it is for them to have a clear understanding of their territory.

I say this as a mom to a particularly rambunctious 4-year-old Rottweiler, if you’re going to be living in an apartment give it a GOOD LONG think before you get yourself a Rottweiler. They are also NOT a good first-time dog owner pick.

Great Pyrenees

These dogs are known for their independence and their history as livestock guardians. Because of their instinctual drive to roam and patrol, they might find the limited space of an apartment restricting.

Their protective nature also means they’re likely to bark at unfamiliar noises, which can be frequent in an apartment setting. These pups do amazing on an acreage or farm where they have ample space to move around and exercise their guardian instincts.

German Shepherds

Much like the Rottweiler, German Shepherds are highly protective and often used for police and military work due to their intelligence and guarding instincts.

Their active nature and need for mental stimulation can be hard to satisfy in an apartment. Without the proper training and exercise, they can become anxious and destructive. This is another pup you’ll want to be experienced with before you bring one home.

Australian Cattle Dogs

These dogs are known for their high energy levels and intelligence. Often used for herding cattle, they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation.

The limited space of an apartment might not be enough to meet their activity needs. Without adequate exercise, they can become restless and exhibit destructive behaviors. In alignment with many other working dogs (like Rotties and Shepards), these are not a good first-time dog.

Alaskan Malamutes

Similar to the previously mentioned Siberian Huskies, Malamutes are sled dogs that have a natural instinct to work and pull. Their high energy levels and strength can be difficult to manage in small spaces. Additionally, their thick double coat can be a challenge to handle in an apartment, as they shed heavily.


As a kid I LOVED Dalmatians (thank you, Disney) but these energetic dogs are not for the faint of hearts. Bred to run alongside carriages, Dalmatians have a lot of energy that needs to be expended.

In a confined apartment setting, they might become restless or develop behavioral issues if they don’t receive adequate exercise. Unfortunately, behavior issues with Dalmatians are a lot more common than most people think.

Belgian Malinois

Often confused with German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois are equally protective and energetic. They are widely used in police and military roles and require a lot of physical and mental stimulation. An apartment setting might not offer them the space and exercise they need, leading to potential behavior problems.


Known for their sleek silver-grey coat and striking eyes, Weimaraners are active and intelligent hunting dogs. Their energy levels are quite high, and they thrive on physical activity and mental challenges. An apartment might not provide the space they require, making them prone to restlessness and destructive behaviors if not adequately exercised.

What to Consider When Picking a Large Apartment Dog

When choosing a large dog for an apartment setting, it’s essential to consider various factors beyond size alone to ensure both you and your pet have a harmonious living situation. Like we mentioned, NOT all dogs are going to thrive in a small space, but here are a few factors you might want to consider:

  1. Energy Levels: Not all large dogs are high-energy. Some big breeds are quite sedentary and can adapt well to apartment living, as long as they get regular walks. It’s essential to pick a dog whose energy level matches your lifestyle and living space.
  2. Exercise Needs: While a large dog might be content in a smaller space, they still need regular exercise. If you can’t take your dog out daily, consider hiring a sitter to ensure they get the activity they require.
  3. Temperament: Some large dogs have more docile or adaptable temperaments, making them better suited for close-quarter living.
  4. Noise Sensitivity: Apartments often have a lot of ambient noise from neighbors and street activity. Choose a breed that isn’t overly sensitive to noise to prevent stress and unwanted barking.
  5. Size vs. Activity Level: Some large breeds are less active and may be more suitable for apartment living than smaller but high-energy breeds.
  6. Considerations for Renting: If you’re renting, some landlords or property management companies may have restrictions on dog breeds or sizes. If you’re having trouble securing a place, creating a pet resume describing your dog’s nature and any training can be helpful.
  7. Grooming Needs: Some large dogs shed more than others, which can be a factor in an apartment, especially if space is limited for grooming.
  8. Health Considerations: Be aware of any breed-specific health issues, as regular vet visits might be more challenging if you don’t have transportation.
Cover image for best large apartment dogs post

Tips for Living in an Apartment With a Large Dog

Living with a large dog in an apartment presents unique challenges but with some preparation and understanding, both you and your dog can have a comfortable experience. Here are some tips:

  1. Know Your Breed: Different breeds have different energy levels and temperaments. Understand the specific needs and characteristics of your dog’s breed to provide adequate care.
  2. Exercise is Crucial: Ensure your dog gets sufficient exercise daily, even if it’s just long walks. Adequate activity helps manage energy levels and reduces potential destructive behaviors.
  3. Indoor Activities: On days when going outside is not possible, find activities to engage your dog indoors, like playing fetch or providing puzzle toys.
  4. Create a Comfortable Space: Dedicate a comfy corner for your dog with a bed or cushion. This will give them their own spot in the apartment.
  5. Routine is Key: Establish and maintain a routine for feeding, walks, and playtime. Consistency helps in reducing anxiety and ensures a happier dog.
  6. Training: Focus on training to ensure good behavior. Basic obedience and commands can help manage potential issues in a confined space.
  7. Manage Toys: To avoid clutter, rotate your dog’s toys. This not only keeps the space tidy but also keeps the dog excited about “new” toys.
  8. Understand Apartment Rules: Before moving in, check with the apartment management about any breed or size restrictions to avoid potential complications.

Remember, with proper care, attention, and understanding, even large dogs can thrive in apartment settings.

Final Thoughts: Best Large Dogs for Apartments

In wrapping up our exploration of the best large dogs for apartment living, it’s crucial to emphasize that not every large dog is suited for a compact space. However, breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, Bulldog, and Great Dane have proven to adapt well to apartment life, demonstrating that size isn’t the only determining factor.

It’s equally vital for potential dog owners to be aware that many apartments have restrictions on large dog breeds. Even if that isn’t the case, if your apartment access is reliant solely on stairs, it’s recommended to reconsider adopting a large dog. Navigating stairs frequently can strain their joints, potentially leading to health issues as they age.

Always ensure that your living environment is as comfortable for your furry friend as it is for you. There are plenty of dogs that do well with an apartment space – make sure that you do your research before you bring one home!

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