Top 10 Best Indoor Dogs

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Need a couch-surfing pal? Perhaps one who is covered with fur for optimal snuggling? Hey, we get it. The outdoors aren’t for everyone and that’s true of dogs as well! So check out our picks for the best indoor dogs!

With the prices of houses skyrocketing, it’s little wonder that more of us can only afford small living spaces in high rises. Sadly, some people think that they can’t own a dog if they live in a small urban space. Sure, if you live in an apartment or even just an urban setting, you may not have the luxury of a fenced yard or even much outdoor space. But the fact that your living space doesn’t include a spacious yard or an outdoor enclosure shouldn’t mean that you can’t have a pup. Provided that all of their needs are met, there are pooches who would be perfectly happy being a primarily indoor only pet. Looks like you need our list of best indoor dogs.

In cases like this, it is important to pick a dog who doesn’t mind spending the bulk of his time indoors. There are various factors that you need to consider to make sure you’re making the right decision, such as the dog’s energy levels, exercise needs, and space requirements. To save you the time you would have spent to research numerous breeds online, we’ve put together our Top 10 list of Best Indoor Dogs – ideal for people who don’t like to adventure outside that much or who don’t want to keep going up and down 20 flights of stairs! There are dogs for every owner and every home. The key is simply doing the research and finding the right pupper! Indoor dogs are certainly out there. You just need to find yours.

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A Few Things to Think About When Choosing an Indoor Dog

There are a few things that you should think about as you work on choosing the indoor dog breed that will fit in perfectly with the rest of your household. All dogs are different after all. Even indoor dogs come in a variety of bodies and personalities. So, before you dive into our slideshow to learn about a few of the breeds that have been deemed the best choices for those who spend a lot of time indoors, it’s wise to consider the following:

  • Size: The most obvious factor to consider when considering an indoor dog, some dogs are simply going to have a more challenging time fitting into a smaller living space. This isn’t to say that a large dog can’t be low-energy and low-key. Quite the opposite! However, we sometimes have to work within limited space which can be difficult if your dog truly takes up half of your living room. Most dog parents that are looking for an indoor dog are also looking for a dog that’s small enough to curl up next to you on the couch for some relaxing downtime.
  • Barking Habits: Whether you’re living in an apartment in a multi-family house, you’re in a townhouse, or you’re residing in a condo, you’ll have neighbors on the other side of the wall. So it goes without saying that a dog that barks a lot won’t make your neighbors happy. Choose a dog that is known for being rather quiet. A breed that doesn’t bark loudly or often is ideal in these situations.
  • Attitude Towards Strangers: Another thing to consider is how well a particular dog breed gets along with strangers, especially if you are living in an apartment complex where your pooch will be exposed to new people all the time. You don’t want your dog to get stressed out by people he doesn’t know and you certainly don’t want to frighten other people when your dog is around. Dogs are supposed to bring joy to your neighbours! So, your move is to choose a breed that tends to do well around people of all ages and one who isn’t afraid of making new friends everywhere he goes.
  • Shedding: When you’re living in a small space, it can be tough to keep things clean. The last thing you want is a thin layer of dog hair covering everything that you own. So, as you research the many fabulous indoor dog breeds out there, consider how much grooming will be required to keep their coats healthy and how much they’ll shed. A dog that doesn’t shed much can make it easier to keep your indoor space spotless. So, this is important.
  • Exercise Needs: If you choose a dog that will need a lot of exercise and you lead a busy lifestyle or you just don’t like going outside much, everyone in the relationship will be unhappy. Thankfully, there are some dog breeds that don’t mind getting small amounts of physical activity every day. Choosing a dog who enjoys playing inside with his toys, and who can be mentally stimulated with a range of puzzle toys, might be your best option. That’s definitely better than getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise and prefers to run around outside in a big open space. Those dogs don’t do well in apartments
  • Attachment to Owners: Dogs love being around their humans, so it’s always important to spend plenty of time giving your pet attention and affection. But some breeds are better able to cope with being alone inside the house for hours at a time. So if you lead a busy lifestyle and you don’t want your dog to get too bored or lonely while you aren’t home, opt for a breed that is more independent. Or just get two dogs so they can keep each other company whenever you aren’t around! That’s an option as well.

Don’t Miss: Top 10 Best Dog Breeds For Apartments

1. Beagle

Starting off our list of best indoor dogs is the Beagle. The Beagle’s small size makes it a good dog for an indoor lifestyle because they don’t need much space to feel comfortable. Additionally, these pooches are known to bond closely with their family members, and living indoors ensures they are always close to their owners. That’s a huge plus in any Beagle’s book! They want you close and will appreciate the fact that you have no where to hide from their special brand of puppy love.

While Beagles are not overly energetic, they are considered to be an intelligent and a stubborn breed, which means they can become destructive when bored. To prevent this, make sure your pet has plenty of interactive toys to keep them occupied while you’re away! Beagles need something to focus their energy on, so it’s a good idea to have plenty of toys available for them or they will turn some of your most prized possessions into their toys instead.

These cute doggos were originally bred for hunting, but nowadays, most members of this breed use their talented hunter noses to sniff out a stale Cheeto that fell behind the sofa rather than a wild rabbit. However, the fact that Beagles are a hunting breed means that they’re not your typical couch potato. They do have moderate exercise needs, but nothing a good daily walk won’t take care of. And if you tire them out with a good game of fetch, you can be sure your four-legged friend will spend the rest of the day napping on the couch. Thankfully it won’t take much to tucker out your Beagle.

It should be noted that beagles can be louder dogs if they aren’t trained on when it’s appropriate to bark, and when it’s not. If left to their own devices, it’s not at all uncommon to see a beagle bark at everything that moves including passing pedestrians, the mailman, a squirrel on the front lawn, or even some leaves being blown in the wind. This isn’t to say that they can’t be trained to be quieter dogs, however, it is going to take both time and patience. Make sure that you’re ready for the commitment.

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2. Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher is a central European toy breed, so its size alone makes it a good candidate for our best indoor dogs list. These tiny little doggos can make a home out of even the smallest spaces. That said, it’s not only the petite size that got the “monkey dog” a spot on this list. Nope, these sweet little pooches have a myriad of traits that make them ideal for apartment living.

Affenpinschers were first bred to be ratters, but they’ve come so far from their beginnings in the slumps- it didn’t take long for the nobles and the royals to fall under the spell of these mini pooches! And with good reason too: these wiry little terriers have fabulous personalities. They are smart, playful, loving, and have a lot of spunk! Their vivacious temperament doesn’t make them energetic, though, as these are your typical lap dogs that don’t have much need for intensive exercise. They need more love than exercise, which is perfect for indoor kid puppy owners everywhere.

Your average Affenpinscher will be perfectly happy with a daily walk around the block, but their exercise needs can be realistically met with indoor playtime. So, even if you don’t plan on taking your monkey dog out for many walks, you will have to tucker them out with some hearty play sessions in your apartment. And of course, don’t forget to provide them with mental challenges too. These smart doggos will love playing with puzzles and various dog toys that tickle their brains.

(Photo credit: Craig Pemberton/Wikimedia)

3. Chihuahua

Our best indoor dogs picks wouldn’t be complete without the Chihuahua, a breed that’s been one of the most popular choices for apartment dwellers for years. Size-wise, these little doggos are ideal for people living in studios and small apartments (although these fab canines don’t mind living large in villas, either!). Add in the fact that Chihuahuas do not require a great deal of daily exercise, and it’s easy to see why so many people decide on this breed for apartment living.

On the other hand, Chihuahuas can be a handful. You shouldn’t get one if their appearance is the deciding factor. While undoubtedly adorable, these dogs have a mind of their own and won’t hesitate to show it. They are notoriously hard to housebreak, so unless you have experience with potty training dogs, you’ll have to take them out to do their business fairly often. But if you love small and sassy pooches, you’ll be rewarded with loyalty and affection only a Chihuahua can give you! Just don’t feed them Taco Bell no matter how fond your are of their 90s add campaign. Trust us, that won’t end well!

They are also known to be ‘yappy’ or even aggressive if they aren’t trained properly. Your new dog may be ‘pocket-sized’, but they are still a dog and need to be treated with the same level of dedication that every other breed is. Connect with a local dog trainer to help raise a well-behaved and well-mannered pup.

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4. Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a friendly and affectionate breed that loves nothing more than spending some quality time with their family. These tuxedo-wearing doggos have even earned the nickname “The American Gentlemen” due to their exceptional house manners and gentle temperament. Both of these gentlemanly traits are highly desirable in a good furry roommate (or even a good human roommate for that matter!). And as if their charming looks and lovable personality weren’t enough to make them ideal indoor dogs, Boston Terriers are also generally quite quiet. These laid-back furballs will be more interested in getting into your lap than guarding their turf, which means no excessive barking at the door. They are far too laid back and lovable for that.

Since they have both English and French Bulldog in their family tree, these compact canines tend to be on the lazier side. They are not that big on outdoor adventures and prefer kicking it back on the sofa. They’ll be perfectly happy if they get to snuggle with you! This doesn’t mean they don’t need to be exercised, though: daily walks and some quality playtime will ensure your Boston Terrier stays happy and fit. But in general, they won’t feel pent up from long periods of lounging on the couch. In fact, they’ll love staying indoors and snuggling up on the sofa just as much as you!

(Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock)

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Not only is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel an attractive breed, but it is also perfect for a leisurely life inside. Centuries ago, these pretty pooches were a favorite breed on the European courts and their aristocratic background left a trace in their character. That’s right, these regal-looking puppers have the manners worthy of royalty. But don’t let that intimidate you: Cavaliers don’t need a palace to be happy. Your humble abode will do! You may want to treat them like royalty because they are so adorable, but thankfully not because they demand a palatial estate.

These dogs are highly adaptable and love nothing more than to curl up next to their human on the couch. Plus, they are small enough that they don’t require a lot of space. So it’s not like you’ll have to fight them for a comfy spot on the couch, a little nook in your side will do. Be warned, though: Cavaliers are known as “velcro dogs,” and they can be needy and clingy. But if you don’t mind having an adoring pooch, you’ll be happy to know that your close presence alone is more than enough to make these doggos spend most of their time indoors!

When it comes to exercise, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel don’t share the high level of energy with their larger cousins, and have moderate exercise requirements. Daily strolls will keep these toy royals in top shape! These dogs aren’t that demanding. All they need is your love to be content.

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6. English Bulldog

If it’s cold and rainy outside, stay inside with your cuddle buddy, the English Bulldog! Bulldogs love to spend time with their families – especially with children – and they do not have high exercise requirements. In fact, these dogs would be perfectly content to spend most of the day napping and snoring on the couch. Their short legs were not made for hikes or long walks in the first place, so what’s a pooch to do besides kicking back and enjoying that pampered indoor life? Doesn’t that sound nice?

The Bulldog’s famed laziness extends to barking, too, as these canines can’t be bothered to be yappy. It can be said that this breed is generally quiet… but only if you ignore their loud breathing, snoring, and the occasional fart. All things considered, these doggos will be more than happy living in an apartment- as long as you can keep them cool on a hot day. The only thing you have to worry about are those dastardly bulldog farts. Those can be a little rough in a small setting, so be prepared.

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7. Dachshund

The wiener dog is only 8 inches to 9 inches tall- it’s no wonder that these pooches are one of the most popular indoor dog breeds! Don’t let the petite size of the Doxies fool you, though: these dogs have a lively nature and an independent spirit. They were originally bred to hunt badgers, and while their hunting adventures are mostly far behind the breed, the stubbornness and perseverance remain the prominent traits of these canines. Nevertheless, Dachshunds have a sweet nature and respond well to positive reinforcement training, which means that housebreaking them won’t be an ordeal.

Doxies are loyal companions who will love spending time with their owners, whether it’s a cuddle session on the sofa or a game of fetch. Since these little dogs are energetic and playful by nature, they do require a good daily walk. Did you really think that their sausage-shape bod didn’t require hard work? Quite the opposite. A big belly on a doxie will drag on the ground and cause some painful health problems. So you’ll want to keep them well walk and svelte. However, as long as this need is met, the Dachshund is perfectly suited to indoor living in a house, apartment, or any other urban dwelling.

If you are looking for a pup that thrive in a limited space while still encouraging you to get out and get moving, a dachshund is a great option! Their exercise needs (approximately 30 minutes of exercise for a miniature doxie or 60 minutes for a standard each day) will require you to work a daily walk into your usual routine, increasing your level of physical activity and promoting better health for you and your family. At the same time, most of the bad habits that a dachshund may pick up while living in an apartment or condo can be kept under control easily by giving them the opportunity to burn off any pent-up energy.

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8. Great Dane

You may be surprised to hear that the Great Dane made it on our best indoor dogs list simply because of its size. I mean, at 100 to 200 pounds, these are some ginormous pooches. In reality though, Great Danes are fairly lazy dogs. So, they do not require a great deal of daily exercise and they’re not overly energetic. The chances are that a medium-sized dog such as a Border Collie would have a much harder time living indoors than a giant breed.

In addition to being mellow and easy going, these majestic canines are also quiet by nature. They do have a powerful woof, but they won’t bark for barking’s sake, as some breeds tend to do. Pair that with the fact that these gentle giants are known to be very affectionate and loyal to their family, and you’ll get a fantastic family dog who is fit for an apartment! Apart from their daily walk, Great Danes won’t need extensive physical activity. So feel free to forgo any outdoor adventure. this fella is just as happy taking up the couch. He might take up the whole couch though, so it may be worth investing in another sofa just for your new furry friend.

If you have a large enough space to allow your new dog to move freely through your living space as well as the ideal location for a large (and we mean LARGE) dog bed, a Great Dane can easily adjust to any living situation from upper-level condo units to smaller basement apartments. Their affectionate personalities simply want to be somewhere where they can be near the people that they love every day.

(Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock)

9. Pug

Also making our list of best indoor dogs is the Pug. These squashed faced puppers are one of the oldest breeds in the world, and they’re still as popular as ever! And Pugs are treasured by many for a good reason: these unique-looking canines are cuddly, smart, fun, and small in size. This mix of pawesome traits makes them ideal indoor dogs. As if you needed another reason to love a Pug! Just looking at one of these cuties should be enough to make you want to bring one home.

In addition to their lovable looks, Pugs are best known for their sweet nature. They are easy going but tend to bond strongly with their family members, so count on them following you around and making you smile with their clownish antics!

Even though this dog has an active and energetic personality, they tend to do well indoors and in smaller living spaces. As long as you give your pug a daily walk and plenty of attention he will be perfectly happy no matter what size your home is.

An important consideration when adopting a brachycephalic dog like the pug is that they can have difficulty breathing if they are in a higher temperature area. While this isn’t unique to apartment living, apartments that fail to provide enough airflow or the presence of an air conditioning setup may get stuffy during the warmer summer months. Make sure that you have a solution in place to keep your apartment at a comfortable level for your dog’s overall health and well-being.

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10. Havanese

“Oh, no, I can’t go outside – the wind might mess up my beautiful hair!” This adorable diva finished off our list of indoor dog breeds. Known for their long silky coats, the Havanese is an adaptable breed that would rather snuggle on a comfy couch than go on a hike. This toy breed is ideal for apartment dwellers both because of their small size -they weigh 7 to 13 pounds on average- and their pawesome personalities. Cuddly and laid back, these pooches are every pet parent’s dream come true!

To boot, The National Dog of Cuba is not a yapper. Sure, they’ll bark same as any other doggo would, but you won’t have any neighbors complaining about your pet being loud. If anything, your Havanese will probably be everybody’s favorite tenant!

These dogs are playful but their exercise requirements can often be met with indoor play. If you throw in a short daily walk, your Havanese will be perfectly content – truly, a top contender in our best indoor dogs top 10!

Do you have any other suggestions for ideal indoor dogs? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

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Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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