What is the best dog for apartment living in Australia? It’s a loaded question depending on the qualities you are looking for in a furry best friend.

Most behavioural  issues of dogs – barking, chewing and escaping – can be overcome by exercising, educating and socialising your dog.

But just like apartments, not all dogs are created equal and each breed has different requirements.

And given the average lifespan of a dog can be between eight –18+ years, you’re going to have to be ready for a huge time commitment.

Things to consider before adopting a dog to live in an apartment

You will have to commit to walking your pooch morning and evening, playing with it and providing some basic training at a minimum if you are serious about owning a dog.

The noise level associated with certain breeds is also worth considering, with some dogs more vocal than others.

It’s also worthwhile to consider you lifestyle and living space before you get a dog as they are also not suited to being left alone for long periods – will you make time to exercise and play?

Are the balconies safe and of suitable size for the dog? Will you give the dog access to windows so it can look out? Are there dog-friendly parks and walking areas nearby? Is the body corporate pet friendly?

Another tip would be to talk with your neighbours if you decide to get a dog. If they know a puppy is coming they might be more amicable should behavioural issues arise.

What are the laws for having a dog in an apartment?

There is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) that prohibits you from keeping a pet, or that requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet.

In Victoria, new laws on pets and renting came into effect in 2020, which stipulate tenants must now request their landlord’s consent to bring a new pet into the property. However, landlords must not unreasonably refuse – it does not matter when their lease started.

Allowing tenants to keep pets in private rental properties is at the discretion of property owners in South Australia, with additional approval also required from the strata or community corporation.

Western Australia includes pet bonds as part of residential tenancy agreements where pets are allowed. No more than $260 can be charged to meet the cost of fumigation at the end of the tenancy. The presence of the pet must be stated in the lease, with permission also given by the landlord.

Tasmania and Queensland allow a pet at the property if the owner has agreed and if it is in the lease.

You should always research the body corporate requirements and make sure you have written permission from this authority to proceed. Also make sure to research the best dog for apartment blocks and town houses.

The best dog for apartment living in Australia 

Living in an apartment doesn’t mean your pets are limited a couple of goldfish in a tank. ANZPJ has broken down all of the breeds which make good companions in compact urban spaces.

Scottish Terrier

Initially one of the highland breeds of terrier, the mighty Scottish Terrier are easy-going with children and strangers. Boston Terriers can grow up to 28cm and weigh as much as 10kg. The breed isn’t going to be able to run a marathon with you, but makes for a perfect walking companion.

Scottish Terriors short-legged wonder was originally bred to hunt prey such as badgers and foxes, and he has therefore developed into a self-directed and opinionated companion. The don’t naturally trust strangers, but If they decide to befriend you, it will be for life.

Too smart to forget anything, the Scottie is also brave and loyal.

Scottish Terrier

A Scottish terrier makes a great dog for an apartment.

Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier is a small breed of dog that will grown up to 28cms in size and will weigh approximately 6kg. The terrier breed tends to chase and is active indoors, so will require daily walks.

The breed has low to no shedding, with the main maintenance being the requirement to trim the hair around the eyes regularly. Terriers will bark at strangers and need to be socialised with kids of all ages early in their lives. This breed of dog can live to 15 years or older.

Basset Hound

The Basset Hound breed requires one long walk in the morning and a shorter walk in the evening, along with daily play time. Basset Hounds can grow to 38cm tall and will weigh up to 29kg – don’t overfeed them as extra weight places too great a load on the legs and spine.

This breed can bark if their mental and physical needs are not met, although they are generally friendly with children and strangers. Basset Hounds constantly shred and need to be regularly brushed.


Greyhounds are so calm and sociable indoors; they are sometimes be considered lazy. While friendly, Greyhounds can have a prey instinct and will chase anything that moves quicky – they have been known to kill cats and other domestic animals as they are extremely fast.

On the larger side of the scale, Greyhounds will grow to 76cm tall and can weigh up to 32kg. The smooth, short-haired coat is very easy to groom and the breed can live up to 12 years old. Greyhounds may be prone to bloat and are sensitive to drugs including insecticides.


Originating in China, the Pekingese is a breed of toy dog are relatively inactive indoors but still require at least one walk per day. Living up to 15 years, the breed can grow to 45cm and weigh 5kg.

It may not be the best dog for apartment living because its difficult to housebreak. Pekingese are also prone to minor health problems like skin fold dermatitis; eye diseases; and early-onset heart murmurs.

These dogs also have high maintenance grooming requirements each day. Pekingese require combing and brushing of their very long, double coat. Owners must also clean their face and eyes daily.


It’s like a greyhound, but smaller.

Weighing up to 21kg and reaching 56cm tall, the Whippet will live up to 15 years old. Whippets need to run free on open ground, along with a brisk daily walk on a leash. They are good with children, as long do not roughhouse or tease the dog.

As a sighthound and will chase and kill small animals, a fenced yard is essential. The short-haired coat is easy to groom, but also makes whippets sensitive to the cold. Whippets are also prone to stomach upset and skin problems.

A whippet dog on a couch in an apartment

Whippets are considered to be the cats of the dog world.


Who wouldn’t want to own the dog from Men in Black?

Pugs can grow to 36 cm and weigh up to 9kg, they enjoy energetic games and will keep in better health if given regular exercise. If you see them start to wheeze, you might overdo it. This breed is a seasonally heavy shedder, but the creases on the face must be cleaned regularly.

The breed will live up to 14 years. Pugs can catch colds easily and are prone to allergies and the short muzzle contributes to chronic breathing problems.

Shih Tzu

Growing to 28cm and weighing 7kg, the Shih Tzu is fairly active indoors, but will be able to cope without a yard. The breed sheds little to no hair, making it a favourite for allergy suffers.

Shih Tzus are sensitive to the heat and tend to wheeze and snore – some bloodlines are prone to ear, eye and respiratory problems. If not introduced to children early, they can be snappy. You are also prone to hearing insults about visiting a not-so-good zoo.

Bichon Frise

The very friendly Bichon Frise sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy sufferers. Reaching 30cm high and weighing up to 5kg, the breed needs daily walks and play time, with mental stimulation inside the house.

Some are prone to watery eyes so trim around the eyes and ears with a blunt pair of scissors and clean the eyes extensively to prevent staining. Strangers and children are all friends to this breed.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The eloquently named Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are moderately active indoors and a small yard will be sufficient. Living up to 14 years of age, the breed will weigh up to 33cm and weighs up to 8kg.

The coat will form painful knots if not brushed regularly and owners must check the eyes carefully for any signs of infection. The breed has multiple health issues, research this thoroughly before you commit to the breed.

Chinese Crested Dog

The breed is very clean, with no doggie odor or risk of fleas – because they are mostly hairless. This does require you frequently and massage a little oil or cream into the skin to keep it supple. Exposed skin needs special care to prevent skin problems and irritations.

The Chinese Crested Dog, not a barker. What they do like to do is climb and dig holes. The dog is very friendly, but its skin can easily be damaged.


The mighty Bulldog weighs up to 25kg and can grow to 40cm high. Bulldogs require a lot of human attention and is not suited if you have active social life. On average bulldogs will live 8 years. Skin folds need to be kept clean.

They snore very loudly, and most have drool and slobber tendencies – sadly, this comes with breathing problems. The breed is very susceptible to heat stroke in warm weather or cars. Bulldogs are also very cold sensitive.

Bulldogs make great inside pets for apartments

A bulldog could be a great option if you can handle the drool


Because of his short nose, the Chihuahua tends to wheeze and snore. This means using a harness instead of a collar when walking. The breed is also not fond of the cold and may shiver.

Growing up to a small 23 cm and weighing just 3kg, the Chihuahua can be a challenge to toilet train. The shorthaired coat should be wiped over with a damp cloth., while the long coat should be brushed daily with a soft bristle brush.

Be sure to socialise your Chihuahua as a pup to avoid excessive aggressiveness with other dogs. The breed is also wary and can be snappy with strangers.


Colloquially known as the sausage dog, this breed has an instinct to dig. The breed is long-haired and requires daily combing and brushings. This breed is an average shedder. Owners with lots of stairs are unsuitable as they are prone to spinal disc problems.

The breed can grow to 30cm tall and weigh 3.5kg. Known for their watchdog qualities, they will bark at strangers and may become unpredictable with children and adults they do not know.


Lowchen are active indoors and will need two walks each day. The breed will also fiercely defend its house with intense barking. Some Lowchen also tend to bark or dig a lot. The coat should be combed and brushed regularly to prevent tangles from forming.

The Lowchen sheds little to no hair. This breed is good for allergy sufferers. They are generally healthy, some may have issues with their knees. The breed will grow to 33cm and weigh 8kg.


Growing to 38 cm and weighing 8kg, Poodles love to play outdoors and are a highly intelligent breed.   When they reach maturity, they will settle when indoors entertained by thoughtful activities to stimulate them mentally.

Living up to 15 years, poodles shed little to no hair and are good for allergy sufferers. However, they require extensive grooming. They must be clipped regularly, with the ears should be checked for mites. Poodles have several health issues – research the breed further if this breed appeals to you. Some lines of the breed tend to bark a lot without rules.

What breed do you think is the best dog for apartment living? Continue the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.