You would love to have a dog, but you live in a city or flat and wonder if keeping a dog would be responsible. The answer can be yes, as long as you can provide some essential things.

All dogs need companionship, they are pack animals and will be unhappy if they are not part of a pack, that could be a dog or a human pack. They of course also need regular exercise, though some breeds require a lot less than others.

Your choice of dog breed will be crucial, some breeds are much better suited to living in apartments than others. While some large dog breeds do very well living mostly indoors, it is often better to look at smaller breeds as these will not only take up less space themselves, they will also usually require less exercise.

Below I take a look at some small dogs that can be happy even in small flats, you of course need to meet all their requirements, and always remember they are not teddy bears or dolls, they are just as much dogs, and have the same needs as all other breeds.


Being the smallest dog in the world, it is often the first thought of "pocket dog", however be warned, these dogs have a big personality. They do not need a lot of exercise, but it is very important to socialise them from an early age as they create a very strong bond with their primary carer and can become very possessive of them. Their dominant personality can make problem behaviours difficult to correct, so it is important to get early training done correctly.

Jack Russell

One of the most popular small breed dogs and a member of the terrier family, these dogs usually very friendly, they will need firm and fair training. Being a terrier they love running, playing and learning, they make ideal companions, but will require regular exercise to burn off their energy. Their small size makes them ideal for small flats, but you do need to commit to the regular exercise.


Poodles are know for their intelligence, being mischievous and not losing its hair! Not losing hair can be an advantage if their are allergy sufferers in your home, however their coats do need quite a lot of grooming when compared to other breeds. Their intelligence means they do need to be kept mentally stimulated, or they will find their own stimulation, which will probably involve them getting up to something you don't want them to do. They are a very sociable breed and will want to be part of all family life.


Closely related to the poodle, their white coat will need a lot of brushing and washing to keep it looking its best. Bichon are extremely loyal dogs, and will become very attached to their master. They do not do well being left for extended periods, so are not suitable dogs if you will frequently be leaving them, you will however need to train from an early age that being left is OK, to avoid separation anxiety in later life.

Yorkshire Terrier

These dogs have a strong character, and as such can cause problems during training, which requires firm, consistent training to prevent problems down the line. While these dogs are absolutely happy on the sofa, the do need regular exercise to burn off energy.

King Charles Spaniel

A very popular small dog, they have an easy going character and are very loyal. They love attention, and are easy to train. Frequent walking is required to burn off energy to avoid this being misdirected into boredom and destruction.

Cocker Spaniel

This medium size spaniel, will happy live in a small house or apartment, but must receive plenty of exercise. This exercise is required as cockers are known for gaining weight, mainly because they are very greedy. These dogs can be stubborn, so good firm training is needed from the outset.

The Dachshund

Another breed that can be both stubborn and dominant, they are however very intelligent, and obedient assuming they have been well trained and the training is consistent. They require a moderate amount of exercise and make excellent watchdogs. Their coats do not require much maintenance, although the long haired types will require regular brushing. Socialising is absolutely needed as they will develop a tendency to guard their master.


These dogs have become very popular in recent years, originally from China, these dogs have a very sensitive nature and as such do not respond well to reprimands, training will take patience and must be done gently. Pugs are know to have fragile health, so you will need to keep a close eye on their well being.


This small dog of German origin are known for being sociable and being playful, they get on well with children and bond well with their master. They are a good choice for a small home, they can have a dynamic temperament, so will require to be socialised regularly. The pomeranian does have a tendency to bark, so will need training from an early age to control this. This breed is intelligent and responds well to training and love learning new things. They are one of the breeds more tolerant of loneliness and the tendency to bark makes them good watchdogs.


In short, all dogs need exercise, and to keep a dog if you are not willing to commit to this would be irresponsible, the dogs I've looked at above all have their place in living in small space such as a small house, flat, or apartment and would be happy with walks in a local park or green space, rather than needing the run of acres and acres.

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