30 Small Dog Breeds for Apartments, First-Time Owners and Seniors

By FamilywaveTeam | Jun 06, 2024

Source : dogsbestlife

Dogs are like people; they are distinct personalities and needs. Some dogs are high-maintenance, whereas others can make do with minimal care.

With thousands of years of selective breeding, humans have been able to produce hundreds of breeds of dogs that can cater to the specific needs of their owners.

What do apartments, first-time owners, and seniors have in common? Well, all three are considered to be poorly equipped to serve the needs of a dog. But, worry not!

Today, we have compiled a list of 30 dogs that are perfect for new owners, elderly people, and apartment residents.

More About Dogs:

1. Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai siblings with different colors of fur
Source : lifewithkleekai

The Alaskan Klee Kai is a companion dog that originated in the United States. These canines are highly intelligent, friendly, and loyal.

These dogs are not high maintenance but require basic grooming once a week. They also need bathing only once every 3-4 months.

While Kais are not recommended for first-time owners, they can be a good choice for senior citizens looking for a companion. These dogs also easily adjust to urban apartments with limited space. But, they require exercise and walks to lower excessive energy.

  • Weight: 16-22 lbs.
  • Height: 38-43 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

2. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier with brown and white spots
Source : nationalgeographic

The American Hairless Terrier is a hairless dog breed. This dog was originally bred using hairless Rat Terriers in Louisiana, US.

Due to their hairlessness, these dogs are ideal for people at risk of allergies. However, can also be a problem as their owners will have to take extra caution to keep them safe from extreme heat and cold.

The Terriers are great retirees or families with children. They can also adjust to living in an apartment but need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. These dogs look for leadership in their owners; so, they may not be the right option for inexperienced first-time owners.

  • Weight: 12-16 lbs.
  • Height: 18-46 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 14-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

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3. Basenji

Basenji dog walking across a daisy field
Source : fandom

The Basenji was first bred as a hunting dog in Congo. However, their playfulness and affectionate nature soon made them a favorite among dog lovers.

Basenjis are considered extremely low-maintenance and hypoallergenic. These self-grooming dogs need weekly brushing and baths once a month. They are suitable for people of all ages. First-time pet owners should have no problem raising these four-legged animals unless they can't match their energy level.

Moreover, these dogs are happy living in an apartment but need exercise and walks at least once daily.

  • Weight: 21-24 lbs.
  • Height: 41-43 cm (Male), 38-41 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

4. Basset Hound

Basset Hound dog with her two puppies
Source : instagram

Basset Hounds are called scent hounds as it was initially bred to hunt hares. They are friendly, loyal, and gentle creatures that get along well with families, old people, and young children.

Bassets are low-maintenance dogs that need occasional brushing to shed dead hair. Moreover, they should be bathed twice a month and need regular ear cleaning to avoid the risk of ear infections. 

These dogs are happy with apartment life. But, they are prone to separation anxiety. So, leaving them alone for an extended period of time could severely affect their mental well-being. They can be easily raised by a first-time owner as long as they are ready to take on their grooming, bathing, and companionship responsibilities.

  • Weight: 55-74 lbs. (Male), 44-63 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 30-38 cm (Male), 28-36 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 10-12 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

Read More: 25 Largest Dog Breeds By Weight and Height

5. Beagle

Fully-grown Beagle dog with a mixed brown, black, and white coat of fur
Source : petbarn

Beagles are scent hound originally bred in the UK. Although they were initially used to hunt hare, their adorable looks and friendliness with humans made them household pets.

These low-maintenance dogs don't need extensive care. Bathing them every 4 to 6 weeks should be enough to maintain their hygiene. Also, their short coat makes grooming easy for the owners.

Further, Beagles' short stature make them ideal apartment dwellers. They get along with people and are always full of energy. Experts often recommend these dogs to retirees and potential first-time dog owners. They are independent in nature and don't need constant care.

  • Weight: 22-24 lbs. (Male), 19-22 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 36-41 cm (Male), 33-38 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

6. Bichon Frise

Cute Bichon Frise walking around a swamp
Source : petplan

The Bichon Frise is a companion dog native to the Canary Islands in Spain. This cute breed is believed to have been first bred during the 13th century.

Although they require regular grooming, these canines are relatively low-maintenance in other aspects. For instance, bathing them once every 2-3 weeks should be adequate to keep their fur clean and shiny.

The Bichon Frise is often the primary choice of families to become their first pet. They are also ideal for seniors and people living in apartments with limited space. Their only drawback is that these canines seek constant companionship. So, if you are a single person who spends plenty of time away from home, a Bichon Frise might not be the perfect pet unless you are willing to take them on your outings or hire a petsitter/dog walker.

  • Weight: 7-16 lbs.
  • Height: 23-28 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

7. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi playing fetch with a ball
Source : instagram

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a herding dog native to Welsh, the UK. It was officially recognized as a breed in the UK in 1925.

Corgis are intelligent animals known for their playfulness, friendliness, and loyalty. These affectionate creatures need minimal care. Except for weekly brushing and grooming, there aren't many things required for maintaining their hygiene other than a bath when they are particularly dirty.

These dogs can adjust to living with people of all demographics, including retirees and first-time owners. They can live in small apartments but you'll have to find a way to use their excess energy.

  • Weight: 31-37 lbs. (Male), 24-33 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 25-33 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

Interesting: 15 List: Which Dog Lives The Longest

8. Coton De Tulear

Coton De Tulear puppy living with a family in Indiana
Source : family-puppies

The Coton de Tulear is believed to have originated in Madagascar during the 17th century. These dogs are adored for their soft, cotton-like hair.

The Tulears are affectionate creatures with a high level of intelligence and the ability to learn new tricks. These dogs are desired by both experienced and new dog owners due to their calm nature and trainability. Moreover, they prefer staying indoors and don't bark often which makes them ideal for senior citizens and apartment residents.

These canines are considered pretty low-maintenance as they need to be bathed once in around two months. However, they require regular brushing to keep their fur clean and glossy.

  • Weight: 9-13 lbs. (Male), 7-11 lbs (Female)
  • Height: 25-30 cm (Male), 22-27 cm (Female)
  • Average Life Span: 14-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

9. Dachshund

Dachshund looking adorable with glasses
Source : facebook

The Dachshund is also called a sausage dog due to its abnormally long body. However, its weirdly shaped body also makes it highly desirable among dog lovers.

Dachshund is a perfect pet for first-time parents if they are willing to give it the time and dedication. Plus, these adorable creatures can settle anywhere from a one-bedroom apartment to a large mansion. They enjoy people's company and love going on outings.

These dogs also make a great gift to give an elderly person. They will not just motivate their owners to come along on walks but also to better take care of themselves.

  • Weight: 16-32 lbs.
  • Height: 33-37 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

10. Danish-Swedish Farmdog

Source : flickr

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog served as a guard and hunting dog in the earlier centuries. But, this breed has now successfully transitioned into a household pet. 

These dogs can make a great companion to a single person and family alike. They are extremely loyal and devoted to their foster parents or family. And, they have no problem living in a small apartment as long as they get regular exercise and daily walks.

Although the miniature cousin of this breed is the better option for the elderly, a Danish-Swedish Farmdog doesn't require much care either. One minor drawback of these canines is that they don't get along well with other household pets, often becoming hostile towards their other four-legged companions.

  • Weight: 15-25 lbs.
  • Height: 32-39 cm (Male), 30-37 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 11-13 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

11. French Bulldog

Adorable French Bulldog puppy with grey fur
Source : pinterest

The French Bulldog is a companion dog first bred in Western Europe during the 19th century. Besides their cute looks, these dogs are playful, friendly, affectionate, patient, and lively.

These pointy-eared canines can get along well with people of all age demographics. They are low-energy and low-maintenance, which makes them perfect for an elderly person looking for a companion or a family living in an apartment. Moreover, they are also popular among first-time owners as they don't need constant attention and care.

  • Weight: 16-28 lbs.
  • Height: 27-33 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 10-12 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

12. Havanese

Furry Havanese dog enjoying fresh air outdoors
Source : dailypaws

The national dog of Cuba, the Havanese is a bichon-type breed. These furballs are incredibly popular among pet owners due to their silky coats and big eyes.

These dogs are extremely child and family-friendly with a playful, gentle, and affectionate temperament. They can easily adjust to city life but require basic exercise and regular walks. Moreover, they are not considered high-energy or high-maintenance dogs and even a retiree can easily take care of them.

  • Weight: 10-16 lbs.
  • Height: 23-27 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 14-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

13. Lancashire Heeler

Lancashire Heeler with black fur and brown spots
Source : animalsbreeds

The Lancashire Heeler is a dog breed native to Lancashire, England. This energetic dog's sturdy build and low-shedding features make them ideal pets for new pet owners.

These dogs are known to form strong bonds with children, families, and even other pets. They don't shy away from meeting new people and can adjust well to a new environment. However, Heelers are not recommended for the elderly as they require extensive training and physical movements.

  • Weight: 13-18 lbs.
  • Height: 25-31 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

14. Maltese

Pure-bred Maltese dog with fluffy fur
Source : fromfamilytofamily

The Maltese is an Italian breed best known for its snow-like white fur. Their soft physique and affectionate nature can melt anybody's heart.

Maltese dogs are highly intelligent and lively that don't require constant supervision. They are a great fit for senior citizens and families with young children due to their docile and non-aggressive nature.

These dogs are happy living in city apartments with limited space as long as they get their fair share of sunlight and exercise.

  • Weight: 6.5-9 lbs.
  • Height: 21-25 cm (Male), 20-23 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

15. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher dressed up in a red plaid jacket
Source : dailypaws

The Miniature Pinscher is a pointy-eared breed of small dog native to Germany. It comes in a wide variety of colors, including black, chocolate, stag red, and red.

Mini Pins are active dogs that require regular exercise and walks. While these animals can get adjusted to city life in an apartment, they can get aggressive or behave rebelliously in case of insufficient physical activities.

If you don't have the time and dedication to take care of a Miniature Pinscher, you should go with a different breed or hire a professional to train them.

  • Weight: 9-11 lbs. (Male), 7.5-11 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 25-30 cm (Male), 25-28 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

16. Papillon

Papillon dog flaunting its brown, black, and white coat
Source : pethelpful

Papillon is a toy dog of European origin. This breed is popular all over the globe due to its butterfly-like resemblance.

These canines are fast learners and easy to train as long as the training begins at a young age. They are also highly intelligent, energetic, and cheerful little creatures.

Their short stature makes them highly demanded among new pet owners, older people, and families with young children. However, they should be under proper supervision while playing with small children as their small size makes them vulnerable and at risk of injuries if handled roughly.

  • Weight: 7.5-10 lbs. (Male), 7-9 lbs (Female)
  • Height: 20-27 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 13-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

17. Pomeranian

Pomeranian dog showing off its sharp canine teeth
Source : lovetoknowpets

The Pomeranian is a Spitz-type dog that originated from Central Europe. This dog is extroverted and highly intelligent as compared to similar breeds.

Due to their playful and affectionate nature, Pomerians are often the first choice of new pet owners, families, and elderly people. They need minimal grooming and exercise, not necessarily long walks. Short walks and sufficient indoor play should burn out their excess energy.

These little creatures are highly-adaptable and can easily adjust to a new environment. They live anywhere from large castles to tiny apartments.

  • Weight: 4-7.5 lbs
  • Height: 20-27 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

18. Pug

Pug named Noodle resting on it custom-made bed
Source : mirror

The  Pug is a small breed from China; it has a wrinkly face with a short muzzle.

These adorable little creatures are friendly, sociable, quiet, and affectionate, but they can also become stubborn at times.

Pugs are often considered the best breed for senior citizens as they are less energetic than other breeds and require minimal care on their owner’s part. Their docile nature also makes them an excellent choice for people with limited living space.

Sadly, there is a small drawback to these dogs. Pugs are constantly at risk of developing health problems due to genetic defects. Despite the defects, these dogs are one of the most highly-demanded breeds in the world.

  • Weight: 14-18 lbs.
  • Height: 25-30 cm (Female), 30-36 cm (Male)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

19. Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier puppy with green eyes and mixed brown-white fur
Source : greenfieldpuppies

The Rat Terrier is a breed of companion dog native to the US. These dogs are social animals that can get along well with kids, families, and other pets.

Rat Terriers crave attention and constant companionship from their owners. So, unless you are willing to give time and dedication, these dogs might not be suitable for you. However, if they are given proper training during their early months, these dogs have the potential to serve as a member of a family or as loving companions.

These dogs can adjust to living in an apartment but they need at least 15-20 minutes of exercise daily.

  • Weight: 10-24 lbs.
  • Height: 25-45 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 15-18 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

20. Russian Toy

Adult Russian Toy dog with dark brown fur
Source : dog-learn

The Russian Toy, also known as Russkiy Toy, was originally bred from the English Toy Terrier. It is one of the smallest dogs in the world.

Due to their short stature, Russkiys are easy to handle and groom. However, it also makes them vulnerable to physical injuries. They are moderately energetic and require daily walking and exercise.

Their tiny size also makes them an excellent choice for apartment dwellers. However, when left alone, they are prone to suffer from separation anxiety. Leaving them alone for a few hours in the day is okay, but leaving them alone overnight can cause psychological damage to the dog.

  • Weight: 3.5-9 lbs.
  • Height: 20-28 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-14 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

21. Schipperke

Schipperke dog holding a flower in its mouth
Source : schipperkes

The Schipperke is a small dog breed that was first bred during the 17th century in Belgium. These dogs are mostly black but can also come in a variety of colors, including apricot, black & tan, blue, cream, and chocolate.

These canines are faithful and loyal to their owners. At the same time, they are independent and look for leadership in their handlers; so, they may not be impressed by a rookie.

While they can adjust to city life in an apartment, they should be regularly exposed to the outdoors for socializing with other humans or pets.

  • Weight: 6.5-19 lbs.
  • Height: 28-33 cm (Male), 25-30 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 13-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

22. Shetland Sheepdog

Cheerful Shetland Sheepdog playing outdoors
Source : dog-learn

Shetland Sheepdog is a herding dog that got the name from its place of origin, i.e. Shetland Islands, Scotland. These dogs are intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and responsive to commands.

These gentle creatures can adapt well to families with small children and also serve as a great companion dog to the elderly. They need at least 1 hour of exercise daily in addition to mental stimulation and play sessions. These canines have no problem living in a tiny apartment if they are taken outdoors regularly.

  • Weight: 14-30 lbs.
  • Height: 33-41 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 12-13 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

23. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu dog takes a walk at a rocky beach
Source : thesprucepets

If you are into crypto, the Shiba Inu should be a familiar breed. The dog's face is featured in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.

The Shiba Inu, native to Japan, is a breed of confident, charming, and fearless dog. Despite looking like a dangerous predator, these dogs are extremely lovable and crave cuddles from their owners.

Further, these canines are easily trainable, which makes them perfect for first-time owners and older people. They are also self-cleaning and maintain basic hygiene, so the owners don't have to worry about spending hours grooming or cleaning them.

  • Weight: 22 lbs. (Male), 17 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 35-43 cm (Male), 33-41 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

24. Shih Tzu

Furry Shih Tzu dog with white and brown hair
Source : thesprucepets

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed adored for its shot snout, round eyes, and silky long coat. Besides their cute looks, these dogs are exceptionally playful, friendly, affectionate, and intelligent.

Shih Tzus are an indoor breed that can make do without a backyard or ample living space. These dogs are often compared to dogs as they enjoy their solitary time. So, leaving them alone for a few hours should not be a concern. This makes them the perfect choice for working-class single individuals as long as the owner is willing to match the energy level of their canine companion.

  • Weight: 9-15 lbs.
  • Height: 20-28 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 10-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

25. Swedish Vallhund

Swedish Vallhund sharing company with its owner
Source : dogsmonthly

The Swedish Vallhund is a breed of cow dog that originated over a thousand years ago. These small dogs have long bodies and wedge-shaped heads.

Swedish Vallhunds are loyal dogs who can get along well with people of all ages and even other pets. They need at least 45 minutes of exercise daily. As long as they have enough physical activities, living in an apartment shouldn't be a problem.

Similarly, these dogs require extensive training during their early months. So, getting a pre-trained dog is the ideal choice for a new pet owner.

  • Weight: 19-30 lbs.
  • Height: 32-34 cm (Male), 30-32 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

26. Toy Fox Terrier

Fully-grown Toy Fox Terrier with white hair and black spots
Source : newsweek

The Toy Fox Terrier is a terrier dog first registered in the US in 1936. Its distinct physical features include pointed ears, glossy hair, and a muscular build.

These dogs are affectionate, friendly, and independent. While they are loyal to their owners, these canines also need solitary time. So, they are an ideal choice for people with jobs.

Toy Fox Terriers can adjust well to a first-time owner and an apartment if they get sufficient exercise. However, in case of inadequate physical activity, they can turn cranky and even bark for no particular reason.

  • Weight: 4-9 lbs.
  • Height: 22-29 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 13-14 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

27. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle sitting comfortably in its owner's lap
Source : perfect-pooches

The Toy Poodle is the miniature cousin of the Poodle breed. It is an athletic dog and needs at least two walks per day, each of about 30 minutes.

Further, they are highly sociable creatures and crave physical contact with their owners. These intelligent dogs can easily live in a tiny apartment, given they are regularly exercised.

These canines also have no problem being left alone. However, leaving them alone overnight can be a stressful situation for the dog.

  • Weight: 4-6 lbs.
  • Height: 24-28 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 10-18 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes

28. Volpino Italiano

Cute Volpino Italiano puppy with white fur
Source : petkecom

Volpino Italiano is a furry dog with a silky coat of hair. Originally from Italy, this dog only comes white and red.

Volpino Italianos often shy away from strangers. However, befriending them isn't much of a challenge. Once they get familiar with someone, these canines are extremely loyal, playful, and affectionate.

Moreover, they are considered ideal for seniors as they don't need extensive training or physical activity. Further, they also don't need frequent grooming. Brushing them once every week should be enough to keep them tidy.

  • Weight: 10-12 lbs. (Male), 9-10 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 27-30 cm (Male), 25-28 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 14-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

29. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier Munching on pop corn and coke
Source : instagram

The West Highland White Terrier dog is a Scottish dog with a harsh coat of white hair. It has a unique gay tail of about 13-15 cm long.

These four-legged animals are excellent watchdogs and independent in nature. While they need companionship, these dogs also need sufficient time alone.

White Terriers are apartment-friendly dogs with easy adjustability to limited space. But, they need frequent outings and exercise at least 30 minutes to 1 hour per day.

  • Weight: 15-22 lbs. (Male), 13-15 lbs. (Female)
  • Height: 25-30 cm (Male), 23-28 cm (Female)
  • Average Lifespan: 12-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: No

30. Yorkshire Terrier

Adorable Yorkshire Terrier playing with leaves
Source : dailypaws

The final entry on our list, the Yorkshire Terrier is considered the smallest terrier dog. The breed is famous in the US due to its coat of hair that reaches the floor.

These dogs are intelligent, friendly, and energetic. They can form a strong bond with children of other members of a family.

Due to their tiny size, Yorkshire Terriers have enough space to run around even in small apartments. While they don't need extensive grooming, they require regular haircuts and weekly baths. Also, don't forget to wipe their hair and shampoo, whenever necessary.

  • Weight: 2-7 lbs.
  • Height: 15-17 cm
  • Average Lifespan: 13-16 Years
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes