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7 Best Big Dogs For Apartments (and some of the Worst)

What makes a good apartment dog? Well, they’re quiet and comfortable in a small(ish) space.

You should be able to train them to do their business on the balcony or wait until you take them outside.

And they shouldn’t be overly energetic or destructive. Overall, your dog should be fairly low maintenance.

It’s not uncommon to see small pets in condos and apartments, but what about big dogs? While apartment managers are a little more reluctant with large pets, there are a few that are definitely suitable.

Can a big dog stay in an apartment?

Make sure you check the rules of your condo first. There are usually weight and size restrictions in place.

Putting that aside, yes, some big dog breeds can live comfortably in an apartment.

I say ‘some’, because there are some big dogs that are terribly suited for small living spaces. Scroll to the bottom of this list for dogs you should avoid.

1. Bullmastiff

Mastiffs are giant couch potatoes. They would rather find a warm spot in the sun than go for a long run.

While they still enjoy going for a daily stroll, you won’t have to go far.

Mastiffs are quite relaxed, but also quite stubborn. You’ll have some training challenges ahead of you.

These dogs can weigh up to 115 pounds, so there is also a size challenge. Keep a big couch or bed in a sunny part of your condo for an excellent napping spot.

Last, I should mention the ridiculous amounts of drool. You will require a towel or bib at all times, or maybe even a mop.

2. Great Dane

The Great Dane is a gentle giant. They’re known for their calm demeanor and chill personality. Which makes them excellent condo pets (despite their massive size).

This is easily the biggest dog on this list – weighing up to 170 pounds.

You’re not totally off the hook, though. They’ll need a few daily activities and or a medium-paced walk to keep them content.

And of course, the drool. So much drool. I hope you don’t have carpet because they will soak through it.

3. Greyhound

We often describe the greyhound as the world’s fasted couch potato. You may have seen them in high-speed racing, but what you don’t see is just how chill these dogs are.

Another great advantage for apartment living is they rarely bark or make a sound.

They’re quick learners with positive training. Greyhounds are very sensitive and will pick up on your impatience, so always keep a positive attitude while giving instructions.

On that note, this is an anxious breed, and they may be overly timid. Socialization will help adjust them to other people and dogs.

4. Newfoundland


One of the world’s biggest breeds makes a surprisingly good apartment pet.

The Newfie is a giant breed weighing up to 150 pounds. But we know them for being incredibly calm and gentle.

Challenges may appear is simply because of their size. Not to mention their shedding hair and drool.

If you can stay on top of the drool and grooming, then you’ll have a perfect condo companion.

5. Shar-pei


The Shar-pei is a unique dog – in looks and temperament. They are fiercely loyal to their owners but aloof with strangers.

They’re intelligent but stubborn, and will challenge their owners if there is a clear lack of leadership. Early training and socialization are necessary to avoid an aggressive dog.

The Shar-pei is a calm and watchful dog, always on the lookout for danger. They alert when something of interest catches their attention. Otherwise, they are happy to just relax near a window.

Ideally, you can train your dog to do their business on a homemade porch potty or grass box.

6. Saint Bernard

mom with a St. Bernard puppy sleeping on the grass in the summer

Another giant breed that likes to relax all day – noticing a trend here?

The Saint Bernard is known for their sweet and kind demeanor. They’re natural protectors and are always willing to jump in when they detect danger.

That’s why early socialization and training are important. So they do not become overly protective.

This is a double coated breed, so you’ll have to stay on top of brushing and grooming.

And as you may have guessed, they’re also heavy droolers.

7. Afghan Hound


Exotic and beautiful, the Afghan hound is a unique dog with a unique personality.

These are sensitive dogs that require a gentle touch. They’re very stubborn with training, but you cannot scold or show impatience. House training is especially difficult with Afghans.

Their coat requires a high level of maintenance as well. As you’ll be required to brush their beautiful long locks every day.

Despite being a calm breed, they require a daily run to keep them content. Be wary of their prey drive though, as they’ll want to hunt any creature they find interesting.

Dogs Not Suitable For Apartments

I’ve seen quite a few lists floating around the internet with some poor recommendations.

First, I want to say, there are always exceptions. Your specific dog may be wonderful for living in a small space.

However, as a general guideline, I don’t recommend these breeds for apartments:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • German Shepherd
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Husky
  • Malamute
  • Border Collie
  • Standard Sized Poodle
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Any working or herding breed

These are all amazing dogs, but they’re not ideal for a small space.

They simply have too much energy, become destructive when bored, make a lot of noise, and/or shed like you wouldn’t believe. You want to avoid having a high maintenance dog in a limited space.

Are Golden Retrievers a good apartment pet?

Golden retrievers are not ideal for an apartment or condo.

They’re highly affectionate and trainable, but their exercise and grooming needs present considerable challenges for apartment living.

  • They can become bored and destructive.
  • They sometimes bark when bored or excited.
  • They shed excessively and require regular grooming.
  • They are highly energetic and require strenuous daily exercise.
  • They require bathroom breaks every 3 to 4 hours. And they’re too big for pee pads.
  • Daily “zoomies” are a thing – where they’ll run up and down your home, annoying your downstairs neighbors.

Goldens are very trainable and can absolutely thrive in an apartment. But you’ll need to build a routine to meet their daily needs.

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Liam J. Barnes

Liam is a dog trainer, owner, and lover with over 20 years experience. You can find him working with vet clinics, grooming facilities, training centres, and food/toy brands in order to grow their business. His passion for dogs and business make him uniquely suited to help move the world forward with canines and humans.

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