Top 5 Tips on Choosing the Perfect City Dog


Providing you have the necessary permissions from your building and landlord having a dog in the city can be one of the most pleasurable experiences of urban living.

Small and Big City Dogs

Small and Big City Dogs. Houdini was always a City dog but Riley adapted quickly to City life after having been brought up in the countryside


One thing you need to take into consideration when choosing a city dog is the size of your dog versus the size of the space they will be living in. If you live in a studio apartment a Newfoundland may not be the best choice.

However, not all breeds are built the same way and we cannot always assume that big dogs need more exercise. for example even though Greyhounds and Great Danes are Large, they like very placid, laid-back lifestyles and require a minimum of exercise. However if you expect to sit down on the sofa with your dog or share a bed, a large breed may not work. In a studio apartment, a large breed dog will take up most of the floor space.

Beagles love to make noise and having owned one in the city, I wouldn't recommend them

Beagles love to make noise so can be difficult City dogs


Barking becomes more of a problem in an urban environment than it does out of the city.

Some dogs are known for barking more than others. Barking is often caused by anxiety or protection or unknown noises/things. Some dogs just like to bark, while others are know to be a lot more quiet or barkless (basenji’s are barkless but they do howl).

Keeping a dog well stimulated while alone using boredom buster toys and long lasting chews can really help. Also, generally speaking a well exercised really barks less. Daycares and pet sitters are great options if you know your dog barks while alone. Seeking professional help from a behaviourist or dog trainer can change your dogs relationship with barking ultimately reducing noise.

Harley Quinn had loads of energy so needed to work it off

Harley Quinn had loads of energy so needed to work it off


If you are not home much, and do not want to invest in a dog walker or doggy daycare, a dog may not be the best choice of animal for you as dogs (no matter the size) need daily walks and outside stimulation.

Similarly, if you have a lazy lifestyle an active breed would not suit you. And if you are an active runner and biker who wants Fido to come on adventures, a lazy dog won’t work. Think about the partnership you are looking to share with your dog.

photo 4 (4)

My parents dog Oscar loves water, playing fetch and running. He needs a good amount of off lead exercise daily which is impossible in the City

Breed Traits

If you like to go on walks by the river, and swimming on the beach, a water dog might be the best fit for you. I loved nothing more than taking my retriever to the beach and watching him swim or jump in puddles around the city parks.

If you live in a cold, wet, snow covered city- don’t get an Italian Greyhound because the breed generally hates the cold and wet (and there is nothing worse than a miserable dog that won’t go outside to potty.)

Discover Dogs

Discover Dogs


Some great resources for finding out about individual breed characteristics are The American Kennel Club and The Kennel Club.

Events such as Discover Dogs allow you to talk to breed owners and find out if that dog would be suited to your lifestyle. I really wanted to adopt a Dandy Dinmont terrier, but after speaking to the breeders at Discover Dogs discovered that it wouldn’t be a good dog for the city. However, a breed I would have thought totally unsuited to city life -The Irish Wolfhound, I was told would be great.

if you want to rescue a dog or puppy, make sure you tell the rescue centre the type of dog you are interested in and your lifestyle preferences. Rescue staff are trained to help guide you in the right direction to the perfect dog.


Most dogs can adjust to living in apartments, but it is hugely important that they receive sufficient mental and physical exercise. An under-exercised and under stimulated dog or puppy can be extremely destructive, and there is very little that will remain sacred!


48 comments so far.

48 responses to “Top 5 Tips on Choosing the Perfect City Dog”

  1. Brook Packard says:

    This is so timely and helpful! Thank you. My daughter is moving to a city next week and she relies on her animal friends as well as her human friends. So a dog is in her future. This tips are great!

  2. Golden Daily Scoop says:

    What great and important tips! All too often I see people get matched up with the wrong dogs for their lifestyle. I really wish people would realize how important it is to research different dog breeds before deciding on one. Great post!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      I think some people get so caught up in the idea of a dog that the practicalities are not considered.
      Thanks so much for your comment

  3. Tenacious Little Terrier says:

    I think it is possible to keep most dogs in apartments as long as they’re sufficiently stimulated. I know for a fact we walk our dog a lot more than most of our neighbors who live in houses! We had a lazy foster dog which was really strange for me because he didn’t want to go out and do things with me.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      The lazier the better for me 😉
      Terriers require a lot of work

  4. Nichole says:

    It really all just comes down to personality! 🙂

  5. Rochelle says:

    Really great points! Henry and I live in the city, and it isn’t ideal because he is an anxious, barky boy, but we know that we will only be here another year or so. In the meantime, he has started on Prozac for his nerves, we go for runs together, and I have amassed a collection of puzzle toys and chews to keep him buy. Thank you for sharing some great info!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Puzzle toys and chews are a great way of keeping dogs entertained.
      Which city are you in?

  6. Pawesome Cats says:

    Great tips – prospective cat owners need to consider similar factors when finding the right pet to fit their lifestyle and expectations.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Absolutely. It’s not fair on a cat either for it to be left alone for long periods of time

  7. Hindy Pearson says:

    Lots of helpful advice. The one thing too many people ignore is lifestyle. If you’re at work 10 hours a day, won’t have a dog walker or put them in doggie daycare, then a dog is not the right pet at the moment. Also activity level. If you love hiking for hours, don’t get a dog that can’t keep up, and if you’re rather low energy, don’t get a high energy dog that needs hours of exercise every day. Great tips!!

  8. Malaika Fernandes says:

    Very well done post these are important things to consider before getting a pet

  9. Cathy Armato says:

    Good advice & things to consider. Your lifestyle and a breed’s characteristics are a big factor
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  10. Rachel says:

    Great tips! While I don’t live in the city, I’m more suburban, I do think a lot of these same tips would apply.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Yeah, they should apply to all dog owners actually.
      Thanks so much for the comment

  11. Ruth Epstein says:

    Great info and I often wonder how some people manage with big dogs in apartments especially

    • City Dog Expert says:

      I had a 80lb retriever in a New York apt once. Thankfully Riley was old and lazy but boy it was still a lot of work

  12. Dash Kitten Crew says:

    Research is vital to find a dog to suit you. I had a friend who had Pyrenean Mountain Dogs snd she was tiny. She could only walk them one at a time!!!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Pyrenees Mountain Dogs are actually great city dogs… although they will take up half the apartment

  13. Maureen says:

    Wonderful tips! It’s really important to think about these things before getting a dog. Lifestyle match is so important!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      We sometimes forget how important lifestyle is when choosing a dog

  14. Tonya Wilhelm says:

    Great tips! It’s so important to really think of your lifestyle, including where you live and how a dog will fit in. Great points.

  15. Sarcastic Dog says:

    These are such important tips that are often overlooked when people are looking for a dog. People sometimes fall in love with the idea or look of a particular breed without really giving thought to the things you raise about space, exercise, lifestyle, energy etc. Great post!

  16. Amber Ketchum says:

    This is such an important list to consider when you want to bring home another member of the family no matter where you live!

  17. Robin says:

    One of the kindest things you can do for a pet is the research the comes before bringing them home! Having the necessary resources to care for their needs (including space) is very important. I live a small apartment with my husband and 2 cats. Many of my neighbors have dogs. It is a good point you bring up that size doesn’t always determine how much exercise (or what type of exercise) the dog will need.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      We once did the 3 dogs, 1 cat thing while living in NYC. I tell you, it wasn’t easy but such a fun household

  18. Valerie Desmet says:

    Great tips!! You have to think your choice through before you get a dog! Basenjis are so adorable when they howl!! Such a fun breed!

  19. Sadie says:

    Great information! I am amazed at the number of people who do not consider these points and sadly, how many dogs need rehoming as a result.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. Sometimes people just get caught up in the moment and it’s hard

  20. Katie Allan says:

    These tips are so important! I see so many people who live in small apartments and are away from home a lot wanting to adopt a husky. Then they end up rehoming them for being destructive or noisy or too energetic. If people would just do their research first…

  21. Beth says:

    These are great things to consider! I guess the most important thing is if the humans are willing to make sure the dogs get what they need. I love reading about dogs who live in the city. It is a big commitment to walk your dog 3-4 times a day instead of letting them run around the fenced yard.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      I am so lucky my dogs are pretty lazy but I have had much more challenging breeds before and they are exhausting when living in a City

  22. Sweet Purrfections says:

    So important to research breeds and rescues to make sure there is a good match with your lifestyle.

    • City Dog Expert says:

      totally agree. Sometimes it is too easy to just choose the cutest doggy

  23. Arby Abraamyan says:

    This is very useful information. Most people ignore breed traits and quickly look for the “cutest” dog they can find. This leads to all sorts of problems, especially when you live in an apartment.

    Barking and misbehavior caused by inadequate exercise can have serious consequences. You could be fined and even be forced to move out of your apartment if you dog barks excessively.

    Thank you for providing these solid tips, hopefully some new dog owners will follow your advice!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      I am so glad you found them helpful.
      Absolutely right that people have been evicted because of their dogs behaviour before

  24. Annette @PetsAreFound says:

    Such important advice, I’ve shared to my community on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter. Thanks!

    • City Dog Expert says:

      Thank you so much.
      So glad you found it helpful. Hopefully your readers will also

City Dog Expert

City Dog ExpertCity Dog Expert is Europe’s number one resource for urban dogs.

As featured in Wall Street Journal, New York Press,
The Sun, Chicago Tribune & Financial Times

Follow our adventures


[instagram-feed num=9 cols=3 showheader=false showbio=false headersize=small]


[mc4wp_form id="4314"]