These days, not many dogs live outdoors all the time. As full members of the family, our dogs are always by our sides, sleeping at the end of the sofa, eating in the kitchen and sometimes even allowed to lie on the bed. But are all dogs suitable for an indoor lifestyle?

Can all dogs live in apartments?

We frequently hear “I can’t have a dog because I live in an apartment, he wouldn’t be happy.” This is this common belief and is based on good intentions – but is it really true? Actually, the answer is no. Whilst it’s true that dogs have mainly lived outdoors for centuries, they have long been adapted to our urban lifestyles. So, nowadays, most dogs are able to live in apartments perfectly well.

We also often hear that only small dogs can live in apartments. This is another misconception. Small dogs, which take up and need less space, will certainly be able to adapt to their environment more quickly. However, large dogs can do so just as well if their needs are met and they are introduced to this lifestyle from as early an age as possible (going from life in a country house to a small, two-room city apartment will always be more complicated!).

The real question to ask yourself is not “how much space does my dog need?” But, “how much time will my dog spend in this space every day?” Rather than a question of space, it’s a question of time. Indeed, dogs need social contact and physical and intellectual stimulation. When they spend all day alone, waiting eight hours for their owner to return home, they have none of this stimulation and may suffer, even if a large indoor space is available for them, and even if they have a garden. Therefore, before choosing a dog, it’s essential to ask yourself how long they will be at home alone each day and how much time you can devote to taking them out for walks and attending to their needs.

Which breed should I choose if it will be at home alone all day?

Whether it lives in an apartment or in a house, and even if it has access to a garden, a dog cannot be left alone for more than eight hours a day, and that really is the absolute upper limit. If you work, and you know beforehand that your dog will have to be alone from early morning until the evening, choose a more independent breed that doesn’t get lonely as easily: a Chow-Chow, a Corgi, a Lhasa Apso, or a Pekingese. In all events, you’ll have to get your dog used to being alone for extended periods as soon as it arrives in your home.

Which breed of dog is most suitable for elderly people?

For elderly people and/or those with sedentary lifestyles, small less active breeds which don’t need a lot of exercise are the best choice: a Tibetan Spaniel, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, a Maltese Bichon, or a Yorkshire Terrier.

Which breeds to choose to live with children?

Most dogs get on well with children, as long as the children are respectful. French Bulldogs, Carlins and Westies can be children’s best friends! As for big dogs, Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs are great with kids too.

Which breeds of dog can I take anywhere?

If you have quite an active lifestyle, are out and about a lot and want to take your dog everywhere with you, choose a smaller breed: A Chihuahua, a Yorkshire Terrier, or a Continental Dwarf Spaniel.

Which breed should I choose if I have an active lifestyle?

If your dog lives indoors, but you want to do lots of activities with them (long walks, dog sports…), choose an energetic breed: A Jack Russell, a Shetland Sheepdog, a Brittany Spaniel…

Which breeds do not cause damage?

When adopting a dog, we may be afraid that they will get up to mischief and damage our home. If they are not sufficiently entertained they are particularly likely to cause damage. To avoid damage (although there’s never any guarantee), it’s best to choose a relatively quiet dog which needs less stimulation than a Husky, a Malinois, an Australian Sheepdog or a Border Collie (particularly active breeds!). Amongst the quieter breeds, we must mention the Pekingese, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, the Maltese Bichon, the Chow-Chow and the Bernese Mountain Dog, amongst others.

What’s more, always factor in the “scale” of the possible damage: assume that damage will always be less significant when it’s caused by a small dog than by a big one. For example, table legs gnawed by a miniature Pinscher’s teeth will of course be less damaged than if they had been chewed by a Labrador… the size of the puddle around your table leg caused by a Chihuahua will always be smaller than the big pool your Labrador will leave for you.

 

Finally, in spite of everything, if your dog has a tendency to be destructive, be aware that there are solutions: you can make sure you leave everything out of reach (clothing, rubbish, etc.), contain your dog in one room, leave them some entertaining toys, or call in a vet who’s a behaviour specialist; this is the best person to help you solve this problem.

Finally, take the dog hair issue into account: dogs with long hair, like Collies, who shake themselves in your living room after rolling in the mud, will be more demanding in terms of upkeep than dogs with short hair, like Spanish Greyhounds.

 

Whatever you choose, you can be sure of one thing: having an immaculate home and having a dog are not incompatible!