Dogs in the city Dogs in the city

Best Dog Breeds for City Living

Read time: 8 mins

27 Sep 2023

Owning a dog in the city can feel almost impossible. Unfortunately that one-bed flat in zone 3 simply doesn’t have the space for an Irish Wolfhound. Realising you can’t have that dream dog is always sad, but don’t worry, all is not lost.

While a huge, highly energetic breed just won’t work in a small city apartment, that doesn’t mean that there are no dogs out there for you. The best dogs for city living are those that are small, lazy or both.

In this article we’ll be taking a look at the best apartment dogs. Those that enjoy lazing around a flat just as much as you do. Here’s a brief overview of what breeds are best; with this knowledge you’ll be able to work out which dog is most suited to your bustling cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Can All Dogs Live in a City?

While dogs are incredibly adaptable creatures, not all breeds are well-suited to city life. Some breeds thrive in bustling urban environments, while others may find the noise, crowds, and limited space overwhelming. Here are a few factors to consider when determining if a dog can thrive in the city:


Larger breeds may struggle with limited space in city apartments, whereas a small dog could be the answer to your poochy prayers. 

Energy level

High-energy breeds require ample exercise, which can sometimes be challenging to provide in the city. Low-energy breeds are generally more adaptable to a less active lifestyle.


Some breeds are more sociable and adaptable to meeting new people and other dogs, making them better suited for city life.

Breeds Well-Suited to City Life

The following breeds are good options for life in the city.

French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs are compact and have a calm demeanour, making them excellent city companions. They don't require extensive exercise and are content with short walks, making them perfect for urban living.

Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers are incredibly cute, dignified, American gentlemen - and don’t they look the part with their black and white tuxedo markings. They’re loyal, intelligent and seriously sturdy four-legged companions. These dogs rarely reach more than 40cm at the shoulder, now that’s pocket sized.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Known for their affectionate nature, Cavaliers are well-suited to city living due to their small size and love for companionship. They thrive on human interaction and can adapt to apartment life.


Chihuahuas are one of the tiniest breeds, making them ideal for urban apartments. They have a big personality in a small package and are easy to transport, perfect for city dwellers.


This African dog has quite the reputation thanks to their small, yet muscular, build - but especially thanks to their barkless nature. Yep, the Basenji just doesn’t bark - a dream come true for anyone with easily annoyed neighbours. They still howl though, so don’t expect a completely silent pooch.

Poodle cross-breeds

Poodle cross-breeds, like Labradoodles or Cockapoos, often inherit the Poodle's intelligence and adaptability. They are well-suited to city life due to their manageable size and trainability.

Miniature Dachshund

These micro dogs are happy in even the smallest flats - they’re tiny, lightweight and really loving. But beware - despite their miniature size, they are hounds at heart and can take off at a moment’s notice. They may not look like much, but those little legs can carry them pretty quickly once they spot something to chase.


Corgis, though not tiny, are well-suited to city life because of their manageable size and adaptable temperament. They are affectionate and can adjust to living in apartments with regular exercise.


Pomeranians are small, energetic, and alert, making them suitable for city living. They're lively and enjoy short walks, which align well with an urban lifestyle.


Yes, that’s right, a greyhound. As one of the fastest land mammals it can come as a shock to discover just how great greyhounds are as a dog for city living. You see, the greyhound is a sprinter, not a long-distance runner, they run out of steam fairly quickly. One big run per day and they’re happy to head home, curl up and have a nap. These 45 mph couch potatoes are ideal companions for just about any city dweller.

Do Dogs Like Living in the City?

Dogs are highly adaptable and can learn to enjoy city living, but their happiness largely depends on their breed, individual temperament, and the care they receive from their owners. While some dogs thrive in urban environments, others may find certain aspects challenging.

Many dogs enjoy the constant stimulation of city life. The sounds, sights, and new experiences can be exciting for them. However, it's essential to provide proper socialisation and exposure to city life from a young age to help dogs adapt and feel comfortable.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Adjust to the City?

The time it takes for a dog to adjust to city living can vary widely based on the dog's breed, age, and previous experiences. Some dogs may adapt quickly, while others may take several weeks or even months.

Here are some tips to help your dog adjust more smoothly:

Gradual exposure

Introduce your dog to the city environment gradually. Start with short walks in quieter areas and gradually increase exposure to busier streets.

Positive reinforcement

Use treats and praise to reward your dog for calm behaviour in the city. This will help create positive associations with urban environments.


Establish a consistent daily routine to provide your dog with a sense of stability and predictability in the city.


Socialise your dog with other dogs and people in the city to build their confidence and reduce anxiety.

Remember that patience and understanding are key during the adjustment period. Every dog is unique, and some may require more time and support than others.

Is it Hard to Have a Dog in the City?

Having a dog in the city comes with its own set of challenges, but with the right preparation and commitment, it can be a rewarding experience. Here are some common challenges and tips for overcoming them:

Limited space

City apartments are often smaller than suburban homes, so ensure your dog has enough space to move around comfortably. Regular exercise and enrichment activities can help compensate for limited indoor space.

Noise and distractions

Cities can be noisy and filled with distractions. Training your dog to remain focused and obey commands despite these distractions is essential for their safety and your peace of mind.

Toilet breaks

Access to outdoor spaces for bathroom breaks may be limited. Be prepared to take your dog out frequently and invest in potty training if needed.


City dogs need to be well-socialised to interact with other dogs and people in crowded areas. Enroll in puppy socialisation classes and continue socialising throughout their life.


Ensure your dog is safe in the city by using a secure leash, collar or harness, and proper identification. Microchipping is also advisable.

Which Cities Have the Most Dogs?

Throughout Europe, many cities are home to thriving dog communities, where four-legged friends are an integral part of urban life. Here's a look at some European cities known for their high dog populations:

1. Berlin, Germany

Berlin is renowned for its dog-friendly atmosphere. The city's vast green spaces, including Tiergarten Park and Volkspark Friedrichshain, provide ample opportunities for dogs to roam and play. Dog owners in Berlin often gather at dog-friendly cafes and parks, fostering a strong sense of community.

2. Paris, France

Parisians have a deep love for their canine companions, and you'll often spot dogs accompanying their owners in the city's iconic cafes, parks, and boutiques. The French Bulldog, in particular, is a beloved breed in the city of lights.

3. London, United Kingdom

Londoners share a passion for dogs, and the city offers numerous dog-friendly parks, such as Hyde Park and Regent's Park. Dog owners in London enjoy a variety of pet-friendly services, including doggy daycares and grooming salons.

4. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch capital is known for its dog-friendly attitude. Many cafes and restaurants in Amsterdam welcome dogs, and the city's network of canals and parks offers excellent opportunities for dog walks.

5. Vienna, Austria

Vienna's extensive park system, including Prater Park and Danube Island, makes it a great city for dog owners. The Austrian capital is known for its pet-friendly policies and pet supply stores.

6. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona's mild Mediterranean climate and beautiful beaches make it an appealing destination for dog owners. The city has numerous dog-friendly beaches and parks, and it's common to see dogs accompanying their owners in the vibrant streets.

7. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is a dog-friendly city with a strong emphasis on outdoor activities. Dog owners in Copenhagen frequently enjoy trips to the city's many parks, including Fælledparken and Kongens Have.

8. Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's capital offers a range of dog-friendly amenities, including dog parks and pet-friendly accommodations. The city's archipelago provides beautiful settings for outdoor adventures with dogs.

9. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon's pleasant climate and scenic waterfront make it an inviting city for dog owners. Dogs are often seen strolling with their owners along the city's promenades and historic streets.

10. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is becoming increasingly dog-friendly, with numerous parks and green spaces where dogs can exercise and socialise. The city also hosts dog-related events and exhibitions.

These European cities not only welcome dogs but also offer a range of amenities and services to cater to their needs. Whether you're exploring historic streets, relaxing in a café, or taking a leisurely stroll through a park, you're likely to encounter friendly dogs and their owners enjoying the city's charms.