Best big dogs for apartments and 5 things to consider before getting one

Best big dogs for apartments and large dogs living in an apartment, the ongoing (and sometimes quite heated) discussion. The fact is, more and more people are living in city apartments. But what if you are a dog-loving person?

And more precisely, what if you love those sweet big dog breeds? Can you have a large dog in an apartment? Do you have to give up on having a dog or can you make it work even with a large furry friend? And what are the best big dog breeds for apartments?

So, what’s a city-dwelling, large dog-loving person to do? πŸ˜›

Is it OK to have a large dog in an apartment?

Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to have a large dog in an apartment. You just need to consider a few things before actually buying the dog.

The pros are that you have a lot of fun, your best friend lives with you, and let’s just be honest here: nothing beats coming home to a big wagging tail and a dog that’s just happy to see you ❀️

On the other hand, the cons are that it can be tough on apartment living. You need to consider things like how many stairs you have, if there’s an elevator, or what kind of floors you have.

So let’s get into more detail so you can make the right decision.

Here are 5 things to think about if you want to have a large dog breed and live in an apartment.

large dog breed in apartments - 5 things to consider

#1 Apartment living and large dog health issues

Your dog’s size matters. Large dog breeds have different health problems than small dogs. Big dogs are prone to musculoskeletal diseases, like hip dysplasia or arthritis.

This means that slippery floors might pose a problem for your dog. The best thing for older dogs or dogs with joint problems is a carpet.

Stairs are also a nightmare for older dogs. If you don’t have an elevator and live higher than the 1st or 2nd store, I would strongly advise against having a large dog. Arthritis and joint problems in general can be very painful and having to climb stairs at least 2 times a day is just something I just wouldn’t do to my dog. He can be on the best pain medication possible and it would still hurt.

#2 Large dog breeds in apartments need enough regular exercise

You need to make sure your dog gets enough exercise. If you have a backyard that your dog can access, that’s great, however, letting your dog out into a tiny backyard doesn’t constitute exercise. It’s a small pee break at least. You’ll need to be extra diligent about taking your dog for walks and making sure he gets enough playtime.

You need to think about your dog’s energy level. Some large breeds are very energetic and need a lot of exercise, while others are more low-key and content to lounge around the house all day.

Knowing your dog’s personality will help you decide if they’re a good fit for apartment living.

You also need to be aware of your dog’s weight. Large dogs are more prone to problems like obesity and joint problems, so you’ll need to make sure they’re getting the right nutrition and not carrying around too much extra weight.

#3 Is your own lifestyle compatible with having a big dog in your apartment?

I lived in Vienna for 10 years. People there are amazing and take their dogs everywhere – to work, to restaurants, to shopping malls… Those dogs are extremely well adapted to city life and perfectly socialized. It all just works.

If you also want to make this work, you need to have enough time for a daily long walk, training sessions, and vet appointments.

Every dog needs training. Some need it more, and some need it less, but every dog needs training, especially if he lives in the city. And every city dog needs proper socialization. Training and socialization are the cornerstones of happy co-living in a busy city.

You need to have enough finances to take care of your dog’s needs. Large dogs need more food and more exercise, which means they also have bigger vet bills. I would strongly recommend starting an emergency veterinary fund. As a veterinarian myself, trust me, every dog gets sick sooner or later and as I mentioned before, large breeds have their own set of health issues. You need to consider your financial situation before getting any kind of pet.

If you are gone most of the time, you might consider dog daycare or a dog sitter. But you need to be able to pay for those services.

You need to think about whether or not your lifestyle is compatible with having a large dog. If you’ve gone all day or don’t have enough finances at the moment to take care of a dog’s needs, then it might not be the best idea to get a large breed.

printable puppy planner

#4 Are your neighbors and landlord OK with you having a large dog breed?

I think this goes without saying, unless the apartment is yours, always talk to your landlord first if you want to get any kind of pet. Especially a large dog breed πŸ™‚

Depending on where you live, you might have to deal with some grumpy neighbors. It’s important to be a good neighbor and not let your dog bark all day and night, or use the stairs as their personal potty.

You should also think about whether or not your neighbors are okay with having a large dog in the building.

Some people are scared of dogs, so it’s important to be respectful of that. Have your dog on a leash, don’t let him go near your fearful human neighbor (even if he’s a sweet gentle soul who wouldn’t harm a fly) and generally pay attention to other people and their feelings about your dog when you meet them on the stairs.

#5 Consider which large dog breed is best suited to apartment living and your lifestyle

When thinking about the breed, you should consider activity level, barking level, trainability, behavioral characteristics, and if they shed or not.

If you want a really big dog, he needs to be able to move and turn around without bumping into furniture. So if you have a tiny apartment, a Great Dane or a Newfoundland might not be the best option.

dog size by weight chart

American kennel club has a nice page where you can see all these filters and pick a breed that is best suited to your lifestyle.

Best large dog breeds for apartment living

Here are a few large dog breeds that are best suited for apartment living, look them up and decide for yourself ☺️

Again, dog size matters and so does the size of your apartment πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

All of them need regular physical and mental exercise, daily walks, and training. There’s just no way around it. But once you find your routine, it will all just click, trust me.

Bernese Mountain Dog

best big dogs for apartments - Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog is a big, friendly, and gentle giant. They can seem intimidating to strangers but are not threatening. They’re also great with kids, so if you have a family, this may be the breed for you.


best big dogs for apartments - Newfoundland

Newfoundland is a huge, fluffy, and absolutely adorable breed. They’re great with kids and other pets and are known for being calm and gentle. They need daily exercise, so a few walks around the block or a trip to the park is a must.


best large dog breeds for apartments - Mastiff

Mastiff is another big, gentle giant. They’re known for being calm and loving and are great with kids and other pets. However, they can be very protective of their humans πŸ™‚ They don’t need a lot of exercise, so a daily walk should be enough. Just be prepared for some drooling – they are mastiffs after all.

Great Dane

best large dog breeds for apartments - Great Dane

Great Danes are one of the tallest breeds around, they are taller than most people when standing on their hind legs. They are calm and sweet and are great with kids and other pets. However, they can be very protective and are alert home guardians.


best large dog breeds for apartments - Greyhound

Greyhound is gentle, sweet, and noble. A sleek and slender dog that is actually a bit lazy – they can sleep up to 18 hours a day! And while they love sleeping, I would recommend them to more active owners. They were literally bred for running and need to let all that energy out once in a while. But once you see them run… wow…poetry in motion…

Afghan Hound

best large dog breeds for apartments - Afghan Hound

Afghan Hound is a regal and beautiful breed that catches the eye of everyone on the street. If you want to have a stylish dog, this one is for you πŸ™‚ They need regular grooming to keep their beautiful silky coat clean and mat-free.

So, there you have it! Five things to think about if you want a large breed dog and live in an apartment. It’s definitely possible to make it work, but you need to be aware of the challenges that come with it. Of course, every situation is different, but if you take all of these things into consideration, you’ll be well on your way to finding the best large breed for your apartment living situation.

If you’re up for the challenge and are prepared to put in the work, then go for it! You’ll have a best friend for life. Take care! ☺️❀️


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