The 5 best dogs for a small home

If you live in a small space, you'll want to get a dog that will be happy there -- and keep your neighbours happy, too. Here are a few dog breeds that are perfect for small homes and apartments.

By Valerie Howes

3 great dog breeds for a small home or apartment
©iStockphoto.com/Matthew Benoit
Living in a modest space doesn't mean you should not have a pet dog, but it does mean you have to be extra careful which breed you choose. Cindy Hache, a longtime volunteer at the SPCA Monteregie Animal Shelter in Quebec and a groomer by profession, has learned from thousands of dog owners over the years which breeds do best in cosy living quarters. Here are her top picks and her tips for making it work.

1. Shih Tzu
The long-locked Shih Tzu is typically calm and gentle by nature. Its bark is quiet compared to that of other small dogs, such as the terrier or beagle, so neighbours in an apartment building are far less likely to complain. Bred for companionship, this little dog is happiest warming your lap and won't whine for long walks.

2. Pug
"This breed is low energy, not demanding and doesn't have a loud bark," says Hache. The wrinkle-faced pug is the consummate couch potato, and an extremely loyal and devoted pet. It rarely grows taller than 14 inches, so it won't make your home feel crowded. However, Hache warns against related Puggles as an apartment pet: "They're a pug-beagle mix, and while they're small and cute with the adorable face of a pug, they have the high energy levels of a beagle," she says, adding: "We get a lot of them at the shelter."

3. Cocker Spaniel
This is the pick of the medium breeds for apartment dwellers. "They're not very vocal dogs, even though they can be a little insecure when they see a stranger or something that scares them," says Hache. While cocker spaniels are sporting dogs that need to be well exercised, their disposition is exceptionally gentle and you can expect them to act calm at home after a good walk.

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