10 best dogs for college students

best dogs for college students

Going off to college is a really exciting time in many people’s lives. Meeting new friends, house parties, sports teams, and a little bit of studying. But it can also be quite a lonely and anxious-making experience, especially if it’s your first time away from home, in a new house with new people. To keep these worries at bay, many students decide to take a four-legged friend with them. They can help keep you company and a cute dog on campus is always a great conversation starter!

But which are the best dogs for college students?

What to think about when choosing a dog for college

When you’re deciding whether your pup can withstand your college days, there are a few factors you need to take into consideration. 

Are they sociable?

You might not feel like it on the first day, but it’s important that your dog is happy to go and ‘speak' with others. A social dog will be happy for you to have friends over and be around other students on campus. You don’t want to bring a dog with you that’s overly anxious around new people.

What about their size?

Let’s be honest, if you rock up to your accommodation on day one and you have a Great Dane in tow, you’re probably not going to be that popular (recognizable though). In most cases, you’ll find it easier to have a slightly smaller dog.

Are they housetrained?

Your roommates will really appreciate you bringing a well-trained dog to the party. No puppies allowed.

What's their energy level?

Generally, the best dogs for college students are those that have low energy levels – especially if you intend on spending most of your time studying in the library. For those students that can work from bed, a pup with higher energy levels is probably OK. As long as you don’t mind taking regular play/walk breaks too.

Best dog breeds for college students

So, bearing all that in mind, what are the best dogs to have in college? Here’s a list of dogs that will keep you company, entertain you, and that will be loved by your roommates too!

English Bulldog

english bulldog on couch

When it comes to dog breeds, you can’t get more of a student themselves than the English Bulldog. Just like college students, they’re happy to stay in bed until late, eat, and always have an afternoon nap. Compared to other pups, they are dogs that don’t need a lot of exercise but they do need to stretch their legs and have plenty of playtime as they’re prone to putting on weight. They’re also seriously cute and will be a hit on campus. 

Golden Retriever

golden retriever college student

The Golden Retriever is arguably the most sociable dog breed in the world. They’ll love for you to have people over and friends to play with. They’re highly intelligent dogs and are pretty easy to train. These beautiful dogs are very loyal and love spending time with their humans – meaning they’ll be happy to pull an all-nighter with you when they need to!

Although they tick the boxes of easy to train and sociable, Golden Retrievers aren’t a good choice if you want to spend all day in lectures or the library. They can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety and won’t like being left alone for long periods of time. They also need a lot of exercise. If you have a big house with plenty of people and a yard, they’ll be happy enough whilst you leave for a little bit.

Basset Hound

basset hound on grass

The Basset Hound is definitely one of the best dogs to have in college – especially if you want to be stopped wherever you go and make new friends. They’re seriously cute and funny pups that will attract everyone’s attention. They enjoy sleeping and dozing throughout the day, so won’t mind too much if you pop out to the odd lecture or two. They’re friendly dogs that are also quite easy to train.

They don’t need huge amounts of exercise but will need a walk to keep the pounds off. They can be (as nearly all hounds can be) prone to howling, so it’s maybe a good idea to take them for their walk early in the morning so as not to disturb your roommates!


papillon smiling dog

This small dog is a great pet for any dog owner. Papillons are intelligent, not too demanding, and very cute. They don’t have big exercise needs and a walk around the block is enough to keep them satisfied. They’ll be happy to sit on your lap and snuggle you whilst you work (or whilst you try not to be distracted) and will help to relieve your stress.  They may need a little time to get used to new people but are generally pretty friendly. Papillons do shed though, so make sure you have a vacuum cleaner to hand.

Chinese Crested Dog

chinese crested dog for college student

These small pups are one of the best dog breeds for students – and they’re always going to attract attention. They’re intelligent, fairly easy to train, and have pretty moderate exercise needs. Chinese Crested Dogs love being with their owners and can develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. That means they’re more suited to college students who like to study at home. They’d also fit in in large houses with multiple people who can entertain them.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel college dog

King Charles Spaniels are iconic and make good college student companions. They’re gentle, loving, and don’t tend to make too much noise. They can have high energy levels but because they’re a small breed, a quick run around the garden or play in the park will soon tire them out. The beautiful coat for which they’re known may attract lots of attention, but it also requires daily grooming to stop mats from forming.

Boston Terrier

boston terrier with snow

The American Gentleman is one of the best breeds for college students. They’re small dogs that can adjust well to apartments but that are also happy living with other people. They’re friendly, curious, and love to play. In fact, compared to other small breeds, they have quite high energy levels and more demanding exercise needs. A good walk or a game of fetch will soon burn up that energy and they’ll be happy to rest for much of the day. Although not recommended to leave them (or any breed for that matter) for long periods of time, they’ll be fine if you go to a lecture or are away for a few hours.


dachshund looking up

The little sausage dog is one of the best college dogs. They’re cute, friendly, and have really big personalities which can help entertain you if you’re feeling a little homesick. They don’t mind spending time indoors and are pretty easy to maintain on the grooming front. They’re small enough to sit in your lap whilst you work and will only need a bit of your time for exercise and play.


whippet standing up

These gentle dogs make really good pets for college students. They have a really loving and calm nature, which means they’ll help you as you study and will be happy to relax during the day. Whippets are obedient, quite easy to train, and very intelligent. Even though they’re known for being incredibly fast dogs, their exercise needs are actually quite low. A good sprint around the park will be enough to burn up their energy and will let you get on with studying for the rest of the day.

Shih Tzus

shih tzu best dogs to have in college

Just look at their little face! Shih Tzus make great pets for students because they’re friendly, affectionate, and only need a moderate amount of exercise. A short walk, run around the yard, or playtime in the doggie park will be enough to keep them happy. They’re also pretty good at being home alone for a few hours and don’t mind entertaining themselves. As is the case with many small dogs, weight can be a bit of an issue – so you need to make sure you keep an eye on them and get them moving through exercise and play.

Getting a dog when you go to college could be a great idea. They can help you feel more at home and keep you entertained. And, despite what you may think, many can actually fit into a busy student lifestyle. But, no matter how busy you are studying (or partying) you need to make sure you give them enough attention, don’t leave them alone at home for long periods, and satisfy their exercise needs.

Are you thinking about getting a dog for college? Or did you have one when you went? Which breed? Leave us!

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