15 Calm Small Dog Breeds Perfect for Apartment Living

yorkshire terrier on couch

Many people are looking for calm dogs that won’t have the zoomies and destroy your house if you don’t exercise them a lot. Typically, the size of your dog correlates to the amount of energy they will have. The smaller the dog, the less energy they will have.

However, that’s not always the case as smaller dogs like miniature Goldendoodles will still have a ton of energy and want to fetch all the time. We created a list of 15 calm small dog breeds to help you choose your next puppy.

⏰ Short on time? Here's a summary of each breed mentioned in this article

  1. Pug: A charming toy dog known for its wrinkled face and expressive eyes. Ideal for laid-back lifestyles due to its balanced energy level.
  2. Cockapoo: A mix of toy Poodle and Cocker Spaniel, this breed is calm, easily trainable, and perfect for apartment living.
  3. French Bulldog: Recognized by its bat-like ears, this breed is calm, adaptable, and perfect for urban settings.
  4. Maltese: A pristine white lapdog, the Maltese is calm, adaptive, and requires regular grooming.
  5. Bichon Frise: A cheerful breed with a sturdy build, known for its playful personality and long life expectancy.
  6. Shiba Inu: A small dog with a fox-like appearance, it's alert, attentive, and requires minimal exercise.
  7. Pomeranian: Lively yet calm, this toy breed is known for its vibrant personality and adaptability to indoor living.
  8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: A royal breed known for its attentiveness and calm demeanor, but requires moderate daily exercise.
  9. Havanese: Not the most popular but a great fit for those seeking a calm, small puppy. Known for its big brown eyes and easygoing temperament.
  10. Pekingese: A regal toy breed with a wide stature, known for its loyalty, sophistication, and calm nature.
  11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Intelligent and loyal, this breed is perfect for all households and is known for its herding tendencies.
  12. Boston Terrier: Originated in the U.S., this breed is friendly, sociable, and perfect for families.
  13. Yorkshire Terrier: A small dog with a big personality, Yorkies are affectionate, intelligent, and perfect for apartment living.
  14. Miniature Schnauzer: Originating from Germany, this breed is extroverted, intelligent, and known for its guarding tendencies.
  15. Miniature Poodle: Athletic and intelligent, this breed is hypoallergenic, friendly, and requires regular grooming.
  16. A Small Calm Mixed Dog: A unique blend of characteristics, adopting a mixed breed promotes health advantages, cost-effectiveness, and combats unethical breeding practices.



The Pug, affectionately known for its charming, wrinkled face and expressive eyes, stands modestly under 12 inches tall and weighs between 14 and 22 pounds.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club as a member of the toy dog group, the Pug boasts a balanced energy level—neither too lethargic nor overly hyperactive.

Its compact stature, combined with its endearing personality, makes the Pug an ideal companion for those who appreciate the joys of canine companionship without the constant need for long walks. Whether lounging on the couch or enjoying a leisurely stroll, the Pug's adaptable nature is perfect for individuals with a laid-back lifestyle.


  • Adaptable Nature: Pugs adjust well to various living conditions, perfect for apartments.
  • Moderate Energy: Ideal for those seeking a calm companion without the need for constant exercise.
  • Affectionate and Loyal: They form strong bonds with their owners.
  • Compact Size: Easy to manage and great for indoor spaces.
  • Family-Friendly: Gentle temperament makes them great with children.


  • Health Concerns: Prone to certain genetic health problems due to their flat faces.
  • Sensitive to Temperatures: Can struggle in extreme hot or cold weather.
  • Tendency to overeat: Need to monitor their diet to prevent obesity


cockapoo calm dog

The Cockapoo is a mix between the toy Poodle and Cocker Spaniel.

This small dog breed is rather calm and can live in an apartment or smaller house. While you’ll still need to exercise this breed, it is a great breed that is known to be calm and easily trainable.


  • Ideal Apartment Size: Compact and suited for smaller spaces.
  • Calm Temperament: Known for their peaceful nature.
  • Easily Trainable: Quick learners and responsive to training.
  • Low to Moderate Exercise Needs: Thrives with daily short walks.
  • Friendly and Affectionate: Bonds well with families.
  • Adaptable Nature: Adjusts to various living conditions.


  • Grooming Needs: Requires regular grooming due to mixed coat.
  • Can be vocal: Might bark if not trained early.

Frenchie (French Bulldog)

french bulldog gray dog

The Frenchie is known for its bat-like ears and playful personality. It is one of the world's most popular small dog breeds.

Another benefit of getting a French Bulldog is that it is extremely calm, doesn't bark much, and can do well amongst city dwellers who don’t have a large house.

With an average height of 13 inches and weighing under 25-30 pounds, this breed is a great option as a small dog with low energy.


  • Compact Size: Perfect for apartments and small homes.
  • Calm Temperament: Known for its peaceful personality.
  • Minimal Barking: Quiet nature, ideal for shared living spaces.
  • Low Energy: Requires less exercise than many breeds.
  • Adaptable: Thrives in urban settings.
  • Distinct Appearance: Bat-like ears make them stand out.


  • Health Concerns: Prone to brachycephalic syndrome.
  • Grooming Needs: Regular cleaning of facial wrinkles required.
  • High Sensisivity: Can struggle in high temperatures.


maltese looking at camera

The Maltese is one of the most popular small dog white dogs in the world. It is known for its cuddly personality as it is typically a lapdog.

Additionally, it is one of the smallest dog breeds on our list as it typically only weighs around 7 pounds and stand 7 to 9 inches in height.

The Maltese is a calm, adaptive, and elegant dog breed that needs to be regularly groomed to prevent mats and tangles.


  • Compact Size: Ideal for apartments and small spaces.
  • Affectionate Nature: Perfect companion and lapdog.
  • Calm Temperament: Suited for relaxed households.
  • Adaptable: Adjusts well to various living conditions.
  • Elegant Appearance: Pristine white coat stands out.


  • Regular Grooming: Essential to prevent matting.
  • Delicate: Can be prone to injury due to small size.
  • Sensitive Skin: May require special care or products.

Bichon Frise

bichon frise photo

Originating from the Mediterranean region, the Bichon Frise was a favorite among royalty and was often depicted in Renaissance paintings.

While not as widely recognized as the Maltese, the Bichon Frise boasts a sturdier build, standing up to 12 inches tall and weighing as much as 18 pounds.

Their cheerful and playful personality, combined with a life expectancy of 14-15 years, makes them a cherished companion for many.


  • Loyal Companion: Known for their affectionate and cheerful nature.
  • Long Life Expectancy: Typically lives 12-15 years.
  • Hypoallergenic Coat: Less likely to trigger allergies.
  • Adaptable: Adjusts well to various living conditions.


  • Regular Grooming: Their curly coat requires consistent care.
  • Health Concerns: Prone to certain genetic conditions.

Shiba Inu

shiba inu small calm dog breed

The Shiba Inu, with its fox-like appearance, stands between 13-17 inches tall and weighs around 17-23 pounds. While it may not be as petite as breeds like the Maltese, it's still categorized as a smaller dog.

Recognized by the AKC in the non-sporting group, the Shiba Inu doesn't possess the high energy levels typical of working breeds. This breed is characterized by its alertness, attentiveness, and strong sense of independence, requiring minimal exercise to maintain its calm disposition.


  • Compact Size: Suitable for urban living and smaller spaces.
  • Low Energy: Doesn't require extensive exercise like working breeds.
  • Independent Nature: Can entertain itself and doesn't demand constant attention.
  • Alert and Attentive: Makes for a good watchdog.
  • Easy Maintenance: Short coat requires less grooming.
  • Adaptable: Adjusts well to various living conditions.


  • Stubborn: Can be challenging to train due to its independent nature.
  • Escape Artist: Known to be good at escaping fenced areas


pomeranian small breed calm

The Pom is a lively small dog breed that is rather calm.

However, the Pomeranian tends to bark a lot as it is an attentive and bold toy breed. Since they are only 7 inches tall and weigh roughly 7 pounds, you won’t need to run marathons with them.

When kept indoors and away from strangers and other dogs, they are an extremely calm dog breed.


  • Compact Size: Ideal for apartments and small spaces.
  • Calm Indoors: Peaceful when in familiar settings.
  • Low Exercise Needs: No need for extensive physical activities.
  • Loyal Companion: This breed forms strong bonds with its owners.
  • Adaptable Nature: Adjusts well to indoor living.
  • Vibrant Personality: Brings joy and energy to any home.


  • Tendency to Bark: Can be vocal due to their alert nature.
  • Grooming Needs: Requires regular brushing and care.
  • Sensitive to Extreme Temperatures: Prefers moderate climates.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel calm dog

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was originally bred and kept as a royal dog in Britain. They're considered extremely attentive and relatively calm.

However, when compared to the other dog breeds on this list, you will need to exercise a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel moderately every day.

This breed stands roughly 12-13 inches and weighs up to 18 pounds. Its multi-color coat makes it extremely disguishable.


  • Affectionate Nature: Known for their loving and gentle temperament.
  • Adaptable Size: Suitable for both apartments and larger homes.
  • Social and Friendly: Gets along well with children and other pets.
  • Moderate Exercise Needs: Daily walks and play suffice.
  • Eager to Please: Makes training relatively easier.
  • Loyal Companion: This breed forms strong bonds with its owners.


  • Health Concerns: Prone to certain genetic conditions.
  • Sensitive Nature: Can be emotionally affected by changes or stress.
  • Tendency to Overeat: Needs monitored feeding to prevent obesity.


havanese dog calm

The Havanese isn’t the most popular in terms of AKC rankings, but it could make a great fit for someone who wants a small puppy that is calm.

The Havanese stands roughly 9-11 inches tall and weighs up to 13 pounds. In terms of size, the Havanese isn’t too small, but it isn't too big either.

This breed also only has a moderate amount of energy. The combination of its big brown eyes and easygoing temperament makes the Havanese a great choice for new puppy owners.


  • Friendly Demeanor: Known for their sociable and affectionate nature.
  • Ideal Size: Perfectly suited for apartments and small living spaces.
  • Low Shedding: Hypoallergenic coat beneficial for allergy sufferers.
  • Adaptable Nature: Adjusts well to different living conditions and lifestyles.
  • Eager to Learn: Training is generally straightforward with their keenness.
  • Lively and Playful: Brings joy to households with their spirited antics.


  • Regular Grooming: Their long coat requires consistent care and brushing.
  • Separation Anxiety: Can become attached and dislikes being left alone.
  • Sensitive to Cold: Prefers warmer climates and might need protection in cold weather.


pekingese calm small dog

The Pekingese is a toy dog breed that typically stands 6 to 9 inches tall but can weigh up to 13-14 pounds due to its wide stature.

Steeped in regal history, the Pekingese was once revered as a royal breed in China. This dignified canine is not only loyal and sophisticated but also exudes a distinct air of confidence and pride.

Their personality is a blend of independence and affection, often displaying a charming mix of aloofness with bursts of playful energy. Despite their regal demeanor, they form strong bonds with their families.

Additionally, they don't require much exercise, making them a relatively calm companion for those seeking a low-maintenance pet with a touch of aristocracy.


  • Regal History: Revered as a royal breed in ancient China.
  • Loyal Companion: Forms strong bonds with its owners.
  • Low Exercise Needs: Perfect for those seeking a low-maintenance pet.
  • Distinct Personality: Blend of independence and affection.
  • Adaptable Size: Suitable for apartments and small living spaces.
  • Sophisticated Demeanor: Exudes confidence and pride.


  • Grooming Requirements: Their long coat needs regular care.
  • Potential Health Issues: Prone to certain breed-specific conditions.
  • Can be Stubborn: Might require patience during training.
  • Sensitive to Heat: Due to their flat faces, they can struggle in high temperatures.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

pembroke welsh corgi on a tree

Corgis are exceptionally intelligent, which isn't surprising given that their traditional role used to be on the farm with regards to herding animals. These dogs are incredibly loyal, smart, and not very aggressive, making them the best fit for all households, including households with other pets and children.

When it comes to corgis, two separate breeds are identified – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi typically weighs around 26-30 pounds and stands at 10-12 inches. On the other hand, Cardigan Welsh Corgi typically weighs approximately 25-38 pounds and stands at 10-12 inches.

Fun fact: Queen Elizabeth II single-handedly has made Corgis popular worldwide. As per reports, she has owned at least 30 of these dogs throughout her life.


  • Compact Size: Perfectly suited for apartments and smaller homes.
  • Friendly Nature: They bond well with families and other pets.
  • Moderate Exercise Needs: Daily walks and playtime suffice.
  • Intelligent and Trainable: They pick up commands relatively quickly.
  • Loyal Companion: They form strong attachments to their owners.
  • Adaptable: Adjusts well to various living conditions.


  • Shedding: They have a double coat that sheds seasonally.
  • Potential for Herding Behavior: Might try to herd small children.
  • Health Concerns: Prone to certain breed-specific conditions.

Boston Terrier

boston terrier with snow

Originated in the United States in the 19th century, Boston Terriers are great family dogs. These dogs may bark to inform you of other people or dogs' presence, but they are not considered aggressive. They are well-known for being loving – not fighters, which makes them ideal for people looking for small and calm dogs as a pet. 

Boston Terriers are clever and sociable and have an affinity for children and the elderly, qualifying them as good home dogs. Boston Terriers are easy to train, given their intelligence. 

Boston Terriers typically weigh around 12-25 pounds and stand at 10-12 inches. So if you're looking for a small, well-proportioned, handsome little dog – Boston Terriers are just right for you.


  • Ideal Size: Compact and suitable for both apartments and houses.
  • Friendly and Sociable: They get along well with children and other pets.
  • Low Maintenance Coat: Short fur that's easy to groom.
  • Adaptable Energy Levels: Active when needed, calm indoors.
  • Intelligent and Eager to Please: Makes training relatively easier.
  • Good-Natured Temperament: Known as the “American Gentleman” for their demeanor.


  • Sensitive to Extreme Temperatures: Prefer moderate climates.
  • Potential for Brachycephalic Syndrome: Due to their flat faces.
  • Can be Vocal: Might bark at unfamiliar sounds or strangers.
  • Health Concerns: Prone to certain genetic conditions.

Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire hyopallergenic

As the name suggests, Yorkshire Terriers originated from Yorkshire in England and were popular as lap dogs, given their size and influence over Victorian ladies. Such popularity made them recognized as companion animals.

Yorkshire Terriers, better known as Yorkies, make a good pet. These dogs are great personalities in a tiny package. People who live in an apartment with limited space can easily keep Yorkies as a pet since they don't take up much room

Since they are compact, they don't require rigorous exercise, making them desirable for people lacking time to take their dogs on walks. Yorkies also have a hypoallergenic coat that makes them safe for people with allergies or asthma.

Yorkshire Terriers are considered one of the smallest dogs. They stand at only 7 or 8 inches and weigh up to 7 pounds.


  • Compact Size: Perfect for city living and small spaces.
  • Loyal and Affectionate: They form strong bonds with their families.
  • Adaptable Energy Levels: Playful when active, but also enjoys relaxation.
  • Intelligent and Alert: Makes for a good watchdog despite their size.
  • Hypoallergenic Coat: Suitable for many allergy sufferers.
  • Long Lifespan: Often enjoys a long and healthy life.


  • Grooming Needs: Their long coat requires regular maintenance.
  • Can be Vocal: Tendency to bark at unfamiliar sounds.
  • Delicate Health: Prone to certain breed-specific conditions.
  • Training Needs: Can exhibit a stubborn streak at times.

Miniature Schnauzer

miniature schnauzer standing on grass

Miniature Schnauzer is a small dog breed whose roots can be traced to Germany. They are largely extroverted, intelligent, and affectionate. They also possess great guarding tendencies. Initially, they were a breed of farm dogs generally used for herding & guarding.  

Since they are astoundingly affectionate dogs, they love to be around their owner. Miniature Schnauzers are extremely protective of their owners and, as a result, very wary and suspicious of strangers, turning them into an excellent watchdog and can alert you of any visitors or break-ins. 

Miniature Schnauzers stand at 12 to 14 inches tall and weigh 11 to 20 pounds.


  • Perfect Size: Suitable for both urban apartments and suburban homes.
  • Friendly and Sociable: They bond well with families, including children.
  • Low-Shedding Coat: Beneficial for those with allergies.
  • Intelligent and Trainable: Eager learners with a keen mind.
  • Good Watchdogs: Alert and will notify of unfamiliar sounds or visitors.
  • Adaptable Energy Levels: Active outdoors, calm indoors.


  • Regular Grooming: Their wiry coat needs consistent care.
  • Can be Vocal: Might bark if not trained or socialized properly.
  • Dietary Needs: Prone to weight gain and requires a monitored diet.

Miniature Poodle

miniature poodle on a rock

One of the most popular mini dogs because of their extreme intelligence and adaptability, Miniature Poodle are miniature athletes who exhale in jumping and retrieving.

But don't let that charming and clumsy personality fool you; they are athletic dogs because of their sturdy and robust body. They are compact, and their unique friendly personality makes them the perfect lapdogs

They are highly obedient, and their tracking ability is astounding. Because of their miniature and friendly nature, they bond quickly with a stranger, making them bad guard dogs. Also, due to less shedding and shorter hair, they are less costly maintenance-wise and very compatible with people with fur allergies.

A Miniature Poodle stands 10 to 15 inches tall and weighs 10 to 15 pounds.


  • Compact Size: Ideal for city apartments and smaller living spaces.
  • Highly Intelligent: Known for their sharp minds and trainability.
  • Hypoallergenic Coat: A good choice for many allergy sufferers.
  • Friendly and Sociable: They bond well with families and other pets.
  • Versatile: Excel in various dog sports and activities.
  • Long Lifespan: Often enjoys a lengthy and healthy life.


  • Regular Grooming: Their curly coat requires consistent maintenance.
  • Can be Sensitive: Might be emotionally affected by changes or stress.
  • Exercise Needs: Require mental and physical stimulation daily.

A Small Calm Mixed Dog

When considering adding a furry friend to your family, it's worth exploring the option of adopting a mixed breed dog. These wonderful canines, often referred to as “mutts” or “mixed breeds,” bring a unique blend of characteristics, both in appearance and personality, making each one truly one-of-a-kind. Here's why you should consider adopting one:

  1. Unpredictable Charm: With a mixed breed, you get an exclusive combination of traits that no purebred can offer. This unpredictability often results in delightful surprises in their behavior and looks.
  2. Health Advantages: Mixed breeds often have fewer genetic health issues compared to their purebred counterparts, thanks to a broader gene pool.
  3. Adoption: By choosing to adopt, you're giving a deserving dog a second chance at a loving home. It's a noble act that reduces the strain on overpopulated shelters.
  4. Cost-Effective: Adoption fees are generally lower than buying a purebred, and these fees often include vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and even microchipping.
  5. Combat Puppy Mills: By adopting, you're taking a stand against unethical breeding practices and puppy mills that prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals.


We hope that you were able to find a calm small dog breed or at least get an idea of a dog breed that you are searching for.

If you live an active lifestyle, you may want to consider another dog breed. However, if you’re a couch potato who just wants a cuddle buddy then most of the dogs on this list will suit you.

Need more ideas? Take our dog breed quiz!

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