Woman with dog

How to Choose The Best Dog When You Live in an Apartment

As a single woman living alone, I’ve been thinking about getting a dog. But my apartment is small. So how do I choose the best dog while I balance getting a play buddy (companionship) vs. a guardian (security)?

From my research, I find that most guard dogs tend to be on the larger side and may not be a good fit. Especially for a tiny studio. And because apartment living comes with its own set of requirements and responsibilities.

The Pros and Cons of Living With a Dog in an Apartment

There are many advantages to living with a dog in an apartment. They are great companions, they help people get exercise, and they can be great protection against burglars.

However, there are also disadvantages to living with a dog in an apartment. For example, it can be difficult to find a place that will allow pets, or the rent may be more expensive if the landlord allows pets.

Living with a dog in an apartment is not for everyone. It is important to consider the pros and cons before making this decision.

So what type of dog should a single female living in a small apartment adopt?  Because when the kids leave the nest, a dog can be a remarkable companion to a solo mom.

How to Choose the Right Dog For Your Living Situation

The first step is to figure out your lifestyle. Are you always home or do you work long hours? Do you still have kids living at home? Be as detailed as possible, especially if there are several factors that go into the decision.

So let’s explore.

No matter who you are, dog ownership is a huge responsibility. While it’s not an easy decision to make, it can be an excellent choice once you decide to adopt. If you have kids who can spend time interacting with the dog every day, the decision to adopt a dog may be an easy one.

But if you live alone, then adopting a dog requires a little more thought and some unique considerations. But I have no doubt that getting a dog will bring you much-needed companionship and maybe even some security. 

Things to consider when thinking about adopting a dog

The first thing you may want to consider when thinking about adopting a dog is whether or not your apartment building allows pets. Then you will have to consider breeds and size restrictions if any.  You should also think about the extra costs associated with having a pet.

Finally, you will need to consider your lifestyle and how your new housemate will fit into it.  This will also be a consideration when trying to decide the type of dog you eventually adopt. 

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1. Can You Afford the Extra Cost?

Adopting a dog comes with extra monthly and annual costs. In addition to the pet deposits and additional rent, you will need to factor in pet insurance, visits to the vet, and food. Also, you should consider these costs as well:

  • Purchase price or adoption fees
  • Microchip
  • House Training
  • Supplies such as dog bed, leash, toys, etc. 

Of course, the fee for adopting from a shelter will be lower than purchasing one from a reputable breeder. But also consider your neighbor or friends whose dog may be having puppies. Or, join a Facebook group to see if someone may be offering one for adoption.

Do the research and you’ll find you’ll be able to find a dog that fits into your budget.

2. What is Your Lifestyle?

When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is to choose the dog that’s best for you.

For instance, after much research, I thought I wanted to adopt a Jack Russell. They are fierce and loyal. But they also come with the need to be on the move all the time. I love to walk. But there are days when I just want to spend my time reading. This breed won’t stand for that because they are hunting dogs and they need to stay active.

So, it’s worth considering the activity your dog requires when you are deciding which one to adopt. Even with a more docile companion, you will still want to consider that your dog will need mental and physical stimulation such as regular walks and playing games.

Also, if you’re worried about your dog getting lonely, then there are ways that you can help this problem. It’s a lot easier than you might expect. You simply need to find the right dog breed for your lifestyle.

One other consideration is how often you travel away from home. Some dogs may not mind being on their own for a few hours. But others may just tear up your stuff because they do not want to be locked up for hours on end.

One solution is to have a pet sitter. Or, a neighbor who’s home and may welcome the occasional companionship.

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3. Security vs Companionship

Are you considering getting a dog to provide security, companionship or both?

The Doberman pinscher is one of the top dogs recommended for females living alone. They are fierce and protective by nature. But they may not be conducive to apartment living.  

Depending on your tenant agreement, larger dogs may not be a problem for you.  In which case the size of your unit will determine which dog you choose. People might think that small dogs are better for apartment life, but that’s not always true. 

On the other hand, a Yorkie may not be able to guard you against an intruder but they love to cuddle. They also bark at unusual noise which may or may not be a good thing when you’re living in an apartment.  However, proper training can help to minimize incessant barking. 

Companionship is priceless, but it’s up to you to choose the best dog for you.

4. Newborn or Older 

What are your thoughts concerning adopting a dog?  Do you want to start with a new puppy that can grow old with you?  Or do you prefer to adopt a lonely adult dog from a shelter?

Your decisions will be based on the amount of time you have available to train your dog. But it could also depend on your social stance on sheltered pets, maybe.  

I would prefer to start fresh with a newborn. But if I lived in a house I would most likely adopt one or two from a shelter.  

Again the decision on whether you adopt a newborn or sheltered dog will be based on your own personal beliefs and needs.


The decision to adopt a dog or any pet bears serious consideration to your living situation and financial abilities.  Owning a pet has many benefits. Dogs are loyal companions.  

When you live alone, having one can mean the difference between being lonely and having a feeling of wellbeing.  They are also a great way to meet new friends.

No matter which dog you choose, chances are you will be glad you decided to adopt.  Because there are several well-documented benefits to owning a dog.  

So go ahead and adopt your next best friend. 

Additional Resources: 

44 Best Apartment Dogs: Breeds, Sizes, and Maintenance

Best Apartment Dogs

The 20 Best Dogs for Apartments — Whether You’re in the Studio or Penthouse

Dog Breed Selector Tool, American Kennel Club

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