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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Apartment life, what breed is good for you?

Steeler, Chance, & Bentley

I often hear this question “What breed would be suitable for apartment life?”

 There are many dogs that are suited to apartment life providing one is willing to give it proper exercise. This can mean anything from a long walk a few times a day to an all out jog up hill both ways!

It is always important to read about the breed you are looking at to match your own activity level as well know what the dog was bred to do. Dogs that were bred as companion animals would be the first breeds to look at for apartment life but does this mean other breeds can’t be considered as well? Obviously if you make plans to keep an active dog active, then there probably won’t be much of a problem.

Having a dog walker or investing in a doggie daycare center either a home based one or one on a larger scale, can make owning the breed you really want more achievable but do make such arrangements and have backup plans before you get the dog.

For the most part, depending on the breed of dog and the age, dogs can sleep up to 18 hours a day. If you are a stay at home person you may notice that the dog will only wake up out of curiosity to see where you are going. Some will stick to their owners like Velcro and those are the dogs you’ll see the most movement from and possibly the most destruction from when left alone. Dogs that are content and stable in their surroundings would more than likely just follow the owner around the house with its eyes rather than physical movement, keeping that comfortable, sleepy position! Again this will depend on the age of the dog.

Know that a young pup is going to need to go out and often, so if your elevator is broken and you mind trekking up and down apartment steps, don’t get a pup. Seek out an older dog from a breed rescue. Sadly, people are under the misnomer that older dogs come with lots of baggage and while some do, others do not drag their baggage to the new home, but welcome the change and relaxation a new home may offer.

I am owned by many Newfoundland’s and while they are huge dogs, as adults they don’t require a lot of exercise. Fifteen to twenty minutes in the yard a few times a day (if you are a walker, then a couple of walks a day would do) and they are ready to come back in and lay down.  As I write this, there are four out of five lying near my feet! Sleep space is more of a requirement around here! I actually think a Newf would like apartment life because they would not be thrown out in the back yard alone. They need to be within the family unit. It is when they are excluded from the family that they become the most destructive. However your universe may seem a bit smaller with a Newf taking up space in an apartment, thus they are not rated as dogs good for apartment living.

Some breeds are not in need of many outings for exercise, but are very active inside the home which may not be suitable for some apartment dwellers that don’t want a dog under their feet all the time.

Don’t mistake my saying good for apartments, with not being destructive! Any dog when left alone for a certain amount of time can be destructive out of boredom, it’s just that something like a Newfoundland can possibly chew their way through a whole couch rather then just chewing up a cushion!

So this is one more aspect of knowing the dog's needs and how to satisfy them, it’s not always about room per say. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do right by a specific breed if you really can’t. That is not fair to the dog.

Dogs that were not bred to do a job such as a Shih Tzu or Bichon Frise are small, as is the West Highland Terrier but the first two were not bred for a job like the Westie, so it is not all about size. A Westie can tear your couch apart in an hour looking for vermin!

There are breeds that were bred to do a job but are still a bit more laid back than their ancestors. The Sussex Spaniel was bred to flush for the hunter, yet they make fine apartment dwellers as do Clumber Spaniels, where others in the hunting family really need to run and be kept active. If you’re looking for more of a couch potato then you will want a Clumber Spaniel over something else in that size range. There are also dogs that were bred for a specific job but don’t actually go into motion until they are put in that element for which they were bred.

With this in mind, there are dogs that might be couch potatoes inside the home, but exercise is still necessary, or as in other cases, the home is sufficient enough for them to get much of their exercise needs met because they are just as active inside the home.

Hmm, Newfie at 170 pounds or Shih Tzu at 16 pounds? I guess it depends on your taste and experience with dogs!

So below is a listing of apartment dwelling dogs, and remember it’s what you do with your dog that makes it the perfect companion.

Active inside dog means they can be satisfied roaming the apartment although it is advisable to take them out to meet people as well! After all, we don’t want your apartment to be just a bigger form of a cage!

(clicking on the breed you are interested in will bring to to a page with information about that breed)

Bassett hound ~ one of those breeds that can be a couch potato inside but will lead you through thick and thin if it picks up on a scent while outside. (example of being put in it's element)

Bichon Frise ~ active inside (meaning it can get the bulk of its exercise inside the home)

Boston Terrier~ moderate exercise

Brussels Griffon  ~active inside dog

Bulldog~ minimal exercise

Cavalier King Charles ~can take a  casual walk or be happy on a couch

Chihuahua ~active indoor

Clumber Spaniel ~~ not a jogging partner!

Dachshund~ moderate exercise

English Toy Spaniel~ moderate exercise

French Bulldog~ minimal exercise ~Lap warmer!

Leonburger (giant breed)~ moderate daily exercise

Miniature Pincher ~Moderate exercise

Norfolk Terrier ~adapts well to city or suburban

Norwich Terrier~ adapts well to city or suburban

Papillon ~indoor activity

Pekingese ~indoor active

Polish Lowland Sheepdog ~adapts to city or country

Pomeranian~ moderate exercise

Pug~ moderate exercise

Schipperke~ apartment or suburban

Shih Tzu ~ minimal exercise

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier ~can adapt to any environment

Sussex spaniel~ moderate

Toy Fox Terrier~ content on a couch but likes to explore outside

Xoloitzcuintli~ limited exercise

Yorkshire Terrier ~limited exercise

Newfoundland 175 pounds
 Steeler,Chance, Emma, & Abby 

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