13 Best Indoor Dog Breeds in 2024 for a Happy Home Life

best indoor dogs

One of my favorite things about dogs is that they come in so many different categories. There are high-energy pups, those that want to spend their days on the couch, big dogs that prefer to be outside, and then, there are your indoor dogs.

Most people, when they think of the best indoor dogs, think of docile and calm pups that don’t need too much exercise outside of a daily walk. This is mostly true, but just about every dog breed has the capability of being an indoor dog. It’s just a matter of whether they thrive better in homes or apartments. 

Don’t let the term “indoor dog” fool you, though. These pups will need exercise, and they do like to go outside; they just prefer to spend most of their time indoors. The best indoor dogs also tend to be smaller or medium-sized dogs, like the Bichon Frise (which isn’t on this list), though there are some large and giant dog breeds that are very low-key as well.

Best Indoor Dogs

If you’re entertaining the idea of adopting an indoor dog, there are many breeds to choose from. Let’s take a look at a few of our top choices.

Most of the dogs on the list are small to medium-sized, but that’s just how it shook out this time around. There are some larger dogs, such as the Great Dane and Greyhound, that do well as indoor dogs, as well.

1. American Hairless Terrier

best indoor dog

The American Hairless Terrier is quite a unique-looking dog. After all, it is one of the hairless dog breeds, which makes it hypoallergenic, but that’s also a bonus because, guess what? No extra sweeping duties! They do need extra protection from the elements, such as a sweater when it’s cold out and sunscreen when they go out in warmer weather. 

The American Hairless Terrier is a small dog with an average height of 14 inches and weight of 14 pounds. They are super playful dogs with a curious streak that can sometimes get them in trouble. This pup is moderately active, but that can be resolved with a daily walk or two or playtime in the home. Since they’re small, it’s easy to romp around in the house.

2. Chihuahua

best dog for indoors

The Chihuahua is one of the most popular dog breeds for Americans, who love the charming personality on these pups. They can be short- or long-haired, which means Chihuahuas will need some type of grooming, and sadly, you will have to sweep up after these guys.

However, the Chihuahua is an excellent canine companion because it’s more than happy to be where you are. This pup is also very smart and can get into some mischief.

Chihuahuas are small in size, around 6.5″ tall and 5 pounds, which makes them suitable for any environment, including as pets for apartment dwellers. They have moderate activity levels, but like the American Hairless Terrier, you can exercise them on walks or just by playing in the home. Check out the different types of Chihuahuas

3. Japanese Chin

best indoor dogs

The Japanese Chin was originally bred for Japanese royalty, where they served as lap dogs, and thus, it tends to be a stubborn breed at times. It’s also used to being pampered. These pups much prefer to play indoors over outdoors, but they do enjoy taking walks. Their long fur means you’ll have to groom them regularly, but they tend not to shed too much.

The Japanese Chin is a smaller dog like the other two on this list, so far, standing an average of 9.5″ tall and weighing around 9 pounds. One of the Japanese dog breeds, they are quiet and loving dogs who have a flat face, known as brachycephalic syndrome, and may not fare well in lots of exercise in hot weather. 

4. Basset Hound

indoor dogs

If you’ve ever wanted to see your dog’s soul through its eyes, you need to get a Basset Hound. These dogs are so sweet — and so lazy. They love to lay around indoors all day and think nothing of doing so right in the middle of a pathway. These indoor dogs also enjoy daily walks, especially with other dogs. 

The Basset Hound’s personality is that of a loyal companion who is more than happy to be around its people. One of the hound dog breeds they are longer than they are tall, with an average height of around 13″ and an average weight of 47 pounds. Instead of a bark, these pups have a howl that is too cute for words.

5. Bulldog

indoor dog breeds

The Bulldog is one of the cutest pups and is one of the best indoor dogs, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for their underbite and smushed faces that they have, courtesy of brachycephalic syndrome.

The Bulldog is an affectionate dog and loves to just lounge on the couch with its owners. The Bulldog is a medium-sized pup that stands around 14.5″ tall and weighs an average of 45 pounds. 

These indoor dogs are affable and get along with everyone, including children and other pets. The Bulldog is prone to obesity, so it does need enough exercise to ward off the extra pounds, but be careful not to overwork your pup or leave it outside in hot weather. And did you know there are many types of Bulldogs?

6. Finnish Lapphund

best inside family dog

The Finnish Lapphund is a precious little thing that stands around 18.5″ inches tall and weighs about 43 pounds, making it more of a medium-sized dog. They are super calm and friendly and look like little fuzzy foxes. 

This indoor dog tends to suffer from separation anxiety and prefers to be your first priority, so make sure you have the time necessary to devote to it.

They have a moderate activity level and need enough exercise that you can easily work out while at the dog park or on daily walks. You won’t have to do much grooming on this pup, but make sure you have a broom handy — they shed a lot!

7. Chow Chow

best inside dogs

The Chow Chow is a fluffy dog that acts more like a cat than a dog, truth be told. They constantly groom themselves and are considered one of the cleanest indoor dogs, though they do need grooming to prevent matting and knots. 

The Chow Chow is a medium-sized dog that stands around 18.5″ tall and has an average weight of 58 pounds. They are moderately active but are more than content to simply lounge around. A walk or two is all it needs.

These pups are incredibly devoted to their humans and tend to be aloof toward strangers. They also have a reputation for being aggressive, but it’s a tale that’s been blown out of proportion. 

8. Coton De Tulear

inside dogs

If you’re looking for a cute pup that belongs to the category of small white dog breeds, let me introduce you to the Coton De Tulear. These pups need to be kept entertained as their energy levels tend to run moderately high.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to enroll them in dog sports. In fact, they are more than content with a visit to the dog park or a walk. 

The Coton De Tulear is a smaller breed that has an average height of 10 inches and weighs around 11.5 pounds. They have a very lovely personality and are a combination of goofy and lively, and love to play, so make sure you have plenty of toys. Their fur is silky soft and does require regular brushing to prevent knots and tangles. 

9. Shih Tzu

best indoor dog breeds

The Shih Tzu may be tiny, but did you know that this pup was once used as a watchdog for Buddhist monasteries? That’s right, they were originally bred in Tibet for that purpose. However, today, these pups love nothing more than to lay around and lounge, so they make a perfect indoor dog breed. 

The Shih Tzu is another smaller breed, weighing 8 to 16 pounds and standing between 8 and 11 inches tall. Their fur tends to grow long, so it requires regular grooming, though you can always opt to keep it short for easier maintenance. They don’t require a lot of exercise, maybe 30 minutes per day. 

10. French Bulldog

good inside dogs

Ever the charmer, the French Bulldog is always ready to greet you with a smile. This pup is a small, lively sort that simply loves to run around and is very playful. The good news is that because of their size, you can easily work them out at home, even in an apartment. 

The French Bulldog stands an average of 12 inches tall and weighs around 22 pounds on average. They are affectionate and adapt very well to city living, which is great news for apartment dwellers.

French Bulldogs also don’t care to go outside much, and a walk or two and playtime inside is all you need to keep them happy. Like some of the other breeds on this list, there are different types of French Bulldogs, too.

11. Maltese

dog inside

The Maltese is another small, white breed that will capture your attention with its puppy-dog eyes. It’s not a ploy, either; the Maltese is truly a sweet and elegant pup. Like the French Bulldog, it warms up to any environment, making them ideal pets for those who choose apartment living. 

The Maltese is on the smaller side, weighing only around 6 pounds and standing 8 inches tall. They are quiet dogs, too, and tend to be very calm, so you can rest assured that they will make one of the best indoor dogs you’ve ever had. 

12. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

best indoor dogs

If you’re looking to adopt a total sweetheart who loves children and other pets, look no further. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of those rare dogs that is super sweet to its core and very adaptable to the lifestyle their humans enjoy, even as couch potatoes. 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel isn’t huge either; it’s actually on the smaller side with an average height and weight of 12.5 inches and 15.5 pounds, respectively. One of the types of spaniels, their fur tends to be very silky, which means they can knot easily, so take care to brush it. 

13. Pug

house dog breeds

You’d be hard-pressed not to let these little bug-eyed dogs in your heart. And once you do, it’s game over. The Pug is one of those dog breeds that once you own one, you always want to have one. They are an adaptable sort and do very well in apartments or in a house as they don’t have high activity needs. 

The Pug is smaller as well, weighing around 16 pounds and standing only about 11.5 inches tall. As far as their personality, they are very charming dogs, as anyone who has owned one can tell you. They’re also highly affectionate and loveable and can be prone to separation anxiety. As for exercise, a simple walk will suffice with Pugs. 

FAQs

What Is the Best Low-Maintenance Dog?

There are many low-maintenance dogs that would make great indoor pets, though if you were to ask me which was the best on this list, I would have to go with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

Not only is it a very laidback breed, but it’s also very adaptable. Live in a home with a yard? It’ll play outside with your kids. Live in the city and prefer living in apartments? This is one of the best indoor dogs because it is small enough to thrive and quiet enough not to disturb your neighbors.

What Is the Best House Dog To Have?

This is a rather subjective question because there are so many good dogs out there that would jump at a chance to be with their humans. The best house dog you could have is one that you put the time and effort into making a good indoor dog, period. 

Training and socialization are two key components of raising a good house dog, particularly if they exhibit behaviors such as chewing or digging (think chewed-up walls and cabinets and holes in carpets). Any dog has the potential to be the best dog, but it’s up to its owners and family to put that effort in from the time they’re puppies.

What Is the Best Indoor Companion Dog?

The best indoor companion dog is the one that fits your specific lifestyle. If you’re highly active, a dog with lower energy won’t suffice. However, if you’re a couch potato and looking for gentle breeds that do good as lap dogs, any on this list would be a great fit for you.

Look for breeds that also fit in with the way you live, and make sure you can give them enough exercise as well. The best dog is the one that you can provide for.

Which Dog Is Best to Keep Inside Your Home?

Any of the breeds on this list of best indoor dogs would be a great addition to your family, whether you get them as grown dogs or puppies. You could also consider other dogs, such as the Bichon Frise, too. Most don’t shed too much and have lower energy levels that make it easy for them to thrive. 

I would avoid bringing the working dog breeds inside, unless you’re prepared to fully train them. That’s not all of them, but more the ones that are used to guarding livestock and property boundaries.

Conclusion

Picking one or more of the best indoor dogs is a matter of perspective and personal choices. For example, allergy sufferers looking for pets might do good with a hypoallergenic solution, like the American Hairless Terrier.

If you enjoy a sedentary lifestyle, any of the brachycephalic breeds on this list will benefit from being home with you, as these dogs love to cuddle their owners. They also enjoy lounging around.

Just make sure you are prepared to give the pups the lifestyle they are suited to as well.

Christina Drury
Meet Christina Drury, a dedicated animal enthusiast, and proud pet parent. She has a deep-rooted affection for all creatures, and Christina has called the Buckeye State home for the past four years. As a seasoned writer, she possesses a versatile writing style that spans various niches, yet her heart truly belongs to animals. With her innate connection and expertise, Christina is committed to crafting engaging and insightful content for animal-related issues.

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