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Before we can determine if Chihuahuas are good apartment dogs, we need to determine what is an apartment dog, or more accurately, what characteristics or traits would make a dog a good candidate for apartment life.
First, what makes a dog a good fit for an apartment?
You might think the most important answer to this is size, but actually, there is a much more important trait than size….activity level. Living in an apartment can oftentimes mean less activity for a dog each day than a dog who has access to a backyard. This means, it doesn’t matter if you have a Great Dane or a Chihuahua, if they are high energy it may be difficult for them to adjust to apartment life.
Does that mean size doesn’t matter?
No. If you are living on the second (or higher) floor of your apartment building, having a small dog can mean a lot less noise for your neighbors. Also, many apartments have regulations against having large breeds, but it is much less common to have restrictions against having a small dog.
Not to mention, having a small dog in a small(er) space means it is easier to exercise them. After all, that ten foot area in the living room is a race track when you are only eight inches tall! Remember, one of the biggest issues dogs have that make them incompatible to apartment life is their activity level, so the ability to give them activity in a small(er) space is a big plus!
Other important things to consider:
Barking. We all know Chihuahuas love to sing the song of their people. This can be a problem for apartment living, as your neighbors may not appreciate hearing those little Chi voices all day. However, this behavior can be a problem in any breed, so it is important to be prepared to train them to be quiet at home and perhaps plan ways to help drown out noises that stimulate barking by leaving the TV on while you are away.
Companionship. Dogs don’t want to be left alone all day while you are at work. Yes, they will survive if they are only dogs, but it is much healthier for them to have friends. So, if you have to leave for long hours, it is much easier to have two little dogs in an apartment than two big dogs.
Big dogs can hold longer, BUT you won’t have the convenience of using Potty Pads with a big dog. Having the ability to set-up an indoor “potty zone” is a big perk!
Lindsay Pevny says
The hardest part about having Matilda as a puppy in an apartment was how often she had to pee. Because of the weather, safety, and who I am as a person, I simply couldn’t get her outside often enough, so she had a lot of accidents. We used puppy pads, and potty bells helped a lot too. Now, she doesn’t need pads very often. It really is easy to exercise her in a small space, she only needs a few square feet to play fetch.
I wish more people would consider these points before getting a companion. Sadly, dogs end up at shelters because people don’t consider such things. Thanks for this!
You make a great point about activity level. Many people often assume just because a dog is small he will be a good apartment fit. ANY dog, regardless of size, will let you know when his needs for activity aren’t being met!
Perfect apartment dog! We are on the 9th floor and yes the indoor potty solution is amazing. The most important thing we did was train him understand “indoor voice”. Best decision ever! I also like that in a fire or something like that he is portable. If I have to repel down a big ass ladder – he can come with me easily. The grab and go is important. I use to have Belgian Bouviers mind you … and their really quiet temperament also made them perfect. I think – it’s all about the training.
Polly Pocket says
What a great point about emergency exit strategies! It would certainly be easier to have multiple escape options with a small dog.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
It’s definitely easier to let tiny dogs play indoors in an apartment. Even when they’re zooming around, they have enough room and don’t knock things over.
Sweet Purrfections says
I was lucky when I lived in an apartment for several years that I never heard any dogs barking. I can imagine it could be difficult to live in a tall apartment building with any type of dog.
When I was in college I lived in an apartment in old house. There were only 2 other tenants in the building and my dog wasn’t a problem. She was a Spaniel mix., but not much of a barker.
My daughter talked about taking our dog Sophie with her when she graduated, but Sophie would be a terrible dog for an apartment. She even barks when she hears people (family members) upstairs. I think size probably is less of concern than temperament.
Rebecca at MattieDog says
When we lived in downtown Seattle we had a little dog that we trained to potty on a little piece of sod we kept on our balcony! Walking was a bit of a hassle due to dirty paws – this was before there were boots, etc. Love that you are giving everyone things to think about – sometimes big dogs make great apartment dwelling mates!
Tonya Wilhelm says
Great tips! Your dog is adorable too!
Val Silver says
I agree that activity level is key as well as a dog’s willingness to stay alone for long periods of time. Two dogs together can mean comfort and companionship (as was the case with my two) or trouble (as was the case with my two childhood dachshunds. And that was in a house!
Ruth Epstein says
I live in an apt block of about 80 apartments and I think 50 percent have dogs of all sizes in them, some bark, some don’t and I think it depends also on the owners how they handle it all, Layla for example hardly barks unless someone knocks on the door or she hears me chatting with another tenant but there are others with yappy dogs especially if we walk past their doors and that does sometimes make me wonder.
Dash Kitten Crew says
Most of our cats are much bigger than these tiny dogs! I had no idea there was so much you need to check to make sure your dog is suitable too.
Luna C. Lupus says
I am actually so glad that we don’t live in an apartment. We always joke that we’d get kicked out by neighbors. With four dogs in the house and two teenagers, it can get pretty loud. I actually love that you covered this topic because I think a lot of people wish to get a Chihuahua simply because they think it’s convenient to have them in an apartment. I think having an apartment dog, no matter the size or breed, requires some research beforehand and preparing for the challenges that can occur along the way. Great tips from you!
Joely Smith says
You made some excellent points! My daughter lives in an apartment with a small dog – a Doxie and yes the small bladder can be a big issue if you are not on a regular cycle for potty time! Also barking lol little dogs have some of the LOUDEST barks! They have managed very well but it does take extra care and attention. Size does not always matter 🙂