Just because you live in an apartment doesn't mean you should forgo the joy of having a large dog ready to give you full-body cuddles at a moment's notice. While apartments don't offer large spaces or immediate access to a yard, large dog breeds — like smaller ones — can thrive in apartments.
However, some do better in apartments than others. Having a gentle giant is one thing; an Anatolian Shepherd with an independent personality and a strong bark is another. That's why choosing the right large dog breed is critical for apartment dwellers.
Here are 7 of the best large apartment dogs and why they make great choices for apartments.
Height: 23-27 inches
Weight: 70 to 115 lbs
Bernese Mountain dog is a gentle giant with an easy-going, affectionate personality. They do well in apartments when their exercise needs are met, and daily walks of 30 to 60 minutes should be enough.
One consideration is they shed year-round (and heavily in Spring and Fall), which may not make them the best large dog breed for those with allergies.
Height: 15-24 inches
Weight: 50-70 lbs
While the sizes vary, the standard Poodle can get big — up to 24 inches. They are hypoallergenic, which makes them excellent for people with allergies. Many standard Poodles thrive in small spaces, and their trainability allows dog owners to help them adapt to apartment living.
Height: 27-30 inches
Weight: 60-70 lbs
Despite their speed and energetic temperament, Greyhounds make excellent apartment dogs. They are highly adaptable, and you'd be surprised at how lazy and lovey-dovey they can get after a walk and occasional sprints. Plus, keeping your apartment clean won't be a worry with their light-shedding coat.
Height: 30-32 inches
Weight: 105-120 lbs
Recognized as the tallest dog breed by the AKC, the Irish wolfhound towers over most dogs. However, their quiet and gentle personality makes them well-suited for living in apartments. Irish wolfhounds may require apartment dwellers to make up space for this gentle giant to move freely, but the full-body cuddles make it well worth the effort.
Height: 28-30 inches
Weight: 120-230 lbs
Shortly known as the mastiff, these low-energy gentle giants make one of the best large apartment dogs. They adapt well to smaller spaces with their low-exercise needs and love for sleep — it can go on for up to 18 hours a day! One consideration is they drool a lot, which can make it difficult to keep a clean apartment.
Height: 23-27 inches
Weight: 100-110 lbs
Like the mastiff, Dogue De Bordeaux drools a lot, but they do well in apartments with their low-exercise needs and gentle temperament. Dogue De Bordeaux are protective of their families and eager to please their owners.
With their trainability and protective nature, Dogue De Bordeaux makes an excellent large apartment dog with guarding instincts.
Height: 22-24 inches
Weight: 55-75 lbs
Golden Retrievers are highly adaptable dogs that can thrive in smaller spaces, provided with enough exercise and attention. Their intelligence and trainability allow them to absorb training like a sponge. This makes it easier to establish boundaries for your dog in smaller areas.
However, they require daily grooming to keep shedding in check and to keep your apartment clean.
Doodles come in all shapes and sizes. They can be the perfect large apartment dog you're looking for, especially if you're worried about allergies.
Although not all are entirely hypoallergenic, they shed minimally. Bernedoodle, Great Danoodle, Saint Bernadoodle, and mastidoodle are among the biggest doodles you can consider as the best large apartment dogs.
Before bringing home a large dog, whether a puppy or an adult, it's important to prepare your living space. Since a large dog won't have a lot of freedom in an apartment, it helps to modify your living area to make up space to help them adapt.
Also, early training is critical for large dogs to avoid behavioral problems, such as destructive behavior or excessive barking. Since large dogs often have a powerful voice, it can create conflict with neighbors.
Additionally, not all landlords or apartment complexes accept large dogs, and often have a weight limit on pets. In these cases, those who qualify for an emotional support animal can get an ESA letter to overcome these limitations.
It might take more to share an apartment with a large dog, such as modifying your living area and sparing more time for daily walks, but all the cuddles you'll get from a gentle giant make it well worth the effort.