Living in the city can be challenging for humans. It’s crowded, it’s noisy, and there are lots of cars, sometimes driving too fast. The city can be a challenging place for dogs as well. Like people, dogs come with all sorts of personalities. Personality, in the end, will determine who’s a good city dweller, and who’s not. Generally speaking, with enough outdoor time, and plenty of exercise, most dogs will be happiest wherever there’s ample love, moderate comfort, and regular meals.
That said, some breeds of dogs are great city companions while others are best left to the more wide open spaces.
Best Breeds for City Dwellers
A couple of factors go into making a certain type of dog well suited to city life. If you’re living in an apartment or other small space, and you’re out of the apartment most hours of the day, you’ll need a dog that won’t go crazy spending a lot of their time indoors, alone, with no place to run.
Also, since your city dog might be getting most of their exercise in the park or on the busy sidewalks, he or she should be good with strangers and with other dogs.
For a dog that falls into the first camp, the Shih Tzu can hardly be beat. These tiny dogs are relatively low energy and will happily spend hours laying around snoozing. A quick walk around the block, mornings and evenings, can satisfy the Shih Tzu’s exercise needs.
The Chihuahua is another dog that doesn’t need much space to run and can be quite happy living in an apartment. In fact, this breed can be so laid back that obesity is a common problem in Chihuahuas, so be sure to get your little guy or girl to the park as often as you can. One drawback to the breed is that they can be feisty with other dogs or with strangers if not properly socialized early in life.
For a breed that loves to play in the park and is easygoing with other dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is ideal. These friendly, joyful dogs are great with city dwelling kids too.
One larger dog that can be perfectly happy with an urban lifestyle is the Golden Retriever. Not only is the Golden a happy, sociable dog, they are also highly intelligent and easy to train, which is why they are often used as service dogs. Assuming you can provide them with some daily walks, life in an apartment is just another thing these dogs excell at.
Dogs who have been rescued or adopted from being previously homeless or abandoned have had a less than luxurious early life. They will often adapt to any new lifestyle where there’s love, food, warmth, and comfort regularly dispensed.
Breeds Not Recommended for City Dwellers
At the top of the list for dogs not well suited to the city are those that tend to be aggressive to other dogs or to people they encounter on the street.
The Dalmatian is a dog that can be less than ideal for the city dweller. These dogs can be shy around people and other pets, which may lead to sudden outbursts of aggression. They can be high strung as well, and the noise and bustle of the city might cause the Dalmatian stress.
This Shepherd might be better off in the country. The fact is, working dogs not only require constant exercise and space to run, they also need a job to do (shepherds were bred to herd) and can become restless and destructive without enough of either. A bored Australian Shepherd can resort to destructive chewing, running off, and chasing cars. Certainly the last is bad news in the urban landscape. All this said, if you’re able to get your Aussie to the dog park for hours of play, and can supplement regular bathroom breaks with extra walks, it is possible to keep a happy Australian Shepherd in the city.
Finally, although the Alaskan Malamute is very affectionate with their owners, this dog tends to lose patience with smaller animals, including other dogs. Bred to pull sleds in the Arctic, the Malamute needs plenty of space to run off leash, which can be tough to find in the city. Also, given their very thick coat, the Malamute might find life in some cities a bit too hot for their liking.
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