Most popular house-friendly dogs

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May 5, 2021
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Most popular house-friendly dogs

Depending on living quarters, income, and family size, many factors go into the decision to own a dog—particularly which breed to make the newest member of your home. What makes a dog house-friendly? You’ll have to narrow your focus to a couple of considerations.

Stacker combed through 195 registered breeds in the American Kennel Club (AKC) directory, analyzing the list based on some of these canine prerequisites. To narrow down the list to 44, we removed all breeds classified as “very active,” as well as those having “frequent shedding” or “lots of shedding” (we included breeds that only need occasional grooming).

We also selected dog breeds classified as “quiet” or “barks when necessary,” and those that are 25 inches tall or less when fully grown. While many large- and giant-breed dogs can be quite happy in small dwellings (Great Danes rank among the best apartment dogs), we kept these gentle giants off the list out of consideration for their manageability (particularly as puppies) when it comes time for walks and training. Breeds appear in order of AKC's popularity rankings, based on 2020 data (released March 16, 2021). 

On this list, you’ll find lovable companions with a nose for curiosity, a temperament fit for the walls of a home, and favorable physical attributes suitable to things like allergies and moderate supervision. From Nordic dogs that won’t bark up a storm at strangers, and a tiny breed that is also one of the oldest (and even considered capable of warding off evil spirits), to the always popular and well-known pugs, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians, someone is sure to capture your heart and needs.

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#44. Cesky terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #191
- Full-grown height: 10-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 14-24 pounds
- Traits: Tenacious, trainable

Though somewhat active, the Ceskies (derived from the word “Czech”) are playful, curious little dogs who are more easily trained than your average terrier. The Czech Republic's national dog is both energetic at times and laid-back.

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#43. Skye terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #183
- Full-grown height: 10 inches (male), 9.5 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-45 pounds (male), slightly less for females
- Traits: Dignified, calm, stubborn, loyal, devoted

The famously loyal and calm Skye terriers are lovely couch companions who are not particularly active but do benefit from a long, leisurely daily walk. Bred on Scotland’s Isle of Skye four centuries ago as an exterminator, the AKC calls this dog a “heavenly breed with the heart of a lion.”

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#42. Dandie Dinmont terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #181
- Full-grown height: 8-11 inches
- Full-grown weight: 18-24 pounds
- Traits: Independent, proud, smart, affectionate, bold, tenacious

These pups may be on the smaller side, but they act like big dogs—not in that they’re dominant or aggressive, but that they are proud and confident. At home, they’re affectionate and only require a few good walks to stay satisfied.

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#41. Sussex spaniels

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #172
- Full-grown height: 13-15 inches
- Full-grown weight: 35-45 pounds
- Traits: Friendly

Though not tall, Sussex spaniels are strong, low-built dogs that are cheerful (in the classic spaniel way), but not as active as others in the breed group. Walking around just a bit is enough to keep a Sussex happy.

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#40. Glen of Imaal terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #169
- Full-grown height: 12-14 inches
- Full-grown weight: 32-40 pounds
- Traits: Bold, spirited

These scruffy, cute terriers aren’t pretentious or fancy looking. They have a purpose-driven history as working farm dogs, providing them a curious, exploratory nature that is not too excitable but refreshingly spirited.

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#39. Finnish lapphunds

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #165
- Full-grown height: 18-21 inches (male), 16-19 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 33-53 pounds
- Traits: Reserved, calm, friendly, courageous

These agile Nordic dogs are not outgoing around strangers, but are friendly and eager to please at home. Bred as reindeer herders, they are incredibly muscular for their size. Perhaps the only downside: they will be “miserable when neglected” since they crave companionship.

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#38. Affenpinschers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #163
- Full-grown height: 9-11.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 7-10 pounds
- Traits: Loyal, curious, fearless

These funny-looking “ape terriers,” as some have called them, are confident, curious, and playful. Their notoriously silly nature will keep you smiling around the house.

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#37. Field spaniels

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #160
- Full-grown height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-50 pounds
- Traits: Sweet, fun, loving, smart

Somewhat larger than your average cocker spaniel, the field spaniel stands about 17–18 inches at the shoulder. They’re known for being smart, mild-tempered companions who love to please their humans.

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#36. Sealyham terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #148
- Full-grown height: 10.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 23-24 pounds (male), slightly less for females
- Traits: Alert, outgoing, tempered

The Sealyham terrier is what the AKC describes as a “substantial” small dog with the build of an NFL running back (“powerful”; built low to the ground), but still is a tempered, docile pet to keep at home.

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#35. Barbets

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #145
- Full-grown height: 19-24.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 35-65 pounds
- Traits: Friendly, bright, sweet-natured

The barbet wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until Jan. 1, 2020, although the breed was first brought to the United States in 1994 and has been around since at least the 14th century. These water dogs are known for their thick, curly coats that don’t require brushing—just regular trims.

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#34. English toy spaniels

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #138
- Full-grown height: 9-10 inches
- Full-grown weight: 8-14 pounds
- Traits: Affectionate, alert

This snub-nosed pup with its famous silky coat is curious and well behaved, almost never barks, and is a happy presence around the house. If you’re seeking friendship of a regal degree—even for a dog perfectly content on your lap—the English toy spaniel was bred as a king’s companion.

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#33. Clumber spaniels

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #135
- Full-grown height: 18-20 inches (male), 17-19 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 70-85 pounds (male), 55-70 pounds (female)
- Traits: Mellow, dignified

These stocky, small-yet-heavy dogs are mellow and proud, but have their silly moments. Clumbers are great indoors, but also love a good long walk, and in many cases, even a swim. If you can handle some shedding, you’ll love this former kings’ hunting companion.

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#32. Kerry blue terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #133
- Full-grown height: 18-19.5 inches (male), 17.5-19 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 33-40 pounds (male), slightly less for females
- Traits: Smart, alert, oriented

Naturally inclined to explore, the Kerry blue terrier is vivacious, smart, and lively. They love to romp around the house and are allergy-friendly because they rarely shed.

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#31. Manchester terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #132
- Full-grown height: 15-16 inches (standard), 10-12 inches (toy)
- Full-grown weight: 12-22 pounds (standard), under 12 pounds (toy)
- Traits: Spirited, bright, loyal, independent

Manchester terriers (toy or standard) are fiercely loyal and smart, and though they are fine hanging out indoors, their athleticism will truly shine when taken outside. They’re fast and can enjoy themselves when they are given room to run.

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#30. Xoloitzcuintli

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #131
- Full-grown height: 8-14 inches (toy), 14-23 inches (miniature), 18-23 inches (standard)
- Full-grown weight: 10-15 pounds (toy), 15-30 pounds (miniature), 30-55 pounds (standard)
- Traits: Loyal, alert, calm, trainable, watchdog

One of the oldest breeds at 3,000 years old, Xoloitzcuintli dogs were historically thought to ward off evil spirits and intruders at home. Today, the dogs of the Aztec gods make great watchdogs; they’re alert, but stay calm as they protect their domains.

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#29. American hairless terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #129
- Full-grown height: 12-16 inches
- Full-grown weight: 12-16 pounds
- Traits: Inquisitive, playful

Those allergic to dogs love the American hairless terrier, whose lack of coat and affectionate nature make it a wonderful, fur-free companion. They’re good watchdogs, but also get along with other pets—cats included.

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#28. Welsh terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #112
- Full-grown height: 15 inches (male), proportionally smaller (female)
- Full-grown weight: 20 pounds, proportionally smaller (female)
- Traits: Alert, spirited

Larger than your average terrier (but smaller than the Airedale), Welsh terriers are calmer than many in the terrier family, but still have an upbeat personality. They’re great with children and can interact with other dogs under moderate supervision.

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#27. Japanese Chin

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #111
- Full-grown height: 8-11 inches
- Full-grown weight: 7-11 pounds
- Traits: Charming, loving, reserved

This intelligent breed lives for its companions, but like a true aristocrat, is reserved until it gets to know you. Japanese Chins are almost cat-like with their loving yet coy personalities.

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#26. Keeshonden

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #96
- Full-grown height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-45 pounds
- Traits: Outgoing, lively, friendly

Sharing similar traits to other northern breeds, the Keeshond is a fuzzy, sturdy companion who is welcoming to anyone it meets, and even enjoys making new friends. The Holland native remains a Dutch patriotism symbol.

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#25. Pekingese

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #95
- Full-grown height: 6-9 inches
- Full-grown weight: up to 14 pounds
- Traits: Affectionate, loyal

Historically owned by Chinese royalty (the name “Pekingese” derived from “Peking,” or the ancient name of Beijing), Pekingese conduct themselves regally, but are happy to be around their owners. They’re not particularly active, so they’re okay to go on a few walks and play indoors.

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#24. Norwegian elkhounds

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #91
- Full-grown height: 20.5 inches (male), 19.5 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 55 pounds (male), 48 pounds (female)
- Traits: Confident, dignified, friendly

The Norwegian elkhound has hunting in its DNA, so while these dependable dogs are happy to keep you company at home, they thrive on a bit of exercise when taken outside. These dogs are also known to carry themselves in a dignified manner, but are friendly nonetheless.

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#23. Brussels Griffons

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #89
- Full-grown height: 7-10 inches
- Full-grown weight: 8-10 pounds
- Traits: Alert, curious, loyal

Much like a terrier, the smart Brussels Griffon is a happy pup that can be an obedient, trainable watchdog for your home. This breed is also known for its almost human-like expressions. Be prepared for an outsized personality despite its stature.

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#22. Chow chows

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #84
- Full-grown height: 17-20 inches
- Full-grown weight: 45-70 pounds
- Traits: Dignified, bright, aloof

These little lions have a mostly serious demeanor, but are bright, loving, and not super active. They’re not big barkers and are just fine living in small spaces.

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#21. Staffordshire bull terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #81
- Full-grown height: 14-16 inches
- Full-grown weight: 28-38 pounds (male), 24-34 pounds (female)
- Traits: Brave, tenacious, stubborn, gentle, playful, clever

These dogs are not particularly tall, but pack a lot of muscle into a small package. Staffies can be stubborn, but are playful and intelligent. Although they enjoy their time inside, they need to run around and get exercise when it’s time for a walk.

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#20. Coton de Tulear

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #80
- Full-grown height: 10-11 inches (male), 9-10 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 9-15 pounds (male), 8-13 pounds (female)
- Traits: Bright, happy, charming, loved

These French dogs live for giving and receiving affection from their owners, and will be happy simply following you around your home. Coton de Tulear owners love their wit and lighthearted qualities.

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#19. Chinese crested

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #79
- Full-grown height: 11-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 8-12 pounds
- Traits: Lively, alert, affectionate

Chinese crested are people-pleasers who are almost cat-like in their homebody tendencies. If not curled up on an armrest or chair, they get their exercise following their owners around the apartment.

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#18. Lhasa Apsos

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #78
- Full-grown height: 10-11 inches (male), slightly smaller for females
- Full-grown weight: 12-18 pounds
- Traits: Smart, confident, aloof

Known for its long, luscious coat, the Lhasa Apso has a balanced temperament that mixes humor and aloofness. Usually this breed is fun loving around the house, but more careful around strangers.

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#17. Italian greyhounds

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #69
- Full-grown height: 13-15 inches
- Full-grown weight: 7-14 pounds
- Traits: Alert, playful, affectionate

Not as tall as their racetrack relatives, Italian greyhounds are good companions who easily adapt to city life. They are dainty and affectionate. Although they have “an instinct for pursuit,” they make great “decorative couch dogs.”

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#16. Chinese shar-pei

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #61
- Full-grown height: 18-20 inches
- Full-grown weight: 45-60 pounds
- Traits: Devoted, loved

The Chinese shar-pei doesn’t need a busy lifestyle—this breed is content with a walk and a good belly scratch. Shar-peis are devoted to their owners, but take on a dignified and aloof air when around new people.

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#15. Whippets

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #59
- Full-grown height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 25-40 pounds
- Traits: Calm, affectionate, playful

Many would think that the whippet wouldn’t be suited for a stay-at-home lifestyle, as it can sprint up to 35 miles per hour—the fastest domesticated animal of its height. But after a good walk or energy-filled moment outside, this pup is quiet and lazy when it gets back home.

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#14. Soft-coated Wheaten terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #58
- Full-grown height: 18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-40 pounds (male), 30-35 pounds (female)
- Traits: Happy, friendly, devoted, stubborn

Unlike other wiry terriers, the soft-coated Wheaten terriers are known for their silky coat. They are joyful and friendly, and love being around families—although they’re stubborn as well, like many terriers. They exhibit a special jumping habit when they’re especially happy (“the Wheaten greeting”).

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#13. Scottish terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #57
- Full-grown height: 10 inches
- Full-grown weight: 19-22 pounds (male), 18-21 pounds (female)
- Traits: Independent, confident, shy, spirited, dignified

Scotties are a dignified, confident breed who aren’t shy and love to explore. They are loyal and spirited, however, and are great with children. They can even teach a thing or two around the house about persistence, as this quality has garnered their nickname, “the Diehard.”

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#12. Maltese

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #38
- Full-grown height: 8-10 inches
- Full-grown weight: 6-8 pounds
- Traits: Gentle, playful, affectionate, fearless, charming

These toy dogs are charming and elegant—and have been around for over three millennia. They’re classic lap dogs, but still like to play outside when on a walk.

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#11. Basset hounds

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #36
- Full-grown height: 12-15 inches (male), 11-14 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 40-65 pounds
- Traits: Patient, stubborn, charming

Above all else, basset hounds are patient—around children and strangers alike. They are stubborn but charming, easy to train, and somewhat low energy. If you don’t fall in love with their sad, droopy faces and low-hanging ears, their loyalty will win you over.

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#10. Chihuahuas

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #34
- Full-grown height: 6-9 inches
- Full-grown weight: 3-6 pounds
- Traits: Charming

Chihuahuas are known as apartment-friendly dogs who like to play at home and revel in their territory. They are smart, so they need not be trained for very long, and their signature petite size means they don’t demand a lot of space.

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#9. Border collies

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #32
- Full-grown height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 30-45 pounds (male), 27-42 pounds (female)
- Traits: Smart

These herding dogs are agile and athletic, with intelligence that, when put all together, creates a highly trainable pet. Known as “workaholics,” a "job" to perform might keep them content when it’s time to relax.

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#8. Pugs

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #29
- Full-grown height: 10-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 14-18 pounds
- Traits: Tempered, charming, loving

Pugs make great companions, as they are even-tempered and loving. They’re not extremely athletic, but still like long walks where they get to feed their natural curiosity.

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#7. Havanese

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #24
- Full-grown height: 8.5-11.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 7-13 pounds
- Traits: Outgoing, intelligent

The happy Havanese don’t require much exercise and love hanging around the house entertaining their owners. Their soft coats are left short to keep from having to deal with frequent grooming, or they’re corded similarly to the Puli. Native to Cuba, the Havanese are increasingly finding homes in small living quarters in large American cities.

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#6. Pomeranians

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #23
- Full-grown height: 6-7 inches
- Full-grown weight: 3-7 pounds
- Traits: Lively, bold, inquisitive

These little extroverts are definitely playful, but their love of attention means the lapdog lifestyle suits them well. Many Pomeranians are trained to be competitive show dogs.

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#5. Boston terriers

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #21
- Full-grown height: 15-17 inches
- Full-grown weight: 10-25 pounds
- Traits: Friendly, bright

The tuxedo-wearing Boston terriers are charming and adapt to most environments—especially apartments and in-home living. They are kind-natured and sharp. Their compact nature makes them ideal for city living, and they’ll earn you some compliments along the way: Their manners earned the nickname, “The American Gentleman.”

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#4. Shih tzu

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #20
- Full-grown height: 8-11 inches
- Full-grown weight: 9-16 pounds
- Traits: Outgoing, affectionate, playful, charming

Shih tzus may be small, but their famously silky coats attract big attention. They are the consummate house pet, as they are outgoing and friendly, but love nothing more than to relax in a chair.

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#3. Cavalier King Charles spaniels

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #17
- Full-grown height: 12-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 13-18 pounds
- Traits: Affectionate, gentle

The trainable, affectionate Cavalier King Charles spaniel cracks the top three; it is a favorite among U.K. families, as they are good with children and other pets. They enjoy a good walk, but need little exercise beyond that.

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#2. Bulldogs

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #5
- Full-grown height: 14-15 inches
- Full-grown weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
- Traits: Calm, courageous, friendly, dignified

Though bulldogs are bigger and stockier than conventional lap dogs, they aspire to be curled up with you nonetheless. These runner-ups on our “house-friendly” list are undoubtedly a popular breed among those looking for an indoor pet, as they require little exercise, are low-maintenance, and carry a gentle disposition.

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#1. French bulldogs

- 2020 AKC popularity rank: #2
- Full-grown height: 11-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 20-28 pounds (male), 16-24 pounds (female)
- Traits: Playful, smart

Topping the list, these fun-loving dogs are not particularly athletic, so a short walk will keep them healthy and happy. Frenchies are low-maintenance and loyal. Some are stubborn during training, but eventually just want to please their owners.

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