Dear Homeward Bound: Can a big dog thrive in a small apartment?

Dear Homeward Bound,
I have a friend who just moved into her first apartment, which is small, and she wants to get a dog. She loves big dogs and wants to get one, but I told her that her apartment is too small and she should get a lap-type dog.
She disagrees and says that there are laid-back big dogs that could live in her apartment.
Is this true?
Dear Curious,
Your question brings up a lot of questions and I’m glad you asked. Size is only one of the factors to consider when evaluating whether or not a dog will be a good fit for your lifestyle. It is important to also consider energy level, age of the dog, temperament, and how much time you will be at home on a regular basis. For example, a high-energy breed like a Boxer or a dog with strong drive to work, like a Border Collie or Jack Russell Terrier, is unlikely do well in a small confined space.
Age is also important. A puppy will need to be attended to multiple times a day and will need frequent trips outside, so whether your friend has stairs or an elevator will be important. Similarly, an older dog might be perfectly happy to snooze the day away but have trouble navigating stairs as he or she gets older.
Temperament is a really important factor, especially as it might relate to a dog “alert” barking at noises. Nothing will sour your friend’s relationship with her neighbors more than a barking dog.
Lastly, the time your friend will be at home is important. A needy dog like a Boxer or another bully breed will be much happier with constant company so if you friend works from home such a dog could be very happy. A more independent breed could be a better fit if there will be long days alone in store.
I hope these thoughts help your friend make a good decision. By the way, did you know that Great Danes can make good apartment dogs due to their laid-back, lazy temperaments? Try that one on for size!
Jessica Danyow
Homeward Bound

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