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The 7 Best Dog Breeds If You Don't Have a Yard, According to Experts

These pups will do just fine without a green patch of their own.

Choosing the right type of dog for you and your family comes down to a lot more than just which types you find adorable. Responsible pet owners know that it's essential to consider everything from how much free time you have in your schedule to what your current living situation is like before you make the decision. This can be especially tricky for anyone who may not have outdoor space for pups to enjoy. But even if there isn't a patch of grass on your property, there are still some canines that you could consider. Read on to see which dog breeds experts say are the best if you don't have a yard.

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Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog
Shutterstock/Baitong Sathitkun

Smaller breeds might seem like a natural choice when opting for a pet in a lawn-free home. In this sense, Shih Tzus are not only city-friendly and surprisingly quiet, but can also do just fine with walks and shared outdoor space.

"The Shih Tzu was bred specifically to be a companion dog. While high-energy working dogs like Border Collies were bred for days full of work, this dog was bred for days sitting in your lap!" says Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, advising veterinarian and writer for

"As a result, they have minimal exercise needs and get what they need with a brisk walk rather than playtime in the yard. The Shih Tzu is also brachycephalic—which means they have a flat face and shortened snouts—so they're less tolerant of exercise compared to other breeds and aren't going to want to spend all day playing in the backyard," she explains.


Chihuahua on a Bed
Olena Tselykh/Shutterstock

As the tiniest dog with the biggest reputation, Chihuahuas might be considered an appropriate go-to for anyone working with next to no outdoor space.

"The Chihuahua might be small, but their personality is huge!" says Travis Brorsen, a pet expert for Animal Planet, celebrity dog trainer, host of My Big Fat Pet Makeover, and judge on the Discovery Plus series The Dog Games. "Typically not a fan of super long walks, this breed would be content sleeping all day and lounging around the house. Perfect for an owner without a yard."

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English Bulldog

Portrait of English Bulldog on white sofa looking quizzically into camera.
Philary / iStock

Any prospective pet owner should consider seeking out a dog that matches their lifestyle and living situation. And according to experts, there's one burly breed that fits the bill for anyone without a yard.

"The English Bulldog has a well-deserved reputation for being lazy," says Phillips. "These dogs are happy to play and enjoy exercise like any other breed, but they won't go long before they need a nap. That means they'll be perfectly happy without a backyard to play in."

Bichon Frise

bichon frise
Spill Photography / Shutterstock

Some canine fans are drawn to the Bichon Frise for its fluffy coat. Others love it for being an excellent option for anyone who might get a little sneezy around furry dogs. But experts also point out that the breed is still a good pick if you're relegated to walks when it comes to outdoor time.

"This white hypoallergenic coated dog stands right at a foot tall and is full of character," says Brorsen. "The Bichon is full of life, while at the same time retains the confidence and small stature, making it perfect for city living."

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Basset Hound

Basset Hound
Siberian spring / Shutterstock

From their floppy ears to their signature howl, Basset Hounds have become a beloved breed and a go-to for families looking for a relatively low-energy dog.

"Bassets Hounds will benefit from longer walks compared to English Bulldogs, but they won't need a dedicated yard for exercise like more energetic breeds," Phillips tells Best Life.

"But even though a longer walk around the neighborhood is all they need, just be prepared to stop and smell everything along the way!" she adds.

Miniature Dachshund

Some dogs are prone to a more indoor life due to their energy levels. But experts say others are actually physically built for spending less time running around outdoors.

"The Miniature Dachshund is a great fit for a home without a yard," Brorsen tells Best Life. "This breed has a high risk of disc prolapse, so high-impact activities are discouraged. However, to keep their back muscles strong, daily walks are a necessity."

READ THIS NEXT: The 7 Best Dogs for Beginners, Vets Say.

Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier
Zdenek Kubelka / Shutterstock

Anyone who appreciates a tiny pup with plenty of confidence will find lots to love about the Yorkshire Terrier. But the minuscule breed is also well suited for anyone without a ton of space on their property.

"'Big things come in small packages' is an understatement for this tenacious, brave little soul weighing in at just under seven pounds," says Brorsen. "They are hypoallergenic and have the ability to outlive most other breeds. If you're looking for personality, look no further than the Yorkie lapdog."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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