best large dog breeds for apartments

The Best Large Dog Breeds For Apartments

I love ALL dogs. But there’s this special place in my heart for big, massive fur babies. If you love large dogs as much as I do, then you’re in luck. I’ve compiled a list of the best large dog breeds for apartments.

Now, if you found this post, then you’re probably a lover of the big puppers but you don’t live in a large space. You probably feel like this presents a problem for you. Or maybe you only think it’s a problem. At first thought, apartment living doesn’t seem like the ideal situation for large dogs. And, in some cases, that’s true. For example, a high-energy large breed like an Airedale Terrier isn’t going to love living in an apartment.

However, gentle giants like mastiffs (i.e. dogs like Humphrey) thrive due to their low energy requirements. Living with a large dog in an apartment can be done- I’m living proof of it! So now that I’ve put your mind at ease, let’s take a look at the best large dog breeds for life in apartments.

The Best Large Dog Breeds for Apartment Living

Whether they have low energy or just extra laid back personalities, these large dog breeds are ideally suited for living in the smaller confines of apartments. These dogs do well with less exercise, or at least have personalities that allow them to remain calm until they can get outside and run around like maniacs. While you might be surprised at the sheer enormity of some of the dogs on this list, remember one thing: it’s not necessarily the size of the dog that counts but how much energy and exercise he needs.

Presa Canario

Also known as the Canary Mastiff, this large breed is calm and attentive to his family. Like I’ve mentioned before, Humphrey is a Presa Canario and he’s a GENTLE GIANT. I take him out on walks 3x a day and he loves it! He plays for a bit, but gets tired pretty easily. He’s even gotten to the point where he’ll just start walking back to the house when he’s over being outside.

Like almost every Mastiff breed, his energy level in the house is incredibly low. He’ll play for an hour or so with his toys, but he honestly spends the majority of his time sleeping on my couch or on his bed.


best large dog breeds for apartments
Our Rottweiler Jane with Humphrey a few months before she passed.

Contrary to popular belief, the Rottweiler is an excellent family dog and apartment dweller, to boot. This beautiful big boy is a descendant of Mastiffs so he does have a protective streak in him. However, this breed, in general, is not overly protective. I actually also owned a Rottie who passed a year and a half ago. She was such a momma bear to Humphrey- it was the cutest thing.

Proper socialization ensures a gentle dog who gets along well with almost anyone and anything. They’re an athletic breed, but don’t require tons of exercise. Often times, a rigorous play session outside is plenty to meet his activity requirements.

Pit Bull

Another grossly misunderstood breed, the Pit Bull is an absolute gem of a family dog and well-suited to apartments. Although bred to be incredibly powerful farm dogs, these misunderstood lovebugs are excellent apartment dwellers. Contrary to popular belief, Pit Bulls are not overly aggressive.

All they need is the same socialization recommended for any other dog breed to become well-behaved and friendly towards other dogs. They love to play when the opportunity presents itself, but their low energy level also leaves them perfectly happy to snuggle up with their people on the couch. Be advised that Pits aren’t well-suited to being alone for extended periods, so an on-the-go apartment dweller might not be a good fit.

Many Mastiff Breeds

In addition to the Canary Mastiff, Old English, Bull, and Neopolitan Mastiffs are also some of the best large dog breeds for apartments.

Although absolutely gargantuan in size, their ultra-low energy levels and even temperament make them prime candidates for apartment living. It’s important to note that Mastiffs were originally bred as war dogs and can be incredibly protective of their families. Because of this, proper socialization is absolutely required.

That being said, a well-socialized Mastiff is a wonderful companion.

Great Dane

The Great Dane is an absolutely massive animal. However, unlike Mastiffs, the Dane’s size is more attributed to his height rather than his weight, although they are not light. These gentle giants are consummate family dogs and fiercely protective if their humans are threatened. Don’t worry, though.

Unlike some dogs who perceive any stranger as a threat, Danes are excellent at recognizing what is a threat and what is just something new. They have a moderate amount of energy and require two to three brisk walks a day. Outside of that, they are perfectly content to be the resident couch potato.

Standard Poodle

Although bred as a water dog for hunting, the Standard Poodle is quite happy to lounge around the house all day while his owner is away. An intelligent and loyal breed, he’s easy to train and tolerates being alone. All he needs is a long walk in the morning, a mid-day break, and a good walk in the evening. Of course, if his owner wants to give him more exercise, he’s game. If not, he’s good with that, too.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

It may seem counterintuitive to have a hound on the list of best large dog breeds for apartment living, but the Ridgeback is quite a good boy in an apartment setting. Ridgebacks are hounds and tend to have less energy than other herding or sporting breeds. In fact, a mature Ridgeback is generally happy to lounge around the home all day. Notice the word “mature”.

If you opt for a Ridgeback puppy, be prepared for lots of antics, often of the destructive nature, and come with a deep, deep well of patience. This breed makes for a particularly rambunctious puppy before maturing into their docile adulthood.


The Greyhound makes the list due to his height, not his weight. Although most of us think of racing when we think of Greyhounds, don’t let that fool you. This breed is the definition of lazy. Their nickname “the 40 mile per hour couch potato” is well-earned and well-deserved.

Living with a Greyhound has often been compared to living with a giant cat, and the breed’s favorite place in the house is often the couch. Another bonus for apartment dwellers is that this bred is on the quiet side, not prone to much barking at all. It’s important to note that Greyhounds living in cold climates should always be dressed for the weather.

Irish Wolfhound

The Irish Wolfhound is as beautiful as he is low-maintenance. Although these dogs grow to an absolutely massive size, they are excellent for apartment living, even in smaller apartments. As long as you have the stride length to step over him while he’s napping, you’re good to go.

Even as puppies these gentle, and lazy, giants require very little exercise. In fact, it’s recommended that growing Wolfhounds only have slow walks to protect their fast-growing bones and joints. Adult Wolfhounds enjoy a nice walk, but if he misses one, he won’t turn into an overly energetic machine of destruction.

Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue is an excellent apartment dog if properly training. Requiring only a moderate amount of exercise, they can easily adapt to life in apartments. However, they need firm, but gently training and early socialization.

This is a fearless breed and a consummate guardian, so learning that other people and animals are friends is key. Firm training is also key, or they can become stubborn and dominant. Have you seen Turner and Hooch? That movie is not an exaggeration of what can occur.

Saint Bernard

Another gigantic sack of lazy (said with love), Saint Bernards have a well-deserved spot on my list of best large dog breeds for apartment living. They are excellent family dogs, bonding closely with their families. In addition, while they need regular exercise to prevent boredom, anything more than a brisk walk is discouraged so as to prevent joint problems.

In fact, two to three walks are more than enough for these lovable couch potatoes. Be aware that as a protective breed, they should be socialized early on to recognize that the family doesn’t need to be protected from every little thing.

The Best Large Dog Breeds for Any Owner

All of these breeds make perfect apartment companions. The trick to picking the perfect pooch from this list of best large dog breeds is really just comparing their activity level with yours. Do you enjoy an occasional walk? A Mastiff would be a good fit. Do multiple walks sound like fun? Opt for a Pit Bull.

It’s all about your activity level and training commitment. Whichever dog you choose, you are almost certain to be happy. There’s a reason all of these pooches are on the list of best large dog breeds.