The Best Dogs for City Dwellers
Five breeds that fit your lifestyle—and your condo
For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.
Dog ownership in the city may seem like a fool’s errand. Square footage is tiny, neighbors are close, and yards are practically nonexistent. But with the right training, some breeds are great urban companions. Canines that are low energy and easygoing—but large enough to tackle hikes—can thrive. We asked two Denver-area trainers for a few that fit the bill.
Goldens are popular for a reason: their laid-back personality is great for walks that involve encountering lots of strangers. “Just avoid field-bred Goldens, which are selected for hunting,” says Ted Terroux, co-owner of Terroux Dog Training. “They’re higher energy than show and pet retrievers.”
This racing breed doesn’t actually need tons of activity—perfect for days when you have time for only a short walk. “Most greys enjoy outdoor activities, as long as they have a cozy place to crash afterward,” says Ursa Acree of Canis Major Dog Training. Caveat: greys are prone to bolting, so don’t get one if you dream of off-leash trail runs.
Poodles were originally bred for duck hunting, so they’re comfortable off-trail. “They also tend to be even-tempered and calm,” Terroux says, which means you can leave one alone (with some good toys) without worrying that it will demolish your apartment.
This Japanese breed rarely barks and has a sturdy build that can handle the outdoors. “Shibas require a fairly low amount of exercise,” Acree says, “but they’re still energetic enough to go hiking.”
“We love mutts, because you can get a totally unexpected mix of traits that are a perfect match for life in the city,” Acree says. When picking your next companion, Acree says to look for an adult pooch that’s comfortable being alone and well socialized to dogs and people.