10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living and Hiking

If you live in an apartment and are thinking you might like a canine companion to accompany you on a hike in the mountains, or a stroll on the trail. There are a variety of dog breeds to choose from that can do very well in an apartment setting, and can be great hiking partners. 

dogs for hiking and living in apartment
10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living and Hiking

If you are an avid hiker and would like a best friend who can keep up with your active lifestyle, some breeds are ideal for such adventures.  However, personality, as well as physical characteristics and energy traits, are important too. It’s important to keep in mind the size of your living space, as well as the size, exercise requirements, and temperament of the dog. 

What are the 15 best dog breeds for apartment living and hiking?  There is a multitude of dog breeds that have been bred specifically for long hours of walking and running in the outdoors no matter what the weather.  But as an apartment dweller, you may want to take into consideration the size of your apartment and the size of the dog.  For example, Rhodesian Ridgebacks make excellent hikers and runners but averaging between 65-95 pounds, this breed may take up a lot of space.

The good news is that there are several breeds out there that can make great apartment pals and hiking buddies.

10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartment Living and Hiking

If you are looking for a canine companion to share your apartment and accompany you on long treks in the outdoors, you may want to consider the 10 breeds listed below.

1. Beagle

Beagles are a medium-sized breed,  averaging 20-22 pounds, making them ideal for apartment living.  They do have lots of energy, and although they don’t have long legs like other breeds, they can be perfect hiking pals.  However, owners should take into consideration their small frames before setting out on a long trek.  Beagles are also typically very friendly, and won’t cause many issues when encountering other hikers, but also keep in mind that they are hard-wired to chase rabbits or squirrels while outdoors.

2. Basenji

The Basenji ranges in size from 20-22 pounds, and because of its short hair coat and the fact it does not bark it is a popular breed for apartment living.  This breed is known for its intelligence, agility, and hypoallergenic hair coat.  The Basenji is also an active breed and can be a perfect hiking companion for outdoor trekking and hiking.

3. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

This breed averages between 20-25 pounds and was developed as a cow herding dog in rural Wales in Great Britain. Corgis are intelligent and fun-loving, and even though they have short legs, they have no problem keeping up on the trail during a hike.  Because they were developed for herding, Corgis can be a bit snippy on the trail towards other dogs and hikers, but this can be corrected with adequate training.

4. Husky


The Siberian Husky has long been known as a rugged sled dog and possesses a thick hair coat to protect from cold temperatures.  As working dogs, they have immeasurable endurance, are quite social, and are always ready for adventure.  This breed can live comfortably in an apartment provided it gets plenty of exercise.  Since they are bigger dogs, they do need daily exercise.  It’s also important to keep in mind that Huskies cannot tolerate hot temperatures while hiking.

5. Australian Shepherd

This breed ranges in size from 40-75 pounds and can live comfortably in an apartment setting, however, since they are a hunting breed, they do have lots of energy.  The Australian Shepherd is an intelligent, active breed that loves the outdoors, and has a lot of endurance to keep up on long treks.  They are typically obedient, do fairly well in all kinds of weather, and are agile enough to navigate steep and rocky terrain.

6. Labrador Retrievers

As large-breed dogs, Labradors do quite well in an apartment setting, and once they are acclimated and trained, they can be quite comfortable in a smaller living space.  These outdoorsy canine companions can make wonderful hiking companions too, and most love going on adventures.  They also have the physique to handle tough terrain and are easily trainable to behave on the trail.

7. Golden Retrievers

Like the Labrador, the Golden Retriever can do very well in an apartment with training and regular exercise.  They are a popular choice for service dogs because of their friendly demeanor and easy trainability.  Because they are a sporting breed, they also make wonderful hiking companions have the physique to handle tough terrain, and are easily trainable to behave on the trail.  However, be aware that Golden Retrievers have heavy hair coats, and cannot tolerate hiking in hot temperatures. 

8. Jack Russell Terrier

As part of the terrier group, Jack Russells have a lot of energy, and they are very intelligent and athletic as well.  Ranging in size from 14-18 pounds, they won’t take up much room in an apartment, and since they have seemingly endless energy, and love the outdoors, Jack Russells make excellent hiking and trekking partners. 

9. Portuguese Water Dog

Portuguese Water Dog

This breed is considered hypoallergenic, so is a good choice for apartment dwellers who suffer from allergies. This breed will do fine in an apartment provided it gets enough exercise and activity, and regular exercise is important for this active breed.  As its name suggests, the Portuguese Water Dog loves the water, so it’s guaranteed to want to play in mountain streams or jump into a pond that may be along your hiking route.

10. Mixed Breeds

Let’s not forget the mixed breeds or shelter dogs.  Mixed breeds can make wonderful apartment dogs and hiking partners, especially if they possess the size, energy, and temperament you are looking for.  The advantage of mixed-breed dogs is that they can possess a wide variety of personalities, and may be easier to train as a result. By adopting a mixed breed from a shelter or a rescue, you are also saving a life.

Other Things to Consider When Getting a Dog for an Apartment

In addition to considering the breeds listed above, there are also several other things to consider when deciding on an apartment dog.  Some of these include:


Most people think of smaller dogs when it comes to apartments, but it depends on your preference and how much space you have.  If you live in an efficient or one-bedroom apartment, you may want to consider a smaller breed, but if you live in a larger space or a studio apartment, maybe a large dog will do.  However, keep in mind that some small dog breeds can be high energy, and might tend to back a lot.  Although size can matter in selecting a pup, it should not be the only factor in your decision. 


Temperament and personality are also very important features to consider.  For apartment living, it may be best to find a pet who does not excessively bark, who is social and friendly, and not overly territorial.  Temperament and personality are largely built-in and part of your dog’s instinct, but past experiences and environment can play a part as well.  Dogs that are friendly, gentle, quiet, and non-aggressive make good apartment dogs.

What to Look for in a Hiking Dog

There are several things to look for in a canine hiking companion, including the following:


Depending on you, the weather, the terrain, and how far you like to hike, keep in mind the age of your dog.  Young puppies and very old dogs just can’t cover as many miles as adult dogs. Also, many breeds have not fully developed joints until 1-2 years of age, so overdoing it on exercise can damage these joints and cause issues down the road.  Your veterinarian can answer any questions you may have regarding the proper age at which to take your fur baby hiking.


While hiking, your dog will experience a world of smells and experiences, as well as other dogs, people, and critters.  If you have a sensitive dog, you may want to start with short hikes until he gets used to the routine.  It’s no fun for a dog to be afraid of new things.

Voice Commands

If you and your dog are regular hikers, making sure that he responds to verbal and voice commands is essential.  You can work with a trainer, or do a little research on how to train your canine companion to respond to voice commands. 

Hair Coat

Depending on the climate where you live, keep in mind that a hair coat is very important.  Dogs do not dissipate heat as efficiently as humans and only have sweat glands on their pads and their tongues.  So definitely do not take your Husky on a long hike in 80-degree temperatures, and don’t take your short-haired Beagle on a hike in the cold without at least a coat.

couple with dog in apartment
Couple with dog in apartment

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a canine companion to share your apartment and accompany you while exploring nature on a hike, there are many things to consider before pairing up with your next furry best friend.  Things to think about include size, temperament, exercise requirements, personality, and what you are looking for in a canine companion. 


Is it cruel to crate a dog while at work?

Owners may feel guilty about leaving their best friend crated while they are at work or away from home, however, crating a dog is not cruel.  Dogs are naturally denning animals, and with proper training, while they are young, dogs can learn to like being in a crate.  A crate is a safe place and can be made comfortable for your dog with bedding, water, and safe toys that can occupy her while you are away.

Is it cruel to leave a dog alone all day?

The answer depends on the breed, the energy level, and the age of the dog.  Many active breeds and young dogs do not do well alone in a crate all day, but older dogs or less active dogs may do better.  However, keep in mind that dogs are social animals, and if you are away for more than eight hours, you may want to consider a doggy daycare facility or hiring a pet sitter or a dog walker to offer your pet some exercise and social interaction while you are gone.

Where should I keep my dog while at work?

This depends on your home environment.  For apartment dwellers, there are limitations regarding space for a dog, and many owners may opt to use crates while away.  However, some dogs can be trusted to be on their own in an apartment and may be perfectly happy lounging on the couch until you get home.  Again, keep in mind that dogs are social creatures, and being home alone for long periods may not be the best choice, in which case hiring a dog walker or enrolling in a doggy day-care may be a better option for your dog’s mental and physical health and your peace of mind.

How do you know if your dog has separation anxiety?

Signs of separation anxiety in dogs include destructive behaviors such as excessive chewing, barking, digging, and other behaviors.  If you think that your dog suffers from separation anxiety, consider certain products such as toys, training, or calming aides.  You can consult your veterinarian for solutions and possible medications as well.

Is it OK to have a big dog in an apartment?

Many big dogs do perfectly well in apartments, but this depends on your living space and the personality and activity level of your dog.  If you live in a one-room apartment or an efficiency, a big St. Bernard may take up more room than you would like, but it depends on you and your dog.  If you have a two-bedroom or a larger apartment, having a big dog may not make that much of a difference.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.