It comes as no surprise to most people to find out that the greatest percentage of the United States, Canada, Europe, Asian and the United Kingdom all live within urban areas. The United States alone has over 51 cities that are home to more than 1 million people each with two cities, Los Angeles and New York with well over 10 million inhabitants. It is also not uncommon to have population densities of over 10,000 people per square mile in many urban areas. This concentration of people means that many people are living in apartments, condos and multi-family type dwellings.
Despite the move into the urban areas, most people still enjoy pets. Although cats actually outnumber dogs, there are still an estimated 72,114,000 dogs living in the United States according to 2007 research by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. Almost 40% of all households surveyed reporting having at least one dog currently residing in the residence. This means that a great percentage of the dogs in the country live within urban areas. This trend is certainly not restricted to the United States and is very much in keeping with those statistics collected in other developed countries.
Choosing a dog that is good for city living takes a bit of research. This includes finding out the energy levels the dog has, how sociable they are naturally as well as how they respond to living in smaller spaces. Even dogs with moderately sized yards don't have the space that dogs in rural or suburban areas can typically enjoy. Dogs that live in apartments must rely solely on their owners for trips outside as well as exercise and outdoor time.
Generally and not surprisingly most of the breeds that are recommended for city life aren't large or giant breeds. Medium to toy sized dogs are in the greatest majority since they adapt to small spaces and tend to have less need for large opens spaces to satisfy their exercise needs. Not all small breeds are a good match for apartment living however and some of the very active or the very vocal dogs are simply not a good choice.
Some of the standard city dog breeds include the Toy and Miniature Poodles, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese. These breeds all love interacting with people, adjust well to smaller spaces and have an average need for exercise. Like any dog they need routine training and socialization to prevent barking and other problematic behaviors. These dogs, depending on their coat type, can be very low to very high maintenance animals.
If you want to look for a less common breed, you may wish to consider the following as dogs that can adjust very well to life in the city.
The Basenji is a relatively little known breed that actually is a great match for city living. These dogs are originally from Africa and have a very sighthound type appearance. The coat is short and very shiny, easy to manage with just a quick brushing every few days. They also tend to be a naturally very low shedding breed and may be suitable for people with mild dog allergies.
The Basenji is very active indoors and is considered a moderate to high level activity dog. They can be very curious and naturally tend to get into everything, however with routine exercise and long walks or runs they are not problematic. These dogs don't bark like other dogs, however they do make a wide assortment of low grumbling to howling type noises. If very stressed they may make a barking like sound but it is not a common vocalization.
One other interesting feature of the Basenji is its almost cat-like behavior. They lick themselves and stay very clean and while they love people they aren't demanding of affection or attention provided they have some regular interaction with the family. Most are very easy to train and quick to learn, naturally social with other animals and people provided they are socialized as puppies. Generally the Basenji is happiest with at least one other dog in the family however they will bond well with cats and become great companion pets.
The Boston Terrier is perhaps one of the most easily recognized smaller sized dogs with its distinctive black and white or brindle and white coat, shorter Pug-like muzzles and its rather prominent eyes. These dogs almost always seem to be smiling and have an outstandingly friendly personality. In many ways they are similar to the Boxer although they only weigh 10-25 pounds when fully mature. They are muscular and moderately active but also will adjust well to living in smaller spaces as long as they have routine exercise times. Once out of the puppy stage they are typically very calm in the house provided they have regular walks and play time outdoors.
The Boston Terrier gets along very well with other dogs and seems to have a particular affinity for cats when raised together. They are playful yet not rambunctious and they also enjoy just cuddling up with their owners. Boston Terriers also get along well with children and enjoy playing and interacting with kids. Since they are not a good match for cold, wet or hot conditions these dogs have been bred as indoor companion pets. Some may snore and have respiratory problems so always ask about the parent dogs and any respiratory problems within the line.
Like the Boston Terrier the Havanese has been bred to be an indoor companion dog. Originally bred in Cuba at the start of the 19th century, the Havanese was a cross between European Miniature Poodles and the native Havanese Silk Dog that is now extinct. The purebred Havanese of today is a lively, energetic yet ideal dog for apartments and small spaces. These dogs bond very closely with their families and are good watchdogs but not typically problem barkers.
Unlike the Boston Terrier the Havanese has a long, flowing silky coat. The coat can be any color from black and chocolate through to blue and even white, cream or gold. The coat can be wavy to curly and may be clipped for easy care. The tail is carried curled up over the back and the face is intelligent yet refined and elegant in appearance. Generally these smaller sized dogs, which mature at under 13 pounds, are very healthy, well-adjusted and friendly to new people and animals.
The Havanese, despite its long coat, is a low shedding breed that often is very suitable for people with mild to moderate dog allergies. They do require grooming every day to keep the long coat free from tangles, but clipping really can decrease grooming requirements.