Do Papillons Make Good Apartment Pets?

August 3, 2022

papillons apartmentI wrote the other day about the perks of raising dogs in the city.  Although we don’t live in the city anymore, for the first 11 years of my papillon’s life we lived in a third floor walk up apartment.  It was my partner and my first place together.  One of the reasons we picked that apartment was because it was pet friendly, and I really, really wanted a dog.  I fell in love with papillons when I first discovered them, in a dog breed book, when I was around 8 years old.  So, needless to say, when it came time to select the breed I wanted my first dog to be, there was no contest – a papillon!

Any breed of dog can make a good apartment pet.  I’ve found it’s not so much the breed of the dog that matters.  The behavior and personality of the individual dog and, more importantly, an owner’s commitment level towards ensuring that their dog is set up to succeed are much more important.

What to look for when searching for an apartment dog

Living in the city as long as I did, I came across all kinds of dogs living successfully in apartments.  Everything from tiny little chihuahuas, to one person I knew who kept two huge great Danes in an apartment!  Some basic factors to consider before bringing a dog to live in your apartment with you include…

  • Activity level.  While being high energy doesn’t preclude a dog from making a good apartment pet, caring for them properly in a small space can be more difficult.
  • How social a dog is.  Living in an apartment usually means living in very close proximity to other people and, sometimes, other pets too.  Dealing with a dog who is fearful, reactive, or just otherwise doesn’t like being around strangers can be really stressful in an apartment setting.
  • How loud a dog is.  This is probably one of the first things people think about when trying to select an apartment pet.  Neighbors and landlords don’t appreciate excessive noise.  A dog who likes to bark at his own shadow, with an owner who doesn’t want to take the time to train them out of this, probably wouldn’t make the best apartment dog.
  • Behavioral issues.  A dog with unresolved separation anxiety, for example, could be difficult to manage in an apartment.

A lot of people would add size to this list, but I’ve found that there are lots of large, lazy breeds that do really well in small spaces.  Alternatively, a highly active small breed dog could feel cramped in an apartment without enough mental/physical stimulation.

It all comes down to how committed you are to your apartment dog!

papillons apartmentA lot of these factors can be negated by a committed dog owner!  Most dogs, especially puppies, aren’t born perfect apartment pets.  They need caring owners to teach them how to appropriately behave.

I lived for years in a city apartment with two high energy dogs.  I selected high energy breeds to fit in with my active, outdoorsy lifestyle.  Although we didn’t have a yard we could use in our apartment, we spent a lot of time walking, hiking, at the beach, etc.  I walked with my dogs multiple times a day, and provided them with lots of mental stimulation and activities to keep them occupied too.

Part of finding the perfect apartment pet for you, is just finding the “perfect” dog to match your lifestyle!   If you’re active and like spending time outdoors like me, and enjoy playing with your dog and providing them with lots of activities, than even a high energy breed can be happy in an apartment.  If, however, you work full time and like to come home and relax indoors, than a high energy breed probably isn’t for you.  Think about how much time you want to invest in training your dog, too.  While any dog can develop behavioral issues such as excessive barking or separation anxiety, some breeds are more prone to them.

So, can papillons make good apartment dogs?

Yes!  Papillons, when trained and cared for properly, can make amazing apartment pets.  Papillons are, generally, high energy, intelligent, happy go lucky little dogs.  Keep in mind that they will require more mental and physical stimulation verses some other dog breeds.  Papillons are social butterflies who normally thrive in busy apartment buildings.  They are so smart that any behavioral issues you run into will usually be able to be resolved through training.

The biggest challenges of keeping a papillon in an apartment

Like I mentioned in my list of papillon pros and cons, this tends to be a barky breed.  But that’s countered by the fact that papillons are considered to be the 8th smartest dog breed.  With time and persistence, it is possible to train papillons not to bark in inappropriate situations.

However, being so smart isn’t all good when it comes to apartment life.  It means that papillons are crazy good at figuring out new and exciting ways of getting themselves into trouble.  They are also a high energy breed.  If they aren’t provided with enough mental and physical stimulation, they will turn the art of destroying your stuff into a fun new game!  You’ve been warned.

Papillons are quite social and love being with their people.  This can make them great apartment pets, because they’ll generally love socializing with neighbors, but it can also make them prone to separation anxiety.  Again their intelligence level and training will come in handy here.

Lastly, papillons are NOT a breed for the lazy.  They are beautiful, and small, but they aren’t referred to as the “border collies of the small dog world” for nothing!  These little dogs have lots of energy, and need to be provided with appropriate outlets for that energy if you want to live happily in an apartment with one.

My experience keeping a papillon in an apartment

Kitsune was an amazing apartment dog!  I walked, trained, and did activities with him a lot (and still do!), so he’s not usually overly hyper when we’re inside.  I’ve always kept him well groomed, so excess shedding and odor have never been an issue either.  When we lived in the city, Kit loved to say hello to the other tenants in our building, and neighbors we met out in the street.

Although I said that I believe that (almost) any dog can make a good apartment dog with the right level of commitment from their owner, I love that papillons are small.  It meant that we had plenty of space, even in our small city apartment, to play with Kit indoors on rainy days.  Papillons can make amazing apartment pets for the right people.  While they will not be the perfect breed for everyone, I couldn’t have asked for a better first dog than Kitsune!

Comment below!  What do you look for in an apartment pet?  Have you ever lived in an apartment with a papillon? 

papillons apartment

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