13 of The Best Dog Breeds for City Living

best dogs for living in the city

Are you thinking of getting  getting a dog in the city? Louise Glazebrook, our resident training and behaviour expert and author of new book – Dog About Town: How to raise a happy dog in the city, shares her essential advice on choosing the right dog for you in the city, including her guide to the best breeds for urban life. 

Life in the city with a dog is hard. I talk from first-hand experience both from my own life and also from working with other owners’ dogs. This is where your breed selection is key – it is very important that you look for a breed that will suit your lifestyle. Do not be fooled by cuteness, fluffiness or big ears!

Before deciding on a breed – ask yourself these essential questions:

  • How much exercise do you want to do a day – and how much exercise can you realistically fit in each day?
  • How often do you want to groom your dog or pay someone else to groom it? 
  • What do you want to do with your dog?
  • Who do you live with and is this likely to change?
  • What is your tolerance to noise?
  • Do you really need a working breed, and can you give them enough stimulation?

Here are some suggestions for breeds that can be great urban companions. You will, of course, still need to establish that they fit in with your urban lifestyle and, when you find a potential pooch, find out as much as you can about their parents (or temperament from the rescue centre) as you can.


A sighthound who is shorthaired, nimble and calm but who also loves to cuddle. They feel the cold, have calm dispositions and are eager to please. Originally bred to chase, so teaching recall is key.


Fabulous if you love a leggy friend who likes to snooze, but beware that with their heritage can often come sound sensitivities and strong chase instincts. Originally bred to race so they can do short distance very fast.


Compact, fun and a brilliant companion. Do not be told that they are lazy, they aren’t. There can be breathing issues if not bred responsibly. Originally bred as companions.


There are some superb examples in rescue and some great breeders. They make excellent family pets and live for some human interaction. Originally bred as a bull baiter, this was out ruled in 1835 meaning that their breeding purpose totally changed.


If you love a bigger dog who needs lots of exercise but you don’t have lots of steps to climb (as they get older they can have weak hips), Labradors are a breed worth considering. They are loyal, sturdy and very fun. Originally bred as a retriever, so it’s an advantage if you love throwing a ball.


These dogs have soared in popularity due to their size and zest for life, but they can be noisy. Originally bred to go to ground after the likes of badgers and rabbits, which means they can be scent and nose driven.


A joyful, enthusiastic dog that loves life and enjoys the challenges of the city. Originally bred to go to ground after foxes. Digging and chasing can be a favourite pastime.


Intelligent small dogs that love to please and learn tricks while taking city life in their stride. A descendant of a standard poodle, a water retriever, so do not be fooled by size and fluff – they were bed to be working dogs.


A companion dog that is fluffy but not silly! They can be rather bark orientated so do bear this in mind. Originally bred as a watchdog.


Aside from the size implications,for those that want a big dog but not masses of exercise, these are the gentle giants for you. They do not live a long life due to their size. Originally bred as a guarder and they can be nosy!


There are a great deal of health issues to get past, but there are breeders doing a brilliant job. A calm and willing spaniel that loves to be around people and does not require a tremendous amount of exercise. Originally bred as a companion dog and they do love to lounge.


Generally a great size for city living and adored by owners who want a dog with personality but who loves to be part of team. Originally bred as scent hounds and this has never been bred out of them, so your dog will always have his nose to the ground.


A robust dog that is quick and well suited to family and city life. They can be on alert and will bark, they also love to learn as much as you can teach them. Originally bred as a Jack of all trades from guarding, ratting and companionship, so choose your heritage lines carefully.

DOG ABOUT TOWN - How to raise a happy dog in the city

To find out more about owning a dog in the city, including training, urban etiquette, exercise and stimulation, Louise’s new book – Dog About Town: How to raise a happy dog in the city is out now – £12.08 at amazon.co.uk.

*Image via @ThisWildIdea

Louise is one of London's leading urban dog trainers and behaviourists. Her passion for dogs sees her take on all sorts of projects – from working with Dogs Trust to promote responsible dog ownership in inner city estates, to finding BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw his perfect rescue pup. Louise lives in Hackney with her husband, baby son and her deaf Bulldog Cookie.

Be first to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.