Most popular house-friendly dogs
Depending on your living quarters, your income, and your family size, many factors go into the decision to own a dog—particularly which breed to make the newest member of your home. What makes a dog house-friendly? You’ll have to narrow your focus to a couple of considerations.
Stacker combed 195 registered breeds in the American Kennel Club (AKC) directory, analyzing the list based on some of these canine prerequisites. To narrow down the list, we removed all breeds classified as “very active,” as well as those having “frequent shedding” or “lots of shedding” (we included breeds that only need occasional grooming). We also selected for dog breeds classified as "quiet" or "barks when necessary," and those that are 25 inches tall or less when fully grown. While many large- and giant-breed dogs can be quite happy in small dwellings (Great Danes rank among the best apartment dogs), we kept these gentle giants off the list out of consideration for their manageability (particularly as puppies!) when it comes time for walks and training.
On this list, you’ll find lovable companions with a nose for curiosity, a temperament fit for the walls of a home, and favorable physical attributes suitable to things like allergies and moderate supervision. From Nordic dogs that won’t bark up a storm at strangers, and a tiny breed that is also one of the oldest (and even considered capable of warding off evil spirits), to the always popular and well-known pugs, Chihuahuas, and Pomeranians, someone is sure to capture your heart and needs.
Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, the resulting list includes 44 dog breeds ranked by popularity as of May 2020 that will likely be quite comfortable with a relaxed, in-home lifestyle.
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- 2019 AKC popularity rank: new breed, data not available
- Full-grown height: 19-24.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 35-65 pounds
- Traits: Friendly, bright, sweet-natured
The barbet wasn’t officially recognized by the AKC until Jan. 1, 2020, although the breed was first brought to the United States in 1994 and has been around since at least the 14th century. These water dogs are known for their thick, curly coats that don’t require brushing—just regular trims.
#43. Cesky terriers
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #188
- Full-grown height: 10-13 inches
- Full-grown weight: 14-24 pounds
- Traits: Tenacious, trainable
Though somewhat active, the Ceskies (derived from the word “Czech”) are playful, curious little dogs who are more easily trained than your average terrier. The Czech Republic national dog may resemble an elderly person, but the little breed is both energetic at times and laid-back.
#42. Skye terriers
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #187
- Full-grown height: 10 inches (male), 9.5 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-45 pounds (male), slightly less for females
- Traits: Dignified, calm, stubborn, loyal, devoted
The famously loyal and calm Skye terriers are lovely couch companions who are not particularly active but do benefit from a long, leisurely daily walk. Bred on Scotland’s Isle of Skye four centuries ago as an exterminator, the AKC calls this dog, “The heavenly breed with the heart of a lion.”
#41. Sussex spaniels
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #176
- Full-grown height: 13-15 inches
- Full-grown weight: 35-45 pounds
- Traits: Friendly
Though not tall, Sussex spaniels are strong, low-built dogs that are cheerful (in the classic spaniel way), but not as active as others in the breed group. Walking around just a bit is enough to keep a Sussex happy.
#40. Dandie Dinmont terriers
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #174
- Full-grown height: 8-11 inches
- Full-grown weight: 18-24 pounds
- Traits: Independent, proud, smart, affectionate, bold, tenacious
These pups may be on the smaller side, but they act like big dogs—not in that they’re dominant or aggressive, but that they are proud and confident. At home, they’re affectionate and only require a few good walks to stay satisfied.
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#39. Glen of Imaal terriers
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #168
- Full-grown height: 12-14 inches
- Full-grown weight: 32-40 pounds
- Traits: Bold, spirited
These scruffy, cute terriers aren’t pretentious or fancy looking. They have a purpose-driven history as working farm dogs, providing them a curious, exploratory nature that is not too excitable but refreshingly spirited.
#38. Finnish lapphunds
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #165
- Full-grown height: 18-21 inches (male), 16-19 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 33-53 pounds
- Traits: Reserved, calm, friendly, courageous
These agile Nordic dogs are not outgoing around strangers, but are friendly and eager to please at home. Bred as reindeer herders, they are incredibly muscular for their size. Perhaps the only downside: they will be “miserable when neglected” since they crave companionship.
#37. Sealyham terriers
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #154
- Full-grown height: 10.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 23-24 pounds (male), slightly less for females
- Traits: Alert, outgoing, tempered
The Sealyham terrier is what the AKC describes as a “substantial” small dog with the build of an NFL running back (“powerful”; built low to the ground), but still is a tempered, docile pet to keep at home.
#36. Field spaniels
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #153
- Full-grown height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female)
- Full-grown weight: 35-50 pounds
- Traits: Sweet, fun, loving, smart
Somewhat larger than your average cocker spaniel, the field spaniel stands about 17-18 inches at the shoulder. They’re known for being smart, mild-tempered companions who love to please their humans.
- 2019 AKC popularity rank: #150
- Full-grown height: 9-11.5 inches
- Full-grown weight: 7-10 pounds
- Traits: Loyal, curious, fearless
These funny-looking “ape terriers,” as some have called them, are confident, curious, and playful. Their notoriously silly nature will keep you smiling around the house.
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