5 Best Guard Dogs For Apartment Life (Updated 2023)

  • By: Justin
  • Date: January 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Are you wondering what are the best guard dogs for apartment life? 

Then, you have came to the right place! 

There are many people who believe that it is possible to have guard dogs in an apartment.

But, unfortunately, most apartment communities have a list of breed restrictions.

And most won’t consider most guard dogs breeds. 

However, in this article, I put together a list of dog breeds that aren’t aggressive but can still alert you if there are strangers nearby. 

And Of course, are perfect for apartment living.

Also, be sure to read all the information so that you can choose the right dog to protect you since each race has its own needs. 

5 Best Guard Dogs For Apartment Life 

These are the top 5 watchdog breeds for apartment living.

Each of them has different characteristics and abilities that you can know below so that you can choose which will be the best guardian companion for you

1. Cairn Terrier 

Guard Dog Breeds for Apartment Life

One of the first things to consider when choosing your guard dog is the size of your apartment.

If you live in a very small apartment the best watchdog you can have is a Cairn Terrier

Don’t be fooled by his size, this little guy is very brave and is not afraid of any challenge. If you choose him as a partner, he will not hide from anything or anyone. 

It is instinctively a hunter. This breed was originally bred to root out foxes and other small furred prey so it can be aggressive towards other dogs or smaller animals.

With strangers he is distrustful but when he is confident he is very friendly. With his guardian, he is very faithful, protective, and obedient.

It is a very active and intelligent dog, it will need some training so that it does not look for where to dig when it is left alone. 

Cairn Terrier  Quick Facts
Lifespan:12 – 15 years 
Weight:Males weigh between 6-8 kg
Females weigh between 6 and 8 kg
Height:Males can be between 25 and 33 cm tall
Females can measure between 23 and 30 cm 
Price:Approximately $1,200 to $5,000 


Rest assured that if someone unknown or threatening approaches you or your department, he will warn with its powerful bark without rest until the stranger leaves. 


The Cairn Terrier, although small, can be quite expensive. 

2. American Eskimo Dog 

Guard Dog Breeds For Apartment

The American Eskimo Dog is one of the most intelligent dog breeds. In addition, he is a protective dog by nature, he will not trust any stranger who approaches his family for a while.

It is a medium-sized dog, it will have an eye on anyone who comes close to its family until it is assured that it is trustworthy.

The stand-off, double coat resists soaking and provides insulation against the cold. What makes him a good breed if you live in a cold place. 

It is a dog with a lot of energy that if it is not well managed could become a barking problem, it needs to go for a walk every day and receive some training for it. 

His intelligence allows him to be very good at learning tricks and following orders, but he also makes him capricious. Give it the attention it requires and you will have a smart and obedient guardian. 

American Eskimo Dog Quick Facts
Lifespan:13 – 15 years 
Weight:Males can weigh between 12-16 kg
Females can weigh between 8-12 kg.
Height:Males can be between 45 and 51 cm tall 
Females can be between 38 and 45 cm 
Price:$1500 – $2000 USD 


It has a powerful bark that will alert everyone around it when it seems that a stranger or danger is nearby, and thanks to its intelligence it can learn to distinguish what it has and what it does not have to bark at. 


His adorable looks are his only downside, as all that gorgeous fur falls off in droves. 

3. Bull Terrier 

 best small guard dogs for apartments? 

The Bull Terrier was developed in England during the 19th century.

It is a cross between several breeds: the Old English Terrier, Bulldog, Spanish Pointer, the English White Terrier, and the Dalmatian. 

This eccentric crossbreed resulted in a very powerful but very elegant dog at the same time.

Bull Terriers have unique features that make it difficult for them to be confused with other breeds, starting with the particular oval shape of their head. 

It is a robust and muscular dog with short and dense hair. As it is a very strong and energetic dog without proper training it can become aggressive.

Socialization from an early age is also very important in shaping the temperament of this breed. 

But with proper exercise and training, they are very familiar, loving, and playful dogs. 

What makes it ideal for a department guard dog is the combination of strength, protective instinct (very high by the way), and its medium size. 

Bull Terrier Quick Facts
Life expectancy:10 – 14 years 
Weight:Males can weigh between 48 and 60 kg 
Females can weigh between 20 and 25 kg. 
Height:Males can be between 73 and 78 cm tall. 
Females can measure between 70 and 73 cm. 
PriceBetween $800 and $1,500


Their instinct and strength make them excellent watchdogs, they will not think long before attacking with all their might whoever threatens their family. 


If they are not given enough exercise and attention from their owners, Bull Terriers can be destructive. You also have to pay special attention to their diet, as they tend to gain weight. 

4. Chow Chow 

Dog Breeds To Protect Your Apartment

The Chow Chow is another very distinctive breed of dog, although, of different sizes, they can weigh from 31 to 18 kilos, their appearance is unmistakable: furry, fluffy with a flat face and a unique blue tongue. 

There is a rumor that it is an aggressive breed of dog, and there is some truth in that. While they are not aggressive if they are very territorial and fierce.

They also have a muscular complexion that along with their other characteristics gives them an imposing appearance. 

It is said that the character of these dogs resembles them more to cats than to dogs since they are independent and proud.

They are definitely not a huggable breed of dog, but chow chows are incredibly loyal to their humans. 

They are usually a bit difficult in their adolescent stage, so they will need patient owners who know how to get through this stage.

It is not usually very difficult to train Chow Chows, but a tip to do it is that they hate physical abuse, so their training has to be with positive stimuli to be effective. 

These dogs adapt very well to apartment life, preferring to stay close to their family.

So they are comfortable spending time indoors, but that does not mean that they like to be alone, on the contrary, they have a great need to spend time with their family, ah! but at a considerable distance. 

Chow Chow Quick Facts
Life expectancy:12 – 15 years 
Weight: Males can weigh between 25 – 32 kg 
Females can weigh between 20 and 27 kg.
Height:Males can be between 48 and 56 cm tall 
Females can measure between 46 and 51 cm
Price:Around $700 -$1300 


It is an extremely protective breed that will alert any stranger who approaches you and at the same time a breed that behaves comfortably and calmly in small spaces (As long as it has the spaces to discharge its energy, of course) 


Their coat requires constant brushing, at least two or 3 times a week since they shed too much hair, especially when they are in the shedding season. 

5. Boxer 

If what you are looking for is a larger dog that protects you and can live within an apartment, perhaps what you need is a Boxer. 

These dogs have a menacing look that most people interpret as dangerous. They are also very agile and muscular so certainly, anyone would be afraid of being attacked by a Boxer. 

But despite their appearance, boxers are the most affectionate and friendly.

In fact, these dogs are known as the “eternal puppy” for their playful nature.

They are excellent companions for children as they have a lot of patience with them. 

Boxers like to be close to their family, so they are highly adaptable to small spaces. But for this to happen they also need to exercise every day. 

They are very easy to train, but they are also stubborn.

There are things they do not like and they will make sure you know it; for example, if you leave them alone or locked up for a long time they could become very noisy and destroy things. 

A curious fact about this breed is that its name is due to the fact that they tend to stand easily on two paws, and since they usually have the end of its paw of another color, they give the appearance of having gloves and be boxing. 

Boxer Quick Facts
Lifespan:10 – 12 years 
Weight:Males can weigh between 25 – 32 kg 
Females can weigh between 24 and 29 kg 
Height:Males can be between 57 and 63 cm tall 
Females can measure between 53 and 59 cm
Price:$600 -1,300


They are very brave and smart. Although they are not usually aggressive, when they perceive a real threat they do not hesitate to act. 


The downside to these beautiful dogs is that they drool a lot and also snore quite loudly. 

How To Choose A Guard Dog For An Apartment 

As you could see from the list above, there are many breeds of dogs that can play the role of watchdog and adapt to the life of an apartment.

Although on the list are some of the best, of course, they are not the only ones.

So if none of these dogs convinced you at all, now I leave you some tips so that you can choose the best guard dog for you and your department. 

● The watch dog for you will be the one to meet your needs.

Remember that there are many types of protection, not necessarily a guardian dog will be the one that can inflict damage, a dog that is alert and always warns that there is a stranger nearby also fulfills an important surveillance function. 

● There are some breeds of dogs that adapt to life in small spaces and others that do not.

Especially large breeds tend to have problems with this. If you are looking for a large dog make sure it has high adaptability to small spaces. 

● If what you are looking for is an alarm dog, (that is, it barks when it senses something strange) you will have to be patient with barking since it is in its nature to bark to warn. 

● Although they are dogs that adapt easily to small spaces, you should always take into account the space of your apartment when choosing your guardian dog. 

● Another very important aspect that you must take into account is your availability of time since the more energetic and active the breed you choose, the more time you will need to provide adequate exercise. 

● Training is key for any guard dog and more if you live in an apartment.

Remember that dogs are like children, you must patiently teach them how to behave, you cannot expect them to know for themselves.

Dog Breeds To Protect Your Apartment FAQ 

Is It Cruel To Have a Dog In An Apartment? 

It is not in almost any case. Many of the dogs can adapt well to apartment life, as long as they are provided with the right conditions to bring out their energy in a positive way, be it with walks or games. 

Of course, some dogs do better than others in apartment life, there are even some breeds that do better either due to their interest in being close to their family, their low energy load, or their size. 

What Are The Best Small Guard Dogs for Apartments? 

In addition to the small ones that we already present in the list, if you are looking for a guard dog for small apartments, the Rat Terrier is a great option. 

They are small and very active. Like most Terriers, they are also stubborn and affectionate towards their guardians.

They are good guardians due to their great intelligence and protective instincts. Also, an extra is that your Rat Terrier will keep your apartment free of rats. 

Should I Get a Dog If I Live in An Apartment? 

Surely yes! Many dogs are perfect for keeping you company even in the smallest homes. You just have to make sure you know what their needs are so that they can develop healthily. 

Now you have all the information you need to know which would be the best dog for you and your department. 

Most of the dogs that do not adapt to department life are due to lack of training, socialization, or lack of energy release, and not because of the temperament or character of the breed. 

Just remember that when adopting a dog you will also have to become a guardian for him, and training him is essential so that he can adapt to your home!

Final Thoughts

I hope this list of dogs breed will help you decide what is the best guardian dog for apartment life.

Even though this list contains more watchdog breeds than guard dogs they will still warn you when strangers are around.

It is important to get a list of allowed breeds because most aggressive dogs are not allowed in apartments.

I hope this post was helpful.

Looking For Watch Dog Guides?

If you’re looking for more guard dogs resources, consider checking out our other post on guard dogs.

Justin- Writer & Chief Editor of Bestwatchdogs.com


Justin is a protection dog enthusiast. He has years of experience teaching and training dogs. He enjoys sharing what he’s learned. Read More

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