Could our lifestyle be okay for a dog? If so, what kind?

posted 6 months ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I guess you need to ask yourself if you’re going to be around enough during the day to give the dog the attention it needs. 

I wanted a dog for a long time, but we ended up with two cats because of the hours we work and the fact that we’re out for a good portion of the day. Thankfully my husband now works from home, so it’s less of an issue.

You’re at home now, but if you think you’re both going to be out for 10 hours at a time in the future, it’s probably unfair to commit to a dog unless you’re willing to pay for a walker to come in each day. Admittedly certain breeds are more comfortable with being left alone than others, but with dogs they are definitely a lot more co-dependent. Maybe you’re better waiting until you’re both in a position to be home more?

As far as smell goes, I see no issue with that provided you’re bathing the dog regularly. I grew up with a chihuahua in the house and it didn’t smell but she was bathed once every couple of weeks. 

Sure you’ll make the right choice for you and the animal! 

Post # 3
1256 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

SO and I adopted our dog under very similar conditions. We did not find the lack of garden problematic at all but (big but here) we had 2 parks within 5 minutes walk, both of which allowed off leash dogs. 

We also had a small (half a soccer field sized) grassy area a block away where we could do morning and bedtime pee visits. This saved having to go to the parks, but our neighborhood had no lawns and our dog will not pee on cement so that grassy area was critical. 

After the first year I started working outside the house but by that time are girl was pretty established in her routine. We did have a dog walker 3x a week so that she got time walking with other dogs – something I did while working from home but wouldn’t be able to do with before and after work walks.

Our girl has high exercise needs, but is relaxed in the house. She gets 2x 45 minute walks, or 2x 20 minutes plus 1-2 hours with the dog walker plus a walk around the block at bedtime to pee. 

Our girl is a border collie mix, but doesn’t have the constant intensity typical to border collie (thanks to whatever her mix is!)

Sounds to me like you guys can definitely make it work. 

I would recommend working with a rescue that fosters dogs in local homes and would not get a young puppy. Getting something a bit older will let you choose the right energy level and personality for your situation. 

Also we had no issues with smell – but we vacuum regularly and our girl is naturally quite clean (she self grooms like a cat)

Post # 4
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

For the smell, I’d get a dog with lower dander and lower shedding – think something with short hair and plan on brushing them outside fairly often and giving them baths. If you want a dog that can keep up with you activity-wise, I’d look for a small to medium dog with a good amount of muscle. I hesitate to recommend breeds, because I’m all for adopting, but something in the 25-35 lb range that appears trim and lanky would probably match up to what you do. For during the day when people are gone, I’d try an adult dog. You may have better luck there that they will be able to stay home alone and not tear the place apart. Otherwise, look into doggy daycare. If the dog does things like doggy daycare or has a dog walker, it may do better with being boarded. Try short weekends away or just a practice night or two being boarded to start out and find a place you and the dog are comfortable with. A small living environment really shouldn’t be a big issue as long as the dog is really exercised properly. If you can’t commit to that kind of activity on a daily basis for the dog, I’d go for a smaller dog with lower exercise needs, but don’t expect it to be able to go on hikes. We have a shih tzu blend. She is 11 lbs, doesn’t shed, and is the sweetest girl in the world. She loves the sprint around a little bit in the house or back yard, but a one mile walk will tire her out pretty good. If I had to board her, I would look for an in home boarding option as she loves people and doesn’t really care for other dogs (doesn’t dislike them, but doesn’t feel super comfortable around them). You can get sitters to come to your house, or, if your dog is good with other dogs, there are dog sitters who will house dogs usually along with their own dogs.

Post # 5
1395 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

I would totally do your research on breeds before committing no matter if your adopting from the shelter or using a breeder. Go to your library and take out the encyclopedia of dogs. There is simply no way of knowing if the particular dog you pick will be more mellow or energetic but if helps to know their overall potential background. Also throughly research the places your looking to get the dog from as many shelters are inundated and will say almost anything to get an adoption through, too many bad stories out there but there are good orgnizations out there so don’t give up hope. 

I say this as I wanted a hot dog for the longest time, did research on their background and they are hunting dogs and have high prey drive. At the time we had other small animals like guinea pigs and birds. So I ended up with a Pomeranian that’s bigger than normal (12lbs) and he has the right amount of energy and temperament for our lifestyle. My in laws have a King Charles cavalier and she’s super sweet and loves cuddles but she has a lot of energy and needs like a hour walk a day and loves to chase wildlife especially birds as that’s what they were bred for-bird hunting. We recently rejected my husbands co-workers-friends plea of taking their new puppy Pom-sky (Pomeranian/husky mix) because she would be very high energy and we can’t give the commitment as she is a medium sized dog (50+lbs full grown) who will need a lot of excersize as she is more husky than Pom. Broke my heart to say no but we have to be realistic. 

I think your lifestyle is fine to let a dog in, just make sure what kind of dog meshes with it. Like if you like to sleep in and be lazy then getting a jack russel probably won’t work but maybe a poodle or pug would. But if your up at 6am everyday and go a mile plus running then getting a lab might be a good fit. All the other stuff will fall into place so long as you choose the right dog for your family. Good luck! 🙂 

Post # 6
4534 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

leebee333 :  we adopted a greyhound from a group that rehome ex racers or greys that were not suited to racing. As part of our adoption, the group we got our grey from request that we participate in adoption information days for the general public who are looking into the breed. Every grey I’ve met on these days  is just beautiful and so amazingly sweet and friendly. They are a very smart breed too and pick up the do’s and donts really quickly too and as a result are fairly easy to train which is great for people who are new to the dog world.

I think a greyhound would be suited to your lifestyle. They make perfect apartment dogs and are actually really big couch potatoes. They sleep almost as much as a cat does and really only require half an hour of moderate exercise a day to be happy. Greys are built for speed not endurance. They go hell for leather for five minutes and then spend the next 8 hours recovering by sleeping deeply. They love affection as a breed and will be your shadow and find your legs as a oefect place to lean and rest. They are generally not a needy type of dog and will cope well with you being away at work for a long stretch. If you adopt from a greyhound adoption group, they will be pretty open to letting you do a trial run with the dog for a few months to work out if a particular dog is the right one for you.

Our grey has a doggy door and a garden so they are able to go outside and relieve themselves at their own leisure. You having an apartment probably means you have no garden access and it will always pose a problem no matter what breed you get regarding toileting. If you guys do end up both working away from home, you will need to find a solution around toileting with any breed of dog but lots of options do exist to solve that problem.

Seriously look into a greyhound. I think they will be a perfect match for you and your lifestyle. They are honestly the most cuddly, low maintenance, easily trainable and affectionate breed. The only thing they are not good for is as a guard dog. They will excitedly help whoever is on your property to remove your valuables for the cost of a pat and rub behind the ears. The other thing is that you may be required to muzzle them in public depending on where you live. They are trained/breeded to chase and can enjoy going after smaller animals like cats and dogs hence the need for a muzzle. They also don’t recommend letting them off the lead in an open area. Greys are known to sprint off at break neck speed if they pick up the scent of something interesting and you’d have no hope in hell of recalling them in an open space in that instance. An enclosure provides a barrier for their excitement and natural prey instinct….they can only get so far! 😉

I can’t speak highly enough of the breed. They are amazing dogs and a lot of people don’t consider them as an option because of the misconceptions surrounding their energy levels are space requirements. They don’t require a lot of space to be happy and don’t need much exercise. They are also sensitive to temperature variations and as a result are better suited to indoor life.

*Typing this as my fur baby is sitting next to me dead asleep with their face tucked into the curve of my arm!! 

Post # 7
107 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

In my opinion, totally doable in your situation.  I raised a lab by myself in an apartment for almost 4 years (wasn’t the intended situation but it’s what it ended up being).  For my sanity, I had to make sure she was properly exercised.  I also used doggy daycare and a dog walker. My lab isn’t smelly but she sheds like crazy so I am obsessed with vacumming and dust mopping.   It’s hard to recommend a breed because you can get energetic or more mellow dogs in any breed.  We have a Shar-pei who sleeps 23 hours a day and is the laziest dog I have ever seen (not that I recommend a shar-pei, they are  A LOT of work).  Folks at the rescue or shelter will know if dogs seem higher energy or not.  We board our dogs for at least 10 days once a year and various weekends, they do fine, just make sure you visit the kennel to see what they do and are comfortable.  I used to board my lab at her doggy daycare so she knew everyone already and would get to play all day.   It sounds like you and your husband will have the time and flexibiity to give the dog a great life.  My sage advice is that a tired dog is a well behaved dog.  They will definitely get into things when bored or when they haven’t been exercised enough.  

Post # 8
1260 posts
Bumble bee

Try looking up dogs suitable for apartments. I’ve read and seen many times that greyhounds are great for apartments because they’re not super active. We’ve got someone in our apartment building with a greyhound (seen her once, very friendly cute dog, quiet too you never hear them. Also low shedding). 

Post # 9
835 posts
Busy bee

I think if you are concerned your lifestyle won’t fit, you should listen to your gut. You can always reevaluate every 6 months, yearly, whatever. You both work long hours in a small appartment with no yard. Doesn’t sound very dog friendly to me, no matter the breed. It’s not to say your aren’t great people who would love a dog with all your heart, but personally I would wait until I had either more time between you two, a yard or a larger living space. Frustrated dogs act out and become problem dogs very fast.

Post # 10
2106 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I highly, highly recommend adopting an older dog just out of the puppy stage so you can see their personality and energy level before you commit. Certain breeds are more prone to certain tendancies but you never know what you are getting with a puppy. We adopted a mixed breed who shares a lot of characteristics with his main breed, but also has some characteristics that are totally opposite to what we expected based on the breed characteristics.  But, we realized that long before bringing him home! Also, it goes without saying that there are just so many dogs in need of homes. Ours was a stray before he lived with us, and is just the sweetest, most well-behaved dog – you’d never his past when you meet him. I’d also consider a dog walker if you do end up needing to work away from the home. 

Post # 11
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: Iowa

leebee333 :  I think you could make it work, but it really depends on your schedules. Both me and my FH are full time students and work part time, almost always one of us is home with the dog with our schedules and the most he’s ever left alone is probably 3ish hours which is rare. With you potentially working 9-5 days I’d suggest making sure you’d have time to at least go home and let him outside, 9-5 everyday 5 times a week is a lot of a lone time for a dog though. You could always look into doggy daycare, my cousin takes her dog to one and loves it, plus when you go on trips and such places like that often have boarding too.

We live in a 1 bedroom apartment and I don’t think it’s too small for our dog, that being said he’s an 8lb shih tzu. If we had a dog any bigger i would feel terrible having it here since they’d have less room. Jax is so small though that it’s not really an issue, our complex also has a little dog park which is nice. If you don’t want a “dog smell” in your apartment I suggest a hypoallergenic dog, Jax is one so he doesn’t shed and there really no specific sent from him.

overall dogs are a lot of work and a big commitment, if you can’t for sure guarantee you’ll have enough time to train and care for a dog or enough space, I suggest waiting. Especially if you want a puppy becasue they take a lot of time and work to train and don’t do well being alone for longer period of time. An older dog might work better though. 

Post # 12
105 posts
Blushing bee

I don’t know where you live but in many metropolitan areas there is Doggy Daycare where dogs can go for extra exerecise and care if you have to work a lot. Some dogs go two or three days per week. Some dogs do require a lot of exercise and you have to factor that into your day. I always had golden retrievers who acted like puppies when they were 10. It can work perhaps with some outside help. Many places have dog walkers that can come to your home too and take on some of the responsibility too.


Post # 13
431 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2020

Like pp’s cmsgirl missyjz I’d also look into getting a greyhound, especially if you can home an ex-racer.

Greyhounds make excellent apartment dogs and are happy to laze around for most of the day. They are short haired andaren’t big shedders. 
Italian greyhounds are great as well and are perfect if you’re looking for a smaller dog; however I have heard they are more prone to separation anxiety when left alone.

But do your research on apartment friendly dogs and work out what will work for you, I also second the suggestion of looking into doggy daycares or a dog sitter for when you decide to return to work. Even if it’s just 1 or 2 days a week it changes up the routine and helps to prevent boredom.

Post # 14
253 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I think if you can budget for doggy daycare or a dog walker a couple times a week, you will be totally fine!

My fiancé and i have similar hours and also live in an apartment, and we adopted an adult standard poodle. I was initially concerned about the fact that it is a large dog (70 lbs) in an apartment without a yard, but he is so lazy and sleeps for 8+ hours a day. As long as he gets a 30 minute run or a play session with his buddies a few times a week, he is a very happy pup. If you are looking for a non-shedding, non-smelly, hypoallergenic, smart, goofy dog to be your best buddy and go on all your adventures with you- id highly recommend a poodle! They can be a little harder to find at shelters but we found our 1.5 year old handsome boy as soon as we started looking.

Post # 15
1524 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

You’ve gotten some good advice. To add some more info – we have two aussie mixes that are rescues. We adopted them both while living in an apartment without a garden, and we both worked 9-10 hour days but were close enough we could come home for lunch(at least the first couple of months).

We adopted our male (we think he might be mixed with a collie of some kind) first at 1.5 year who is 3 legged (we got him just after his surgery) and he has always been a calmer dog but was very social and loved going to the dog park. The second was a female who was just under a year – she is a spaniel mix with more energy, but they loved each other and became best friends. And they loved going to the dog park. We thought they’d like a house with a yard better. Ehhhh. Not really. They prefer walks and going to see friends at the park. When we lived in the apartment, they especially loved playing with 2 Great Danes who lives directly above us (Great Danes are apparently amazing apartment dogs). 


But aussies are crazy smart, I don’t think I could ever compromise on that going forward. And a bonus: they apparently only need to be bathed something like 4 times a year. My sister has had her own since I was a kid and I remember her house didn’t smell at all. I don’t find ours does either but I might be numb to it 🤷🏻‍♀️.


I highly highly recommend going through a rescue though. They pull them from shelters and volunteers work with them on training and learn about their temperament. Good luck!

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