Are Shih Tzu Good Apartment Dogs? Best Dog for Small Areas

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More and more apartment complexes are embracing pet-friendly policies and deciding to welcome pets.

Naturally, all of us who adore our canine companions will be thrilled to hear this.

However, this does not imply that any old dog will be fine to keep as a pet in a small apartment.

Black and white Shih Tzu looking into the camera while relaxing in his apartment homeAre Shih Tzu good apartment dogs

Now that you've decided on a Shih Tzu, you may be wondering if they make good apartment dogs.

In addition to being small and friendly, Shih Tzu dogs tend to be rather easy to take care of, making them an ideal companion for apartment dwellers. Furthermore, they stay pretty calm and quiet, making them great dogs to live next to.

A Shih Tzu doesn't require a large amount of space to be comfortable given their small size, and they don't care where they live as long as they can be with their person, which is you.

On the other hand, if you have two or more Shih Tzu dogs and share a studio apartment with a large number of other people, things can get a little tight for everyone.

Keep on reading to learn all about Shih Tzus and living in an apartment.

How Much Space Does a Shih Tzu Need

It's not unusual for apartments to be on the small side, particularly in big cities like New York or Chicago.

Fortunately, Shih Tzu are a small dog breed, and they can live quite comfortably in a small space like a studio or one-bedroom apartment with you.

In addition, Shih Tzu are not very highly active dogs, so they do not need a lot of space or a big yard to run around in order to burn up any pent-up energy.

The reality is, a Shih Tzu do not need anywhere near the amount of exercise a larger dog would need to stay in good health.

As long as your Shih Tzu gets at least two 30-minute walks outdoors per day for exercise, fresh air, and to go to the bathroom, they will be OK spending most of their time indoors.

Another reason Shih Tzu make good apartment dogs is they are generally not noisy dogs.

In other words, a Shih Tzu doesn't bark just for the sake of barking.

That's not to say they will not bark to alert you to someone at your door, it's kind of what dogs do, but it is unlikely your neighbors are going to complain that your dog is constantly barking.

small dog on top of a dog house outdoors

The temperament of a Shih Tzu is that of a loving and affectionate little dog. This little doggy usually prefers to curl up on your lap and be your little snuggle-bug or play with his toys rather than run around chasing after a frisbee.

However, he will still need a little space to call his own.

It doesn't matter where you live or what kind of dog you have; they will need a place they can go when they want some alone time. A Shih Tzu is no different.

When family and friends come over for the Thanksgiving dinner you decided to host this year, your dog will need somewhere to escape to when he starts to feel overwhelmed by all the noise and chaos that comes with having a house full of people.

Or when your friend comes for a visit and brings their big, energetic puppy along and won't leave your older fur baby alone.

Again, a place to hide will help keep your pup happy.

The fact that Shih Tzu dogs don't need a lot of space is good news for people who live in apartments.

During times of high stress, a crate can provide a safe haven for him.

There are even pieces of furniture that can serve a dual purpose, which is great if you live in a small apartment since it allows you to use the space that you do have.

For example, this end table may be used as a's Brilliant!

But your Shih Tzu will be grateful, even if it's a small area under a bed or a closet.

Do Shih Tzu Need a Yard

If you have a Shih Tzu, you can get away without having a backyard.

In fact, Shih Tzu are very much an indoor breed. And these little dogs should not be left outside alone, chained, or behind a fence.

However, they need to go outdoors for some exercise and to keep them well socialized with humans and other dogs.

Living in an apartment with a Shih Tzu dog is not really any different from living in a house.

They adapt well to almost any living situation and are comfortable whether in a small apartment in a big city or a big house in the country.

What About The Neighbors?

The neighbors are awfully close by when you live in an apartment.  And the walls can be thin too.

If you have a yappy dog, your neighbors will probably hate you.  You'll be known as that inconsiderate neighbor, who allows their dog to bark at all hours of the night.

That could make your life pretty miserable.

This is another reason why Shih Tzu make great apartment dogs.  Not only are they low energy and fairly calm in doors, they aren't a yappy breed.

Yes they bark, most dogs usually do.

But as far as the constant, high pitched barking that you may find with other breeds (You know which ones I'm talking about), the Shih Tzu is fairly quiet.  And will be quite polite toward the neighbors. 

Which means Frank from the apartment across the hall, won't be pounding on your door at midnight because Fluffy won't stop barking.

In fact your Shih Tzu may be so friendly and adorable that your neighbors may find themselves unable to resist their charm.  And this can be a great opportunity finally meet your neighbors.

Read the Apartment Pet Policy, or Face the Consequences

Black and white Shih Tzu playing with his stuffed toys inside homeRocky playing inside

If you are lucky enough to live an apartment that accepts pets, congratulations!

More and more landlords are realizing that people love their pets.

But before you bring home a dog, you must read the pet policies and follow them.

Most pet agreements include a list of acceptable breeds or restrictions.

It also includes language for any dwelling damages caused from a pet.  As well as any annoyance or discomfort to others, in connection with your dog.

Many dogs find themselves having to be brought back to the breeder, or ending up in a shelter, because of violations that were agreed to in the pet agreement.

The last thing you want is to have to make the decision to either give up your apartment or your dog.

That is a difficult decision to have to make.

And it isn’t fair that your dog will have to be moved out, because his human signed the pet agreement without actually knowing what the rules were.

Here are some of the rules that you will usually find in a pet agreement:

  • Pet Restrictions – Landlords will usually have certain breeds that they will not accept listed in their pet policy.  These restrictions are usually for breeds that are deemed a high risk for aggressive behavior.

    It's doubtful that a Shih Tzu would ever be a breed listed on the restriction list.  However always be doubly sure that the policy doesn't list them for some oddball reason. 
  • Number of pets you can have.  Not only will the policy state which breeds are forbidden, but there may also be a restriction on the number of pets you can have in your apartment.  Or a combined weight limit, or something along those lines.

    So, if you are thinking about getting more than one Shih Tzu, be absolutely sure you will not be breaking their policy.  Always ask if you are unsure.
  • Pet Fees – Some apartment complexes will have some on-site luxury amenities for pets like an indoor potty area, a pet spa, a play room and even pet day care services.

    If your apartment complex offers any of these amenities be prepared to pay for that luxury with a high pet fee.

    But even if there are no specific pet amenities, you may still be expected to monthly pet fee.  However, some may not charge a pet fee at all, but instead charge a higher rent whether you have a dog or not.
  • Renters pet insurance – Lets face it, no pet is a perfect angel, and accidents do happen.  Most landlords will require you to carry pet insurance in case your dog causes any damages to the apartment, or in the event your dog may (gasp) bite someone.
  • Noise Disturbances – No one likes to be woken up in the middle of the night because the dog in the next apartment won't stop barking.  If they complain to the landlord, this could cause big problems for you and your dog.  So if your dog is barking continuously you should check to see what's up.

Final Thoughts

Not only do you have to make sure your apartment is ready for you Shih Tzu, but your Shih Tzu must be properly housetrained, and socialized.

And, any behavior issues must be resolved before it gets worse.

Also be forewarned.  Although Shih Tzu make the perfect apartment dog, you have to be diligent in caring for him.

That means feeding him nutritious food, grooming him often, keeping him healthy, a little exercise each day, playtime, and cuddling....lots of cuddling.

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