No family is complete without all its members, and for many families this includes the family dog. Maybe you are considering adopting or buying a new dog for your tiny house, or maybe you already have a dog and you want to see how it will fit with your future tiny house.
We all know that tiny house living is a choice – but is it a choice your chosen dog will enjoy?
So what dog breeds are best suited for tiny house living? There are a number of factors you have to consider when choosing dog breeds suitable for tiny houses, issues that might become bigger deals with the smaller space of a tiny house.
These include its size, energy and attention needs, its shedding, and how much noise it makes with barking. You want to make sure that both your dog and the rest of your family are comfortable living together in your tiny house.
Factors to Consider for Your Tiny House Dog
So how is owning a dog different when living in a tiny house compared to living in a regular-sized home? The biggest difference is, of course, the size of your home, and this can make you aware of a few issues that you wouldn’t normally think about too much in a regular home.
Your dog is a living creature, not an accessory. It’s another member of your family, and has its own unique needs for space and comfort. In a more compact environment like a tiny house – where you might have a full family living within just a 200 or 300 square foot area, there are a few things you should think about before adding a dog to your home.
If you have experience living in a small studio apartment, then you might be familiar with some of the potential issues below:
Size, of course, is the biggest concern, as it is with every aspect of tiny house living. The bigger your dog, the more space it will take up in a house where every square inch counts. Does this mean you absolutely cannot have a big dog living with your family in a tiny house?
Of course not. But it does mean that everyone in your family will be that much more aware of your dog’s size every time they have to step over it or push it off the couch.
It’s all about what you are comfortable with. While most people would recommend smaller dogs for tiny house living, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work with bigger breeds. Here are some tips for those who love tiny houses and big dogs:
- Build its own space: A dog will always try to establish its own space within a home, and with so little space to work with, you want to make sure that your dog has a space it can call its own. This means building an area – preferably with some sort of fencing or boxing – with pillows or rags that can serve as your dog’s personal and sleeping space.
- Take advantage of the outside: You don’t want your huge mutt trapped inside your tiny house all day, and neither does he/she. Take advantage of your flexible tiny house living and let it out.
- Let it roam: And as for dogs running away: the more you keep it on a leash, the more curious they will be of the outside world. Let your dog have the freedom to explore and wander around every time you move to a new area, so that it can learn which area is “home”.
For your convenience, we’ve prepared a list of small dogs, medium-sized dogs, and large dogs, with their average adult heights and weights:
Small Dogs for Tiny Houses
|Dog Breed||Average Adult Height||Average Adult Weight|
|Yorkshire Terrier||8” – 9”||< 7 lbs.|
|Toy Poodle||10”||4 – 8 lbs.|
|Shih Tzu||8” – 11”||6 – 16 lbs.|
|Pug||10” – 11”||14 – 18 lbs.|
|Pomeranian||8” – 11”||3 – 7 lbs.|
|Miniature Pinscher||10” – 12.5”||8 – 10 lbs.|
|Beagle||14” – 16”||22 – 24 lbs.|
|Jack Russell Terrier||13” – 15”||13 – 17 lbs.|
|Miniature Schnauzer||12” – 14”||11 – 20 lbs.|
|Maltese||8” – 10”||3 – 8 lbs.|
Medium Dogs for Tiny Houses
|Dog Breed||Average Adult Height||Average Adult Weight|
|Collie||18” – 22”||27 – 45 lbs.|
|Brittany||18” – 22”||30 – 40 lbs.|
|English Shepherd||18” – 23”||39 – 61 lbs.|
|Cocker Spaniel||13” – 16”||15 – 30 lbs.|
|Basset Hound||11” – 15”||44 – 63 lbs.|
|Shetland Sheepdog||13” – 16”||14 – 27 lbs.|
|English Bulldog||12” – 16”||48 – 55 lbs.|
|Border Collie||18” – 22”||26 – 45 lbs.|
|Chow Chow||18” – 22”||44 – 70 lbs.|
|Boston Terrier||15” – 17”||10 – 25 lbs.|
Large Dogs for Tiny Houses
|Dog Breed||Average Adult Height||Average Adult Weight|
|Rottweiler||22” – 27”||77 – 132 lbs.|
|Great Dane||28” – 34”||99 – 198 lbs.|
|Bernese Mountain Dog||23” – 28”||79 – 110 lbs.|
|Mastiff||27” – 30”||150 – 160 lbs.|
|Saint Bernard||26” – 35”||110 – 200 lbs.|
|German Shepherd||22” – 26”||55 – 95 lbs.|
|Golden Retriever||21” – 24”||55 – 75 lbs.|
|Doberman Pinscher||24” – 28”||59 – 90 lbs.|
|Boxer||21” – 25”||66 – 70 lbs.|
|Labrador Retriever||21” – 25”||59 – 88 lbs.|
What small dogs can be left alone?
You also might want to think about small dog breeds that you can leave alone in your tiny house, typically independent smaller dogs with lower energy needs. Small dogs that are fine being left alone include:
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Shiba Inu
- Cairn Terrier
- Scottish Terrier
- Basset Hounds
Energy and Attention Needs
Different breeds have different energy and attention needs. Some dogs get antsy and frustrated when they spend just a few hours cooped up inside, and in a space as cramped as a tiny house, they will definitely let you know it.
Other dogs are fine sitting on the couch minding their own business for days at a time. So ask yourself: which type of dog better fits your family – high or low energy needs? We’ve compiled some of the highest energy, lowest energy, and moderate energy dogs below:
|Top Low Energy Dogs||Top Moderate Energy Dogs||Top High Energy Dogs|
|Australian Terrier||Shiba Inu||Golden Retriever|
|Dachshund||Miniature Schnauzer||Siberian Husky|
|Pekingese||Lhasa Apso||German Shepard|
|Japanese Chin||English Bulldog||Rottweiler|
|Miniature Pinscher||Great Pyrenees||Labrador Retriever|
|Havanese||Shetland Sheepdog||Welsh Terrier|
This is one issue that new puppy owners don’t think about until they find themselves drowning in fur. Dogs shed, and some shed a lot. In a compact environment like a tiny house, just a few weeks of living with a shed-heavy dog can mean every piece of furniture and clothing in your tiny house is permanently decorated with dog hair (which can be quite a pain to clean up!).
If you’re not looking forward to spending half your time with a heavy-duty vacuum, here’s a list of the most shed-heavy dogs to avoid, and dogs that barely shed at all:
|Dog Breeds that Shed the Most||Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed|
|Saint Bernard||Tibetan Terrier|
|Great Pyrenees||Maltese Terrier|
|Chow Chow||Shih Tzu|
|Akita||West Highland White Terrier|
|Siberian Husky||Portuguese Water Dog|
|Golden Retriever||Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier|
|Labrador Retriever||English Toy Spaniel|
|Alaskan Malamute||Kerry Blue Terrier|
|Coton de Tulear||Cairn Terrier|
|German Spitz||Chinese Crested|
|Sussex Spaniel||Irish Water Spaniel|
|American Eskimo Dog||Rat Terrier|
|English Toy Spaniel||Australian Silky Terrier|
|Bernese Mountain Dog||Bouvier des Flandres|
|Finnish Lapphund||Border Terrier|
We understand that some tiny house families already have a member of the family prone to extreme shedding. Are you just supposed to live with it? Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make shedding less of an issue:
- Bathe regularly: Bathing your canine friend removes and loosens hair that is about to come out for shedding. Using a tool during the wash that really brings out and collects the hair can help make sure that every loose hair is pulled out. While the minimum recommended bathing interval is once every three months, you can do it as regularly as once every 1-2 weeks.
- Keep them healthy: It’s normal for a dog to shed, but if you find them displaying excess shedding leading to bare spots, your dog might be sick. Keep their diet high-quality and take your dog to a vet to make sure they’re fine.
- Keep it on the dog: One easy way to lessen shedding is by keeping it on the dog. How? By making them wear a shirt! While it can be difficult to make your puppy comfortable to a fitted shirt, it can save you a ton of time cleaning up shed fur once you have them regularly wearing it.
- Clean the shed hair with the right tools: No matter what you do, you will always have to deal with some shed hair. So use the right tools to cut your cleaning time in half. Vets recommend a lint roller, a vacuum cleaner (made specifically for pets), and a damp sponge to pick out the loose individual strands on your clothing and couches.
We know what you’re going to say – “We can deal with a little noise! If we love the dog, then the barking will be cute!” But take it from the experts: when you’ve lived in a confined space with dogs who have barking bred into their blood, even the biggest puppy lover can be turned insane.
There are two things you need to think about in terms of barking: 1) Some dogs are just naturally bred to bark, meaning they will bark more and bark louder than most other breeds; and 2) Dogs will bark more when they feel uncomfortable in certain ways, such as space issues or energy/attention issues.
Here’s a list of dogs that were bred to bark, and dogs that don’t really bark at all:
|Dogs That Bark the Most and Loudest||Dogs That Don’t Bark Much|
|Beagle||Basenji (although they yodel!)|
If you want to lessen the amount of barking your dog does, make sure that it gets enough physical exercise with outdoor activities, mental exercise with interactive doggy toys and treats, and that they are in good health. Finally – always give them the attention they desire, or else they’ll be barking all night!
Our Verdict: What Are the Best Dog Breeds for Tiny Houses?
If you want something easy and low maintenance for your tiny home, here are our top picks for small dogs, medium dogs, and large dogs:
Small Dogs – Shih Tzu: For small canine lovers out there, the shih tzu might be your best bet. Low energy needs with little-to-no-shedding (as long as it is properly groomed), and not much of a barker. The shih tzu can sit comfortably in your tiny house for weeks and not even notice the smaller size of your home. This little furball is also amazing with kids!
Medium Dogs – Basenji: The basenji checks all the right boxes: a medium, light-weight dog with just moderate energy needs, minimal shedding, and no barking. If you can deal with the iconic basenji yodel, then the basenji is the perfect low-maintenance tiny house dog. There are few breeds easier to live with than the basenji!
Large Dogs – Great Dane: The Great Dane gets our large dog pick because of its reputation as a gentle giant. While high-energy dogs can be problematic in cramped spaces, leading to vases falling off counters and torn up toilet paper rolls as morning surprises, the Great Dane has a traditional cool, calm, and quiet temperament, even with little to no training, and is an awesome addition to any family with small kids.
Choose Your Favorite Dog for Your Tiny House
With all that said, what dog breeds are best for tiny house living? It’s impossible to say which dog is best, because the dog that is best for you and your family depends on what you’re looking for. The most loving dog breeds for you might be a giant headache for someone else!
At the end of the day, whether your dog breed works for your family and tiny house depends on you and your furry family member. And besides – aren’t all dogs equally lovable? With the right training and attention, any puppy can be a perfect fit for your tiny home.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.