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Can a Labrador Live in an Apartment or Small House?

One of the most important things to consider when adopting a dog is whether they fit into your lifestyle.

No two dogs are the same and different breeds vary in the amount of space, physical activity, attention and grooming they need to live happy lives.

It can be easy to assume that you are relegating your dog to days of cramped, uncomfortable living. But this is not true for all breeds.

Labrador Retrievers are no exception.

As a bigger breed, you may pause before bringing your pup home and wonder can a Labrador live in an apartment or smaller living spaces.

Labradors can thrive in apartment homes if you stick to regular exercise routines and daily training. Providing them with mental stimulation is also a must.

Let’s look at how to keep both you and your Lab puppy living happy lives together…

Adult yellow labrador - Can a Labrador Live in an Apartment or Small House?

Are Labs Good Inside Dogs?

One of the biggest reasons Labrador Retrievers are content living in smaller indoor spaces is their desire to be close to their owners.

While this attachment can make apartment living easier, it can lead to separation anxiety.

It isn’t uncommon for your pup to have a destructive temperament when left alone. Stress and a lack of physical activity can lead to chewed up pillows and furniture.

Related: When Do Labs Calm Down?

With proper training it is possible to leave your dog unattended for many hours at a time in an apartment… but, it would be wise to gradually introduce this.

If you are more of a homebody or work from home, your Lab should have few problems feeling happy in your space.

Here are a couple of reasons why Labradors are good dogs for small homes…

Your Neighbors Will Love Them Too!

A benefit to having a Lab in apartment-style living is their friendly and open disposition towards people.

Labs are unlikely to instill fear into neighbors or children and can be a welcome sight for any dog lover.

A Labrador’s social temperament doesn’t mean that your pup has perfect manners.

Owners should take the initiative to train disruptive behaviors such as barking. Not only for their benefit but to be a considerate neighbor.

A friendly dog is great but will be unwelcome in an apartment building if they have a reputation as a noisy resident.

They Are Highly Trainable

The main reason Labs do well in an apartment complex is that they are highly intelligent and trainable breeds.

Many behaviors make any dog unsuitable for smaller living quarters.

Barking, chewing, and bathroom etiquette are all critical points of training that must be addressed early in your dog’s development to avoid an issue down the road.

Labrador Retrievers are quick, eager learners who are born with a desire to please.

If given the appropriate time and attention, you can raise a Labrador that will be a great addition to any living situation.

You can easily train your Labrador

There Could Be Some Issues But Also Solution

As with any large, high-energy breed, it is important to remember you may have a few obstacles when adjusting your Lab pup to apartment life.

There are plenty of tactics you can use to make the transition seamless and ensure your pup is happy at home.

High Energy Levels

A Labs most prominent personality trait is their high energy.

In the first few years of life, from puppy stage through adulthood, your Labrador can be a lot to handle and always ready to run.

Related: When Do Labs Stop Growing

Labs are high energy

This trait can be an issue at apartment complexes that do not offer outdoor living space.

Failure to accommodate your dog’s energy level on a regular basis can lead to significant damage to the home.

Before moving a Lab into a small space, it’s important to consider whether you have extra time in your schedule to provide your new pup with enough physical stimulation.

Dog parks, long walks, hikes, and jogs all go a long way in managing your Labs energy levels. And preventing your dog from becoming listless, bored, or destructive.

It’s crucial that you make sure your Labrador is getting the physical and mental stimulation that it needs.

You should aim to provide your Lab at least 45-60 minutes of exercise each day.


Barking can be a nuisance and earn you complaints if excessive.

Proper training can help you avoid problems with barking and ensure that both you and your apartment neighbors enjoy peace and quiet.

Because Labs are not vocal breeds, in comparison to other dogs, barking has specific triggers such as boredom and isolation.

Labrador Retrievers left without social stimulation for longer periods of time may become restless and bark as a result.

Outdoor exercise can release pent-up energy that may result in barking from bored Labs.

You could also hire a dog walker if you know your pup will be left alone all day without physical activity.

Another option to keep your Lab stimulated is doggy daycare. It allows them to be social even when you have to go to work.

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Potty Training

Every puppy will need to go through periods of potty training.

This daunting task can be tricky with apartment living since taking your dog outside may be more of a trek than just opening the door to the backyard.

Labrador Retrievers are not difficult dogs to house train, but apartment dwellers will need to be mindful and use a few techniques to make sure accidents don’t happen.

As you begin to potty train your puppy, they may need to go to the bathroom often.

As they grow, this need will decrease and they will be able to spend longer periods of time indoors before needing to relieve themselves.

Potty pads are helpful for owners who can’t get up every hour to take their dog outside. Or have you ever heard of grass patches? Check out these from DoggieLawn…

When your dog gets to be a bit older, it is important to establish a daily routine with them.

Potty breaks in apartment buildings could mean descending several levels. So the more consistent a bathroom break is, the easier it is for your Lab to know when they will be able to go outside.

This should go without saying but when your pup goes #2 please pick it up and dispose of it properly.


Destructive chewing is unpleasant in any home environment but can be a real problem in apartment settings where security deposits are at stake.

Most puppies teeth, but some have a longer period of teething than others.

Because of Lab’s extended puppy stage, they may chew longer than other breeds.

Curbing your Lab’s urge to chew is important and should start early.

Labrador Retrievers do like to chew on stuff

One of the best things you can do to negate chewing behaviors is provide your Lab with other teething alternatives.

Approved chew toys such as kongs are safe for dogs and are a way to allow your Lab to teeth and chew without causing damage to your home.

Another positive to kong toys are their mental stimulation benefits.

Thankfully, if trained and monitored, most Labrador Retrievers will grow out of their chewing habits in a year or so when teething ends.

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Too Much Time Alone

A big obstacle in owning a Lab in an apartment setting can be a Labradors desire for socialization.

These breeds do not take well to alone time. When left alone for long periods, your dog may become anxious, restless, and begin to act out.

This can not only be destructive to your apartment but can cause problems with neighbors if your Lab makes a disruptive amount of noise.

Not to say you can never leave your Lab alone in your apartment. But care should be taken to adjust and train your dog to become accustomed to spending time in isolation.

If you are having trouble leaving for even a short bit of time it may be beneficial to start crate training your Labrador.

Allowing your Lab to become comfortable with crating can ensure that they will not be destructive in the home.

Dogs should not be crated for significant amounts of time. And once they are out of the crate you should provide your dog with exercise, stimulation, and attention!

Can a Labrador Retriever Fit Your Apartment Lifestyle?

It is important to take into account the sacrifices and lifestyle changes you are willing to make to accommodate the happiness of your Lab.

If you do not have the time to exercise your Lab or you are always away from your small house, it may be a good idea to look into other breeds that have less extensive needs.

Though Labs may not fit your apartment life, there is a great breed that will.

Labs can make good apartment dogs

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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