Give me some space human! How much room do dogs really need?

Dog Space
Maggie Davies

Just like us humans, dogs need enough space in their home to feel happy and comfortable. But not all pups are the same, making the question ‘how much space does a dog need’ quite difficult to answer.

Some breeds are generally more energetic than others, which means they will need more space to roam and explore freely.

And some pooches are smaller than others so, while a Pug can live happily in an apartment with surrounding outdoor space, a Golden Retriever will normally need a proper back garden. There are a few
insights into a dog’s needs that will help you navigate the ‘pet – living space’ conundrum easily.

Keep reading to find out how much space a dog will need both indoors and outdoors.

How much space does a dog need?

One of the biggest things to consider when adding a new dog to the family is space. Whether you live in an apartment or in a house with an impressive backyard, there are plenty of pups that would love to call these places home. It’s just a matter of finding the perfect match for you. How much space a dog needs will depend on their size, breed, age and energy level.

Breed sizes

Although dog breeds are well-known for having certain characteristics, each individual from a breed will vary. That being said, due to their size, many small dog breeds can cope well in urban settings, so if you’ve got an apartment with access to outdoor green space, many small dogs will feel happy and comfortable with this arrangement.

However, do watch out for those tiny companions with big personalities as their space requirements might be more demanding than even some large dog breeds. The Jack Russell and Border Terrier breeds are small, but very active, as both breeds were originally bred for hunting, meaning they were required to travel fairly long distances to locate and chase their prey. Although these dogs can cope well in smaller houses, they’ll love you even more if they’ve got a medium-sized backyard, big enough for all their fun antics.

Bigger dog breeds need not only a big backyard to burn off energy, but a sturdy fence too to avoid any escapes! The Siberian Husky and the Pointer often fit this description perfectly, and they will also need
regular long walks in even larger spaces in order to meet their exercise requirements.

Energy levels

Smaller dog breeds are generally able to cope better with living in an apartment and big dogs often thrive with big backyards. But you will be surprised to find out there are exceptions to this common-sense rule. Tiny breeds with a lot of energy might need a bigger backyard than some giant pups who are less active.

This is because energy levels and exercise needs are also factors that determine how much space a dog needs. Pugs and Yorkies can live happily in apartments or small houses, so long as they have regular access to surrounding outdoor spaces. And, if you’ve got access to a small yard, they’ll love every minute they spend exploring it. But did you know that a similar outdoor space configuration can work just as well for a large dog breed such as some Greyhounds? Especially older members of this breed.

This is because, although these dogs do enjoy their daily active walks in larger green areas, at home they can be okay with a smaller garden as they like to sprint, meaning they will often have short bursts of energy while out on their walks, and then like to lounge around when they get home. Adaptable, calm dog breeds will join you happily in smaller homes, as long as you don’t skip on their daily walks.


The space a puppy needs will be different from a mature or elderly dog’s requirements. Older dogs who are less active will need less space, even if they are a larger breed, whereas many young and active dogs will need regular access to large outdoor spaces in order to burn off all their energy! So, keep in mind your dog’s age when thinking about how much space they need.

How much space do different dog breeds need?

Although size and energy levels are good parameters to keep in mind when choosing which dog to welcome home, they’re not perfect guides. Every pup is unique. But if you’ve got a particular breed in mind, here are the space requirements for some of the most popular dogs out there.

How much space does a German Shepherd need?

A home with a secure, medium to large-sized garden is the ideal setup for a German Shepherd. Countryside life is also a much better fit than urban chaos for this smart, large dog breed. Their active minds will find plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in the backyard, as well as on country walks, and they will need plenty of regular exercise. This breed is not suited to apartment living.

How much space does a Golden Retriever need?

The beloved Golden Retriever breed is not suitable for smaller houses, but if you’ve got a medium to large-sized garden, they’ll often be happy to adapt. Due to their high exercise requirements, this breed will need regular long walks and plenty of outdoor activities as they need to keep busy. Again, this breed is not suitable for owners who live in an apartment.

How much space does a Labrador Retriever need?

Again, the ever-popular Labrador Retriever breed will need plenty of regular access to large outdoor spaces, as they have high exercise requirements, and they love spending time in the countryside. So, if you’ve got a medium-sized or big garden for this adorable companion to roam and explore, as well as access to plenty of space for long outdoors walks, the Labrador Retriever might be the perfect breed for you.

How much space does a dog need indoors and outdoors?

How much space dogs have indoors is just as important as the outdoor space they have access to. Dogs should be able to move around comfortably, lie down and stand up without any obstacles when they’re inside.

And, if you decide to keep your dog in a crate while you’re out or overnight, make sure there is at least 6 inches of space between their head and the top end of the crate, and also ensure that they spend the majority of their time out of the crate wondering around the house, relaxing on the sofa with you or out on lovely long walks. As a general rule, dogs should not be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time, and puppies should spend even less time in their crates.

In conclusion, when it comes to how much outdoor space dogs need, there isn’t a solid rule for this. Small to medium sized back gardens are more well-suited to breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Chihuahua. Medium-sized gardens are great for active, small dogs such as the Cocker Spaniel, Jack Russell, Border Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. And if you’ve got a large garden Collies, Siberian Huskies and Labrador Retrievers could be a good fit as these breeds have high daily exercise requirements.

However, it’s really important to note that these special requirements are guidelines, and by no means maximum limits! When it comes to dogs and space, the more space the better – as a pup can never have too much space to run around and play in – so long as you are always able to keep an eye on them!

(Article source: Purina)

Related posts

  • Dogs can understand the meaning of nouns, new research finds

    Dogs can understand the meaning of nouns, new research finds

  • Licence to trill: Molly the magpie returned to Queensland carers after special wildlife permit granted

    Licence to trill: Molly the magpie returned to Queensland carers after special wildlife permit granted

  • The pet I’ll never forget: Oscar the cat, who opened my eyes to the power of male friendship

    The pet I’ll never forget: Oscar the cat, who opened my eyes to the power of male friendship