Can Retrievers Live in Apartments?

Golden and Labrador Retrievers are popular in the USA, UK, and Canada. They have been adopted and take care of as family and duck dogs for over 100 years. In the metro cities, space is reducing as the human population increases. This results in apartments and flats being the choice of residence for many families. Hence, I receive a lot of queries if retrievers breed dogs can live in apartments.

While many may give an opinion that no it’s not possible but the fact is that it’s all possible to keep a golden or Labrador retrieve in an apartment too. They are friendly in nature and don’t create the kind of mess done by other breed dogs that you see on YouTube videos or Instagram.

Yes, retrievers can live in apartments with proper care. You don’t need a 1500 sq. feet apartment to have a retriever companion.  If you provide for the dog and take care of his essentials, then you can even keep a retriever in an apartment with apartment area as small as 600 sq. feet.

In this article, I will share the information you need to know when having your beloved companion in the apartment. There are some critical points that you need to know and there are some good to know points as I discuss below.

First things first, I want to share this great product for flat owners and having retrievers. It’s a SavvyGrow product which is artificial grass. The trips downstairs when the dog needs to pee are frustrating and irritating. By investing in this product, you will same a great amount of time and energy.

SavvyGrow as seen on

Characteristics of the Retriever Dog Breed

I see more success with people who understand their dog well. The Retriever breed is special in some aspects. As I list below, knowing these attributes and information is going to make it super easy for you in a flat

1) Energy Levels

The one thing we can say with confidence is that retriever breeds are energetic in nature. They are quite active through out the day. Playing games, roaming around and checking stuff out are their likes.

This is probably the biggest reason people don’t believe retrievers can live in apartments.

They are called retrievers which means they are made to run and run and fetch stuff for you. The one takeaway for you from this sub-section is that both Golden and Labrador retrievers are energetic.

I will later in this article give all the information for managing and channelizing this energy.

2) Chew and Bite

Since they are energetic and love to play games. They would try to chew every toy or thing that you give them. Puppies, in general, want to chew everything because of new teeth and excitement to check out everything that they see.

Channelizing energy of retrievers so important else they can’t sit idle and will chew your stuff like purse, clothes, mats, and cushions.

Obedience training also helps in this regard. Whenever you see the dog is going out of control and crossing the line with his behavior, you can give him the command to calm him down.

If you as a dog owner treat your retriever puppy or dog as a baby then it will be easy for you also. They are mischievous, want to explore the world and want to play fetch all day. Your patience will help them a lot.

Chewing can be a problem with any dog breed but it’s your patience and training your dog which can easily overcome this difficulty. Apart from being a puppy, there are some other reasons why dogs in general will chew:

  1. Teething: As the teeth come out, they get irritation and will chew on stuff to get rid of that irritation. Same happens with human babies.
  2. Bored: When the dog has nothing to do then sitting idle is difficult for him so he will start chewing whatever is present close to him
  3. Medical Condition: Some medical conditions like Anxiety and OCD can cause excessive chewing. You should consult a vet if that is the case.
Chew and Bite

3) Easy to Train

This dog breed is quite intelligent. They are also used as duck hunting dogs because of their obedience and fetch skills. Also, they are easy to train. All these qualities make them a good choice for people going for hunting. Even as a family dog, they are easy to train.

You need to teach any dog a few basic obedience commands like Sit, Stay, etc. and some advanced commands like Rollover and Spin Head etc.

One of the main reasons that retriever dog breed is so popular is because they get trained so fast and everyone wants to spend less time to training due to their busy work schedules.

While they may be energetic and social but they are friendly in nature. Once you teach them a thing in training sessions, you need not keep repeating the same again and again. All credit goes to the intellect that retriever dogs have.

Their train-ability and fast response to commands make them the best companion for you. Even when the retriever is doing something wrong in front of you, just give STOP command and he will stop doing it. If you are looking for getting retriever dog (either Golden or Retriever) then you are going to get a loyal dog for yourself.

The benefits of training a dog are huge. Easy learning and fast training sessions make them the most popular choice in the USA for dog lovers.

4) Shedding

The retrievers have a thick coat. Nature has given them this coat so as to protect their skin. Now when they have thick fur then it will also shed. The shine that you see on a Golden Retriever is from their fur.

However, I can tell you that the shedding is not much a problem with them. They do shed fur but it is not in huge quantities. It’s normal for a healthy dog to shed fur. With proper grooming and some tips that I have given in this article, you can easily save your furniture and floor.

Thus, don’t let shedding come in your way to getting a retriever dog for yourself.

I should give a word of caution here that some family members in your apartment may not like the dog fur in the flat. However, with proper knowledge and care, this is manageable. After all, every dog is going to shed some fur. So, if you want a dog then be ready for the shedding of fur.

5) Getting Social

I keep repeating the both Golden and Labrador retriever dogs are social. They want to interact with people and other dogs. They want to play games.

So this means that they will need someone who keeps them engaged. My recommendation in this case is that if you have long work schedules and you have to spent nights in the office then avoid getting a retriever dog.

It’s better to be sad and frustrated later on. If no one in your family is also available to engage with him then better avoid getting a retriever and look for other dog breeds who can easily stay alone.

Retrievers love interaction, engagement, being loved, pampered and games.

Potty Training in Apartment

You will have limited space in the apartment. Although flat sizes may range from 700 sq. feet to 4000 sq. feet but still space crunch is always there.

When it comes to taking the dog for potty outside, it becomes a burden. If you own a home with a backyard then it is as simple as letting the dog go to yard from the back door for their business.

I would say that managing the potty time is the most difficult part of an apartment. If you have to take the dog out then you need to get to the lift and look for some space outside where he can do his business and then you need to make sure that there is no hygiene problem for other people.

This has to be done daily (multiple times too). When the retriever is a puppy, then it feels an even bigger problem. In those initial months when he is a puppy, he will not understand the need to wait for you to take him out. Thus, understanding these requirements and commitment from your side is important.

Due to this single reason, many people around the world don’t like to have a dog in their family. I do have a solution for this below:

Potty Problem is Solved Now

The pet product companies do analyze the opportunities for making unique products that solve the problems of dog owners. Hence many companies have launched an artificial grass product that can be easily and safely used in an apartment.

Taking out time and monitoring when your dog needs to go for potty is a tough task and cannot be always done with 100% accuracy. For this reason, I have found two products for you in different price ranges, the first one is a cheaper option and the second one is a premium option. Do take a look at both of them and decide according to your budget.

I will highly recommend the PetLoo premium product.

  1. SavvyGrow as seen on
  2. PetSafe PetLoo Indoor Potty Training on

After getting a product like PetLoo, you will thank me for recommending it. This a life saver in winter when you don’t even want to step outside in odd hours.

Dogs always want to pee or potty on grass. This artificial indoor grass gives them this feeling so they can comfortably finish their business. It is also convenient for you to clean it and also you don’t need to go out.

Thus, the biggest problem that dog lovers face before owning a dog is also solved. Now there should be no huge reason for not owning a dog.

petloo potty training

Is Your Society Dog-Friendly?

The overall comfort of the dog also depends upon how your neighbors and guests in your society look at dogs. If there are more dog lovers, then it is good for the dog and you. Some people do get irritated by barking of dogs during working or odd hours.

The relief for you is that Golden as well Labrador retrievers are not loud or growling dogs. With proper training, you can also make them stop barking at any time. Complete silence is not possible when you have dogs. Barking is their mode of communication with the world.

If your neighbors can be a friend to the retriever dog then nothing like it. This also depends on how long the dog has been with you and how long you have had the same neighbors.

Some premium buildings have special facilities for dogs like a dog park. Separate elevators for dog owners are also good to have. There could some rules set by the society association too like not leaving your dog alone in the apartment.

Also having the dogs on leash is a very common rule in societies. Maintaining hygiene is so important for everyone. You cannot have your dog do his potty or pee in the open. For this I have already suggested the PetLoo product above in this article.

When you go outside, having a leash, dog GPS tracker and some plastic bags to carry poo if required are good to have.

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibilities. The only way to make your life easy is by making routine and rules. Follow the same rules every day and you will good to go.

They Have Less Space to Move Around

Your retriever’s diet becomes important in an apartment. Since there is going to be less movement for him due to the limited space, controlling his diet becomes important for you. High calories food is going to make him fat and lazy. This further attracts diseases as the dog grows up.

I do have a list of action points that you can follow to control the obesity of your retriever dog.

  1. Low-calorie dog food.
  2. Control the number of treats you give even during training sessions.
  3. Make and stick to a diet plan.
  4. Take the dog outside for some exercises.

Can You Make Them Exercise When Staying in Apartment?

Many apartment owners do contact me on social media about this issue. The space is limited and dogs need exercise. What is the solution?

I always recommend that yes you have limited space in the apartment but who is stopping you from taking them out multiple times in a day. Morning and evening are the times when we see people taking their dogs out.

Apart from the walks or going to dog parks, there are other activities which are possible. These include:

  1. Swimming
  2. Hunting (yes retrievers are so much used during hunting sessions)
  3. Hiking
  4. Ride Bike
  5. Play retrieving games

Also, checkout this amazing video where a dog is playing on its own by using an automatic ball launcher. See how excited he is to play the retrieval games.

labrador exercise

My Personal Daily Routine

You can take some inspiration from my experience. While I was staying in an apartment before marriage with my retriever, I had to adjust my routine a lot. For example, I would get early because my Labrador retriever dog named Kevin needed to go out for exercise.

At that time only, he would also go for potty outside. For the rest of the day, he would use the PetLoo product which described at the start of this article. Likewise, you will also need to make adjustments to your daily routine.

You can take your dog out in the open and take a seat. Let the dog roam around and run a lot. Retrievers love to run a lot. In the meantime, you can read your books or do some work in the fresh air. You also exercising while the dog is also enjoying in the open is also a good thing to do.

What About Service Dogs

Labrador and Golden Retrievers are very commonly used as service dogs. These service dogs do live in apartments and give as an example that yes retrievers can live in an apartment.

Small space is not a problem for them due to their burrow-background. They can easily cope up with space and much earlier than the time you too to adjust when you came into the apartment.

Conclusion: Retrievers Can Live in Apartments Easily

Irrespective of where you live, there are few things that need to be taken care of. It’s just that with the apartment, you have to make some adjustments to your daily routine and you can have a good time living in the apartment.

The best thing to do is enjoy your time with these angels who add so much meaning and life to us. Keep them engaged, groom them and spend time with them. They will give back a lot in return.

Finally, I can say with full confidence that I have also stayed in the apartment with a Labrador retriever and so can you. Its all about you and your dog understanding each other which automatically comes with time.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *