Which Dog Breeds are Best for College Students?


Which is the best breed for college life?

Going to college is a big step for most young people. Leaving home can be a sudden and lonely experience, even if you have roommates or share a dorm, so it’s no surprise that college students often get a dog. I advise waiting until you are in your second, third, or fourth year of college (like I did) to make this commitment because dogs are a lot of work!

Before you decide to get a dog here are some things to think about:

  • Do you live in a dorm, shared house, apartment?
  • Will you be the sole caretaker?
  • Are you or anyone in your household allergic?
  • Do you currently have children?
  • Do you have roommates?
  • Do you have the income to afford a dog? Food, toys, dog walker, boarding when you go on vacation, vet bills (scheduled and unexpected)
  • Have you owned a dog before?
  • Does everyone in your household want a dog?

Once you have made sure that adding a dog to your life will not just add more stress, it is time to think about what would be the best breed.

But which is the best breed for college life? An excellent dog for college students will make life easier, not harder. They will provide love and companionship, lifting stress instead of adding to it. Of course, the best dog for each student will depend on the student’s lifestyle, personality, living situation, and routine. So let’s dive into what makes the best breed of dog for a college student.

What Makes a Great Dog for a College Student?

  • The Right Size for the Space
  • Can Handle Time Alone
  • Easy to Train
  • Social and Good with Crowds
  • Tidy and Low-Maintenance

The right dog breed will match your lifestyle. In general, the best breeds are those who handle alone-time well (you’ll be in class a lot) but can also socialize when surrounded by other students and crowds. Many college students also appreciate breeds that don’t require much maintenance or shed too much because college life is can be busy.

If You Live Alone in a Small Space

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Shih Tzu
  • Papillon

For college students in small apartments, especially if you live alone, you’ll want a smaller breed who doesn’t get separation anxiety. Pugs, English Bulldogs, and Papillons have all been bred to be quiet, loving guard dogs and they fit comfortably in small spaces. Despite their reputation as runners, Greyhounds don’t need much space, while Shih Tzus are also natural patrollers when left alone in the house.

If You Have Roommates

  • Golden Retriever
  • Chinese Crested
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Dachshund

Of course, if you have one or several roommates, dogs who need company can make excellent social companions and won’t get too lonely. Many college students love golden retrievers because they are intelligent, loving, and easy to train. They are also usually never on the “ban list” for leases on apartments. But remember, they need plenty of attention to be happy.

Chinese Crested dogs are cute and compact and will adore taking turns hanging out with whoever is at home, while King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds will take occupancy in the living room and happily socialize throughout the day.

If You Want to Socialize With Your Dog

  • Wheaton Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Miniature Doodle

Want to take your dog on through campus? You’ll want a breed that’s friendly with crowds and easy to train with good manners. Terriers are an excellent choice for small spaces and big adventures, and so are Lhasa Apso, an adorable fluffy alternative. Doodles, in any size you please, are very social dogs and learn manners quickly.

If You Love to Run

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Greyhounds
  • Terriers

Let’s not forget college athletes who need a canine running companion for those long training runs. Labrador retrievers love to run and are an extremely friendly, intelligent breed to become your companion and personal guard dog. Greyhounds are ideal for interval training; they are natural sprinters and also make excellent apartment dogs, as we mentioned earlier. You wouldn’t expect it of little terriers, but these small-game hunting dogs are always up for a run and are very friendly.

Best Dog Breeds for College Students: Finalists

  • Wheaton Terrier
  • Greyhound
  • Retriever
  • Pug

Out of all the categories, we’ve found that Wheaton Terriers, Greyhounds, Retrievers, and Pugs are the best universal dog breeds for college students.

Wheaton Terrier

Wheaton Terriers are medium-sized and make great apartment dogs. They are social and easy to teach manners and tricks, but they can handle alone time and don’t have a reputation for anxiety.


Greyhounds are medium-sized dogs with small-dog maintenance requirements. They have a chill attitude, are easy to train, and will love to accompany you on a daily run.

Golden Retriever

Retrievers are best for college students who like to socialize on campus and have extra roommates to keep your dog company at home. If you expect a life packed with other people and action, retrievers are a great companion animal. They are very smart, love to learn tricks, and are known for sweetness. Golden Retrievers are very friendly and get along well with strangers too. If someone comes to the door, they will be happy to greet them. This makes Golden Retrievers better for families with children than breeds of dogs that may not like strangers entering their home. Goldens are also very social, so if you take your dog out in public, it is likely to get along well with other people and animals!


Pugs are small, intelligent, and handle alone-time well. They are easy to groom and make excellent couch buddies. Pugs also enjoy training and can become your miniature guard dog.

Final Thoughts

Finally, don’t forget to check your local shelters. You don’t need a pure-breed to find an excellent companion based on this guide. You can find some incredible dogs with a good attitude, low-maintenance fur, and a social disposition that will become your perfect college pet.

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