Living alone after starting college can be intimidating, which is why most students decide to get a canine companion to help them cope.  

If you're a college student, you want a dog that won't shy away from meeting new people and being exposed to new circumstances. German shepherds, golden retrievers, poodles, basset hounds, Shih Tzus, Chinese-crested dogs, English bulldogs, and pugs are some of the best dogs for college students.

For the most part, going to college is a new experience. Dogs can keep you entertained, and a cute puppy on campus is always a conversation starter! Even if you're moving into a dorm or an apartment, there are dog breeds that you may be able to keep as a companion throughout your college years.

Different dog breeds have distinct characteristics, abilities, and personalities. While some breeds are well-suited to collegiate life, others will not thrive in such an environment. We've helped many college students find furry friends to keep them company during their college years. Here, we've listed some of the best dogs for college students.

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Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog in College

There are a few things to consider when it comes to getting a dog to get you through college.

Is Your Dog Sociable?

Your dog must be comfortable 'speaking' with others, even if you don't feel like it on the first day. A social dog will like having visitors and being around other students on campus. You don't want to bring a dog who is nervous around new people with you.

How Big Is Your Dog?

Let's face it, if you arrive at your lodging with a giant dog, you will certainly get a lot of attention, but maybe not always in a good way. In most circumstances, having a somewhat smaller dog is preferable.

Is Your Dog Housetrained?

Bringing a well-behaved dog to a college party will be greatly appreciated by your roommates and other college students. Nobody wants a dog in their apartment that isn't house trained.

How Energetic Is Your Dog?

Dogs with low energy levels are ideal for college students, especially if you plan to spend most of your time studying at the library. A puppy with higher energy levels is probably okay for students who can work from bed – as long as you don't mind taking regular breaks to play or walk with your dog.

Best Dogs for College Students – Dog Breeds for College

So, with all of that in mind, which dogs are the best for college students? Here's a list of pets that will keep you and your roommates entertained:

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are the smartest canines on the planet. They're noted for their acute sense of smell and bravery. Their ability to locate criminals and weapons has made them very popular among police departments. Having a cheerful, energetic, and strong dog during your college years is always a wise choice. Plus, they are sociable and loyal, and you'll never be short of people to socialize with if you own this dog.

Golden Retrievers  

Golden Retrievers are a popular large breed dog that is easy to train and enjoys being around people. They provide great emotional support, thanks to their patience, adaptability, and sociability. They require a lot of activity; however, a few daily walks will suffice.

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, and it's simple to understand why: they're incredibly affectionate and playful, and they're also extremely amusing. They're also fairly bright and like pleasing their owners, making them one of the easiest breeds to teach.

However, before you set your heart on a golden, you should be aware that they come with a number of hurdles that you'll have to overcome in order to create a happy life for your dog at college.

Golden retrievers, for example, have a lot of energy and require a lot of space, so you'll have to take them to the park every day. They also have separation anxiety, so they'll be sad to see you leave every morning. However, if you live in your own private accommodation or if you have many roommates, a golden retriever might be a good fit.


Poodles are perhaps one of the best breeds for college students. Despite their differences in size, every breed has comparable traits. A smaller size may be more acceptable for a college student with a smaller living area. They have a reputation for being a snooty dog breed but are a fantastic choice for first-time dog owners. Their intellect permits them to handle themselves almost entirely. They have a hypoallergenic coat and are unexpectedly affectionate toward the people they adore, as well as strangers.

Poodles are intelligent, caring, and affectionate. They enjoy meeting new people, are always up for an adventure, and are surprisingly athletic despite their "fine" appearance.

Poodles, in fact, have only two disadvantages for college students: they are high-energy and require frequent grooming. These, though, are unlikely to be deal-breakers.

You should know that poodles exist in different sizes. For instance, standard poodles (the largest kind) can weigh up to 70 pounds. This may be a little large for the average college student, so a smaller poodle is a better option.

Basset Hounds

Basset hounds are known for being "giant-tiny dogs." They only stand 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder, yet their low-rider frames contain 50 to 60 pounds of muscle, fur, and fat. The drooping looks and long, dangling ears of basset dogs make them instantly recognizable.

Aside from their amusing appearance, basset hounds make excellent pets for college students. They are outgoing, friendly canines who are also relatively intelligent. They won't go insane if you go to class in the morning (they'll probably just go back to sleep), and despite their rabbit-hunting heritage, they're rather low-energy pups.

The most significant disadvantage of basset hounds is their propensity to bark and wail whenever they feel like it. This is a typical problem with hound dogs, so think about how essential peace and quiet are to you and your roommates before getting one of these gorgeous canines.

Shih Tzu

Tiny breeds are generally great for college students, and the Shih Tzu is undeniably one of the most appealing breeds out there. Shih Tzus, in fact, are excellent pets for people who live in small apartments like those found in many college dorms. Because they have low energy levels, daily walks are usually sufficient to meet their exercise requirements.

Shih Tzus also have the ability to cope with a moderate bit of alone time, which is one of their best qualities. These proud small canines will usually adjust easily to your routine and will take care of your things while you're away.

Shih Tzus require regular grooming, and you'll want to keep an eye on your new pet's weight since these dogs tend to gain weight as they get older, so make sure you (or your roommates) don't overfeed him with treats or offer him too much food. However, this is a good idea for any breed, as too much food can upset a dog's stomach, and in some cases, might even be fatal.


Pugs are undoubtedly the most adorable puppies ever. If you have your heart set on a small dog, a Pug might be the ideal option for you. They don't require a lot of exercise and have a low-maintenance coat to take care of. However, house training a pug can be challenging, but with the help of crate training, you'll get there. If you love hiking or running, perhaps pugs may not be the best choice for you because they may not be able to run great distances. They have a brachycephalic face, which makes it difficult for them to breathe properly under stressful conditions.

Pugs are one of the most suitable breeds for first-time dog owners. They're sociable, lively, affectionate, and loving, and they get along well with other people and animals. They're a terrific breed for apartment dwellers, and while housetraining them isn't always straightforward, crate training may often help them understand the important rules.

But before you decide to get one, there are a few things to consider. That lovely tiny face, for example, will cause some issues. Pugs are classified as brachycephalic breeds, which means their faces are abbreviated. This creates breathing problems, which you'll have to monitor for the rest of his life.

Furthermore, pugs with shorter faces find it difficult to do things like swim or travel in flights; in fact, many airlines do not accept snub-nosed breeds on planes due to these risks. So choose wisely.

Boston Terrier

The Boston terrier, sometimes known as "The American Gentleman," is an excellent breed for college students. They're little, friendly, and intelligent, and they normally don't go crazy when left alone at home. They also adapt well to apartment living and are simple to train.

Boston terriers, in general, are well-behaved canines. They don't drool a lot, shed a little, and aren't as tough to housetrain as some other dog breeds. When it comes to their drawbacks, there is not much you can really say.

The most significant problem that Boston terriers are likely to pose to college students is their high energy levels; these dogs require a lot of exercise, despite their small size. However, despite the fact that you'll need to take your new Boston terrier for daily walks or play fetch in the backyard when you come home from classes, he'll tire out soon due to his short legs.

English Bulldogs

To some, English Bulldogs may appear menacing and an unusual option. They can, however, be a wonderful companion. They are extremely low-maintenance because of their lack of workout requirements. English Bulldogs are also unusually friendly. They enjoy receiving low-key attention and lounging for long periods of time.

For some college students, the English bulldog (now commonly referred to as a bulldog) is an excellent choice. Bulldogs, another example of a "big, tiny dog," can weigh up to 50 pounds and stand just 12 to 14 inches in height at the shoulder. They don't have a lot of energy, so they're easy to keep fit, and they're really affectionate with their owners.

The ability of bulldogs to cope with alone time is one of their best qualities. When you leave for class in the morning, your bulldog won't throw a fuss or become disruptive; instead, he'll walk a loop around the home, explore his food dish, and then go find a comfy spot to nap until you return.

Bulldogs, however, have a few flaws. They frequently drool as well as shed a lot of fur. Their shortened faces also put them at risk for several health problems.

You'll need to keep an eye on your bulldog in the summer to make sure he doesn't overheat and be cautious when walking him near water because they aren't great swimmers.

The Tibetan Lhasa Apso

The Tibetan Lhasa Apso was designed as a security dog for the royal family of Tibet. Obviously, these small little terrors won't be able to fight off a bear or intruder, but they'll let you know when there's a problem and will do their best to frighten the attacker away by barking nonstop.

In today's world, the majority of Lhasa Apsos lead more easygoing lives. They're rarely tasked with anything other than being a pet, and it's a job they excel at. Although they are loving dogs, Lhasa Apsos can be hesitant around strangers. Despite their proclivity to follow their owners around, Lhasa Apsos manage to spend time alone rather well.

You'll need to have your Lhasa Apso groomed on a regular basis, so factor that into your budget before getting one of these puppies. They're generally apartment-friendly dogs, though they can be difficult to housetrain, so you'll definitely want to invest in a nice crate for training purposes.

Chinese-Crested Dog

The Chinese crested is a wonderful dog for college students in many respects. They're petite, sweet, and affectionate and have only moderate exercise requirements. They're also really distinctive-looking dogs that will attract attention and evoke a lot of "awwwws" from your friends. They're also intelligent and reasonably easy to train.

The major disadvantage of Chinese crested dogs, however, is that they are attached and dislike being left alone for lengthy periods of time. If you live with multiple roommates, this shouldn't be a major issue because the dog won't be alone too much. If you live alone, though, you might want to reconsider getting a Chinese-crested.


Any dog owner will enjoy having this tiny dog as a pet. Papillons are smart, not overbearing, and quite adorable. They don't require much activity, and a simple walk around the block can suffice. They'll sit on your lap and snuggle you while you work (or try not to be distracted) and help you relax. They may take some time to adjust to new individuals, but they are generally pleasant. However, because papillons shed, make sure you have a vacuum cleaner always available.

One of the benefits of owning a Papillon dog is that this breed is quite versatile and can thrive in a variety of environments as long as the dog spends the majority of its time with its family. Papillons are relatively healthy canines that can have a long and happy life with proper care.


Russell Wright

Russell Wright

I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.

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