9 Dog Breeds That Can Handle Stairs Easily (With Minimal Training)


If your apartment has stairs, you should consider whether your pets will be able to handle them or not.

I’m not talking about baby-proofing your stairs, which you should do only when the pets are still young, but about the day-to-day, after they grow up.

The truth is; most dogs can handle stairs with time, but some dogs just handle it better than others and some dogs can naturally go up and down the stairs with very few accidents and minimal training.

So, here are 9 dog breeds that can handle stairs.

  1. Cavalier King Charles spaniel 
  2. Pug
  3. Japanese chin 
  4. Shih Tzu 
  5. Pekingese 
  6. Shiba Inu 
  7. Chihuahua 
  8. whippet
  9. Beagle 

Keep reading to learn more about each breed individually and know how to train your dog how to handle stairs.

9 Dog Breeds that Can Handle Stairs Easily 

You probably realized that most of the breeds are small or medium but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a large pup if you have stairs in your home but it will take some work and the easiest one of them is to prevent them from going up and down the stairs.

However, if you didn’t make up your mind on what dog you should get yet then here are some great pups that won’t have as many problems with the stairs.

Cavalier King Charles

Cavalier King Charles as one of the best dog breeds that can handle stairs easily

Weight: Female: 5.9 – 8.2 kg, Male: 5.9 – 8.2 kg.

Height: Female: 30 – 33 cm, Male: 30 – 33 cm

Cavalier King Charles is a small breed, they are relatively new because they were recreated less than a century ago.

They are eager to meet everyone who crosses their path which makes great family dogs because of their friendly and affectionate personality.

Cavalier King Charles is a poor choice if you are looking for a watchdog because they will not bark if someone comes to your door but I guess that also makes them a great choice if you have neighbors and don’t want them to hate you.

They are quiet but they can bark if a stranger approaches you when you are walking in the street.

They are moderately active indoors which makes them a perfect candidate for condo or apartment living.

They need to be groomed regularly because of their medium-length silky coats and just like all dogs, they need daily exercise.

Pug 

Weight: Female: 6.3 – 8.1 kg, Male: 6.3 – 8.1 kg.

Height: Female: 25 – 30 cm, Male: 30 -36 cm.

Pugs are sometimes referred to as clowns of the canine world because of their great sense of humor and how they show it.

These cute little pups can be incredibly difficult and stubborn and that’s why they need to be trained when they are young.

If you don’t expect them to shed a lot because of their short coats, well, you are dead wrong because pugs shed a lot.

Pugs cannot tolerate humidity and heat because the air doesn’t cool down before entering their lungs because they have a short muzzle.

Pugs eyes’ are so prominent so they are prone to eye injuries so you will need to be careful with them, they also snort, snore, and wheeze loudly.

They are prone to be overweight because they gain weight easily and they are greedy eaters so you will need to feed them in moderation.

However, when it comes to stairs, pugs can surprisingly handle stairs in your apartment very well, despite what their small legs and overall small size would make you think.

Japanese chin 

Weight: Female: 1.4 – 6.8 kg, Male: 1.4 – 6.8 kg.

Height: Female: 20.3 – 28 cm, Male: 20.3 – 28 cm.

Japanese chin hail from Asia, they have been our companions for more than a thousand years.

They need to be brushed every day to keep their coat from tangling and to remove their loose hair.

This small and adorable breed likes to be in high places so don’t be confused when you find them sitting on the fridge or your kitchen table.

Japanese chins are an intelligent breed and they need to have a fun activity or fun-filled training because if they get bored they will focus their energy on something else and you know what that means.

Shih Tzu 

Weight: Female: 4 – 7.2 kg, Male: 4 – 7.2 kg.

Height: Female: 20 – 28 cm, Male: 20 – 28 cm.

This adorable breed was bred solely to be companions, they are happy and outgoing house dogs.

The name Shih Tzu means little lion but it’s definitely not because of their personality so I am guessing perhaps it’s because of their thick hair and looks.

You will need to brush and comb their coat every day because it mats and gets dirty easily.

They are prone to dental problems, also, they tend to snore and wheeze.

They don’t need much exercise, just a long daily walk will be enough.

Shih Tzu are great with children but they are not the best option if you have toddlers because Shih Tzu is very small and can be injured easily.

If you are looking for a dog that will be good with everyone, I really can’t recommend golden retrievers enough. You can learn why are golden retrievers so good with babies here.

Pekingese 

Weight: Female: 3.2 – 6.4 kg, Male: 3.2 – 6.4 kg.

Height: Female: 15.2 – 22.8 cm, Male: 15.2 – 22.8 cm.

Pekingese are very loyal and affectionate and they bond very closely with their owners, making them great family pets.

Despite their small size, they can actually make good guard dogs,  they were kept in the royal’s sleeves and they were used as miniature guards.

They need daily exercise but you won’t need to take them running or hiking for miles, just the daily walk will be enough.

Pekingese are very intelligent because of their royal heritage and they are one of few breeds that are not afraid to communicate their feelings.

Shiba Inu 

Weight: Female: 6.8 – 9 kg, Male: 8 – 11 kg.

Height: female: 33 – 41 cm, Male: 35 – 43 cm.

Shiba Inu needs minimal grooming because they only shed heavily twice a year.

They can be trained easily due to their intelligence and their ability to learn quickly.

Just like any other dog Shiba Inu needs to exercise daily besides their daily walk and you can take them to run, swim, or hike.

They tend to be possessive and if you have kids or other pets do not let them come close to their toys or food cause he might snap at them.

They can be aggressive with other dogs so they are not the best option if you are looking for another dog.

Chihuahua 

Weight: 1.5 -3 kg.

Height: 15 – 23 cm.

Chihuahuas are lifelong companions because they are a long-lived breed, you can expect chihuahuas to be your friend for up to 18 years.

They can be unfriendly to other dogs easily so they will need to be socialized when young.

Chihuahuas are prone to heart conditions so you will need to make regular appointments with their vet.

Chihuahuas are really small and can be attacked by birds, hawks, or even larger dogs so don’t leave them unattended in the yard.

Chihuahuas need 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily and when they are puppies they can wear themselves out so make sure that they don’t do that. 

Whippet 

Weight: Female: 6.8 – 19 kg, Male: 6.8 – 19 kg.

Height: Female: 45 – 53 cm, Male: 48 – 56 cm

Whippets were the hunter’s best friend because of their impressive speed after rabbits and small animals.

They make great apartment pets because they rarely bark even at strangers but they make poor watchdogs.

They are highly affectionate and loving companions which makes them one of the best family dogs.

Whippets need to be exercised daily and will make the perfect running partners but they should never be allowed to run off-leash.

They need to be socialized properly because they can become stressed and may suffer from separation anxiety or even depression.

They also have a strong prey drive so you will need to keep an eye on them because they may chase small animals for several miles.

Beagle 

Weight: Female: 9 – 10 kg, Male: 10 -11 kg.

Height: Female: 33 – 38 cm, 36 – 41 cm.

Beagles are great family dogs because they are active companions for your kids, other pets, and even you.

They are loving, fun, and merry but they can be a bit stubborn sometimes and they require a patient owner and suitable training techniques.

They can be left alone because they will find ways to amuse themselves but you will need to be a little careful with that because one of their methods to entertain themselves is trying to escape.

Beagles can be difficult to train so I absolutely recommend crate training and they are an energetic breed so they need to be exercised every day because if they get bored they can start digging.

How to train your dog to handle stairs in the apartment? 

If you just got a new pup in your apartment and don’t know how to train them how to handle stairs, well, you are in luck because I got a guide to help you through the process.

  • Step 1: get a leash 
  • Step 2: grab the end of the leash 
  • Step 3: put the leash around the back of your puppy’s belly so you can support both of their front end and back end.
  • Step 4: slowly proceed your pup down the stairs 
  • Step 5: stop and praise them a little and give them a treat.
  • Step 6: start moving down a little bit more (it will take some time so you will need to be patient and give them all the time they need)
  • Step 7: repeat the training several times a day.
  • Step 8: Now try to climb up the stairs.
  • Step 9: make them feel safe and talk to them in a calm yet an upbeat voice 
  • Step 10: be really careful with them because it can traumatize them if any bad thing happens
  • Step 11: when they reach the top of the stairs, pause to give them more treats and praise them.
  • Step 12: take some pressure off the leash and repeat.
  • Step 13: you can put some treat on the steps to see if they can do it by themselves but still have them on the leash
  • Step 14: this time no treat on the steps or leash under their belly to support them but instead you are going to support them under their chin and walk down.
  • Step 15: the last step, this time no physical touch at all, you are going to just hold the leash with no pressure at all and let them go up and stairs by themselves.

If you want to make the process even easier, you can start training them on pet stairs like these foldable folding pet steps on Amazon. They are easy to use and can make the start of the training easier for your dog.

They also work for large dogs just as well, just make sure to choose the size suitable for your dog.

If you liked this article and found it useful, you can share it with your friends and family who are thinking about getting a dog with a home or an apartment with stairs and don’t know what breed to get or how to train them and we will definitely appreciate your support.

Related Questions 

Is it ok for dogs to go up and downstairs?

Yes, it’s ok for dogs to go up and downstairs but some dogs cannot go upstairs and you should not let them try and you can prevent them by fitting a baby gate to make the stairs off-limits for them, also, if you have a large breed dog, you should avoid making them climbing the stairs as you could.

Is climbing stairs bad for dogs? 

No, it’s not bad, the stairs can be good for some dogs, climbing the stairs build stabilizing coordination and muscles, however, if your dog has a pre-existing orthopedic problem then it will be painful for your dog and could lead to an exacerbated condition or injury.

Are Stairs Bad for Large Breed Dogs? 

Yes, stairs can be bad for large breed dogs because they are prone to developing hip dysplasia especially in certain breeds such as german shepherd and rottweiler and stairs are also bad for larger breed puppies, instead, you can consider a ramp for your large pup.

Helpful Resources 

Dogs and Fear of Stairs

How to Train Your Dog to Go Down Stairs

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