No matter the square footage of your home, your dog can have it all. Many families have been downsizing their homes to upgrade their quality of life. Not only can living in a tiny house help financially, but it also can help you reconnect with nature and escape from the chaos of living in a busy neighborhood.
From a 115-pound Great Dane living in a 280-square-foot home to a 55-pound mutt living comfortably with three humans, two cats and another dog in their 416-square-foot home, these families prove that “living tiny” may be the new “living large.”
Pitbull Mixes Adam and Juno
The Breymeiers are a family of four—two humans, two dogs—who decided to go tiny to live a simpler lifestyle and be able to travel freely while paying off debt. While two out of the four didn’t really have a choice, they don’t seem to mind the transition one bit. In fact, they actually prefer their new living situation.
“Our dogs always wanted to be with us when we lived in a bigger house, so we actually find that they seem more at ease in the tiny house,” says Shannon Breymeier, a tiny-home owner living in Fairport, New York, with her husband and their two 8-year-old Pitbull mixes, Adam and Juno.
The house itself is 210 square feet, but the land they live on is 75 acres.
“There’s a big yard in front of the house where the dogs can run around freely, and we often take them walking around the farm off leash,” Breymeier says. “There [also] are hiking trails that run through the property and beyond, so they get some hiking in, too.”
And that’s not all. The property has a large, spring-fed pond they frequent when it’s warm out.
“Adam loves swimming, so we try to take him swimming a few times a week during the summer,” Breymeier says. “Juno will reluctantly get in, and then before you know it, she’s jumping off the rocks and into the water, too.”
Clyde the 55-Pound Mutt
Clyde is a 3-year old mutt weighing in at 55 pounds. He shares his 416-square-foot home with his three humans, two cats and a smaller dog. With such a big family living in a tiny house, each inch of space must be designed with everyone in mind.
“The design allows our dogs, cats and child to easily access all areas of our home and be right where they want to be—next to us,” says Stephanie Kubes, a tiny-home owner living south of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
The home has two lofts that are connected with a bridge, a large bathroom area that is also a perfect hideaway for their cats and a couch that everyone can pile up on comfortably, Kubes says.
When the Kubes family wants to head outdoors, they have 10 acres of land to explore.
“It gives us all a lot for room to run around and enjoy the outdoors,” Kubes says.
Millie the Great Dane
Millie, a 115-pound Great Dane, is loving life in her 280-square-foot home, which sits on 5 acres of land.
“The 5 acres we are on allows her to run at top speed and go a little crazy,” says Heather Eckstein, a tiny-house owner in Denver, Colorado. “She doesn’t have a lot of stamina, so all she needs is about 20-30 minutes of sniffing, running and playing, and then she is ready to relax.”
Inside the home, Eckstein has found ways to maximize space without compromising comfort.
“We bought an elevated dog bowl, which was the best purchase,” she says. “It allows food storage underneath and her bowls to be up off the floor, so they are not a tripping hazard. We also have a shelf with a canvas box with her other supplies and toys, and there is a special hook by the door for her leash.”
Eckstein and her husband have managed to fit a normal-size couch in their home, which 3-year-old Millie seems to like … a lot.
“Millie doesn’t like sharing the couch,” Eckstein says. “We can all fit on it, but she would prefer to have it [for herself].”
50-Pound Mutts Ellie and Rubie
Rachel and John, who prefer to keep their last name private, live in a 480-square-foot home with their two 50-pound mutts, Ellie and Rubie, and three cats, Benjamin Button, Juniper and Joon Bug in Santa Cruz, California. According to John, every one of their pets love living tiny.
“They love it,” John says. “They have more outside space and freedom than ever before. The house is designed to meet their needs as well as ours. I cannot imagine a better life for any of them.”
Their tiny house sits on a 2-acre property with a 4-horse paddock, a barn and a main house, where their landlord lives.
Each day, Ellie and Rubie, both 3 years old, head to work with Dad, who is a technical theater director. When they get home, John says they enjoy the outdoor property with the other domesticated animals who share the land with them. For the cats, John and Rachel built them a catio.
The inside of their home is perfect for John and Rachel’s pack, too.
“I built dog bunk beds under the main bedroom loft steps, [and] I raised the refrigerator to have a large dog-food-bag-sized drawer,” John says. “We [also] planned a cabinet [when making the tiny house] to house all the animals’ food bins as well as other accoutrements: Feliway cat collars, medications, a pet first aid kit, records, treats and more.”
For this family, downsizing has made a big positive impact.
“We enjoy having our pets nearby us for moments of fur-baby loving, and if we need a break, they can always go outside to run out their ya-yas, or we can go to one or both of our lofts for human/cat-only time,” John says. “We love our tiny-house life, and all our animals seem to share that feeling.”
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Lindsay Page, Pet Central Associate Editor
The moment Lindsay started her career here at Chewy, she hit the ground running in customer service; she knew that this is the company she wanted to grow with from then on. When Lindsay isn’t spending her time writing for Pet Central, she’s most likely binge-watching a Netflix series with her husband and their 80-pound fur baby, Dexter.