Dogs love their walks. They may not all love walking (health reasons, temperature, etc) but they love being outside… with you and other dogs. Not alone. It’s a misconception that a yard is a must for having a dog and that having a yard replaces walks.
First and foremost, dogs are pack animals. They are not loners, though some dogs prefer more alone time than others. It obviously boils down to personality. As pack animals, dogs love to be with their doggie friends or human pack, whether you are in the kitchen (most dogs love this part of the house for other obvious reasons) or out in the garden.
From time to time, while I’m doing stuff around the apartment, Blackspot and Creamy would hang out in the patio, sunning themselves. They love the sun. Creamy likes to watch what’s going on outside. And when I lived in a house, my other dogs would love to sniff around in the garden but they rarely ran around it (and definitely not for exercise), except the initial burst of energy, or to chase the neighbour’s cat or birds.
When left alone outside, dogs get bored. They will find entertainment themselves. Some scale walls (seemingly impossibly high walls even) to explore, and follow their nose. Some dig holes. Some just bark.
This is not to say that having a yard isn’t great but it’s not essential, even for large dogs. It’s a great spot to play ball with your dog, if he’s that kind of dog. Or for dogs to chase each other, if that’s how they like to play. I believe more important than a yard is interactive time with your dog and regular walks. Having a yard certainly can’t replace taking your dogs for walks. It’s not only for elimination (though many people opt for paper training) but a time for your dogs to check out what’s going on. Dogs see the world through their nose. And fresh air is good for everyone!