40+ Small Dog Breeds: Meet Your New Best Friend

Small dogs running

Many pet parents may enjoy small dogs as tiny pups come with big personalities. Small breeds range from the lively Maltese to the uncommon "little lion dog" or Löwchen. Most tiny dogs are long-lived and perfect companions for apartment dwellers. Be sure to click on the adorable pup you've fallen in love with to read more about that breed.

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Tiny breeds are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and coat types. For example, the Italian Greyhound is known for his aerodynamic body, and the stuffed-toy appearance of the Norwich terrier invites you to hug it. Little dogs all share distinct personalities, and small dogs are different from big dogs in many ways! The small breeds fall into three general weight categories.

Nine Pounds and Under

This weight category includes popular tiny breeds, including the affenpinscher, rat terrier, and toy poodle. The toy breeds also fall under this category, and some apartment dwellers train small breeds to use a litter box. The smallest dog is the Chihuahua, and this tiny dog typically weighs less than six pounds and is about five to eight inches at the shoulder. This breed may fit in your purse!

Affenpinscher Dog Breed
Alaskan Klee Kai
Bichon Frise
Biewer Terrier
Bolognese Dog
Chihuahua dog
Japanese Chin dog
Japanese Terrier Dog
Maltese Dog
Pomeranian Dog
Rat Terrier Dog
Russian Toy Terrier Dog
Silky Terrier Dog
Toy Fox Terrier Dog
Toy Manchester Terrier Dog
Toy Poodle Dog
Yorkshire Terrier Dog

10 to 16 Pounds

Pugs and the Tibetan spaniel are in this weight category. The breeds in this weight class are medium-sized and popular dogs with pet parents. Many small breeds were designed to fit specific needs throughout history. For example, the Brussels Griffon was bred to hunt rats.

Australian Terrier dog
13-inch Beagle Dog
Border terrier dog
Brussels Griffon Dog
Cairn Terrier dog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog
Chinese Crested Dog
Coton de Tulear Dog
English Toy Spaniel Dog
Havanese dog
Italian Greyhound Dog
Japanese Spitz Dog
Lancashire Heeler Dog
Miniature Pinscher Dog
Miniature Schnauzer dog
Norwegian Lundehund Dog
Norwich Terrier Dog
Papillon Dog
Pekingese Dog
Shih Tzu dog
Tibetan Spaniel dog
Toy Xoloitzcuintli Dog

17 to 25 Pounds

The "larger" small breeds vary, and the canines range from the standard dachshund to the Bedlington terrier. The Bedlington is popular with pet parents suffering from allergies as this dog's non-shedding coat is a preserved characteristic of the breed.

Basenji Dog
Bedlington Terrier Dog
Boston Terrier Dog
Cesky Terrier dog
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Dog
Danish-Swedish Farmdog
Jack Russell Terrier Dog
Jagdterrier Dog
Lakeland Terrier Dog
Lhasa Apso Dog
Löwchen Dog
Miniature Dachshund Dog
Miniature Poodle Dog
Pug Dog
Schipperke Dog
Scottish Terrier Dog
Sealyham Terrier Dog
Shiba Inu Dog
Smooth Fox Terrier Dog
Standard Manchester Terrier Dog
West Highland Terrier Dog
Wire Fox Terrier Dog

How to Choose the Right Small Breed

If you are looking for a tiny watchdog or a canine who socializes with practically everyone, there are many factors to consider. Bringing a small pup into your life should never be an impulse purchase. Consider which family members are on point for the majority of the dog's care. All dogs require a significant amount of time for playtime, walks, and obedience.

Small Breeds Fit Various Lifestyles

Do you live in an apartment? Do you have large breeds at home? Small dogs are easy to manage and handle. Many pet parents living in smaller homes or apartments look for a small breed. Almost every dog under 25 pounds is a good candidate. Some terriers may bark, so talk with a breeder about a dog's typical temperament as you create a short-list of breeds.

Tenacious Terriers Are Not for Everyone

Always make sure every member of the family is on board with this decision. Terriers are ratters and enjoy chasing vermin. If you live with cats or small pets, including ferrets, you may want to consider another type of small dog breed. You don't want to spend the day managing your terrier to prevent him from chasing your cat!

Seek a Reputable Small Dog Breeder

Gather all the information available about your breed from reputable breeders and breed club websites. Talk to a breeder about why you are interested in a small breed and what traits you'd like to see in a dog.

  • Visit as many breeders as possible and compare experiences from each kennel.
  • Study the breed's standard and meet the parents of any potential pups.
  • Only invest in a puppy sound in mind and health. The best age to acquire a pup is eight to 16 weeks of age.

Tiny Dogs Are Easily Injured

Is there a large amount of foot traffic in your home? Smaller pets tend to get in the way if you're in the kitchen! It is common for smaller breeds to end up at the vet after a large gathering if pet parents are not paying close attention. Make sure your small breed is in a crate or a special room to relax if you entertain a lot, and make sure a tiny dog is a good fit if you live with many family members.

Many Small Breeds Do Not Need as Much Exercise

Some tiny breeds do not require as much exercise as larger breeds. A daily walk is essential for every dog, but some small breeds only require a brisk walk around the block or playtime in the yard. Always talk to a reputable breeder about the amount of exercise a dog needs to determine which small dog is a good fit for your lifestyle.

Small Dog Breeds May Have Giant Personalities

Small breeds are available in every size, shape, color, and coat type. There are many advantages to living with a little dog. Tiny breeds eat less food, require less space, are easily trained, and perfect companions for pet parents living in an apartment. All small breeds are different with varying personalities, so remember that big things come in small packages!

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
40+ Small Dog Breeds: Meet Your New Best Friend