Small Dog Breeds can make for extremely rewarding and loving pets. They are generally great for people living in smaller households or apartments. If you are a smaller person yourself they can be much easier to handle. They are usually much cuter and adorable than other breeds, especially if you put some time into grooming. You'll be able to take your small dog more places than other breeds, such as restaurants or on planes, and most small dog breeds will want to be with you all the time if they can! Small dogs are also less expensive than other dogs and can live much longer than other dogs on average.
To learn more about 17 of the most popular small dog breeds continue reading below. If you get a small dog of your own, you'll want to make sure you get to know your individual dog's personality, prepare for their specific needs, and train them appropriately.
You may think of this small dog while eating your Taco Bell, as the chihuahua was once the spokesdog for the chain, thanks to its origination in Mexico. It is the smallest breed of dog recognized by most Kennel Clubs. This sassy breed is fiercely loyal to their alpha person, but does not tend to socialize very well with undisciplined children or other dog breeds. They project self-importance and confidence, but their tolerance of social interaction tends to be determined through genetics. If their parents or grandparents were social, they too should be. They are good dogs if you live in a small space, as they do not require much room; but beware, it is known that they are more difficult than most to housetrain. This tiny dog usually only weighs 3-6 pounds, but can live upwards of 12-20 years.
Let's just say Pugs are one of the "sturdiest" of the small dogs. Their many face wrinkles can give them a wide variety of expressions that people fall in love with. They love people and attention and always want to be involved in anything social. Pugs also have one of the most involved and devoted group of owners, so if you love your pug you may want to get involved. You will want to watch out for breathing problems and eye injuries which are an unfortunate side effect of their expressive faces. Despite that, though, they can live over 12 years and tend to be around 15 pounds.
Boston Terriers are a small dog breed popular for families thanks to their friendly and spunky personality. This breed is very smart and trainable, and makes for an excellent companion. If you're looking for a smart-headed and enthusiastic partner-in-crime, they are a great go-to! They will be your loyal playmate and watchdog for you and your family, despite their less than dominating stature. Bostons are short-headed and built compactly and well-balanced, ranging in weight from 10-25 pounds. They are brindle, seal, or black and usually have white markings, and can live about 15 years.
If you're looking for a small dog with a larger than life personality, the Pomeranian ("Poms") may be the right fit for you! Their popularity took off after Queen Victoria allowed some of her own to be shown in a conformation show. Because of their size, they are perfect for apartment dwellers or homes without a lot of backyard space. They are generally easy to train and willing to please with tricks, as long as you are consistent and firm. It is important to establish yourself as the alpha of the house, otherwise the saucy Pom will happily fill that role. These small pups usually weigh 4-8 pounds and have a long expected lifespan of 12-16 years.
French Bulldogs are adorable and very well mannered dogs, but they are one of the rarer breeds of small dog so they may be difficult to find and expensive to own. They love to play and training them should be easy, which you will most likely need to do to tone down their territorial tendencies. One thing some people don't realize is that the friendly smiles you can see on a French Bulldog can sometimes be bad because it means they are gasping for air and overheating. Their short noses make them susceptible to heat, so keep them cool and don't be fooled by their happy appearance. Normally, though, they can live over 11 years and of course can grow to be on the heavy side at around 20+ pounds, so manage their diet appropriately.
If there's one thing a Greyhound does well, it's run. Italian Greyhounds are no exception, despite their tiny and frail looking appearance they are extremely athletic, fast, and agile. Their tiny bodies do leave them susceptible to the cold, though, so you should definitely get them a sweater for colder months and let them bask in the sun. Apart from that, Italian Greyhounds would make a good pet for over 13 years. You may also recognize the Italian Greyhound from Renaissance art where the dog featured prominently in many women's portraits since the breed has been a great pet for centuries.
The Maltese breed is known for being polite, cute, and the epitomizes the "toy dog" stereotype. They are generally easy bonders and enjoy the lap dog lifestyle, though they will jump at the chance to go for a brisk walk with you as well. Don't let their size fool you however, this breed is fearless. Like many small dogs, the Maltese are on the harder side of housebreaking, but will learn tricks to please you. This cute little breed is known for its long flowing white hair. However, they also happen to be hypoallergenic! They weigh a small 4-7 pounds and are expected to live 12-15 years.
Havanese dogs, the national dog of Cuba, love their families more than most dog breeds and have even earned the nickname "velcro dog" since they love to stick by their owners side. This can be a downside since they do suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too often. If you have time for them though, they will be one of the friendliest and easiest to train dogs you can own since they don't need too much exercise. Also watch out for all of that hair! They will grow to around 10 pounds and can live over 12 years.
The Dachshund, or more affectionately the wiener dog, is a very silly looking but adorable breed. Dachshund stands for badger-dog because this dog was bred to hunt animals like badgers or other tunneling creatures, hence their long, tunnel-shaped body. Now that hunting isn't a priority, Dachshunds still make for extremely loyal and friendly dogs, almost to a flaw since they can become very needy and jealous of their owner's attention. They come in a variety of hair types and color combinations. The biggest thing to watch out for is back injuries due to their shape, you don't want their backs to have too much weight on them and you don't want them jumping off of things like furniture awkwardly in a way to injure their backs. Their thick chests can bring their weight well over 20 pounds, and they can live for over 12 years.
The grandfatherly moustache and eyebrows of the Miniature Schnauzer might fool you into thinking they have a rigid personality, but that couldn't be farther from the truth - this breed is very friendly and energetic and wants nothing more than to win the affections of people. They're a good pet for someone willing to deal with their higher than average energy levels. One thing to watch out for, though, is their instinct to treat small animals as prey. They usually weigh around 15 pounds and can live over 12 years!
Commonly known as Min Pins, Miniature Pinschers are a very dominant breed in the toy dog category, weighing only 10 pounds. They are very energetic and curious dogs and will constantly get themselves into trouble if left unwatched, usually finding and eating small things they probably shouldn't. You should also make sure to buy them a sweater if you live in cold weather as their small size makes them vulnerable to the cold. They'll live to be around 10 years old.
Also known as Yorkies, this breed is one of the most popular small dogs around. They are fun and feisty, so don't be surprised if they act a lot bigger than they really are. They are definitely a toy breed, weighing only around 5 pounds, but they can live over 12 years so they'll make for a good pet. The main thing you'll have to worry about is training - they can be difficult to housebreak and can be very yappy, but good training can address both of those.
Their most prominent feature is their long, hairy ears that almost look like flowing locks of hair from their head (which will shed seasonally!). They are very attached to their owners so you should only get a Cavie if you plan on having them with you all the time, they are indoor dogs not outdoor dogs. Their namesake is so complicated because they became notable under King Charles II of the United Kingdom, but afterwards this breed has undergone many different periods of interbreeding changes to affect their size and snout shape. They will weigh around 15 pounds, and can live up to 15 years but because of their breeding they are at higher risk for health problems, especially "mitral valve disease" which affects their heart.
Among the toy dog category, Shih Tzus are one of the friendliest breeds and will get along with almost anyone. They can be difficult to housebreak, but with a little attention and training you can get past this. One thing to watch out for is their weakness to heat - their face is short and not designed for cooling, so you need to make sure to keep them cool, especially if you let their hair grow long. They can live anywhere from 10 to 16 years depending on whether they run into any more serious health issues that can be common genetically to some Shih Tzus.
The internet's former favorite, the Shiba Inu has found itself the center of attention thanks to its puffy fur and expressive smiles. Owning one can be very rewarding, but somewhat of a challenge due to the Shiba Inus strong independent personality. They will love you, but they will also have a mind of their own, want to protect 'their' toys, and go where they please - even hopping fences if you're not careful! At around 20 pounds they're on the slightly larger side of this list, but they are still a small dog and could be a good companion for over 12 years.
Jack Russell Terriers are a classic breed with great intelligence that has allowed many well-trained Jack Russell's to feature in movies and TV. That same intelligence can be their biggest downside for inexperienced owners, however. If you don't give your Jack Russell lots of exercise and spend a lot of time training, they can be quite a handful when they start finding their own ways to cure their boredom.
The Jack Russell Terrier usually weighs around 15 pounds as an adult and are generally a very healthy breed, allowing them to live over 13 years.
The Bichon Frise is most well known for its fluffy white fur, which often leads to it being mistaken for a poodle, so good grooming will be important. It is otherwise a very typical small dog, weighing about 10 pounds, and tough enough to escape "toy" classification in the US. It is very friendly and trainable and likes to be with it's owner most of the time. The Bichon Frise used to be a sailing dog many years ago, so they also can enjoy spending time around water. Expect that a Bichon can live well over 12 years, sometimes up to 20!
Brainjet is devoted to providing you with all of the craziest, most eye-opening, and overall most interesting information out there.