Don’t have a lot of space in your home, but want a furry friend to keep you company? Small dog breeds are your best bet. Contrary to what most people believe, these cute dogs can be just as active, loving, and healthy as your average sized pooch! You wouldn’t even have to worry about them ruining your favorite furniture.
However, choosing the right breed is essential for every household. You must consider your own preferences and what you’re capable of providing as their new parent. This is to ensure that you’ll be able to give them the best possible home. Remember, you will be taking on a lifetime responsibility once you bring them home.
What to Consider When Choosing Small Dog Breeds:
Is there enough room for them to exercise in? Are there areas that might pose a danger to these little dogs? Keep an eye out for sharp corners, steep stairs, or places they can get trapped. After you’ve identified what your space needs, you can proceed to making it pet-friendly.
Who You Live With
While some breeds do well with children, smaller dogs might not do as well when it comes to roughhousing. Moreover, consider any allergies that the people in your household have. Dogs such as schnauzers and yorkies are known to be hypoallergenic.
Do you spend a lot of time relaxing at home or are you the more outdoorsy type and love to go camping? It’s best to choose a furry companion that will be able to keep up with all you do.
Your Own Capabilities As a Pet Parent
Are you capable of grooming the dogs yourself or do you prefer breeds that are low-maintenance? Remember that grooming is also important to your dog’s overall health.
Remember to keep these things in mind and choose the breed that best fits your preferences.
Friendliest Small Dog Breeds
Do you have children at home? Perhaps you have people regularly visiting your home and want a furry friend that will behave well around them. If this is the case, then here’s a list of the friendliest breeds you might want to welcome into your home.
1. Bedlington Terrier
Weight: 17 to 23 pounds Height: 15 to 16 inches tall Life Span: 14 to 16 years
They may have come from a line that’s best-known for being a hunter’s sidekick, but they are also among the most suitable dog breeds for children. Bedlingtons are easy to train and are very people-friendly. Do keep in mind that they are quite energetic, so you’ll need to take them on frequent walks.
2. Bichon Frise
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds Height: 9 to 11 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 165 years
Cheerfulness is one of the Bichon’s standout personality traits. They enjoy being around people and are not averse to being cuddled. The Bichon is also known to be incredibly friendly—even with their groomer, their vet, or the family’s neighbors. Their appearance might be “toy-like,” but never underestimate their energy. These adorable little dogs will need lots of exercise.
3. Boston Terrier
Weight: 10 to 25 pounds Height: 12 to 15 inches tall Life Span: 13 to 15 years
Boston Terriers are among the smartest small dogs. Owners might even say they’re too smart for their own good! Terrier breeds are known to be very affectionate in nature, but will experience bursts of hyperactivity. In some cases, they can also be quite stubborn, but will make up for it with their cuteness! They are great with children, thanks to their even temper. One thing to avoid is pulling on their collar too much—they are prone to respiratory problems, after all.
Weight: 4 to 9 pounds Height: 8 to 11 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 16 years
You might have spotted one of its great ancestors in paintings from long ago. Papillons were a favorite for many members of nobility before. The word papillon translates to “butterfly” in French and points to this breed’s wing-shaped ears, which is one of their standout features. Aside from their friendliness, they also make great watchdogs! Once they’re familiar with you, however, expect plenty of affection. They are also among the small dog breeds that don’t shed excessively.
5. Pocket Beagles
Weight: 4 to 9 pounds Height: 8 to 11 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 16 years
If you already have other dogs at home and want a breed that will likely get along with them, Pocket Beagles are a great choice. One important thing to note is that while they may not bark a lot, they do vocalize quite a bit. This includes a half-baying howl that’s typically used for when they spot “prey.” They also require plenty of exercise and will get restless if you don’t take them out for daily walks.
Small Dog Breeds with Short Hair
Grooming is essential for every dog, but if you’re looking for a furry friend who will not shed and requires less visits to the pet salon, then small dog breeds with short hair would be your best choice. They’re also great for some people who have fur allergies!
Weight: 22 to 24 pounds Height: 16 to 17 inches tall Life Span: 10 to 12 years
The Basenji are among the small dog breeds that don’t shed or bark, which makes them appealing for people who live in apartment buildings. However, it is important to keep their temperament in mind. While some breeds aim to please, the Basenji have an infamous stubborn streak! They are also great watchdogs and are excellent escape artists.
2. Hairless Chinese Crested
Weight: 12 pounds or less Height: 11 to 13 inches tall Life Span: 10 to 14 years
Chinese Crested breeds come in two varieties; the hairless is no different from their silky-haired counterpart. In fact, they may even be born in the same litter. They may have gained a reputation for being an “ugly dog,” but this graceful breed is more beautiful than people give them credit for. These cute dogs are affectionate and very protective of their family as well. Did you know they’re also very tolerant of heat?
3. Miniature Dachshund
Weight: 11 pounds or less Height: 5 to 7 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Clever and curious, even miniature Dachshunds can be just as energetic as their average-sized counterparts. If you’re looking for a playful companion for yourself or for your children, they are among the best small dog breeds for this purpose. Do note that they take time before warming up to new people. They also have a tendency to bark at strangers, making them great watchdogs! Nevertheless, bit of training should help their balance temperament.
4. French Bulldog
Weight: 27 pounds or less Height: 11 to 12 inches tall Life Span: 9 to 11 years
They may be small, but French Bulldogs have powerful and muscular bodies. Frenchies are also among the easiest to care for, coupled with a very outgoing personality. They love playing, but aren’t as demanding when it comes to physical activity. These pampered pooches can spend a day just lounging about! The breed is also known for their stubborn nature so some training will be needed. Obedience isn’t exactly their strongest suit, but that’s part of their charm.
5. Italian Greyhound
Weight: 6 to 15 pounds Height: 13 to 15 inches tall Life Span: 14 to 15 years
The Italian Greyhound has the energy and athleticism of bigger dogs packed in its small body. They might look fragile at first glance, but they’re certainly no weakling. One thing to note is that they can be difficult to housetrain. This is common among many small breeds, though professional training might help. These types of dogs have plenty of personality and can be hyperactive, but they also enjoy being cuddled all the same.
Calmest Small Dog Breeds
Every dog has their own personality and small dog breeds tend to have the biggest ones! If you’re not a very outdoorsy person or will not be able to take your dogs on daily walks, choosing a calmer breed is best for you. There are many small dogs who are happier cuddling on the couch or sleeping on their owner’s lap instead of running around.
Weight: 14 to 18 pounds Height: 10 to 14 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 15 years
This incredibly loveable breed of small dogs is considered to be the “entertainer” of the doggy world. Pugs might look lazy, but they enjoy hamming it up for people. They are great for small homes, such as apartments, since they don’t really do much running around. Make sure you groom their face often, too. One thing you should watch out for is their diet. Pugs are quite prone to obesity and heart conditions, after all.
2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Weight: 30 pounds Height: 10 to 12 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 14 years
The Welsh Corgi has one of the best temperaments among small dog breeds. This is one of the reasons why they are among the favorite small dog breeds for kids, as well as families who are expecting. Did you know that they were bred to herd farm animals? This is why you might spot them trying to herd a group of children sometimes! While they are even-tempered, they require some exercise. Corgis are also obedient and very protective despite their size.
3. Miniature Schnauzer
Weight: 12 pounds Height: 16 to 17 inches tall Life Span: 10 to 12 years
Schnauzers are so beloved, they come in three sizes to fit every need: giant, standard, and miniature. The Mini Schnauzers are easily trainable and are the best dog breeds for companionship. They do get bored quickly, which can result in them getting into things they’re not supposed to! Taking them on a short walk or playing with them for a bit will remedy this. Because of their size, they are a good fit for apartment-living.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Weight: 12 pounds Height: 12 to 13 inches tall Life Span: 9 to 14 years
One of the most standout traits of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is their politeness. This applies to both people and other creatures they might meet. Aside from their small size, they don’t bark as much as other breeds as well. They would do well in both average-sized homes and small apartments. Additionally, they require regular grooming since they tend to shed a lot. Socialize these cute dogs often to avoid them becoming timid.
5. Yorkshire Terrier
Weight: 2 to 7 pounds Height: 6 to 7 inches tall Life Span: 13 to 16 years
They might be small, but Yorkshire Terriers are little bundles of energy. Because of their size, you can easily bring them along during trips or even when you’re running around. Their size makes them suitable for apartments and smaller homes. Do avoid playing rough with Yorkies, however. These tiny dogs can suffer from internal damage if you’re not careful. Pay attention to the temperature as well, as this breed doesn’t do well in the cold.
Smartest Small Dog Breeds
What makes a dog breed smart? It’s their ability to remember all the different tricks and training they have been given. Dogs that can alert their owners or others to potential danger are also considered intelligent, though this ability isn’t breed specific. That said, below is a list of small dog breeds known to be smart and easy to train.
1. Toy Poodle
Weight: 4 to 6 pounds Height: 10 to 15 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Poodles are often referred to as canine scholars, with thanks to their smarts and desire to please their owners. The same can be said about their more compact counterparts. These little dogs are very easy to train and are very sociable. One thing to be mindful of is handling them with care. If possible, keep them away from children younger than 10 years old. They do require regular grooming and they will also shed a little. Their fur can also be kept short-clipped during warmer months.
2. Brussels Griffon
Weight: 7 to 12 pounds Height: 7 to 8 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 15 years
When it comes to temperament, Griffons are comparable to terrier breeds. They are quick-learners and will be able to pick up on tricks and other training quite quickly. Given their size, people typically assume that they do better as lap dogs. You’d be surprised at how much energy these pooches have! They will require regular play and strolls. Moreover, they are curious by nature and are very affectionate with their owners.
Weight: 11 to 18 pounds Height: 10 to 15 inches tall Life Span: 13 to 15 years
Are you looking for small dog breeds that can keep up with your active lifestyle? The Schipperke might be the best fit for you. They are small herding dogs that originated from Belgium. Despite being very active and full of personality, they are among the smartest small dogs. Their fox-like appearance charms many, but be prepared to take them out for regular walks. They’ll be able to keep up with children too! Their coat is relatively short, but will require some degree of grooming as well.
Weight: 3 to 7 pounds Height: 8 to 11 inches tall Life Span: 12 to 16 years
Pomeranians are not as clingy as other small dog breeds. They are also known to be quite intelligent and easy to train. Because of their eagerness to please their owners, expect that they’ll do every trick in the book for you. Stand? Spin? Fetch? Poms can do them all. Though, watch out for their big-dog attitude—they can get cocky around other (often bigger) dogs! Note that these cute dogs are prone to teeth issues and are picky eaters.
5. Miniature Pinscher
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds Height: 10 to 12 inches tall Life Span: 15 years
Their cute size often belies the Mini Pinscher’s energy. These little dogs love to chase, play, and chew things. You’ll definitely need to keep a watchful eye on them until they receive proper training. Min Pins are curious and can learn easily. Their alertness makes them great watchdogs and will even act aggressive towards strangers they don’t trust. This means they’ll need some time to warm up to both people and other dogs. They do shed a little, but their coat only requires occasional brushing.
We hope this list helps you when it comes to choosing small dog breeds that match with your lifestyle. Also remember to consider adopting a pup. You just might meet your four-legged soulmate at your local shelter!