27 Small Dog Breeds That Will Melt Your Heart

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They say that the best things come in small packages and that applies to small dogs, as well. We set out to prove that small dogs have big personalities and are just as affectionate, loyal, and friendly as larger dogs – maybe even more so!

If you are looking for a smaller dog that you can carry around with you, take a look at this article dedicated to small dog breeds.

Let’s embark on this furry journey!

What Counts as a Small Dog?

Is there anything better than to start and end the day cuddling with your furry friend? While most will agree which breeds qualify as large dogs, how can we know for sure what counts as a small dog?

Usually, the size of the dogs that stay small is determined based on their weight and height. Small-sized dogs weigh between 2 to 22 pounds, and their height varies from 6 to 18 inches.

DID YOU KNOW: There are seven major dog groups: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding.

27 Small Dog Breeds You’ll Love

Who says that small dogs are feisty and bark all the time? We present you a wide variety of small dogs with all kinds of personalities that you’ll absolutely love, and who knows, maybe even decide to take one home.

1. Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher dog, black

The Affenpinscher is loyal, curious, and fearless, despite its tiny size, which makes it an excellent watchdog. Affenpinschers have a medium-length, wiry coat that comes in various colors. They are very obedient pups and easily adapt to almost anything. Affenpinschers are amazing travel buddies. These little black dogs weigh around 10 pounds, yet are not typical lap dogs. Affenpinschers love their freedom and while they can shower you with affection, you cannot hold them in your lap for too long.

If you have a toddler or a small kid, rule out the possibility of getting an Affenpinscher! They are terrible with kids and might even bite one if provoked. Instead consider one of these pets that are great with kids.

2. Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier, Brown and Black Fur

Weighing a maximum of 20 pounds when fully grown, the Australian Terrier is a dog known for its longish torso and long neck which gives these canines a sense of elegance.

He is one smart, plucky, self-assured dog that approaches life with zest. It’s one of the little dog breeds that can go on running non-stop. While they can be amazing with people, they don’t do well in multi-dog households. These lovey-dovey canines want you all for themselves!

When it comes to their coat type, the color options are blue-and-tan, solid red, or sandy. Even though it has a somewhat longer coat; its double coat is very easy to maintain.

3. Beagle

Beagle, white, black and brown fur

Snoopy might have been the most popular dog on TV, but the real-life versions are just as charming! They can grow up to 15 inches, and weigh no more than 20 pounds. Beagle owners might tell you that these dogs look big for their inches because of their well-muscled, sturdy bodies. Their smooth, dense double coat comes in a variety of colors: lemon, red, white, and a mixture of all the colors mentioned. These cute small dogs have long hound-like ears that fly in the wind every time they run which makes these canines extremely endearing.

Beagles are excellent family dogs due to their easy-going temperament. Also, they are not yappy dogs, so they can be a perfect fit for an apartment setting. They are happy, compassionate dogs that get along with children and adults alike.

4. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise - white, curly fur

The Bichon Frise resembles a toy with its white fluffy coat and compact size. They are very small in size – 11 inches tall at the shoulder. The Frise is one of the cutest dog breeds, very popular among people who live in apartments. It’s one gentle, happy, and playful dog that loves being around children and adults alike. They are classified as small dogs that don’t shed even though they have a curly, somewhat long coat, making them great for people with allergies.

Bichon Frise is a smart small dog breed that is easily trained but very sensitive. So, gentle scolding and a lot of rewards will do the trick!

5. Border Terrier

Border Terrier

A Border Terrier is one of those dogs that stay small, with an alert gaze and a high energy level. Just as with any other terrier, border terriers have an inherent tendency to hunt, dig, and chase. They stand around 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh just enough to be carried everywhere with you. Border terriers are very unique because of their ‘otter head’ shape and wiry coats.

Although they like the countryside, they can easily adapt to city life. They are ideally suited for families that can dedicate a lot of their time to them. They enjoy running around but require constant supervision because you never know when this tiny escape dog will dig under the fence and go on an adventure.

Tip: although they are not classified as aggressive, their high energy level requires attention. One way to keep them entertained is with these dog toys for aggressive chewers.

6. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier - black and white coat

The American Gentlemen, as they call them, are gentle, loving companion dogs with tuxedo-like markings on their sleek, shiny coat. These small short-haired dogs are known for their big dark eyes and square head which makes them even sweeter. They stand at 15 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 25 pounds.

Boston Terriers have a peaceful temperament. They enjoy lying around the house and require little exercise. A walk down the street in the morning is more than enough for them. Boston Terriers are amazing with kids, which makes them a great family pet. Not only are they cuddly and cute, but they are also very clever.

7. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon - creamy brown fur

With this toy breed, you get a big personality wrapped up in an 8-12 pound dog. Its height is up to 10 inches. These are dogs that stay small forever, but they are alert, loyal, and smart. With a stocky body and independent spirit, this little dog walks as if he knows exactly what he is doing. Brussels Griffon’s coats can be either sleek like a Pug or rough like a Schnauzer and they come in four colors, but they are popular in black. Usually, these canines are very stubborn and want to present themselves as tough dogs. But, beneath the facade, a soft little puppy who wants to be surrounded with love peeks through. Because they are a toy breed, they can easily adapt to any place, be it a small room or a mansion.

8. Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier - creamy brown fur

The Cairn Terrier is a great family dog and while it enjoys barking and digging, it loves being a part of the owner’s daily life even more. This canine stands around 10 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs around 13 pounds. They are small dogs with curly hair but they don’t shed as much as other dogs in their group which makes them perfect for people with allergies.

They have a reputation of being feisty and fearless, and some even advise to always keep an eye on them when they’re around very young children.

9. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi - white, brown and grey coat

The Cardigan Welsh Corgis get their name for their long tails that look like the hanging sleeves of a cardigan. Although not among the top calm small dog breeds, they are fun and easy-going and are adored throughout England. Because they were originally a herding breed, they can be somewhat reserved with strangers. The ideal place for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi would be to live indoors with their loved ones but visit the countryside every once in a while.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - brown and white fur

Cavaliers are insanely cute small brown dogs with white markings that will surely win your heart. They are extremely friendly and loving and get along with almost everyone. This dog can stay in bed with you all day as long as you pet and cuddle them. This breed’s silky, richly colored coat that comes in varieties of colors only adds to this regal beauty’s allure. This small dog measures 12 to 13 inches at the shoulder with a weight of 13 to 18 pounds. They are well suited for urban living and don’t require much exercise. A walk down to your favorite cafe is just the amount of exercise for this breed.

11. Corgi

Corgi, Small, white and light brown coat, pointed ears, wearing a dog collar
 

Corgis are Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite dogs. At one time she even had three of them. Corgis are active and smart dogs but have a tendency to bark at everything that moves. So if you’re looking for small dogs that don’t bark, rule out corgis immediately. They are good with children and can easily adapt to an apartment.

Key Takeaways 

The Bichon Frise is a very popular breed that looks like a child’s toy.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgis were bred as herding dogs for the farm.
Boston Terriers are amazing family dogs.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the preferred pets for an apartment.

12. Dachshund

Dachshund, brown coat, long body, big floppy ears

Dachshunds, also known as wiener dogs, are among the best small dog breeds for kids. They get along well with everyone and are extremely easygoing. What they hate are long walks or runs, but otherwise, they are always willing to play. Dachshunds seem to always wear a smile on their face and have a very fun-loving personality. They come in a variety of colors.

13. French Bulldog

French Bulldog, black coat

French Bulldogs are among the small dog breeds that don’t shed or bark. Don’t be fooled by their muscular body; they hate to exercise, and if it were up to them they would lie around all day long. French bulldogs became very popular over the years. That’s probably because people with an increasingly busy lifestyle were keen on getting a dog that requires zero exercises. Remember, however, that because of their lazy nature, these dogs need regular vet checks and the best joint supplements to prevent health issues.

14. Havanese

Havanese

The Havanese get along very well with other animals and people. Although they have a long coat, they are small dogs, weighing around 7-13 pounds. Their height is 8-11 inches. On the plus size, they hardly shed. Also, they are among the healthiest small dog breeds. They easily adapt to apartment life, but because of their high energy level, they need to be taken out at least four times a day.

15. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

If you heard about Tika the Iggy, the dog fashion icon on Instagram, then you know what an Italian greyhound looks like. The Italian greyhound is lovely, affectionate, and has an almost cat-like personality. The only thing they love more than warm cuddles with their owners is sunbathing. They have an extremely short coat, which means that they are small dogs that don’t shed.

However, when the temperatures drop, make sure you put a dog sweater on them so they won’t freeze. They are great companion dogs, adore living indoors, and can even handle children (if the owner says so).

16. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso, very long white fur, covering the eyes

Lhasa Apsos are known for their gorgeous long fur that can reach to the ground if attended to properly. They usually weigh around 14 pounds and can grow up to 11 inches. They are the best small dogs for those who want to show off their pet’s good looks. However, they are not very friendly with strangers. At home or with people they are familiar with, they are goofy and enjoy being the center of attention.

17. Löwchen

Löwchen - long black, grey and white fur

Löwchen means “little lion” in German, and they are named so for their unique haircut, not because of their lion-like personality. These small hypoallergenic dogs weighing just 15 pounds are bred to be companion dogs. They do not care about the size of the house they live in, as long as they are surrounded by the people they love. On the downside, they are very fond of digging holes and, unlike barking, this is a very tough habit to break.

They have big personalities and get along well with children and adults. Their coats come in various colors, and they are overall nice and sturdy dogs, with the heart of a lion.

18. Miniature Bull Terrier

Miniature Bull Terrier - white coat, black circle on the left eye

While the full-grown version might look a bit scary, these miniature small dog breeds are to die for. They are quite mischievous and full of life. You could not have asked for a more amusing companion and with the proper training, others will easily see that as well. They have a silky coat. Their body is well built and their egg-shaped head makes them quite distinctive from other breeds.

These dogs need plenty of exercises and hate to be left alone for long periods of time, so you better prepare for extensive training, long walks, and including your pet in any family activities.

19. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

These very small dogs are fearless, caring, and extremely loyal. The Miniature Pinscher has a shiny short coat that doesn’t shed much. The coat can either be solid red, chocolate-and-rust, or black-and-rust. This dog’s well-muscled body weighs 8 to 11 pounds, and it’s usually 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder.

They are a perfect fit for apartment living due to their small size. But, remember that this bundle of energy needs to be taken on walks at least three times a day.

20. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer has everything most of us look for in a dog: intelligence, loyalty, affection, and most of all – a personality double the size of their body. These dogs can be recognized by their beard and bushy eyebrows. 13 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 11 to 20 pounds, these puppies will make you laugh all day, and they’re definitely some of the smartest small dogs at the same time. Their alert nature makes them amazing watchdogs. Also, they are very adaptable to apartment living and enjoy the company of children.

21. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terriers are cute small dogs who enjoy cuddling with their owners and sitting on their laps. But that’s no reason to dismiss them as mere lapdogs. They are constantly on the alert, which makes them excellent watchdogs. Their coat is hard, straight, and wiry, and they have pointed ears. Just as any terrier, they enjoy barking, digging and are always in the mood to play around. They can be a bit bossy and jealous if another pet lives in the house. Being so small, they make excellent travel buddies.

22. Pekingese

Pekingese

Centuries ago, the Pekingese were the companions of the Chinese emperors, and they still demand the respect that their ancestors were used to. These courageous, bold creatures are completely unaware of their size and do not let anything stand in their way. They’re only 6 to 9 inches tall at the shoulder which makes them easy to carry. Each dog is different, but what makes them unique is their long, coarse, and straight coat type.

They do not get along with children and prefer the company of adults. Also, because they are small in size and love lying around, they could make a perfect indoor pet.

23. Pug

Pug

With their deep wrinkles and enormous, sad round eyes, these small short-haired dogs are among the most comical-looking small dogs, but also one of the most popular breeds out there. Pugs come in three colors: silver, apricot-fawn with a black face mask, or all black. Additionally, they can grow up to 13 inches tall and gain weight up to 18 pounds.

Pugs are extremely loyal and affectionate and get along well with other people and children. They are highly sensitive and cannot stand even a minute alone. That’s why many opt to calm them down with CBD oils for dogs that help calm their nerves. Keep in mind that they tend to shed a lot, despite their hair is extremely short.

24. Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier

Rat Terriers are no bigger than rats themselves. These active dogs weigh around 15 pounds, and they are one of the most loyal, cheerful, and smallest dog breeds. They have a silky smooth coat and pointed ears. Because of their small size, they can make good apartment dogs who will make your life a lot more fun.

Just like other terriers, however, the Rat Terrier can be stubborn and mischievous.

25. Russell Terrier

Russell Terrier

Russell Terriers have become overly popular in the last few years. They are very intelligent but stubborn at times. Also, they are very energetic and can run all day long. Russel Terriers are small dogs with big personalities.

If not trained properly, they can be disruptively mischievous and difficult to manage. This dog is overly protective of its owners. However, they will shower you with love and affection, and if trained, will be a loyal and fun-loving companion.

26. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

These low-maintenance small dogs originated in Tibet. People love them for their cuteness and great personalities. These canines’ fur is fluffy, but surprisingly enough, they do not shed as much compared to other toy breeds. They are one of the most charming, cutest small dog breeds out there. The Shih Tzu weighs around 16 pounds and requires little exercise, making them perfect for people with busy schedules.

27. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terriers are commonly known as Westies. It’s one of the small white dog breeds that are quite distinctive, even from their terrier family. They are cute dogs with a harsh white coat with a soft undercoat underneath. Unlike other terriers, they get along well with other pets. They enjoy running outside so they may not be a good fit for apartment living. However, if taken on long walks regularly and trained to control their barking, they can make good apartment dogs.

DID YOU KNOW: Almost every dog hates being left alone. Consider getting a fence for dogs and providing it with plenty of toys or even putting on dog TV so every time you leave the house, you’ll know your dog is safe and has something to distract it while you’re gone. 

Conclusion

While there is a variety of different breeds in all groups – sporting, hounds, working, terriers, toy, non-sporting, and herding, every dog is still lovable in its own way. If you want a dog but have little space in your home, it’s best to adopt a small breed. Hopefully, this article helped you learn more about small dogs and their distinctive characters. Choose one and see how much fun having a dog can be!

FAQ

What is the best small dog for a house pet?

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the most popular small dog breeds for an apartment. No wonder Charlotte from “Sex and the City” chose this breed to be her companion!

What breed of small dog is the calmest?

If you want a dog that is both calm and loving, think of getting a Lhasa Apso. They are one of the calmest breeds when compared to other small dogs.

What is the easiest small dog to take care of?

The Dachshund, an all-time favorite among pet owners, is a very low-maintenance small dog breed.

ABOUT AUTHOR

When she couldn’t decide between being a nurse, a psychotherapist, and a financial genius, Ofelia decided to do all three. Her interests run far and wide, and she loves researching about everything you get to read on our website. Credit cards or top-notch software, she’s here to tell it all like it is.

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