At A Glance
Many people want a pet dog but don't have the space for it. Dogs need enough space to move around and zoomie when needed. The good news is you can consider a small breed dog if you live in a city with spatial issues.
It’s much easier to care for tiny dogs because:
Last Updated on: Apr 13, 2022
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Coton De Tulear
Frequently Asked Questions
Small dogs are convenient to have, especially for those who have small spaces. They are small enough to navigate apartments and condos comfortably.
Since they have lightweight and compact bodies, pet parents can also easily travel with them in small crates or even small cars. The best part? Using a training dog collar on them makes training easier.
Are you convinced to get a small dog yet? If yes, we have something just for you! Presenting a comprehensive list of the smallest dog breeds for you:
Shih Tzu means “little lion,” but nothing about this beautiful dog screams terrifying like the king of the jungle. Instead, the canine is affectionate and friendly and will follow you around the house.
The breed grows as big as 9 to 15 inches, making them ideal even for tiny apartments. Shih Tzus also have beautiful coats that need regular grooming and styling.
The Chihuahua is not a favorite breed in general. But when it comes to celebrities, they top the list. They’ve become the symbol of luxury because they are cute and fit perfectly into purses.
Although tiny, the breed is also known to have a huge and fierce personality. But with training, some chihuahuas can also be timid. They are considered one of the top smallest teacup dog breeds — standing under 5 inches tall.
Pomeranians are another favorite among celebrities. These tiny dogs are fierce and energetic. Their furry coats allow pet parents to style them in various accessories. Poms come in a range of colors, predominantly orange or red. Although active, even regular walks around small spaces are enough to keep them content and healthy.
Many of the small dog breeds are quite aggressive, making up for what they like size. But not the pug.
It is low-key, low-maintenance dog that usually only barks to alert pet its parents of possible intruders. It is affectionate, making it suitable for families with children. Pugs are quite social and love interacting like large and small breeds alike.
Maltese is a beautiful dog with a gorgeous coat. Originally bred with different colors, today’s they are available in white with a lemon or tan mix.
These canine friends are affectionate, gentle, and as tiny as 7 to 9 inches. They weigh less than 7 pounds, making the Maltese the perfect apartment or condo companion.
It’s quite surprising that the Papillon is not a popular pet, as it is great with children and a sweet-natured dog. They’re also one of the smartest dog breeds.
Although not well-known as a pet, the breed is famous as competition or show dogs because it is bright and highly trainable. Additionally, the papillon is even more so because it is light-footed, making it great for cramped spaces.
Havanese probably has the most color variations in small-breed dogs. You can pick from one or opt for tri-colored coats. This breed has a charming personality. Since it is eager to please, it is an adorable, goofy little dog that the entire family will love.
When asking, “What are the smallest dog breeds?” Terriers always come to mind. There are different types — most small, cute, energetic, and stubborn. Some include:
Also known as Yorkie, the Yorkshire Terrier was the 13th most popular dog breed in 2022, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Yorkies, with floor-length coats similar to human hair rather than dog fur, are gorgeous. They are excellent companion and competition dogs.
Because of its bi-colored or tri-colored coat, every Toy Fox Terrier looks one of a kind. These dogs are fiercely independent and don’t need a lot of affection and attention.
Toy Fox Terriers are popular in dog competitions because of their intelligence and agility. While they thrive in small spaces like apartments and condos, these furry friends need regular outdoor activities.
As the name suggests, the breed gets its name because of its wiry coat. The Wire Fox Terrier is extremely energetic. It is perfect for small homes but needs ample outdoor time to exhaust their pent-up energy.
Wire Fox Terriers make great companions for those who lead an active lifestyle. Ensure they are on a leash because their predatory instinct may kick in whenever they see smaller animals.
Sometimes referred to as AHT or Hairless Rat Terriers, the breed is the only hairless dog indigenous to the U.S. They may be small. Still, they have a large personality that is usually begging for attention.
When not seeking attention, the American Hairless Terrier aims to please, which makes them ideal companions for almost everyone.
A fiercely loyal pet, the Australian Terrier is alert and energetic, making it a perfect watch dog.
Because of this very reason, you also need to give them plenty of time to exercise. People with sensitivities will particularly like the Australian Terrier because of its hypoallergenic silky fur.
Originally bred to prey foxes in the Scottish countryside, Cairns has grown to become a cheerful and loving small dog. They are alert but are still charming, making them perfect for families.
Cairn Terriers are also adaptable and socialize well with other dogs without any issues.
The miniature bull terrier is among the larger breeds in our list of small dog breeds. They have distinctive sunken eyes and long-ish heads. But what’s even more remarkable about the Miniature Bull Terrier is its mischievous and comical personality that will keep the entire family laughing every day.
As upbeat as they are, ensure you don’t let your mini get away with too many things.
Also known as Scotties, Scottish Terriers are known for their human-like personalities. It is confident and independent and, occasionally, stubborn.
Canine experts also call them “Diehard” because of their persistence. They have distinct facial features, particularly the beard and the eyebrows, that enhance their sharp expressions.
The Silky Terrier, a toy breed, is available in bi-color or tri-color. It gets its name because of its silky long locks that feel like human hair. Additionally, it is gorgeous and energetic.
However, Silky Terrier is more than just a pretty face. The breed a highly intelligent and is a great competition dog.
The Glen of Imaal Terrier is not among the most popular dog breeds—it’s not even in the top 10. The breed is highly trainable and quite versatile. You can still use your training collar on this small dog but know that it is a smart dog that can learn tricks easily. The Glen is tamer and quieter than most terriers and not very friendly with other dogs.
Is it a dog or a lamb? The Bedlington Terrier has unique features that make it look like a lamb, but its personality is not like one.
Some of its identifying features include a pear-shaped face and curvy back. Bedlington Terriers love being the center of attention and socializing with humans and other dogs.
The Boston Terrier was developed in Boston! It’s also no surprise that it’s Massachusetts’s official state dog. This easy-to-train dog is known as the American Gentleman because the coat resembles a gentleman’s tux.
The Boston Terrier is a great companion dog because of its boundless energy and friendliness.
Jack Russell Terriers, or simply Russell Terriers, get their name from John Russell, who developed the breed. They were originally bred to hunt for foxes in England and, as a result, are athletic and fast.
Russell Terriers are known to be confident and lively, which makes them fun family pets. However, they are not fond of other animals because of their predatory nature.
The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is an active little dog perfect for hunting small animals, like rodents. In fact, this is why it was developed 300 years ago.
When it comes to its personality, though, it’s quite charming. You might think the Westie is a plushie if it doesn’t move. It’s also quite energetic and enjoys children.
The Border Terrier may seem like a large breed because of its appetite. This brave and highly independent pet can eat a lot because it loves an active lifestyle. And while the breed thrives in small apartments or condos, you must also give them time for outdoor activities.
Border Terriers’ independent nature may seem aloof, but they love playing with their humans.
One of the known toy breeds, the English Toy Terrier, is small with a big personality. It is also known as the Manchester Terrier (after the city), where it became popular as a ratter.
It is a fast and spirited breed, so it will need a lot of exercise. You can easily recognize it because of its coat, which is rich and mostly black.
Although available in many colors, the most popular coat is tri-color, constituting a white body with a black head and some tinge of tan. The Japanese Terrier is an extremely rare dog breed, even in its home, Japan.
But if you are among the few lucky ones to have this breed, know that Japanese Terriers can be reserved but also spirited. They will bark at the slightest hint of provocation.
Although the exact origin of the Spaniels is unknown, many believe they came from Spain because the name simply means Spanish when translated from Latin. AKC recognizes 15 breeds under the Spaniel group, but only three are considered small dog breeds.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is named after 17th century’s Charles II, who was fond of the breed. It’s no wonder the Spaniel carries itself with grace, as it has a royal nature.
It loves its human family and is always playful and affectionate. They can be active and athletic or couch potatoes, as they usually mimic their pet parent.
If you’re looking for a fast and active dog, the English Toy Spaniel may not suit your lifestyle. If this dog were a person, we’d call it a homebody.
However, don’t mistake its comfort at home for laziness; the breed is quite playful with its humans, especially children. The canine is another favorite of King Charles II, just like its Cavalier cousin, which is why the English Toy Spaniel is sometimes called Charlie.
Another celebrity favorite, the Cocker Spaniel, is seen with the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Charlize Theron.
Many love these canines for their beautiful wiry locks that can be styled and accessorized. They are smart, gentle, and cheerful, adding warmth to any home.
Poodle is the fifth most popular dog breed in the U.S, which is not surprising. This dog is not only known for being gorgeous but also intelligent. Four types of Poodle sizes exist, of which two are considered small.
Definitely among the smallest breeds, Toy Poodles are less than 10 inches tall. But it has a large presence, buoyed by its gorgeous looks and intelligence. It is also agile, which makes it a popular competition dog. And since Toy Poodles are obedient, they are easy to train.
The Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle come in same colors but are just a tad bit bigger. These canines are gorgeous, with a thick coat that can be clipped and styled.
Poodles are known for their hypoallergenic coat, and the Miniature is no different, making them the perfect breed for people with allergies. They are very playful and can spend hours with children and other dogs.
The Pekingese, originally bred in China, became accessories for nobility. Not sure if they always acted noble or got their regal nature because of that.
That said, the breed is quite affectionate to its human family and protective, too. In fact, it can be quite snarly toward strangers. The Pekingese has beautiful, straight hair that owners love to style and accessorize.
Beagles, the eighth most popular dogs according to AKC ranking, is some endearing traits and characteristics. They are originally developed to hunt and accompany hunters, which explains why they’re an active breed.
The beagle is also a pack dog, which means it loves socializing with other dogs. It is also friendly among humans.
Originally bred as ratters on farms, today the Pinscher is what you’d call a companion dogs. Some say the German dog looks extremely proud, mainly because its walk almost resembles a hackney gait.
It was originally bred to hunt vermin, which explains its athletic nature and build. The mini Pinscher is also incredibly alert and fearless when confronted.
Because of its appearance the furry Affenpinscher is often called the ape terrier or monkey dog. It has wiry fur that gets thick, giving the dog a plushie-like appearance.
The Affenpinschers were originally developed as a ratter for households, but their traits and looks moved them up to the ranks among noblewomen’s companions.
Italian noblewomen in the Middle Ages loved Italian greyhounds. Who wouldn’t?
They are sleek, lean, gentle, and loving. They prefer to stay on their pet parent’s lap and have a siesta near them rather than their bed. Because they are so dependent, leaving them alone at home for long periods is not a good idea, as they are likely to develop separation anxiety.
Easily one of the most alert dogs — the Brussels Griffon can come across as a bit annoying. Even with the slightest hint of threat, the dog can become enraged.
These furry friends are highly energetic, so they need outdoor time to stay active. Like most small breeds, they were originally bred as ratters in ranches but later became popular as home companions.
Contrary to popular belief and name, the Chinese Crested breed developed in Africa or Mexico. The origins are still unclear. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that Chinese Crested is adorable with its exotic hairless body and spiky and crested hairdo.
It is a homebody and quite clingy, so don’t leave it at home for a long time, or it will be anxious and destructive. But when in company, the Chinese Crested is loving and affectionate.
The two-toned (sometimes three) Japanese Chins originated in Asia, becoming popular companions in imperial courts. So, if you’re wondering why they act noble, now you know.
The Japanese Chin is usually quiet and graceful. It sports a beautiful thick straight mane that adds to its already glamorous features.
Although centuries old, the Volpino Italiano is not very popular. These canines have terrific fox-like features with a stunning coat that grows long and shapely. It is quite playful and perfect for families with young children. And when they are tired, they turn into an affectionate pooch that would curl beside you for hours.
The Bichon Frise is unreal! Its adorable looks and plush coat that is soft to the touch make it look like a stuffed toy.
The coat is hypoallergenic, so people with allergies can also have furry friends. The Bichon Frise loves to play, so you need a lot of juice to keep up with it. It is great with children and other dogs.
Certainly one of the larger dogs on the list, the breed originated in Hungary to herd livestock. The Pumi is a natural worker, so it is innately athletic. Its coat is thick and resembles a curled corkscrew.
Pumik (yes, that’s the plural) makes fun companions for active individuals who love to spend hours outdoors. They are also social and love meeting other dogs.
The breed is named after Bologna where it was originally bred, the Bolognese is closely related to the Bichon family.
They are a bundle of joy with their white fur. Additionally, they can be fiercely independent. So you don’t have to worry about coming home to a mess or a fit of rage. They also love interacting with humans and other dogs alike.
Ninth on the list of the most popular dogs in the U.S., the Dachshund is famous for its unique build. It has a longish body that prompted its nickname, the wiener dog or hot dog.
It was originally bred as a tunneling animal in Germany, which explains the uniquely shaped body. Today, the breed is a famous home pet and watchdog.
Available in bi-color or tri-color blends, the Basenji has a compact body that stands quite tall among the small dog breeds. The breed originated in Africa and is popular for its barkless dog moniker because it doesn’t bark.
Don’t worry; Basenjis are still effective guard dogs. They chortle or yodel when there is an incoming threat at home.
American families love to have the miniature Schnauzer because they have an infectious happy disposition. The splendid physical features of a thick and wiry coat, bushy eyebrows, and beard help too.
It’s no wonder they are one of the more popular dog breeds. Schnauzers are also friendly and spunky, which come off as aggressive to other dogs, so just be mindful.
The Russian Toy or Russkiy Toy is slowly making a name for itself in the U.S. At less than 6.5 pounds, it is among the smallest dog breeds to exist. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up in personality with its cheerfulness and smarts. Often, the Russian Toy may just want to curl up with its pet parent and enjoy the companionship.
They may look terrifying, but their compact builds say otherwise. The Swedish Vallhund was originally bred as a herding dog in Sweden.
The breed is so old its origin date back 1,000 years! While small, the breed can be quite hefty, weighing around 35 pounds. That’s because its well muscled to be a working dog and needs an active lifestyle.
Shiba Inu gained popularity in the recent years for being the face of some meme coins in crypto. It is one of Japan’s six native breeds and possibly the smallest.
Their upright ears and fierce eyes give them a fearsome look — after all, they were originally bred to hunt birds and small game. Anyone who knows a Shiba Inu knows how cat-like it could be with its agility and spirited personality.
Originally bred in Tibet as watchdogs of monasteries and palaces, the Lhasa Apso is always alert and confident. You can leave your furry friend alone without having to worry about it.
Some often misunderstand this trait for aloofness. That said, the breed is quite stubborn, but their gorgeous locks make up for it.
The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as Sheltie, is among the more popular dogs in the U.S. It got its name from a Scottish island known as Shetland where the dog was originally bred as a sheep herder.
These canines have fine, straight, and dense hair that is super soft to the touch. The breed is known for being affectionate, loyal, smart, and obedient. As a result, Shelties make for excellent shows.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a pet meant for royalty, even the late Queen Elizabeth II preferred them. The breed was originally made to herd cattle and remains the smallest dog in AKC’s herding dog group.
Although small, the Pembroke is quite heavy because of the build. Make sure to spend ample time with your Corgi outdoors for much-needed exercise.
If you’re wondering why Whippets look so familiar, it’s because they are closely related to Greyhound and Italian Greyhounds. This explains their lithe yet athletic build.
Whippets are also known as the poor man’s racehorse because it jumps like one and is quick — if not faster — than one. What was once bred to chase game today is a lovely companion to humans. It is tame, doesn’t make much noise, and is affectionate.
Pet parents are sure to have a ball with the Schipperke, as it is known to be mischievous. They are often called “little black devils” but are also available in other colors.
The breed is intelligent and alert. This is because it was originally developed in Belgium as a guard dog, a responsibility the breed continues to embrace today.
It is no coincidence that the Coton de Tulear looks like a plushie. The breed gets its name from its cotton-like coat. In fact, coton in French translates to cotton.
The breed is cute and cuddly and sweet to their human family, especially children. These aim to please their owners and will follow you around to keep you company.
A cross between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise will give you a Cavachon, an adorable small dog with curly medium-length hair.
The coat is almost hypoallergenic, which reduces the risks of allergic reactions. As house pets, Cavachons are loyal, playful, and friendly. They get along well with children, other dogs, and even with some cats.
Chiweenies, a mix between the Chihuahua and Dachshund, are quite compact. They are barely 10 inches tall and super light. But its personality is anything but small.
While small enough for small spaces, their tendency to be yappy may not make them ideal for apartments and condos. It is a firecracker that can spend a long time playing outdoors.
Yet another hybrid — the Chorkie is a cross of the Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier. Unsurprisingly, the Chorkie is just as physically marvelous as both parents.
That said, the canine is more of a homebody and is sometimes quite clingy. Leaving them can turn them hostile, especially to strangers. They also need a lot of playtime, so be ready for ample cardio.
The result of mixing a Chihuahua and a Pug gives you Chug, a designer dog. The breed is the perfect mix between the two, although its facial features favor Pugs more.
The chug gets its goofy side from the Pug and its aggressive side from the Chihuahua. It tends to bark at the slightest provocation but is sweet to its human family.
Little Lion Dog, formally called Lowchen, gets its name because its resembles a lion’s mane. The coat can be clipped low to its body, but the mane is straight and flowing.
Lowchen are often seen in competitions because they are highly trainable and obedient. They also make excellent watchdogs as they bark at the slightest provocation.
The chihuahua is the smallest dog breed, between 5-8 inches tall and about 6 pounds in weight. Other breeds crossed with Chihuahuas also result in petite frames. For instance, Chiweenie and Chorkie (both designer breeds crossed with Chihuahuas) are some of the smallest dog breeds.
The Whippet, a close relative of the Greyhound, is one of the calmest small dogs. It is calm and extremely affectionate to its human family. The Whippet also doesn’t like a noisy household, so it thrives better in a tame home. Some other calm small dogs are Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Corgis.
The Japanese Chin and Whippet are small dog breeds that don’t bark a lot. The Japanese Chin is bred as a noble companion, which explains its calm demeanor. The Chinese Crested, Italian Greyhound, Basenji, and Coton de Tulear are other not-so-yappy dogs.
The Coton de Tulear can live up to 19 years, which is quite long in dog years! Similarly, Shih Tzu and Poodles (Toy and Miniature) can live for up to 18 years. The Chinese Crested also has a similar life expectancy.
Micro mini dogs are smaller than teacup dogs. The micro breed usually weighs between 2-3 pounds. Many people prefer micro mini dogs because they can easily fit in purses and are perfect for small homes like apartments and condos.
Poodles, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Papillons are among the smartest dog breeds and are highly trainable. The Miniature Schnauzer, Toy Fox Terrier, and English Toy Terrier are also easy to train. The Lowchen is also obedient, which makes it an easy breed to train.
Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.
Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.