Top Twenty Small Dog Breeds

Small dogs are cute, amiable, and athletic. There are a lot of qualities in a small dog pet. One of the most important qualities is that small dogs are portable. You can take them with you on a trip within a small carrier. Moreover, they can be trainable of fun tricks. This miniature can also adapt to your apartment very easily.

Some of these miniatures are highly energetic so they need your time for walking and jogging with them. Among them are few low energy, calm and quiet buddies that can easily adjust with you in an apartment.

Small dogs are very convenient partners because of the reason that they are affordable and can be accommodated easily. If you live in a small apartment with a smaller space, a small pet is best for you. They are financially very reasonable because they eat very little so you don’t have to worry much about dog food

Besides great companionship, there are certain challenges you have to deal with these dog breeds. Being so fluffy and cuddly some of the small dogs shed hairs so if you are neatnik you have to compromise on your standards. This shedding depends upon the breed of a dog. Some dogs have a lot of drooling potential and others have less. Similarly, they need attention to grooming and training according to the breed you have.

Below are the top twenty small dog breeds that are popular in the world for distinctive traits:



Defining Characteristics: World’s smallest dog, very athletic, friendly, good watchdogs
Origin: Chihuahua, Mexico
Height: 5 to 8 inches
Weight: 6 lbs.
Life Span: 14 to 16 years

Chihuahuas are known for their size around the world. They are the smallest known pet dogs. As the name refers it originated from the city of Chihuahua, Mexico.

This amiable little fellow has big personality traits in a small body. They have athletic skills and can compete with other dogs in dog sports like agility and obedience. This fragile buddy has been awarded among the ten best watchdogs by experts.

They have a very lovely nature and get connected to particularly one person of the family who handles them with love and care. These tiny buddies love to be around the affectionate person all the time. Because of the fragile body, they should be handled with care.

Chihuahuas get agitated when they are frightened or not handled rightly. They are also prone to nipping, snapping and biting that’s why they should not be left alone with kids



Defining Characteristics: Mustached wiry coat creature, very curious, good learner, and intelligent.
Origin: Germany, 17th century
Weight: 6.5 to 13.2 lbs.
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Life span: 12 to 14 years
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]*Do you know? It is a mixed breed as the name suggests “affen” means monkey and pinschers mean “terrier”. So, its other name is “Monkey Dog”.[/box]

Affenpinschers originated in Germany. They are very obedient fellows. Their main task was to terminate rats in Germany in 1600 but later on, they became good friends to the ladies of the house. They are also great listeners and fearless loyal fellows.

One of their personality traits is that they are very curious. Due to this nature, these fuzzy fellows are eager to learn a lot. They need proper assistance and consistent training.

It has a brushy wire-like coat. Its wiry coat and beard need regular grooming. Its preferred color is black but can be found in other colors like grey, silver, red, black, and tan.



Defining Characteristics: Commonly called poms, loyal, and adorable high barking capacity
Origin: Pomerania, Germany
Weight: 3 to 7 lbs
Height: 7 to 12 inches
Life span: 12 to 16 years

Pomeranian dogs have a huge history. These foxy faced adorable fellows originated from German spitz. They got their name from the city of Pomerania.

Poms are classified as ‘toy dogs’. In some of the countries, poms are known as the “Dwarf-Spitz”. Poms are more comfortable with a grown-up and relatively calm kids. By nature, they are friendly and faithful but do show a bossy attitude sometimes.

Pomeranians are very intelligent and loyal to their owners. They are small in size but they do not act accordingly. These feisty poms are bold enough to challenge big dogs when they are thrilled. These cute fluffy fellows love to bark a lot. They can be good ‘Guard Dogs’ because of their boldness and loyalty towards their loved ones.

Pomeranians are extremely smart and adorable breeds. They respond to the training very quickly. If they are not trained well they can be stubborn and pushy.


Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle
Defining Characteristics: Extremely intelligent, charming, good sport dogs
Origin: Germany, France
Weight: 4 to 6 lbs.
Height: not more than 10 inches
Life span: 10 to 18 years

Toy Poodles have fluffy sweet looks. Toy Poodle is an elegant, loveable little creature. There is a controversy on its city of origin. Some relate it to Germany while others relate it to France.

By temperament, they are cheerful, kind, and love to play games. They have a lot of physical potentials that sparks their energies. They are good at playing dog sports like agility, swimming, and others.

They have a very confident and dignified personality and are amazingly intelligent. Because of their smartness, they are easiest to train among other breeds. Little pooches are convenient to adopt because they shed very few hairs.

This cordial breed is very loyal towards its owner and wants his particular place and time. It has a lot of self-importance and craves for the love and compassion from its owner.


Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon
Defining Characteristics: Moody, sensitive, and emotional. Needs a lot of attention.
Origin: Belgium, 1800
Weight: 8 to 10 lbs
Height: 9 to 11 inches
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

As the name suggests, Brussels griffons originated from Brussels, Belgium. They were created from a variety of breeds like Affenpinschers, pugs, and English toy spaniel. Each breed contributed towards its personality.

It has taken its size and wiry coat from Affenpinschers while on the other hand, Griffy’s big round eyes look similar to Toy Spaniel. Originally they were created to kill vermin in stables. They are square proportioned, flat-faced sometimes known as ‘monkey-faced’, and have large big eyes. They are very cheerful, curious, and sensitive pups.

Their coat is generally divided into two types in the US; the rough coat and the smooth coat. The griffins with the smooth coat are called Petit Barbancon.

Physically Griffy is a very active partner. You have to give him proper attention to maintain its mood swings because it sometimes gets very moody. It is often referred to as “velcro dog” because it wanted to stay with its owner all the time.

It can be a good watchdog because it is very active, curious, and alert. It has a loud howling capacity and can challenge the larger dogs without taking his size into account.


Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
Defining characteristics: Brave, bossy, dainty appearance, good companions, good watchdogs.
Origin: Yorkshire, England
Weight: 7 pounds
Heights: 7 to 8 inches
Life Span: 11 to 15 years

Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkers, are the most adorable feisty yet loving fellow. They take their name from Yorkshire, England. This is the most famous toy dog breed in the United States.

This fancy breed originated from the dog breed ‘Clydesdales Terrier’ which Scottish workers brought with them during the industrial revolution. Originally their main task was to kill the rats from the mills. These Clydesdales crossed with other terrier breeds developed today’s famous Yorkshire terriers.

Yorkers crown attribute is their silky long hairy coat with a small knot on the top of the head, giving a royal look. Besides physical appearance, Yorkie’s attitude marks him popular among others.

This feisty little pup looks innocent from its physical appearance but he is very courageous. He is bold and brave enough to attack big dogs.

These tiny fellows enjoy companionship and can never stay alone. Being a toy breed it is very playful, needs a lot of physical exercises, and seeks a lot of owners’ attention. If properly trained and loved they became your shadow.


Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise
Defining characteristics: Bichons have a fluffy double white coat, cheerful attitude.
Origin: Canary Island, 14th century
Weight: 7 to 12 lbs
Height: 9 to 11 inches
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Bichon Frise is a cute white colored fluffy dog breed. They are always cheerful. That’s why it’s a good option for anxiety patients to lower their anxiety by looking at the cheerfulness of their faces. Bichon Frise is an affectionate dog whose job is to entertain the people at home.

These cotton-ball clouds like puppy are sweet and affectionate toward family but need a lot of training to live properly with the family. This amiable creature has round black eyes and a black nose with a long curly tail that adds to the beauty of white curly clouds on its coat.

These enthusiastic partners are super playful and intelligent. They need a lot of exercise but don’t mind leaving home alone. Despite their diminutive size and toy-like fluffy looks, these miniatures are not classified as a Toy breed, instead, they are classified as a member of the Non-Sporting Group by American Kennel Club.



Defining Characteristics: Fluffy pure white coat, devoted fellow, calm, and playful.
Origin: Bologna, Italy. 12th century
Height: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 6 to 9 lbs.
Life span: 12 to 14 years

Bolognese is a small companion breed that originated from the city of Bologna, Italy. This is an old breed known by the royal Roman Empire. They were transferred to noble people as a precious gift.

Bolognese is square-shaped pure white fluffy dogs with a long single coat. It has wide open round eyes and strong white teeth.

Like its soft physical appearance, Bolognese is a very calm and easy-going loyal companion. They are devoted and active towards their owners and can understand their body language very easily. If properly trained and loved Bolognese became a shadow of their partners. Bolognese shows a stubborn side during training that should be manipulated with love, patience, and consistency.


Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
Defining Characteristics: Tuxedo-like coat, big round eyes, sporty compact body
Origin: America, 1800 century
Height: 15 to 17 inches
Weight: 10 to 25 lbs
Life span: 11 to 13 years

Boston Terriers, often known as “American Gentlemen” have tuxedo coats, large big round eyes, and belong to a Non-Sporting Group.

It is a very lively, comic compassionate, partner. This amiable miniature can easily adapt to apartment life and is friendly with children and other people he meets. It is very easy to train due to the high intelligence and obedience level.

Unlike his pugnacious looks, he is very cordial and affable. He is a good choice to take because he sheds very low and needs less grooming than others with fluffy hairs. This good looking little American fellow has less howling capacity so it is perfect for lap friend and house dwelling.


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Defining Characteristics: Graceful, gentle, long drooping ears. Sweet and gentle eye expression
Origin: United Kingdom
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Weight: 13 to 18 lbs.
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

As the name suggests Cavalier King Charles Spaniel traces back to British history. His crown characteristic is it’s sweet and gentle expression glazed from his big round eyes. It was ranked the 19th most popular purebred in 2000.

They have athletic qualities. This sporty nature travels down from their spaniel ancestors. Some of them are as athletic as pure sporting breeds. They love to run on the beach, do hiking and other dog sports like rally, flyball, and agility. Some of them love to hunt too.

As far as training is concerned positive reinforcement techniques will work in this breed. This benevolent creature has very soft nature so yelling at them will make them frightened

# 11

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
Defining Characteristics: Long silky floor-length hairs with a knot on the top.
Origin: Tibet, China
Weight: 9 to 16 pounds
Height: 9 to 10.5 inches
Life Span: 10 to 18 years

Shih Tzu is an ancient royal breed meant to be a good lap companion among nobles. There is a dispute in its area of origin. Most probably it is associated with China because of the connection with Buddhism but actually, they were originated in Tibet in the 17th century.

Shih Tzu is a Chinese name that means “little lion”. They are given this name because of their courage and strong sturdy body beneath silky hairs. They can be good guard dogs because of their boldness and loyalty towards their loved ones.

This is a gorgeous, royal look sturdy dog breed whose long double hair coat adds elegance to it. This tiny breed is ideal for apartment life because of its level of adaptation and small size. Moreover, it does not shed hair.



Defining characteristics: Square shaped, Wrinkled face, cheerful and comic personality
Origin: China
Height: 10 to 13 inches
Weight: 14 to 18 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

The Pug has distinctive features. It has a comical face with wrinkles around big black eyes and humanly expression over a big flat face. Generally, he is considered as a good lap dog who impresses the people with his soft comical gestures

They are good human companions and want to be by your side every time. Leaving them alone at home is not a good idea. They can be good ‘Guard Dogs’ because of their loyalty, courage, and boldness for their loved ones.

Pugs can be good watchdogs because of their great sense of noticing danger, loud bark, and sturdy body impression but this velvety breed are not efficient better because of its face shape so it is considered harmless.



Papillon dog
Defining characteristics: Erect butterfly-like ears
Origin: France
Height: 8 to 11 inches
Weight: 50 to 10 lbs.
Life Span: 14 to 16 years

The Papillon is a soft feathered toy dog type that takes its name from its crowning characteristic butterfly-like erect ears with long hairs on it.

The Papillons have great personality attributes in a small package. They are more active than any lap dog. They are highly alert, loyal, and friendly towards the pet parents. They can work as good guard dogs for their bravery, courage, and loyalty.

This French breed is smart and intelligent and can be trained to participate in agility, obedience competitions, and other dog sports. They need rigorous training and exercises to avoid behavioral problems.


French Bulldog

French Bulldog
Defining Characteristics: Highly wrinkled face, Bat-like ears, and a very short tail
Origin: France
Height: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: under 28 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 12 years

French Bulldog or Frenchie is a sturdy square head wrinkled face breed that has peculiar bat-like ears. They are the second most popular pet dog breed in 2019 in the UK. Their silky short hair coat has variant colors like brindle, fawn, cream, or white with brindle patches.

The French Bulldog is a domestic dog and highly preferred as an apartment dog. They have a mild-mannered temperament and very easy going and lovely. They behave well with family members. They are very protective of them and are very loyal.

They are so friendly and fun-loving that they are known as “clown of the dog world”. They are also known as a flat-faced breed. Frenchies are active and lively partners.


Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin
Defining Characteristics: Squashed face, floppy ears, and small chin, Very sensitive to the environment
Origin: Japan, China
Weight: 7 to 11 pound
Height: 8 to 11 inches
Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Japanese Chin is a tiny dog. This breed marked its name due to the association with the Japanese nobility. This royal breed is characterized by rounded broadhead, dark eyes, and feathering ears and evenly proportioned eye marks. Strabismus of eyes is also an important character of Chin.

These sensitive beings shape their behavior according to the environment they live in. If they live in a quiet and somber house they will be reserved and if they live with an active cheerful person they will develop a cheerful nature.


Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier
Defining characteristics: A true toy, lap dog, athletic appearance, extremely protective
Origin: America
Weight: 3.5 to 7 lbs
Height: 8.5 to 11.5 inches
Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Toy Fox Terrier is known by the dog lovers as ” a true toy and a true terrier”. It works both as a lap dog and a good watchdog. This tiny pooch has a muscular and athletic appearance.

Physically it is sturdy and graceful and has a short glossy white coat, short tail, and elegant V-shaped ears. It has a comic temperament that served in the circus before but can adapt to the apartment easily and become a good companion dog.

They are very easy to train due to high intelligence levels. They are extremely loyal, protective, and obedient fellows. His loyalty and devotion make him a good watchdog. They make a strong bonding with the people of the house and get aloof from strangers.



Maltese dog
Defining Characteristics: Long straight silky coat. Very adorable and loving. Floppy ears.
Origin: South Central Europe
Weight: under 7 pound
Height: 7 to 9 inches
Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Maltese originated from south-central Europe from dogs of “spitz ”. This breed is highly charming due to its long silky hair coat that runs through the floor. Maltese is a toy dog type. It has a compact body, curled tail, dropped ears with long hairs. Pigmentation on the eye area adds to its beauty.

The diminutive breed is very gentle and affectionate towards the pet parents. They are also intelligent, lively, and responsive. They enjoy learning tricks and want a lot of your time.

They do not shed hair but need proper combing and cleaning to retain its beauty. Maltese barks aloud when sensing danger. This tiny breed has been highly valued since ancient times.


Maltese Shih Tzu

Maltese Shih Tzu
Defining characteristics: A crossbreed between Maltese and Shih Tzu. Hypoallergenic, Loving friendly and loyal.
Origin: the United States, 1990
Weight: 6 to 12 pound
Height: 12 inches
Life span: 12 to 14 years

Maltese Shih Tzu is a hybrid breed developed by Maltese and Shih Tzu’s parents. Like the parent breed, Maltese Shih Tzu has short stature and became a good lap dog.

These quirky miniatures were bred to create a lap dog that sheds very less. They are perfect for people sensitive to allergies because they do not shed hairs. Because of this crowning trait, they are very easy to maintain and do not need much grooming.

Having friendly socially active parents Maltese Shih Tzu also became friendly, outgoing, and lovely pets. He will have a nice and affectionate temperament if he will be your side instead of leaving home alone for long periods.



Defining Characteristics: Expressive eyes, silky hairs, can assist people with disability, super energetic
Origin: Cuba, 1800 bc
Weight: 7 to 13 pound
Height: 8.5 to 11.5 inches
Life Span: 14 to 16 years

Havanese is a cuddly little miniature having big expressive eyes and a silky coat. They are also termed as “velcro dogs”. It is because they are very emotional and sensitive for their owners and they stick like glue to their owner’s side.

They are super energetic and highly responsive during training. Havanese cannot be considered as serene lap dogs alone because they have the quality to understand the body language of its fellow family.

They are good at assisting people with disabilities. They have cheerful personalities and are friendly with strangers, kids, and even cats. These are active and lively partners. They behave well with the family members too and are very protective of them. In short, they are very loyal.



Beagle Dog
Defining characteristics : They are Scent hounds. Used for hunting
Origin: England
Weight: Under 20 pounds for 13 inches and around 20 to 30 pounds for 13 to 15 inches
Height: 13 to 15 inches
Life Span: 10 to 15 years

The Beagle is a breed of small hound. They are famous for their sense of smell. This popular scent hound has an excellent tracking instinct that’s why it was primarily used for hunting hare.

These detection dogs are intelligent, having good size and temper, and also having a lack of inherited diseases. They are also popular because of hazel eyes with a soft expression.

Beagles are great companions for kids and adults alike because they are friendly, merry, and fun-loving. They can be stubborn sometimes due to having inherited hound qualities but can be managed through patience and creative training.

Nathan Carlton

Nathan Carlton is an executive editor at He is an avid dog lover and holds a degree in "Holistic Health & Puppy Care" from The British College of Canine Studies. He has been parenting dogs since age 10, when he developed a strong bond with his father's Bull Dog. Today, he has a German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, who he calls Joani and Saga, respectively.