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These 50 Best Small Dog Breeds to Own as Pets are Guaranteed to Get Your Tail Wagging


Most dog owners would agree that having a dog isn’t just about having a pet, but, more importantly, about having a companion. No matter where you live, small dog breeds are incredibly versatile, making them an excellent addition to a family home or apartment!

From lively to lazy and everything in between, different small dog breeds and teddy bear dog breeds have a wide variety of personalities. Therefore, there’s certainly a small dog breed out there that's perfect for every animal lover.

Here are some popular small dog breeds from all around the world, including lapdog breeds and other adorable small dogs.

50 Best Small Dog Breeds

1. French Bulldog


Baby Purebred French Bulldog Looking at the Camera (Head Cocked). Studio shot (indoors). White background. Horizontal format. Shot with Canon EOS 5D.

One of the most well-known and well-liked small dog breeds, French Bulldogs, or “Frenchies,” are playful, fun-loving, and absolutely adorable. Usually weighing under 30 pounds, Frenchies are particularly popular amongst small apartment owners!

2. Toy Poodle

While poodles are often joked about, especially the teeny tiny toy poodle, poodles are incredibly smart, hard-working, and obedient dogs. Toy poodles shed very little, making them the ideal dog for anyone with allergies, however, their coats do need to be groomed once every month or so to maintain all the fluffy glory.

Related: 300 Unique Dog Names

3. Dachshund 

Dachshunds, sometimes also called “Sausage Dogs” were scent hounds originally bred to hunt tunneling animals such as badgers, rabbits, and even foxes! Though not built for long-distance sprints due to their long bodies and short legs, Dachshunds are energetic and loving, making them a favorite of families everywhere.

4. Pembroke Welsh Corgi


Portrait red Welsh Corgi dog outdoors in the park on a sunny summer day.

Queen Elizabeth II famously doted on her “Royal Corgis,” which were Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Along with their distinctive short stature, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for being athletic, energetic, and affectionate. Bred as herding dogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are quick, agile, and loyal protectors who love lots of playtime!

5. Pug

Widely popular with dog-owners and lovers around the world, pugs are iconic for their small, thick bodies and their squished-in snouts. Pugs are smart, cheerful, playful, and loving. While they are lively and like variety, they are a loyal, laid-back pet, ideal for apartment living.

6. Pomeranian


Studio portrait Pomeranian dog on a background wooden wall

Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, the bold, intelligent, and energetic Pomeranian makes an excellent companion. Pomeranians or “Poms” have vibrant personalities and luxurious coats, which set them apart as a particular favorite in the Toy Group of small dog breeds.

7. Beagle

With big puppy dog eyes, floppy hound ears, and a happy-go-lucky personality, the Beagle is a widely popular family dog, especially in America. Historically, Beagles were used for hare-hunting as far back as the fourteenth century. However, now these friendly, affectionate dogs are mostly using their melodious bark and sweet temperament to charm animal-lovers instead!

Related: Smartest Dog Breeds

8. Yorkshire Terrier 

Yorkshire Terriers, or “Yorkies” as they are often called, are small (not to mention luxurious) but mighty. Popular amongst city-dwellers, Yorkies are brave and smart, with a little bit of an attitude and a lot of glorious hair. If you want a clever, sassy pet with a low-allergen coat, the Yorkshire Terrier is the dog for you!

9. Chihuahua

Another great city-based pet is the smallest dog breed of all, the Chihuahua! Compact enough to put in a pocket or a purse, Chihuahuas (named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua) are charming and confident animals. They are known for their loyalty and being especially devoted to their owner.

10. Affenpinscher 


Black shaggy affenpincher dog sitting next to the fly agaric on the grass in the forest

Affenpinschers or “Affens” have a distinctive appearance, often likened to little monkeys or Ewoks if you’re a Star Wars fan. In addition to their interesting look, Affens are entertaining, curious, and affectionate. While they can sometimes be a little bossy, once you take the time to befriend your Affen, they are incredibly loyal and loving.

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11. Bichon Frise

Complete with a soft, fluffy, and hypoallergenic coat, the Bichon Frise is as fancy-looking as its name would suggest! Don’t let their luxurious appearance fool you, however. Bichons are resilient, curious, and alert, able to act as both tiny watchdogs and family-friendly companions.

12. Boston Terrier


Portrait of female Boston Terrier puppy lying in grassy area

Boston Terriers make quite a dapper picture with their distinctive tuxedo-like coat. Also, they are bright, cheerful, and friendly companions, perfect for urban living. Bostonians are particularly fond of this hometown pup, and since 1979, the Boston Terrier has been the official dog of Massachusetts!

13. Cairn Terrier

Bred originally on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, the Cairn Terrier is a sturdy and curious pet. Cairn Terriers thrive with a lot of outdoor play, exploration, and exercise, so if you don’t have a yard, you might want to consider a different terrier. But with their short legs and foxy little faces, they sure are cute!

14. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel


An adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy tilts her head with curiosity.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a regal name with a regal appearance to match! They have slightly wavy, silky coats and sweet, gentle-looking faces. With the Cavalier, you get the best of both worlds: they are gentle, doting house pets in addition to being outdoor adventurers.

15. Havanese

Cheerful and energetic, Havanese dogs make affectionate companions for any household. While their outer coat can sometimes reach 8 inches of length, Havanese do not shed. Above all, they aim to please and are affectionate with anyone and everyone.

16. Jack Russell Terrier


dog welcome home on brown mat

When they’re not too busy reenacting classic literature stories as Wishbone, Jack Russell Terriers are probably busy either digging holes and making friends. While friendly and affectionate, Jack Russells are incredibly high-energy pets that thrive in an engaging, active environment.

17. Papillon 

What Papillons lack in size, they make up for in playfulness. Friendly, responsive, and amiable, small, silky-coated Papillons can get along with people as well as other dogs and pets. Papillons are named for their distinctive wing-like ears, as the name means ‘butterfly’ in French.

18. Pekingese

Originally bred for rulers in ancient China, Pekingese dogs are regal and sophisticated, with short muzzles and a distinctive, overflowing “mane.” This gives them a lion-like appearance and a bold, courageous personality to match. Though usually devoted to their owners, these dogs are independent and are often more aloof with their affection.

19. Schipperke

Schipperkes are a small Belgian breed of dogs that are independent and active. They have a uniquely sloped appearance, with their head sloping down to their hindquarters. Because they are extremely high-energy, the adventurous, inquisitive Schipperke needs regular exercise to stay happy and healthy.

20. Shiba Inu


Shiba inu standing outdoor portrait at summer

The Shiba Inu, the internet’s favorite Japanese hunting dog, can be small to medium-sized in stature. However, they are moderately compact and while they are bold and adventurous by nature, they can be calm and amiable indoors. Already well-loved in Japan, the Shiba Inu continues to spread in popularity in America!

21. Shih Tzu

Another “Lion Dog” originating in China, the Shih Tzu is a sturdy, lively, and sweet pet, perfect for a family with children. They have distinctive long coats, giving them a regal and luxurious air. But underneath all that hair, you’ll find a small and upbeat companion!

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22. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland Terriers, or “Westies,” are another terrier breed from Scotland. Cheerful and inquisitive, Westies like to be the center of attention. They are very friendly and affectionate, always ready for playtime either outdoors or indoors.

23. Miniature Schnauzer 

Well-mannered, trainable, and companionable, Miniature Schnauzers are one of the most popular terrier breeds. As well as being sturdy and healthy, they’re outgoing with both humans and other animals, making them great house pets.

24. Maltese


Cute Maltese Bonny

Maltese dogs are incredibly popular lap dogs. With their long, elegant, silky white coats, Maltese dogs were historically a favored breed among the upper class. Despite their sophisticated appearance, they love to run and play.

25. Australian Terrier

Upbeat and adventurous, Australian Terriers or “Aussies” pack a lot of energy into their compact bodies! Clever and attentive, Aussies can be easy to train. Like most terriers, they are also quite active and full of energy: they love to chase, dig, and explore!

Related: 25 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

26. Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a dog breed from Tibet which has been around for a thousand years! Lhasa Apsos have a similar appearance to other small “Lion Dogs” like the Shih Tzu and Pekingese, with a long, straight coat. Lhasa Apsos are sturdy and quite active, but they are also happy to curl up for a nap alongside their favored owners.

27. Scottish Terrier


Portraits of scottish terrier one year old puppy.

Scottish Terriers or “Scotties” have certainly set themselves apart from other terrier breeds from Scotland. Known as “the Diehard,” the Scottish Terrier is a tough, clever, and determined animal. If you like strong-minded, independent dogs, Scotties are a perfect match!

28. English Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniels are clever, compact land hunters, able to find wild game during hunts. Unlike the American variation, English Cocker Spaniels retained a lot of their hunting instincts. Therefore, as pets, they require regular activity and exercise to stay happy and healthy! However, English Cocker Spaniels are also incredibly responsive and eager to please, making them excellent companions.

29. Miniature Bull Terrier

As the name would suggest, Miniature Bull Terriers are a smaller version of the larger Bull Terrier, and they share many of the same qualities, especially their distinctive, egg-shaped heads and sturdy bodies. Minis are independent, mischievous, and playful, perfect for anyone who can match their energy.

30. German Spitz

Despite their small size, the German Spitz is an excellent watchdog. In addition to possessing both keen hearing and intelligence, German Spitzes are devoted to their owners and usually wary of strangers. They are responsive, easy to train, and, most importantly, with their small, fox-like faces, mane-like collar, and bushy tails, absolutely adorable.

31. American Eskimo Dog

American Eskimo Dogs, or “Eskies” for short, are another Nordic Spitz breed. There are three sizes of Eskie: standard, miniature, and toy, with the smallest of these standing at only around nine inches tall. Though also initially wary of strangers, in the right household, Eskies are lively, eager to please, and playful.

32. Rat Terrier

As the name suggests, smooth-coated, pointy-eared Rat Terriers were bred to hunt rats and other rodents. In both miniature and standard size varieties, these sturdy but elegant animals make excellent hunters. Additionally, however, Rat Terriers are loyal, fun-playful, and adventurous.

33. Basenji

Discovered in the African Congo, the Basenji is an intelligent and independent hound dog, with upright ears for hunting and a short coat which makes them perfectly suited to hot climates. Basenjis are especially unique because they don’t bark. However, they make themselves heard with an odd yodeling sound instead!

34. Bedlington Terrier

Lamb-like in appearance, Bedlington Terriers are named for where they were first bred in England. Their loving and loyal disposition, especially with children, has led to their popularity as house pet, but they still have plenty of terrier energy to go around.

35. Bolognese

Bolognese, or “Bolos,” are a member of the Bichon family of dogs (along with the Bichon Frise, Maltese, and Havanese breeds) and possess similar qualities. Calm and fairly low-energy, Bolos are loving and devoted companions. However, Bolos are a rare breed and difficult to find!

36. Border Terrier

With their unique and adorable otter-like faces, wiry coat, and affectionate nature, Border Terriers make excellent companions for both adults and children. Originally bred to keep foxes away from farms in the border country between Scotland and England, Border Terriers like to stay active, but are otherwise happy in either the country or the city.

37. Brussels Griffon

Although Brussels Griffons are tiny, they have a lot of character. These bold and bearded pups are remarkably self-assured, stubborn, and mischievous. However, despite their bravado, Brussels Griffons are devoted to their owners - as long as their owner is not a roughhousing child. That’s a no-go for the sensitive Brussels Griffon.

38. Chinese Crested


Chinese Crested Dog Breed. Male and Female dog. Toy dog, fine-boned, elegant and graceful.

The hairless Chinese Crested grows smooth hair only on the head, tail, feet, and legs, making it difficult to mistake it for anything else. These pups are sweet, affectionate, and devoted companions. Plus, since they’re sensitive to the cold, you can put them in a cute sweater. Who doesn’t like seeing a dog in a cute sweater?

Related: Best Large Dog Breeds

39. Danish-Swedish Farm Dog

If you’ve ever seen a Danish-Swedish Farm Dog, you may have mistaken it for a Jack Russell Terrier, since they are remarkably similar in appearance. Like Jack Russells, these dogs are incredibly outgoing. They are great herders, watchdogs, and all-around family companions.

40. Italian Greyhound


Italian greyhound puppy shy

Delicate and elegant-looking Italian Greyhounds share the larger Greyhound’s sighthound characteristics. However, while these glossy-coated miniatures do love the chase, they are devoted and affectionate lap dogs who are always happy to cuddle.

41. Japanese Spitz

With a thick fluffy coat, curling tail, and a small fox-like face, the Japanese Spitz is often likened to an all-white Pomeranian. High-energy and people-oriented, the Japanese Spitz loves a lot of activity and play. Due to its charming personality and appearance, this small dog breed is incredibly popular.

42. Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terriers are long-legged and self-confident, with a whiskered face and adorable folded V-shaped ears. Naturally adventurous, they love to explore and chase, so daily exercise is a must for these independent pups. However, with enough activity, they settle into households quite easily.

43. Lancashire Heeler

Lancashire Heelers are small, sturdy working terriers, often used in cattle herding. Their long bodies and short legs are reminiscent of a corgi build, but they have a unique “Heeler Smile” where they imitate smiling when they are happy. Unfortunately, these “small but mighty” Lancashire Heelers are a rare breed, but Heeler-owners are lucky to have found such affectionate, friendly, and hard-working companions.

44. Miniature Pinscher 

One of the most energetic dog breeds, short and smooth-coated Miniature Pinschers, or “Min Pins,” are always on the move. However, if you can keep up with this tiny ball of energy, Min Pins can be very affectionate.

45. Pumi

Originally a Hungarian herding dog, the Pumi (or Pumik plural) is pretty adorable for a hard-working dog, with a thick, curly coat, almost reminiscent of a poodle’s. Like terriers, Pumik are incredibly energetic, with an agile and athletic build. While rare in the United States, Pumik are wonderful companions for active families, although they might try to herd stray children around like sheep!

46. Basset Hound

Basset Hounds certainly have a distinct appearance with their heavy body, short legs, huge paws, mournful eyes, and long, drooping ears. Their sense of smell makes them excellent trackers, and they are tenacious about following leads. However, Basset Hounds are mild and good-natured at home, which is what makes them so charming.

47. Swedish Vallhund

Sometimes referred to as little Viking dogs, Swedish Vallhunds are energetic, cattle-herding watchdogs. Low to the ground and thick-coated, their appearance is similar to corgis. However, Swedish Vallhunds have longer legs and shorter bodies, which enables them to run with more ease and agility.

48. Portuguese Podengo Pequeno 

In addition to being fun to say out loud, the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno is a light, agile, and adventurous little pup. Their coats are either short and dense or long and wiry. Upbeat and playful, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos enjoy a lot of activity, but can also be loving companions.

49. Löwchen  

The Löwchen, or “Little Lion” dog as it means in German, certainly lives up to its name. Löwchens’ long and thick coat is usually trimmed to resemble a lion, with a large mane and plumed tail. These little lions are very loving and responsive, making them ideal family companions.

50. English Bulldog  

With their low-slung, heavy, stocky bodies, wrinkly faces, and charming underbites, English Bulldogs are certainly distinct. Despite its dour appearance, Bulldogs are affectionate, amiable, low-energy, and mellow. Besides, who could resist that squishy face?

For even more doggie-themed fun, check out these 50 hilarious dog punsthat'll get you barking with laughter.

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