60+ Small Dog Breeds: Meet Your New Best Friend

Updated March 31, 2022
Small dogs running

Many pet parents enjoy small dogs, as these breeds often come with big personalities in a tiny package. If you are searching for the perfect small dog under 25 pounds, there are numerous varieties to choose from. Small breeds range from the lively Maltese to the uncommon "little lion dog," or Löwchen. Most tiny dogs are long-lived and perfect companions for apartment dwellers, but some have more extensive grooming, training, or exercise needs than others. Discover the unique characteristics of each breed to find out if they're the right small dog for you.

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Tiny breeds are available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and coat types. For example, Italian Greyhounds are known for their aerodynamic body, and the stuffed-toy appearance of Norwich Terriers invites you to hug them. Little dogs all share distinct personalities, and small dogs are different from big dogs in many ways. The small breeds fall into three general weight categories.

9 Pounds and Under

This weight category includes popular tiny breeds, including the Affenpinscher, Yorkshire Terrier, and Toy Poodle. Several other Toy breeds fall under this class. These dogs are easy to transport, and some apartment dwellers even train these small breed dogs to use a litter box. The smallest dog is the Chihuahua, and this tiny breed typically weighs less than 6 pounds and is about 5 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder.


Affenpinscher Dog Breed

The bold and affectionate Affenpinscher has an endearing whiskered face that draws many pet parents in. They're small yet sturdy, reaching between 7 and 9 pounds when full grown. Short, daily walks are necessary for these lively dogs. With a low-maintenance coat, the Affenpinscher doesn't require hours of grooming like many other small breeds. This breed is best suited for a pet owner looking for a spunky small dog who doesn't require a lot of space.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is an animated and strong-willed breed. Despite being intelligent, their tenacious nature can make training a challenge for first-time dog owners. These fluffy, white dogs are hypoallergenic but have moderate grooming needs. Bichons weigh in between 7 and 12 pounds, which is a great size for apartment living, though they do get bursts of energy and need daily walks. This breed tends to be gentle with children, making them a good choice for families.

Biewer Terrier

Biewer Terrier

The Biewer Terrier is known as a clever, charming, and adventurous dog. This rare breed can weigh as little as 4 to 8 pounds, even as an adult. They're active dogs, but don't need much exercise, so they're perfect for small living spaces. This breed is a good choice for a first-time dog owner looking for a tiny companion, as Biewers get along well with children and other pets. However, they are very fragile, so they shouldn't engage in rough play.


Bolognese Dog

The Bolognese is a playful, intelligent breed known for being excellent lap dogs. Members of the breed reach between 7 and 9 pounds at their adult weight. They have a similar appearance to the Bichon, though they're a bit more shy and reserved. Bolognese may bark if they become bored. These dogs need to be groomed frequently, but they do have a non-shedding coat, which makes them a great choice for people with allergies.


Chihuahua dog

Chihuahuas are a small but proud breed known for their affectionate disposition and companionable nature. However, these dogs can be aloof with strangers and may snap if they feel threatened. Members of the breed typically weigh less than 6 pounds. Given their tiny stature, Chihuahuas do not have high exercise needs and do well in small living spaces. The breed is susceptible to some genetic disorders that can affect their lifespan.

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin dog

Thoughtful and quiet, the Japanese Chin makes a loving companion dog. With low exercise needs, these calm pets can live comfortably as lap dogs in any sized home. They can be reserved with strangers but get along with most everyone, making them excellent family dogs. Potential owners should be aware that this breed is prone to several health issues, including heart conditions and luxating patella. These dogs weigh anywhere from 4 to 11 pounds as adults.

Japanese Terrier

Japanese Terrier Dog

The tiny Japanese Terrier is an uncommon breed. These dogs are very affectionate and devoted to their owners. This trait may manifest as jealousy toward other pets in the household, so they may not be a good choice for owners with other dogs or animals. Their small size of only 5 to 9 pounds and calm demeanor make them excellent lapdogs. However, this breed tends to speak their mind, so they're not a good choice if you want a quiet companion.


Maltese Dog

Energetic and easy-going, the Maltese is a very popular toy breed. These dogs are highly trainable due to their eager-to-please nature, making them a good breed for a first-time dog parent. They're also considered hypoallergenic, which means they could be a great choice for allergic owners. Maltese reach between 6 and 9 pounds when full grown. Even with their small size, these family dogs need some daily exercise. The breed is a bit delicate when it comes to health, so pet parents should monitor them closely for potentially inherited conditions.


Papillon Dog

Named for their butterfly-shaped ears, the Papillon is a charming and outgoing small dog. They are easily trained, obedient, and alert, but they do have a tendency to bark. Papillons would be a good fit for most families, though they are delicate and can easily become injured, so they don't do well with young or rough children. Seniors or adults with a quiet lifestyle would be a better choice for this breed. Papillons reach between 7 and 9 pounds as adults.


Pomeranian Dog

Underneath their long, fluffy coat, the Pomeranian is a very tiny breed. Their size ranges from 3 to 7 pounds. These dogs are confident and affectionate, although they may not have the patience for children. Because of their minimal needs, they make an excellent choice for owners who are busy, senior citizens, or those living in a smaller home. However, owners should be aware the breed is prone to health issues that could affect their lifespan and quality of life, such as heart disease or tracheal collapse.

Russian Toy Terrier

Russian Toy Terrier Dog

The Russian Toy Terrier is a tiny breed with a big personality. They're best known for their large ears and even greater confidence. The "Russkiy Toy," as they're often called, typically maxes out at 6 pounds in weight. These dogs are filled with energy, so they need regular walks and play. They also tend to be very devoted and protective of their owners. Households with small children may not be a good fit for the delicate Russian Toy. However, they are well-suited to seniors, adults, and older children.

Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier Dog

The Silky Terrier is an affectionate and clever dog who makes an outstanding family pet. They're bundles of energy, but because of their small size, they don't need much space. This breed is a great match for apartments at only 8 to 9 pounds in weight. However, silkies do have high grooming needs due to their long, silky locks. These dogs are also known to be territorial and will bark to defend their home. Silky Terriers can be headstrong, so they are best suited to a well-versed owner who has previous experience with training.

Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier Dog

The tiny Toy Fox Terrier has boundless energy and brain power to match. These dogs are highly intelligent, so they can be trained to do all sorts of tricks. They tend to be independent dogs and can keep themselves busy, but they won't hesitate to curl up in your lap to cuddle. Due to their affectionate nature, Toy Fox Terriers can make great companions for children and adults alike. However, they are very delicate at only 3 to 9 pounds, so injuries to their limbs can occur if owners aren't mindful.

Toy Manchester Terrier

Toy Manchester Terrier Dog

The Toy Manchester Terrier is a smart, spunky, small dog dedicated to their family. They weigh anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds at their adult size, though they have the personality of a much larger dog. Potential owners should make sure they can dedicate the time and energy necessary to these mischievous pals, though they don't need much space. This breed gets along with most people, children, and pets, so they can suit any household. They tend to become very attached to their owners and make excellent watchdogs.

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle Dog

Toy Poodles are energetic, sweet, smart dogs, reaching between 6 and 9 pounds as adults. The breed's crowning glory is their curly coat, and while they are hypoallergenic, owners will need to commit time to routine grooming. These little dogs have a tendency to bark, typically to alert their owners, which may not be ideal for quiet households. Toy Poodles are very devoted to their family and will go to great lengths to please them. They are known to be sensitive pets who can sense their owners' emotions.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier Dog

The Yorkshire Terrier, or yorkie, is an energetic and cheerful breed best suited to an active family. They are very petite, even as adults, at a mere 2 to 7 pounds maximum. Although they look like elegant toy dogs, they are fearless in the face of danger. These dogs are affectionate and devoted, albeit a bit territorial, which can lead to barking. Yorkies are at risk for inherited diseases or size-related diseases such as liver shunts, collapsing trachea, and hypoglycemia.

10 to 16 Pounds

The breeds in this weight class are still quite small and popular among pet parents. Many of these breeds were designed to fit specific needs throughout history. For example, the Brussels Griffon was bred to hunt rats. Pugs and Tibetan Spaniels also fall into this weight category.

American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier dog

The American Hairless Terrier is an endearing hairless breed who boasts a playful and energetic personality. These dogs are a great fit for a family with an active lifestyle, as they love hiking and playing. Even with their small size of only 8 to 16 pounds, they are adventurous companions. However, they can become chilly quite easily due to their hairless nature, so this breed won't do well in cold climates. These dogs are generally healthy, though they can be susceptible to immune-mediated diseases and eye problems.

Australian Terrier

Australian Terrier dog

Adaptable and confident, the Australian Terrier can do well in most households. They tend to be tireless little dogs who enjoy chasing balls. However, given their prey drive, they may not be a good choice for homes with small pets, such as cats or ferrets. The Australian Terrier does get along very well with other dogs and children. The breed has a low-shedding coat, making them a great candidate for people suffering from allergies. These dogs reach between 12 and 16 pounds, which means they are the perfect size to curl up in your lap after an invigorating play session.

Border Terrier

Border terrier dog

The Border Terrier is a lively, tenacious dog who enjoys companionship. However, like all terriers, this breed can be feisty, independent, and very active. Moderate exercise and mental stimulation are necessary for these little dogs, though they can still do very well in apartments or smaller spaces if their needs are met. This breed will reach between 11 and 15 pounds at a healthy adult weight. They're best known for their wiry coat and endearing "otter face" appearance.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon Dog

The spirited Brussels Griffon has an unusual appearance and an equally strong will. The breed often becomes very attached to their owners, to the point where they may experience separation anxiety if left alone. Exercise and grooming requirements are minimal, though their short, brachycephalic airway may make them prone to health issues. With a small frame between 8 and 12 pounds, this breed is a wonderful choice for small homes with minimal space. The Brussels may, however, partake in persistent barking if not properly trained.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier dog

The Cairn Terrier is an adventurous small dog that requires active ownership, so this breed is best suited for experienced owners. They can have a stubborn, independent streak that may make training a challenge. However, these qualities are also what makes the breed steal your heart. The breed needs moderate exercise and ample space to expend excess energy. If their activity needs are not met, these dogs can become destructive. Cairns weigh approximately 14 pounds and are a relatively healthy breed with minimal health concerns.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog

Sweet yet outgoing, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is well-known for their love of children. This breed is rarely aggressive, so they are an excellent choice for families and households with other pets. These elegant dogs are also eager to please, which makes training a breeze. However, they do require moderate grooming and are genetically predisposed to certain health conditions, most commonly heart disease. They reach around 12 to 18 pounds and would be happy to spend their life as pampered lap dogs.

Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested is a lively and alert hairless breed known for having tufts of hair on the head, tail, and ankles. This breed tends to be highly social and loves playing with dogs and humans alike, including children. They're perfect as a lap dog in any sized home, though they are sensitive to cooler environments and will require sweaters in the winter. Cresteds weigh around 12 pounds regardless of their sex. Some members of this breed are very vocal and will bark frequently if not trained or socialized.

Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulear Dog

The joyful Coton de Tulear is equally adored for their cuddly appearance and sweet personality. These dogs need daily walks, but are happy to spend the rest of their time snoozing on your lap or playing by your side. With an adult size of 7 to 12 pounds, they do well in any size household, including apartments or tiny homes. Cotons are a great choice for first-time dog owners. While they tend to become very close to their family, these dogs are also friendly with strangers. As a bonus, they're hypoallergenic, kid-friendly, and easily trainable.

English Toy Spaniel

English Toy Spaniel Dog

English Toy Spaniels are laid back dogs, making them excellent family pets. These dogs are perfect for smaller homes due to their minimal exercise needs, and their intelligence makes obedience training simple. They make excellent companions for an elderly owner or anyone with a quiet, lower-activity lifestyle. This breed is often confused with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. However, they have a shorter snout and are slightly smaller at only 8 to 14 pounds. They do share many of the same health conditions with the Cavalier, including heart and eye problems.


Havanese dog

The Havanese combines a tender disposition with a high-energy drive. They're a great choice for the person or family who wants a small dog who enjoys playing outside as well as cuddling at home on the couch. However, these dogs can be "Velcro dogs" and often become very devoted to their owners. They reach between 7 and 13 pounds. These dogs have long, silky hair that must be maintained through routine grooming. Havanese are low-shedders, so pet parents with allergies will find their hair less irritating than some other small breeds.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound Dog

The reserved Italian Greyhound does well as an indoor lap dog. These dogs are very affectionate with their family and get along with most people and pets. This breed is fine-boned and delicate, meaning they can't sustain injuries from rough play with children or large dogs and don't tolerate the cold. They shed very minimally and don't need much grooming. "Iggys" weigh between 8 and 11 pounds, and pet parents should be careful to keep these dogs at a healthy weight due to their delicate frames.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier Dog

The Jack Russell Terrier is an energetic, confident dog who likes to chase prey. Because of this, some members of the breed don't do well with children or small pets. However, the JRT is an intelligent and fun companion who would readily go on any outdoor adventure. They can make affectionate lap dogs, but only after they've been physically and mentally exercised. The JRT is most appropriate for an owner who can dedicate the time needed for training and engaging with this spirited breed. They're small and sturdy at 13 to 18 pounds, and can live to be upwards of 18 years old.

Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz Dog

The Japanese Spitz is a small dog who boasts a bold and lively personality. Their most distinct feature is their long, pure white coat. This intelligent breed does well with children and can thrive in any size dwelling. While they do need regular walks, these dogs are fairly low maintenance. They're also easy to train, which makes them a good pick for a first-time owner. However, they become very attached to their people, so they may act out if left alone for long periods of time. The Japanese Spitz can weigh anywhere from 11 to 22 pounds, and is one of the longest lived small dog breeds.

Lancashire Heeler

Lancashire Heeler Dog

The Lancashire Heeler has the smarts, dexterity, and gumption to match any larger breed. Unlike other heeler breeds, the Lancashire is less likely to be nippy, though they may still try to herd you. These dogs can be wary of strangers, but are loyal and friendly with their family members. They're not ideal for new dog owners due to their energy level and stubborn streak. The Lancashire Heeler is not a lap warmer and would rather accompany you on an outdoor adventure than spend their day on the couch. At their adult size, they reach between 9 and 15 pounds, although they act like much larger dogs.


Löwchen Dog

The Löwchen, or "Little Lion Dog," is a good-natured and adaptable breed. These dogs weight between 8 and 18 pounds as adults. They do well in any type of home and have a gentle demeanor, suitable to live with children. Löwchen are reportedly hypoallergenic and non-shedding, although most owners give them a "lion cut." Daily walks are a must to keep these dogs healthy, as is regular grooming.

Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher Dog

Self-assured and clever, the Miniature Pinscher is a small dog with plenty of personality. This independent breed is not meant to sit in laps and would rather explore the world right by your side. Min pins must be kept busy to prevent them from getting into mischief. Weighing in between 7 and 11 pounds, they're the ideal size for apartment living, but can also thrive in a large space. These dogs were bred to be ratters, so they may instinctively chase cats and other small pets.

Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodle Dog

The Miniature Poodle is a patient, playful breed who is good with children. These dogs tend to be easy to train due to their intelligence. However, another characteristic of the breed is their tendency to bark. The miniature variety is slightly larger and sturdier than the Toy Poodle, weighing in around 15 pounds. Their curly hair does require regular upkeep, though they are reportedly a hypoallergenic breed, which is ideal for owners with allergies. Given their friendly and eager-to-please nature, this breed would be a good fit with a first-time dog owner.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer dog

The Miniature Schnauzer is a sturdy, small dog with an affectionate disposition. They weight approximately 12 to 20 pounds when full grown. The breed can become very devoted to their owners, though they are not lap dogs. Instead, they're spunky house pets who like to be involved in whatever you are doing. These dogs enjoy playing and have moderate exercise needs, so owners should have adequate space on their property for free play, or plan to take them for daily walks or other activities. They're a well-rounded companion breed, making them a suitable option for families. Bladder stones, pancreatitis, and diabetes are a few breed-related health conditions potential owners should be aware of.

Norwegian Lundehund

Norwegian Lundehund Dog

Playful and clever, the Norwegian Lundehund is a breed that needs to stay busy. These dogs love adventure, so they would be a great fit with an owner who is an outdoor enthusiast. While these dogs have the personality of a larger breed, they weigh between 13 and 15 pounds. They're loyal companions but do not always make great family dogs, as some members of the breed are not very tolerant of children. However, other Lundenhunds may get along very well with kids. Originally bred to hunt puffins in Norway, this breed's high energy levels and stubborn, independent streak mean they are not a good fit for first-time dog owners. Lundehunds are a rare breed with a distinct feature: an extra toe on each foot.

Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier Dog

The stocky Norwich Terrier is a fearless breed with boundless energy. They're a great small dog for an active individual or family. However, their spunky personality is balanced by their eager to please nature, so this loyal dog will stay by your side. A pet parent who has experience with obedience training and socializing dogs would be the most appropriate fit for this little dog. Their bold character fits into a small package of only 11 to 12 pounds.


Pekingese Dog

This breed is confident and independent-minded, and is content living the life of a pampered lap dog. Pekingese make loyal companions but are often wary of strangers and may not have patience for young children. These dogs have low exercise needs and are therefore a great choice for quieter, less active small home with a loving pet parent. However, the breed is prone to some health problems related to their short snout and long back. Pekes have a long, luscious coat and weigh in between 7 and 12 pounds as adults.

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier Dog

The Rat Terrier is energetic, outgoing breed with a strong love of swimming. Rat Terriers are eager to please and relatively hardy health-wise. There are three size categories: toy, miniature, and standard. The breed can range from 4 pounds in weight to upwards of 35 pounds, so owners can choose the size that best suits their lifestyle. Apartment living can work well for pet parents who are dedicated to exercising their Rat Terrier regularly, because these dogs need a good deal of physical activity to keep them busy and prevent boredom.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu dog

The sweet-natured Shih Tzu is an ideal family pet. These small dogs were historically bred to be companions, so by nature they are affectionate, loyal, and calm. A Shih Tzu will be perfectly content playing and lounging with their owner, although they do need a lot of care to maintain their luxurious coat. They weigh anywhere from 9 to 16 pounds. If you are searching for a lap dog who would do well with children or elderly owners, the Shih Tzu might be the perfect fit.

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel dog

The Tibetan Spaniel is tender and friendly with other pets and children. Reaching between 10 and 15 pounds at their adult size, these elegant dogs are great for smaller spaces. They don't require too much exercise, but love to play. However, their longer coat needs regular grooming, and the breed is prone to some health issues. Part lap dog, part watchdog, this breed could be the perfect small dog for you.

Toy Xoloitzcuintli

Toy Xoloitzcuintli Dog

The Toy Xoloitzcuintli, often referred to as the Mexican hairless, is a small dog with an appearance and personality that demand attention. These dogs are alert, intelligent, and affectionate, although they can be wary of strangers. Toy xolos don't need much exercise, but they do need protection from the elements. Locations with very strong sun or very cold weather would not suit this breed. These dogs can weigh between 5 and 15 pounds as adults. There are also miniature and standard varieties, which have a similar personality to the toy, but are slightly larger.

17 to 25 Pounds

The "larger" small breeds vary in appearance and personality. The canines in this group range from the Lhasa Apso to the Bedlington Terrier. The Bedlington is popular with pet parents suffering from allergies, as this dog's non-shedding coat is a preserved characteristic of the breed.

Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kai

The small, energetic Alaskan Klee Kai resembles a husky but stays very small, reaching only 16 to 22 pounds, on average. This breed is highly intelligent, curious, and can be vocal when they have something to say. The Alaskan Klee Kai would make a great fit in a modest-sized home with an active family who can provide them with plenty of exercise and attention. These full-coated dogs do shed quite a bit and may be at risk for breed-related disorders.


Basenji Dog

Basenjis are smart, fearless dogs who become very devoted to their people. With high exercise needs and a stubborn streak, these dogs do need plenty of attention; they're certainly not lap dogs. They are not a good fit for a novice pet parent. This breed is referred to as the "barkless" dog. However, they can make sounds that resemble yodeling. They have an elegant but sturdy frame and reach 20 to 25 pounds as adults.

13-Inch Beagle

Beagle Dog

The 13-inch Beagle is the smallest variety of the Beagle breed and weighs less than 20 pounds. They are generally good-natured hounds with an affectionate demeanor. Puppies have excessive energy, while adults of the breed are often very calm and happy to lounge on the couch for most of the day. Like the standard Beagle, these dogs have a tendency to bark or howl. They are a good fit for a first-time or experienced dog owner who is ready for a loving and curious companion.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier Dog

The Bedlington Terrier is unshakable -- some might say single-minded -- breed. They are best known for their distinct breed-standard haircut. These dogs were bred for endurance and speed, so they do best in an active household with adequate space. The breed is gentle and affectionate with their family but may be scrappy with other pets, so they often prefer to be the only pet in a household. However, the Bedlington gets along well with most children and cats. Both males and females weigh around 17 to 23 pounds.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier Dog

Strong and filled with energy, Boston Terriers are famous for sporting their huge personality in a small package. These dogs are intelligent, lovable, and friendly with just about anyone. They don't need much space, so they can do well in a small dwelling with daily walks. Bostons reach 10 to 25 pounds. There are some inherited health risks owners must be aware of. However, the breed is a great fit for owners searching for a small dog that's more durable than the average toy breed.

Cesky Terrier

Cesky Terrier dog

The Cesky Terrier is an uncommon breed with a silky coat and adaptable nature. These dogs are fearless but tend to be very happy as family pets, as long as they get adequate exercise. While they are very affectionate and loyal to their owners, this breed may be a little apprehensive toward strangers. However, this trait can make them great watchdogs. Ceskys are a long breed with short legs, and weigh between 13 and 22 pounds.


Dachshund Dog

Dachshunds are loving yet feisty dogs with strong personalities. There are two sizes within the breed: the Miniature Dachshund, which typically weighs less than 11 pounds, and the standard, which can be anywhere from 16 to 25 pounds. These dogs tend to develop strong bonds with a single family member and can become impatient and nippy with children. They do need regular exercise to prevent weight gain, which can lead to health problems. Additionally, care should be taken to protect their long spines during handling and play.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Dog

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is outgoing, yet sensitive and determined. This breed has a calm demeanor but still enjoys playing with their family. They are often shy with strangers and reactive toward other dogs, so they may not be a good fit for a household with other pets. This terrier weighs between 18 and 24 pounds and has a longer body. Because of their unique coat, dandies have special grooming requirements compared to most other small breeds.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog

Danish-Swedish Farmdog

With a small, sturdy body and energetic nature, the Danish-Swedish Farmdog is a great choice for an active family. They do well with children but have a high prey drive, so they may chase cats or other small pets. Given their patience and intelligence, this breed may be a candidate for a therapy companion. These dogs weigh between 15 and 26 pounds. They are generally healthy with no known genetic diseases. The Danish-Swedish Farmdog thrives in a home with a yard, but also does well in a smaller home if sufficiently exercised.

French Bulldog

French Bulldog Puppy

The French Bulldog is a lovable and goofy canine companion. This breed tends to be independent with a stubborn streak, so they are not an ideal fit a first-time dog owner. Their brachycephalic face puts them at risk for airway problems and heatstroke in warm environments, in addition to other diseases. The Frenchie loves playing with children and would be a great fit with a lively family, although they can also thrive in a quieter household due to their minimal exercise needs. These dogs can range in size from 16 up to 28 pounds.


Jagdterrier Dog

The Jagdterrier is a courageous, athletic dog originally bred to be a versatile hunter. If you're looking for a small sporting or hunting dog, this breed might be the right fit. The Jagdterrier isn't the type of dog to lounge around the house, though they are small at only 17 to 22 pounds. They're incredibly alert, intelligent, and eager to have a job, so they need an owner who can dedicate time to their training and activities. The breed is friendly and playful with children, but may not get along with other dogs or cats unless socialized with them from puppyhood.

Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier Dog

A self-assured dog with a willful nature, the Lakeland Terrier is a natural born leader. These small dogs resemble an Airedale but only weigh between 15 and 18 pounds, so they are a great size for an apartment or small home. The breed is not shy and therefore would not be a good fit with a timid owner. However, if you're an active owner looking for an energetic, outgoing small dog, the spirited Lakeland could be perfect. They'll keep you on your toes and fill your heart with joy.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso Dog

The Lhasa Apso is very well suited to family life. However, they can be aloof with strangers. Thanks to their low exercise needs, these dogs do well with owners who have less active lifestyles. They become devoted to their family, but can also tolerate being alone. However, the breed has a tendency to bark, especially to alert the household. Potential owners should be aware that this breed may be prone to genetic disorders or conditions. Lhasas reach between 11 and 18 pounds as adults -- the perfect size for your lap!


Pug Dog

The Pug is a hardy yet small breed known for their gregarious temperament. They're affectionate, charming, steady-natured, and do well with children. These dogs are not especially athletic, so they're best suited for a calmer household and can thrive in a smaller home without a yard. The breed is at risk for some health issues that potential owners should be aware of, such as eye problems. Pugs are stocky dogs and weigh in between 14 and 18 pounds.


Schipperke Dog

The Schipperke has high intelligence and a lot of energy, and needs an engaged, active human companion. While this small breed is playful and good-natured, they can have a stubborn streak. Dog owners with prior training experience would be a good fit for the Schipperke. Physical and mental stimulation are necessary to keep these dogs busy and out of mischief. Despite their small size, ranging from 7 to 20 pounds, Schipperkes naturally make excellent watchdogs. They tend to get along well with children, cats, and other dogs.

Scottish Terrier

Scottish Terrier Dog

With their strong independent nature, the Scottish Terrier is a small dog who will rule your household. These dogs are sturdy and agile, at only 18 to 22 pounds, with a tenacious attitude. Daily walks are necessary, although this breed does not have boundless energy or high exercise needs. The Scottie settles down into a remarkably dignified adult, but puppy training can be challenging for a first-time dog owner. Prospective owners should understand the potential health concerns these dogs can inherit.

Sealyham Terrier

Sealyham Terrier Dog

The Sealyham Terrier is a strong-willed, adaptable little breed. They make loyal and devoted companions, though they can be wary of strangers. This breed is a good fit for owners who like to spend time outdoors. Given their high prey drive, a home without small pets would be ideal for this feisty terrier. Their innate stubbornness requires patient and persistent training. Sealies weigh around 18 to 20 pounds at their adult size.

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

A striking and energetic breed, the Shetland Sheepdog resembles their larger cousin, the Collie. However, these dogs weigh a mere 14 to 27 pounds. They have a gentle, kind demeanor and become quick friends with most other animals, though they may be cautious with strangers. This breed becomes devoted to their human counterparts, including children, though they may try to herd family members, nipping their heels in the process. The sheltie is a good fit for a first-time dog owner, though their long coat requires regular grooming. The breed shares similar health issues with the Collie, including seizure disorders and Collie eye anomaly, among others.

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu Dog

The spirited Shiba Inu is known to bond strongly with their family and is almost cat-like in demeanor. Despite their small size of only 15 to 24 pounds, members of the breed tend to be independent and fearless. These strong-willed dogs may be too smart for their own good, which can make training challenging. The unique Shiba Inu is best suited for an experienced dog owner who can dedicate the time and training needed to raise this clever breed. Shibas are fairly healthy dogs with minimal breed-specific ailments.

Smooth Fox Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier Dog

Digging is a favorite hobby of the energetic Smooth Fox Terrier. This breed does best with an active family, as they have moderate exercise needs. However, once they've been exercised, these dogs will gladly curl up in your lap. At only 13 to 20 pounds, they are the perfect size to do so. Smooth Fox Terriers are also known to be affectionate companions and wonderful family pets because they get along with children and adults alike. This terrier is also an excellent watchdog. They will alert you to strangers, but won't bark incessantly.

Standard Manchester Terrier

Standard Manchester Terrier Dog

The Manchester Terrier is an independent-minded, outgoing, and intelligent small breed. They are similar in temperament to the Toy Manchester Terrier, but have a larger frame and reach between 12 to 22 pounds when they are full grown. This breed can do well in many types of dwellings, such as an apartment or larger home. However, they do best with an active family that can fulfill their exercise needs within or outside the home. The standard Manchester tends to be hardier than the toy variety, with fewer genetic diseases.

West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier Dog

A small dog with a rather large ego, the West Highland White Terrier is inquisitive and outgoing. As their name implies, these dogs are known for their wavy, pure white coat. They reach between 13 and 22 pounds at their adult size. Despite their elegant appearance, westies are rugged dogs who require an active lifestyle. If you are a first-time dog owner on the hunt for a confident, small dog who will readily take on any adventure, this breed may be your match. However, the westie may not be a good choice for a household with children.

Wire Fox Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier Dog

The Wire Fox Terrier is curious and bright. With boundless energy, this breed is suited to owners with an active lifestyle. These dogs are courageous and intelligent, making them a great choice for dog sports. They do well with children and become incredibly devoted and affectionate with their family. Similar in size to the smooth-coated variety, the Wire Fox Terrier reaches between 13 and 20 pounds. However, the main distinguishing feature is their wire-textured coat.

How to Choose the Right Small Breed

If you are looking for a tiny watchdog or a canine who socializes with practically everyone, there are many factors to consider. Do not make an impulsive decision to bring a small pup into your life. Consider which family members are on point for the majority of the dog's care. All dogs require a significant amount of time dedicated to playing, walks, and obedience.

Small Breeds Fit Various Lifestyles

Consider your home and whether the breed you've fallen in love with will fit into your lifestyle. Do you live in an apartment? Do you have children, cats, or large breed dogs at home? Small dogs tend to be easy to handle, but some may not get along with certain housemates. Review which breeds are a good fit with your household before making a decision.

Many pet parents living in smaller homes or apartments look for a small breed, and almost every dog under 25 pounds is a good candidate, provided you fulfill their individual exercise needs. Some terriers may bark, so take each dog's typical temperament into account as you create a short-list of breeds.

Tenacious Terriers Are Not for Everyone

Always make sure every member of the family is on board with this decision. Terriers are ratters and enjoy chasing vermin. If you live with cats or small pets, including ferrets, you may want to consider another type of small dog breed. You don't want to spend the day managing your terrier to prevent them from chasing your cat!

Seek a Reputable Small Dog Breeder

Gather all available information about your preferred breed from reputable breeders and breed club websites. Talk to a breeder about why you are interested in a small breed and what traits you'd like to see in a dog.

  • Visit as many breeders as possible and compare experiences from each kennel.
  • Study the breed's standard and meet the parents of any potential pups.
  • Only invest in a puppy sound in mind and health. The best age to acquire a pup is 8 to 16 weeks of age.

Adopting a Small Dog

If you're looking for a small breed dog, searching in shelters and rescues is also a great option. Many adoptable dogs are mixed-breed, but facilities often list them by their primary breed. Learning the characteristics of this dominant breed can give you an idea of what to expect. Small dog rescues that specialize in placing only small breed dogs also exist.

If you have your heart set on a certain breed but would like to give a homeless dog a second chance, look to purebred rescues. Perhaps you'd like to adopt a Papillon, or you want to rescue a Miniature Dachshund in need. Numerous organizations focus on adoptions of puppies and dogs belonging to a specific breed.

Tiny Dogs Are Easily Injured

Is there a large amount of foot traffic in your home? Smaller pets can easily get in the way or end up under foot in the home. It's common for small breeds to wind up at the vet after a large gathering if pet parents are not paying close attention. A leap off the bed or couch could also result in injury. Make sure your small breed is in a crate or a special room to relax if you entertain a lot, and confirm a tiny dog is a good fit if you live with several family members.

Many Small Breeds Do Not Need as Much Exercise

Some tiny breed dogs do not require as much exercise as larger breeds. A daily walk is essential for every dog, but some small breeds only require a brisk walk around the block or playtime in the yard. Always talk to a reputable breeder, your veterinarian, or a canine behaviorist about the amount of exercise a dog needs to determine which small dog is a good fit for your lifestyle.

Small Dog Breeds May Have Giant Personalities

Small breeds are available in every size, shape, color, and coat type. There are many advantages to living with a little dog. Tiny breeds eat less food, require less space, and can be the perfect companions for pet parents living in smaller homes. All small breeds are different, with varying personalities, but remember, big things come in small packages.

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