While there are many small dog breeds, the term "miniature dog breeds" typically refers to down-sized versions of an established breed. Some minis are recognized as a breed in their own right or as an official variety of the original breed. And in other cases, people selectively breed smaller and smaller specimens of a breed to create designer dogs that are much in demand.
Miniature Bull Terrier
The miniature bull terrier is a smaller version of the original bull terrier breed. They have the same egg-shaped head and muscular body, just with much smaller dimensions. Alongside the standard bull terrier, which usually weighs around 50 pounds at their adult size, the mini bull terrier looks a lot like a puppy. They reach a tiny 20 to 35 pounds when they're full grown; can you believe it?
Even though the miniature pinscher's name and looks might lead you to believe it's a miniaturized version of the doberman pinscher, that's not the case. This adorable mini dog breed was actually developed using Italian greyhounds, dachshunds, and German Pinschers as the foundation stock, so they're only distantly related to dobbies.
Poodles come in three size varieties, and the miniature poodle is actually the mid-size variety. These minis tend to be a little more hyper than the standard, though they share a lot of the same traits, like their intelligence and curly hair. Are you curious about the smallest poodle type? The toy poodle is even smaller, standing less than 10 inches tall and under 10 pounds!
Miniature poodles have curly hair like their larger cousins, which is very low-shedding and a great choice for allergy-sufferers.
The miniature schnauzer was bred down from the standard schnauzer using smaller individuals of that breed and interbreeding them with poodles and affenpinschers. The result is a tenacious and spunky miniature dog that's just the right size to fit in your lap. That is, if you can get them to sit still for long enough to stay there!
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
If you haven't heard of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, you're not alone. These cute scenthounds are pretty rare in the United States. The PBGV, as the breed is referred to, is a down-sized descendent of the larger Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen.
Did you know that the dachshund breed you've grown to love actually comes in two sizes? The standard dachshund weighs anywhere between 16 and 32 pounds, whereas the mini weighs under 11 pounds. They're both technically the same breed, though; the only difference is their size.
The Italian greyhound is the result of selectively breeding progressively smaller greyhounds to produce a miniature pet dog. Greyhounds weigh in between 60 and 80 pounds, while the Italian greyhound is an itty bitty eight to 11 pounds. Even though they look nearly identical physically (apart from their size), they have very different personalities. Italian greyhounds are incredibly high energy and fragile.
Beagles are small as it is, but the pocket beagle is even smaller. They're not recognized as a distinct breed, so there's no breed standard, but they tend to be anywhere from seven to 15 pounds, which is tiny! They're easy to travel with and make affectionate pets.
Any miniature dog breed that has been bred down to a very small size is at risk for health problems. If you're buying a puppy, make sure you do so from a responsible breeder who does genetic testing.
Miniature American Shepherd
Have you ever heard of the mini aussie? This mini dog breed is actually its very own breed and is formally known as the miniature American shepherd. They were bred down from the standard aussie but weren't recognized as a distinct breed until 2015. Still, they have the same thick coat, high energy, and athletic ability as the Australian shepherd.
Alaskan Klee Kai
A miniature husky? Yes, you heard us right. The Alaskan klee kai is a descendent of the full-sized husky with a bit of schipperke and American Eskimo dog thrown in to achieve that tiny pocket size. Along with being absolutely adorable, these dogs are very trainable and vocal to boot.
The Welsh terrier might look like a miniature Airedale terrier, but they're only distantly related. They share the old English black and tan terrier as a parent breed, but that's where their history ends. These small terriers are strong-willed and can be a challenge to train, but it's worth it for a playful and charming mini dog.
Mini Dog Breeds Are a Lot of Character in a Small Package
Even though miniature dog breeds are smaller pets, they're not necessarily easier to raise. Small dogs tend to be more hyper, vocal, and needy compared to their larger counterparts. Make sure you do your research on any breed specific breeds you're attracted to in order to make an informed decision before bringing one home. These little dogs can still be a handful!