30 small dog breeds (with pictures!)

small yorkshire in a park

If there is such a thing as happiness, it is certainly with a furry four-legged friend! However, not all of us have a large home or the same needs. That’s why small dogs can be the perfect way to grow the family.

Some dog breeds find it difficult to adapt to small spaces. Their size, instinct and need for activity may outweigh the resources we can provide them with. For this reason, we want to show you 30 small dog breeds to help choose your next companion.

Beagle

beagle portrait

The floppy ears and tri-colored coat make the beagle an unmistakable breed. However, the typical beagle dog stands out among other small dog breeds because of their extraordinary nose and an independent, outgoing and sociable personality.

But beware, beagles are also famous for their escapist tendencies, so they are very adept at finding nooks and crannies to escape.

Bichon Frise

bichon frise laying down in grass

This little cotton cloud weighing no more than 9 pounds boasts a dense, white, curly coat that requires care to be perfect. In addition, their tender and energetic appearance usually brings a good dose of joy to the home.

As long as it is treated gently, the bichon frisé will get along with the children of the house, becoming the protector of the home. In fact, this is one of the small dog breeds that need more constant contact with the family, otherwise they can develop a deep sadness.

Havanese

havanese dog swimming

Their sympathetic and friendly expression, as well as their unsurpassed patience, make the Havanese a very suitable choice for families with small children. Obedient and easy to train, their behavior during their adult stage will depend on the training they receive during the first years of life.

On the other hand, they do require a lot of attention, otherwise they could develop anxiety and destructive behaviors.

Maltese Bichon

maltese dog hypoallergenic

The size and appearance of the Maltese bichon has certain similarities with the Havanese variant, which can sometimes lead to confusion. However, this small dog has a completely white and long coat, with very little shedding.

They tend to remain alert and show great devotion to their family, which they express through affection and loyalty. They also have high agility, playfulness and patience.

Boston terrier

boston terrier laying down

This little dog with pointed ears stands out for their playful and restless character, because though they may seem quiet, the boston terrier enjoys attention and fun. They have adapted well to cities, so they are also known as “the American gentleman”.

In addition to drooling, the boston terrier also tends to snore.

Affenpinscher

affenpinscher walking on grass

A single glance at the affenpinscher’s face is enough for us to understand the reason for their German name, ‘monkey terrier’. Not only do they bear a strong physical resemblance to a small monkey, but they also have similarities in character, such as their curious and playful side.

Their size is not an impediment to activity, of which they need a good amount. For this reason, you should be prepared to go for a walk or jog with them every day.

On the other hand, this small dog is not usually recommended for families with children, as Affenpinschers tend to be territorial, protective and quite stubborn. Training through positive reinforcement can be of great help.

French Bulldog

black and white french bulldog

This small dog is characterized by a classic flat nose, short muzzle and muscular body. The French bulldog is a dog very suitable for spending time with small children. They tend to be very affectionate, patient, protective and sociable.

However, you should avoid hot climates and allowing your little one to get overweight as this breed tends to suffer from respiratory problems.

Cairn terrier

cairn terrier standing

Strongly muscled and cunning, the cairn terrier usually stands out for their rough coat and pointed ears, as well as their cheerful, lively and extroverted attitude. This Scottish breed has great gifts to interact with children and other animals. Although, if this is your intention, we recommend training for this, as they can become very independent dogs.

Toy poodle

toy poodle with tongue out

Although tiny, the toy poodle is one of the most intelligent breeds that exist. In fact, they often need new challenges and exercises to keep them active.

On the other hand, you must be willing to take care of their curly coat, especially if you want them to be at the top of beauty contests. A daily brushing will be enough to obtain a long and elegant curly coat.

Poodles are divided in three official sizes: standard, miniature and toy. The dogs of the latter group do not exceed 5 pounds.

Yorkshire terrier

yorkshire in a flower field

Of English origin, the Yorkshire terrier or Yorkie is one of the favorite breeds for family living. Their characteristic ponytail, as well as their gray and earth tones, make them an unmistakable breed. This breed is often part of therapeutic sessions and canine competitions due to their loyal, affectionate and courageous temperament.

On the other hand, their tendency to bark and their protective instinct make them an excellent watchdog.

Pug

pug portrait

This little dog with wrinkles on his muzzle may seem to be always in a bad mood, but nothing could be further from the truth! The pug ‘s scowl is just one feature of their physical traits, as is their flattened, short nose.

Additionally, the pug is considered to be a friendly and affectionate dog, capable of providing respectful and pleasant companionship.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel brown white

This small breed comes from England and is the result of crossbreeding between spaniels. With the passage of time, the cavalier king charles spaniel has become one of the most attractive breeds for seniors and children due to their affectionate and sociable character, as well as their love for walking and resting.

Because of their noble and approachable nature, they are not suitable as a guard dog. They also have a natural hunting instinct, so small animals and birds may be in danger at their side.

Chihuahua

portrait of a chihuahua laying down

The Chihuahua is considered the smallest breed of dog in the world, being no more than 9 inches tall. Their origin seems to be in Mexico and among the main features of the Chihuahua we can find their faithful and brave character.

In fact, they often live attached to their human companion, whom they are able to defend due to the distorted perception they have about their own size.

One of their objectives will be to keep their owner’s attention at all times. If this is not achieved, they may develop jealousy towards the external element. For this reason, sharing a home with both small children and a Chihuahua can be quite a challenge.

However, they stand out above other breeds for having a life expectancy of between 11 and 19 years, a very long-living breed!

Chinese Crested

chinese crested dog photo

When we talk about the Chinese Crested, we must begin by differentiating their two variations: the Chinese Crested hairless and the powderpuff, meaning, one with tufts of hair only on the head, tail and legs and the other with soft long hair.

When we refer to the Chinese Crested hairless, you will see that they are characterized by a very soft, pinkish-gray skin that requires care to protect it from UV rays.

Although they tend to be very shy and timid small dogs, they usually show a very cheerful and affectionate attitude towards their human family. In fact, they can forge a very strong bond with their owners and can find it hard to spend much time alone.

English Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel lying down in grass

Among small dogs of a larger size is the English cocker spaniel, an English breed with a determined, athletic and intelligent character that dislikes being alone. For this reason, they tend to develop a very strong bond with a single family member, usually the one who feeds them.

If socialization is encouraged from an early age, they can maintain a very balanced relationship with children and dogs as well as with other animals.

Welsh Cardigan Corgi

welsh corgi cardigan walking

This small dog with short legs and an elongated body loves the outdoors and the family environment, as they maintain the herding instinct of their ancestors. The Welsh Cardigan Corgi is a very loyal and obedient dog that remains very attentive to their surroundings, so they are considered excellent watchdogs.

Also, and beyond what you may believe because of their short legs, they need at least one hour of daily activity.

Italian Greyhound

side portrait italian greyhound

This breed, originally from Italy, is a variation of the racing greyhound. With a docile and cheerful character, the Italian Greyhound tends to enjoy quiet environments and calm people, so they will suffer a lot of stress in a home with constant noise or a lot of movement. As an adult, they can develop an attachment to their human companion, as well as some reservations with strangers.

They live better with small dogs than with large dogs, and while not as active as the racing greyhound, they maintain their wild spirit, so they enjoy running.

Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon standing up in grass

The small Brussels Griffon is a toy dog breed that barely grows, but that does not detract from the fact that they are considered truly intelligent dogs with a great need to understand their environment. Loyal, sensitive and devoted, this dog tends to bond with only one person, so they are not usually comfortable around children.

Good training will be the way to prevent their stubborn behavior, as well as the opportunity to integrate them in a space with other animals

Jack Russell terrier

jack russell terrier looking at the camera

These beautiful, small, white-and-brown, short-haired dogs adapt perfectly to small spaces, as long as they have a good amount of exercise at their disposal.

In fact, thanks to their athletic, strong and agile body, the Jack Russell Terrier is a great companion during running sessions and a good competitor in speed and endurance tests.

Additionally, they stand out for their obedient, loyal and friendly character.

Russian Miniature

russian miniature portrait

Similar to the Chihuahua in size and the Papillon in appearance, the Russian Miniature was originally bred as a pet for the aristocracy. For this reason, it is not surprising that one of their favorite activities is spending time with their owner.

Both because of their past as guardians and ratters and their playful attitude, they enjoy an active household, even when children are present. Just remember: they’re dogs, not toys!

Morkie

morkie

The Morkie is a mix of the Yorkshire and Maltese breeds and is noted for a sleek coat that they show off on walks. Their strong and distinctive temperament is complemented by a remarkably calm and very dependent character, so they require a good amount of affection and attention.

They need thorough socialization, as they can present problems with other dogs, as well as with human strangers. Similarly, they can suffer from separation anxiety, a detail to take into account so they can live a happy and balanced life.

Papillon

papillon dog on grass

This Belgian-French dog with butterfly wings is over 300 years old and is considered one of the oldest small dog breeds. The Papillon is considered an ideal companion because of their playfulness, affection and self-confidence. In fact, they can become the ideal friend for children and other animals.

In addition, these small dogs adapt well to small spaces as well as to larger ones with access to the open air.

Pekingese

pekingese lying down on grass

Originally from Beijing, China, this small dog breed derives from the mythical dogs of Tibet.

The Pekingese enjoys tranquility and little exercise, as well as the comfort of home. For this reason, they do not hesitate to assert themselves when their space is invaded and to attack dogs larger than them if they deem it appropriate. They are considered good watchdogs, because even though they do not tend to bark, they will act strange and will make sounds when strangers appear.

Beyond their territorial and protective nature, the Pekinese loves cuddling and relaxation.

Pomeranian

pomeranian on a bench

This fox-faced, brownish-colored puppy weighs no more than 10 pounds and could be considered very delicate. However, make no mistake! Although they are one of the small dog breeds that require a lot of care, especially brushing and hygiene, the Pomeranian is very curious and constantly alert, so it is recommended to keep them entertained.

They can be very distrustful of strangers, as well as territorial, so they should be adopted when they are still puppies. However, they respond very well to training and show a very cheerful character with their owners.

Schnauzer

schnauzer lying down on grass

With a calm and affectionate nature, this is one of the most popular dog breeds. Their cheerful and intelligent nature makes the schnauzer a dog with high activity needs, both physically and mentally. However, they also enjoy spending quiet time at home.

This small dog is very sensitive to their owner’s reactions, so it is necessary to socialize them from puppyhood.

Japanese Spaniel

japanese spaniel on a couch

This is one of the smallest and oldest breeds in existence today. Ever since their existence, there have been indications of their happy and friendly nature. Despite this, the Japanese spaniel also exhibits an independent, cat-like attitude. So much so, that they tend to jump on furniture in order to have a wider and clearer view of the whole room.

A very interesting detail of the Japanese spaniel is their ability to mold their personality according to the character of their owner. Be that as it may, they are a very affectionate dog with their family.

German Spitz

german spitz standing up on grass

Of German origin and Nordic descent, the German spitz is a friendly dog with a balanced character. They show a special fondness for spending time with their own kind and for learning. However, they can develop the habit of barking at strangers, so you should correct this attitude from the beginning

Regarding their care, they need regular brushing and moderate physical activity.

Shih Tzu

shih tzu in nature

Coming from China, the Shih Tzu was originally bred to live inside Chinese palaces. Perhaps because of this, this is one of the small breeds of dogs that enjoy the indoors and short walks more than a life outdoors.

The Shih Tzu shows a somewhat haughty nature, although they are really affectionate with small children, cats and other dogs. In fact, they love cuddles and require some training in order to get used to their limits.

Dachshund

dachshund portrait

These little German dogs are popularly known as “dachshunds” because of their elongated body. Their curious physiognomy makes the dachshund one of the most suitable small dog breeds for a quiet life, as they hate to run!

You can find dachshunds in standard and miniature sizes, but whichever version you choose, you’ll get a brave and very happy friend.

Toy Fox terrier

The toy fox terrier is the perfect breed for families looking for an active pet that can also live in small spaces. Beyond their size, this dog breed has a lot of stored energy. Brave, agile, fast and very intelligent, the toy fox terrier is often a very good outdoor exercise companion.

Despite their sociable and outgoing nature, this dog is truly loyal to their family and will enjoy a day in the country as much as lounging on the couch.

Conclusion

As you have seen, small dogs are a very suitable alternative if you have little space and still want to forge a strong bond with a four-legged animal. If you are thinking of adopting, we advise you to take into account the requirements and the character of your future companion, after all, they will become one of the family.

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