Need alerted when a rogue squirrel enters your property?
Looking for a cuddly lap warmer?
How about a 4-legged Walmart greeter for your house?
I'm sure you'll find exactly what you're looking for! Each dog breed page below will help you find all of these traits and then some. Each page also contains a chart on the shedding factors, suitability for children, excitability, maintenance needs and other details for each breed.
When it comes to the 44 most popular small dog breeds listed here, good things do come in small packages! This page focuses on helping you find the best one for your family and lifestyle.
Speaking of packages, don't forget that dogs come with baggage. I'm not just talking about poop bags either! A dog's baggage is the lifetime commitment you make when you purchase or adopt a dog.
We all know that life can turn on a dime, but dogs lose their homes for the saddest of reasons. Shelters are full of dogs that lost their homes through no fault of their own, so before you begin your search, ask yourself, will you be:
These are sadly just a few of the reasons.
Aside from what they cost as puppies, which can vary between $200.00 and $3,500 plus, maintenance needs and vet expenses cost as much for small dogs as they do for large dogs. According to smartmoney.com, dog owners spent an average of $785.00 last year on vet bills alone.
But there are ways to spend less.
If you've made plans to adopt your future best friend, you're already much further ahead, cost wise. You must already know that adopting a purebred dog at a fraction of the cost of buying one could save hundreds of dollars and countless lives! And you probably already know that 25-30% of the 7 million dogs euthanized each year are purebreds, already spayed or neutered and vet checked!
All of the popular small dog breeds listed below have their own dedicated rescue groups, too! If you're open to the idea of giving your love to a rescue dog, check out our FAQ page for helpful tips on how to find the purebred dog breeds near you in need of loving forever homes.
Affenpinschers are a small dog breed with one of the cutest of all nicknames. Because of their appearance, they are affectionately known as the "monkey dog". If you're looking for a non shedding dog because you don't want the mess, this may be the breed for you, but if you're allergic to dander, test your tolerance with a few visits before making a commitment to own an Affenpinscher. Being non shedding does not automatically mean hypoallergenic.
American Hairless Terrier
While they may not be common, the American Hairless Terrier is one of the most popular small dog breeds for people with severe dog allergies. Other than whiskers and eye brows, this dog is completely free of body hair. Hypoallergenic? Perhaps for some and it's possible they could be for you as well! Learn more about what makes a dog hypoallergenic. Then learn all you can about the American Hairless Terrier. They come in three size varieties to suit any lifestyle: toy, miniature and standard.
Some small dog breeds, like the Basenji are not for everyone. They are a high energy breed that can be very discouraging if you like a submissive sort of dog. But if you're looking for a clean dog that loves to play, A Basenji may be just the best breed for you... and we can help you decide! Learn as much as possible about everything Basenji right here.
A Bedlington Terrier is a little more laid back than a few other terriers we could mention. They still need lots of play time and regular exercise like most other small dog breeds to keep boredom at bay, but if you don't mind a daily walk, he adapts well to apartment life. This being said, a Bedlington Terrier is not perfect for everyone. This breed requires regular grooming which can be expensive. More on the Bedlington Terrier coming soon!
A Bichon Frise is a toy breed. They have a thick coat of wavy hair, but no undercoat. On top of being virtually shed-free, Bichons have few inherent health problems and get along great with other pets. Click here for more information and to see some of my Bichon Frise dog art!
This breed loves to run and jump and can make a great companion for the right family. If you're considering a Border, why not consider adoption? There is, no doubt, a Border Terrier near you in need of a loving home. Rescue dogs are 100% the same and just as loveable as a dog from a pet shop or breeder! Check petfinder.com to find one in your area who needs you.
If you're considering a Boston Terrier, a reputable breeder is a must in order to avoid a puppy mill dog. A carelessly bred Boston Terrier can have many, many health related issues and several temperament related issues. That being said, Boston Terriers have their own unique charm. They love family life and generally do very with children.
The Brussels Griffon is a toy breed who loves to please. Most train very easily, especially when a breeder is chosen wisely. There are also many benefits to adopting this particular breed... and most all breeds for that matter. An adult dog adopted through rescue is already housebroken, out of the chewing phase, his temperament is already apparent and any health issues would already be known... Learn more about Griffons by clicking here.
Most small dog breeds love to chew, but Bull Terriers really loves to chew! This breed of dog will eat almost anything... and just because he can't swallow something doesn't mean he won't try. Strong Terrier traits can make training this breed difficult. Bull Terriers are high energy and fit best into families where someone can be home with him most of the time.
As far as small dog breeds go, you can't go wrong with a Cairn Terrier... most of the time! They are a small to medium sized breed from the Terrier group and unlike many of the other small dog breeds, Cairns are known for being great with children and have minimal maintenance requirements. Being one of the few "exceptions to the rule", we find ourselves recommending Cairns to all types of different people. Learn more about Cairns by clicking here.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavaliers are even-tempered, loyal and blend well into family life. They are also tolerant of well-behaved children. Finding a reputable breeder is of utmost importance, however. Virtually 100% of all Cavs suffer due to a specific heart valve condition which does eventually kill the majority of them. Early on-set of this disease can be avoided by careful breeding. Learn more about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to discover if this particular small dog breed is the best one for you.
A Chihuahua is a big dog that comes wrapped in a tiny package. For the lovers of this breed, their idiosyncrasies are endearing, but this is not the breed for everyone. For one, because they are among the most fragile of the small dog breeds and unfortunately their plight does not end there. This poor dog has been over-bred to the point that they are now the 2nd most euthanized dog breed in the United States today, only second to pit bulls (which is also very sad). Please... if you discover that a chihuahua could be the perfect breed for you, please choose rescue or adoption. Learn more about Chihuahuas.
Chinese Crested- Hairless and Powderpuff
Both varieties of Chinese Cresteds have regular maintenance needs. While the powderpuff needs regular brushing and regular trips to see the groomer, the hairless isn't without her own needs. Hairless Chinese Cresteds need sunscreen in the summer months because her skin can burn just as our does. She will also need her own wardrobe. Dog clothes will keep her warm through every season, even in the summer. Learn more about Chinese Cresteds here.
Cocker Spaniels do quite well in most living situations and even adapt well to apartment life. When properly socialized this medium sized dog breed gets along well with other pets and even well-behaved children. Their popularity goes without saying. This, however, is not a good thing for the breed in general. Like many other small dog breeds, opportunistic breeders are over-producing Cocker Spaniels for the sake of profit. Learn all the ways to avoid purchasing a sick or ill-tempered Cocker Spaniel here.
Ah, the lovable wiener dog! Rarely called Dachshunds, at least in our household! A curious and lively dog of great intelligence, easily trained and quite the characters! Along with their good looks, they're also full of personality. Dachshunds also come in a wide variety of colors. Despite being small they are prone to overeating and vulnerable to being overweight. It's not a good idea to allow them to become sedentary for this reason. More about the Doxie (yet another nickname) coming soon!
English Bulldogs are comical dogs and most have really good dispositions. They are noisy though, creating constant sounds... from both ends. I wouldn't recommend sharing a bed with an English Bulldog unless you happen to be a heavy sleeper. They are prone to suffer with breathing difficulties and the shorter their snout, the worse it gets for an English Bulldog.
Fox Terrier, Smooth-
A Fox Terrier would not be recommended for people with small children or other small animals. They aren't known to tolerate children, especially children under about the age of about 7... and they see other small animals as prey. They also needs large doses of daily exercise. This is one of the small dog breeds that I would not recommend for apartment dwellers, except for maybe very active apartment dwellers who could give the dog at least one hour or rigorous exercise daily.
Fox Terrier, Wire-
Wire Fox Terriers are basically the same as their smooth coated cousins. They have most of the same personality traits, but come with the extra responsibility of needing regular grooming. Both breeds are exceptional escape artist with high levels of energy and a virtually incorrigible instinct to hunt and chase.
French Bulldogs are quick learners... When they want to be! A dog who doesn't want to do something can be amazingly stubborn. Just ask a French Bulldog owner. On the up side, they are great listeners! By that I mean that French Bulldogs are extremely devoted and love little more than the company of their people. Learn more about this small dog breed here.
A Havanese is generally a very easy going and laid back dog. As with any breed, getting him out and about and introducing him to new people and situations (socializing, in other words), is never a bad idea. But for the most part a Havanese gets along well with other house pets and is very tolerant of well-behaved children. Havanese are also an intelligent breed that do well in obedience, however they are still a toy breed so housetraining could be a little more difficult. Learn more about the Havanese and how well this small dog breed might fit in with your family and lifestyle.
Italians greyhounds are fast and he'll prove it if you choose to walk him without a leash. Being in the business of dogs, I notice this breed far too often in canine amber alerts and the 'lost' sections of newspaper classifieds. Extreme shyness is only one of the things that might send him bolting and lots of early socialization can help to alleviate that. There is A LOT more to Learn about the Italian Greyhound before you should make the decision to bring one home.
Jack Russell Terrier
JRT's are extremely alert, energetic and eager to please. They learn new tricks very easily. They also do very well in agility trials. Jack Russell Terriers are also easily found in shelters and with rescue groups. Irresponsible dog owners are the main reason for this. There is sure to be a Jack Russell Terrier near you who needs you. Check out our adoption page for resources to help you in your search.
This is a very "people friendly" breed. They love the company of their owner, but because they're delicate, they're not idea for people with small children. Chins are full of personality and aren't one of the small dog breeds known to be 'yappy'. So... If you don't mind a high maintenance dog and the grooming expenses that come with one, a Japanese Chin makes a great lap warmer!
The thick, non shedding coat of the Lhasa apso is very high maintenance and requires frequent brushing, clipping, trimming, etc. to keep from becoming matted. Regular attention should also be given to nails, teeth, ears and pads. Learn more about Lhasas and use the bones chart near the top of the page to compare him to the other small dog breeds listed here.
The hair on this little dog is pretty high maintenance, but still non shedding. The Maltese is a toy breed and because of her fragility, she is not right for every household. Learn more about the Maltese and her specific needs by clicking here.
Manchester Terriers have many of the common Terrier traits. They are curious, love to chase and love the company of their people. This breed is not overly shy when it comes to strangers and generally gets along well with other pets when socialized Properly. More on the Manchester Terrier coming soon!
Miniature Bull Terriers
Miniature Bull Terriers loves to chew! This breed of dog will eat almost anything... and just because he can't swallow something doesn't mean he won't try. This is a high energy dog with a strong chasing instinct. A Bull Terrier fits best into a family who can be home with him most of the time.
Min Pins are curious dogs with a lot of energy. These dogs definitely need leashes in public places or when taken on walks. Strong curiosity along with an inate chasing instict causes these little dogs to go missing all too often. Consider adopting a Miniature Pinscher. Click Here to learn why it's a good idea!
Miniature Poodles are notorious for their love of people and are even great with well-behaved children. Poodles come in several colors, as well as sizes and they are easily and readily adoptable. Who says a purebred dog has to cost a fortune? Adoption saves lives! Learn more about Miniature Poodles .
Schnauzers come in a variety of sizes (miniature, standard and giant). The Miniature Schnauzer can make a great family pet... for the right family. Click the link to find out if this breed is the right dog for you! Don't forget to check out the pictures of Miniature Schnauzers! We feature adoptable dogs! These dogs are not damaged goods, many are just victims of irresponsible owners and they all still have a lot of love to give!
Mixed Breed Dog
A mutt, known by many names such as Morkie, Shih poo, puggle and many others, (too many to count) are all mixed breed dogs. Don't let irresponsible breeders fool you into believing they can "breed out" undesirable traits by mixing dogs and ESPECIALLY don't let them try to convince you that these are "designer breeds" and should cost more. The shelters are full of mixed breed dogs. Arm yourself with the facts about mixed breed dogs and how to adopt one.
One of the smallest of the working terriers, the Norwich Terrier and Norfolk Terriers are very similar breeds and together they are the smallest of the working terriers. They love their people and love people in general. This breed should not be shy, but that doesn't mean you won't have to socialize your Norwich Terrier. They are quick learners who are eager to please. If you have a treat, they have the time... and the intelligence to learn quickly!
Papillons aka The Butterfuly dogs. Gentle, easy going papillons are also athletic and intelligent... A great combination for obedience and agility trials and they're not slouches in family life either. Papillons make great pets and do well in either country or city living. Our Papillon page will be up soon! But for now, if you're on the lookout for Papillon, we hope you'll check out pet finder or search the internet for your area for a papillon in need of rescue!
Awww, the Pekingese. Who couldn't love a face like that? Well... anyway. Pekes are what I call, "one person dogs". If you're a one dog kind of person then you might consider a Peke. They make excellent watch dogs and excellent lap warmers! As always, we hope you'll consider adoption and if you do, here are some other great qualities that might suit you... a dog that is already housebroken, already out of chewing phase, his or her temperament will already be apparent (no worries over incompatability that way) and best of all, already housebroken! Oh, did I already say that? Well, it's true! Learn more about the Pekingese.
Pomeranians love people! They are a small dog breed that is eager to please which makes them very trainable. They are perfect for apartment life and they need our help. You can do your part by learning all there is to know about Pomeranians before bringing one home. You've already heard our song and dance about pet store puppies- You know... how most of them come from puppy mills (and we know that the employees at these places are misinformed and will try to convince you otherwise). But we've seen what the so-called "local breeder" facilities look like... and it ain't doggie day care.
To know them is to love them☺. Okay, they may not be at the head of the class in obedience school, but not because they're not smart enough. They're smart alright. They're also great watch dogs and fearless defenders. No cat will ever attack you while your pug is around. And if not for the snoring and tooting and loud breathing, they would be a virtually quiet dog- for a few seconds every day! Seriously, we love them! Here is more fun stuff about Pugs.
Scottish Terriers are in the same family as West Highland White Terriers. I wouldn't label a Scottie as a small dog breed... but they are small-ish. Like Westies, they don't lose hair excessively, but there is a minimal amount of shedding. If you're looking for a small to medium sized dog who doesn't leave a huge mess on your furniture, a Scottie may be the one for you.
We can't say enough good things about Shelties! Really, what's not to love?! They are generally laid back and easy going dogs that are very easily trained and could get along well in almost any normal, functional household. However, all of these great qualities are actually a disadvantage to Shelties. By this, I mean, these highly sensitive, beautiful dogs are commonly bred in puppy mills. Learn more about Shetland Sheepdogs and how to avoid a puppy mill dogs before you bring one home.
The Silky is small, but sturdy little dog. At first appearance may look like a Yorkie, but there are a few distinctions between these two small dog breeds. A silky is much studier than it's more fragile cousin, the Yorkie. Chance, the dog in the picture to the left was recently adopted from the Quincy, IL Humane Society. He was found on Petfinder.com You don't have to spend a fortune to get a purebred dog!
Tibetan Terriers are always up for a rousing game of fetch and always anxious to perform tricks (in exchange for treats, of course!). They are one of the higher energy small dog breeds and they thrive on attention. Boredom, on the other hand, can be a catalyst that sends this breed into very destructive behavior. We liken this personality trait to that of a teenager. Show him lots of love, keep him occupied and stimulated and your home will be a much happier place... for everyone. More on the Tibetan Terrier coming soon!
Don't let the current propaganda being touted by careless breeders about teacup puppies fool you into thinking that smaller is better. That goes for any breed. Toy Poodles make great family pets, but like many other small dog breeds, they are extremely puppy mill prone. Carelessly breeding a dog down to a size that would fit inside a teacup is NOT something a reputable breeder would do. Being "teacup" sized would technically be a breed flaw, not a reason for a breeder who likely uses risky or deplorable breeding practices to double the asking price. Learn how easy it is to find a toy poodle near you for adoption!!
All dog that are dubbed with a two word name (if the second word is terrier) should be a red flag for peace-loving, bird watching, tranquility lovers in general. Welsh Terriers are true terriers. If you choose a Welsh Terrier, be prepared for an active, curious dog who might like to bark at and chase after the occasional squirrel... or every squirrel... or bird... or whatever. They are active and high energy. Of course, the right person, who has time to train and properly socialize this dog, will be rewarded with a great family pet that can get along well with children.
West Highland White Terrier
Westies are a medium sized dog from the terrier family of breeds. They are considered to be a non-shedding breed, but this does not necessarily mean hypoallergenic. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Westie around the world in need of loving homes. These dogs are not damaged goods. Most of the time when a animal turns up in a shelter it's the fault of the owner, not the dog. Learn more about Westies.
Yorkies are from the toy family of breeds, but please disregard the hype about size when it comes to Yorkshire Terriers. There is technically no such thing as a tea-cup Yorkie. This is an invented term used by irresponsible breeders to market tiny dogs and sell them for ridiculous prices. Be warned that these super tiny dogs usually come with a lot more risk, including more health problems and much, much higher risk of injury. The small dog breeds, like Yorkies, do not need anyone breeding them down to pigeon size. Smaller does not mean better. Learn more about Yorkshire Terriers.
Dog Adoption- Discover all the Benefits of Adopting a Small Breed Dog!
The best breed for you could be waiting at your local shelter.
Read our page on Dog Adoption to learn how you could save
the lives of many by adopting a single dog.
Training your dog
Check out our page on dog training to learn all the coolest tricks... and while you're there check out housebreaking! This one is a must for anyone new to training dogs, especially anyone interested in training or house-training one of the small dog breeds!
Celebrate Your Relationship With The Best Breed For You
Over 1,200 dog quotations and proverbs to help you celebrate
with your favourite small canine. Funny dog quotes,
religious dog quotes, and hundreds more.
101 reasons to avoid pet store and website puppies