There are many different breeds of small dogs, and each has its own quirks and benefits. Below, we discuss our top ten favorite small dog breeds. Learn a little more about each breed, why they make good pets, and what to watch out for, below.
1 – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are my top pick of small dog breeds for one primary reason; if you want a lap dog, you've got a lap dog.Originally bred to lounge on the laps of royalty, this dog breed is the perfect cuddle buddy.
Cavaliers are sweet dogs that love attention. This disposition and their compact size, in combination with their silky soft fur, makes them a go-to as a service dog, emotional support animal, or therapy dog.
If you are looking for a loving dog that wants nothing more than to cuddle and spend time with you, Cavies are the best bet! No dog is entirely foolproof, always make sure you train your dog early with positive reinforcement methods.
2 – Shih Tzu
Coming in at number two is the Shih-Tzu! This pint-sized pup makes a great companion, with plenty of energy for play and just enough laziness for cuddle time.
This breed is another dog bred for a life of lap and leisure. Chinese royalty owned Shih Tzus and kept them as companions. Nowadays, these little dogs are a little more rambunctious and mischievous, but they still love to cuddle.
Make sure your Shih Tzu gets plenty of attention, and a good amount of play, and they will be happy. As with most dog breeds, make sure that you train your pup early, so that they don't develop any possible behavioral issues, like separation anxiety, barking, or chewing.
3 – Maltese
The Maltese is a smart and spunky pup who is sure to keep you entertained. Yet another companion/lap-dog breed, this dog loves attention.
Breeders specifically selected for dogs with great companion qualities, in a pint-sized package, and we got the Maltese! Make sure your pup gets enough exercise and play, and your little friend is sure to make your life better.
Like any toy breed, the Maltese is a small dog, and can be fragile when handled improperly. Always supervise children and handle your dog carefully to avoid injury.
4 – Pomeranian
If you Google “fluffy dog” the first three images that the search produces are Pomeranians. Literally, try it! These little dogs are small with incredibly poufy fur.
These little pups have high energy levels, and love to play. Don't expect your Pomeranian to be content lying in your lap or lounging on the couch all day, they need lots of play and exercise.
Fret not, when your Pomeranian is ready for a snooze, your lap will be the first place he goes! Especially with Pomeranians, make sure that you keep your pup thoroughly mentally stimulated. Bored Pomeranians will bark, so don't let your pup get too bored!
5 – Dachshund
Unlike the aforementioned breeds, dachshunds are bred for sport. These little dogs are shaped strangely because their breeders selected dogs who could dig quickly through tunnels.
What does this mean for you? Your dachshund is not built to lounge in laps all day, but for activity! They love to cuddle with their loved ones, but they do need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to live happy lives.
They can also be protective of their owners, so make sure to socialize your dachshund early.
6 – Miniature Schnauzer
This breed is another dog with a job. These pups pack a lot of personality into a tiny package. Miniature schnauzers are rambunctious dogs that were originally bred to kill rats and guard farms.
This is one of the primary reasons your little buddy might get into some trouble! To keep your miniature schnauzer happy, make sure he gets lots of mentally stimulating play and positive reinforcement training.
Bonus: keep your eyes peeled in our small dog training course for Charlie, the miniature schnauzer.
7 – Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)
Yorkshire terriers, or yorkies, are a staple when it comes to small breed dogs. These popular little pups live in households across the world. However, they also come with a bit of a stigma. Yorkies are well known barkers.
Don't let that scare you away, most yorkies bark a lot because they aren't getting enough mental stimulation. Yorkshire terriers are bred to catch rats and hunt foxes, not to lie in your lap! If you train your yorkie well, you can avoid the problems other pet owners run into.
8 – Chihuahua
Speaking of famously yappy small breeds, we move on to Chihuahuas. Even though these little pups tend to be a little on the yappy side, Chihuahuas are loving companions and perfectly pint-sized.
However, make sure you socialize your pup early. These little dogs frequently become attached to their owners and wary of strangers. To learn how to properly socialize your pup, take a look at our small dogs training courses.
9 – Pug
Pugs are one of the most beloved small breed dogs. They are energetic, charismatic, and blatantly hilarious. These little dogs make a cacophony of different noises, snorts, and grunts. Pugs easily get themselves into trouble because they have so much energy.
Make sure that you train your pug well, and provide him with a variety of toys and puzzle feeders.
Also remember that the adorable “smooshed” face means that pugs cannot breathe as well, so avoid letting your dog exhaust himself, especially in hot weather.