For the Love of Small Dogs!
Dogs are wonderful companions that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While large breed dogs can be wonderful pets, sometimes a 50+ lb. dog just doesn't fit your lifestyle, or your apartment's size restrictions!
While every dog breed is different, and not every small breed dog is suited for apartment style living, small dogs do make great pets. From loving lapdogs to energetic little pups that don't know they are only ten inches tall, there is a small breed dog for everyone.
Below we highlight fifteen different breeds of small dogs and what makes them unique.
1. French Bulldog
This breed sits atop the American Kennel Club's list of the most popular dog breeds of 2018 as number four! It's no surprise that French bulldogs, lovingly known as “frenchies” are tops when it comes to popularity.
These little dogs are absolutely adorable and unbelievably charismatic. If you are looking for a playful companion full of attitude, a French bulldog might just be for you.
However, make sure you fully research this breed and understand their potential health issues before getting one!
2. English Bulldog
If the French bulldog tops the scales, the English bulldog is not far behind! With adorable, flappy, wrinkly faces, English bulldogs can really win your heart over. This breed is a real lover, and enjoys a good snooze by your side or in your lap.
However, be prepared for the puddle of drool left behind! Though they are small, these dogs can be quite hefty. If you are concerned about size, consider a miniature English bulldog instead!
Beagles are wonderful companions, but be ready for a dog that is quite vocal! This breed isn't meant to lounge on your couch all day, but to track down scents.
If you want a quiet dog that sleeps all day, a beagle might not be for you. However, if you want a loyal companion that enjoys going on walks and exploring, this pup might just be your new best friend!
4. Miniature Poodle
This breed is quite popular, but don't buy a miniature poodle just because you can give it cool haircuts! These dogs are incredibly intelligent, and that can sometimes get them into trouble.
If you don't spend enough time training your poodle and conducting exciting games and activities, they are likely to search for excitement elsewhere. Miniature and toy poodles love to please, and are eager for their next adventure.
Even though this dog is small, it still needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to live a happy, healthy life.
5. Yorkshire Terrier
Better known as “yorkies,” Yorkshire terriers are small dogs packed full of personality. This breed has a long, soft coat, and affectionate personality. Don't be fooled by their small stature, a Yorkshire terrier is just as ready to get into the action as any other dog!
This little dog has a small body and a big personality. They are both lovable and lively. Yorkies love to play and explore, just as much as they love a good nap in your lap.
Move over Oscar Mayer, because there is a new beloved wiener in town! This little elongated dog, lovingly referred to as a “wiener dog” for their resemblance to a hotdog without a bun, is certainly a fan favorite.
Dachshunds are true lovers, and become very connected to their owners. These little dogs are tenacious, stubborn, and playful all at once. Both standard dachshunds and miniature Dachshunds are bundles of fun wrapped in a small package.
Corgis are the beloved companions of Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Elizabeth I. It's no wonder these little dogs garner royal companions, they are absolutely adorable and charismatic.
The corgi is a stout little herding breed with a constant smile on his face, but don’t let that fool you! This little breed can be quite mischievous. Corgis are playful dogs with a big heart, and a love of play and adventure.
8. Miniature Australian Shepherd
Miniature Australian Shepherds, better known as “Mini Aussies,” are undeniably energetic little dogs. Even though they are small, their personality matches that of many other herding breeds.
These dogs are motivated, energetic, dedicated, and devoted to pleasing you. It is essential to keep your mini Aussie stimulated with activities that make them think, or they will become bored quite easily.
9. Miniature Pinscher
Miniature pinschers, or “min pins” for short, are energetic and zippy little dogs. As far as a min pin is concerned, he is just as big as the standard Doberman pinscher. These little dogs are full of personality and spunk, and simply don't let their size get them down.
Sometimes that big personality can get them in trouble, so make sure your miniature pinscher is properly socialized before their behavior becomes and issue.
10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This little spaniel is simply a bundle of love and affection. If you want a dog that lives to curl up in your lap and gaze lovingly into your eyes, a Cavalier might be for you. This little breed is loving, affectionate, cuddly, and devoted.
They are both gentle and sweet, but also playful and athletic. If you want to snatch up a toy and start an impromptu game of keep away, your Cavalier is game and ready to go!
11. Miniature Schnauzer
These snazzy little dogs are intelligent and outgoing. Schnauzers are smart dogs, and they live to play and investigate. This little breed is energetic and athletic, and they were originally bred to guard farms and acreage.
Like all watchdogs, this breed will sound the alarm when an intruder arrives. As long as your miniature schnauzer is properly trained and socialized, and gets plenty of mental stimulation, you have a wonderful companion.
12. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is another loving lapdog with large eyes and an adorable smile. Their original breeders selected these dogs for their calm disposition and affectionate personality.
Ancient Shih Tzus spent their days lounging with royalty! This breed is generally laid back, affectionate, and loves to please the whole family. If you are looking for a dog that both you and the children can cuddle, then this sturdily built little dog is for you!
However, you should always keep a close eye on children and teach them not to squeeze or pull on ears, tails, or hair.
13. Boston Terrier
This little dog is simply packed full of charisma. Boston terriers are energetic and excitable dogs ready to play at all times. They are smart dogs, and this can lead them into some mischievous behavior.
If you don't spend enough time teaching your Boston terrier and keeping him entertained, he could potentially find some fun in inappropriate places, like your favorite pair of shoes!
Fear not, as long as you get your Boston terrier plenty of play, exercise, and mentally stimulating activity, he will be happy to come enjoy belly rubs while you settle in to watch TV.
If you are looking for an adorable dog that you look at and scream, “it's so fluffy!” in your head, then a Pomeranian is for you. These sassy little pups are simply covered in soft, fluffy fur.
They are adorable little dogs full of spunk and personality. Pomeranians are the perfect mixture of cute, cuddly, and playfulness. These little dogs are smart, so as always, make sure they get plenty of mental stimulation!
A bored Pomeranian becomes an overly suspicious watchdog, and suddenly that strange leaf needs extra investigation and a fanfare of barking.
15. Shetland Sheepdog
We saved the best for last! The Shetland sheepdog is an unbelievably loyal and tenacious little companion who lives to please. Lovingly known as shelties, Shetland sheepdogs originated in the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
Though they are small, this little breed is a master herder! They originally spent their days protecting livestock, alerting their owner of intruders, and helping their owner wrangle the sheep. They are incredibly intelligent, energetic, and active.
Because of this, shelties aren't built for apartment life unless you have a lot of time to dedicate to their exercise, training, and mental stimulation.
However, if you are looking for a loyal companion to accompany you in active behaviors like walks and hikes, a sheltie might just be for you!
So Many to Choose From
There are so many different breeds of small dogs, and this list only covers a small handful of the most popular! Small breed dogs vary in their personality and temperament just like any other dog breed does.
Regardless of the breed that you select, most small breed dogs have special considerations that many large breeds do not. Their size makes the world a little different around them.
While some small breeds seem unaware of this difference, others become easily fearful, or excessively defensive, because of their size! Adequate training for your small breed dog is 100% essential, and just as important as it is for large breeds of dogs.
To learn more about specialized small dog training, see out Small Dogs Academy Dog Savvy course!
Also read about our Top 10 Best Small Dogs.
Resources: list of all dog breeds