Have you always wanted a dog but don’t have the space for an 100 lbs canine in your home? A small dog breed is for you! Not only are these pups smaller in size, perfect for those who live in apartments, but they also have fewer care needs such and require less exercise and less food.
Even better — there are so many different small dog breeds to choose from! Take a look at the top twenty best small dog breeds and see which one you think might be right for you.
Why Should I Get A Small Dog Breed?
There are many reasons that small dog breeds make a wonderful pet to many. First of all, because of their size, they don’t take a up a lot of space! This is perfect for those who live in small apartments or homes and simply do not have the room for a larger breed of dog.
These dogs pack a lot of personality into their little bodies so, even though your little pup might not be big on the outside, it certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of character! Their size also makes the perfect pet to be able to take with you wherever you’re going, which means you don’t need to worry about leaving them at a home.
A lot of the time, a smaller dog means they have lower care needs. While some of the dogs on the list below certainly shed their fur more than larger dogs and therefore may require a lot of grooming, little dogs require a lot less exercise and a lot less food! A smaller dog will fit right into a household where the owners aren’t as active or simply don’t have the time to take them out for long walks every day.
While it can’t be said that smaller dogs have fewer health issues or need less attention than larger dogs, there are certainly many reasons why people love tiny pups. Lets take a look below at the twenty most popular small dog breeds.
20 Most Popular Small Dog Breeds
The Affenpinscher, also known as the “Monkey Dog”, is a small dog that is feisty and full of energy. They’re smart and alert, making excellent watch dogs and will truly believe it is their job to protect their family and will certainly let you know when someone is at the door!
The Affenpinscher can often have a mind of it’s own and therefore can be quite stubborn at times. For this reason, training is necessary and you will need to persevere and be consistent with them until they understand. However, they are extremely intelligent and will picks thing up quickly. These dogs especially excel when positive reinforcement techniques are used and their energy means they will do well in dog sports.
While the Affenpinscher is fun loving and can get on very well with humans, they are not the best dog for families with children. Although energetic, they are known to not like children and will bite if they are provoked. That being said, they are fairly easy to take care of and do not have very high exercise needs.
The Beagle is a small and fun-loving dog that can make the perfect companion for both adults and children. Originally bred as a scent hound, these dogs are happiest when following a smell and, although they love to be around you, can be quite stubborn. This can mean training is a little more tricky and requires patience and creativity!
With their nose constantly to the ground trying to sniff something out, they are often used across America as scent dogs in airports. Don’t let that deter you though — they are still a loving, playful and happy dog! They love to be around people and would prefer not to be left alone. They will especially thrive in an active family who can give them lots of exercise.
Unfortunately, the Beagle is prone to quite a few health conditions including intervertebral disk disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye problems, hypothyroidism and epilepsy. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your Beagle will suffer health issues will be greatly reduced.
The Bichon Frise is an enthusiastic dog that is prone to mischief but has a lot of love to give. Small, white and fluffy, these dogs look almost like a toy but have a big personality that makes them an excellent companion. The Bichon can make a wonderful family pet and is known for getting on very well with children. Their energy means they make a great playmate yet are affectionate and gentle enough so they won’t hurt even the smallest members of the family!
Due to their love of people, the Bichon Frise doesn’t like to be left alone and can exhibit destructive behaviors if they are alone for too long. Fortunately, the Bichon Frise can adapt to many different lifestyles and living situations, just as long as they are with their humans at all times!
The Bichon Frise has a hypoallergenic coat and therefore does not shed. This means they are the perfect pet for those with allergies and won’t leave your house looking a mess. Although they need to be brushed and clipped regularly, they don’t have high exercise needs and are easy to care for. They’re also very intelligent and highly trainable, perfect as a first pet.
The Boston Terrier is a family companion that thrives around humans. They are a generally very happy dog with an excitable nature and makes an excellent pet to all, even first-time owners. These pups love people and want to be around their owners at all times. They also love meeting new people and are an extremely trusting dog.
With their love for people comes a love for playing and they will thrive in an environment where they can play games with their owners. This popular breed will certainly keep you on your toes and wants your attention all the time, even going as far as whining when they feel you are not giving them enough affection!
They are very active and need a lot of exercise — at least an hour a day. Without adequate exercise, the Boston Terrier can be prone to exhibiting destructive and unwanted behaviors.
Their high energy levels means that they get very excited to play with other dogs, however they can also get jealous of other dogs, especially ones that live in the home, if they feel they are getting more attention. Socialization is very important for this breed so they learn how to behave around others.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the larger Toy breeds and is a dog born to be a companion! Thanks to their hunting history, they’re an active breed and enjoy hiking and running and dog sports such as agility, flyball and rally. Despite this, they also love to curl up on the couch for belly rubs!
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel becomes attached to their owners very quickly and really doesn’t like to be alone. They will even follow you throughout the house! They can suffer from separation anxiety and won’t want to be left alone during the day. These pups get on very well with children and can make an excellent playmate.
These dogs are intelligent and are easy to train due to the fact that they love to please their owners. They also don’t have high exercise needs and won’t need a large yard. A walk every day on a leash will be enough for these pups. It is important to mention that because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a relatively short nose, they can have trouble breathing when they get too hot. You should walk them in the evening if you live in a hot climate.
Originally bred to herd cattle, the Corgi is an active and intelligent breed. These pups are energetic and eager to learn, making them easy to train and a great dog for first time owners. The Corgi gets on very well with people, children included, and is also known to be a great friend to other pets. However, thanks to their herding instinct they can sometimes nip at children while playing, so correct socialization from a young age is important.
The Corgi can make an excellent watchdog as they can be wary of strangers and will bark if they feel something isn’t right. They don’t like to be left alone and need to be with their family at all times.
While these dogs are small, they have high energy levels and require a lot of exercise everyday. Exercise is also important for keeping them in good shape, because these dogs can be known to overeat and therefore gain weight. Aside from high exercise needs, they also have high grooming needs. The Corgi sheds consistently and need regular grooming. You may also want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner!
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest and most popular dog breeds out there. Perfect for fitting in your handbag and with low care needs, this little dog is a great pet for those with limited space or for first time dog owners. However, don’t let the Chihuahua’s tiny size fool you — these dogs have a big personality!
The Chihuahua is a pup that loves their people and loves their attention! These lapdogs will be happiest when they are by your side and really don’t like to be left alone. They can even suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long. The Chihuahua can make a great family pet and gets on very well with children.
Chihuahuas are a fun-loving breed that do like to play. They can be feisty at times, which is normally due to their possessiveness and protectiveness over their owners and their belongings. With training and socialization from a young age, however, this can be fixed. Training can be a little difficult due to the Chihuahuas stubborn trait, but positive reinforcement techniques are advised.
The friendly and intelligent Dachshund are loved by many for their unique appearance and their ability to adapt to any lifestyle. While these dogs were originally bred to hunt badgers, they are now a loyal and brave companion to many.
The Dachshund is an incredibly intelligent breed who likes to keep busy and active. They have a lot of love to give and will bond very quickly to their owners — especially one or two members of the household — and will want to be by their side.
Dachshunds are brave animals, but their stubbornness can sometimes make them a little bit of a handful! They can have a very high prey drive so they will need to be supervised until you can trust they will not run away.You will certainly need to persevere with training until they understand what is right and what is wrong. These dogs can also be known to bark and howl when they feel something is wrong.
Exercising is very important for these dogs as it helps to strengthen the muscles in their back and prevent injuries. These dogs can also be known to gain weight which can be fatal, so keeping them active is a must.
The French Bulldog originated in England and was created to be a toy-size version of the Bulldog. These dogs are small, yet they have a muscular body and while they love to play games and have fun, they also love to curl up on the couch next to you!
The French Bulldog thrives on human contact and will want to be by your side at all times. They are certainly not the dog who can be left alone for long periods of time and will want lots of attention — whether it’s in the form of playtime or cuddles. These dogs normally get on well with children and can get on with humans who aren’t their owners. However, they can sometimes be possessive of their owners and so correct socialization from a young age is very important.
These dogs make excellent watchdogs or guard dogs and will warn you when something is out of place or if there is a stranger at the door. Their care needs a relatively low and they have a short coat that doesn’t shed or need to be groomed often. Unfortunately, due to their flattened face, they can be more susceptible to some health issues, mainly brachycephalic airway syndrome. This means they have trouble breathing, especially in hot weather or when overexercised. Try to walk these dogs at nigh if you live in a hot climate to prevent this.
The Havanese is an affectionate and loving breed of dog that is known for sticking closely to their owner’s side! These pups love strangers, children, other dogs, and even cats, too, so you can certainly say they are a sociable dog. Unfortunately, because of their love for people, they do not like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety.
Despite the fact that the Havanese loves to be a lapdog, they have high energy levels and are a playful pup. They will need a family that can keep up with them and take them hiking and running. They’re also very intelligent and easily trainable, which means they are often used as therapy and assistance dogs and can excel at dog sports.
The Havanese has a beautiful long, silky coat, but it does require a fair bit of grooming! Many owners decide to clip their Havanese’s coat short, but others decide to keep it long if they are a show dog or live in a hot climate (a long coat helps to regulate your Havanese’s body temperature). Either way, be prepared for some daily brushing!
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier, also known as the Parson Russell Terrier, is a lively, independent and clever little dog. These purebred dogs can be charming and affectionate, and, although highly trainable, you’ll need a lot of patience and are not usually suited to first time dog owners.
Jack Russells are athletic dogs that have an intense desire to hunt and thrive when kept entertained. They love to be outside and require a lot of exercise everyday, making them a great pet for those who spend time outdoors.
Your Jack Russell will love to be around you and won’t want to be left alone. They thrive as a companion and love to have a purpose or be given a job to do, which is why they make excellent working dogs. They are not shy and can be quite vocal at times; therefore they may not do well in an apartment.
As a small dog, they are not suitable for homes with young children but will thrive in an environment with older children who know how to interact with them properly.
The Maltese is a loving and friendly dog that just wants to be around their humans — adults and children included! Originally bred to be a lapdog, the Maltese hasn’t lost this trait and certainly likes to curl up with you and show you how much they love you.
The Maltese isn’t lazy though and has a wonderful playful personality! They love to play games and will keep you on your toes, thriving when they can join in the fun with you, although they don’t need a lot of exercise. Despite their small size, they are much less likely to develop yappy tendencies like many other small dogs, and are a happy dog breed who loves life.
Their small size can mean that they are a little wary around other dogs, certainly ones that are bigger than them. Socialization is key for this pup, so they learn that they do not have to be afraid. Fortunately, the Maltese is a fast learner and their love for people and pleasing them means they will not find socialization difficult. This also makes training easy, which is perfect if you are a first time dog owner.
The Miniature Poodle is a smaller version of the standard Poodle. The Poodle is known to be a playful, lively and loving little dog. They love to be around people, children included, and will thrive in an environment where they can play with you and join in the family fun.
Although they may be shy at first, they will quickly become your loving little companion who will want to spend their day by your side and cuddle up with you on the couch at night. They do well in a number of different homes and are suitable for many different people.
Although their exercise needs are not great, they can get bored very easily and do not really like to be left alone. Training can help with issues such as separation anxiety, but you shouldn’t purchase a Poodle if you are not going to be able to be with them for large portions of the day.
The Poodle has very low care needs thanks to their hypoallergenic coat. This means that they don’t shed and they are great for those with allergies and those who don’t want dog fur all over their house!
Despite the small size of the Papillon, they have a huge personality! While they were historically once a lapdog, these pups are energetic and active and will much prefer to be running around the house looking for rodents to chase instead of curling up next to you. They take their job as a companion very seriously, however, and know that it is their duty to protect you and the home.
Outgoing and loving, the Papillon is very affectionate and loves everyone they meet, including children. Thanks to their small size and low-shedding coat, these dogs are fairly easy to take care of and have relatively low needs.
The Papillon can have high exercise needs and thanks to their high trainability are a great choice if you want to compete in dog sports such as agility and flyball. As a puppy, you may want to take them to an obedience class as they can be known to have a stubborn streak. They can also be known to boss around dogs much bigger than them, so correct training can help!
The Pekingese originates from China and was deemed royalty — something they haven’t forgotten! These dogs demand respect and with their beautiful coat and round eyes, their owners are more than likely to give them what they want!
The Pekingese is very intelligent, but they have their own mind and can be stubborn. Therefore training can be a handful but it is essential so they understand their place and don’t try to run the household. These dogs get on very well with their owners but will be wary of strangers. They can make excellent watchdogs as they will bark when a stranger approaches them!
While they love their humans, the Pekingese is not advised for families with very young children. Children can be rough with animals and the Pekingese won’t be afraid to bite if they are uncomfortable. The Pekingese also doesn’t always get on with other dogs and will prefer the company of another Pekingese. Of course, these dogs can be socialized but it can be challenging.
The luscious coat of the Pekingese requires a large amount of grooming and so these dogs have pretty high care needs. They will need to be brushed every day and regard trips to the groomers is necessary.
One of the most popular breeds in the United States today, the Pomeranian is a loving and loyal pup that makes an excellent companion and lapdog. Intelligent and friendly, these pups have a big personality and need an owner to match.
Generally, Pomeranian’s are very out-going dogs that want to meet lots of new people. They often think they are larger than they really are, which can sometimes get them into trouble when meeting with other big dogs. They can be very bossy and try to assert their dominance over both you and other pups, although this can be trained out of them.
These little dogs certainly feel it is their duty to protect your and will have no problem in becoming vocal when they feel something is out of place. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you live in an apartment and have neighbors close by. You will need to ensure you socialize them properly with strangers, unless you want them to be an aggressive guard dog or watchdog!
The Pomeranian is normally tolerable of children and other pets in the house, especially if they are raised with them. They are a fairly active breed with high energy levels, but only in relation to their size. These pups require around 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day and can even accompany you while you’re out walking or hiking. However, they are mostly active indoors and are therefore a great pet for those who don’t have a large space for them to run around in.
Another very popular dog, Pugs are bred to be companion dogs and will love to spend their days by your side. All they want is to be loved, and they will give plenty of this love back to you! The perfect family dog, Pugs love both adults and children.
These dogs are very energetic and love playtime. They especially love to play with their family and can go on for hours! However, once they are back home they will happily curl up next to you on the couch and relax too, making them the perfect best friend.
Although these dogs are very active and will want to play, they are also very relaxed dogs, which is what makes them such good first time pets. Training and socializing the Pug is not difficult and they get along with almost everyone and everything, so there shouldn’t be any issues.
It is worth noting that due to their flattened face, Pugs are classified as a brachycephalic breed which means they have a shortened airway. Their face can be the cause of many breathing issues, especially whilst exercising or during high temperatures. If you live in a hot climate, try to exercise your Pug at night.
The adorable and funny Rat Terrier is feisty and energetic, keeping their owners on their toes at all times! While stubborn and certainly not there to please you or bow to your every command, the Rat Terrier requires a lot of training and socialization but get make a wonderful pet in families who understand their needs.
Rat Terriers love to dig and it is in their nature. You’ll need to allocate an area of your garden to your Rat Terrier purely for digging, otherwise they may end up digging up the entire yard! These dogs are also great escape artists and can be known to jump fences if they want to!
These pups can make excellent watch dogs and certainly know how to bark. To prevent barking and other unwanted behaviors, make sure you give your Rat Terrier enough time to exercise and keep them mentally stimulated. They can make excellent exercise buddies thanks to their high energy levels!
The Rat Terrier makes a great playmate to children and, while they can be unsure of strangers, is normally gentle with kids they don’t know. These dogs also get on well with other pets around the house and will want to play with other dogs they meet. They’re also very loyal to their humans and have an amazing perception of their owners needs and moods!
The Shih Tzu is bred solely to be a companion dog and are happy, affectionate and outgoing dogs that just want to follow their owners around! They make excellent family pets and get on well with everyone, children included, and will show everyone around them masses of love.
These dogs don’t hunt, herd or guard — all they want to do is cuddle their owners and be friends with everyone they meet! Their small size means that they don’t have high exercise needs and are very happy living in an apartment. They’re also very adaptable, which means they won’t mind living in an area with a lot of open spaces either.
The Shih Tzu’s beautiful coat can make them a handle when it comes to grooming. You’ll need to groom these pups every day and they’ll need a lot of trips to the groomers. Thanks to their flat face, they can also suffer from heat stroke and breathing problems, so it is a good idea to walk them at night if you live in a hot climate.
These tiny dogs are prone to having an underbite which can lead to dental problems too. Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your Shih Tzu will suffer health problems will be greatly reduced.
Also known as the Yorkie, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular small breeds in the United States! Despite their little size, these small dogs have a big personality and are truly devoted to their family. While they love their people, they can be a little afraid of strangers and will bark when they feel something is out of place. They’re also known to chase squirrels if they see them and can be aggressive towards other dogs.
That being said, the Yorkie has a softer side too that normally comes out when they are with their people. They like attention and will hate to be left alone, suffering from separation anxiety if they are. Thanks to their size, they normally do better with older children in the family and can snap at young children who don’t understand how delicate they are.
Not overly active, the Yorkshire Terrier needs exercise everyday but will be happy as an apartment dog too. They can get on well with cats and dogs who they have been socialized with, too. These Terrier pups can be a little difficult to housetrain and so consistency and perseverance is needed, but generally are easy to take care of.
Best Dog Food For Small Dog Breeds
Of course, every dog is different and it will be up to you as an owner to decide which dog food is going to be best for your pup based on their needs and size. However, it is often recommended that you purchase a food formulated for small breeds so you can be sure you are matching their nutritional requirements. Take a look at the one we recommend below.BUY ON AMAZON
We recommend this dry dog food from Nutro for small and toy dog breeds. This food is specially formulated for small and toy breeds and the kibble pieces are small so your dog can easily chew and swallow them.
There are a range of proteins in this food too, including chicken, lamb and salmon, that ensure your dog keeps strong and lean muscles way into their adult years. Added fruits and vegetables also gives your pup a shiny and healthy coat and aid digestion. Even better, this food doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
With so many wonderful small dog breeds out there, there is no excuse for you not to add one to your family! Whether you’re looking for a loyal and loving companion that will spend their days by your side or a feisty and fun-loving, active dog that wants to be outside, there is a small dog that will suit your needs. With less space required to home these dogs and fewer overall care needs, which one do you think is your new best friend?