Best Small Dog Breeds?

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This is a question that more than 3029 of our readers have been asking us! Luckily, we have found the most appropriate information for you!

Small dog breeds sometimes get a bad rap as being “yappy,” hyperactive and harder to train, but as with any stereotype, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, the various types of small dogs (even toy breeds) pack a lot of personality into a little body. However, these tiny dogs are faithful companions with a lot of heart and have a loving disposition with adults and children alike.

What is the best small dog breed to own?

#1: Maltese. With its soft and silky white coat, the Maltese is most likely one of the first breeds that comes to mind when thinking of small dogs. ….#2: Boston Terrier. ….#3: Dachshund. ….#4: Shih Tzu. ….#5: Pug. ….#6: Pomeranian. ….#7: Chihuahua. ….#8: Yorkshire Terrier.

What is the most well behaved small dog breed?

#1 Maltese. The Maltese is a gentle and amiable little fellow. ….#2 Pomeranian. If you’re looking for a pint-sized dog that is big on personality, the Pomeranian is the pooch for you! ….#4 Pug. ….#5 Shih Tzu. ….#6 Boston Terrier. ….#7 Bichon Frise. ….#8 Pekingese. ….#9 Skye Terrier.

What is the easiest small dog to take care of?

Dachshund. This dog breed is known first for bravery, second for stubbornness. ….Boston Terrier. ….French Bulldog. ….Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. ….Maltese. ….Short-coat chihuahua.

What is the healthiest small breed dog?

Beagles. At the top of our list of healthy small dogs are Beagles. ….Affenpinschers. Are spunky little dogs that do well living in apartments. ….Boston Terriers. ….Pembroke Welsh Corgis. ….The Shetland Sheepdog. ….Schnoodles. ….Welsh Terriers. ….Chihuahuas.

Small dog breeds appeal to prospective pet owners for a variety reasons. Not only are they tiny enough to be excellent cuddle partners or lap dogs, but also, depending on the breed, they may shed less, making them great hypoallergenic dog. Small dog breeds can even be cheaper than large dog breeds because they require less food and supplies. And no matter where you’re taking your furry friend — be it to the park, their veterinarian, on a road trip — small dogs are simply easier to travel with than larger breeds are. But with all of the small dog breeds out there, finding your next pet can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start.

They weigh between nine and 17 pounds, which made them ideal farm dogs in the 17th century and now makes them great small apartment pets. According to the AKC, the Shiba Inu is an ancient Japanese breed that’s the most popular fluffy companion in the Asian country and was brought to America in the 1950s. Border Terriers are upbeat, agile, affectionate pups , the AKC notes, making them ideal dogs for most owners. Originally bred to accompany the ruling classes of ancient China, according to the AKC, Pekingese are charming, confident, sophisticated dogs with an undying loyalty to their owners . They’re easy to train as companions or athletes, though they are considered the AKC’s smallest sporting spaniel standing at 14 to 15 inches and around 20 pounds. Known for their lively, curious demeanor, Russell Terriers pack a lot of personality into their small, rectangular bodies, according to the AKC. But when the fluffy white canine was forced out of the kingdom during the French Revolution, their kind adapted quickly and became circus performers. According to the AKC, Australian Terriers were bred to be fearless exterminators, meaning they were born to be hunters of small mammals and snakes. It doesn’t matter that this breed only grows up to 20 pounds or 11 inches, Westies enjoy working hard as ratters, learning new tricks, and hanging outside. According to the AKC, the Maltese breed can weigh up to seven pounds, but a lot of that weight might actually come from their long, silky coat, which usually tends to touch the floor. The German Spitz can weigh on the heavier side, up to 26 pounds, the AKC notes, but these independent creatures love defending their homes. Boston Terriers can weigh on the heavier side of the small dog breed group at 25 pounds, the AKC notes, but they sure are cute. Probably the heaviest of its small dog breed class, Cardigan Welsh Corgi males can weigh up to 38 pounds, according to the AKC. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.

The Drummond family isn’t known for having small dog breeds as pets—in fact, all of Drummond dogs, including the basset hounds and Labradors, are on the bigger size. But long before Lucy and Duke, Ree was into smaller pups. In fact, her first dog was a Jack Russell terrier (breed number 18 on this list!) named Suzie, who was fiercely protective of Ree and her girls. “She hated all men,” Ree jokes. “She’d go from cuddling under my neck to snarling her teeth if my boys (or my brother-in-law Tim) walked into the room!” Over the years, Ree’s love of pups has expanded into her business endeavors—not only does she has her own line of dog treats, but the ice cream shop she opened and owns in Pawhuska, Charlie’s, is named for her late basset hound.

Chihuahuas are known for their charming and sassy personalities, and since they’re so tiny, they make great purse dogs! You probably know Yorkies by the glamorous floor-length coats they sport at dog shows, but the breed was actually once used for a less fancy job, as ratters in mines and mills. Today Yorkies are one of the most popular American dog breeds, and their owners love them for their feisty terrier personalities. These adorable dogs, which come in a variety of coat colors, were bred to live in Chinese royal palaces, making them a great breed for apartments and smaller spaces. Lovable Poms are distinguished by their fluffy double coat, which comes in almost two dozen colors but is usually seen in orange or red. These pups are covered from head to foot with a mantle of silky white hair, which is frequently cut short in pets for convenience (like this cutie here), but is grown long on show dogs. These smart watchdogs, commonly known as wiener dogs because of their elongated bodies, were bred more than 600 years ago in Germany as badger hunters. These adorable American-bred dogs are known for their dapper tuxedo pattern, which earned them the nickname “The American Gentleman.” Boston Terriers are a super-friendly breed that are great for city living, just like their name suggests. Rat Terriers are super playful thanks to their history as working dogs, so they make great playmates for children as they grow up. No matter what kind of dog you’re looking for, a smart hunting companion or a cuddly, playful pet, a beagle can probably fill the void. Beagles are commonly called “merry” by their owners, and they’re not quiet about their joy—they’re known to bark and howl quite a bit. Just like Ree’s late pup Suzie, most Jack Russell terriers are fiercely loyal and super energetic. This ancient Japanese breed is the most popular companion dog in Japan, but it was only brought to America 60 years ago. West Highland white terriers, commonly known as “Westies,” are popular for their toy-like face and playful personalities. The Bichon’s signature feature is its white hypoallergenic coat, which makes them perfect small dog breed for allergy-prone families. These tiny indoorsy companions make great lap dogs—they’re sensitive, intelligent, and adorable!

Don’t you wish that your dog could stay a cute little puppy forever? Well, all dogs have to grow up — but these canines will certainly stay puppy-sized forever. We’ve rounded up some of the most friendly and tiny breeds of toy dogs (not to be confused with dog toys) — small dog breeds that typically weigh in at 7 to 35 pounds. Thinking big(ger)? Check out more mixed-breed, medium-sized and large dog breeds.

Basenjis originally worked as hunting dogs in Africa, prized for their intelligence and independence. Most notably, however, the “barkless dog” makes an odd chortle-like sound instead of a typical “woof.” Beagles have great temperaments — they’re spirited and intelligent, playful, loyal, and friendly. Plucky and happy, border terriers are known to be a tough, working breed. A member of the toy group, these pups are alert, curious and loyal. Loyal and affectionate, the cocker spaniel is the perfect play pal for a child. With their happy, fun-loving personalities, these dogs love to play and get along great with children and other pets. These funny and outgoing little pups are the national dog of Cuba (hence the name) and make loyal family companions. While they’re quite intelligent and naturally affectionate, Havanese are also more energetic than most toy breeds and require daily exercise. These slender dogs have a long history (President John Tyler bought one for the First Lady in the 1840s) and they have the same sweetness of their taller greyhound cousins. Italian greyhounds’ loyal, affectionate nature means they’re perfectly suited as cuddling companions. Even though all poodles are considered one ( extremely intelligent ) breed, they come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. As for that fancy haircut, the “poodle clip” is designed to protect the joints and organs in cold water. With its German sensibility (rather than the fiery nature of a British terrier), these dogs are excellent with both children and elderly people.

50 Best Small Dog Breeds

Small dog breeds sometimes get a bad rap as being “yappy,” hyperactive and harder to train, but as with any stereotype, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, the various types of small dogs (even toy breeds) pack a lot of personality into a little body. However, these tiny dogs are faithful companions with a lot of heart and have a loving disposition with adults and children alike.These cute, small dogs can be happy in any space, from a large home to a modest studio apartment, and they tend to live longer than their larger counterparts (from 12 to 20 years). But don’t lump them all in one small box. The following small dog breeds have some striking differences between each of their personalities.


The Chihuahua hails from Central or South America and is a descendant of a dog known as the Techichi. They usually weigh no more than 6 pounds and stand about 6-inches tall. Small dogs with big-dog attitudes, Chihuahuas rule the roost of any space they are in, but despite their stature, they still need sufficient training like any other dog. Breed hallmarks include big eyes and a round or apple-shaped head. They come in a variety of colors and long or short coats.Chihuahuas do well in a home without small children — they are a little too dainty for rough play. They also need protection from the cold but are otherwise adaptable and good-natured pets.

Chihuahua Overview

Brussels Griffon

Griffs, as they are known, weigh in at about 5 to 15 pounds and stand at 9- to 11-inches tall. They served as both work dogs and noble companions in their native Belgium, and they are the little old men of the dog world with their expressive bearded faces and big eyes.They come in four colors — red, black-and-reddish brown, black and tan, and black, and they can have either a smooth or rough coat. They are stocky, confident and easy to train, but like Chihuahuas, they are fragile when it comes to rough play. Plus, they can get lonely — they do best in groups with other dogs or in a home with someone who’s always in attendance.

Brussels Griffon Overview


The majestic but tiny Pomeranian has the presence of a lion and not only because of his or her lux double coat. The little dog packs a lot of moxie into a small frame and will run your household if not well trained.The Pom comes in at 6- to 7-inches tall and weighs 3 to 7 pounds. They are the smallest member of the Spitz family of canines, which also includes the Samoyed, Alaskan malamute and Norwegian elkhound. Adorable, alert and feisty, Poms are whip-smart and loyal dogs. They make excellent watchdogs and do well with children, but, like some other small dogs on our list, rough play should be kept to a minimum because of their size.

Pomeranian Overview


Affenpinschers have garnered a few nicknames over the years — “monkey dogs” and “ape terriers” — with good reason. Their serious expressions make them look less like dogs than the aforementioned primates. They stand only 9- to 11-inches tall and weigh 7 to 9 pounds, but are incredibly robust, sturdy pets.Affens originated in Germany and were bred to be “ratters,” killers of rats, mice and other vermin. Today, they are a wonderful addition to any family who loves to laugh, as the affenpinscher is consistently entertaining, mischievous and playful. Affens love to climb and bark, too, so be sure they get proper training.

Affenpinscher Overview

Yorkshire Terrier

This little dog may look noble, but don’t let the Yorkshire terrier’s regal, silky coat fool you. Yorkies are nowhere near as aloof as they seem!Sure, they’re small — they top out at about 7 pounds and stand 8- to 9-inches tall — but they are feisty, brave and tomboyish, with loads of big-dog attitude. They’ve served as both ratters and royalty in their early days and make wonderful watchdogs with loads of energy in modern times. The Yorkie provides years of affection and fun for the entire family but should be supervised in a home with small children.

Yorkshire Terrier Overview

Russian Toy

These diminutive pups have the Russian aristocracy in their past, and they’re playful, loving dogs with loads of energy. When a Russian toy wants to frolic, you may be hard-pressed to keep up, but as much as they love to run, they love downtime, too, spending time lounging in your lap. Russian toys crave human companionship. When they feel neglected, they certainly let you know it.Russian toys come in long and short coats and a variety of colors. Despite being small (3 to 6 pounds and 7.5- to 10.5-inches tall), the toy is a quality companion dog that does well with humans and other animals that may live in the home.

Russian Toy Overview

Toy Fox Terrier

The whip-smart, fun-loving toy fox terrier is eager to please and learn at every turn. They, too, have a work history as farm ratters and hunters of small game. That lineage and boundless energy make them prone to chasing small animals today, and they do need plenty of human supervision.They are highly intelligent creatures, which are easy to train and which do well in obedience and agility competitions. Topping out at 7 pounds and 10-inches tall, these amusing and entertaining pups come in a variety of colors and coats and are an endless source of amusement for everyone in the family.

Toy Fox Terrier Overview

Japanese Chin

This noble dog also boasts a royal lineage, which still presents itself in its thick mane and plumed tail. The Japanese chin has a short muzzle and big, round eyes that are hard to resist. A charming companion, the dog is an extreme cuddler who is exotic, graceful and relatively quiet, which is why some folks call it the “feline” of dogs. Chins are sensitive to their owners’ emotions — if they live in a quiet home, they will exhibit a calm nature.The chin is not suited for a home with toddlers, as it can be hurt during rough play or may even snap at a child. They are also happier in a residence in which someone is typically present most of the day.

Japanese Chin Overview

Chinese Crested

Lively, alert and loving, the Chinese crested can be hairless or coated, and comes in a variety of colors. If you choose a hairless crested, shedding and doggy odor won’t be much of a problem, but they are less likely to tolerate cold, so keep them covered.The crested was also a ratter and accompanied Chinese sailors on their many voyages. Today, these affectionate pups are playful, happy and devoted to their humans. They are a strong-willed breed that needs proper guidance, as they can be hard to house train, but they make keen watchdogs and do well with humans and animals of all shapes and sizes.

Chinese Crested Overview

Shih Tzu

These Chinese “lion dogs” were the stuff of royalty more than a thousand years ago, but are now, despite their lineage, mischievous companions who offer hours of endless entertainment for any family.Shih tzus have long, luxurious coats that need to be groomed consistently. While they may look dainty, at 9- to 10.5-inches tall and 9 to 16 pounds, they are surprisingly sturdy for their size. This breed LOVES nearly everyone and is a charming, fun companion who gets as much enjoyment on your lap as they do in more playful moments. The shih tzu often needs training, as they are notoriously difficult to housebreak, and they are not especially good with very young children. If they are handled too roughly, they may snap when their patience wears thin.

Shih Tzu Overview

Miniature Pinscher

It’s important to remember mini pinschers are not just smaller Dobermans, although they do make fearless watchdogs and can be territorial.This “King of the Toys” is energetic and smart, and is best suited to an owner who can reign in the pooch’s willful personality. On the plus side, the mini pin is fun-loving and endlessly entertaining, and has a short coat that’s easy to groom.

Miniature Pinscher Overview

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The pampered Cavalier King Charles spaniel is refined and graceful with a royal lineage, but also a down-to-earth companion for any member of the family. Like many noble breeds, toy spaniels have assumed the personalities of their aristocratic owners over the years. They can be proud and stubborn, and they don’t cotton to everyone, but they are incredibly affectionate and happy when it comes to spending time with their owners.The Cavalier King Charles spaniel weighs no more than 18 pounds and has a large, domed head with long ears and almond-shaped eyes.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Overview

French Bulldog

The Frenchie resembles an English bulldog in miniature, but with large, erect “bat ears,” which are a trademark of the breed. The little dog’s short coat comes in a variety of colors, and its body is compact and muscular. They are a bit on the heavier side, at 16 to 28 pounds, and stand at about a foot tall.Frenchies are charming, intelligent and, despite their quiet nature, are excellent watchdogs. They can adapt to any living situation and make friends with other animals and small children easily. They do not do well in extreme heat and do not need much exercise as their short noses can make breathing harder. Frenchies love to eat and will pack on the pounds, so their diets must be monitored.

French Bulldog Overview


The true clowns of the dog world, the pug has been described by the Latin phrase “multum in parvo” (a lot in a little). Pugs come in three colors — silver, apricot-fawn with a black face mask or all black — and they exhibit an extensive range of human-like expressions due to their big dark eyes, wrinkled foreheads and flat faces, which have delighted folks for centuries. They also boast a royal Chinese lineage and were bred to keep the feet of their owners toasty by sitting on them during cold weather.Pugs are considered the ideal pet for small-space living and love children and adults equally. Remember to keep them groomed; they do shed profusely, and their folds can get infected if they aren’t cleaned properly. Like Frenchies, pugs are a short-nosed breed and need moderate temperatures and a proper diet to thrive.

Pug Overview

Boston Terrier

Small but sturdy, the Boston terrier is one of the few dogs on this list that originated in the U.S. The breed started as a fighting dog but today is an affectionate companion for every member of the family.Bostons are smart, but as their fighter instinct is still very much a part of who they are, they can be extremely stubborn, so make sure yours has the proper training. Once they do, the spunky, loving and affectionate Boston thrives in every setting or situation.

Boston Terrier Overview


The tiny Havanese hails from Cuba and was likely brought in by Spanish explorers in the 18th century. They top out at about 11.5-inches tall, and their long coats insulate them from extreme weather conditions — in particular, heat.If you teach a Havanese to swim, you’ll find them to be surprisingly able in the water. Havanese pups are “on” all the time, meaning if they have an audience they are more than willing to entertain. The breed makes a welcome addition to any family, but make sure to keep your Havanese groomed — their lux coats require daily brushing.

Havanese Overview

Italian Greyhound

Standing about 15 inches at the shoulder, the Italian greyhound has its origins as a royal lapdog and a powerful athlete who hunted small game. Italians bear more than a passing resemblance to greyhounds and share additional qualities with their larger counterparts, from an extremely muscular body to a fluid gait.Keep this breed on a leash — it can run up to 25 miles per hour! The shy Italian greyhound is highly intelligent and extremely loving toward every member of the family, but they can be hard to house train. However, the best defense is a good offense, so early training is essential for this breed.

Italian Greyhound Overview

Miniature Schnauzer

If you want a tiny (a little more than a foot tall) shadow to follow you everywhere you go, look no further than the loyal mini schnauzer. Minis have personalities that go far beyond their size. In a mini schnauzer’s eyes, he’s the biggest thing in the room!This little old man with his Victorian, turn-of-the-century mustache has a regal air, but at heart, he’s more of an affectionate clown who’s willing and happy to be at your side as much as he can. Originally bred as a ratter and guard dog, the sturdy mini schnauzer is an extremely loving companion suited for just about any household.

Miniature Schnauzer Overview

Norwich Terrier

The Norwich terrier was also bred as a ratter — if you have any vermin issues, they’ll instinctively tackle them. This fearless, sturdy breed has boundless energy for play but is also just as content being a lapdog. The Norwich terrier does quite well in breed competitions, one was even featured in the 2001 film “Best in Show” as the overall winner!Remember to keep Norwich terriers safely leashed or within your yard, as these dogs have a high drive for small prey. And if there’s any animal smaller than the Norwich in your home, you may want to reconsider owning one.

Norwich Terrier Overview


This fluffy bundle was once the dog of Chinese royalty and still carries some personality traits of that former life. They can be affectionate or independent and will do whatever suits them at the moment. That said, they are still loving companions, suited to nearly every setting, from apartment living on up.The Pekingese makes an excellent watchdog due to their vigilance, which is why they may take some time to warm up to strangers. The Pekingese is brachycephalic and has an extremely long coat — to keep yours happy and healthy, make sure to groom frequently and keep them out of extreme heat. Also, the Pekingese should not be in a home with very small children.

Pekingnese Overview

Scottish Terrier

At a little under a foot tall, the Scottish terrier’s thick, short legs carries the breed in search of small prey. This independent-minded and intelligent dog has become a loving family companion. While they can be aloof with strangers, they’re loyal toward those they love.They can adapt to any living situation, but remember to give them regular exercise. As with other dogs on this list, they may not take kindly to prodding from smaller children and need to have the confines of a yard, as their prey instinct is high.

Scottish Terrier Overview


The Schipperke is often called “the little black devil” because the breed can be quite mischievous. They’re sturdy, stubborn and smart, which may not be the best traits for every household, as they may end up running it.This alert and energetic breed makes an excellent guard dog, but when they’re not on watch, they’re happy to play with and entertain everyone in the household. As with other small dogs, they’re best in a home with older children.

Schipperke Overview

American Eskimo Dog

This breed’s soft plumes of white hair have garnered the nickname “The Dog Beautiful.” But this dog is not just all looks — they are smart, energetic and have an endless curiosity, which means they’re up for just about any great adventure.They get along with people and other pets alike as long as they’re familiar with them. American Eskimos are more empathetic to human feelings than most other breeds, so try to keep any arguments or discord around them to a minimum to keep this dog happy and stress-free.

American Eskimo Dog Overview


The Bolognese hails from the Italian city of Bologna and stands at about a foot tall. The Bolognese is strictly a companion dog with low energy who is happy to be in quiet repose on his owner’s lap.If you’re away from home, even during the standard work week, the Bolognese may not be the dog for you, as they are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. While they don’t shed, their long white coat also needs to be managed frequently by being brushed or shaved down.

Bolognese Overview

Coton de Tulear

The Coton, known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” stands at about a foot tall and is known for its white, fluffy coat that is said to be as soft as cotton (or “coton” in French.) Like the Bolognese, this breed is strictly a companion animal and lapdog who is highly intelligent and entertaining. Cotons make for great therapy and emotional support dogs, as they are highly intuitive and empathetic.

Coton de Tulear Overview

Cairn Terrier

One of the oldest terrier breeds, the Cairn terrier hails from Scotland and is also a small prey hunter. (Toto, from the “Wizard of Oz,” is the most famous Cairn — her real name was Terry.)This little dog stands at 9- to 10-inches tall and is stronger than one might assume. The Cairn is highly intelligent, alert and does well with obedience training and can master any trick that comes to mind. Just go gently in speaking to your Cairn — they are sensitive and don’t respond well to harsh treatment or yelling.

Cairn Terrier Overview

Alaskan Klee Kai

The literal meaning of the Inuit words “klee kai” is “small dog.” Sure, the Klee Kai may look like a smaller Husky, but its personality is decidedly different. This breed is more of a companion animal than a working dog. However, like Huskies, Klee Kais are high energy and demand plenty of exercise.Keep your pup mentally entertained too — a bored Klee Kai whines and barks. If you’re not home much, the Klee may not be for you, but if you have plenty of time to spare, you won’t find a more loving and friendly companion who will keep up with you during any physical activity you pursue.

Alaskan Klee KaiOverview

Silky Terrier

Elegant, but by no means dainty, the Silky terrier is small enough to be a lap dog but has the terrier traits of bravery, stubbornness and a tough attitude engrained. As with many terriers, digging, barking and chasing are also inherent characteristics. So, if you get a Silky, keep their minds occupied and engaged.Silkies are loyal companions who are content to be in your shadow during physical activity or quiet time. They’re happy in any situation or space, but it’s best that they’re supervised around smaller children.

Silky Terrier Overview


Despite this breed’s diminutive size, the Dachshund is a working dog at heart. Although they stand at only 9-inches tall and their short legs don’t allow for much in the way of strenuous physical activity like running, swimming or leaping, Dachshunds have huge barks and are very aware of their surroundings, making them wonderful watchdogs.Dachshunds were bred to be hunters of small prey (their name means “badger dog” in German) and are known to be fearless and stubborn, yet they are highly intelligent, loving dogs who warm the hearts of everyone they come across.

Dachshund Overview

American Hairless Terrier

This relatively new breed is essentially a hairless rat terrier and is one of few dogs on this list that hails from the U.S. Like most terriers, the American hairless is friendly with people and dogs of all kinds but can be territorial toward strangers.They expend a medium amount of energy and can be great apartment dogs. They do have an instinct to dig, so make sure they have a place where they can fulfill their need to do so. And don’t forget the sunscreen — American hairless dogs do have a tendency to burn.

American Hairless Terrier Overview

Biewer Terrier

A fairly new toy terrier, the Biewer stands about 8.5-inches tall and has long, silky hair that needs to be groomed regularly to keep it tangle free. The Biewer, while rare in the U.S., makes a wonderful, happy companion animal that is a plus to any household, including those with small children.They are strong, playful and aware, and are, unlike some of their terrier counterparts, generally quiet.

Biewer Terrier Overview

German Spitz

This foot-tall ball of fluff looks like a larger Pomeranian, but that’s where the similarity ends. The spitz is also a working dog who was bred to hunt small prey. For this reason, they may not do well in a home with smaller dogs or other diminutive animals. In the right home, however, they’re loving, playful and loyal dogs.Make sure that, if you’re not home, your spitz has something to keep them occupied like a toy or another (equal or larger sized) pet — they are known to suffer from separation anxiety and bark for hours. Also, the spitz needs frequent grooming so that their hair doesn’t become matted.

German Spitz Overview


Corgis come in two varieties — the Pembroke Welsh Corgi or the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They were once recognized as the same breed but were split into two breeds in 1925. To tell them apart, note that the Pembroke does not have a tail and has pointy ears, while the Cardigan has round ears.Corgis are herding dogs and have retained that instinct, but for the most part, they make wonderful and loving pets. They are affectionate toward every member of the family, including very small children.

Corgi Overview

Glen of Imaal Terrier

This Irish breed was bred to hunt and seek out foxes, badgers and other small vermin. While a skillful and alert hunter, the Glen is just as happy in the role as an affectionate family pet. You can contain their hunting, digging and chasing needs with proper training.Keep your Glen busy and spend time with them, as their independent streak allows for mischief, and do watch their weight with daily exercise.

Glen of Imaal Terrier Overview


The Lowchen or “little lion dog” hails from France and Germany and was bred as a royal footwarmer with a distinctive haircut that leaves them fluffy at the front and naked in back. This rare breed has been around since at least the 16th century.Today, they make cherished companions who are surprisingly strong and playful. The Lowchen is a happy dog and loves everyone, from humans to animals. They’re low energy, but they’re smart, alert and have big personalities despite their small size.

Lowchen Overview

West Highland White Terrier

The adorable Westie has been a family dog for more than 300 years. This courageous little dog is protective of their chosen humans and can be surprisingly strong when threatened.However, they’re a generally happy and playful breed that shows independence as well as a need for companionship. A properly trained Westie makes for a great addition to any household.

West Highland White Terrier Overview


Beautiful Papillons get their name from their enormous “butterfly” ears, but not all Paps have ears that stand up (the Phalène is the drop-eared version.) The Pap looks like a dainty lap dog with a plumed tail but is nonetheless robust and eager to play. The breed does well in agility competitions and thrives in any climate or home setting.The Pap is one of the most well-rounded breeds on this list. They’re smart and love a good mental challenge. If you love a good game of fetch, you’ll be happy to know that the Papillon is a natural retriever!

Papillon Overview

Norfolk Terrier

While not a common breed in the U.S. — there are less than 300 born per year — the Norfolk is an affectionate addition to the family. That said, be patient if you want one because you may be on a year-long list with a reputable breeder.The Norfolk is stronger than they look, and they like to stay active. They, too, are always ready to chase prey, so you may want to keep yours leashed or confined to a yard. Norfolks are some of the longest-living dogs on this list, with some being healthy well into their late teens.

Norfolk Terrier Overview


This Swedish/Finnish breed is a type of spitz with a tail that curves up the back. The Norrbottenspets is a hunter and can go the distance when needed, but they’re as content to be a companion animal in any home.This breed loves physical activity, so a game of fetch or a run is always welcome. Make sure to keep your Norrbottenspets occupied mentally as well as physically — this breed can be destructive and loud when bored.

Norrbottenspets Overview

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont has the distinction of being the only dog on this list that is named after a fictional character — it comes from a terrier-owning farmer in Sir Walter Scott’s 1814 book, “Guy Mannering.” While a breed with decidedly terrier characteristics, the Dandie stands out from the rest, being lower to the ground and curvier than most other terrier breeds.The Dandie is affectionate, friendly and playful, but like most terriers, will jump at the chance to chase smaller animals. When training a Dandie, make their tasks fun — as they get bored and stubborn with too much repetition.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Overview

Lhasa Apso

This 2,000-year-old breed was first seen with monks in Tibet who believed that when the owner of a Lhasa Apso passed away, but was not ready for Nirvana, he or she would be reincarnated into a dog’s body. The Lhasa or “bark lion sentinel dog” was the monastery watchdog and still makes an excellent guard dog today, as they are affectionate with those who are familiar, but suspicious of strangers.They’re as independent as they are loving, need a moderate amount of exercise and a lot of brushing. They will not put up with too much prodding, however, so keep a watchful eye over your Lhasa Apso with small children.

Lhasa Apso Overview

Skye Terrier

While the Skye terrier is small — at most, they’re 10-inches tall — they tend to be on the heavier side. This breed is often described as a “big small dog” with a large head and body atop very short legs.Skye terriers are friendly and loyal, particularly around their owners but are highly suspicious of strangers, so early socialization is best. The Skye has a personality that’s much bigger than their size, so make sure to train them well as they can run your household with their stubborn wills. Weekly brushing is also essential to their health.

Skye Terrier Overview

Swedish Vallhund

The long and low Swedish Vallhund is an ancient breed that lived on Viking ships some 1,200 years ago as well as herded cattle on dry land. This small, sturdy dog has a thick coat and is powerful for being so small.The Vallhund is a born entertainer who loves to make other family members laugh. They need both mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy, as they have a LOT of energy. If you want a couch potato, this may not be the dog for you.

Swedish Vallhund Overview

Parson, Jack Russell and Russell Terriers

These three breeds look very much alike and can be traced back to 19th century England and Reverend John “Jack” Russell, but there are subtle differences to each. While all three are working dogs, the Parson is more of a hunter than the Jack, although both are considered fox hunters. The smaller, gentler Russell was bred primarily for companionship.All three are loving dogs who generally live long, healthy lives and make a welcome addition to any family, as they do particularly well with kids. Frequent exercise and mental stimulation are a must for these curious, energetic breeds.

Russell Terrier Overview

Bichon Frise

The Bichon is made for laps with their fluffy white hair and loving, quiet demeanor, but they’re also quite entertaining. Showbiz is indeed in the Bichon’s blood — they even used to entertain royalty and perform in the circus.Bichons are small, but they do need proper training, as they can be yappy. This is also a breed that should be supervised with smaller children because they can nip or snap and get injured easily with too much poking and prodding.

Bichon Frise Overview

Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka

The Bolonka hails from Russia and is a member of the Bichon family. Toy dogs were once a rarity in the USSR due to its harsh climate and desire for working dogs, and the Bolonka almost went extinct. It did have its place in Soviet society, however, as bigger dogs weren’t practical for city living.The Bolonka does have some working dog traits and is very protective of their territory. They are also smart, funny and loving to their chosen family. They are great with children and are also happily independent. The Bolonka has only been in the U.S. since 2002, so it’s no wonder they’re considered “the dog of the 21st century.”

Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka Overview

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier was a favorite of early American homesteaders for clearing their properties of vermin, which, if given a chance, they will still do today. The dog was named after the 26th president, who was said to have this short-legged variety of rat terrier and helped to develop the breed.The Teddie is an energetic working dog and makes for a loyal companion to every member of the family, be it human or animal alike. Teddies can also adapt to any living situation. They are content to live in a big or small space and can be a powerful competitor in an agility course or live happily and quietly as a loving lapdog.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Overview


The Maltese is an ancient breed known for its lux, silky white coat and lively persona. They take to training like a duck to water, as they are extremely eager to please. Positive reinforcement works best in training a Maltese, and early socialization will be beneficial. This happy-go-lucky breed is friendly to humans and animals alike, but as with most small dogs, they should be supervised with smaller children. Also, beware of breeders who advertise “teacup” puppies. Those that are under 4 pounds may come with myriad health issues.

Maltese Overview

Tibetan Terrier

This “holy dog of Tibet” has “snowshoe” (large and flat) feet that help them traverse snowy and mountainous terrain and live among monks as herders and sheep guardians. The Tibetan terrier is not a true terrier but was given the name for being a smaller size.The breed is good-natured and friendly to a fault but is not a good watchdog for this reason. The Tibetan terrier does well in any competition and has a gentle demeanor that allows them to thrive in virtually any living situation.

Tibetan Terrier Overview

Miniature and Toy Poodle

Like the larger standard poodle, miniature and toy poodles often attract new dog owners because of their minimal shedding (this also makes it a good choice for people with allergies).They are active dogs with high energy levels, but grooming is perhaps the biggest commitment when you have a miniature or toy poodle. Their coat will need to be brushed daily to prevent matting.

Rebecca Ussery
I just don't see how a two peckered billy goat can be that productive...jus' sayin' I was getting a lot of editorial. Bacon advocate. Organizer. Travelaholic. Tv fanatic. Amateur entrepreneur. Internet nerd. Gamer. Interests: Photography, Painting and Drawing
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