Small Dog Breeds
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and below is a of small dog breeds. They range in size from 7 to about 35 pounds. Choose the breed you are interested in to read the full breed report.
American Eskimo. Descended from the German “Spitz” line of dogs, the American Eskimo was bred from ancient times to watch over people and property. The Eskimo is a small- to medium-sized dog that bonds closely with his family, and tends to distrust strangers.
Australian terrier. Native to Australia, this little dog is one of the smallest working terriers. A good watchdog, this dog is smart and tough.
Basenji. A true African original, the basenji is also known as the barkless dog. Used to help tribesmen hunt, the basenji is still a popular hunting dog in Central Africa.
Beagle. A wonderful family companion, the beagle is also a popular hunting dog. As with other hounds, the beagle needs plenty of exercise to keep him occupied and out of trouble.
Bedlington terrier. When properly groomed, this dog looks a little like a lamb. Developed to chase vermin, the Bedlington is a persistent dog but also a loving family companion.
Bichon frise. The bichon frise is not only a great lapdog, but the curly-coated white breed is recommended for people with allergies. The bichon frise loves attention and is very affectionate.
Border terrier. Originating in Great Britain, the border terrier seems to never need rest. A hard worker, this dog readily chases small critters and needs strong fencing to keep him contained.
Boston terrier. These dogs are excellent companion pets, happy playing or just spending the day next to their owner on the couch. Though called a terrier, the Boston does not have a typical terrier temperament. They make good watchdogs and are naturally protective.
Brussels griffon. A tough little dog, the Brussels griffon is not one of your typical “cute” toy dogs but has an unusual appearance and plenty of personality. Once you meet one, you understand their appeal. Somewhat stubborn, the Brussels griffon is an intelligent and loving dog.
Cairn terrier. Despite their small size, the cairn terrier is a tough little dog. This breed does well in any living environment as long as there are people around.
Cardigan Welsh corgi. Though similar in appearance to the Pembroke Welsh corgi, the Cardigan has a different history. An excellent herding dog, the Cardigan can be distinguished from the Pembroke by the presence of a tail.
Cavalier King Charles spaniel. King Charles II was almost never without two or three spaniels. He once ordered that the dogs were to be admitted to all public places – even courtrooms. With large eyes and a slightly rounded head, the Cavalier is adorable.
Coton de Tulear. The Coton de Tulear is a small, active companion dog with a friendly personality. As the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” this breed is intelligent with a long cotton-candy type fluffy coat.
Dachshund. With their short legs and long bodies, the dachshund is great at following badgers. Eager to dive into a hole, the doxie will follow his quarry for as long as it takes. Somewhat stubborn, this breed is also a great family pet.
Dandie Dinmont terrier. This little active terrier is related to the Scottish terrier, cairn terrier and West Highland white terrier. With a specialized hair coat that makes the dog look a little goofy to the novice, this breed is an excellent companion and family dog.
English toy spaniel. This is a cousin of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The toy spaniel has a pushed-in nose compared to the Cavalier. The hair coat is moderately long and wavy and is most often red and white.
Fox terrier – smooth. The smooth fox terrier hails from England and was used to drive foxes from their holes. Originally classified as a sporting dog, the smooth fox terrier soon found his proper home with the other terriers.
Fox terrier – Wire. Even though the history of this breed is similar to the smooth fox terrier, the wire fox terrier is considered a separate breed. Both varieties naturally chase and drive foxes from their holes.
French bulldog. The French bulldog is not into barking, but will alert the family to strange noises. An ideal pet for apartment living, the French bulldog is fun loving and friendly.
German pinscher. Developed in Germany to hunt vermin, the German pinscher looks like a miniature pinscher but is actually more closely related to the schnauzer. As a medium sized dog, the German pinscher stands 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder.
Glen of Imaal terrier. Standing only 14 inches tall, the Glen of Imaal has a long body and short legs. Similar in appearance to the cairn terrier, this terrier was bred in Ireland to hunt badgers.
Havanese. Named after the Cuban capital of Havana, this small terrier was originally popular with Cuban royalty. Becoming more popular in the United States, the Havanese is a toy breed that was accepted by the AKC in 1996.
Lakeland terrier. From England, the Lakeland terrier is a tough and active dog. Very courageous, this breed is known to follow quarry underground for long distances.
Lhasa apso. The Lhasa apso hails from Tibet, where the dog is called apso seng kye (bark lion sentinel dog). In fact, the lovable Lhasa’s keen hearing and intelligence make him a good watchdog. However, the small furry breed is even more exceptional as a lapdog.
Lowchen Although known as the little lion dog or Petit Chien Lion, this breed is more bark than bite. With his sociable style and gregarious persona, the Lowchen makes an ideal pet. His long, supple fur is often cut like a lion, thus his nickname.
Manchester terrier – Standard. Often mistaken for a miniature pinscher, the Manchester terrier is black and tan. The breed has been used to eliminate rats and chase rabbits.
Mexican Hairless. If you have dog allergies, the Mexican hairless may be the dog for you. They produce significantly less dander than most other dogs, and have no hair. But finding one may be a challenge, as there are only 4000 in the entire world.
Miniature Bull Terrier. The miniature bull terrier is just what the name implies: a miniature version of the tenacious and beloved bull terrier. Comical and loving, this dog is a great family pet.
Miniature schnauzer. An excellent watchdog, the miniature schnauzer hails from Germany. Intelligent, reliable and protective, this breed is one of the most popular of all schnauzers.
Norfolk terrier. Often confused with the Norwich terrier, the Norfolk has pendulous ears. As with the Norwich terrier, this breed is an excellent ratter.
Norwich terrier. Similar to the Norfolk terrier, the Norwich has erect ears. Active and perpetually happy, this dog is a great family pet.
Parson Russell terrier. A lively breed, the Parson Russell has recently become very popular. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that it takes a special and understanding individual to own a Parson Russell.
Pekingese. Legend has it that this native of present-day Beijing, China, is the offspring of a lion and a monkey. The Pekingese is a bold, regal toy dog that has an enthusiastic bark rivaling the Chihuahua’s.
Pembroke Welsh corgi. At about 25 pounds, the Pembroke Welsh corgi is a popular pet. This stocky short tailed breed has a natural herding instinct and may attempt to herd his family, especially small children. This instinct, however, is even stronger in the Cardigan.
Poodle – Miniature. The poodle is a very popular breed, especially the miniature poodle. The standard poodle is also popular and, when sporting his show cut trim, can cause lots of stares.
Pug. For such a small dog, there’s a lot of love stuffed into the pug’s body. A clown by nature, the pug demands attention and adoration, but returns both in greater measure.
Puggle Since 2005 puggles, have been the new mixed breed (or more eloquently termed hybrid or designer breed) on the block. Puggles are a beagle and pug crossbreed.
Puli. This Hungarian breed has a strange hair coat, similar to the komondor. Developed as a herding dog, the puli is a much smaller and darker version of the other mop head breed.
Schipperke. Pronounced “skipper-kee,” the Skips (as they are nicknamed) were originally bred as watchdogs, hunters of vermin and as companions. They excel at all three.
Scottish terrier. This working dog from the Scottish Highlands weighs around 15 to 20 pounds. Most often black, the Scottie is highly intelligent and needs daily exercise. Tough and compact, the Scottie is a loyal and protective family member.
Sealyham terrier. Hailing from Wales, this dog is more of a companion than a working terrier. A friendly dog, the Sealyham is also a great watchdog.
Shetland sheepdog. Looking like a miniature collie, the Sheltie is a wonderful companion. The breed has a natural instinct to guard property and excels in obedience trials and agility.
Shiba inu. Considered one of the smallest of the Japanese breeds, the shiba inu has shown excellent hunting skills but are now more of a house pet. In fact, the shiba inu is the most popular companion dog in Japan.
Shih tzu. Proud and intelligent, the shih tzu is from Tibet and China, where the name means “lion dog” because of the breed’s appearance. The dog is also called “chrysanthemum-faced dog” because the hair around the face grows in all directions. The breed is alert, curious and gentle.
Silky terrier. Developed in Australia, this little dog is related to the Yorkshire terrier. Originally called the Sydney silky terrier, the breed typically weighs around 10 pounds. In 1955, the American name for the dog was officially changed to silky terrier.
Skye terrier. With a long flowing coat, the Skye terrier is a beautiful Scottish breed. Though not as popular as his Scottish terrier, cairn terrier and West Highland white terrier cousins, the Skye is slowly finding his way into people’s hearts.
Tibetan spaniel. The Tibetan spaniel was a cherished companion of monks and was often given as gifts to royalty and monasteries in other countries. Excellent watchdogs and faithful companions, the Tibetan spaniel is slowly gaining popularity in the United States.
Tibetan terrier. This dog also hails from Tibet. As with other Tibetan breeds, the Tibetan terrier was thought to bring luck and was never sold. The breed was only given as gifts. Though not a terrier, this breed was officially named a terrier due to his size. A faithful companion, the Tibetan terrier is a happy, hardy dog.
Welsh terrier. Another dog hailing from Wales, the Welsh terrier is extensively used in his homeland to hunt badger, fox and otter. Slowly gaining popularity in the US, this breed is most often black and tan with a harsh coat.
West Highland white terrier. This small white terrier is playful and loveable but does require some exercise to keep him happy. A great size for an apartment, the Westie is a good watch dog and faithful companion that needs grooming to keep his coat mat free.
Whippet. As a moderate-sized greyhound look-a-like, the whippet enjoys racing around a track just as much as he likes to cuddle next to his owner. One of the fastest dogs, the whippet can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.