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25 Best Small Dog Breeds In The World

Small dog breeds have a reputation for being “yappy,” energetic, and difficult to train, but as with any stereotype, this isn’t always the truth. Sure, little dogs (including toy breeds) pack a lot of personality into a small body. These miniature dogs, on the other hand, are loyal companions with a lot of heart, making them some of the best small dog breeds. 

These adorable, tiny dogs can thrive in any environment, from a large house to a small studio apartment, and they live longer than their larger counterparts (from 12 to 20 years). We have compiled a list of some of the world’s smallest dog breeds. Some of the best small dog breeds on our list are not formally recognized by the American Kennel Club as they are unofficial cross breeds or teacup dog breeds. 


Shorkie

Shorkie Small dog

A Shorkie, also known as a Shorkie Tzu, is a mix of a Shih Tzu and a Yorkshire Terrier that produces a feisty, devoted little fluff ball. Shorkies have the charm and charisma of both the Shih Tzu and the Yorkshire Terrier, as well as the Terrier’s hypoallergenic coat.

Temperament: Feisty, Loyal, Spunky

Height: 6-11 inches

Weight: 5-12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11-16 years


Dachshund

Small dog breeds Dachshund

The Dachshund was originally bred for the purpose of exterminating rodents and other vermin. The small Dachshund is an excellent watchdog and will alert its owner to any unfamiliar activity. These miniature dogs are extremely loyal and will quickly become attached to their owners.

This loyalty sometimes translates into aggression towards unfamiliar people or children. These fun loving and curious dogs also love digging, hunting, chasing, fetch, and other tracking games; making them on of the most popular breeds in the United States. 

Temperament: Friendly, Curious, Wild

Height: 8-9 inches

Weight: 16-32 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-16 years


Schnoodle

Schnoodle dog breed

The Schnoodle is as loyal as a Schnauzer and as playful as a Poodle. A Schnoodle, like his Schnauzer parent, has a protective temperament making him an excellent watchdog. The Schnoodle is intelligent and affectionate, much like his Poodle parent. He barks excessively at times due to his watchdog nature (a habit that should be addressed when he’s young to prevent unwanted barking). Excessive barking is commonly corrected with proper socialization. 

Temperament: Smart, Clever, Loyal

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 7-16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-17 years


Pomchi

Pomchi

The Pomchi is a mixed-breed dog that is a hybrid between a Pomeranian and a Chihuahua. These little pups are playful, devoted, and lively, inheriting some of the greatest attributes from both of their parents. Pomchis are also known as Pomahuahuas, Chimeranian, Chi-Pom, and Pom-Chi.

Temperament: Lively, Playful, Loyal

Height: 6-10 inches

Weight: 4-12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-18 years


Basenji

Basenji

The Basenji was bred as a hunting dog in Africa. The Basenji is known for its intelligence and its independent character. This small breed is also known for its “barkless” nature. These little dogs love exercise and enjoy participating in obedience training classes. It is important that you provide them with daily exercise to prevent them from causing problems within your house and developing anxiety. 

Temperament: Affectionate, Quiet, Intelligent

Height: 16–17 inches 

Weight: 22-26 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-14 years


Papillon 

Papillon small dog breed

The Papillon is a small dog breed that is increasingly popular in the United States. The Papillon, sometimes called the Continental Toy Spaniel, is one of the oldest Toy Spaniel breeds. This little dog may be small in size, however, it has a personality typically only found in large dog breeds. This popular dog breed has no problem keeping up with larger dogs as they are energetic and agile making them great family pets. To prevent you Papillon from barking excessively, you should begin socializing him starting at a young age. 

Temperament: Loving, Alert, Energetic

Height: 9-11 inches

Weight: 5-10 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years


Beagle

Beagle small dog breed

The Beagle is a popular small dog breed that was originally bred for hunting. These dogs have an incredible sense of smell which made them excellent at sniffing out rabbit holes. This keen sense of smell makes taking them on walks a little difficult as they easily become distracted by the many odors encountered on outdoor excursions. These fun loving dogs make great family pets due to their laid back natured and energetic personality. 

Temperament: Intelligent, Loyal, Gentle

Height: 13-15 inches

Weight: 20-22 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Pomsky

Pomsky small dog breeds

As the name of this small dog breed suggests, it is a cross between the Pomeranian and Siberian Husky. Pomskies tend to vary in size depending on how much of the parent breed they have in them. A Pomsky that inherited more Husky characteristics will likely be larger than a Pomsky that inherited more Pomeranian characteristics. This mixed breed tends to be very energetic much like its parents. This means that you will have to take your Pomsky on daily walks to ensure it releases some of its high activity level. 

Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, High Energy

Height: 10-15 inches

Weight: 20-30 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terrier small dog breed

The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the world’s smallest dog breeds. This spunky and loyal dog breed may be very small in size, however, it has the personality of a much bigger dog. The Yorkie is known for its long silky coat and can be seen in dog shows around the world. Their smooth coats require frequent brushing to prevent them from becoming gnarled and accumulating debris.

The Yorkie tends to take charge of the larger dog breeds it encounters and is generally not afraid of anything; which can get it into trouble every now and then. The Yorkie makes a great family dog, however, if you have small children you must be careful as the dog’s small size makes it somewhat fragile. Yorkies make great apartment dogs as they are able to easily adjust to apartment life. 

Temperament: Affectionate, Spunky, Energetic

Height: 7-8 inches

Weight: 6-7 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11-15 years


Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise Small Dog Breeds

The Bichon Frise is part adorable puff-ball and part cuddly companion. This small dog breed is both sweet and sensitive, making it an great family pet. The Bichon Frise is typically a very friendly dog; it loves to play with its owners and will be loyal for life. The Bichon Frise is known for its smooth white coat. This smooth coat requires regular brushing to keep it clean and healthy.

Like many small dogs, the Bichon Frise has a tendency to bark at, well, everything. This excessive barking can typically be reduced through proper socialization starting when the Bichon Frise is just a puppy. You should begin introducing your dog to unfamiliar sounds and people to get it used to these new encounters. Another great recommendation is to enrol your puppy in training classes. This allows him to meet other dogs and other people. 

Temperament: Playful, Curious, Spunky

Height: 9.5-11.5 inches

Weight: 12-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-15 years


Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier Small Dog breeds

Like its name suggests, this spunky little dog was bred in the Boston, Massachusetts area during the Civil War time period. The Boston Terrier is a clever small dog breed and love interacting with anyone who will give him attention. The Boston Terrier is an energetic small dog breed, however, they also love to curl up next to their owners on the couch after a long day of playing.

Due to their energetic personality, they require regular exercise to prevent them from becoming bored and depressed. Boston Terriers are sturdy little dogs, despite their small appearance. The Boston Terrier can be somewhat defensive without proper training, so begin training him as soon as you bring him into your home.

Temperament: Loving, Energetic, Funny

Height: 15-17 inches

Weight: 12-25 pounds

Life Expectancy: 11-13 years


Chihuahua

Chihuahua tiny dog breed

The Chihuahua is one of the longest living miniature breeds on our list as it is not prone to many health issues. In addition, the Chihuahua is one of the tiniest dog breeds on our list due to their miniature size and minimal weight. They are known for being able to fit in the palm of your hand when they are puppies.

Even those these miniature dogs are pocket sized, that doesn’t mean they have a docile personality. Chihuahuas are known for being a bit feisty. However, they are incredibly loyal dogs that have a loving personality when you get to know them. In addition, these small dogs are known for being somewhat loud as they tend to bark at everything they are unfamiliar with. 

Temperament: Nervous, Graceful, Snippy

Height: 5-8 inches

Weight: Up to 6 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years


Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Corgi tiny dog breeds

The Corgi is known for being a favorite of the Queen of England as there are many photos of them prancing by her side. Corgis are happy and alert dogs that are great family pets as they love playing with small children. In addition, this small dog breed makes a great watchdog as they will likely alert you to any sound that they may hear. These dogs are very intelligent and very easily trained; making them a favorite in dog shows around the world. 

Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Aware

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: Up to 30 pounds (male), up to 28 pounds (female)

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years


Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested tiny dog breeds

The Chinese Crested is a very distinct dog as they are known for being hairless. These adorable little dogs have a body that is completely hairless. However, there is usually hair on their heads and feet. The Chinese Crested is an extremely loyal dog and loves nothing more than to spend time with its owner. Due to their small size, they do not need heavy exercise. Instead, they only need moderate to small activity; this can be daily walks or a game of fetch in the yard.  

Temperament: Affectionate, Alert, Energetic

Height: 11-13 inches

Weight: 8-12 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-18 years


Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle miniature dog breeds

The Toy Poodle is one of the most popular toy dog breeds in the world. Toy Poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds in the entire world; there is not a trick they cannot learn how to master. Miniature Poodles are very easy to train and love to engage in obedience training. These little dogs are also commonly found in dog shows and agility competitions around the world. While Poodles do come in three different sizes, Standard, Miniature, and Toy, the Standard size is to big to be considered a small dog breed.

Temperament: Active, Confident, Very Smart

Height: Under 10 inches (toy), 10-15 inches (miniature)

Weight: 4-6 pounds (toy), 10-15 pounds (miniature)

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years


Maltese

Maltese small dog breed

The Maltese is characterized by its beautiful silky coat. These dogs tend to be small in size but mighty in character and personality. Like the Yorkie, they tend to believe they are much larger than they actually are and have been known to get in trouble due to this belief. Their long silky hair needs regular brushing to prevent is from accumulating debris and becoming matted. The Maltese is commonly bred as a companion dog and tends to remain “puppy like” throughout its life. They make great family dogs due to their lively and charming personalities. 

Temperament: Gentle, Lively, Charming

Height: 7-9 inches

Weight: Under 7 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer Small dog breed

The Miniature Schnauzer is an iconic looking dog as it is characterized by its long beard. The Miniature Schnauzer is known for its superior intelligence and ability to participate in dog shows around the world. They are extremely affectionate and loyal dogs making them great for families and first time dog owners. This small dog breed was originally bred and developed in Germany in the late nineteenth century. 

Temperament: Friendly, Smart, Loyal

Height: 12-14 inches

Weight: 11-20 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound small dog breed

Italian Greyhounds are known for their affectionate nature. They desire nothing more than spending time with their owners and family members. Italian Greyhounds are sweet and loyal dogs that are similar in appearance to their larger cousin, the Greyhound. Therefore, they are great family dogs due to their gentle personalities. Italian Greyhounds tend to be nervous and anxious when it comes to meeting new people or experiencing new things. This timid behavior can be addressed and fixed with proper socialization starting when they are puppies. 

Temperament: Playful, Sensitive, Nervous

Height: 13-15 inches

Weight: 7-14 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-15 years


Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier small dog breed

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small dog breed that is an excellent family dog. They are a fun loving dog that loves to have all of the attention on themselves. The Jack Russell is very active and requires ample exercise throughout the day to prevent them from becoming bored. They enjoy frequent walks, runs, and any outdoor activities with their family. However, due to their energetic nature, they are more suited for people who have yard space for them to run around in; allowing them to expel some of their energy. 

Temperament: Alert, Curious, Energetic

Height: 10-12 inches

Weight: 9-15 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years


Lhasa Apso

lhasa apso small dog breeds

The Lhasa Apso has a somewhat unique origin story. This little dog was originally bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries. These dogs had the sole purpose of alerting monks to intruders within the monasteries. However, due to this peculiar origin, the Lhasa Apso makes a great watch dog. They are suspicious of strangers and tend to bark at things they are not familiar with. Despite their suspicious personality, they are excellent family dogs and will be forever faithful to their owners. 

Temperament: Confident, Intelligent, Comical

Height: 10-11 inches (male), slightly smaller (female)

Weight: 12-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years


Havanese

havanese small dog breed

The Havanese is one of the most popular family dogs in the United States. This small breed is also great for people who are first time dog owners; they require little in regard to extra care making them simple to own. The Havanese are very intelligent dogs that love to engage in daily exercise and training. Their coat needs regular grooming to keep it clean and free of knots. But, due to their somewhat humorous personalities, they make great companions for small children. 

Temperament: Intelligent, Outgoing, Humorous

Height: 8.5-11.5 inches

Weight: 7-13 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years


Pug

pug small dog breed

Pugs were once a favorite companion of Chinese emperors. Today, they are found all over the world making great apartment dogs and family dogs due to their loving personality and small size. Pugs are characterized by their smushy face and stocky appearance. However, due to their compact faces, it is difficult for them to participate in strenuous exercise as they are not able to breathe like dogs with longer snouts. In addition, Pugs require special grooming compared to other dogs. You must wipe out their facial folds frequently to prevent infection and debris from accumulating. 

Temperament: Loving, Naughty, Curious

Height: 10-13 inches

Weight: 14-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 13-15 years


Pekingese

Pekingese Small dog breeds

The Pekingese is a Chinese breed with a long history dating back hundreds of years. Pekingese, sometimes referred to as  Lion Dogs, get their name from their similarity to Chinese guardian lions. This small dog has a big personality. He makes a good watchdog because he is incredibly loyal to his family and wary of strangers. However, the Pekingese’s violent attitude makes him unsuitable for a family with children or other pets. They also have a very thick undercoat which means frequent grooming is a must!

Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Majestic

Height: 6-9 inches

Weight: Up to 14 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years


Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Small dog breed

This breed, like the Pug, was bred for Chinese aristocracy and considers giving and receiving affection to be his main goals in life. This traditionally playful breed is proud but not haughty; he greatly appreciates attention and treats. To put it another way, the Shih Tzu is prone to becoming spoiled. He needs consistent training because if he is bored or left to do things his own, he will get into mischief. These adorable little dogs make great apartment dogs due to their small size. 

Temperament: Loving, Playful, Spunky

Height: 9-10.5 inches

Weight: 9-16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years


Pomeranian 

Pomeranian small dog breed

Pomeranians are mellow, kind, and generally adorable dogs, yet they can be boisterous at times. This breed gets along well with kids, however it’s preferable to bring it into the family as a puppy. Be aware that the Pomeranian sheds a lot due to its double coat type, so expect a lot of brushing and vacuuming. Daily brushing is an absolute must to prevent its fluffy coat from covering your house! 

Temperament: Curious, Spunky, High Energy

Height: 6-7 inches

Weight: 3-7 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-16 years

Other Small Dog Breeds

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Border Terrier
  • West Highland Terrier (Westie)
  • Japanese Chin
  • Shiba Inu
  • Rat Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Whippet

While there are almost hundreds of other small dog breeds, these are some of the most popular tiny dog breeds from around the world. We would love to hear from you if you believe we should include another popular small dog breed on our list!

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