Pick One Of These Top 10 Best Small Dogs

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Written By James Youngblood

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Miniature Schnauzers Best Small DogsWhy should you consider getting one of the best small dogs? The main reasons for getting the best small dog are that they are easier to control, are not a significant physical threat to humans and are cheaper to feed. You can easily restrain a 7-pound Yorkshire Terrier, and it is not a life-threatening situation if it attacks someone.  



On the other hand, small dogs can be wary of small children and sometimes bite if they feel threatened.   If you have small or young children, teach them how to treat a small dog. Do not leave your small dog alone with children, especially if your dog does not know them.

If you are looking for the right small dog breed for your family, the following descriptions of the ten most popular small breeds may help you. All of the best small dogs make excellent family pets with proper socialization.

Reading time with my beagle dogBeagle

Beagles are a favorite family pet and rank 6th on the AKC’s most popular dog breeds. They come in small and medium-size, although both sizes are the same breed. The smaller Beagle is under 13 inches tall and weighs under 20 pounds. The larger variation is over 13 inches and weighs up to 30 pounds. See dog size chart below) Both would probably satisfy our definition of a small dog.



Beagles are included in the hound group. They are hunting dogs and do have a loud bark. Hey may need some training to keep their barking to a minimum, or you may have some neighbors complaining. But this is true of almost every dog breed. 

Beagles As Hunting Dogs 

 Beagle dogThe Beagle has an excellent sense of smell, almost as good as the Bloodhound or Basset Hound. Hunting dogs frequently run in packs similar to the American and English Foxhounds.  



Beagles are generally healthy dogs with a good lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Besides regular baths and brushing to remove loose hairs, the Beagle does not require frequent grooming. They shed a moderate amount, so they are not hypoallergenic dogs.  They are one of the best small dogs for a family.

Bichon FriseThe boy with the dog playing in the garden.

If you want one of the best small dogs, the Bichon Friese may be your answer.  They originated in France as a lap dog. They are great traveling companions, so if you take frequent trips and want a dog to go along with you, the Bichon Friese is a good choice.



Not only is this breed one of the best small dogs, but it also gets along well with other dogs and children. However, it is a small dog, so it must not be handled roughly.

The coat of the Bichon is white and very dense and curly. It does not shed, so it is not hypoallergenic. It will require frequent brushing and grooming. Failure to properly care for its coat may lead to skin conditions, and the dog may chew or scratch itself.

The Bichon Frise is healthy and has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Some reports claim some dogs have lived as long as 21 years.

Cavalier King Charles SpanielCavalier King Charles Spaniel

When you look into the large, round eyes of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, your heart will surely melt, or you are not a natural dog person. This dog got its name from British royalty, notably King Charles II, the son of Charles I, who lost his head during the English Revolution. Cavalier was a term used for the wealthy supporters of the Kings during the Civil War and Restoration.

The Kings may have been bad rulers, but they liked dogs. Charles II was more interested in his dogs than in ruling England. 

cavalier king charles spanielThe Cavalier is very affectionate and needs to be with people. hey get along well with children and are not afraid of becoming friends with larger dogs. It would not be a good choice for people who are gone from home for long periods.  It is one of the best small dogs for those who want a close companion.

This breed has a few genetic health issues but usually lives 12 to 15 years, which is about average for a small dog. t needs a regular bath a  brushing but does not require extensive grooming. 


Two Longhair Chihuahua dog
Long Coat Chihuahuas


The Chihuahua is a tiny dog. It is the smallest dog breed in the world. Its name comes from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. There are two varieties of the breed, the Smooth Coat (short hair) and the Long Coat (long hair). Both of the varieties are easy to keep clean and do not require a lot of grooming.

The Chihuahua is a sassy but very loyal dog and loves attention. They may be small, but they do not know it. They are not good dogs for rough play due to their small size. Without proper training, it will take over and try to be the boss.

The Chihuahua is very healthy and has expected to be 14 to 16 years. They may be somewhat prone to eye injuries due to their large protruding eyes. Go d dental care is a must.  All in all, this is one of the best small dogs to own.

DachshundA red piebald mini dachsund being held by a little girl out in a green field.

Built low to the ground, the Dachshund, with its short legs and long body, has earned the nickname “wiener-dog.”  It is a hunting dog and part of the hound group. Dachshunds were bred to ch e and flush out badgers and other burrowing animals—”Dachshund” in German means badger dog.

Dachshunds have three coat variations, smooth (short hair), wire-haired, or long-haired. The most common color is red and then black and tan. The  United States and the  United Kingdom recognize two sizes, Miniature and standard. The  Miniature is about 6 inches tall and weighs about 11 pounds. The standard is over 6 inches and can weigh just over 30 pounds.

Small but fearless, this little dog, one of the best small dogs, has a big-time bark and is an excellent watchdog. It has a big appetite, and its o ers must be careful not to give in to those soulful pleading eyes begging for more food. Being overweight is dangerous because it can lead to severe back problems for this long little dog.

Although hunting is their profession,Dachshund Puppys are affectionate and love to spend time on the couch with you. They can be aggressive towards strangers and other family pets. They will need proper training and socialization to behave appropriately around small children.

The smooth-coat Dachshund needs very little grooming. A  routine bath will likely be enough. Lo g-hair and wire-hire dogs will need more brushing. They are generally healthy and have a lifespan of 12 to 16 years.

Miniature SchnauzerSmall Miniature Schnauzer Dog Zwergschnauzer Sitting In Hands Of

The Miniature Schnauzer is the most popular of the three Schnauzer sizes, Miniature, standard, and giant.    The Miniature is under 14 inches tall and should weigh less than 20 pounds.  

The AKC recognizes three coat variations: salt-and-pepper, black, and black-and-silver. There is also an all-white coat accepted by the  Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) but is not yet recognized by the AKC for show competition.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a spirited, intelligent little dog that is a bit independent but is so willing to please its owners that it is easily trained.   It is in the Terrier group and was bred to chase rodents, but those days are long gone. It is now a loyal companion dog that lo s spending time next to its owner.  My favorite of all the best small dogs.

miniature schnauzer puppyThey need regular grooming as they shed very little, and their hair tends to become curly and very susceptible to matting if too long. Removing matted hair is unpleasant for the dog and an equally unpleasant job for the groomer.   They need clipping about every six weeks or so.

Schnauzers are excellent family pets, but small children must mistreat them. They are healthy dogs and live from 12 to 15 years. These spunky little dogs will provide their family with lots of love and companionship during those years.  

PomeranianWoman play with Pomeranian dog at outdoor park

Pomeranian dogs originate from Poland and Germany’s Pomerania area. They are a spitz type of dog in the Toy Group because of their small size, less than 7 inches tall, and under 7 pounds. They may be small, but they certainly do not know it.

Pomeranians are feisty little dogs with a regal bearing that makes them look like they own the place. They like to vocalize, which makes them good watchdogs and often leads to excessive barking.  

They are friendly, playful, and a great family pet so long as children are taught to treat them as dogs, not as toys. It is a popular dog breed and consistently ranks in the top 20 on AKC’s most popular best small dogs list.

The Pomeranian is a healthy little dog with an expected life of 12 to 16 years. Their thick double coat, which gives them their distinguished appearance, will need frequent brushing.

PoodleSingle young brunette woman with poodle dog on hands sitting by window at

The Poodle is among the most intelligent dog breeds, second only to the Border Collie.   They are divided into three classes: Toy, Miniature, and standard. Both the toy and Miniature are small dogs, while the Poodle’s standard size is a medium to large dog. They are all the same breed, just different sizes.

Poodles Are Easily Recognized

The  Poodle is probably the most recognized and one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. It is in the top 10 of the AKC’s most popular dog breed list.

toy poodleThe Poodle may look elegant (some might say sissy), but underneath it is a dog with significant mental and physical ability. The y are very successful in dog competitions such as agility and obedience training.  

Pooles are an excellent family pet, equal to any other dog breed. They live long, healthy lives, and it is not uncommon for them to reach the age of 18 years.  The poodle is a great choice for one of the best small dogs.

Their coats will need frequent brushing if you allow them to grow long. It is probably best to keep their coats trimmed short. Otherwise, matting can become a severe issue, and they may have to be shaved to remove matted hair.


Shih TzuThe Shih Tzu is one of the best small dogs

The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed from Tibet by way of China. The y were favorites of Chinese royalty and were raised indoor dogs, so they were happy to live in places without big backyards.   Their idea of a good time is being in or beside you and watching television.

If you want a cute dog, you will have difficulty finding one cuter than the Shih Tzu. If you let its hair grow long and with diligent grooming, the Shih Tzu is an elegant dog. Owners who do not have or want to take the time for frequent grooming will still have a cute dog with short hair.

The Shih Tzu is an alert, friendly dog and prefers being with its family and not being left alone. It usually acts friendly towards strangers and other family pets.  This is one of the best small dogs for your family.

Shih Tzus have a lifespan of 10 to 18 years. They are generally healthy but don’t tolerate heat very well because of their coats.  



Yorkshire TerrierPortrait of a beautiful little 2 years old girl in red hat with yorkshire terrier dog on sofa in

Another cute dog is the Yorkshire Terrier. The  Yorkshire Terrier comes from the county of Yorkshire, England. The  Yorkie is also a Toy Group dog and one of the world’s most miniature dog breeds. A  full-grown Yorkie will only weigh about 7 pounds.  

The Yorkie is alert and playful. It does not like being alone, and sometimes owners have two dogs to ease the Yorkie’s separation anxiety.  

The Yorkie will have floor-length silky hair if you let its hair grow long. It will still be a cute dog with short hair if you don’t want to put in the grooming time.  Owners will swear that this is one of the best small dogs you can get.

If you like dogs a all, you will love the companionship of a York. It may be small, but it is a terrier. It is active, playful, feisty, and even bossy. It has a lifespan of 11 to 15 years. Yorkie will give you so much joy and laughs every one of those years.

SizeHeightWeightTypical Breeds
Toyup to 12 inches5-15 poundsYorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle, Chihuahua
Smallup to 17 inches15-25 poundsMiniature Schnauzer, Beagle, Bichon Friese
Mediumup to 23 inches25-60 poundsAmerican Foxhound, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie
Largeup to 29 inches60-85 poundsAkita, German Shepherd, Collie
Giantup to 35 inchesover 85 poundsBernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Mastiff







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