It’s a fact – small dogs are irresistible. Many potential pet parents look for small breeds because they are easier to travel with, and are usually great for smaller yards and/or apartment life. The smallest dog breeds in the world won’t be the right fit for every family, but they be a good choice for you if you’re looking for a little sized companion.
Size shouldn’t be the only factor that you take into consideration when choosing your new forever friend to adopt. You also need to think about the dog’s energy level, temperament and any common healthy concerns with the breed(s) to fit your lifestyle.
One of the main reasons that owners choose small breeds is because of the space restrictions in their home or yard. Lack of space can cause a dog to become anxious or destructive. It could also lead to reduced activity, causing laziness or depression.
If you’re looking for a dog that will be able to travel with you frequently, one of the below mentioned smallest dog breeds would be a great choice. Likewise, if you don’t have a whole lot of space in your house, apartment or yard, one of these companion breeds would also be a fit option for you and your family.
30 Smallest Dog Breeds in the World
7 Pounds and Under
1. Briewer Terrier
They love the outdoors and are full of joy. Like most small dogs, they have difficulty with housebreaking and pee pads may be needed throughout their lifetime.
The Pomeranian is also different from other small breeds in that they do better in cold weather than in warm weather. These dogs are better with just one or two owners and no small children.
3. Toy Fox Terrier
They do not like being alone and can become noisy and destructive when by themselves. They are popular in both the circus and the competition rings.
Popularity has led to unsafe breeding practices which have led to some of these dogs becoming timid, nervous and high-strung. Always make sure your pup comes from a reputable breeder.
5. Russian Toy
Formerly known as the Moscow Longhaired Terrier, the Russian Toy has two varieties, a “long hair” and a “smooth hair”. While the Smooth Coats tend to be more “terrier like” than the Long Coats, dogs from both variations are usually energetic and playful.
These pooches can be destructive when bored and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. If you work outside the home for long stretches during the day, this is one of the smallest dog breeds that wouldn’t fit your lifestyle.
Coming in at number 30 for the AKC most popular dog in the world, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone that has not come into contact with a Chihuahua. While they have a bad reputation, the nervousness, jumpiness, and fearfulness that they are known for are due to irresponsible breeding.
A pup from a reputable breeder is outgoing, sassy and charming. Chihuahuas make great traveling companions, and they are ideal for apartment dwellers.
While the “Yorkie” is a popular companion dog, sitting on laps is not all they are good at. In World War II, a Yorkshire Terrier named “Smoky” became a war hero when she dragged a communications cable through a culvert which saved many lives.
These little pups are proud, confident, and outgoing. While they were ratters, today they bark little and have very little predator instincts.
The small delicate size means they are strictly house dogs. They do not do well with alone time; however, they bark very little. With low energy, they do not need a lot of exercise, but do love daily playtimes with close family.
9. English Toy Spaniel
They like mild climates and do not do well spending time outdoors. They rarely bark and are fine with just some inside play every day. They make great canines for apartments.
10. Bichon Frise
Like many “lap dogs”, they do not do well on their own and can become sullen, sad, and destructive if left alone. These sneaky pets will need obedience training as they can find their way into anything they want.
11. Prague Ratter
With roots stretching back to Old Bohemia, this breed was prized by the Czechoslovakian Gentle and curious, they do well with children and other pets; however, they can be timid and shy when with people they don’t know well.
The Prague Ratter is intelligent and obedient and makes a great family pet. They are quite rare, so be prepared to wait awhile while your name is on a list.
8 to 12 Pounds
12. Silky Terrier
Often mistaken for a Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky Terrier is slightly larger. While they have long hair, it is easy to brush and keep free from mats. These smallest dog breeds also rarely shed.
Pictured above, these fur-babies aren’t as fragile as their tiny cousins, but still don’t do well in cold weather. Their size doesn’t affect their doggy traits. They still love to bark, chew and dig.
13. Norfolk Terrier
Make sure you have a secure fence that is sunk down in the ground. Always have your dog on a leash when not in a fence. Like many terriers, they don’t do well with other animals, especially small ones like ferrets.
14. Italian Greyhound
These smallest dog breeds are not for someone who wants a dog that will stay close and sit by the feet. Like their larger counterparts, they are sight hounds and will chase anything that moves. They need a tall fence and a sturdy leash.
This breed still retains a lot of working dog characteristics and does not usually do well with kids and other pets. To balance this, they are adaptable and can adjust to anything given the right owner and the right setting.
16. Brussels Griffon
Originally kept in stables to kill varmints such as rats and mice, the Brussels Griffon is a large dog in a small package. These pups are wary of strangers and need training from a young age to be tolerant towards people they do not know.
These smallest dog breeds are loyal to their owners and can be a tad jealous. It is best that these fur-babies be socialized from a young age to get along with kids and other dogs.
17. Miniature Pinscher
While some of these four-legged family members do have markings like a Doberman, they are not a scaled down version of that breed. In fact, they have 13 color classifications. They are good with kids and other pets.
While they don’t like to be alone for too long, they can handle some time alone. They are gregarious and outgoing. Miniature Pinschers need consistent training and lots of exercise.
18. Toy Poodle
They do have hair that will need to be brushed daily or clipped short. Smart and alert, they are great for someone that wants to teach their pup all sorts of tricks and jobs.
19. Chinese Crested
Often thought of as a “hairless” dog, this feature is determined by dominant and recessive genes meaning you can get a litter with the “hairless” variety or the “powderpuff” variety. Always bred as a companion dog, they are friendly with strangers, kids, and other pets.
The Chinese Crested is considered to be a healthy breed. However, the “hairless” version does have a lower life expectancy and is prone to tooth loss, blackheads and sunburns.
20. Shih Tzu
This royal dog of China was created just to be a companion, but don’t let its size fool you. These smallest dog breeds have made their way into competition rings around the world.
21. Japanese Chin
These four-legged family members do not like being left alone for long and can become loud and destructive if they are. With low energy and skittish demeanor, they are great for people who don’t get out as much.
22. Coton de Tulear
This happy breed loves children, dogs, cats, and everyone else. The Royal Dog of Madagascar loves to play and entertain. The cheerful attitude and willingness to please is fast making this fluffy white pooch a favorite around the world.
Easy to train and obedient, this dog is great for first-time owners and experienced owners looking to teach more tricks. These smallest dog breeds are ideal for any family looking for a little canine companion.
Like other small breeds, they are sensitive and cannot be scolded harshly or they can become fearful and have behavioral problems. Positive reinforcement training is best. They do not like being left alone.
24. Volpino Italiano
Their calm demeanor and willingness to learn make them great for search and rescue, show rings and living rooms. Although they are on a comeback, their numbers are still small. It may take some time to find a pup to bring home.
When outside, they do need a fence or leash. They may need training to curb nuisance barking. While small in size, they are large in personality and stubbornness.
Over 12 Pounds
26. Lhasa Apso
Pictured above, this is a great pup for a family that needs a guard dog, but doesn’t want that guard dog size. The Lhasa Apso was used by Tibetan monks to guard the monasteries. They are still suspicious of strangers today.
Like other canines that are aloof, they don’t generally like young kids or other dogs. These smallest dog breeds do well in apartments to mansions, but if you don’t have a yard for them to run in, be prepared for walks.
27. Boston Terrier
With their bat ears and smooshed face, this cutie is able to win hearts. The Boston Terrier is great for first-time dog owners. They are friendly and patient with everyone they meet, human and not-human.
They shed little and their short hair is easy to keep tidy. If you want a small dog, but not TOO small, this little rascal is a great choice.
28. Miniature Schnauzer
A trash-talking little dog, this little yapper is liable to bite off more than he can chew when it comes to scrapping with other dogs. Miniature Schnauzer dogs need to be well socialized from a young age so they are polite with kids and other animals.
Miniature Schnauzers make great guard dogs. They are likely to bark and become destructive if left bored and need training and distractions to curb these behaviors.
29. Lancashire Heeler
While Lancashire Heeler breed has short legs, they are stocky and sturdy. The Lancashire Heeler is still a working dog at heart and needs activities to keep it busy and exercise for the mind and body.
They are friendly with kids they are raised with but should be supervised around other children. Although they are small dogs, they do not adapt well to apartment life.
30. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These fur-babies are inside dogs, but they still love supervised romps in a fenced-in yard where they will chase birds and squirrels with boundless joy.