15 Most Popular Small Dog Breeds
Are you looking to bring home a small dog? Are you unsure what breed is best for your family and lifestyle?
Here’s a rundown of 15 of the most popular small dog breeds, including both Toy and Miniature dogs, and a little about what makes each special. We’ve compiled this list to help you understand what breeds are popular with families today, why each breed is popular, and perhaps help you with making the right choice for your family.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the top 15 most popular small dog breeds.
The French Bulldog is an affectionate small breed of dog with a built stature and adorable bat-like ears. These puppies have risen consistently in popularity, given their adorable characters and kind temperament. In fact, French Bulldogs are now the most popular dog breed in America – having unseated the family favorite Labrador Retriever after its 31-year reign.
The Toy Poodle is a classic small dog breed known for its high intelligence, healthy genetics, and low-shedding fur. Given these attributes, Poodles (Toy and Miniature) have made frequent additions to gene pools of other dog breeds. Poodle mixes are known as Doodles, and are known for their low-shedding fur. Example Doodle breeds include the Havapoo, Cavapoo, and Maltipoo.
For a run-down of the key differences between popular Doodle breeds, read our guide on 10 miniature Doodle breeds and what makes each special.
The Shih Tzu originates in Tibet, China, where its name means “Little Lion”. What a great matching name, given their puffy paws and courageous personalities. This adorable small dog breed will melt your heart, and is hypoallergenic, too. Shih Tzus come in a variety of colors and sport wavy-to-curly low-shedding fur, making them an excellent fit for families with allergic or asthmatic members.
The Yorkshire Terrier is one of the smallest dog breeds. These adorable pups are filled with attitude and personality, and are low-shedding, too. This combination of traits makes them a favorite for many families and individuals, particularly the elderly seeking a lap companion. It’s important to keep in mind that Yorkies grow quite attached to their primary owners.
When grown out, the silky hair of a Yorkie gives it a majestic look – but remember, their hair is low-shedding.
Cavapoos are a mixture of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle (Toy or Miniature). These dogs have a loving and caring temperament, and moderate energy levels. The Poodle lineage gives Cavapoos a lower-shedding coat, making them a suitable match for families looking for a hypoallergenic companion.
Maltipoos are the hybrid of a Maltese and a Poodle (Toy or Miniature). Maltipoos are similar to Cavapoos in temperament, being loving towards family, kids, strangers, and other pets. These dogs typically have a curly coat, inherited from their hypoallergenic Poodle parent, and are good companions for allergy-sensitive families.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This breed’s name is derived from King Charles II of the United Kingdom, whose father’s followers were called the Cavaliers. These dogs are graceful, displaying a gentle yet sociable personality. King Charles Cavaliers make perfect family dogs, as they are excellent with kids, strangers, and other pets.
Pomeranians are puffy little dogs with big personalities. Some pet owners groom their Pomeranians to have a round look, garnering them the name “Teddy Bear Pomeranians”. This dog is a toy Spitz breed that is both lively and exceptionally devoted to its primary owner. Pomeranians make great companions for families and individuals, and do well in smaller living spaces, like apartments.
Originating in Massachusetts, this dog breed became popular in Boston in the early 1900s. Boston Terriers were bred for their affectionate personality, well-built look, and characteristic black-and-white coat, garnering them the nickname the “American Gentleman”. Boston Terriers are friendly, intelligent, and playful, making them excellent family companions.
The Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). These tiny dogs are packed with big personalities, as they like to be seen, known, and paid attention to. Chihuahuas are famous for their strong bond to their primary owner, which is important to keep that in mind when bringing a new Chihuahua home.
Miniature Schnauzers have a dedicated following given their loving personalities and strong attachment to their families. This breed is both intelligent and fearless, willing to stand up to dogs multiple times its size to guard your family. Mini Schnauzers also hardly ever shed, making them a great fit for allergy-sensitive families.
The Maltese is a toy breed of dog with white and smooth long hair. These dogs are closely related to Bichon Frises, Bolognese, and Havanese dogs, but originate from Malta, their namesake region. Maltese dogs pack a big personality in a small body, and are extremely kind and companionable. They bring liveliness and affection to those around them.
Given their elongated bodies, Dachshunds are also known as Sausage Dogs, Badger Dogs, and Weiner Dogs. These pups are stubborn, devoted, and have a drive to play – as their history dates back to being bred for finding and hunting badgers from small burrows. Dachshunds are family favorites for their playful and stubborn personalities.
These dogs are also one of the longest-living dog breeds!
Pugs are adorable flat-faced toy dogs with charming personalities. This dog breed is a family favorite as it has a friendly and playful disposition, and gets along with strangers, kids, and other pets. Pugs are also a great fit for small living spaces, given their smaller stature and lower energy levels. Pugs come in a variety of colors, but the most common are fawn, black, and silver.
The Havanese is the national dog of Cuba. This toy dog breed makes the perfect companion given its happy and affectionate nature. Havanese dogs are deeply companionable, and enjoy spending time with their primary owners – making them a common choice for emotional service dogs. If you’re bringing a Havanese home, keep in mind that these dogs are incredibly social, and so require lots of socialization and can be easily prone to separation anxiety.
As you saw on this list, there’s tremendous variety in small dog breeds – in not only looks, but temperament, energy levels, shedding levels, and more. So … what breed is best for your lifestyle? Are you looking for a highly trainable dog, an apartment-friendly breed, or something else?
If you’re still unsure what dog breed is best for your lifestyle, consider trying our Dog Breed Quiz to find the perfect breed for you.
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