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Training Your New Pal

10 Most Trainable Small Dogs

By Mawoo Pets · 9 Mar · 7 min read
10 Most Trainable Small Dogs

The most trainable small dogs tend to be more obedient, learn quickly, and retain what they learn more easily. They also have an eagerness to please their owner that makes them more receptive to training.

The most trainable small dog breeds aren’t necessarily smarter than other dogs, but they’re more interested in learning and have a strong desire to please their human companions. On the other hand, small dogs who are less obedient may demonstrate their intelligence by being excellent problem solvers or creative escape artists.

Of course, every dog is trainable with time, consistency, and patience. If you’re ready to add a new family member to your home, consider bringing home one of these easily trainable small dog breeds to make the transition a little easier.

10 Most Obedient and Trainable Small Dog Breeds

1. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are one the most trainable terrier breeds. They’re incredibly smart and full of life. Schnauzers make wonderful family pets who will play with the kids, and they’re also a great choice for anyone who wants a companion to take on outdoor adventures.

Happiest when they’re in the middle of the action, Schnauzers are loyal and loving, preferring to be by their owner’s side. They’re adaptable to country or city life as long as they get a long walk and some play time every day.

Since this breed doesn’t shed very much, it may be a good hypoallergenic dog breed for allergy sufferers. However, Schnauzers do require regular brushing and occasional haircuts to keep their coat looking its best.Black Miniature Schnauzer puppy on grass.

2. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a sturdy little dog with a big-dog personality. This breed was originally bred to herd animals 50 times its size, but Welsh Corgis are beloved as family pets today. They’re fast learners and can retain anything you want to teach them.

The Corgi has a short, stocky build, big ears and a bobbed or docked tail. At full size, Corgis weigh in at around 25-30 pounds, making them one of the heftier small dogs on our list. Corgis are an easy-to-care-for small dog breed that requires only a weekly brushing and an occasional bath to keep shedding in check. 

Keep in mind that this is a very athletic breed, so daily exercise and mental stimulation are a must. They are also prone to obesity, which can lead to back issues, so regular exercise is essential for keeping their weight in check.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy running on the park.

3. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, called the Sheltie for short, was originally bred to herd livestock. These days, Shelties are popular family pets known for their playful natures and loyalty to their owners. 

These easy-to-train small dogs excel in both obedience and agility training. When combined with their gentle, sweet, and eager to please personalities, Shelties are one of the most obedient small dog breeds for families with young children.

Shetland Sheepdog jumping through hoops in an agility course.

4. Boston Terrier

Sometimes called the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is eager to please, affectionate and lively. They are well known for their gentle and even temperament that makes them easy to train and an ideal family companion.

Boston Terriers learn quickly and excel in dog sports like flyball and agility. They’re also quick to learn new skills and remember what they’ve learned. Their short coats make them one of the easiest small dogs to care for. The occasional bath and nail trim is all they need in terms of grooming.

Boston Terrier puppy looking into camera.

5. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is known for its adorable, teddy bear-like appearance and fluffy white coat. They are one of the most obedient small dog breeds, loved for their cheerful attitude and charming personalities.

The Bichon gets along well with children and other pets, and these dogs make good all-around family pets that are gentle yet playful. They are also considered easy to housetrain. This breed is ideal for apartment and city dwellers but also adapts well to suburban and country life. It’s considered to be hypoallergenic since it doesn’t shed and may be less likely to trigger allergies.

Smiling Bichon Frise in a street covered in leaves.

6. Poodles (Toy and Miniature)

When you think of a fancy Poodle in the show ring, it’s hard to believe that these dogs were originally bred to be water retrievers. They’re a lot tougher than they look, and they’re extremely obedient, learning new skills quickly and retaining what they’ve learned easily.

The Poodle has such an aptitude for learning new things that they have been used as trick dogs by performers throughout history. They make fun and energetic family pets who love playtime in the backyard just as much as a good cuddle on the couch.

Toy and Miniature Poodles have a coat that requires regular haircuts and daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. They’re just as much at home in the city as they are in the country, and they adapt easily to apartment life. They also enjoy outdoor activities like hiking.

Poodle dog running though a tunnel in an agility course.

7. Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is one of the smallest dogs on our list, weighing in at only two to seven pounds. One of the most trainable terrier breeds, Yorkies have an energetic and affectionate personality. They’re happy to sit in your lap or accompany you for a stroll through the neighbourhood.

Yorkies require a lot of exercise, but this can be accomplished in a short time and small space since the breed is so small. They are easy to housetrain and receptive to using puppy pads, which makes them a good choice for apartment life or people who work during the day.

Yorkshire Terrier laying down.

8. Havanese

The Havanese is a delightful little dog with a beautiful coat. They are an affectionate and gentle breed that’s easy to train. Their quiet natures make the Havanese the perfect small dog for apartment living and family life.

This breed is happy, affectionate, and easily trainable. Havanese love to interact with people and other pets and generally enjoy outdoor activities. That being said, Havanese do not require a large yard. They’re perfectly content with daily walks and occasional adventures. 

In the past, this breed was sometimes called “the Havana silk dog” due to its fine, silky coat that comes in a wide range of colours. Regular brushing and occasional trimming will keep that coat free of mats and tangles.

Cute black and white Havanese pup playing with a ball.

9. Dachshund

These little cuties were bred to hunt vermin and come in three varieties: smooth coat, long coat, and wire coat. The Dachshund, affectionately known as the “Weiner Dog,” has a long body, short legs, and a winning personality.

The Dachshund is so easy to train that the breed has even been used to find missing people. They also make wonderful service and therapy dogs for the elderly due to their docile and obedient natures. They’re also wonderful family companions who get along well with children.

Dachshund pup looking into distance near a lake.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel would win the title of “best tail-wagger” every time. These beautiful and obedient small dogs have delightful personalities and an eagerness to please that isn’t as common among other Spaniel breeds.

Cavaliers are affectionate, playful, and easy-to-train small dogs that adore their human companions. Shyness isn’t an issue for this outgoing, happy little canine who is likely to charm everyone it meets. They’re good with children and make wonderful companions for all ages.

Happy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy jumping through obstacles in an agility course.

FAQs: The Most Trainable Small Dogs

  • Are small dogs easier to train than large dogs?

When it comes to trainability, it’s more about patience, consistency and the individual dog’s personality than it is about size. If we use the same cues, management strategies, and positive reinforcement methods to shape each dog’s behaviour, the differences in trainability are negligible between small and large dogs.

  • What is the most difficult to train small dog?

The most difficult to train small dog is one with high amounts of energy and a strong sense of independence. Many spaniels and terriers fall into this category, but once again, personalities can vary greatly from dog to dog and there are exceptions to every rule. Any dog can be trained if the right training methods are used.

  • What is the easiest small dog to take care of?

In general, small dogs are easier to care for than large dogs, simply because of their more manageable size. Breeds with short, smooth coats, like the Boston Terrier, require only the occasional nail trim, ear cleaning, and bath, so they are especially easy to take care of.

Our Final Thoughts

As cute as they are, training a new puppy to be a productive member of the family can be challenging. Choosing one of the most trainable small dogs from our list could make the job a little easier. Be sure to take our Puppy Match Quiz for more help narrowing down your search!

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Related puppies for sale

Alfie

$975
Toy Poodle | Girl

Peanut

$975
Toy Poodle | Boy

Ellanor

$1950
Toy Poodle | Girl
Toy Poodle | Girl

Idella

$3025
Toy Poodle | Girl

Ike

$3025
Toy Poodle | Boy

Shani

$2500
Toy Poodle | Girl

Sanders

$2500
Toy Poodle | Boy

August

$3025
Toy Poodle | Boy
Toy Poodle | Girl

Quincy

$1950
Toy Poodle | Girl

Elvis

$2050
Toy Poodle | Boy

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