While some people look specifically to adopt large dogs for protection or as an exercise partner, others may want a cozy, warm friend to keep them company, and this list of best lap dogs is full of pets you should consider for adoption if you're looking for a cuddly friend.
Table of Contents
- 30 Best Lap Dogs for Cuddly Pet Owners
- 1. French Bulldog
- 2. Boston Terrier
- 3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 4. Chihuahua
- 5. Italian Greyhound
- 6. Pug
- 7. Miniature Dachshund
- 8. Rat Terrier
- 9. Tibetan Spaniel
- 10. Affenpinscher
- 11. Brussels Griffon
- 12. Chinese Crested
- 13. Coton De Tulear
- 14. English Toy Spaniel
- 15. Japanese Chin
- 16. Miniature Schnauzer
- 17. Papillon
- 18. West Highland White Terrier
- 19. Bichon Frise
- 20. Bolognese
- 21. Cocker Spaniel
- 22. Havanese
- 23. Maltese
- 24. Scottish Terrier
- 25. Miniature American Shepherd
- 26. Pekingese
- 27. Pomeranian
- 28. Shih Tzu
- 29. Toy Poodle
- 30. Yorkshire Terrier
What's a Lap Dog?
A dog that is small enough to bathe in a bathtub and doesn’t take up too much room in the chair. A companion animal that loves to cuddle up with you on the couch while watching a late night TV show. A companion that prefers the warmth of your body to his own dog bed or cold floor. These best lap dogs will satisfy those requirements.
It's not surprising that some are considered true lap dog breeds while others may not enjoy being that close to you. This mostly depends on the breed's personality, but there are several reasons why dogs may prefer to cuddle up on your lap. The most common are spreading their scent, being as close to the owner as possible, establishing dominance, or simply because it's a fun activity for the dog.
If lap dog breeds is what you'd rather adopt, you're in for a treat because there's a good number of canines that enjoy cuddle time. Here's a whooping list of 30 best lap dogs which, just for fun, we've separated into three categories of how much grooming they require.
30 Best Lap Dogs for Cuddly Pet Owners
Require Little Grooming
1. French Bulldog
With huge bat ears and adorable flat face, the French Bulldog (pictured above) makes a perfect contender for one of the best lap dogs despite being a little bigger than most others listed below.
They are extra friendly, and it seems as if Frenchies love everything and everyone – just for this reason, The Rock has adopted two of them. Their facial structure means that these dogs cannot brave weather that is too hot or too cold. They need to stay indoors snuggled with the family most of the time.
2. Boston Terrier
The amusing Boston Terrier is known for bringing comic relief into any situation. They love people and will want to take walks with you, go to the park, or have a nice game of fetch. Agile and intelligent, these pups do great learning tricks and even competing in sports such as the obstacle course. But best of of all, they will love to cuddle up on your lap.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This portable pup has a wavy coat, but surprisingly only requires an occasional brushing and isn't as grooming intensive as one might think. Adaptable and wanting to please, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel can be active for more playful households or calm for more laid-back households. Like other low key breeds on this best lap dogs list, these canines have a tendency to gain weight.
A true lapdog in its size, these feisty fur-babies can have very little energy or be fairly energetic, and it's often hard to predict them. Normally, Chihuahuas prefer a calmer setting with older kids and adults.
Their size means that they cannot be left outdoors unsupervised, which is fine with them – they want to be everywhere their person is. If left alone, they can become extra loud and very destructive.
5. Italian Greyhound
Being one of the very active, most fast dog breeds out there, you may be surprised to see a Greyhound on a list of best lap dogs, but these speedsters actually love lying on the laps of people when they're not running around.
As long as the Italian Greyhound gets a couple of intense play times and a walk every day, it will be a happy companion dog to cuddle up with. Just make sure they are always collard and leashed as they can run 25 miles per hour. They can also jump very high and a 4-foot fence won’t cut it.
Who doesn't know a Pug? Any list of lap dog breeds will normally have these mushed faced friends who are stubborn and hard to train, but that doesn’t keep the Pug from being a popular house pet.
They are devoted and playful and can even get jealous when their person’s affections are being hogged by someone else. Comical and funny, people love Pugs even though they snore, snort, and fart more than any other canine.
7. Miniature Dachshund
While the mini version of this breed is more lap sized, any Dachshund is happy to curl up with the owner. They get cold easily and love nothing more than to share a nice blanket with you.
“Doxies” come with short, medium, or long hair. Your pup's grooming needs will depend on their hair type, but none of them have very demanding coats; however, they do shed a moderate amount.
8. Rat Terrier
Curious and tenacious, these four-legged family members are always into something. Rat Terriers are usually bossy, and while they do great with other dogs, they will boss around even the biggest ones.
Playful and friendly, the Rat Terrier loves anyone who is showing it some attention and will easily make one of the best lap dogs out there. They are still very much a terrier with a serious prey drive, and will chase, and possibly kill, most animals that aren’t dogs.
9. Tibetan Spaniel
Used as a companion and an alarm for monasteries, today’s Tibetan Spaniel will still alert you if something is out of place. While they may alert you, this friendly dog probably won’t do anything about it and makes a poor guard dog in terms of taking real, brave action. They still like to act like a “real” dog and bark, dig, and chase. If you get one of these canines, you will need to provide some exercise and a variety of toys.
Regular Grooming Needs
One of the world’s oldest toy breeds, this tiny terrier is full of energy. Affenpinschers are always looking for things to do and family to play with, but at the end of the day, these pups just want to snuggle with their person which makes them one of the best lap dogs out there. If you need pest control, this little dog is also able to catch and kill mice and rats. As an added bonus, they rarely bark.
11. Brussels Griffon
This breed is more of a one person or couple’s dog. Brussels Griffons don’t like younger kids very much and prefer a calmer home. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need walks and playtime.
High-strung and sometimes moody, they don’t like strangers either. Your Brussels Griffon needs to have proper socialization to be a happy, healthy pet but overall makes a perfect lap dog breed companion.
12. Chinese Crested
This near hairless dog is truly lazy. Not only do Chinese Crested dogs have very little energy, but they aren’t that playful either. These four-legged family members are content to just lounge around – all the time.
If a lazy dog is what you're looking for, this is one of the best lap dogs you can find. While they are near hairless, they still need care. Their skin can get blackheads and needs sunscreen to avoid sunburns.
13. Coton De Tulear
Created in Madagascar over 300 years ago, the Coton De Tulear is everything a true lap dog breed should be. Friendly with humans of all ages, they can even get along with other animals of different species. While playful, they are not high energy. They have virtually no prey drive and little desire to bark. One of their biggest pluses is that they housetrain easily.
14. English Toy Spaniel
Nicknamed “Charlies”, the English Toy Spaniel is the poster child for snooty companion pets. They do not like kids and prefer to live in a small, quiet place alongside their owners.
These little fur-babies still have some hunting instincts, however. They like to get outdoors and chase things and bark but make one of the best lap dogs at the end of the day when they're tired. Just make sure they always have a sturdy fence or a collar and leash.
15. Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin has a luxurious silky coat, but it is surprisingly easy to maintain. Just give it a comb through twice a week and it will be good to go. Like a lot of small dogs, this pup is not suited for outdoor living and is better for owners who prefer to spend plenty of time with their pet indoors. This is also fine with the Japanese Chin since they prefer lounging around with their people anyways like a true lap dog breed.
16. Miniature Schnauzer
The hair of the Schnauzer requires brushing a couple times a week, but it sheds very little which I find is a coveted trait for these best lap dogs on the list. They look stern and serious, and that does reflect their personality.
If you are looking for a little more than a couch potato – do not worry, because this pooch can still enjoy some serious playtime and will have things up his sleeve to entertain you.
With large butterfly ears, the Papillon is ready to soar into your lap. Fragile and sensitive, just as this breed's looks imply, this dog does better in homes with adults only. They have energy and are playful, but care must be taken to avoid injury.
Canines of this breed are supposed to be friendly and happy, but due to unsafe breeding practices, some are nervous and timid. Nevertheless, they make one of the best lap dogs out there.
18. West Highland White Terrier
Intelligent and easy to train, West Highland White Terrier will need some obedience training to curb its hunting dog desires, unless that's why you're adopting this dog.
“Westies” do shed so you may want to have a dog blanket for it lie on, or you will be covered in white fur very fast. These dogs are energetic and will need walks and playtimes to fulfill their needs, but love to cuddle up when they're tired.
You Almost Need to Be a Groomer
19. Bichon Frise
This white angel looks like a stuffed animal. They love everything and everyone and are great for any family. Friendly and cheerful, the Bichon Frise will even get along with cats. Canines in this breed are intelligent and wanting to please their owners. This makes them easy to train and easy to get along with, as well as being one of the best lap dogs. They are great for apartment life due to many other factors, too.
Another friendly, outgoing dog, the Bolognese was bred to be a lapdog. While playful, they are not overly energetic. Their coat is a handful, yet they shed very little. These are house pets that need a stable room temperature. Also, they don’t do well being left alone for long periods of time and will often experience serious separation anxiety. It is most happy as a purse dog alongside being the best lap dog breed.
21. Cocker Spaniel
Shy and reserved, these four-legged friends like to be in a home with only one or two people – adult people. While the Cocker Spaniel may be too big to be a true “lap” dog, they will be content to lie beside you wherever you are. They are not very energetic, but these pooches are playful and love ball games enough to keep a moderately active pet owner entertained.
Despite their looks, the Havanese is no fearful, delicate flower. These canines like kids, strangers, and other pets. They also love a good romp outdoors and do not chill or overheat easily.
Intelligent and easy to train, this breed is great for someone that not only needs a couch buddy but wants some playmate as well. While they are hail and hardy, they do suffer separation anxiety when away from family.
Another species of true white angels, Maltese are active, but only need frequent indoor play to keep them happy. If you get tired of having them attached to your lap, they also like to have romps outside. Just make sure you have a fence, or that they are on a leash. The Maltese may be a companion dog, but it still retains a pretty high prey drive from its ancestors.
24. Scottish Terrier
Possible the most visually recognizable dog thanks to our media, the Scottish Terrier is a vision in black. While they don’t shed much, their double coat needs daily brushing and regular trips to the groomer.
They get along well with kids and other dogs, but not so much with cats, hamsters, and other little creatures. Their temperament, coat and size makes them one of the best lap dogs to adopt.
25. Miniature American Shepherd
While the Miniature American Shepherd loves to cuddle, they are still a shepherd dog. Created from Australian Shepherds, these fur-babies still like to run, bark, dig, and play. While they are a good lapdog, their owner will still need to be fairly active to give it walks. A big yard with, preferably with agility training kits and some good play times a day will also do.
Bred to be companions to the imperial families of China, these four-legged friends are still regal in appearance and manner. Not very friendly, the Pekingese is a little stand-offish. They prefer living with just one or two adult people. Like a true lap dog breed, they have very little energy and don’t like to play much. They are content just sitting around looking proud.
Part of the ancient Spitz family, the Pomeranian is still very vocal. These canines are intelligent and easy to rain, so it shouldn’t be too hard to help them curb excessive noise. This is another breed that fits the small dog stereotype.
They don’t really like anyone else but their person, and they are difficult to housetrain. Puppy pads will probably need to be used for longer than with many other dogs.
28. Shih Tzu
These little dogs are sweet natured and gentle. They do well in families with members of all ages. While they can be playful and energetic, they are happy with indoor games or a short walk outside. The Shih Tzu is outgoing and makes a great “purse pup” as well as being one of the best lap dogs. Since they do not do well if left alone for too long, they are happy being carried everywhere you go.
29. Toy Poodle
The small version of this breed has all the coveted characteristics of the larger versions. Toy Poodles are very intuitive and can adapt themselves to the style of the household. If the people are calm and relaxed, so is the Poodle.
If the people are more lively and playful, so is the Poodle. And if you're ready to cuddle up in the couch, this will be one of the best lap dogs to accompany you. They shed very little, so your lap will never be covered in hair.
30. Yorkshire Terrier
One of the most popular lap dog breeds out there, the “Yorkie” is full of life. Their feisty attitude provides much entertainment. Affectionate and devoted, they are happy as long as they are with their person. They can be difficult to train and many will need pee pads for the duration of their life. The hair on these pups can be too much for some people, so it is usually kept short.
Whether you are looking for a lazy couch potato dog or a lively playmate, at the end of the day, all thirty best lap dogs on this list want nothing more than to lie on the lap of a cherished loved one. If they can’t fit on your lap, they will be content wedged between you and the arm of the chair. Just stay strong! Sometimes dogs will try to push you out and take the whole chair for themselves.