Top 30 Smallest Dog Breeds

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.

The Smallest Dogs in the WorldSize 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.

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30 Smallest Dog Breeds in the World

Smallest Dog Breeds

7 Pounds and Under

1. Briewer Terrier

Smallest Dog BreedsThis pup of many names is pretty new to the dog scene and was created from Yorkshire Terriers. While small, these hunters still love chasing, and catching, vermin of all sizes.

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.

2. Pomeranian

Smallest Dog BreedsThe “Pom” is an old favorite of the small breed community. They are just fine with short walks or indoor play making them a great choice for people who don’t get out as much.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsAgile and intelligent, these smallest dog breeds are great for hiking, parks, and other outdoor activities. The Toy Fox Terrier has energy to spare and loves being in an active family.

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.

4. Papillon

Smallest Dog BreedsFrench for “Butterfly”, this four-legged friend gets its name from its unique ears. In fact, their large ears with their draping fur are sometimes bigger than their head.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsFormerly 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.

6. Chihuahua

Smallest Dog BreedsComing 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.

7.Yorkshire Terrier

Smallest Dog BreedsWhile 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.

8. Maltese

Smallest Dog BreedsSilky and luxurious, these tiny canines are elegant and sassy. They do better in homes with older kids, and they generally do not like strangers.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsAlso known as the King Charles Spaniel, it is not to be confused with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A calm couch potato, these smallest dog breeds do better in homes with only one or two people.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsHappy and go-lucky are two great words that describe the Bichon Frise. These all white powder puffs look like they should be on a kid’s bed, not running around breathing.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsWith 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.

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Smallest Dog Breeds

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 small 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

Smallest Dog BreedsThe Norfolk Terrier is still used as a working dog in some parts of the world. They are affectionate and easy to train. Energetic and curious, this canine loves to dig and chase.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsSlim and sleek, the Italian Greyhound is like a small, delicate flower. Care must be taken as these smallest dog breeds have a bravery that leads to many broken bones.

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.

15. Affenpinscher

Smallest Dog BreedsAlso known as the “Monkey Dog”, the Affenpinscher is inquisitive and playful. They are a bit stubborn and need an owner that is consistent in socialization and training.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsOriginally 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

Smallest Dog BreedsWhile 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

Smallest Dog BreedsThe Toy Poodle has all the coveted characteristics of the Standard Poodle but in a compact size. These fur-babies are easy to train and make great pets for indoor or outdoor families.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsOften 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

Smallest Dog BreedsIf you are looking for a dog with a silky mane of hair that you can style and brush, this is the fur-baby for you. If you’re not into that, their hair can be kept clipped short.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsA small lapdog, the Japanese Chin is happiest in calm homes with older children. They are sweet, gentle, and totally devoted to their owners.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsThis 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.

23. Havanese

Smallest Dog BreedsAnother popular dog bred just to be a lap-dog is the Havanese. Their compact frame makes them easy to take anywhere as the perfect companion dog.

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

Smallest Dog BreedsAfter almost going extinct, this Spitz-type dog is rising in popularity again. The Volpino Italiano is reserved and serious, and makes a great watch dog.

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.

25. Pekingese

Smallest Dog BreedsThe Pekingese is calm and watchful. These pups do better in homes with adults and older kids only. These smallest dog breeds don’t need a lot of exercise, but they still love to run, chase, and bark.

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.

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Smallest Dog Breeds

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

Smallest Dog BreedsWith 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

Smallest Dog BreedsA 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

Smallest Dog BreedsWhile 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

Smallest Dog BreedsAffectionate and gentle, the Cavalier King Charles is a great family pet. They have a sensitive nature and can become timid and fearful if harsh training techniques are used.

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.

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Amy is a writer who lives with her husband and daughter on the United States Gulf Coast. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences, and volunteered for shelters through various activities, as well as fostering animals. Amy currently has 3 dogs and 5 cats.