By Fernando Villarreal


As pet lovers, we love all dog breeds, small and large, but small dog breeds may be easier for some people to take care of. Many think that having a small breed is like having a forever puppy.

A small dog breed is often a good choice if you’re living in a small apartment or enjoy traveling and need a travel buddy or four-legged best friend who only takes up a little room.

It’s said that small breeds are the ultimate travel companions because they can fit into any boat or car. Small dog breeds also have the added benefit of being able to stay close to their parents while flying in the passenger cabin of most airlines.

If you’re looking for the best small dog breeds that have excellent temperaments yet are still fun, and that you can take to the dog park and the beach and enjoy travel and dog sports with, we’ve got the takeaway for you as to the best small dogs.

Remember that dogs are extensions of your lifestyle. They keep you motivated to exercise, get off the couch, and walk, and they also remind us of the unique human-animal bond that comes with parenting a furbaby.


Top Benefits of Parenting a Small Dog Breed



If you’re considering a small dog breed, there are so many excellent breeds to choose from. The American Kennel Club (AKC) says that little dog breeds are perfect for every dog lover in terms of personality, activity level, and coat type.

The AKC adds, “They don’t necessarily need to work off loads of energy, so they are quite suitable for apartment life. But not all small dogs are lap warmers.”

The AKC adds that some small breeds can be as challenging as nails and that certain small breeds enjoy the countryside and running around like the Dachshund and small terrier breeds. Also, if you have very small children, you need to be careful since some small breeds are extremely sensitive.

“If your family includes very young children, make sure the dog you’re considering has a space where it can be alone when necessary, or perhaps, research breeds that may better fit your family’s lifestyle.”

Nonetheless, there are numerous benefits to parenting small dog breeds. Here’s the takeaway:


Small Breeds Recommended by the AKC


The AKC recommends the following small dog breeds and more. We’ve just included a few:


  • Affenpinscher
  • Alaskan Klee Kai
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Basenji
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Biewer Terrier
  • Bichon Frise


We looked at what Nylabone had to say about the best small breeds. These are the best small breeds they mentioned:

  • Maltese
  • Boston Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pug
  • Pomeranian
  • Chihuahua
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Poodle
  • Bichon Frise


Why Choose a Small Dog?



Small dogs are perfect for a variety of reasons. They’re easy to manage, require less space, and can be incredibly affectionate. Small dogs adapt well to different environments, whether you live in an apartment or a house. Plus, they’re just plain adorable!


Best Small Apartment Dogs


Some, not all, small dog breeds are excellent apartment dogs and ideal companion dogs for seniors and families with children. Many small breeds are big dog breeds with tiny bodies and need active owners like the Corgi.

Terriers are also very active, intelligent, and headstrong dog breeds with strong predatory drives and tend to do better in larger spaces with plenty of room to run.

Some small dog breeds are couch potato-type dog breeds and are easy to raise throughout puppyhood. These small breeds need less room, and their beds, bowls, and crates take up less space in a small space.

Many have been bred for centuries to fit into the size of a small apartment. That said, before going out and purchasing or adopting a small dog, you should consider the health needs of certain small dog breeds to ensure that you take out pet insurance and have the financial means to take care of your small family dog. Here are some health issues common to small dogs.


Veterinary Needs of Small Dog Breeds


Breathing Problems

Brachycephalic breeds often suffer from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which includes stenotic nares (narrow nostrils) and an elongated soft palate. These conditions make it difficult for these dogs to breathe properly.


Due to their compromised airways, brachycephalic dogs are more prone to overheating and heatstroke, especially in hot weather.

Dental Issues

The shortened skull often leads to overcrowded teeth, which can cause dental problems and require regular veterinary care.


Obesity is a significant health concern for small dog breeds. Due to their compact size, even a small amount of excess weight can lead to severe health issues.

Eye Conditions

The prominent eyes of brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to injuries, infections, and conditions such as corneal ulcers. The AVMA says that brachycephalic dogs were more likely than other dogs to have certain ophthalmologic issues:

  • Corneal ulcers, 6.34 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 1.4 percent of others.
  • Ocular trauma, 2.15 percent of brachycephalic dogs, 0.92 percent of others.
  • Conjunctivitis is present in 10.81 percent of brachycephalic dogs and 7.76 percent of others.


What to Look for in Small Dog Breeds



There are a few key things to consider when looking for the best small dogs. Let’s examine what you should look for.

Temperament: Each breed has its own unique personality. Do you want a playful pup or a calm companion? Understanding the typical temperament of a breed can help you make the right choice.

Consider all the different characteristics you want in a small dog, like independence, activity level, low grooming needs, and fun-loving and affectionate.

Health Considerations: Small dogs can have specific health issues. It’s essential to be aware of common problems, such as dental or joint problems, that might affect your chosen breed. Tracheal collapse, patellar luxation, mitral valve disease, and hypoglycemia are some health issues that small dogs may be prone to.

Grooming Needs: Some small dogs require regular grooming, while others require less maintenance. Consider how much time and effort you’re willing to put into grooming.

Some dog breeds are known for having low-shedding coats. This means that these coats have a slower shed cycle than other coats and shed less. Low-shedding coats still need regular grooming and haircuts, but they will trigger fewer problems in pet parents with allergies.


Top Small Dog Breeds


According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC), some of the best small dog breeds are here.

French Bulldog




  • Overview: The French Bulldog, known for its bat-like ears and charming personality, is a famous companion dog.
  • Size: Typically weighs between 16-28 pounds.
  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and adaptable to different living situations.
  • Health: Prone to respiratory issues, hip dysplasia, and skin problems.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel



  • Overview: This breed is known for its gentle nature and friendly disposition, making it an excellent family pet.
  • Size: Weighs between 13-18 pounds.
  • Temperament: Affectionate, friendly, and good with children.
  • Health: Common issues include heart problems, hip dysplasia, and eye conditions.




  • Overview: The Pomeranian is a small, fluffy breed known for its lively and bold personality.
  • Size: Typically weighs between 3-7 pounds.
  • Temperament: Energetic, curious, and intelligent.
  • Health: Prone to dental issues, patellar luxation, and tracheal collapse.

Shih Tzu



  • Overview: The Shih Tzu is a toy breed with a long, flowing coat and a sweet temperament.
  • Size: Weighs between 9-16 pounds.
  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and good with children.
  • Health: Common issues include respiratory problems, hip dysplasia, and eye conditions.




  • Overview: The Dachshund is a lively and curious breed known for its distinctive long body and short legs.
  • Size: Typically weighs 16-32 pounds (standard) or 11 pounds and under (miniature).
  • Temperament: Playful, stubborn, and courageous.
  • Health: Prone to back problems, obesity, and dental issues.


Best Small Dogs That Do Not Shed

The most popular Doodle small mixed breeds include Doodle mixes like the following:

Yorkiepoo (Yorkshire Terrier + Poodle)

  • Overview: The Yorkiepoo combines the playful, energetic nature of the Yorkshire Terrier with the intelligence and hypoallergenic coat of the Poodle.
  • Size: Typically weighs 5-15 pounds.
  • Temperament: Energetic, affectionate, and good with families.
  • Health: Prone to dental issues and patellar luxation.


Maltipoo (Maltese + Poodle)




  • Overview: The Maltipoo is a friendly and social breed known for its adorable appearance and friendly demeanor.
  • Size: Weighs around 5-20 pounds.
  • Temperament: Gentle, playful, and amiable.
  • Health: May face dental issues and white shaker syndrome.


Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel + Poodle)

  • Overview: One of the oldest designer breeds, the Cockapoo is known for its friendly and loving nature.
  • Size: Can weigh from 6-19 pounds.
  • Temperament: Friendly, outgoing, and good with children.
  • Health: Prone to ear infections and hip dysplasia.


Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel + Poodle)

  • Overview: The Cavapoo is a small, affectionate breed that combines the gentle nature of the Cavalier with the intelligence of the Poodle.
  • Size: Typically weighs between 9-25 pounds.
  • Temperament: Loving, gentle, and good with families.
  • Health: Issues can include heart problems and hip dysplasia.


Shih Poo (Shih Tzu + Poodle)




  • Overview: The Shih Poo is a playful and friendly breed, ideal for small living spaces.
  • Size: Weighs 7-20 pounds.
  • Temperament: Playful, affectionate, and good with children.
  • Health: Prone to respiratory issues and dental problems.


Pomapoo (Pomeranian + Poodle)

  • Overview: This tiny doodle breed is known for its fluffy coat and lively personality.
  • Size: Weighs around 5-15 pounds.
  • Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, and good for apartment living.
  • Health: Can have dental issues and patellar luxation.


Westiepoo (West Highland White Terrier + Poodle)

  • Overview: The Westiepoo is a small, playful breed with a charming personality.
  • Size: Typically weighs between 20-30 pounds.
  • Temperament: Friendly, energetic, and good with families.
  • Health: May face skin issues and hip dysplasia.


Schnoodle (Schnauzer + Poodle)



  • Overview: Schnoodles are known for their loyalty and intelligence, making them great companions.
  • Size: Varies widely, but smaller ones weigh 10-20 pounds.
  • Temperament: Intelligent, protective, and playful.
  • Health: Prone to eye problems and hip dysplasia.


Whoodle (Wheaten Terrier + Poodle)

  • Overview: The Whoodle is a friendly and energetic breed, combining traits from both parent breeds.
  • Size: Can weigh between 20-45 pounds.
  • Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, and good with families.
  • Health: Issues can include hip dysplasia and eye problems.


These small doodle breeds are famous for combining poodle traits with those of other breeds, resulting in various sizes, coats, and temperaments suitable for different lifestyles.


Tips for Choosing the Right Small Dog



Choosing the right dog is a big decision. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice.

Assessing Your Lifestyle: Think about your daily routine and activity level. Some breeds need lots of exercise, while others are content with lounging around.

Meeting the Dog in Person: Spend time with the dog before deciding. This helps ensure that your personalities are a good match.

Bringing Your Small Dog Home: Bringing a new dog home is exciting, but here’s how to make the transition smooth.

Preparing Your Home: Make sure your home is dog-friendly. This includes having a cozy bed, food and water dishes, and a safe space for your new furry friend.

Whether you adopt from a shelter or purchase a small dog breed, you should always consider energy levels, training needs, and temperament.

Choosing the best small dog breed can bring immense joy and companionship. By considering temperament, health, and grooming needs, you can find a perfect match for your lifestyle.


FAQ’s Best Small Dog Breeds

Q: What is the most wanted small dog?

A: The most famous small dog breeds include the following:

  • French Bulldog
  • YorkiePoo
  • Maltipoo
  • Schnoodle
  • Cavapoo
  • Dachshund
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pomeranian


Q: What is the cleanest small dog breed?

A: All dog breeds benefit from regular grooming and trips to the groomers, but some are known to be particularly clean due to their low-shedding coats and minimal grooming needs. Among the cleanest small dog breeds are:


  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless)
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Poodle (Toy and Miniature)
  • Japanese Chin
  • Basenji


Q: What is the friendliest tiny dog?

Here are our top picks for the friendliest tiny dog breeds:

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pug
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pomeranian

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