Small Dog Breeds

This is one of the first portraits I did, in 2007. -- Sandy

American Eskimo American Hairless Terriers Australian Terriers Beagle Bichon Frise Bolognese Border Terrier Boston Terrier Brussels Griffon Cardigan Welsh Corgi Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Chihuahua Chinese Crested Cirneco D'Etna Cocker Spaniels Coton de Tulear Dachshund English Cocker Spaniels Entlebucher Mountain Dog French Bulldog  Havanese Icelandic Sheepdog Italian Greyhound Japanese Chin Lhasa Apso Lowchen Maltese Miniature Pinscher Mi Kis Miniature Schnauzer Norfolk Terrier Norwich Terrier Nowegian Buhunds Norwegian Lundehunde Parson Russell Terrier Papillon Pekingese  Podengo Portugueso Pequeno Pomeranian Poodle Pug Pyrenean Shepherd Rat Terriers Russell Terriers Russian Toys Schipperke Shetland Sheepdog Shibu Inu Shih Tzu Silky Terrier Spitz Toy Fox Terrier West Highland White Terrier White Miniature Schnauzer Xoloitzcuintili Yorkshire Terrier


Additional articles:
Designer Dogs - The Rest of the Story
Small Dog Courage
Preparing for a New Puppy

Small dog breeds are compact; they can come along wherever you go and be a true canine buddy. In today's smaller homes and condos, dogs under 25 lbs are often welcome when larger dogs can be too big to be practical.

But which is the right small dog breed for you? Good question! Above you will find detailed descriptions of all the small dog breeds. Some are common and some are quite rare, and some you may have never heard of. But even after you check them all out there are still lots of questions you need to answer.

1. Is there anyone in the house allergic to dogs? (See Low Shedding Small Dogs.)
2. Are there children under the age of 5? or:
3. Is there at least one adult in the house that really wants the dog?(See Best Dogs for Kids.)
4. Do all the adults work outside the house more than 50 hours a week? In this case, you may want to re-think getting a dog, as he will unduely tax your busy lives. Wait until someone works from home or is pulling down fewer hours.
5. Is there a fully enclosed backyard or will the dog need to be walked? (See the individual breeds for their exercise level.)
6. Is there anyone in the house intolerant of dog barking? (See the individual breeds for their noise level.)

You can also check out a breed you might be interested in by typing it into the search box above.

New Breeds

There is a fashion these days to put two different breeds together and call the result something “designer”; new, fancy and different.

But really, that does not make a new breed; all that has been accomplished is a stirring of the genetic pot, kind of like mixing paint colors – and ending up with a muddy brown of an indefinable mix. For more on this, check out

Designer Dogs -- the Rest of the Story. 

A real breed is created over 10’s of generations by dedicated individuals who often don’t live to see the full results of their labor.

But what do you do if you want a dog hypoallergenic like a Bichon Frise but double the size? 

Or, maybe you’d like a high energy buddy somewhere between the size of a Sheltie and a Border Collie? 

When I was a kid I used to love reading about the AKC breeds; their history, what they looked like, their temperament. Then one day I discovered that there were more breeds. For example, the FCI (Federacion Cynologique Internationale) recognizes over 450 breeds! That was a lot of new dog breeds -- at least, new ones to me.

What’s the breed like a Bichon but bigger? The Coton de Tulear. How about the performance dog? A delightful live wire called a Pyrenean Shepherd. Neither is someone’s bright idea to make a buck like the “designer” dogs; both are ancient breeds.

They can be harder to find than the common ones, so part of each small dog breed page has a link to where you can start your puppy search.

Persistence and patience in the end will reward you with a unique and wonderful companion.

Pictured are Cotons Tyler and Tucker, hamming it up for the camera with their favorite "broccoli on the nose" trick.


The answers to these questions will help you narrow your field of choice among the small dog breeds. Now I should note here that if you are not particular about the above, a small dog rescued from a shelter is an excellent choice. If you are interested in a rescue Silky Terrier, you can check out Silky Terrier Rescue.

Young Adults

The other question is -- a puppy or a young adult? Very often people  only want a puppy. That's great if you have the time and expertise available to devote to the necessary training.

However, responsible breeders sometimes have young adults available as well. These are home raised, well trained and socialized dogs whom perhaps the breeder started to show or are champions but are now being retired. They are usually fully trained and can be a real find as they are ready to go with relatively little effort. They are no more expensive, and sometimes even less expensive than a puppy.

Small dog breeds are generally long-lived, often to between 14 and 17 years. Young adults usually bond extremely well in their new couch potato environment as they are thrilled to have a whole familiy of humans all to themselves!

I categorically do not recommend the so called "designer breeds", whether they be called morkies, shipoos, chipoos or affenshis. A wierd name doesn't turn a mutt into a breed dog. Ask your vet about the so-called "hybrid vigor" of these dogs and watch her laugh. (See All About Morkies.)

A real breed is created over 10's of generations of breeding. A real breed breeds true, generation after generation. Papering over a mutt with a fancy name is cruel to the dedicated breeders who gave their lives to the creation of an ideal. They are also cruel to your pocketbook because these dogs are not worth their fancy prices. Buy from a responsible breeder, or rescue. See What Is a Responsible Breeder for how to find such a beast.

Don't forget that the success or failure of any dog you purchase lies lies in a large part with YOU the owner. For more information on this,  check out What Makes a Responsible Pet Owner,

So enjoy your search. Think with your head -- figure out the most logical small dog breed for you and your family. But also think with your heart. A breed that quickens your breath, one you have always dreamed about is one that you will be happy with for many, many years.


PS: Every once in a while someone comes to me for a puppy, but really doesn't want a small dog. In this case, I generally recommend a Whippet. They are very loving and extremely clean. For more information on whippets, contact the AKC Whippet Page.

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Small Dog Shopping

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