Small cute dog breeds are great for those living in apartments or small spaces and for people who want a lapdog. Small dogs can be a good choice for families with busy lifestyles as they are full of energy and spirit. Many say the Yorkshire Terrier is the most popular small dog breed.
There are many amazing dog breeds that are both cute and small. In addition to the smallest of dog breeds, there are several slightly larger ones that may still be a perfect fit for you.
In this article, we will be explaining why small dogs make such great pets and presenting our list of the best small dog breeds!
Small Dogs Make Great Pets
It is always important that you adopt a dog that is going to fit in well with your family and lifestyle. Fortunately, small dogs can be a great option for those with busy lifestyles.
This is because they tend to need less exercise than most large dog breeds and less room.
They have a number of other benefits as well including great personalities that make them good family pets.
Reasons Why Small Dogs Make Great Pets
Small Dogs Are Good For Apartment Living
As an example, an apartment is plenty of space for a Toy Poodle compared to what is needed for a giant Saint Bernard!
In addition, small dogs tend to just be easier to take care of. Everything from feeding them to providing exercise requires less space.
Small Dogs Make Great Family Pets
Many small dogs make great family pets, especially for homes with older children due to their temperament.
These cute dogs also bond well with multiple family members. They tend to be playful and very affectionate.
It is crucial that families with younger children instruct their young children on how to play with and handle small dogs safely.
Children should always be supervised when with small dogs. This ensures that every interaction between a small dog and a young child is both safe and positive.
Best Small Cute Dog Breeds
Below is a list of some of the best small dogs in alphabetical order. If you are looking for a small dog keep reading!
Some of these breeds are fairly rare. It is also important to note that this list is not complete as there are additional small breeds not included.
NOTE: We have included some toy breeds and dogs that are technically a little too large to be solely classified as a ‘small dog breed’ but they can still work.
However, all of these animals are still considered small by many dog lovers.
Small Cute Dog Breeds
We start our list of cute small dog breeds with one you probably have never even heard of! The Affenpinscher Dog is a unique dog with a special look.
Starting out as working dogs in Germany, they were utilized to hunt down and kill rats and other small animals that posed a threat to the health of humans back in the 1600s.
They earned the nickname, monkey dog because of their unique look that some people felt resembled a monkey.
This cute and charming dog stands about nine to 12 inches tall and can weigh between seven and 11 pounds.
The Affenpinscher has a wiry type of fur that some people suggest is more hypoallergenic than normal hair would be.
You can expect your Affenpinscher Dog to live 11 to 15 years if well taken care of.
Alaskan Klee Kai
The Alaskan Klee Kai is an adorable small dog that closely resembles other ancient dogs from the great northern regions such as the Alaskan and Siberian Husky.
Klee Kai is said to mean small dog in the Inuit language. These dogs come in three sizes:
They weigh between ten and 15 pounds while standing 12 to 18 inches tall. The Standard Alaskan Klee Kai is still pretty small as they only weigh about 16 to 25 pounds.
Alaskan Klee Kais are known to be very loyal and intelligent dogs. They love attention from their human family members but can also be leery of strangers.
The Alaskan Klee Kai is a fairly recent breed being developed in the 1970s. A lady named Linda Spurlin, from Wasilla, Alaska is credited with creating the breed.
They are high shedding dogs and not hypoallergenic. An interesting note though is that they are good self-cleaning dogs and don’t require much grooming.
Once trained to perform circus acts, the American Eskimo Dog is known for its friendly nature and high intelligence.
They stand out in a crowd with their fluffy white fur coat and are said to be the first dog to ever walk a tightrope!
These dogs are closely related to the German Spitz and actually come from Germany, not America. Their beautiful coat and cute little legs make them a favorite among many dog owners.
Like the Alaskan Klee Kai and Poodle (listed below), the American Eskimo comes in three sizes.
All of these sizes can be considered small, with the standard having an average weight of 25 to 35 pounds and stand 15 to 19 inches tall.
The American Eskimo Toy is only nine to 12 inches tall and weighs between six to ten pounds.
Keep in mind these are very social dogs that require your attention to keep them happy and healthy.
Beagles basically are two sizes. The smaller ones that stand under 13 inches tall and weigh only ten to 20 pounds fit being classified as small dogs.
They are known for being hunting dogs and love the chase. So if you get a Beagle be prepared for a high-energy dog that you will need to exercise a lot to keep them happy.
Beagles are very cute, adorable, clever, and inquisitive. They look like a small hound dog with their floppy ears. Be advised though that Beagles love to bark!
These white fluffy dogs have more than just stunning good looks, they also have a rich history.
The Bichon Frise breed dates back 800 or more years being the favorites of royalty and the well-to-do in society.
They are highly intelligent and very trainable. Often Bichons were used in the circus or even on the streets performing tricks to attract an audience.
The Bichon Frise is an established part of French history.
These tiny dogs weigh anywhere between 12 and 17 pounds and stand around nine to 12 inches tall. You can expect their lifespan to be around 15 years.
Their sweet and playful nature is sure to place them deep in anyone’s heart. You will often see them performing at dog shows.
The Boston Terrier is both the official state dog of Massachusetts and the official mascot of Boston University. This little dog is the pride and joy of many Bostonians!
The beginning of this breed’s creation begins back in the 1860s with a dog named Judge who was a cross between the now-extinct White English Terrier and a bulldog.
Ol’ Judge was bred to be a dog that was strong and tough enough to partake in street fighting that was popular back then. He ended up being sold to an American and brought back to the United States.
From there Judge’s offspring were carefully bred to create the breed that we know and love today.
These dogs have cute faces, huge hearts, and small bodies. They usually weigh between 11 and 25 pounds and stand 15 or so inches tall.
Some say the Boston Terrier looks like it is wearing a tuxedo because of its black and white color fur coat.
This tiny dog only weighs about eight to ten pounds and stands a mere seven to ten inches tall.
They have bright eyes and little mustaches that often make them seem human-like. Because of this unique look, the Brussels Griffon has earned the nickname of ‘bearded dog’.
Although these dogs are known to be friendly and playful, they may not be the best choice for those with young children due to their small size and fragile bodies.
The Brussels Griffon is a dog that requires your attention or they will suffer from loneliness. They bond closely with their human family members.
The history of the modern Brussels Griffon dog dates back to the early 1800s in Brussels, Belgium. It is said they are a mix of Terriers, Pugs, and Spaniels.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Brussels Griffon in 1910. You can often see these cute dogs in professional dog shows.
The Cairn Terrier was originally bred to flush out small game and wild foxes in Scotland. Today they are usually seen as companions and a beloved lap dog simply because they are so cute.
They are not big weighing only about 12 pounds and standing at ten inches tall.
The Cairn Terrier has a wide-shaped head and a shaggy appearance because of its wiry double coat. Add in their big, playful personalities and they are even more special.
Most Cairn Terriers make great family dogs as they are willing to both cuddle on the couch and play in the backyard.
Terriers have been around for centuries and the history of this breed is somewhat clouded in the passages of time but the name first appeared in the late 1800s.
Back in the old days in Scotland, a ‘cairn’ was a stacked-up pile of stones to mark a point on a trail. You often see them on hiking trails.
The Cairn Terrier would often be used to chase down rodents in these rock piles. Could that explain how it got its name?
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These sweet and affectionate dogs make a great companion for just about anyone, and their sweet personalities are always paired with an even sweeter face.
This Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a fairly new dog breed and was created to mimic the toy spaniels that were once renowned by royalty.
Standing 12-14 inches tall and weighing 14 to 18 pounds it is a little bigger than some of the other small breeds on our list but still a small dog.
You can expect your Cavalier Spaniel to live 12 to 15 years with good health.
In the 1920s a wealthy individual offered a large prize for breeders to come up with a spaniel carrying certain traits. Thus the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was born.
They were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1995.
Originally bred to be a companion dog, the Chihuahua is a breed that has ancestors going all the way back to the ancient Aztecs.
Although the first Chihuahua to be registered with the AKC was registered in 1908, the breed really gained popularity in the 1940s and 50s.
The Chihuahua is still one of the most popular breeds to this day, and they continue to have roles in television and film.
This is possibly the smallest dog breed, as they are not supposed to get any larger than six pounds. Their height is usually only five to seven inches tall.
Due to their extremely small size, these dogs do not require much exercise, so short walks should be just fine for this tiny dog.
But they are high-energy and will definitely alert you when a stranger shows up at your house!
Another point to consider is that these dogs don’t know they are small! They have a big dog mentality and act accordingly! Of course, this can be very entertaining at times.
So actually, there is a dog called the Teacup Chihuahua that is even smaller than a regular Chihuahua! You may also hear them being called a mini Chihuahua.
They are very small and thus suffer some health issues making Teacup Chihuahuas a controversial subject.
Coton De Tulear
Like the Chihuahua, the Coton De Tulear is a dog breed that was originally bred to be companion dogs.
But unlike Chihuahuas, they have big fluffy white long hair! Some say it looks like cotton. Another reason for a great name right!
Their beautiful fur coat makes the Coton De Tulear a runway star at any dog show.
These dogs hail from Madagascar, and they have been popular among the royalty there for decades.
They have been given the popular nickname “the royal dog of Madagascar”.
These little dogs are charming standing only around ten inches tall and weighing in at eight to 15 pounds.
Of course, one of the most popular small dog breeds ever has to be the famous Dachshund! Are Dachshunds cute?
Well, if you ask any Dachshund owner they would boldly state that Dachshunds are simply the cutest small dog breed ever!
Dachshunds are long dogs so they need to be handled carefully so they may not be the best pet if you have small children. This unique long body design is why they are nicknamed the weiner dog or hot dog.
Dachshunds come in a wide variety of coats such as longhair, smooth, and wirehair. They average around 15 to 30 pounds in weight and stand only about eight to ten inches tall.
Dachshund owners love them so much they often have multiple Doxies at home. Dachshunds are also well known for being the “boss” of the household!
English Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the largest dogs on this list, but this does not mean that they are not great small dogs to own.
Their silky coat is similar to that of the Cavelier, but they are a distinct breed in the Sporting Group.
These dogs tend to weigh anywhere between 25 and 30 pounds and stand 15 inches tall. So they are one of the larger ‘small’ dog breeds on the list.
The English Cocker Spaniel is described as friendly and cheerful. They have big eyes and are one of the most popular dogs in the world to have as a pet.
English Toy Spaniel
The English Toy Spaniel is around the same size as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but the English Toy has a district pushed in, flat face similar to that of a pug or Japanese Chin.
These dogs originate from England in the Renaissance era, and they were a favorite among English royalty at around this time.
The English Toy Spaniel only weighs about ten to 12 pounds and stands ten inches tall.
These dogs are known to be very playful and intelligent, making them a great family pet.
The smallest of all the bulldogs, the French Bulldog is a long-time favorite breed in the United States.
However, before they were popular in the US they were popular in France, specifically among the lace makers that settled in the northern French countryside.
This is where the breed gets its name from. This dog is known to be playful, friendly, and alert, so it is no wonder that they are a fan favorite.
French Bulldogs usually weigh under 25 pounds and stand around 12 inches tall.
If you are looking for a small cute dog that has long flowing hair then the Lhasa Apso will fit the bill! Their fur coat is truly spectacular looking with its hanging waves of hair.
The Lhasa Apso dog is truly an ancient breed dating back 1000 years and originating in the Himalayas Mountains.
If you ever watch dog shows on television undoubtedly you have seen one of these beauties on display.
They are not the smallest dog on this list though coming in at 12 to 17 pounds in weight and standing ten to 12 inches tall.
Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is a dog with a seemingly endless amount of energy, so taking them for long walks is a must when handling this playful dog.
They were originally bred to be hunting dogs by Englishman Parson John Russel in the 1800s. From there the breed gained popularity among game hunters and horse riders throughout England.
The Jack Russell became popular in the US around the 1930s. They usually weigh 10 to 15 pounds and stand around 11 inches tall.
The exact origins of the Japanese chin are unknown, but it is suspected to have either been created in China or Korea early on.
However, the breed gets its name from where these dogs were first traded to the west, which was in Japan around 1854.
These loving lapdogs are pretty small, and they tend to weigh around seven to ten pounds and standing only eight to ten inches tall.
The Japanese Chin is a relatively rare dog and not often seen and has a quiet demeanor.
Maltese Shih Tzu
The Maltese Shih Tzu is a crossbreed and also known as a ‘designer dog’ because it was bred to have the best traits of a Maltese and a Shih Tzu.
They are small at six to 11 pounds and standing up to ten inches tall. Maltese Shih Tzu’s make a great apartment dog!
One of the goals of this breed was to be low shedding, have a great personality and to be cute as a button! Well, the Maltese Shih Tzu is all of that and more.
The proud and fun-loving Miniature Pinscher, or min pin for short, is a favorite among many dog owners. However, the exact origins of this breed are largely unknown.
It is suspected that these dogs are the product of a Greyhound being bred to a Dachshund long ago, but there is no certainty in this claim.
Regardless, these long-legged little dogs are compact dogs with large personalities.
Poodles come in three basic sizes, Toy, Miniature, and Standard.
Miniature Poodles fit the larger range of a ‘small cute dog’ standing at under 15 inches and weighing about 15 pounds.
People love Poodles so much there became a demand for a very smaller version of the dog.
As a result, people decided to breed the Toy Poodle. This cute dog is seen as being easier to care for and a perfect fit when space is an issue.
Compared to the Miniature Poodle, Toy Poodles are much smaller. They generally weigh only four to eight pounds and are ten inches or less tall.
As with all Poodles, Toy Poodles will bark a lot if you don’t train them from a young age not to.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a spirited and friendly dog with a big personality. Their playful nature and luscious facial hair have made this dog breed a long-time favorite.
The Miniature Schnauzer was created by breeding down the original standard schnauzer into this little breed that we know and love today.
This was originally done so that the Miniature Schnauzer could excel at keeping vermin out of barns.
Today the only thing that most Miniature Schnauzers do is make great companions for their owners! How about that!
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
These adorable little dogs have risen in popularity over the past few years, and there is a good reason why that is. The Corgi is cute, playful, and energetic.
This makes this dog a great choice for anyone looking for a small active dog that you could take on the occasional hike.
Considering that this dog is a part of the herding group, they do have a high energy level and need about an hour of exercise daily.
However, a long walk through the city and some playtime should be just fine.
The Shetland Sheepdog is also a small dog that is a part of the herding group.
As a result, the Sheltie also needs a good amount of daily exercise and walks in order to be healthy and happy.
The Shetland Sheepdog stands 13 to 15 inches tall and weighs about 15 to 25 pounds. Their average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
Shelties are considerably smaller than a normal collie. They were first registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1911.
The Shiba Inu is an ancient dog breed from Japan that has been steadily growing in popularity in the west since its arrival in the United States around 60 years ago.
These dogs are described to be a bit aloof and “cat-like”, so proper socialization and training with positive reinforcement are essential when owning this breed.
Shiba Inu dogs are very loyal and loving towards their owner making them excellent companions to have around.
They weigh 17 to 22 pounds and stand about 13 to 16 inches tall.
Toy Fox Terrier
This is another unique and not-so-well-known animal that is popular as a lapdog. They have large eyes and ears that stand up tall in addition to being high energy.
The Toy Fox Terrier is said to have a sparkling personality and a lust for life that rubs off on their human family members.
The Smooth Fox Terrier was bred with Greyhounds, other toy dogs, and Chihuahuas to create this small agile dog.
Toy Fox Terriers generally stand about eight to 11 inches tall and weigh between four and eight pounds.
The Yorkshire Terrier is another small breed that is a very popular family pet.
Originating in England during the 1800s, this dog was a favorite of royalty and wealthy individuals who wanted a showpiece dog.
When you hear the term lapdog, they are talking about a Yorkshire Terrier. They weigh only about seven pounds and stand seven or eight inches tall.
They were bred to be small and high-energy for the purpose of chasing down rats in factories and on ships.
Despite their small stature and beautiful looks, Yorkshires are known for their fierce barking which makes them an excellent watchdog.
If you are looking for a small cute dog with an amazing, high-energy personality the Yorkshire Terrier is it!
Every dog on this list can make a great pet. They are full of life, affectionate, smart, and fun to be around.
Be aware that most popular small dog breeds are not inexpensive. The price you pay for a puppy will vary based on the quality of the breeder you decide to work with.
And remember, you may just find the perfect small cute dog for you at your local animal shelter! Adoption is always a good thing.