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article by uday kadali

Meet the 12 Best Smallest Dog Breeds

Meet the 12 Best Smallest Dog Breeds

For the ease of managing them and the convenience of travelling, diminutive dog breeds have become a popular choice among pet lovers.  It is indeed an ideal option for novice pet owners and apartment living. Be it spaying or neutering, it is comparatively easier to handle a small breed dog. Even the veterinary and feeding expenses tend to be more economical. People generally prefer the smallest dog breeds as it suits their varied life circumstances.

Besides being an economic travel date, this furry baby makes for a great couch potato! Further, it is said that smaller dogs have a more average lifespan than larger dogs. Scroll down to acquaint yourself with the smallest dogs and make a tiny fur baby your lifetime companion!

Top 12 Smallest Dogs in the World

Go through the following section to learn about the world’s small dog breeds that will definitely steal your heart

1. Pomeranian


  • Group:  Toy dog
  • Height: 6-7 inches
  • Weight: 3-7 pounds
  • Energy Level: highly energetic
  • Physical Characteristics: fluffy double coat, prick ears, foxy face, curled-up fluffy tail
  • Lifespan:  12 to 16 years

    Pomerians are among the most preferred dog breeds and it is because of their overprotective nature and active nature. They are very smart and alert, therefore make for a great watchdog. Further, they can adjust very well in the suburbs and city.  They are the smallest among the spitz breeds and were loved even by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The most interesting fact is that Pomeranians were never a small breed of dog. Years of breeding transformed them into small companion dogs. 

    2.  Yorkshire Terrier

    Yorkshire Terrier

    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 6 to 7 inches
    • Weight:  2 to 7 pounds
    • Energy Level: moderate to high 
    • Physical Characteristics: small head, floor-length coat, Glossy and long fur, erect v-shaped ears
    • Lifespan: 13 to 16 years 

    One of the famous quintessential small dogs is the Yorkshire Terrier. It is a hypoallergenic breed. Though they are small, they possess all the characteristics of a terrier- feisty, brave, and bossy. Their courageous yet gentle personality makes them lovable. Their protective nature also needs a mention! Furthermore, they are great travel partners. There is another breed of the Yorkshire Terrier, named the Teacup Yorkshire which weighs not more than 2 to 4 pounds. Their glossy and long fur makes them extremely pretty. 

    3.  Maltese


    • Group: Toy dog 
    • Height: 8 - 10 inches
    • Weight: 5-7 lbs
    • Energy Level: moderate to high 
    • Physical Characteristics: Snowy floor-length silky fur coat, dark eyes, small floppy ears, tufted tail
    • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

    Though the origin of the Maltese is not known, we can find their mention in ancient Romans and Greeks. Cavort around with the pet owners. They look very much like the modern-day Pomeranians. Maltese owners can try out their many types of haircuts on their furry companion. This loving tiny breed is associated with luxury and is very alert, playful, and adaptable. Further, they are jovial and playful. Even Maltese represented a status symbol for the aristocrats of the Roman Empire. Maltese are considered athletic and happy-going lucky dogs.

    4.  Brussels GriffonGroup:

    Brussels Griffon

    • Group: Toy dog 
    • Weight: 9 pounds
    • Energy Level: medium to high
    • Physical Characteristics:  Thick and sturdy body, smooth or rough coats, pushed-in face, large and expressive eyes.
    • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

     Brussels Griffons are considered to be energetic balls of fun and they kind of look similar to pugs. They are known for their attractive personalities and high alertness and can definitely be an excellent watchdog. Besides, they are very loyal and curious.  They were initially rough dogs who chased rats on the stables but later turned out to be elegant lap companions. These fur babies can easily be trained as they are highly sociable. They are sensitive and love cavorting around with their family members. 

    5.  Chihuahuas


    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 5 - 8 inches 
    • Weight: 4 - 6 lbs
    • Energy Level: Charming, playful, super energetic
    • Physical Characteristics: Long or short-haired, luminous eyes, perpendicular ears
    • Lifespan: 12 to 20 years 

    Chihuahua is the smallest dog in the world. They are also popularly referred to as ‘Purse Dogs’ Chihuahuas, considered poster dogs for smaller dog breeds, are Extremely playful and super energetic and are considered to be highly kid-friendly. They are very affectionate and can adjust even in the smallest apartments. They are slightly territorial but extremely loyal to their owners. Their furry coats come in varied patterns and colours. Besides being feisty, Chihuahuas are intelligent, have great personalities, and love to be with their favourite human. 

    6.  Toy Poodles

    Toy Poodles

    • Group: Non-sporting group 
    • Height: 10 inches 
    • Weight: 4 - 6 pounds
    • Energy Level: Medium to high
    • Physical Characteristics: Curly medium coat length, long elegant neck, straight back, docked tail
    • Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

    You can also make Toy Poodles as your tiny furry companion. They are hypoallergenic and were first seen in France in the 1900s. With time they became famous companion dogs. These breeds of dogs are highly intelligent and come in three versions namely standard, miniature, and toy. They do not grow more than ten inches. You can mistake it for a toy due to its fluffy appearance. Further, they are of extremely soft temperament, easy to handle and train. Toy Poodles are perfect water-retrievers despite being agile. If trained properly, they are capable of doing challenging tasks.

    7.  Shih Tzu

    Shih Tzu

    • Group: Toy dog 
    • Height: 9 to 10.5 inches
    • Weight: 9 to 16 lbs
    • Energy Level: low to moderate (calm but playful)
    • Physical Characteristics: Curved tail, long straight fur coat, sturdy body, short muzzle
    • Lifespan: 10 to 16 years 

    Shih Tzu, often called ‘Lion Dog’ or Shih Tzu Kou is also among the preferred tiny dog breeds. Considered royal lap warmers, Shih Tzus were extremely loved palace dogs. They are extremely intelligent, alert, and friendly, and make up for affectionate house dogs. Shih Tzu can perfectly live in a lacking outdoor space and tiny apartments. They not only need minimal exercise but are very easy to maintain. It is a famous Asian toy breed. In addition, they are hypoallergenic. 

    8. Pugs


    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 10 - 13 inches 
    • Weight: 14 - 18 lbs
    • Energy Level: Medium
    • Physical Characteristics: sparkling eyes, wrinkled brow, large round head
    • Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

    Pugs were initially bred to be a lap dog for the emperors of China in 300 BC. Their origin can be traced back to 2,000 years. They are extremely passionate, and playful and were described as ‘a lot of dog in a small frame’ by the Kennel Club. Pugs are a great choice for those staying in a tiny apartment. Pugs are very much capable of loving their owner and love to get the same in return. Their wrinkled brows and curious face makes them look extremely adorable. They are known to give out human-like expressions. Pugs are always considered when one wishes to have a fur baby for an apartment with small spaces. 

    9.  Pekingese


    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 7.5 inches 
    • Weight: 10 pounds
    • Energy Level: medium to high level (gentle and calm)
    • Physical Characteristics: Short muzzle, fluffy coat
    • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

    It is believed that Pekingese underwent a breeding process with Japanese Chin and other tiny breeds that were there at that time. Pekingese take time to get acquainted with strangers and has the tendency to bark constantly, hence they are ideal for being a watchdog. Just like Shi Tzu, they are also referred to as lion dogs. Depending on their mood they can also be stubborn and sometimes hard to train. However, consistent training will make them capable of completing tasks.

    10. Russian Toy

    Russian Toy

    • Group: Toy Group
    • Height: 8 - 11 inches 
    • Weight:  6.5 pounds
    • Energy Level:  moderately high (lively, cheerful)
    • Physical Characteristics: short or long hair, ears looking like ponytails ebony noses, round eyes.
    • Lifespan: 12 to 14  years

    How can Russian Toys be excluded from the list of tiny dogs? Russian Toys are great family pets and are considered to be recent small dog breeds that are recognised by the American Kennel Club. They are known for their sizable intelligence, elegance, and lively nature. Further, Russian Toys are comparatively easy to train. They are bred from the English Toy Terrier. Either they have long coats or smooth coats. Further, these fur babies are highly affectionate with family and young children. 

    11.  Affenpinscher


    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 9 - 11.5 inches 
    • Weight: 7 to 10 pounds
    • Energy Level: moderate to high
    • Physical Characteristics: protruding lower jaw, dark eyes, bearded face
    • Lifespan: 12 - 14 years

    Affenpinscher also nicknamed the Monkey Terrier owing to its terrier-like appearance. Though Affenpinschers are of small frame, they are highly curious and adventurous. It originates in Germany and is ideal for small house pets. Besides being independent and stubborn, they are fun-loving, and lively and are known for their playful demeanor and charming personality. In addition, Affenpinscher can happily adjust in small spaces. Further, they do not have to do a lot of activity. 

    12.  Italian Greyhound

    talian Greyhound

    • Group: Toy dog
    • Height: 13 - 15 inches 
    • Weight: 7 -14 pounds
    • Energy Level: Medium to high
    • Physical Characteristics: muscular body, well-muscled legs, deep chest
    • Lifespan: 12 - 15 years

    It is generally recommended to get two Italian Greyhounds as they have a tendency to undergo separation anxiety. Besides, they are highly affectionate, keen and intelligent. Do not go on their size as they are very athletic. Further, they are playful, alert, and have sociable and easy-going personalities. You can miss out on how swift they are. They were bred around 2,000 years ago as noble companions. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How small do these breeds typically get?

    The minimum size of the smallest dog can be 3.8 inches. Chihuahua Milly is presently the smallest dog in the world and it is of height of 3.8 inches.

    Are small dog breeds good for apartment living?

    Yes, little dog breeds are extremely well-suited for apartment living. 

    Do small dog breeds have a longer lifespan?

    Yes, small dog breeds tend to have a longer lifespan. Some of the breeds can live up to 14 to 16 years. 

    Are small dog breeds easy to train?

    Yes, it is comparatively easy to train small dog breeds owing to their eagerness and potential to learn faster. 

    Are small dogs good with children and other pets?

    Not all small dog breeds are good with children, some of them are feisty with younger children. Some other toy breeds are so delicate that they will not be able to cope with roughhousing kids.

    Do small dogs require less exercise?

    Yes, for some of the small dogs, a little exercise will prove sufficient. However, small dog owners must ensure that their furry baby is at least walking 20 minutes a day. 

    Are there health concerns specific to small dog breeds?

    Small dog breeds are likely to develop dental issues with time. They also tend to get obessed. Another serious health issue that can be seen in small dog breeds is Mitral valve disease. 

    Are there hypoallergenic small dog breeds?

    Yes, there are many hypoallergenic toy breed dogs like Toy Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzu, and many more. 

    How do I choose the right small dog breed for my lifestyle?

    You must consider certain factors like the size of your apartment, your activity level, daily schedule, etc., before choosing a little dog breed. Further, check whether you are allergic to fur. If you are then go for a hypoallergenic dog breed. 


    Stop looking further for a tiny goofy pal! The above-mentioned section discusses the best small dog breeds that are ideal for apartment living. These sweet little furry companions will surely bring immeasurable joy. You are sure to get sweet snuggles and countless licks and make memories for a lifetime.

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