Find the Right Small Dog Breed for You

Dogs come in a wide variety of temperaments, energy levels and sizes. Small dog breeds offer many advantages, including the simple fact that their size allows them to be able to live in dwellings with limited space, such as apartments and condominiums. Small dog breeds can live comfortably in a urban setting whereas many of the larger breeds do not do as well. Exercising a small dog can be as simple as taking walks through the neighborhood or park.

Small dogs can be good watchdogs
Small does not mean meek. Many small dog breeds serve as good watchdogs, alerting owners to the presence of strangers through barking. Therefore, don’t think little dogs have no courage or alerting capabilities. They may not make good guard dogs, but many of the smaller dog breeds are quite alert and will let an owner know when a stranger approaches. Dachshunds, poodles, and terriers, for example, make great little watchdogs and will bark when alerted to something – or someone – strange or different.

Small dog breeds are popular
Many of the smaller dog breeds are popular as pets. Among some of the most popular small dog breeds are the Dachshund, the Poodle, the Yorkshire Terrier, the Shih Tzu, the Miniature Schnauzer, and the Chihuahua. The Beagle, which stands 15 inches (38 cm) tall or less, was the third most popular dog breed in the United States in 2011, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Other small dog breeds that make the Top 10 Most Popular list, according to the AKC, include the Yorkshire Terrier, Poodle, and Dachshund.

AKC Toy Group
Small Dog BreedsTwenty-one dog breeds make up the AKC’s “Toy Group”, those dog breeds that are the smallest in size, generally less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg). This group includes several terriers, a few spaniels, as well as the Pekingese, Pug and Italian Greyhound. Find the complete listing of dog breeds in the AKC’s Toy Group at the organization’s website:

Many small dogs are also easy to train, and some are quite intelligent. The Papillon, for example, is considered one of the smartest and most trainable breeds. This elegant-looking little dog stands 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 cm) tall and weighs only 7 to 10 pounds (3 to 5 kg). Other easy-to-train small dog breeds include the Shetland Sheepdog, the Miniature and Toy Poodle, and the Miniature Schnauzer.

Low shedders
Another advantage of small dog breeds is less hair and therefore, less shedding. A few of the low shedding small dog breeds include Toy and Miniature Poodles, Maltese, Chinese Crested Dogs, and Bichon Frise. Many of the smaller terriers, such as the West Highland White and the Border and the Norfolk terriers, are also lesser shedding dog breeds.

High vs. low energy
Small doesn’t necessarily mean hyper either. Many of the smaller dog breeds have a lower energy level and don’t need a lot of activity to keep them happy and healthy. While some smaller dogs have high energy levels, such as Beagles and Jack Russell Terriers, other smaller dog breeds do not. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the French Bulldog are two examples of small, low-energy-level dog breeds. Cavs are about 12 to 13 inches (30 to 33 cm) tall and weigh 10 to 18 pounds (5 to 8 kg). These little dogs are usually very social animals and are known to be great with children and other pets. Although they don’t need strenuous exercise, they do enjoy a good game of ball-chasing as well as walks through town or adventures in the dog park with other canines. French Bulldogs are another small breed that is not super energetic but is playful and affectionate with their owners. These people-oriented dogs stand 11 to 12 inches (28 to 30.5 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 19 to 28 pounds (9 to 13 kg). They need regular walking or playtimes in the yard, but don’t require rigorous exercise.

Small dog breed summary
Small dog breeds offer many advantages from their small size to their social or watchdog capabilities. Most importantly, they make fun, loving little companions!

To learn more about the many types of small dog breeds and which might be the right one for you, visit

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