The Most Popular Small Dog Breeds (and Why We Love Them)

Small dog breeds are among the most popular breeds because they do well in smaller spaces, they tend to shed less, and they’re very portable! We present our list of the most popular small dog breeds, along with tips for training, grooming and loving small dogs.

What are the Smallest Dog Breeds?

While larger breeds are often noted for their bravery and obedience, smaller canines carry the stereotype of being high-strung, anxious, and fearful. Oh yeah, and yappy! Yes, smaller dogs can seem hyper-sensitive to other animals, sounds, and people in their environment. However, we must understand their size puts them at a significant disadvantage in terms of self-preservation over their larger counterparts. 

For these reasons, research the breeds you’re interested in bringing into your home, especially if you want to avoid a breed that has a rowdy reputation or doesn’t do well with young children. Some small breeds may be too fragile and require a calmer, quieter environment. Here are some of the most popular small dog breeds starting with the shortest (height range, weight range):

  • Dachshund – 5-6 inches (miniature), 8-9 inches (standard), up to 11 pounds (miniature), 16-32 pounds (standard)
  • Cairn terrier – 9.5-10.5 inches, 13-14 pounds
  • Bichon frise – 9.5-11.5 inches, 12-18 pounds
  • Australian terrier – 10-11 inches, 15-20 pounds
  • Pembroke Welsh corgi – 10-12 inches, 28-20 pounds
  • Cardigan Welsh corgi – 10.5-12.5 inches, 25-38 pounds
  • Poodle (miniature) – 10-15 inches, 10-15 pounds
  • Miniature schnauzer – 12-14 inches, 11-20 pounds
  • German Spitz – 12-15 inches, 24-26 pounds
  • Beagle – 13-15 inches (can be under 13 inches), under 20 pounds (13 inches & under), 20-30 pounds (13-15 inches)
  • Cocker spaniel – 13.5-15.5 inches, 20-30 pounds
  • Basenji – 15-17 inches, 22-24 pounds
  • Boston Terrier – 15-17 inches, 12-25 pounds

What are Toy Breeds?

Known as toy breeds due to their stature, the small dog breeds’ tiniest come with huge personalities. The AKC recognizes the following little guys and gals as toy breeds (height range, weight range):

  • Chihuahua – 5-8 inches, less than 6 pounds
  • Pomeranian – 6-7 inches, 3-7 pounds
  • Yorkshire terrier – 7-8 inches, 7 pounds
  • Maltese – 7-9 inches, under 7 pounds
  • Havanese – 8.5-11.5 inches, 7-13 pounds
  • Shih-tzu – 9-10.5 inches, 9-16 pounds
  • Poodle (toy) – no more than 10 inches, 4-6 pounds
  • Pug – 10-13 inches, 14-18 pounds 
  • Chinese crested – 11-13 inches, 8-12 pounds
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel – 12-13 inches, 13-18 pounds

Facts About Small Dogs

Do small dogs bark a lot? 

Yes and no. Although all dogs bark as a way to communicate, very vocal breeds like the Chihuahua, miniature schnauzer, and dachshund don’t need a special occasion to break out into a barking session. Several small breeds like the Shih-tzu and Basenji are among the quietest of all dogs. 

Smaller canines that bark a lot do so for many reasons, such as stressful situations (noisy environments), separation anxiety, and attention-seeking. An anti-bark collar could be a compelling way to help reduce or eliminate your dog’s constant barking. Before you shop, check out the BarxBuddy Guide to anti-bark collars.

Are small dogs hard to train?

Incessant barking isn’t the only issue you may have with a small dog breed. Their diminutive size and larger-than-life personalities can make training a challenge. However, with time, patience, and consistency, you can train your small pet to stop barking or other negative behaviors. To help ensure your training works, you must make some adjustments to how you approach your tiny companion. You’ll need to follow these few tips as well:

  • Never yell at your dog as this could cause him to become aggressive, stressed, fearful, and increase his barking.
  • Use positive reinforcement with lots of praise and tiny treats. 
  • Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

Use a firm voice and the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool to safely get your dog’s attention when he’s displaying negative behavior like nuisance barking. The device never comes in contact with your pet, unlike no-bark collars, and emits a high-frequency sound that is audible to dogs, not humans.

Are small dogs hard to groom?

Even though small dogs can be difficult to groom, it’s essential for their health and well-being. All dogs need some level of grooming that includes their coat brushed (unless they’re hairless), bathed, teeth brushed, ears cleaned, and nails trimmed with the proper tools. Breeds like the Bishcon frise require enough grooming that you might want to find a professional groomer; however, the French bulldog benefits from a weekly brushing. If you’re interested in grooming your small breed at home, BarxBuddy has ten grooming tips to make the process easier.

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