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

most popular 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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Are Small Dogs Harder to Train?

Woman on a park bench with a big dog and a small dog

If you’re a small or toy dog person, you know the littlest canines are downright adorable. They cost less to care for, and they fit in your favorite designer bag. Everything about them is cute and cuddly. Even when they try to protect and defend, all you can do is smile. 

While small dogs earn lovable points in just about every category, training them to follow your directions or stop barking isn’t one of them. Small dogs are indeed harder to train than large dogs, but it’s not their fault; it’s most likely due to genetics … and you (their owners). 

Let’s take a look at how to get control of your small dog barking. 

Why Small Dogs Bark (Hint: Size Does Matter)

Imagine being so small that you fit comfortably into a purse or teacup. Now envision looking out at other animals and humans, everything and everyone is huge! 

As a human, if you stand as you speak down to your dog, she may view you as threatening, merely because you’re a giant to her. Instead, when you need to address your dog, kneel and keep your hand motions in front of her, not above her. 

Tiny Bodies, Tiny Tummies

Pet owners and pet professionals alike rely on treats-based training. They are easy to use and reinforce good behavior in dogs. The problem is, small or toy breeds have much smaller stomachs and may have more sensitivity to fatty foods than medium or large breeds. This can make them harder to train. 

What seems like a single kibble to a 20-pound bulldog may be more like a full day’s meal to a little canine. Plus, offering treats meant for larger breeds, or fatty foods like cheese might leave your little one with digestion issues. Instead, offer her low-fat crumbs or a lick of baby food off your finger. 

How to Train a Small Dog to Stop Barking

You might expect your small dog to perform new skills as smoothly as her larger counterparts. However, she might have more trouble learning moves that bigger dogs have no problem mastering. Break tricks into steps and reward as she accomplishes them. Another approach is to watch your dog throughout the day. If she performs a skill such as “sit” or “lay down” on her own, use a verbal command that she’ll associate with that behavior, and reward her.

Likewise, when she exhibits unwanted behavior, you can distract her with a tool like The BarxBuddy, which will get her attention so you can stop unwanted behavior and teach her better behaviors.

Anti-Bark Strategy for Tiny Dogs

Small dogs tend to be quite energetic and, in turn, bark, or in the case of most tiny dogs, yelp excessively without regard to your orders. If you yell or punish your dog for her barking habits, she might not understand that this is you telling her to stop; she may think you’re joining in on the fun!

Instead, learn why your dog barks. One way to reduce barking is to make sure she gets plenty of exercise during the day. A regular exercise routine might help calm her down enough to focus on your commands.

Be Consistent With Training Commands

Small dogs rely on you for a lot of things. Unlike larger dogs that can quickly get around, say to jump up on the couch, your little one needs you to lift, carry, and watch out for her. However, her size and cuteness are no excuse to give in to her bad behaviors like excessive barking. 

Remember, any attention you give, good or bad, to your dog’s unacceptable behavior, guarantees she’ll repeat it. Instead, ignore your pet when she is acting up and reward her good behavior. Train, treat, repeat.

About Ultrasonic Training Devices

If even after you practice these tips and find your dog is still struggling with barking issues, proper training might be the answer. The safe and effective BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool makes it easier to train a dog, even the tiniest ones. An alternative to bark collars, the BarxBuddy distracts your pet without any contact between it and your dog, allowing you to give a verbal command and reward her when she stops the unwanted behavior. 

As a small pet owner, you understand that your adorable and cuddly teacup breed requires some adaptation and patience in your training. Like training medium and large breeds, plenty of patience, persistence, and practice goes a long way when training your small dog — it may be easier than you think.KeywordsJun 30, 2020Query Phrase