With so many great small dog breeds from which to choose and the enormous variety in an individual’s living space and lifestyle, it is almost impossible to pick 10 best small dogs that would be perfect for everyone. After much research and reviewing criteria from veterinarians, dog experts and pet owners, this group of 10 has been chosen.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should you get a dog?
There are many reasons for owning a furry friend. Dogs can be a wonderful addition to your family or a great companion if you live alone. They can help relieve stress and be your buddy, whether you are a couch potato or extremely active. Just be sure to choose the appropriate breed for your lifestyle.
2. What can you do if you are allergic to dogs?
Surprisingly, there are some breeds that are considered hypoallergenic. However, always check with your doctor first before getting a pet. Your doctor might have suggestions about precautions or medications for your allergies that will allow you to get a dog.
3. Will your lifestyle allow you to get a dog?
The lifestyle you lead might not keep you from getting a pet, but it might narrow your choice of what breed is best. Some dog types are calm and laidback, while others are extremely energetic, requiring lots of exercise. Some are fine being alone for a time, while others want constant attention. How much time and energy you have to devote to a pet are just a few things to consider before bringing your new friend home.
4. Are you a first-time dog owner?
If you have never owned a dog before, you might consider one who is eager to please and easily trained. If you are determined to get a breed that is more stubborn, you might consider dog obedience classes for both of you. However, if you are an old pro at handling a dog, any level of independence should be just fine.
5. What will it cost to purchase a dog?
The cost of a dog can vary greatly. One factor in determining cost is whether a purebred or mixed breed will be purchased. You might be able to obtain your pet for free if you know someone whose dog just had puppies. Keep in mind, though, just because it is the right breed for your friend, doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for your home. If it is the right breed for you, enjoy the cost savings.
There are shelters who are eager for good homeowners to rescue their dogs. Many times, the shelters have already taken the dog to a veterinarian and have taken care of any problems it may have had when it arrived. Sometimes, the shelter will have already spayed or neutered it and will have checked that the dog is up to date on shots. You not only help the dog by rescuing it, but it can be a cost-effective way for you to adopt your new friend.
Another option is to get your pet from a breeder. There are several ways to find breeders, but make sure they are legitimate and have a good reputation. The American Kennel Club is one way to check for reputable breeders. Buying a purebred will cost more. The price is affected by many factors, including location of the breeder, cost of food, shots, testing, and how many puppies are in a litter, just to name a few. Expect to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if you choose this option.
How We Created This List
Many small dog breeds were reviewed. We looked at what dog experts said about each breed based on activity level, space needed, shedding, and personality, as well as other criteria. Certain breeds appeared over and over as good choices. Just because a breed does not appear on the list does not make it a bad choice because everyone’s circumstances are unique; however, these 10 emerged from the pack as the top from which to choose.
Overall Price Range
The price range for the top 10 breeds reviewed here is from $-
$$$ to $-$$$$$. That is a huge price range, but there are lots of variables to consider. This price is based on purchasing a purebred who has papers. Again, there is a lot of variance among breeder prices, and if you do not choose to buy from one of these but from a pet store or other source, the cost would be considerably cheaper.
Top 10 Small Dogs
Poodles come in three varieties: standard, miniature and toy. The miniature and toy varieties are both good choices in the small dog category. A toy poodle will generally be 4 to 6 pounds while the miniature version will grow to 10 to 15 pounds.
A poodle is a good choice if your lifestyle is active. Poodles are very energetic and must be kept busy. They like not only to run but also to swim.
Poodles are very intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train and housebreak. They do not shed much and are considered hypoallergenic, but poodles do require regular grooming.
A pure-bred poodle can cost between $-$$$$ and $-$$$$.
Don’t mistake this little guy for a poodle. While the Bichon and poodle are similar in appearance, amount of shedding and being hypoallergenic, there are some differences in personality.
The Bichon is a very happy, loving dog. It has never met a stranger when it comes to adults, children or other pets. Bichons are lovers and cuddlers more than roughhousers. In fact, its name means "curly lap dog."
A Bichon is intelligent, good-natured and easily trained, but it can be stubborn.
The Bichon requires little exercise, so it is a great choice for those with a less-active lifestyle.
The price range for a Bichon Frise is $-$$$-$-$$$$.
One of the oldest breeds, this solid-white dog is also a very loving companion. Amazingly enough, despite the floor-length coat, they are also hypoallergenic and do not shed much. The coat does require daily brushing though.
The Maltese enjoys being with people or pets. While this breed loves to lie on your lap, it also enjoys playing and getting some exercise.
The price range is huge for this breed ranging from $-$$$$ to $-$$$$$
This dog is very warm, gentle, loving and friendly. The Shih Tzu is happy to be a lap dog but does enjoy activity. A walk or short playtime is sufficient. Nothing too boisterous or rough is required; in fact, it's not preferred.
While this breed is intelligent and likes to please you, it can, at times, be stubborn or even mischievous.
The Shih Tzu requires daily grooming to keep its long coat looking nice but, like the previously mentioned breeds, does not shed much.
Prices range from $-$$$ to as much as $-$$$$$.
This little guy has a lot of attitude for his size. While it looks like the mild-mannered lapdog, and does enjoy being that, it has an alter ego that is full of fight and fearlessness and can be stubborn at times.
It is energetic and playful, but the Yorkie, contrary to its front of ferociousness, does not want to play roughly.
The Yorkshire has a long coat, which will take a lot of daily grooming but does not shed much and is considered to be great for people with allergies.
Prices vary greatly, from $-$$$ to $-$$$$$.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If you think this breed comes from England, you would be correct. Named after — you guessed it — King Charles I from the 1600s, this amazing breed adapts to its owner’s lifestyle rather than dictating what it wants. The affectionate and gentle spaniel enjoys curling up with its owner as a lapdog or being active if that is its master’s preference.
The coat of this spaniel does shed but only seasonally. It does require some grooming but not as much as longer-coated dogs. This dog is intelligent and eager to please. While it can be trained, it sometimes exhibits a bit of stubbornness and, while playful, does not like roughness.
The King Charles spaniel is priced from $-$$$ to as much as $-$$$$.
The easily recognizable face of the pug, with its wrinkles and flattened mug, can be thought adorably cute or hideously ugly. The personality of this creature is delightful though. The pug likes everyone: kids, cats, dogs and strangers. It is playful and intelligent and only barks when it seems necessary.
Your new friend might like to be fairly active, and does want to please you, but it won’t be your new training partner when it comes to long runs or hikes.
Shedding is mostly seasonal and grooming is occasional. Since the coat is short, it does not have to be brushed daily. However, because of some drooling, its face should be cared for on a regular basis.
Becoming the proud parent of a pug will set you back anywhere from $--$$$ to $-$$$$.
This terrier is not as fierce as some others of the breed. It was originally bred to fight, but its nature is to be lovable and loving. It is eager to please, affectionate and good with kids. The Boston terrier wants to be noticed and spend time with you, whether your lifestyle is that of a couch potato or a more active individual.
The terrier is intelligent but sometimes hard to housebreak. Also, providing chew toys is a good preventative measure for this breed.
An average shedder, the Boston terrier can be brushed daily, but further grooming is not necessary on a frequent basis.
Expect to pay $-$$$ to $-$$$$ for this family-friendly dog.
It is a happy and comical canine and will be a good addition to your family. Overall, it is good with kids but prefers older children rather than younger, rambunctious ones.
The dachshund needs regular activity but not for long periods of time. It is energetic and smart and needs to keep its mind occupied so it will not become mischievous.
You can own a dachshund for between $-$$$ and $--$$$$.
This little dog, small enough to be carried in a purse, packs a big personality. It can be loud, demanding and independent but is also very affectionate, loyal and highly intelligent. Not necessarily a good choice for families with small children or other pets, the Chihuahua is deeply devoted to the human that it adopts and is very protective or that person, making it a wonderful companion.
Chihuahuas can be a little more challenging to train, but the rewards of consistent, gentle training will be worth it for years to come.
The Chihuahua has the longest life span of all breeds and requires little exercise other than indoor playing. However, it does enjoy outdoor walks as long as care is taken not to let it get too cold.
The price range for Chihuahuas is $-$$$-$-$$$$.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
And the Winner Is..
You won’t lose with any of these choices for a pet. Because every family's lifestyle, composition, and living situation are unique, it is impossible to declare one breed the perfect choice across the board. You will have to make the decision based on your own family's needs and preferences, but if you are seeking to adopt a furry friend, one of the breeds above will be sure to become a champion in your household.