10 of the World’s Smallest Dog Breeds

When it comes to dogs, big personalities don’t always come in large packages. Some of the most charismatic and beloved dogs are actually the smallest ones.

These pint-sized pups pack a lot of love and energy into their tiny frames, making them perfect companions for those with limited space or those simply enamored by cuteness.

From apartments in bustling cities to quiet homes in the suburbs, these tiny breeds fit just about anywhere.

1. Chihuahua: The Mighty Mini

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Don’t let their size fool you—Chihuahuas hold the crown for being one of the tiniest yet most spirited dog breeds in the world. Typically weighing between 2 to 6 pounds, these little dynamos are renowned for their lively personalities and sharp intelligence. Originating from Mexico, they are named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua. (ref)

Chihuahuas possess a notorious “big dog attitude” encased in a very small body. They form incredibly strong bonds with their owners, often becoming fiercely protective. Despite their diminutive stature, they require plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and affection. Their size makes them ideal for apartment living, but don’t be surprised if they rule the roost!

2. Yorkshire Terrier: The Tiny Trendsetter

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Affectionately known as “Yorkies,” these tiny terriers have taken the world by storm. Weighing in at a mere 4 to 7 pounds, Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred in England to catch rats in textile mills. Today, they’re celebrated for their beautiful, silky hair and vibrant personalities.

Yorkies are the epitome of a small breed with a big personality. They are curious, always on the move, and eager for adventure. Their size makes them great for city living, but they’re also brave and energetic enough to keep up on longer walks. Plus, their hypoallergenic coat makes them a popular choice for people with allergies.

3. Pomeranian: The Fluffy Powerhouse

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Known for their fluffy coats and fox-like expressions, Pomeranians are a breed that’s hard to overlook despite their small size. They typically weigh between 3 to 7 pounds and are part of the Spitz family of dogs, which is known for its ability to handle cold climates.

Pomeranians are not just lap dogs; they are active, intelligent, and love to learn new tricks. They can be somewhat independent but also very loyal to their families. With their outgoing nature and tiny size, they fit perfectly in various living environments, from apartments to large houses with yards.

4. Papillon: The Butterfly-Eared Beauty

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Named for their distinctive butterfly-like ears, Papillons are one of the oldest toy breeds, tracing their lineage back to Europe, where they graced the laps of royalty. These dogs are small, with weights ranging around 4 to 9 pounds, but they are known for their robust health and long lifespan.

Papillons are not just pretty; they are smart and easily trained, excelling in obedience and agility sports. They are energetic and playful, and despite their small size, they have a sturdy build and an athletic nature. They love being active with their families and can adapt well to various living situations.

5. Toy Poodle: The Dainty Dynamo

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Toy Poodles are known for their intelligence and ease of training. They stand under 10 inches tall and generally weigh about 4 to 6 pounds. Despite their posh appearance, they’re hearty little dogs with a friendly and energetic demeanor.

Toy Poodles are true companions, eager to please and quick to learn. Their hypoallergenic coats make them particularly appealing to allergy sufferers. These dogs excel in a variety of canine sports, including agility and obedience, and their adaptable nature makes them well-suited for any living environment.

6. Shih Tzu: The Ancient Aristocrat

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Originating from Tibet, Shih Tzus was bred to be a companion dog in royal Chinese courts. (ref) They typically weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, making them one of the larger breeds on this list, yet they are still very much a small breed by any standard.

Shih Tzus are known for their gorgeous, flowing coats and sweet, friendly nature. They are incredibly adaptable to different living situations and are as happy in apartments as they are in houses with gardens. They thrive on human companionship and are known to be particularly good with children.

7. Pekingese: The Regal Confidant

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With their distinctive rolling gait and lion-like mane, Pekingese are impossible to mistake. These dogs hail from China, where they were once revered as royal pets. Weighing in at 7 to 14 pounds, they carry themselves with a dignified presence that belies their small size.

Pekingese are known for their loyalty and their courageous personality. They make excellent watchdogs and companions, although they can be somewhat reserved around strangers. They require regular grooming to maintain their luxurious coat and are well-suited to both apartment living and homes with yards.

8. Affenpinscher: The Monkey Dog Marvel

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Nicknamed “monkey dogs” for their amusing facial expressions and playful antics, Affenpinschers are small dogs with a big dog attitude. They typically weigh between 6 to 13 pounds. These little terriers come from Germany, where they were originally bred to hunt rats.

Despite their humorous nature, Affenpinschers are fiercely loyal to their families and can be quite protective. They are curious and playful, always ready for a game or a new adventure. Their small size makes them ideal for city living, although they are robust enough to enjoy brisk walks and outdoor activities.

9. Maltese: The Silken Companion

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The Maltese is a breed known for its long, flowing white coats and gentle, affectionate temperament. Weighing less than 7 pounds, they have been cherished as lap dogs for more than a millennium. These dogs are as well-suited to apartment life as they are to sprawling estates.

Maltese are playful and enjoy learning new tricks. They are very sociable and tend to get along well with other dogs and even cats. Their small size makes them easy to transport, meaning they can join in on family vacations or outings without much hassle.

10. Brussels Griffon: The Expressive Charmer

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Last but not least, the Brussels Griffon captures hearts with its human-like facial expressions and compact size, typically weighing 5 to 15 pounds. Originating from Belgium, these dogs were initially bred to hunt and kill rats.

Today, Brussels Griffons are cherished for their intelligence and strong bond with their owners. They are sensitive and require gentle handling but are also playful and spunky. Their small size and confident nature make them ideal companions for urban dwellers.

Living with Small Dogs

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Owning a small dog comes with unique considerations and joys. Here’s what you need to know about creating a fulfilling life for your tiny companion:

  • Create a Safe Space: Small dogs can feel overwhelmed in large, open spaces. Create a cozy corner with their bed, toys, and blankets where they can retreat and feel secure.
  • Prevent Injuries: Because of their size, small dogs are more prone to injuries from rough play or accidental steps. Be mindful of where your dog is, especially when walking around the house.
  • Appropriate Exercise: Small dogs need regular exercise too, but it should be appropriate for their size. Short walks and indoor play can keep them healthy without overexerting them.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Small breeds can be sensitive to cold and heat due to their size and less body fat. Use sweaters during cold weather and ensure they have a cool, shaded place in hot weather.
  • Training and Socialization: Despite their size, small dogs benefit greatly from training and socialization. Teach them basic commands and expose them to various environments and people to prevent anxiety and fearfulness.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Feed them high-quality dog food appropriate for their age, size, and activity level to avoid obesity, which can lead to serious health problems.
  • Regular Veterinary Care: Frequent check-ups are crucial as small dogs can develop health issues like dental problems, hypoglycemia, and bone fractures more easily than larger breeds.
  • Grooming Needs: Depending on the breed, small dogs may require regular grooming. This includes brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and dental care to keep them looking and feeling their best.
  • Companionship: Small dogs often form strong bonds with their owners and can suffer from separation anxiety. Provide them with plenty of love, attention, and interaction to keep them happy.
  • Travel Friendly: Due to their size, small dogs are easier to travel with compared to larger breeds. Invest in a comfortable carrier and bring them along on adventures whenever possible.
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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.