10 of the Shortest Dog Breeds

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: September 18, 2022
Image Credit Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:

Finding the right dog for your home is not just a matter of looks and temperament. Sometimes, you have to consider size as well. For example, it’s probably not a good idea to get a massive dog that would easily pull away from you while walking. Such a dog could be a danger to you, itself, and others. That’s why we’re going to focus on showing you 10 of the shortest dog breeds in the world today.

Keep in mind that we’re going to use measurements that reflect the average size of the breed. You may know of an extra-large chihuahua, but the average size of that dog is still between 5 to 8 inches tall at the withers.

Also, some dogs are so similarly sized that ordering them in such a manner is a fruitless endeavor. We’re just going to show you the dogs with the smallest average size. With that in mind, let’s start looking at some different small dog breeds!

15,767 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

What Are the Shortest Dog Breeds?

Before we start looking at dog breeds, we have to consider our methodology. We’re going to look at dogs that are the shortest, not necessarily the smallest or lightest. We only want diminutive pups.

We are going to include measurements of the shortest dog breeds according to their height at the withers. That means the dog’s measurement is going to come from measuring the area above their shoulders rather than their head while sitting. Fair warning, we’re going to see a lot of overlap with some of these breeds.

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the dogs.

10. Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier running with dirty tennis ball
The Toy Fox Terrier is a smart, energetic dog.

everydoghasastory/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
8.5 to 11.5 inches6 to 9 pounds

The toy fox terrier is a small dog that only measures between 8.5 and 11.5 inches in total height. They are known for being tenacious, intelligent, and eager dogs. They have a small penchant for mischief, but they are very playful creatures that are sure to let you know if you have visitors coming to your door.  

9. Papillon

regal shot of a Papillon in the grass
Papillons were originally bred for companionship.

Anna Maloverjan/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
8 to 11 inches5 to 10 pounds

The papillon breed is known for the shape of its ears, which feature long fur and resemble a butterfly. They only measure between 8 and 11 inches tall at the withers. They have a long fur coat that is a pleasure to pet and doesn’t need as much attention as you might think. These dogs are incredibly social and playful, but they are highly vocal.

8. Japanese Chin

Beautiful small toy dog black and white Japanese Chin Spaniel on dark blue royal background in studio
Although they are a small dog breed, Japanese chins are typically not very loud and only bark when they are surprised.

Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
8 to 11 inches7 to 11 pounds

The Japanese chin is a lapdog with long, fluffy fur. They’re known for the long fur on their legs and tails. Although they may seem like a yappy breed, they’re actually rather quiet, only barking when something surprises them. Best of all, they only grow to between 8 and 11 inches tall. They have a fair amount of energy, but they’ll relax with you on the couch, too.  

7. Maltese

Maltese dog with long hair.
Maltese are noble dogs with affectionate and lively personalities.

iStock.com/Laures

HeightWeight
7 to 9 inches5 to 7 pounds

The Maltese is a beautiful dog breed with a long fur coat, and they’re often show dogs. Despite measuring only 7 to 9 inches tall, they act bigger than their size. They’ll gladly alert their owners when something is amiss. Although they need frequent grooming and brushing, they don’t actually shed all that much!

6. Biewer Terrier

Biewer Terrier with bow in her hair
Although similar to the Yorkshire terrier, the Biewer Terrier is a rare breed of dog distinct from the Yorkshire terrier.

Oleksandr Volchanskyi/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
7 to 11 inches4 to 8 pounds

You may not have heard much about the Biewer terrier since it was only officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2021. This dog was established in the 1980s in Germany and has since become a somewhat popular pet. These dogs are playful and affectionate, but their long silky fur needs frequent care.

5. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon
Brussels Griffon love exercise but don’t require a ton of space, making them ideal dogs for apartments or small homes.

otsphoto/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
7 to 10 inches8 to 10 pounds

The Brussels griffon is a rather intelligent dog that can present with a smooth coat or a rough coat of short or medium fur. One of their trademark characteristics is the presence of a “beard” in some members of the breed.

When they have longer fur and a beard, they can have a comically dour look to them. Yet, they’re very vocal and playful, often becoming friends with a particular member of the household.

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Types of terrier dogs: Yorkshire terrier
Yorkshire Terriers are often big dogs trapped in little bodies, always on the lookout for adventure and maybe even a bit of trouble.

iStock.com/Attila Fodemesi

HeightWeight
7 to 8 inches5 to 7 pounds

The Yorkshire terrier is a very popular, loving pet. You may see them with a long, silky coat at shows, but many owners keep their hair short to reduce the need for grooming. Yorkies are affectionate but have a propensity for stubbornness. They’re often kept as companions in urban areas that don’t have a lot of space for larger animals to roam and play.

3. Pekingese

Pekingese dog walking outdoors
The Pekingese were originally bred to be close companions to Chinese royalty.

Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
6 to 9 inches7 to 14 pounds

The Pekingese is a toy breed that comes from China. They are great companion dogs. They’re easily recognized by their double fur coat, and they require frequent grooming. You can expect them to leave a fair amount of fur around your home, but you’ll forgive them at once due to their loving demeanor.

These are very short dogs, standing between 6 and 9 inches most of the time. That makes them one of the shortest dog breeds available. People love them for their looks, loving personality, and infrequent barking.

2. Pomeranian

White Pomeranian dog standing on a bench
Even though Pomeranians are quite small, their genetic line partially comes from large sled dogs.

Anya Poustozerova/Shutterstock.com

HeightWeight
6 to 7 inches3 to 7 pounds

The Pomeranian breed is known for its fluffy long coat and being exceptionally yappy. They have a fair amount of energy buzzing around a very small body. At their greatest size, they’ll only measure about 7 inches tall and weigh up to 7 pounds. They’re the perfect lapdog!

1. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas standing on bench
Chihuahuas make for great guard dogs despite their size.

iStock.com/Lesia Kapinosova

HeightWeight
5 to 8 inches3 to 6.6. pounds

The chihuahua is the shortest dog breed, often measuring between 5 and 8 inches tall at the withers. These dogs are known for loving their family members and not being as friendly to outsiders. They are playful, loving pets that are perfect for people that want a pet they can handle.

Like other dogs, they need frequent exercise and a good diet. Otherwise, they’re prone to putting on extra weight.  

We’ve taken a look at the shortest dog breeds out there today. You should have a pretty good idea of the different small dogs that can fit perfectly in your life. Of course, size is not the only factor to consider. You should also make sure you can offer a dog a comfortable place to live where their needs for companionship are met.  

Up Next:

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
Two Longhair Apple Head Chihuahua dogs playing in green summer grass.
Two Longhair Apple Head Chihuahua dogs playing in green summer grass.
Volodymyr Burdiak/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. University of Illinois Extension: Best of Friends, Kids and Dogs, Available here: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/dogs/parts.cfm?Slide=8#:~:text=This%20is%20the%20area%20above,the%20dog%20from%20the%20ground.
  2. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/chihuahua/
  3. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pomeranian/
  4. American Kennel Club, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/papillon/
  5. National Library of Medicine, Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9379419/