The 15 Best Small Dog Breeds Ranked

Chihuahua laying outside on porch of blue house

Written by Brandi Allred

Updated: November 18, 2023

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Whether you’re looking for a first-time companion or another furry friend to add to your family, a small dog might be the right choice. Dogs come in all colors, temperaments, and sizes. If you’re thinking about adding a dog to your family, carefully consider your needs and restrictions and what you value in a dog. Remember: dogs are forever companions and should not be taken on lightly. Here, we’ll discover the 15 best small dog breeds. 

Three little Apple Head Chihuahua puppies walking outdoor on the grass in summer.

Little dogs are great for apartment dwellers or older pet owners.

©Natalia Fedosova/

Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your ideal canine companion on our list. There are many, many breeds of dog, as well as mixes (mutts). And a great dog can come in any breed and from any background. If you’re considering bringing a small dog home, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue organization first.

15. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu Teeth - Shih Tzu Puppy

Shih Tzus make wonderful, affectionate, and loyal pets!

©Daz Stock/

Historically Shih Tzus are one of the most popular small dog breeds. They can grow up to 11 inches tall and weigh up to 16 pounds. They can do well in homes with small children and other small dog breeds.

14. Pug


This dignified-yet-stubborn breed likes to cuddle, and play games, and isn’t always willing to take instruction!

©220 Selfmade studio/

Pugs are popular in homes both with and without children. They grow to 13 inches tall and may weigh up to 18 pounds. 

13. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland Terrier with fresh haircut laying on pavers

The West Highland Terrier is also known as a Westie.


These independent dogs are creamy-white with erect ears. They grow up to 11 inches tall and weigh up to 20 pounds.

12. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise standing on steps


Bichon Frise

is known for being a good companion breed.


The Bichon Frise has been a popular dog for many years. They grow up to 12 inches tall and may weigh up to 18 pounds. Prospective owners should plan on regular grooming.

11. Maltese

Teacup Maltese

The teacup Maltese is a cute and cuddly dog; it is an excellent choice for apartment living!


Weighing in at under seven pounds, Maltese grow up to be nine inches tall. They’re typically snow white and make great companion dogs for adults and older children.

10. Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier sitting in grass

Norfolk Terriers do well in homes without other dogs or small children.


These dogs grow to ten inches tall and weigh up to 12 pounds. They’re typically light brown in color and do well in homes without other dogs or small children.

9. Papillon

Dog Is Staring At The Wall

Papillons are smart and friendly.

©Anastasiia Cherniavskaia/

Though not as popular as some other small dog breeds, Papillons are exceptionally smart and friendly. These dogs grow up to 11 inches tall and weigh up to ten pounds. They have medium-long fur, large, erect ears, and curled tails. 

8. Pomeranian

Pomeranian dog

Pomeranians come in many colors, including black, white, red, blue, brown, and orange.

©Eric Isselee/

Known colloquially as “poms,” Pomeranians grow up to seven inches tall and weigh up to seven pounds. They’re incredibly fluffy, with erect ears and tails that curl up and over their backs. Poms do best in homes without small children but may get along well with other small dogs. 

7. Miniature Poodle

Miniature poodle

Miniature poodles are hypoallergenic dogs.


Poodles are incredibly smart dogs. They do best in single-dog homes and may not be the best fit for families with small children. Miniature poodles grow up to 15 inches tall and weigh up to 15 pounds.

6. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas standing on bench

Chihuahuas make for great guard dogs despite their size.

© Kapinosova

The chihuahua is one of the smallest dogs out there. They come in long and short-furred varieties and may be almost any color. Chihuahuas weigh up to six pounds and grow to eight inches tall, though some are much smaller.

5. French Bulldog

french bulldog

French Bulldogs will wiggle their whole bodies to compensate for not having tails.


Today, the French bulldog is one of the most popular small dog breeds. Ranging in size from 11-13 inches tall and weighing under 30 pounds, these dogs are great companions. They tend to be high-energy and need a lot of exercise and stimulation.

4. Havanese

Havanese puppy

Havanese are loving and affectionate.

©Dorottya Mathe/

The Havanese is certainly one of the prettiest small dog breeds one can choose. They grow up to 12 inches tall and weigh up to 13 pounds. Prospective owners should anticipate regular grooming for their Havanese. These dogs do best in a single dog household without young children.

3. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier - Boston Terrier Teeth

Boston terriers shed minimally.


In the past few years, Boston terriers have become one of the most popular small dogs. They grow up to 17 inches tall and weigh up to 25 pounds. They’re typically black/gray and white, with a distinct “mask” that extends down their front legs. Boston terriers are good with kids but may have difficulty getting along with other dogs.

2. Dachshund


Dachshunds can be great family dogs and often get along well with other dogs.


These long-bodied dogs come in two sizes: miniature and standard. Miniature dachshunds grow to six inches tall and weigh up to 11 pounds. Standards grow to nine inches tall and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Depending on their temperament, dachshunds can be great family dogs and often get along well with other dogs.

1. Yorkshire Terrier

Types of terrier dogs

Yorkshire Terriers are often big dogs trapped in little bodies, always looking for adventure and maybe even a bit of trouble.

© Fodemesi

A Yorkshire Terrier might be the perfect choice if you don’t have small children or other dogs around the home. These dogs grow up to eight inches tall and weigh under ten pounds. They have tawny and brown fur, which can grow to luxurious lengths.

Summary Of The 15 Best Small Dog Breeds

RankDog BreedSize in Height & Weight
15Shih Tzu11 inches tall, up to 16 lbs
14Pug13 inches tall, up to 18 lbs
13West Highland White Terrier11 inches tall, up to 20 lbs
12Bichon Frise12 inches tall, up to 18 lbs
11Maltese9 inches tall, up to 7 lbs
10Norfolk Terrier10 inches tall, up to 12 lbs
9Papillon11 inches tall, up to 10 lbs
8Pomeranian7 inches tall, up to 7 lbs
7Miniature Poodle15 inches tall, up to 15 lbs
6Chihuahua6 inches tall, up to 6 lbs
5French Bulldog11-13 inches tall, up to 30 lbs
4Havanese12 inches tall, up to 13 lbs
3Boston Terrier17 inches tall, up to 25 lbs
2Miniature Dachshund
Standard Dachshund
6 inches tall, up to 11 lbs
9 inches tall, up to 30 lbs
1Yorkshire Terrierup to 8 inches tall, under 10 lbs

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About the Author

Brandi is a professional writer by day and a fiction writer by night. Her nonfiction work focuses on animals, nature, and conservation. She holds degrees in English and Anthropology, and spends her free time writing horror, scifi, and fantasy stories.

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