Discover the 18 Most Popular Small Dog Breeds with Floppy Ears

Happy,English,Cocker,Spaniel,While,Playing,In,The,River
© Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Updated: July 13, 2023

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Small dogs with floppy ears evoke a sense of cuteness that is hard to resist. Not only are these dogs adorable to look at, but many floppy-eared breeds also have friendly and approachable personalities and make excellent companions. 

Scientists have theorized that this is actually due to the dogs’ genetics and the process of domestication. As these dogs became domesticated over the years, their bodies changed to produce less adrenaline and fewer neural crest cells. These special stem cells are responsible for giving dogs different traits, including perky upright ears. This change also led to dogs with tamer temperaments and lower levels of stress hormones. So, perhaps that is why we seem to love these friendly, floppy-eared dogs so much! Here are some of the most popular small dog breeds with floppy ears! 

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Enchanting and adorable, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is usually only 12 inches tall at the shoulders and weighs between 13 to 18 pounds. These delightful dogs have luxurious wavy hair that is either black and tan, ruby red, tricolor (black and tan markings on white), or Blenheim (white and chestnut). Although their long floppy ears and silky hair make them irresistible little pups, what Cavalier King Charles spaniels are really known for are their warm brown eyes and gentle expressions. These small dogs are playful companions with warm temperaments and make excellent therapy dogs. 

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel dogs sitting together

The

Cavalier King Charles spaniel

is a very loyal dog.

©BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

2. Dachshund

Another adorable small dog breed with floppy ears is the dachshund, an energetic and spunky little pup that grows about 8 to 9 inches tall and weighs between 16 and 32 pounds. These cute little balls of energy have long bodies and short legs, with either short or long fur coats. Although they are super energetic, their unique little bodies are not built for strenuous exercise. Dachshunds are great with other dogs and people and come in all kinds of beautiful colors.

Miniature Dachshund standing in long grass

Dachshunds can be very energetic and playful, but they are not built for strenuous exercise.

©James Player/Shutterstock.com

3. Havanese

The Havanese is not only a beautiful dog breed with floppy ears, but it is also the only dog breed that is native to Cuba! Havanese dogs are excellent companions who love life and love their families. They grow about 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall and weigh around 7 to 13 pounds, with some of the most stunning silky hair that you’ll ever see on a dog. Although this gorgeous hair does take a bit of grooming to manage, it is hypoallergenic, which means that while a Havanese may not be 100% allergy free, they tend to be better for those who suffer from allergies.

havanese dog

Havanese have lots of beautiful hair, but they don’t tend to shed much.

©iStock.com/Dorottya_Mathe

4. Beagle

Beagles are some of the best family dogs because they are energetic and playful but also smart and easygoing. They love to be around people and are typically great with children and even other dogs as well. Beagles are usually 13 to 15 inches tall and weigh 20 to 30 pounds. They’re super short fur comes in many beautiful colors like red and white, lemon, and even tricolor. they have big bright eyes, long, hound-like floppy ears, and look like they are eternally happy. Beagles were bred to hunt in packs, so they do need lots of exercise and plenty of company.

Beagle and cat

Beagles are curious dogs and wonderful family companions.

©kobkik/Shutterstock.com

5. Cocker Spaniel

The cocker spaniel is a beautiful dog with a long wavy coat that comes in a wide variety of colors, from brown and black to red, tan, or even a combination of colors. Of course, all that hair means that you’ll need to groom your dog regularly, otherwise, those luscious locks will mat and tangle and hurt your cocker spaniel pup. These dogs typically grow 13.5 to 15.5 inches tall and weigh 20 to 30 pounds. Although cocker spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs, today they are highly prized companion dogs. Cocker spaniels are very sweet-natured companions who are great with other dogs as well as people of all ages. 

Cocker Spaniel standing outside in the grass

The Cocker Spaniel is one of the most popular canine companions in the world.

©iStock.com/TaTaNoViTch

6. Japanese Chin

With its regal and sophisticated appearance, it’s no surprise that the Japanese chin was often given as a gift by the Emperors of China to other respected nobles. This beautiful dog breed became even more popular across Europe when Queen Alexandra of England began collecting Japanese chins as her favored canine companions in the late 19th century. Japanese chins are small dogs and only weigh around 7 to 11 pounds and are 8 to 11 inches tall. They have long, silky coats and are affectionate and loving dogs. Japanese chins make wonderful companions and lap dogs, although they do prefer adults over children. 

Beautiful small toy dog black and white Japanese Chin Spaniel on dark blue royal background in studio

The Japanese chin has well-balanced energy needs.

©Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock.com

7. Coton de Tuléar

Another esteemed small dog breed with floppy ears is the coton de Tuléar. In fact, the coton de Tuléar is known as the “Royal dog of Madagascar”! Although they are small, measuring 9 to 11 inches tall and weighing 8 to 15 pounds, coton de Tuléars have sturdy and robust bodies that are covered in white or tricolor hair. Their fluffy hair is said to be as soft as cotton, which is where they get their name (“coton” in French means “cotton”). Although they require constant brushing, these fluffy furballs don’t shed and have low dander. Coton de Tuléars are bright and happy little dogs who love to clown around, offer comfort and companionship, and develop very deep bonds with their human companions.

Coton de Tulear running with ears flopping

Coton de Tuléar

dogs love being with their humans and will follow

them all around the house.

©BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

8. Pekingese

The Pekingese is yet another royal dog breed that originally was bred as a companion for the rulers in ancient China. Standing at just 6 to 9 inches tall and weighing up to 14 pounds, these compact toy dogs have long fur coats and a very elegant appearance. Their hair is longest at the neck and shoulders, making them look like little lions. Pekingese dogs exude confidence and charm and have an undying loyalty to their human companions. While they are extremely affectionate, However, Pekingese dogs are not the best fit for young children who like to rough house.

Pekingese dog sitting in grass

Pekingese dogs are well-known for their iconic “rolling gait” (when they walk, their hindquarters sway from side to side).

©DejaVuDesigns/Shutterstock.com

9. Maltese

The Maltese is a delightful toy dog breed with floppy ears and has captured the hearts of millions with an endearing personality and distinctive appearance. This small and compact little canine has a stunning white coat of straight, silky hair that requires regular brushing. The Maltese is one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today. In fact, Maltese dogs were even popular in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and were common lapdogs for royals and the wealthy elite. These charming pups are also one of the smallest dog breeds out there with floppy ears, typically measuring 7 to 10 inches tall and weighing 4 to 8 pounds. 

Teacup Maltese

Maltese dogs are hypoallergenic, which means that they still produce allergens, but not nearly as much as most dogs.

©Plernz/Shutterstock.com

10. Löwchen 

What looks like a miniature lion but is actually a small dog with floppy ears? Must be the löwchen! These popular companion dogs are often groomed with a “lion clip”, where the hair is kept long on the head and top half of the body, with the rest of the hair trimmed very short and close to the skin. This is also where the breed gets its name from, as löwchen means “little lion” in German. The dog’s long and beautiful hair does not shed and is less allergenic than many other dog breeds. Löwchen dogs are very energetic, with big hearts and an affectionate nature. They are typically 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 15 pounds. 

Lowchen (Little Lion Dog) is on the grass in park.

Lowchen dogs are friendly and do well with humans of all ages. They can struggle with other dogs, however, so they need early socialization.

©volofin/Shutterstock.com

11. Tibetan Terrier

With a height of 14 to 17 inches tall and a weight of 18 to 30 pounds, the Tibetan terrier is a very affectionate small dog breed with long hair and beautiful floppy ears. Tibetan terriers are considered the holy dogs of Tibet and were often companions and watchdogs in many Buddhist monasteries. These sweet pups are very loyal and sensitive. They come in a wide variety of colors from black to black and white, white and gold, golden brindle, and sable. 

Black and white Tibetan Terrier running on grass

Tibetan terriers have large “snowshoe feet” for navigating the mountains where they originated from.

©Sue Thatcher/Shutterstock.com

12. Norfolk Terrier

The Norfolk terrier is a spunky pup who seems to always be smiling. This dog is a bit more active than many of the other small dog breeds on this list. Norfolk terriers have fun personalities and love to play, but they are also very affectionate and can be quite cuddly at times as well. They are some of the smallest working terrier dog breeds, measuring 9 to 10 inches tall and weighing 11 to 12 pounds. Norfolk terriers have cute wirey fur coats that can be grizzly, black and tan, red, or red wheaten.

   Cute little Norfolk Terrier dog with docked tail

Norfolk terriers are feisty dogs with affectionate and loving personalities.

©Sue Thatcher/Shutterstock.com

13. Lhasa Apso

Hailing from the Himalayas in Tibet, the Lhasa apso is a small dog breed with floppy ears that has been around for at least a thousand years. Standing 10 to 11 inches tall and weighing 12 to 18 pounds, these dogs are small but they are hardy, confident, and have a regal bearing. The Lhasa apso is extremely affectionate with their loved ones but remains aloof with strangers. They may appear serious at times, but Lhasa apsos are actually comedians at heart and love nothing more than entertaining their families. One of their most distinctive features is their long flat coats that come in a variety of colors, and their feathery tails that curve elegantly over their backs.

Lhasa Apso dog lying in the grass of a garden

Although in the show ring, Lhasa apsos typically have floor-length hair, many owners choose a “puppy cut” to help keep their hair clean and tangle-free.

©aurelie le moigne/Shutterstock.com

14. Bedlington Terrier

This rather unique-looking small dog with floppy ears is the Bedlington terrier, which comes from the Northumberland town of Bedlington in northeastern England. Standing 15 to 17.5 inches tall and weighing 17 to 23 pounds, these beautiful and versatile dogs have fleecy pear-shaped heads, crisp and curly fur coats, scimitar-shaped tails, and cute floppy ears. Although they look a lot like little fluffy lambs, Bedlington terriers are very athletic dogs. They’re powerful swimmers, love the snow, have been used in dog racing, and often participate in several different types of dog sports. Bedlington terriers are also very charming dogs who are full of fun and love to be the center of attention.  

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terriers don’t shed and are

hypoallergenic

. They produce very few allergens and are great dogs for those with allergies.

©Ermolaev Alexander/Shutterstock.com

15. Bolognese

Originating in Italy, the Bolognese is a small white dog with floppy ears and a long and fluffy fur coat. With no undercoat, this single layer of soft fur falls in loose, open ringlets all over the dog’s small body, with shorter hair covering their adorably happy faces. The texture of their hair is wooly instead of silky, which also gives Bolognese dogs a teddy-bear-like appearance.

A member of the Bichon family, Bolognese dogs only measure 10 to 12 inches in height and weigh 6 to 10 pounds. However, they pack a pretty big personality into their small and sturdy bodies. Bolognese pups are intelligent, with a playful and easygoing nature. 

Bolognese sitting in pile of leaves

The Bolognese is named after the city of Bologna in

Italy

.

©iStock.com/sssss1gmel

16. Sussex Spaniel

The enchanting Sussex spaniel is a small dog breed with floppy ears that comes from the region of Sussex in southern England. These adorable dogs have low-lying, compact bodies that are 13 to 15 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 35 to 45 pounds. One of their most striking features is their stunning and thick, golden liver-colored coats, full of soft and wavy hair. Sussex spaniels are typically calm and collected, and have a reputation for being more slow-paced than other breeds. However, Sussex spaniels also have a clownish side and can always make you smile. They love people and thrive on companionship connection, making them ideal candidates for therapy dog work.

A Sussex Spaniel on grass

Sussex spaniels are mellow, friendly, and affectionate. However, they can also be stubborn, so they require a lot of patience when training.

©Sue Thatcher/Shutterstock.com

17. Shih Tzu 

Another popular small dog breed with floppy ears is the beautiful little shih tzu, which weighs between 9 and 16 pounds and stands 8 and 11 inches tall. Despite their small size, shih tzus have a surprisingly solid build with large round eyes, short snouts, fluffy fur coats, and adorably floppy ears covered in long fur. Shih tzus are regal-looking dogs and carry their curled tails on their backs with all the pride of a king or queen. However, these cute pups don’t take themselves too seriously. They are very affectionate and love to play or snuggle up with their human companions.

Shih tzu dog

Shih tzu dogs are very popular canine companions.

©iStock.com/elenasendler

18. Tibetan Spaniel

Small and assertive, the Tibetan spaniel is a companion dog that originated in Tibet thousands of years ago. With darling little domed heads that look almost too small for their bodies, Tibetan spaniels stand just 10 inches tall and weigh between 9 and 15 pounds. Their adorable floppy ears hang down on either side of the dog’s head with feathering that forms a perfect V-shape. Tibetan spaniels also have a stunning furry mane and an illustrious feathered tail that is set high and carried over the dog’s back. These delightful canine companions are social creatures with impressive emotional intelligence and empathy. They thrive on spending time with their human companions and do not do well when left alone for extended periods of time. 

Calmest dog - tibetan spaniel laying in the grass

The Tibetan spaniel is a sensitive dog who is very aware of its owner’s emotions.

©Elisa Putti/Shutterstock.com

NumberSmall Dog Breed
1Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
2Dachshund
3Havanese
4Beagle
5Cocker Spaniel
6Japanese Chin
7Coton de Tuléar
8Pekingese
9Maltese
10Löwchen
11Tibetan Terrier
12Norfolk Terrier
13Lhasa Apso
14Bedlington Terrier
15Bolognese
16Sussex Spaniel
17Shih Tzu
18Tibetan Spaniel
Summary Table of the 18 Most Popular Small Dog Breeds with Floppy Ears

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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