13 Smallest Dog Breeds in the World

Written by Sarah Psaradelis
Published: September 21, 2022
Image Credit otsphoto/Shutterstock.com
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Small dogs are a common favorite amongst dog lovers and are full of personality that makes up for their small size. Many dog owners choose small dog breeds because they are suitable for apartment living and most make great lapdogs. Small dog breeds have a reputation for having a “bark bigger than their bite”, which makes them fun to own as pets.

Many small dog breeds do not grow any larger than 15 inches (38 cm) which allows them to be classified as a small dog breed. If you are looking to get one of these small dog breeds or are curious as to what small dog breeds are out there, we have compiled a list of the smallest dog breeds in the world, along with the information on each breed to help you consider which one is right for you.

Let’s look at some of the smallest dog breeds in the world:

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Chihuahua

Height:6-9 inches (15-22 cm)
Weight:3-7 pounds (1.3-3 kg)
Fur:Short-haired

The Chihuahua is arguably one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world. They grow no larger than 9 inches in size and are known to be devoted, protective, and alert lapdogs. They are suitable for apartment living and are known for their loyalty to their owners. The Chihuahua does have a reputation for barking a lot, however, this can be managed by proper training and preventing your Chihuahua from getting bored.

Chihuahua puppy on a black background
The Chihuahua is arguably one of the most popular small dog breeds in the world.

Al_Er/Shutterstock.com

Maltese

Height:8-10 inches (20-25 cm)
Weight:6-9 pounds (2.7-4 kg)
Fur:Long and wavy

The Maltese are a small, designer dog breed that has a fine, silky long coat that comes in various colors. This small dog breed is known for being affectionate and playful and makes excellent lapdogs. Maltese are easy to train because they are highly intelligent dogs. They have high grooming requirements to help keep their fur looking good and prevent the long fur from becoming tangled.

Maltese dog with long hair.
The Maltese are a small, designer dog breed that has a fine, silky long coat that comes in various colors.

iStock.com/Laures

Yorkshire Terrier

Height:7-9 inches (17-22 cm)
Weight:4-8 pounds (1.8-3.6 kg)
Fur:Long and layered

Yorkshire Terriers are lively dogs that are known for their long fur that is super soft to the touch. These affectionate and playful dogs are loyal to their owners and enjoy playing with toys and zooming around the house when they are not cozying up to their owners during naptime. The Yorkie is a brave dog that will alert its owners with a high-pitched bark if something has their attention.

Yorkshire Terrier puppy sitting on the park grass
The Yorkie is a brave dog that will alert its owners with a high-pitched bark if something has their attention.

Shllabadibum Bubidibam/Shutterstock.com

Shih-Tzu

Height:8-11 inches (20-25 cm)
Weight:9-16 pounds (4-7.2 kg)
Fur:Sleek and soft

Shih Tzu is a designer dog breed with a very fine and soft coat. These dogs are one of the best lapdogs and their grooming requirements are more manageable than other toy dog breeds. Shih Tzu can be quite stubborn and regal, but they are also known to be affectionate companions that are sociable.

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Shih Tzu - running through grassy field near lake
Bred solely to be companions, Shih Tzus are affectionate, happy, outgoing house dogs who love nothing more than to follow their people from room to room.

rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock.com

Pug

Height:11-14 inches (20-35 cm)
Weight:15-19 pounds (6.8-8.6 kg)
Fur:Short-haired

Pugs are small dogs that have a distinctive flat brachycephalic snout and barrel-shaped body. They are described as stubborn and playful dogs that love engaging with their owners in a game of fetch, but they will also gladly accompany their owners on the sofa when it is rest time. Pugs can be very vocal and will often bark to get their owner’s attention.

muddy mat
Pugs are small dogs that have a distinctive flat brachycephalic snout and barrel-shaped body.

fongleon356/Shutterstock.com

Papillion

Height:8-11 inches (20-25 cm)
Weight:7-10 pounds (3-4.5 kg)
Fur:Long and shiny

The Papillion is a highly energetic dog that has a cheerful personality. They have long ears and a short snout with long fur that frames their small bodies. The Papillion is a regal and dainty dog that is a great lapdog for people in apartments. They have a yappy bark that they use when they become excited or to get their owner’s attention and do best when provided with plenty of love and affection from their owners.

smartest dog breeds - Papillon
The Papillion is a highly energetic dog that has a cheerful personality.

AndyBir/Shutterstock.com

Pomeranian

Height:7-12 inches (17-30 cm)
Weight:4-8 pounds (1.8-3.6 kg)
Fur:Medium-length and fluffy

Pomeranians are small dogs that appear to be round and fluffy with short legs and ears. They are very playful and affectionate dogs that have fun personalities. The Pomeranian is known to bark excessively and becomes vocal during playtime when they are excited, so they need to be trained from a young age to help control this behavior. Their fluffy coat has high grooming requirements, and you need to groom them often to ensure they are looking their best.

Pomeranians are small dogs that appear to be round and fluffy with short legs and ears.

pattarawat/Shutterstock.com

Miniature Dachshund

Height:6-9 inches (15-22 cm)
Weight:8-12 pounds (3.6-5.4 kg)
Fur:Short-haired

Miniature Dachshunds or “wiener dogs” have long bodies with very short legs that can make their build seem unusual. They are very friendly dogs that are notorious for being stubborn and naughty, which is likely linked to their high intelligence. Miniature Dachshunds make great dogs for apartment living and enjoy being with their owners.

Dachshund sitting in front of purple flowers
Miniature Dachshunds make great dogs for apartment living and enjoy being with their owners.

iStock.com/romitasromala

Toy Poodle

Height:9-12 inches (22-30 cm)
Weight:6-10 pounds (2.7-4.5 kg)
Fur:Short and curly

Toy Poodles are obedient dogs that are highly intelligent and active. They are eager to please their owners and can easily learn new tricks. These dogs can be very agile and need plenty of exercises to release their energy in the form of games like fetch or playing with toys. Toy Poodles may be small, but the amount of activity stored in their small bodies will surprise you.

Poodle (Canis familiaris) - Toy Poodle laying on ground
Toy Poodles are obedient dogs that are highly intelligent and active.

Lim Tiaw Leong/Shutterstock.com

Pekingese

Height:6-9 inches (15-22 cm)
Weight:7-14 pounds (3-6.3 kg)
Fur:Long and wavy

The Pekingese is a loyal small dog breed that enjoys spending time with their owners, and they do not do well if they are left alone for a long time. These dogs have a soft coat that requires plenty of grooming to keep it soft and shiny, and they should be kept busy with toys and playtime to keep their minds stimulated.

Calmest dog - pekingese in the valley
The Pekingese is a loyal small dog breed that enjoys spending time with their owners, and they do not do well if they are left alone for a long time.

Bichon Frise

Height:9-12 inches (22-30 cm)
Weight:6-11 pounds (2.7-5 kg)
Fur:Short and curly

The Bichon Frise is a small toy dog breed that is known for being playful and smart. Their high intelligence allows them to learn new tricks quickly and they are patient with their owners. The Bichon Frise has a curly coat that is usually white, and they have an appearance of a teddy bear with a cheerful temperament.

Bichon Frise dog with a stylish haircut staying on the stairs in autumn park
The Bichon Frise has a curly coat that is usually white, and they have an appearance of a teddy bear with a cheerful temperament.

Eudyptula/Shutterstock.com

Affenpinscher

Height:12-13 inches (30-33 cm)
Weight:6-12 pounds (2.7-5.5 kg)
Fur:Short-wired coat

The Affenpinscher also known as the Monkey Terrier in German is an unusual small dog breed that has a wiry coat. They make excellent apartment dogs thanks to their small size, but they do require plenty of moderate exercise and playtime with their owners to prevent them from becoming bored.

Affenpinscher (Canis familiaris) - in grass
Affenpinscher are playful and fun dogs. While tiny, they have a great deal of energy.

Didkovska Ilona/Shutterstock.com

Havanese

Height:8.5-12 inches (21-30 cm)
Weight:7-13 pounds (3-5.8 kg)
Fur:Wavy and silky

The Havanese is a small dog breed that was originally bred to be a lap dog. They have a cheerful and playful personality that rarely bark a lot, which makes them suitable for apartments. They have low exercise requirements, but they still need to be trained and kept busy with plenty of toys to keep them stimulated. The Havanese’s coat does not require much grooming as other small dog breeds.

Havanese (Canis familiaris) - standing on log
The Havanese is a small dog breed that was originally bred to be a lap dog.

Sandra Huber/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I am a big animal lover that not only enjoys owning and getting to care for them, but also to write about them! I own many fish, along with shrimp, hamsters and a docile tarantula. Writing has become my passion and I am grateful to be able to write about the animals I love so dearly so that I can share my knowledge and expertise in the articles I write.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a small dog breed?

Dogs fall under the “small dog category” if they grow no larger than 15 inches (38 cm) in height and weigh less than 30 pounds (13 kg). There are many small dog breeds that are considered to be lap dogs and can be kept in apartments. Small dogs are known to be feisty yet full of energy and are commonly described as a toy dog breed.

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