The 10 Best Small Dog Breeds for Families with Kids

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: October 9, 2023
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Due to their compact size and sometimes-yappy nature, small dogs get a bad rap. Yet while the loud-and-unruly stereotype seems to fit many small dog breeds, there are several that defy the odds. 

Infographic for the 10 Best Small Dog Breeds for Families with Kids
Small, with good temperaments and personalities, these dogs will charm the whole family.

Do you want a tiny dog with the temperament of a teddy bear? Check out these 10 best small dog breeds for families with kids and learn about their personalities and how well they handle a family household.

1. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise puppy

The bichon frise is one of the best small dog breeds for families with kids.

©Ieva Tvaronavicute/

Charming, resilient, and curious, the bichon frise is a little dog with a big personality. This fluffy white breed stands between 9 and 11 inches tall and weighs less than 20 pounds. And they are long-lived, thriving for 15 years or more. The bichon frise is an exceptionally affectionate pet that gets along splendidly with children of all ages. They also do well around other dogs, pets, and strangers. As an eternally happy and charismatic breed, the bichon frise is one of the best small dog breeds for families with kids.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Calmest dog - cavalier king charles spaniel dogs sitting together


Cavalier King Charles spaniel

is a very loyal dog.


Gentle, even-tempered, and eager to please, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an athletic toy breed with a graceful and regal personality. These dogs stand 12 to 13 inches tall and weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. They also live around 15 years, on average. And they are very affectionate and gentle with children and other dogs. If you want a chill dog that’s friendly with strangers and good with kids, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is an excellent option.

3. French Bulldog

Animal, Black Color, Bone, Bulldog, Canine - Animal

French bulldog

s are known for their famous bat ears and amusing behavior.


Playful, alert, and adaptable, the French bulldog is one of the most popular family-friendly small dog breeds. These adorable pups have large bat ears, amusing behavior, and even temperaments. They stand 11 to 13 inches tall, weigh under 28 pounds, and live 10 to 12 years. And their playful, loving, and adaptable nature make them perfect for families with children. 

4. Shih Tzu

Shih tzu dog

Shih Tzus are tiny and charismatic.


Sweet, outgoing, and a little mischievous, the Shih Tzu is a tiny and charismatic dog breed that stands around 10 inches tall and weighs between nine and 16 pounds. These dogs can live nearly 20 years old and make excellent companions for any sized household. But they do exceptionally well with children and other pets. While they are highly adaptable and easy to train, they are somewhat reserved around people they don’t know.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier, Purebred Dog, Animal, Animal Themes, Belgium

Despite being dainty, Yorkshire terriers are known for their feisty personalities.

© Pas

Feisty, brave, and devoted, the Yorkshire terrier is a tenacious and bossy personality trapped in a tiny package. With a height between seven and eight inches and a weight of around seven pounds, Yorkshire terriers are one of the smallest dogs in the world. But despite their size, these dogs are protective watchdogs who are extremely playful and loving, making them wonderful for families with children. They are also friendly with strangers but somewhat reserved around other dogs and pets. They have a lifespan of 11-13 years.  

6. Boston Terrier

two Boston terriers on the green grass

Boston terriers are lovable goofballs.


Smart, comedic, and friendly, the Boston terrier is a lovable goofball that plays non-stop and deeply loves everyone it meets. These dogs stand 10 to 12 inches and weigh 12 to 25 pounds, featuring a life expectancy between 11 and 13 years. Boston terriers are very affectionate, excellent with children, good with other dogs, and open to strangers. They are also highly playful and full of energy.

7. Havanese

Havanese (Canis familiaris) - laying in grass


are funny little dogs that make excellent social companions.

©Sandra Huber/

Outgoing, cheerful, and funny, the Havanese is a happy little dog that makes an excellent sociable companion for families. These dogs measure between eight and 11 inches tall and weigh seven to 13 pounds, with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. This breed is lovey-dovey and good with children and other dogs. They are also friendly with strangers, exceptionally playful, highly adaptable, and eager to please.

8. Beagle

Why are dogs are better than cats?

Beagles are curious and loyal.


Loyal, curious, and easy-going, the beagle is a favorite among hunters and families alike. These happy-go-lucky dogs have adorable expressions and small statures, measuring 13 to 15 inches tall and weighing up to 30 pounds. Beagles also live 10 to 15 years. And while they are not as affectionate as other breeds on this list, they are playful, friendly, and gentle with children and other pets. 

9. Pug

pug in a blanket

Pugs act like tiny humans and get along well with children and other pets.

©220 Selfmade studio/

Charming, mischievous, and human-like, pugs just want to be loved and give cuddles. These curious and adorable pups stand 10 to 13 inches tall and weigh 14 to 18 pounds on average. They also live between 13 and 15 years. If you are looking for a super affectionate, friendly, and playful breed that is also good with children and other pets, the pug is one of the best around.

10. Papillon

The cute dog with white brown hair is in the autumn covered with orange leaves of the park. Papillon Butterfly Dog


are highly adaptable and playful.


Alert, upbeat, and friendly, the papillon is an athletic toy dog that lives to have fun with its family. These happy dogs measure 8 to 11 inches and weigh five to 10 pounds, making them one of the smallest breeds in the world. They can live 14 to 16 years and are highly adaptable, playful, energetic, and eager to please. They are also loving with their families, great with kids, and friendly with strangers. However, they may need time to warm up to other dogs and pets. 

Summary of the Best Small Dog Breeds for Families with Kids

Name of DogHeight in InchesWeight in PoundsLifespan in Years
Bichon Frise9-112015+
Cavalier King Charles spaniel12-1313-1815
French bulldog11-13 up to 2810-12
Shih Tzu109-16up to 20
Yorkshire terrier7-8713-16
Boston terrier10-1212-2511-13
Beagle13-15up to 3010-15

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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