What’s better than sitting down in your favorite comfy chair with a cuddly and adorable dog on your lap? Maybe you’ve been thinking about finding yourself a small dog to bring home and become a part of your family, but you’re not sure which one would be the best fit. Well, we’ve done the work for you and have created a list of lap dogs that includes just enough information for you to get to know these fantastic pint-sized pups.
So, here are 32 dog breeds that make some of the best lap dogs in alphabetical order:
The Affenpinscher is not a terrier but had the job of one in 17th century Germany. Their job was to get rid of pests in the stables and inside the house. These Ewok lookalikes have thick, rough coats of shaggy fur and come in a variety of colors, most commonly in dark brown and black. The Affen is fearless, affectionate, devoted, and a stubborn dog at times.
2. Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise was popular amongst the nobles of 13th century Spain, France, and Italy. They sport soft, velvety, white coats that are notably hypoallergenic. Bichons are friendly dogs that get along very well with children and other dogs and are intelligent, easily trained, and playful.
The Bolognese comes from Bologna, Italy, as early as the 10th century but gained popularity during the Renaissance with the nobility. Like the Bichon, they have a soft, fluffy white coat that is hypoallergenic. Bolos are companion dogs and won’t do well being left alone for long periods, but they are calm, affectionate, and playful.
4. Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier is descended from a cross of the Bulldog and the extinct English Terrier and was brought to Boston in the 1800s. They have short, sleek coats in a number of different colors but are most well known for their distinctive black and white. Bostons are friendly, charming, and lively companions.
5. Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon had its beginnings as a ratter in Brussels, Belgium, in the early 19th century. They can be beige, black, red, and black and tan in color and have smooth or rough coats. Griffs are easy to train and don’t do well being left alone, but they are friendly, devoted, and affectionate dogs.
6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was a favorite of King Charles I and II in the 1600s. Their long, silky coats of fur may have tan markings and can be black and white, black and tan, chestnut and white, and ruby in color. Cavaliers are gentle, sweet, and loving dogs that get along very well with other dogs and children.
The Chihuahua originated in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico and has origins as far back as a thousand years ago with the ancient Toltecs. They are famous as the dogs that can fit in a purse (they weigh no more than 6 pounds) and have long and short coats that come in many patterns and colors. Chihuahuas are very confident, loyal, and intelligent tiny dogs.
8. Chinese Crested
The Chinese Crested is an ancient breed that goes so far back that no one really knows its origins. It’s believed they came from Africa and were brought to China, where they were miniaturized. They are both hairless with tufts of fur on the ankles, tail, and head as well as coated with silky, soft fur that comes in a large variety of colors. Cresteds are playful, affectionate, and sensitive dogs.
9. Coton de Tulear
The Coton de Tulear came from the town of Tulear, Madagascar, and were bred to be lap dogs for the nobility. They are not only named for where they came from but for their soft, cottony, coats of white fur. Cotons are clever dogs that have the ability to walk on their hind legs and are happy, playful, and gentle pets.
10. English Toy Spaniel
The English Toy Spaniel was a popular dog with King Charles I and II in the 17th century. These tiny spaniels have silky coats of long fur that can be red and white, black and tan, red, and black white and tan in color. English Toys are intelligent, loving, and playful but are rather picky about who they want to spend time with.
11. French Bulldog
The lace makers of England’s Nottingham owned toy Bulldogs in the mid-19th century and eventually moved to France with their dogs. The French Bulldog evolved over several decades and is known for its adorable bat-like ears and smooth coats in a very wide variety of colors. The Frenchie is affectionate, playful, and intelligent.
The Havanese was bred for Cuba’s nobility and was popular in Havana, where it received its name. Havanese have beautiful long, silky coats of fur that comes in a truly large variety of colors and has a tail that curls over their backs. They are friendly, smart, and social dogs that love to be the center of attention.
13. Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is a truly ancient dog that has its beginnings as far back as 2,000 years in ancient Greece. They are delicate-looking in appearance and will need to wear a coat in the winter. They have short, sleek coats that come in a wide variety of colors. The Italian Greyhound is prone to chasing small animals but are playful, affectionate, and intelligent dogs.
14. Japanese Chin
The origins of the Japanese Chin are mostly unknown, but it is known that the Japanese nobility created the Chin that we see today. They have long, silky coats of fur that can be black and white, sable and white, lemon and white, and white and black in color. The Chin is a quiet dog that has a stubborn streak and is affectionate, charming, and active.
15. Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso goes back 1,000 years and worked as sentinels at Buddhist monasteries and palaces in the Himalayan Mountains. They come in many colors and have long, flowing coats with a feathered tail that curls over their backs. Lhasas are intelligent, independent, and merry dogs that are reserved with strangers.
The Maltese likely goes back to 1500 B.C. to the Phoenicians who introduced this small, white dog to the island of Malta. They are famous for their low-shedding, floor-length, silky white coat of fur, and they usually weigh less than 7 pounds. The Maltese are affectionate, social, playful, and charming little dogs.
17. Miniature American Shepherd
The Miniature American Shepherd had their beginnings as smaller sized Australian Shepherds in the 1960s in U.S. rodeos. They were bred to even smaller sizes and gained popularity in the States. They have thick, double coats of medium-length fur and come in black, blue merle, red, and red merle. Minis are smart, friendly, and active dogs that are unfortunately shedders, and are adaptable to their family’s lifestyle.
18. Miniature Dachshund
The Miniature Dachshund originated in Germany about 600 years ago and was bred to oust the badger from its den. The name “Dachshund” actually translates to “badger dog” in German (‘dachs’ means badger and ‘hund’ means hound). The Miniature is 11 pounds and under and can be smooth, longhaired, and wirehaired and comes in many different patterns and colors. They are courageous, intelligent, and friendly dogs.
19. Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer was bred from the larger Standard Schnauzer as far back as the 16th century in Germany, where farmers shrunk down the standard to miniature size to work as ratters. They have shaggy eyebrows and beards and have rough, wiry coats that come in salt and pepper, black and silver, and black in color. The Mini is an intelligent, friendly, and outgoing dog that gets along famously with children and other dogs.
The Papillon was popular in France as royal lapdogs in Renaissance times, but the Papillon that we see today were bred by breeding centers in Spain and Italy. They are famous for their large and wing-like ears from which they were named (‘papillon’ means ‘butterfly’ in French). Papillons have a long, silky coat that comes in a number of colors, and they are upbeat, friendly, and eager to please companion dogs.
The Pekingese is an ancient dog that originated in China by nobles keen to breed dogs with flat noses (such as the Pug and the Shih Tzu). They are long, and low-bodied dogs with a lion’s mane of fur around their shoulders and necks, and they come in a variety of colors. Pekes are devoted, loving, and confident companion dogs that are good with children but do not enjoy rough play.
The Pomeranian is a tiny version of the spitz dogs of the North and was named after Pomerania, which is an area that incorporated Poland and western Germany. These small dogs weigh no more than 7 pounds and have thick double coats that are usually red or orange but do come in a large variety of colors. Poms are frisky, intelligent, and happy companion dogs that are easy to train and do best with families with older children.
The Pug is a very ancient Chinese breed that goes back as far as 2,000 years to the time of emperors that preferred flat-faced small dogs. They are known for their curled tails and wrinkled brows and have short coats that are either fawn or black in color with a black mask. Pugs are very loving, charming, eager to please dogs that are prone to obesity, so watch those treats!
24. Rat Terrier
The Rat Terrier is an American dog bred as ratters for farms and used for hunting as well as guardians and watchdogs. They have sleek, shiny coats that come in a large variety of pied colors. Rat Terriers are playful, intelligent, and loving dogs that are patient with children but wary of strangers.
25. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
The name Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka translates to “Russian Colored Lapdog,” and it originated as a gift to Russian nobility from France’s King Louis IV in the 1700s. The cold Russian climate necessitated strong, working dogs, and therefore, toy dogs were not common until that time. They have long coats of fur that come in various colors and get along very well with children and other animals. The Bolonka is a playful, sweet-natured, intelligent dog that makes a perfect companion for a family living in an apartment.
26. Scottish Terrier
The Scottish Terrier is thought to be the oldest dog breed native to Britain. They were bred to hunt foxes, badgers, and rats in the Scottish Highlands. They are famous for their beards and eyebrows and come in wheaten, brindle but are most known for their black fur. Scotties are independent, playful, and confident dogs that chase smaller animals and don’t like other dogs or strangers.
27. Shih Tzu
Bred for the royal lap, the Shih Tzu was a favorite for hundreds of years of the emperors of China. They have a long coat of fur that comes in many colors and needs daily brushing. Shih Tzus are wonderful with children and are affectionate, charming, and playful dogs that don’t need a lot of exercise but might be prone to obesity if you’re not careful.
28. Tibetan Spaniel
The Tibetan Spaniel was used as a companion and a watchdog for Buddhist Monks in Tibet’s monasteries. They have a lion’s mane of fur around their shoulders and necks and a beautiful feathered tail that curls over their backs, and they come in a variety of colors. Tibbies are eager to please, smart, and playful dogs.
29. Toy Fox Terrier
The Toy Fox Terrier is a miniature of the Smooth Fox Terrier bred by American breeders in the early 1900s as ratters. They have sleek, short coats in white and black, white and tan, white, chocolate and tan, and white black and tan. The Toy Fox Terrier is a playful, intelligent, and energetic dog that will enjoy playtime with older children and are easy to train.
30. Toy Manchester Terrier
The Toy Manchester Terrier was popular in Victorian England and is a cross between Whippets and Black and Tan Terriers. They have short, silky coats that come in black and tan that are low maintenance for grooming. Manchesters are smart, athletic, and lively dogs that are eager to please and will only respond to positive training methods.
31. Toy Poodle
Toy Poodles were bred from the Standard Poodle in America in the early 1900s to be the perfect companions for urbanites. They stand no bigger than 10 inches and have curly, hypoallergenic coats that come in many colors. Toy Poodles are highly intelligent, athletic, are very social, and easy to train.
32. Yorkshire Terrier
The Yorkshire Terrier was bred in the middle of the 1800s in Yorkshire and Lancashire as the perfect lap dogs for English ladies. These small dogs are known for their silky, long coats of fur that come in black and tan, black and gold, blue and tan, and blue and gold. Yorkies are perfect for apartment living due to their size, and they are also hypoallergenic. They are smart, brave, and affectionate dogs.
Lap dogs can be sweet and calm or feisty and energetic, but they will all want to fit in your warm lap for a good cuddle. This list, however, does not include extra-large dogs, like the Saint Bernard, that would love nothing more than to curl up on your lap. This is a pint-sized only list. So, if you’re considering adding a small dog to your family, hopefully, this list will start you on your journey to find your perfect companion.
Featured Image: Pavel Shlykov, Shutterstock
- 1. Affenpinscher
- 2. Bichon Frise
- 3. Bolognese
- 4. Boston Terrier
- 5. Brussels Griffon
- 6. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 7. Chihuahua
- 8. Chinese Crested
- 9. Coton de Tulear
- 10. English Toy Spaniel
- 11. French Bulldog
- 12. Havanese
- 13. Italian Greyhound
- 14. Japanese Chin
- 15. Lhasa Apso
- 16. Maltese
- 17. Miniature American Shepherd
- 18. Miniature Dachshund
- 19. Miniature Schnauzer
- 20. Papillon
- 21. Pekingese
- 22. Pomeranian
- 23. Pug
- 24. Rat Terrier
- 25. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
- 26. Scottish Terrier
- 27. Shih Tzu
- 28. Tibetan Spaniel
- 29. Toy Fox Terrier
- 30. Toy Manchester Terrier
- 31. Toy Poodle
- 32. Yorkshire Terrier