14 Small Dog Breeds & Their Differences (with Pictures)

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Small dog breeds

Small dogs can make for great family pets, particularly if you live in an apartment or you are short on space. Yet even those with a large house and a big yard will find that an energetic little dog can make for the ideal affectionate companion.

As with larger breeds, there is no shortage of small dog breeds to choose from; each with their own personality and unique doggie attributes. Here’s our list of fourteen small dog breeds that you may want to consider.

1. French Bulldog

French Bulldog
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The French Bulldog, or ‘Frenchie’, is an even-tempered dog that loves attention. They have an endearing character and a vibrant personality, making them a popular small dog that is suitable for life in the city. Frenchies don’t need a lot of space, but they thrive on attention, and can become depressed or destructive if left to their own devices.

One downside to keep in mind is that French bulldogs can be quite expensive. This is due mainly to the fact that breeding them usually involves artificial insemination and delivery by Caesarean section. As a result, the price of a puppy can range from $3,000 up to $8,000 or more.

Always happy to be picked up and carried about, a Frenchie will be quite happy to curl up on your lap and could be a good choice for someone looking for a loving little companion with whom to spend a lot of time. 

2. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle
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The Toy Poodle is an elegant and athletic little dog with Einstein-like smarts. Typically, they are people-pleasing friendly dogs that will pay rapt attention to their owners. They tend to get on with other animals in the family, are easily trained, and respond best when kept stimulated mentally and physically.

Toy Poodles are excellent little watchdogs who will bark sharply at your door whenever a stranger approaches. But they are gentle souls at heart and may become emotionally upset if there is too much conflict or roughhousing going on around them. For this reason, they may not be the best pet for young children.

Toy Poodles do, however, make excellent pets for allergy sufferers as their short curly coat is virtually non-shedding.

3. Dachshund

Dachshund
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An old breed with a long and distinguished history, dachshund type dogs have been around for many thousands of years, with carvings of them having been found in ancient Egyptian monuments dating back to the 15th century BC.

Today, these strong-willed dogs are very popular as pets and can be found in long-haired, short-haired and wired haired varieties. They are known for their intelligent, courageous and lively personalities, and they typically make for faithful and friendly companions.

Known to have a mind of their own, dachshunds can at times be a little stubborn. A trait that can make house training difficult as they often don’t like going outside to do their business, particularly if it is rainy or cold out. With persistence this can be overcome, and once trained, they are typically clean and well behaved inside the house.

4. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Welsh Corgi
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Best known as the breed favoured by Queen Elizabeth II, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was first bred in Pembrokeshire in Wales as a cattle dog.

Highly intelligent, it is a dog that reacts well to being part of a family group. Unlike some other breeds that will only respond well to one master, these highly sociable dogs will happily interact with the different members of your family, playing rough with teenagers, and instinctively knowing to be gentle around the very young or elderly.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is highly protective and will bark at anything that seems out of place, making them a capable guard dog as well as a loving member of the family.

5. Pug

Pug
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Originally imported to Europe from China in the 16th century, the pug is considered to be one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, with a history that traces back to at least 700 BC and the time of Confucius.

A dignified and intelligent dog, pugs have an incredible ability to communicate. From their body language, the use of their wrinkled nose and the wide variety of sounds they can make, pugs are experts when it comes to telling their owners what they want.

Although not overly active, pugs have an excellent temperament for children, and despite their size, thanks to their rugged solid build, they are far from fragile. Combined with a quiet and affectionate nature, they make for great indoor family dogs.  

6. Pomeranians

Pomeranians
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A member of the Spitz family, Pomeranians originate from central Europe. A playful and friendly little dog they love to be around their owners and can be quite protective of them. The breed is known for its intelligence, and they respond well to training. 

They can make for good family pets but can become impatient with small children if they poke and prod them, and they have been known to be snappy with toddlers.

Pomeranians are quite sensitive to changes in their environment and can be noisy if allowed to bark unchecked.

7. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
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Yorkshire Terriers, or ‘Yorkies’, are small dogs with huge personalities. Currently one of the most popular breeds in the US, Yorkshire Terriers are active and loyal dogs that will be as comfortable curled up with you on the sofa as they are out on a long walk.

Lively and intelligent they can make for ideal house dogs. But, as they can have a short fuse, Yorkies may not be the best choice of small dog for a family with young children.

8. Chihuahua

Chihuahua
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One of the smallest dogs on our list, Chihuahuas are happy, spirited, and intelligent little dogs that love their family. Ideal apartment dogs, Chihuahuas don’t need a lot of exercise and are generally content, provided they get to spend plenty of time with their owners.

Despite their pint-size, Chihuahua’s have good guard dog instincts and will alert their family by barking whenever anybody new approaches the door or unexpectedly enters the home.  

See: Indestructible dog toys – Our top picks

9. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
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Initially bred during the mid-19th century in and around Boston, Massachusetts, these friendly and lively dogs have an excellent disposition and a high degree of intelligence.

Generally a quiet dog, the Boston will only bark when necessary. Even-tempered and affectionate, they are not outside dogs, preferring instead to be welcomed into the house as a member of the family.

Boston Terriers are easy to train, and unlike many other terriers, they are not highly strung balls of energy, but rather have a go-with-the-flow temperament of a bulldog. They are great with other pets and provide they are not poked and prodded too much they will play well with kids.  

10. Maltese

Maltese
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The Maltese is one of the most playful and energetic small dogs on our list. A highly intelligent breed, they are generally easy to train and can make excellent agility and obedience dogs.

Despite their bundles of energy, Maltese are most suited as an indoor pet. They are happy to take a walk or chase toys in the yard, but they like their comfort and love nothing more than curly up on the sofa with their owners.

Due to their long full coat, Maltese do require regular grooming, including a daily brush and clipping at least once every eight weeks.   

11. Pekingese

Pekingese
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Once the favourite lapdogs of Chinese Emperors, the Pekingese is an alert and inquisitive breed that is fiercely loyal to its owners.

Seemingly snobbish in nature, they don’t tend to make the best family pets as they have a low tolerance for small children and have been known to bite when they feel threatened.

Pekingese can also be challenging to train and will bark at the slightest sound, which, if you live in an apartment may upset your neighbours.

12. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
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Another once favoured breed of Chinese Emperors, the Shih Tzu is an active and intelligent dog that is thought to have originated in Tibet during the Manchu Dynasty.

Affectionate and intelligent, Shih Tzus love children and usually get on well with other household pets. While quite active little dogs, they are generally happy to stay home and play and prefer only short outdoor walks making them a perfect breed for apartment living. 

13. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher
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Originally from Germany, the Miniature Pinscher bears an uncanny resemblance to the much larger Doberman Pinscher. Yet despite their looks, to two breeds are in no way related.

Best suited to an active family that enjoys the outdoors, the Miniature Pinscher is a lively, alert and courageous breed that needs almost constant mental stimulation and a fair amount of daily exercise. They are known to get on well with other pets in their household and provided they don’t play too rough, enjoy spending time with children.

14. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terrier
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The Australian Silky Terrier is a small elegant dog with a smooth, silky coat. Bred originally to catch rodents, these active little dogs are always happy to play. They love human interaction and can make a wonderful pet for an active family.

Often described as a large dog trapped in a small dog’s body, Silky Terriers are full of bravado and have strong guarding instincts. While quite loyal and trainable, they do have a defiant streak and a reputation for constant barking. 


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