Top 10 Small Dog Breeds – Cute Dogs That You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off

Best Little Dogs

Small dog breeds can make excellent companions, especially for those living in apartments or homes with limited space. However, choosing the right breed can be a daunting task given the wide range of options available. As mentioned, the personality, coat type, and energy level of small dog breeds can vary greatly, making it important to do your research before committing to a furry friend.

Some small dog breeds, like the Chihuahua and the Yorkshire Terrier, are known for their bold and outgoing personalities. These breeds are often fiercely loyal and make great watchdogs. On the other hand, breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Bichon Frise tend to be more laidback and affectionate, making them excellent lap dogs.

When it comes to coat type, the variety among small dog breeds is endless. Breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier and the Beagle have short, smooth coats that require minimal grooming. Meanwhile, breeds like the Shih Tzu and the Maltese have long, flowing coats that require regular brushing and trimming to keep them looking their best. There are also breeds like the Poodle and the Bichon Frise that have curly, hypoallergenic coats that shed very little.

Finally, small dog breeds can vary in their energy levels, with some breeds requiring more exercise than others. For example, breeds like the Dachshund and the Pomeranian may only need short walks or indoor playtime to stay healthy and happy. Meanwhile, breeds like the Jack Russell Terrier and the Border Terrier may require more rigorous exercise, such as running or hiking.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds

Here is the list of the top 10 small bog breeds:


Dog Breed

Also Known As



Roman Ladies Dog / Maltese Lion Dog


Boston Terrier 

American Gentleman



Wiener or Sausage dog


Shih Tzu 

Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs






Pom Poms





Yorkshire Terrier 

Broken Haired Scotch Terrier



Pudel in German/Caniche in French


Bichon Frise 



1. Maltese (Roman Ladies Dog / Maltese Lion Dog)

With its flowing, snowy-white coat and delicate features, the Maltese is a breed that has charmed people for centuries. While they are small in stature, their personalities are anything but tiny.

Temperament: Despite being affectionate lap dogs, Maltese are active, energetic, and fearless. They were originally bred to hunt rats, and their natural prey drive can make them excel in agility and obedience competitions. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them a breeze to train. Additionally, Maltese love performing tricks and thrive on attention, making them ideal for families with children or anyone looking for a fun-loving companion.

Grooming: The Maltese’s coat requires regular attention to keep it from becoming matted or tangled. Many pet parents prefer to keep their dog’s coat trimmed short for easier maintenance. Since their eyes are prone to tear stains, regular cleaning is necessary to keep them healthy and looking their best.

Exercise: Although they have lots of energy, the Maltese is a small breed that doesn’t require a lot of exercise. Short walks or playtime in the yard or indoors is enough to keep them happy and healthy.

Fun Fact: The Maltese has been associated with royalty throughout history, particularly with women. In the Roman Empire, noblewomen often carried Maltese in the sleeves of their robes or on their laps, earning the breed the nickname “Roman Ladies’ Dog.” Today, they remain a beloved companion to people of all walks of life.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

2. Boston Terrier (American Gentleman)

The Boston Terrier is an all-American dog that has captured hearts worldwide with its distinctive tuxedo-like coat, perky ears, and a charming personality.

Temperament: Boston Terriers are intelligent, lively, and friendly, making them great companions for families with children or elderly people. They are also highly adaptable and can thrive in any living situation, whether it’s a small apartment or a large house with a yard. This breed is known for their love of play and their ability to learn new tricks.

Grooming: The Boston Terrier’s smooth coat is easy to maintain with regular brushing to remove loose hair. However, they may need occasional baths to keep them clean and fresh-smelling. Their distinctive wrinkles require special attention to prevent infections and irritation, so they should be cleaned regularly.

Exercise: Boston Terriers have moderate exercise needs and enjoy short walks, playtime in the yard, or indoor games. They also make excellent companions for people who enjoy jogging or hiking.

Fun Fact: The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds developed in the United States, and it is the first breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). This beloved breed has been a popular pet since the late 19th century and continues to be a favorite among dog lovers today.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

3. Dachshund (Wiener or Sausage dog)

The Dachshund is a breed that stands out with its unique body shape and adorable features. Available in different sizes and colors, they are a popular choice among dog lovers.

Temperament-wise, Dachshunds have a big personality packed into a small body. They are courageous and confident dogs that won’t back down from a challenge. Their history as badger hunters gives them a strong prey drive, making them excellent watchdogs. Dachshunds are also known for being independent and stubborn, which can make training a bit of a challenge.

Grooming requirements vary among the different coat types of Dachshunds. The smooth-coated variety has a short, shiny coat that requires minimal maintenance. The longhaired type needs more frequent brushing to avoid tangles and mats. The wirehaired Dachshund’s coat requires regular trimming and plucking to keep it looking neat.

Dachshunds may not be the most athletic breed, but they still need daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Short walks or playtime in a fenced yard are ideal for this breed. However, it’s important not to over-exert them, as their long backs can be prone to injury.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Dachshunds have had an interesting impact on pop culture. In addition to inspiring the hotdog’s original name, they have also appeared in several movies and TV shows, including as the lovable dog Snoopy’s friend, Spike.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

4. Shih Tzu (Chrysanthemum-Faced Dogs)

The Shih Tzu’s adorable and endearing features have captured the hearts of many people throughout history. This breed’s temperament is incredibly friendly and they are known for their jolly disposition. Shih Tzus make excellent family pets, especially for households with young children. Their ancestors were pampered in royal Chinese palaces, and as such, they are natural lapdogs.

Grooming is an important part of caring for a Shih Tzu, particularly if they have a long flowing coat. Daily brushing is recommended to keep their fur tangle-free and clean, and to maintain the hair in front of their face in a topknot. For those who prefer a shorter coat, less grooming is required. Regardless of coat length, keeping the hair around their eyes trimmed is essential for maintaining their vision.

Shih Tzus do not require much exercise and a brief daily walk or short indoor playtime is perfect for this breed. They are happy to lounge around the house and cuddle with their owners.

Interestingly, Shih Tzus were originally exclusive pets of Chinese emperors and lived behind the walls of the royal kingdoms. It wasn’t until the 1930s that these adorable dogs were introduced to the outside world, becoming popular among dog lovers worldwide.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

5. Pug (Shadows)

The Pug, with its adorable wrinkled face, has become one of the most beloved dog breeds worldwide. Known for their playful and friendly personalities, Pugs make excellent companions for people of all ages.

Temperament: Pugs are known for their affectionate and outgoing nature. They are great with children and enjoy playing with other dogs. Pugs have a fun-loving spirit that makes them easy to train and eager to please. They are also known for being a bit stubborn at times, so patience and consistency in training are essential.

Grooming: The Pug’s short coat is low maintenance and only needs occasional brushing to remove loose hairs. However, their wrinkles require special attention, as they can collect dirt and debris, leading to infections. Therefore, regular cleaning and drying of the facial wrinkles are necessary to maintain their hygiene.

Exercise: Pugs have a low energy level and do not require a lot of exercise. Daily walks or playtime in the backyard are enough to keep them happy and healthy.

Fun Fact: The origin of the Pug’s name is uncertain, but one theory suggests that it may have come from the Latin word “pugnus,” meaning “fist.” This may refer to the Pug’s wrinkled, fist-like face or their tendency to curl up into a ball resembling a fist when they sleep.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

6. Pomeranian (Pom Poms)

The Pomeranian, with its distinctive fox-like appearance and fluffy coat, is a beloved small dog breed that has gained worldwide fame.

Temperament: These dogs are social and affectionate with their owners and get along well with other dogs. Pomeranians are intelligent and curious, always interested in what’s happening around them. They are loyal and protective of their owners, making them great watchdogs. When trained properly, they can learn a wide variety of tricks and commands, which they love to show off.

Grooming: Pomeranians require regular grooming to maintain their fluffy coats, which can shed quite a bit. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting and tangling.

Exercise: Despite their small size, Pomeranians have high energy levels and need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy walks, runs, and playing with their owners, as well as toys to keep them entertained.

Fun Fact: The Pomeranian breed gained popularity when Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom fell in love with one during her travels to Italy. She brought the dog back home with her, and soon after, Pomeranians became the fashionable pet of choice among the British aristocracy.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

7. Chihuahua (Chihuahueño)

The Chihuahua is a tiny dog breed that weighs under 10 pounds, but what they lack in size, they make up for in personality! With their pointy ears, cute round eyes, and sassy attitudes, they are hard to resist. Chihuahuas are extremely loyal and loving towards their pet parents. They are intelligent, brave, and demand respect. In fact, many Chihuahua owners have more than one in their lifetime, as this breed tends to create a deep bond with their humans. 

The grooming needs of Chihuahuas vary depending on their coat type. Longhaired Chihuahuas require frequent brushing to prevent matting, while shorthaired Chihuahuas only need occasional brushing to maintain their coats. It’s essential to clean their eyes often, as they are close to the ground and prone to collecting dirt and debris.

Chihuahuas are small dogs that don’t require a lot of exercise, but they still need to be active to maintain their health. Daily walks or simply following their family around the house can provide them with enough physical activity. One interesting fact about Chihuahuas is that relative to their size, they have the biggest brain of any dog breed, according to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CCSPCA). This makes them highly intelligent dogs that can learn quickly and excel in training.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

8. Yorkshire Terrier (Broken Haired Scotch Terrier)

The Yorkshire Terrier, or “Yorkie,” is a popular and fashionable small dog breed known for its distinctive silky, gray and tan coat. Yorkies have a playful and fearless temperament that is typical of terriers. They are intelligent dogs that are relatively easy to train, and they get along well with other pets. Yorkies also make excellent watchdogs due to their alert and attentive nature. However, they can be possessive of their pet parents and tend to follow them around to avoid being alone.

To maintain their long coat, Yorkies require daily brushing, with the hair around their face trimmed often or styled in a topknot. Alternatively, pet parents may opt for a shorter cut to simplify grooming, although regular brushing is still necessary. Despite their small size, Yorkies are active dogs that enjoy moderate exercise such as accompanying their pet parents on walks, playing outside, or running errands.

It’s important to keep them active and engaged to avoid boredom and destructive behavior. Interestingly, the first therapy dog was a Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky. During World War II, she toured hospitals to offer comfort to injured soldiers and was credited with helping to establish the use of therapy dogs in hospitals. Yorkies continue to be beloved pets and have become increasingly popular due to their adorable appearance and charming personalities.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

9. Poodle (Pudel in German/Caniche in French)

While Poodles are often associated with dog shows, they make fantastic companions and are a great addition to any household. Contrary to popular belief, Poodles come in different sizes, including the Toy and Miniature varieties, and are not exclusively small dogs.

Poodles are known for their intelligence and athleticism, making them highly trainable pets. Both the Toy and Miniature Poodles are clever and sophisticated dogs that can pull off elaborate haircuts, and they excel in sports and other physical activities. However, the Toy Poodle is slightly smaller in size and may prefer a quieter environment, while the Miniature Poodle is more suitable for families with young children.

Despite their curly, thick coat, Poodles are hypoallergenic and hardly shed. However, their coat requires daily brushing and maintenance to prevent matting and tangles. Additionally, Poodles are highly active dogs with a lot of energy, so regular exercise such as long walks, runs, sports, and swimming are necessary to keep them healthy and happy.

Interestingly, the Poodle’s fancy show coat was not solely for aesthetic purposes but had a practical function. Hunters used to train Poodles to retrieve ducks in cold water, and their thick coat kept them warm while allowing them to move freely. Today, Poodles remain a popular breed known for their intelligence, athleticism, and distinctive curly coat.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

10. Bichon Frise (Tenerife)

The Bichon Frise is a beloved dog breed known for its fluffy, white coat and charming demeanor that captures the hearts of many. This breed has a friendly, affectionate, and cheerful temperament, making them excellent family pets. They love to entertain their family and enjoy spending quality time with their pet parents.

Additionally, the Bichon Frise is great with children, adults, and other pets, and they tend to be welcoming towards strangers. Their hypoallergenic coat hardly sheds, but it requires careful attention with daily brushing to prevent matting and tangles. Regular cleaning of their eyes is also necessary to prevent tear stains and skin irritation.

Despite their small size, Bichon Frises have bursts of energy and require regular exercise such as daily walks and playtime to keep them healthy and happy. Interestingly, in the 19th and 20th centuries, these charming dogs were frequently used in street performances and circus acts due to their cute appearance and impressive tricks. Their playful and energetic nature made them popular performers, and they continue to charm people worldwide with their adorable looks and joyful demeanor.

Top 10 Small Dog Breeds - Cute Dogs That You Can't Take Your Eyes Off

Best Small Dog Breeds

The Maltese is a small dog breed that originated on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. This breed is known for its beautiful, long, white silky coat that drapes down to the ground. The Maltese is one of the oldest toy dog breeds and has been a beloved companion for centuries.

Maltese dogs have a friendly, gentle, and affectionate temperament, making them an excellent choice for families with children or seniors looking for a lap dog. They are intelligent, easily trained, and enjoy learning new tricks. Due to their small size, they adapt well to apartment living and do not require extensive exercise, although they enjoy playtime and daily walks.

Grooming is essential for the Maltese breed, as their long coats require daily brushing to prevent tangles and matting. Regular grooming also helps keep the coat clean and free from debris. The Maltese’s eyes are prone to tear staining, so it is essential to keep the area around the eyes clean and dry.

Overall, the Maltese is a charming and elegant breed that makes a loyal and loving companion. Their small size and gentle nature make them a popular choice for those looking for a lap dog or apartment dog.

Popular Small Dog Breeds

There are many popular small dog breeds that make great companions for those looking for a furry friend that doesn’t take up too much space. Here are some of the most popular small dog breeds:

Chihuahua: Known for their spunky and confident personalities, Chihuahuas are often the smallest of all dog breeds, but they make up for it with big personalities.

Pomeranian: These fluffy little dogs are playful, intelligent, and make great pets for families with children.

Shih Tzu: Originally bred as companion dogs for Chinese nobility, Shih Tzus are friendly, affectionate, and known for their luxurious, flowing coats.

Yorkshire Terrier: Also known as Yorkies, these small dogs are energetic, affectionate, and love to be the center of attention.

Dachshund: These unique-looking dogs were originally bred for hunting, but now make great companions for those who appreciate their feisty, independent personalities.

Pug: With their distinctive wrinkled faces and charming personalities, Pugs are a popular breed known for their loyalty and affection.

Boston Terrier: Often referred to as the “American Gentleman,” these dogs have a friendly and loyal disposition and are a great choice for families with children.

French Bulldog: These popular dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to their friendly personalities, adorable looks, and low exercise requirements.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: These sweet-natured dogs are known for their gentle temperament and make great pets for families with children or seniors.

Maltese: With their soft and silky white coats, Maltese dogs are often considered one of the most glamorous small dog breeds. They are intelligent, playful, and love to be the center of attention.

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