Most Popular 10 Best Small Dog Breeds In United State

Small dog breeds have been bred for their compact, manageable size. In some cases, their petite size benefitted their working or hunting ability, while in other cases, they were simply desirable as lap dogs and all-around endearing little companions. Small dogs are generally easy to transport, and they typically have lower food and medication costs than large breeds. Plus, many small dog breeds do well in homes with limited space.👇

Here are 10 of the best small dogs breeds to keep as pets.

Breed Characteristics

In general, dogs that weigh around 20 pounds or less are considered small. Some small breeds are very compact and low to the ground, while others can be relatively tall and lanky. Not all small dog breeds love being lap dogs, and many have more energy than some of their large canine counterparts. So, if you're looking for a breed that can adapt to life in a small home, make sure to select one that’s known for its calm demeanor.

Yorkshire Terrier

Many Yorkshire terriers love to sit on their owners' laps and are fine with being carried. But they're not a wimpy dog. Yorkies make up for their small stature with huge personalities.

They can be excellent watchdogs, vocally announcing any movement around the house. Still, they are first and foremost affectionate companions and don't need much space to get adequate exercise.

Characteristics of the Yorkshire Terrier

Despite their diminutive size, most Yorkies have a big personality. They generally have an affectionate yet feisty temperament. They love to snuggle, but they also can be very active, playful, and vigilant.

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessHigh
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyMedium
Exercise NeedsMedium
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelHigh
TrainabilityMedium
IntelligenceMedium
Tendency to BarkHigh
Amount of SheddingLow

History of the Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terriers can be traced back to the migration of weavers from Scotland to Yorkshire, England, in the mid-19th century. These people brought a variety of terriers with them, which they used to control rodents in textile mills. They preferred a small terrier that could squeeze into tight spaces after the rodents. And several breeds, including the Skye terrier and Dandie Dinmont, went into creating the little Yorkie.

In 1886, the Kennel Club of England recognized the breed. And this changed its reputation from primarily being a working-class exterminator to a fashionable companion. Breeders also further decreased its size, so it could better serve its purpose as a lapdog.

Yorkies also made their way to the United States in the late 1800s. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885, and it’s been quite a popular dog throughout U.S. history. President Richard Nixon’s family even had a Yorkie that resided in the White House.

Overviews

Height : 7 to 8 inches

Weight : Up to 7 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Compact body; silky coat; colors include black and tan, blue and tan, and more

Dachshund

The dachshund has many nicknames: doxie, wiener dog, sausage dog, hot dog, and more. Of course, these names mostly relate to the breed's distinct appearance. Dachshunds come in standard or miniature size, the latter being ideal for the small-dog enthusiast. They're sweet and affectionate with their families but can be wary of strangers.

The dachshund is an energetic, lovable small dog breed from Germany with an endearing personality and is known for its varied coat texture and color, short legs, floppy ears, and big chest. It's affectionately called a doxie, wiener dog, hotdog, or sausage dog, and this cute pint-size breed definitely leaves a lasting impression. The dachshund is bred as standard or miniature size, but the traits of this breed are similar for both.

Characteristics of the Dachshund

The dachshund can be a loving companion, lapdog, and even a family dog. Despite its size, the dachshund tends to be quite protective and alert, so the breed can also make an excellent watchdog.

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessMedium
Kid-FriendlyLow
Pet-FriendlyLow
Exercise NeedsMedium
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelMedium
TrainabilityMedium
IntelligenceMedium
Tendency to BarkHigh
Amount of SheddingMedium

History of the Dachshund

The dachshund originated in Germany as a hunting dog. Though its origins can be traced as far back as the 15th century, the breed's development really began in 17th century Germany.

Called dachshunds, which translates as "badger dogs," these short hounds did just that—they hunted badgers. Their stature, determination, and independence were ideal for digging, entering tunnels, and of course, fighting badgers. Their flap-down ears help keep dirt and debris out when burrowing.

Further development of the breed created two sizes. Historically, the standard size continued to hunt badgers as well as wild boar, while the miniatures pursued hare and foxes. There's also a middle-size dachshund in Germany.

Dachshunds were brought to the U.S. as early as 1885 when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but increased in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. To prevent them from being ostracized during World War II, they were temporarily called badger dogs in the U.S. They remain extremely popular dogs to this day.

Dachshund races, known as "wiener races," are popular in some places for amusement. However, these are opposed by the Dachshund Club of America out of concerns over whether racing might injure the dogs.

Dachshund Care

Doxies are tenacious, which was good in hunting dogs, but they might annoy you with this trait at home. Dachshunds have a high prey drive, so they may not be a good match for a household that includes pet rodents or other small animals.

They usually get along well with other dachshunds but tend to want to be the top dog in a multi-pet household. The propensity to dig may result in damage to your potted plants and yard. Keep that in mind and provide alternative activities for your pet.

Overviews

Height : 5 to 9 inches

Weight : Up to 32 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Low, long body; short legs; colors include chocolate, black, red, and more

Poodle

Poodles come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. Standards are fairly large, while miniatures and toys fall into the small-dog category. The smaller poodles are known for their longevity, along with their intelligence and trademark curly coats.

They can be loving companions but need activity to keep them entertained. Fortunately, the smaller poodles don't need that much space to get their energy out. The poodle is an extremely smart, energetic, and friendly member of the non-sporting group that originated in Germany and is known for its curly coat and three size varieties: toy, miniature, and standard.

All sizes are considered to be the same dog breed and, as such, are held to the same breed standards. Under the poodle's frilly, low-shedding coat is a powerful athlete and an overall wonderful companion. These dogs typically get along with people very well and can be trained in a variety of tasks, including work as service and therapy dogs.

Characteristics of the Poodle

Poodles tend to have a friendly and outgoing personality. High energy and intelligence also influence their temperament, and they prefer to have an active lifestyle. They generally are good around kids and even open to meeting strangers.

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessHigh
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyMedium
Exercise NeedsHigh
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelHigh
TrainabilityHigh
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkMedium
Amount of SheddingLow

History of the Poodle

Despite being associated with France, poodles can actually trace their origin back to Germany. Going back more than 400 years, Germany had a dog that resembles today’s poodle—a retriever that was skilled in the water. In fact, the breed’s name comes from the German word for puddle.

The standard poodle is the oldest form of the breed. Hunters used this dog to retrieve waterfowl as well as to be a loving and loyal companion. They gave the poodle its trademark haircut, shaving parts for better range of motion but keeping the hair long around the chest and joints for protection and insulation.

In the early 20th century, the breed was downsized to the toy poodle and then the miniature, as more people wanted the poodle as a companion and not for hunting. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1887, and it is still one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. today.

Poodle Care

Poodles require ample daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. They also need consistent training and are typically adept at picking up new skills. Plus, their curly coat needs a fair amount of grooming attention.

Exercise

All sizes of poodle have a high energy level, along with high mental stimulation needs. They need at least an hour of exercise per day. Brisk walks, jogging, hiking, and swimming all are great options to give them exercise. And as retrievers, they love a game of fetch. Plus, they excel in dog sports, such as agility, which also can challenge them mentally. In addition, classes for service dogs, therapy dogs, and similar activities are a great way to challenge them mentally and physically. 

Grooming

The coarse, curly, low-shedding, single-layer coat of a poodle grows continuously. It needs regular haircuts to keep it looking its best. Most owners keep the coat short for easier maintenance. You can either learn how to trim it at home or take your poodle to a groomer roughly every four to six weeks.

Regular brushing also is essential, as the hair is retained in the coat rather than being shed. This can lead to matting if you don’t brush your poodle fully to the skin. It’s best to brush at least two to three times per week, and some owners do so daily.

Baths and nail trims will be required about every four to six weeks. Also, check your dog’s ears at least weekly to see whether they need cleaning or have any abnormalities. Finally, aim to brush your dog's teeth every day.

Diet and Nutrition

Always have fresh water available for your poodle. Most owners feed two measured meals per day of a quality, nutritionally balanced canine diet. Discuss the type of food and the quantity with your vet, as this can vary depending on age, activity level, and other factors. Make sure to factor treats and other extra food intake into your dog’s daily diet to prevent overeating.

Overviews

Height : Miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: up to 10 inches

Weight : Miniature: 10 to 15 pounds, toy: 4 to 6 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Curly, dense coat; colors include white, apricot, black, brown, and more

Shih Tzu


The Shih Tzu is basically the poster child for lap dogs, which is no surprise as the breed originated strictly as a companion. These dogs sport long, silky hair, though many owners trim the coat short for easier maintenance. They tend to be fairly hardy with an alert, confident disposition.

When properly trained and cared for, Shih Tzus can make wonderful companions. Its petite size makes this breed ideal for apartments and small living spaces. Just be prepared for some snorting and snoring; The Shih Tzu is considered a brachycephalic breed because of its head shape and short, "smooshed" face. Overall, most owners of the breed will tell you that the Shih Tzu is truly a lovable dog breed.

Characteristics of the Shih Tzu

Beloved for their charming and lovable temperament, Shih Tzus adore attention and will need lots of it, loving nothing more than hanging out with (and sitting on) their humans. They warm up to strangers quickly and will do well in homes and families large and small.

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessHigh
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyHigh
Exercise NeedsLow
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelMedium
TrainabilityMedium
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkMedium
Amount of SheddingLow

History of the Shih Tzu

The name Shih Tzu originates from the Chinese word for "lion" because of the breed's lion-like appearance. Evidence of the Shih Tzu 's ancestors can be traced back to ancient breeds, particularly in Tibet. DNA analysis shows the Shih Tzu, like the Lhasa apso, is a more direct branch from the wolf than many other dog breeds.

The exact origins of the Shih Tzu as a Chinese royal house pet are hazy, with different dates offered over the past 1,100 years. The breed became known as a noble dog of China, primarily as a royal house pet to members of the Ming Dynasty from the 14th to 17th century. They were also favorites of the Empress T'zu Hsi in the late 1800s.

The Shih Tzu has always been a house pet and lap dog and has never been bred for any other known purposes. This differentiates the breed from the Lhasa apso, which served as temple guards. Perhaps this is why the Shih Tzu remains, to this day, one of the most pampered and popular of the toy dog breeds.

Historically, Chinese royals didn't allow the dog to be traded outside of the nobility. It wasn't until 1930 that the first Shih Tzus were imported into Europe. They then arrived in the U.S. after World War II and were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1969.

Shih Tzu Care

Due to their petite size and high intelligence, Shih Tzu dogs are relatively easy to train and care for. By keeping just a few important care requirements top of mind, you can ensure a happy and healthy dog for years to come.

Exercise

The Shih Tzu has a moderate energy level and needs routine exercise. Daily walks and fun activities like games can help keep your Shih Tzu mentally and physically stimulated. They adapt very well to apartment living as long as you give them enough time for active play. However, Shih Tzus will not do well in overwhelmingly hot environments or weather, due to their flat faces and propensity towards heat exhaustion.

Grooming

The Shih Tzu's coat grows continuously with very minimal shedding, leading the majority of people to consider them a hypoallergenic dog breed. The loose hairs are more likely to be retained in the coat rather than the air—however, be aware that the allergens remain in dander and saliva, so there will still be some present in the environment around the dog. If you're sensitive, it's wise to spend time with a Shih Tzu to see if this breed provokes your allergies before adopting one.

Many owners choose to keep their dog's hair trimmed short, making it appear somewhat curly and fluffy. Others opt to keep the coat long and luxurious. Because of their coat type, routine grooming is an absolute necessity for the Shih Tzu. They should be brushed once or twice a week (up to once daily if the coat is kept long) and haircuts may be necessary every several weeks. When their facial hair isn't trimmed, it can irritate their eyes—this is why you may see some Shih Tzus adorned with a topknot or a bow.

The dog's nails should be trimmed about once a month, and you'll need to help your dog with oral hygiene by brushing its teeth regularly.

Training

Proper training and socialization are important in order to keep your Shih Tzu happy and well-adjusted. Don't skip these practices just because the Shih Tzu is a small dog. The breed is relatively smart but also has a bit of a stubborn streak.

Shih Tzus can be difficult to housebreak, so you'll need to be diligent in training your dog beginning at a young age. They can be also trained to use a litter box indoors—be aware, however, that they tend to eat their own (and other dogs') feces, so you will need to keep your dog's area clean.

This breed gets along well in a multi-pet household with other friendly dogs and cats, especially if they're raised together. Shih Tzus are great with children as long as the child is old enough to handle a dog gently and respectfully. As a small dog, the Shih Tzu can be easily injured by rough play.

Common Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in Shih Tzus. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

Diet and Nutrition

As a small dog, a Shih Tzu needs only up to 1 cup of dry dog food per day. The exact amount depends on the dog's age, activity level, size, and health factors. It's important to monitor your dog's weight and take action if you see the dog is becoming overweight. Discuss the appropriate nutritional strategy with your veterinarian to get recommendations.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Shih Tzu

Anytime you're looking to adopt or buy a dog, there is a variety of price factors you need to consider, such as the cost of the puppy, supplies, and veterinary bills. On average, Shih Tzu dogs can cost around $850 and up to $1600. It's important to find a reputable breeder or adoption agency, which you can do through the following Shih Tzu organizations:

Breeds Overview
Height : 9 to 11 inches
WEIGHT: 9 to 16 pounds
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long double coat; colors include black, blue, silver, white, and more

Miniature Schnauzer


The miniature schnauzer is a spunky little dog with a friendly but tough personality. Easily recognized by its signature bearded haircut, this terrier has a strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness toward its family. It's also known to be a vocal breed and needs a solid foundation of training. Still, with daily walks and playtime, it's suitable for a small home.

Characteristics of the Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers typically have a bright and vigilant temperament. They tend to be quite vocal and make for good watchdogs. They also generally have very affectionate personalities and enjoy playtime.

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessMedium
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyMedium
Exercise NeedsMedium
PlayfulnessMedium
Energy LevelMedium
TrainabilityHigh
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to BarkHigh
Amount of SheddingLow

History of the Miniature Schnauzer

The standard schnauzer can trace its roots back to the 15th century in Germany. They were sturdy working dogs on farms that were used to protect property, assist in herding livestock, exterminate vermin, and more. The giant schnauzer spun off this breed for these tasks as well.

Breeds Overview

HEIGHT: 12 to 14 inches

WEIGHT: 11 to 20 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Bushy beard and eyebrows; colors include black, silver, and more.