Resource Center Puppy Breeds Looking for a Small Dog? Here’s what You Need to Know About Small Breeds

Looking for a Small Dog? Here’s what You Need to Know About Small Breeds

Theresa is a tenured PuppySpot employee and breed expert. She is currently the manager of our Profile Approval department and interacts with our breeders on a daily basis. Theresa has been involved in the pet industry for over 19 years and has hands on experience with many dog breeds. Theresa is also the proud owner of Marta, a German Shepherd Dog who is a trained service dog, and a 12-year-old Maltese named Colonel!

Most small dogs were bred to be companion dogs and many small breeds don’t require as much physical activity as larger dogs. They are also typically easier to travel with since they can be transported in a pet carrier and can fit under an airplane seat. Small dogs also tend to be easier for seniors to care for. These qualities make them an ideal choice for many.

Many small dogs are part of the toy group, which includes 23 breeds and is one of 7 breed groups classified by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Breeds in the toy group were bred to be companions to humans.

Also note that breeds like Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Maltese, Pomeranians, and Toy Poodles are more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) as a puppy during their first few weeks when transitioning into a new environment. This is usually brought on by stress and not eating enough. For the first few weeks it is recommended to provide them with a Nutri-Cal supplement to help in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and make sure they are eating enough throughout the day to prevent hypoglycemic shock.

With so many small dogs to choose from, which is the best breed for you? At PuppySpot, we specialize in connecting you with the perfect puppy so read on to learn all about small dog breeds and for our picks:

  • Most popular small dogs

  • Low-shedding/allergy-friendly small dogs

  • Small apartment dogs

  • Low maintenance small dogs

  • Best small dogs for families and kids

  • Smart small dogs

  • Fluffy, white small dogs

Why Not to Get a Small Dog

  • If you’re looking for an active dog - If you lead a very active lifestyle and hope your dog can join you in activities such as hiking or running, a small dog is often not the best choice since smaller dogs tend to have less endurance and stamina.

  • If you have small children - Some small dogs aren’t ideal for children because they need gentle care when they are puppies. Small breeds can only manage limited playtime when they are young, need to be picked up carefully, and can be easily carried (and therefore dropped).

  • If you live in close proximity to neighbors - While a small dog might seem like the perfect apartment dog (and many are!), some small dogs tend to be more vocal and are better when not in such close proximity to neighbors.

  • If you’re not up for a lot of socialization - If you don’t have time to socialize and train your dog, a small dog isn’t the best choice as they are more likely to develop what is referred to as "small dog syndrome". This leads to behavioral issues like fear biting and aggression, making them a liability to be around other people and pets.

  • If you have limited time - When a smaller breed is a puppy, they're going to require more attention than a larger breed because they need to eat more often than larger dogs (as they have very small stomachs and can’t eat much at a time!). They are more prone to hypoglycemic shock if their blood sugar drops too low. Many need near-constant supervision when very young since they are so small and can more easily get into things they shouldn’t.

Small Dog Breeds

Below are some small breed dogs to consider for your next family addition:

french bulldog

French bulldog

  • Moderate energy, need to go on long walks

  • Trainable and adaptable

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Good family dogs

  • Smart

  • Sweet and affectionate

  • Don’t do well in high heat

  • Need extra care when young

Browse available French Bulldog puppies for sale


Poodle (toy/miniature)

  • Available in standard (over 15 inches high), toy (under 10 inches high), and miniature (11-15 inches high) sizes

  • Low-shedding and allergy-friendly

  • Good family dogs

  • Smart and capable

Browse available Poodle puppies for sale


  • Kid-friendly

  • Good family dogs

  • Smart and affectionate

  • High energy

  • Don’t do well when alone a lot and are prone to separation anxiety

Browse available Beagle puppies for sale


  • Good family dogs

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Smart and affectionate

  • Can be stubborn and mischievous

  • Need training and socialization

Browse available Dachshund puppies for sale

Shih Tzu

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Allergy-friendly dogs

  • Affectionate and become attached to their owners

  • Quiet but playful

  • Weigh between 10 and 15 pounds

Browse available Shih Tzu puppies for sale

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Good family dogs

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Bred to be lap dogs

  • Friendly and affectionate

  • Get along well with children and other dogs

  • Require a lot of attention and supervision

  • Don’t do well when alone a lot and are prone to separation anxiety

Browse available Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies for sale


  • The smallest breed, weighing up to 6 pounds

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Smart and energetic

  • Grow attached to a single person and can be suspicious of strangers

  • Can be snippy with children and may not be well-suited to a home with small children

  • Can be prone to injury due to their small size

Browse available Chihuahua puppies for sale

Yorkshire Terrier

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Can be bossy and feisty

  • Smart and stubborn

Browse available Yorkshire Terriers for sale


  • Good apartment dogs

  • A lap dog that enjoys long walks

  • Smart and agile

  • Double coat needs a lot of brushing

  • Barks a lot and can be hard to housetrain

  • Can be prone to separation anxiety

  • High metabolism and need frequent feeding

  • Have delicate bones and need gentle handling

Browse available Pomeranian puppies for sale


  • The largest breed in the toy group, weighing up to 18 pounds

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Bred as companion dogs

  • Good family dogs

  • Cheerful

Browse available Pug puppies or sale


  • Good apartment dogs

  • Independent but like being near people

  • Big personalities

  • Affectionate

  • Low activity levels

Browse available Pekingese puppies for sale


  • Low-shedding and allergy-friendly

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Mix between a Cavalier Charles Spaniel and a Poodle

  • Smart and energetic

  • Get along with everyone and make great companions

Browse available Cavapoo puppies for sale

Jack Russell Terrier

  • Good family dogs

  • Kid-friendly

  • Intelligent and quick learners

  • Devoted and affectionate

  • Active and alert

Browse available Jack Rullsell Terrier puppies for sale


  • Good apartment dogs

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Smart and affectionate and loyal

  • Easy to train

  • Fine, silk coat that needs frequent grooming and brushing

Browse available Maltese puppies for sale

Biewer Terrier

  • Pronounced “bee-vah”

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Good for apartments

  • Quick learner and clever

  • Loyal companion

  • Loves to play and spend time with people

Browse available Biewer Terrier puppies for sale


  • Good apartment dogs

  • Good family dogs

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Sweet and charming

  • Crave human attention

  • Smart and easy to train

  • Need frequent grooming

  • Well-mannered

Browse available Havanese puppies for sale

Bichon Frise

  • Good family dogs

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Love attention and learning and performing tricks

  • Loyal lap dogs

  • Playful and affectionate

  • Great with children

  • Weigh between 12 and 18 pounds

Browse available Bichon Frise puppies for sale

Boston Terrier

  • Good family dogs

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Kid-friendly

  • Smart and fun-loving

  • Prefer human company but great at entertaining themselves

  • Easy to care for

Browse available Boston Terrier puppies for sale

Miniature Schnauzer

  • Allergy-friendly

  • Thrive on human companionship

  • Smart and easy to train

  • Energetic and loving

Browse available Miniature Schnauzer puppies for sale

Coton de Tulear

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Good apartment dogs

  • Good family dogs

  • Good with children and other pets

  • Adaptable and low exercise requirements

Browse available Coton de Tulear puppies for sale

West Highland Terrier

  • Allergy-friendly and low-shedding

  • Good family dogs

  • Good with kids

  • Smart and independent

  • Not a typical lap dog, but happy and active companions

  • Independent and loyal

Browse available West Highland Terrier puppies for sale

Popular Small Dogs

Some of the most popular small dogs are:

Here at PuppySpot, the small breeds our customers ask for most are:

Small Dogs That Are Low-Shedding/Allergy-Friendly

Breeds with nearly undetectable dander and shedding include:

Other breeds that are considered allergy-friendly because they produce minimal dander and shedding include:

Small Apartment Dogs

Most small breeds are good apartment dogs. The exceptions are dogs that tend to be vocal, such as:

Low Maintenance Small Dogs

These breeds are low maintenance because they don’t have substantial grooming or high activity needs:

Best Small Dogs for Families and Kids

If you have young children, you may want a dog that is easy-going and tolerant of noise and activity, as well as a dog that is gentle and doesn’t have protective instincts towards select family members. Small dog breeds that are patient, affectionate and gentle include:

Small dog breeds that may need additional training or supervision around young children include:

Smart Small Dogs

There are pros and cons to owning a smart dog. Read more on that and our top smart dog breed list here. Dogs that are both small and smart include:

Small White, Fluffy Dogs

Looking for a small, white, fluffy dog? I can’t blame you as they are adorable! Check out these breeds:

Miniature Schnauzers and West Highland White Terriers come in white too but have more of a wiry type coat. 

No matter what small dog you choose, you’ll be bringing joy and companionship into your life. Let us help you find the perfect puppy from our exclusive network of breeder partners that meet our exacting standards of canine welfare and deliver them right to you!

Are you looking for a puppy?

Search our amazing inventory today and take home the puppy of your dreams!

Search Puppies