Smallest Dog Breeds: Explore the List

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Small dogs are great. They’re small enough to be carried around, and a lot of the time, they have a ton of personality that comes with them. In the past, they’ve had useful jobs and have helped people through the ages. If you’re looking to get a new pooch, sometimes only a small dog will do. Have you ever seen the smallest dog breeds, though?

There are small dogs, and then there are the smallest dogs. You might not think they can get much smaller than a terrier, but you’d be surprised.

Check out the smallest dog breeds in the world here.

Why Did People Breed Small Dogs?

It’s believed that small dogs were only originally bred for companionship. However, some small dog breeds had jobs that they helped people with. It’s hard to imagine some breeds working, though, since, for the most part, small breeds are purely lap dogs these days.

The Original Small Dog Job: The Idol

The first job that small dogs held (that we know of) was to be an idol of sorts. The Aztecs bred Chihuahuas for worship purposes, as did the Egyptians who bred Maltese for the same purpose.


Many small dogs, like terriers, were specifically bred to hunt and eliminate vermin such as rats. These dogs would dig out and eliminate any prey that they were bred to hunt. Oftentimes, they’d hunt animals that were much larger than themselves. Small dogs are excellent hunters.


Have you ever noticed that small dogs tend to be vocal? That’s because they were bred to be watchdogs and alert owners of the house that a visitor had arrived. This has been passed down from generation to generation and is seemingly ingrained in their temperament.

Scent and Sight Hounds

Keeping the pack mentality, small dogs used to work as tracking dogs, looking for a specific game for their owners. Dachshunds were originally used for hunting badgers, and Italian Greyhounds hunted rabbits in packs.


Whether they were warming hands or laps, many small dogs were bred for companionship and keeping their owners cozy. As such, they had long coats and warm bodies and were kept in laps and sleeves. While we don’t keep them in sleeves anymore, many small dogs have maintained their positions in our laps.

Show Dogs

Many small breeds have been specifically bred for show since their inception. Breeds like the Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog were bred specifically to compete in dog shows. They also make excellent companions, though.

Why Do People Like Small Dogs?

There are a number of advantages to owning a small dog and a host of reasons that people love them as much as they do.

Here are some of the top reasons that people love small dog breeds:

  • Small dogs have big personalities! What they lack in size, they make up for in the way that they’ll interact with you and others.
  • They’re natural-born companions since most of them were bred for that reason, to begin with. They love giving their owners plenty of affection.
  • The smaller the dog, the more portable they are, meaning that they can travel with you anywhere you go with ease!
  • Small pups need less exercise. Of course, they still need exercise, but since they’re smaller, they don’t require as much of it to be fulfilled.
  • If you’re living in an apartment, a small dog can make your life much easier than living in an apartment with a big dog. They require less space for just about everything.
  • Grooming a small dog is less intense than grooming a larger dog. For the most part, you can even do it in the kitchen sink.

The Smallest Dog Breeds in the World!

There’s a big difference between small dog breeds and the smallest dog breeds.

Check out these super tiny dogs:

The Chihuahua

One of the most popular small dogs also happens to be one of the smallest dog breeds in the world! They’ve been around for centuries, and they’re very tiny. They have regal personalities and come in short coats or long coats, depending on what you like.

On average, Chihuahuas are only six to eight inches tall at the shoulder and only weigh four to six pounds. The smallest dog in history was a Chihuahua called Miracle Milly. She stood 3.8 inches tall and only weighed about a pound.

Chihuahuas are incredibly loyal dogs and can be a bit overprotective. This can be corrected with training and socialization, though. They’re known for being vocal, too. However, they know when to be quiet most of the time. If you’re looking for an affectionate small dog to bring into your home, consider adopting a Chihuahua or Chihuahua mix.

Due to their portrayal in the media, both on the big screen and the silver screen, Chihuahuas are one of the dogs most likely to end up in animal shelters. So, if you’re looking for a big personality in a tiny package, a shelter is a great place to find your new (tiny) best friend.

The Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, also known as Yorkies, are fantastic small dogs. Every breed has a breed standard, and the standard for Yorkies says that they can weigh a maximum of seven pounds. On average, they’re only seven to eight inches tall, too.

Despite being so small, they still keep many of the terrier traits that they’re so aptly named for. Yorkshire Terriers are fearless and very feisty. They love to play and get rowdy. They aren’t just rambunctious, though. These dogs make excellent companions and therapy dogs due to their loving nature.

There are some Yorkies bred to be smaller than the standard breed, and they’re called Teacup Yorkies. They are much smaller than a standard Yorkshire Terrier, only standing five to seven inches tall and weighing two to four pounds. These guys are especially tiny.

The Pomeranian

You may not think of a Pomeranian as being one of the smallest dogs in the world, probably because of their fur. The way it stands up makes them seem so much larger than they actually are. The personality of a Pomeranian probably does that, as well. What’s interesting is that Pomeranians used to be much bigger than they are today, weighing up to 30 pounds.

These days, though, Pomeranians are normally four to six pounds in weight and anywhere from five to eight inches tall at the shoulder. Breeding has made a big difference in the size of these pups. They were originally medium-sized dogs but have since become small companion dogs.

As with any companion dog, you can expect a Pomeranian to be loyal, loving, and the center of attention. They’re easily exercised, and don’t mind living in the big city, either! Indoor play or short walks are perfect for Pomeranians.

The Pekingese

If you’re looking for a small dog that’s an excellent watchdog to this day, you’d be interested in finding a Pekingese. These pups create strong bonds with their pack but tend to be wary of strangers. Most of the time, they’ll bark at anyone they don’t know when they’re in the house, making them a great alarm.

Pekingese are also called lion dogs, thanks to their appearance. This can also apply to their personality, though. They’re extremely intelligent and can be stubborn sometimes. However, with consistent training,  they can be taught a number of commands with ease.

These dogs are very small in height, only reaching six to nine inches on average. However, they have a long body making them heavier than some of the other breeds on this list. They’ll often weigh anywhere from seven to 14 pounds. 

The Maltese

One of the longest-running dog breeds is the Maltese. Not a whole lot is known about their origin, however. It’s hard to track down where they originated exactly, though some speculate Malta as their source. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans have written about the Maltese, though.

Maltese reach an average height of eight to 10 inches and weigh anywhere from five to seven pounds. They have a very long coat, and many fashionable haircuts for them have come and gone through the years. Many people love giving them a show cut, a puppy cut, or a teddy bear clip.

These pups are known for being avid watchdogs as well as lap dogs. They love to be the center of attention and like to know that they’re protecting their family. Overall though, these pups are friendly once they’ve warmed up.

Small Breeds in the Big City

Most of the time, people recommend small breeds in the big city. However, it’s important to remember that these pups still need to be taken out and about, just like larger dogs. They also need to be trained and socialized to prevent any problems with neighbors. If you’re looking for a dog that will want you to pamper them and then give you affection in return, any of these small breeds will fit the bill!


The Original Jobs of Small Dogs | Dogster
Top Ten Reasons why People love Small Dogs | All the Small Dog Breeds
The 25 Smallest Dog Breeds | American Kennel Club 
Animal shelters see waves of Chihuahuas, pit bulls | LA Times