13 of the World’s Smallest Dog Breeds
We’re going to be honest here: These pups are irresistibly cute, and resistance is futile. Prepare to “Ooh!” and “Aah!”
Is tiny the same as teacup?
Our list includes small dog breeds weighing approximately six to 14 pounds. While we can’t deny teacup breeds are super cute, these pups usually weigh only four pounds and are not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC states, “This is not an actual size classification and is usually attained through breeding runts. So-called teacup dogs often come with a host of health problems.” These include hypoglycemia, respiratory issues, heart defects, and digestive problems, just to name a few. Plus, they’re so fragile and tiny that you have to be on high alert as a pet parent to prevent injury.
This adorable small dog breed packs a lot of cute attributes into its eight- to 12-pound body. Its trademark black muzzle and whiskers give it a distinguished beard highlighted by big, soulful eyes. While adults and children alike are drawn to the irresistible cuteness, the Brussels griffon isn’t a good choice for the rambunctious nature of younger children, but that doesn’t mean it prefers solitude. Quite the opposite, they tend to stick close to their owner and are not fans of being left alone for long periods of time.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you may be tempted to name this little charming and energetic furbaby after your favorite Wookiee or Ewok. Their tiny ten-pound frame is large and in charge when it comes to playtime. In fact, these pups may have more energy than the small children they live with, making this small dog breed a fun family addition. They’re also friendly with other critters, but because one of their favorite pastimes is chasing and hunting pests, like rodents, it’s not a good idea to have a hamster or gerbil for a roommate. Here are more of the best dog breeds for kids.
Toy fox terrier
What a perfect name for the trifecta of qualities one of the smallest dog breeds holds. If you break it down, there’s toy, meaning the toy group or what the AKC classifies as a breed small enough to fit in your lap (and yes, they love to snuggle). Fox—well, just look at that face! And finally, terrier, meaning this is also a feisty and fearless hunter of small rodents. When it comes to training, they get bored easily (I see a squirrel!), so keep sessions short and sweet.
This German-bred hound’s body resembles a hot dog, but according to Animal Planet, the hot dog is actually mimicking the dog. Hot dogs were originally called Dachshund Sausages! That small, long body and pointy nose were bred for sniffing, hunting, and digging out prey without leaping from high surfaces to capture it. Dogs in this small dog breed are keen to what’s happening outside and will bark when they sense people or a car driving up. Just don’t let them jump down from a high guard post. Their long body and short rib cage make them prone to slipped discs.
These super affectionate small dog breeds aren’t spaniels at all (which are traditionally bred to be gun dogs). In fact, instead of fetching fallen prey, they prefer to pursue love. According to the AKC, spaniel, in this case, refers to epagneul, a term used in the Middle Ages to describe a companion dog and comforter loved by the women of European and Asian courts. As the name suggests, the breed originated in Tibet; the dogs even perched atop the walls of the Tibetan monasteries keeping watch. Nowadays, they’re easy to train and take delight in showing off their tricks and skills. Check out how 11 more popular dog breeds got their names.
Coton de Tulear
Pronounced, “co-TAWN-day too-LEE-are,” the seemingly pretentious French name isn’t really befitting of its true character. These pups don’t need to put on airs to impress; they’re about as easy-going, lovable, affectionate, and comical as you can get. Known for showering kisses, clowning around, and walking on their hind legs, these fluffy white furbabies are outgoing and friendly to family and strangers alike. And if the Coton de Tulear couldn’t be any more perfect, according to the AKC, they rarely develop genetic health issues.
Originally from the island of Malta, this dog is known for its glamorous, long, silky white hair and that famous top knot adorned with clips, ribbons, or bows. The Maltese is definitely the diva of small dog breeds and can be overly dependent on their pet parents, so teaching them to embrace “alone time” early on is essential. When you are with them, you will likely find them on your lap resting or waiting to be groomed; that glamorous look can’t happen without constant brushing. These are the most (and least) expensive dog breeds in the world.
It’s hard to fathom looking at the tiny modern-day Pomeranian now, but according to Animal Planet, its ancestors were much larger and pulled sleds in Scandinavia. It wasn’t until the 19th century that they were bred to shrink to a lapdog size by request of Queen Victoria, who wanted a smaller version. (Sitting on a lap in a castle as opposed to pulling a sled in freezing cold weather probably wasn’t a bad trade-off.) Whether in a castle or with the common folk, these dogs work the room like they are royalty, strutting a massive ball of fluff and flashing that smiling foxy face.
When it has the traditional show cut, the Yorkshire terrier turns heads with its long, glossy, and oh-so-flowy coat. But the long locks are actually hair, not fur, and if that coat is kept long, it will need daily brushing. But this small dog breed doesn’t have to sport the froufrou look; in fact, the shorter cut is probably responsible for the breed being known as the “tomboy terrier,” tenacious, spunky, and curious. They’re well suited for canine sporting activities that showcase their speed, action, and agility traits.