Share on Facebook

15 of the Cutest Lap Dogs

Consider yourself warned: These adorable small dog breeds will make you want to start cuddling immediately.

woman dog lap dogMStudioImages/Getty Images

Sit down: This is about to get cute

We’re sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled life with out-of-this-world-adorable dog pictures, but we’re pretty sure you’ll be thanking us momentarily. There’s no debate that all dogs can make excellent pets, but for homes low on space and generous with cuddles, these small dog breeds are particularly perfect. Read on for recommendations on the best lap-friendly dogs from top animal experts, and prepare your home with the best dog beds for every type of pup for when your lap is otherwise occupied.

ChihuahuasGCShutter/Getty Images

Chihuahua

If you’ve always imagined yourself raising a little spitfire, add a Chihuahua to your list of dogs to consider. “A true lap dog based on its size, Chihuahuas can have very little to a lot of energy but prefer a calmer setting with kids and families,” says DiNardo. “These adaptable dogs love to lay in their owner’s lap more than anything else.”

While these pups may seem too cute to be true, they’re as real as they come, owing their popularity to their affectionate and energetic nature, as well as their small stature. Chihuahuas are typically under six pounds at full maturity, and small enough to tote around in a dog carrier. To make your Chihuahua even happier, pick up some of these pet products with nearly perfect Amazon reviews.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lap dog puppysusanguestphoto/Getty Images

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Good news for those who love gentle pups, because this breed also made our list of dog breeds less likely to bite. “Cavalier King Charles Spaniels have been considered one of the best lap dog breeds since the 17th century,” explains Gina DiNardo, Executive Secretary for the American Kennel Club (AKC). “This easygoing breed is a popular family dog.” And the AKC labels these small-to-medium-size, regal-seeming canines as “affectionate, gentle, and graceful.”

senior woman at home laying playing with maltese dog lap dog miodrag ignjatovic/Getty Images

Maltese

Looking for a petite best friend with the best hair in town? The Maltese just might be the one for you! It ranks among the best small dog breeds for active homes able to strike just the right balance between having fun and curling up on the couch. DiNardo says these dogs are “playful, confident, and loving.” They’re also incredibly loyal, calling anywhere you live and love them their best home. “They are adaptable, dedicated to their owners, and can sometimes serve as good watchdogs,” adds DiNardo.

They’re typically under ten inches tall, weigh less than seven pounds, and love being carried by doting dog moms and dads. If you like taking your BFF everywhere, make sure you don’t forget to buckle up your pup in the car.

Man embracing his french bulldogAnchiy/Getty Images

French Bulldog

DiNardo loves this lap dog for its sturdy, slightly bigger size and vivacious personality. “French Bulldogs are an extra friendly breed and love everyone and everything,” she says. “Although larger than most standard lap dogs, they love cuddling up with their owners.” Their always-positive outlook makes French Bulldogs one of the best small dog breeds, but their photo-worthy faces make them popular with just about everyone. They can weigh up to 28 pounds and will take up a bit more lap real estate, but they’re worth it.

senior woman holding havanesemheim3011/Getty Images

Havanese

“Havanese were originally owned by Cuban families in the 18th century. This is a small, delicate breed that loves being close to its owners and wants nothing more than their attention,” says DiNardo of these typically big-eyed and city-friendly dogs. They’re outgoing, cheerful, ultra-adorable, and eager to hop up in your lap for an afternoon of snuggling and affection. Many owners report Havanese as having a great sense of humor, too, which makes them a strong choice for families with young children, older adults, and just about anyone who might get a kick out of these hysterical dog cartoons.

lap dog cute mixed race kids playing with bichon frise dog at home System images/Getty Images

Bichon Frise

“Bichons originally were bred as lap dogs for European aristocrats,” says DiNardo of this fancy-sounding fluffy canine. “Today, this happy-go-lucky breed serves as a great companion for kids and families and makes nice little watchdogs, too.” Some people mistake them for poodle breeds because they’re coated in allergy-friendly curly white hair, but they’re actually a distinct breed on their own. They typically measure about ten inches tall and live up to 15 years with the same hairstyle Bob Ross sported while painting landscapes on PBS throughout the 1980s. Here are more of the best hypoallergenic dog breeds for people with allergies.

Cute asian little girl with her Shih Tzu dog lap dogSasiistock/Getty Images

Shih Tzu

Their funny-sounding name is often mispronounced out of fear of sounding impolite, but these dogs are among the most popular for warm-and-fuzzy types, thanks to their ability to form heartwarming bonds. “For hundreds of years, Shih Tzus served as lap warmers for Chinese royalty, and they still serve this same purpose today,” says DiNardo, noting that the correct pronunciation rhymes with the latter portion of jiu-jitsu. “They are affectionate toward kids and families and would rather stay on your lap all day than venture outside.”

There’s nothing impolite about this small dog breed. In fact, they’re known to be so easygoing and full of love that they’ll probably even let you dress them in these funny dog costumes when Halloween comes around.

Manchester terrier lap dogDopeyden/Getty Images

Manchester Terrier

While the traditional version of the Manchester Terrier may be slightly bigger than your average small dog breeds, DiNardo says the toy version is absolutely perfect for hands-on pet parents. “Toy Manchester Terriers were bred to be ratters while also possessing hound instincts,” she explains. “Their small size makes them great companion dogs.” This smooth-haired dog is known for loyalty, alertness, and rooting out pests—making them an ideal choice for getting rid of a pesky mouse problem at home.

Are you loving all of these pet pics? Then you absolutely have to see these 50 cutest dog breeds as puppies.

Italian greyhoundclaudiio Doenitz/Getty Images

Italian Greyhound

This beautiful pup is the supermodel of our list of lap dog breeds, thanks in part to a sleek, shiny frame and sculptured facial features. “Italian Greyhounds are sighthounds by nature, but they were bred to be doting companions that are eager to please, and they love to be in their owner’s lap all day,” says DiNardo of their personalities. Italian Greyhounds are miniature Greyhound breeds with typical weights ranging from seven to 14 pounds; they measure between 13 and 15 inches tall. Their instinct for pursuit will make them conversation starters at the dog park.

cute Yorkshire terrier lap dogurbazon/Getty Images

Yorkshire Terrier

Pet behaviorist Wailani Sung, DVM, of Chewy.com, says these teeny-tiny dogs (affectionately called Yorkies for short) make great pets. “Yorkshire Terriers are smart, affectionate, and athletic,” she says. “They can easily be carried in a pet bag or pet sling. They’re especially great with adults, couples, families, and older pet parents.” However, they’re delicate. Their frames are petite, and they weigh just five to seven pounds at full maturity. As a result, she says, you should be careful if you have “smaller children who want to carry them due to risk of dropping and injuring the dog.” Here are some of the best dog breeds for kids.

head of smart papillon dog lap dogjonnysek/Getty Images

Papillon

“Papillons are the ultimate lap dogs,” says Dr. Sung of this active toy-sized breed. “They’re bred to be small and cute and sit on the laps of royalty.” What more could you want in a small dog breed? Plus, adds Dr. Sung, “they are sweet and playful and can easily be carried in a pet bag or pet sling. They can be very athletic and are great with adults, couples, families, and older pet parents.” Expect your Papillon to weigh between five and 10 pounds at maturity and to live up to 16 years.

If you’re looking for some canine-naming inspiration, these are the most popular dog names for the most popular dog breeds in America right now.

Border terrier lap dogWendy Van/Getty Images

Border Terrier

“Border terriers are affectionate and athletic dogs,” says Dr. Sung of this scruffy-looking breed. “They would be great for singles, couples, and families with children. They do need a lot of exercise, so owners need to make time to provide them with a lot of physical and mental enrichment. Their wiry coat is also low maintenance.”

Male and female Border Terriers have slightly different size ranges, but you can expect this happy-go-lucky dog to maintain a healthy adult weight under 15 pounds, which is just perfect for snuggling in an adult’s lap. They’re also fiercely loyal and protective, making them excellent family members.

To keep an active dog happy, you might want to consider creating your very own pet paradise in your backyard.

Young Boy and His Dog Cairn Terrier lap dogbgwalker/Getty Images

Cairn Terrier

Aside from just being snuggly lap dog breeds, Cairn Terriers are sweet and smart, says Dr. Sung. “They have a wiry coat and enjoy being around their family. They are also athletic dogs, so would need daily walks and bouts of play,” she says. Cairn Terriers will want to play, hop up in your lap, and be around you as much as possible. They’re often mistaken for Yorkshire Terriers based on their appearance but are actually slightly larger in height, weight, and structure.

Cute Dachshund being cuddled in lap dogPekic/Getty Images

Miniature Dachshund

If you’re looking to be the talk of the local pet meetup club, consider this incredibly sweet small dog breed that is often compared to a popular ballpark snack. “Miniature Dachshunds are affectionate, intelligent, and athletic,” says Dr. Sung of these dogs that are perfect for a wide range of pet parents, from families with children to child-free older adults. “These dogs thrive being near people. They are easily trained and love to play and go for walks, and they can be easily carried around with their owners. But due to their long backs, these dogs may develop back problems.” Here are the most common health problems in 14 popular dog breeds.

Affenpinscher dog lap dogTaylor Hill/Getty Images

Affenpinscher

The Affenpinscher also made our list of the world’s smallest dog breeds. They have tiny frames and typically weigh less than ten pounds. They are often compared to Ewoks by Star Wars fans, and they have loads more energy than the average human toddler. Just don’t keep them in the same house as other small pets like birds or gerbils—they love a good chase, thanks to their natural inclination to always be on the hunt. So, which pup are you going gaga over? Check out what your favorite dog breed says about your personality.

Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber covers gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at RD.com, although you've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting topics at TheLuxurySpot.com, Bravo, Parents.com, Martha Stewart, and on your TV screen through national talk shows including The Tamron Hall Show. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children. Find her on social media at @brycegruber.