GENERAL BREED INFO

Dogs That Stay Small: American Kennel Club Presents 20 Miniature Dog Breeds

Miniature dogs
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Over the years, numerous passionate dog breeders have created many outstanding types of dogs that stay small. Just like there are cat persons and dog persons in the world, so are small dog persons and large dog persons. There are people who are overjoyed by large specimens and people who cannot imagine their lives without a Chihuahua in their arms wherever they go.

In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, Chihuahua is the smallest dog breed in the world. Besides that, the AKC includes another 19 dog breeds on the list of dogs that are often called toy dogs.

20 miniature dog breeds

As said, the American Kennel Club has an official list of miniature dogs that stay small, which are Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Spaniel, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Bichon Maltese, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier.

Although all of them have small bodies, they have strong personalities, they are full of energy and they are sometimes noisy. However, they are all simply adorable and most of them can be carried in one’s purse without any problems or discomfort of any kind.

Affenpinscher #1

When a dog belonging to the Affenpinscher breed reaches maturity, it weights around 7 pounds and it measures between 10 and 15 inches. It is a small, sturdy terrier, characterized by its appearance that resembles a little monkey. It is funny, intelligent and somewhat arrogant and stubborn.

Affenpinscher

It seems to get along well with other dogs or other pets, especially if it grows near them. A vivacious dog aware of its own qualities, the Affenpinscher is a loyal companion to its owner. It is the type of dog that learns quickly, so it can be taught to do all kinds of tricks or useful things.

Brussels Griffon #2

An adult Brussels Griffon weights between 6 and 13 pounds and measures between 8 and 11 inches. It is a calm dog that is also eager to learn, full of life, cheerful and playful. It is very curious and sociable, but it keeps on suspecting strangers until it gets used with them.

Brussels Griffon

A Brussels Griffon is devoted to its owner and needs his or her love. It gets along well with other dogs and other animals in the household. In fact, it needs an active lifestyle even though it is so little and doesn’t seem to have too much energy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel #3

A mature Cavalier King Charles Spaniel measures 10 inches and it weighs between 9 to 15 pounds. It is a miniature breed, cute and affectionate. Since it doesn’t want to stay away from its owner, it could be said that it was born for companionship. This dog can be quite lively and even vocal. It doesn’t like to spend time alone, so it is always seeking the company of its family members or the company of other dogs. It loves to be pampered and enjoys living in the house.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Due to its small size, this dog breed is happy to live in an apartment. Even if it is known to be gentle and affectionate, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has no patience or tolerates children who dare to bother it. Early socialization and obedience are important for the formation of this beloved dog.

Chihuahua #4

A Chihuahua dog weights between 2 and 6 pounds and measures between 6 and 9 inches. It is an active dog breed that is not very sociable with other dog breeds. Chihuahua apparently has the ability to recognize other dogs that belong to the same breed and enjoy their company. Being a devoted and possessive pet, Chihuahua tends to act a bit jealous when its owner spends time with other people, not to mention with other dogs.

Chihuahua

Sometimes, it can create real problems because of its jealousy. Due to its very small size, Chihuahua is the perfect dog for people who live in an apartment and are a real boon to older people. They tend to not be tolerant with children since they do not like brutal games.

Chinese Crested #5

When a Chinese Crested dog stops growing, it weights around 13 pounds and it measures between 5 and 9 inches, depending on its gender. Such dog’s temperament is very calm, when it is not stubborn and nervous, and it can be an excellent lap dog creating a very close connection with its owner.

Chinese Crested

Conversely, regarding its relationship with strangers, it can be quite hesitant and reserved. Chinese Crested is not a dog suitable for kids, especially if they are not calm and gentle with it. It won the title of the ugliest dog recently, but not every person agrees with this aspect.

English Spaniel #6

An English Spaniel’s height is between 10 and 11 inches and its weight between 8 and 14 pounds. It is an active, playful and intelligent dog breed that needs love and respect from its owner and all the other family members. It can become aggressive when handled wrong. That is why training is an important part of its life as a puppy.

English Spaniel

It doesn’t need too much exercise, but it can’t be left home alone either. Dogs belonging to this dog breed often suffer from separation anxiety. It is known to be polite with strangers, but it doesn’t go as far as being friendly with them.

Havanese #7

A Havanese’s dog average size is between 8 and 11 inches in height and between 7 and 13 in weight. It is a very playful dog, perfect for families with children or other pets. It is said about Havanese dogs that they have the personality of a clown because they like to jump more than run.

Havanese dog

One other particular characteristic of this dog breed is that they do not like to eat alone. If its owner puts food in its bowl and walks away, this dog will take as much food as it can in its mouth and it will follow its owner. Once in the room with its owner, it will eat slowly. In addition, it is ready to play at any time of the day, but can settle down quickly if commanded.

Italian Greyhound #8

The height of an Italian Greyhound ranges between 12 and 15 inches, while its weight ranges between 6 and 10 pounds. Emotional, sensitive and extremely affectionate, the Italian Greyhound has an elegant and proud walk and an undeniable allure of nobility. It can be considered a model of grace and distinction in the canine world.

The Italian Greyhound is reserved, calm and very obedient. It integrates quickly and easily into a family, managing to attract every member’s affection.

Italian Greyhound

It is one of those canine breeds that prefer the company of women and a softer treatment. It is noisy when it encounters strangers, but not aggressive.

Japanese Chin #9

The height of a Japanese Chin is approximately 8 to 11 inches and its weight around 4 to 9 pounds. People often say about this dog breed that it resembles a cat since it wants to climb in high places and besides wanting, it also has the ability to do so. Also, it is very fond of washing itself a lot more often than a usual dog.

Japanese Chin

It is a dog with a happy attitude that becomes quite shy if it has to socialize with other people. It is also fun, loving and almost addictive for people who spend a lot of time in its presence.

Bichon Maltese #10

Generally, a Bichon Maltese’s height is between 8 and 10 inches and it weighs up to 7 pounds. It has been around people for over 2 thousand years, ensuring a high quality company. According to the American Kennel Club, these dogs might be among the smallest ones in the world, but they are fearless.

Bichon Maltese

A Bichon Maltese is by far the most well-mannered dog.  It is stubborn only when it is a puppy and it likes to play with other dogs that are 2 times larger than it is. It is in their nature to be sweet, playful and relaxed, but their behavior can be influenced by the way they were raised.

Manchester Terrier #11

The toy version of a Manchester Terrier weights between 6 and 8 pounds and its height is between 10 and 12 inches. It is an intelligent, daring, willing to learn, lively, alert and vigilant dog. It is also brave and it only barks in case of danger. Affectionate and devoted to its family, it is cautious with strangers.

Manchester Terrier

It gets along well with children and likes to play with them. A toy Manchester Terries likes to dig a lot, just like all terrier types of dogs do. It can be aggressive with small-sized domestic animals if not socialized in time.

Miniature Pinscher #12

Generally, a specimen belonging to the Miniature Pinscher breed is between 10 inches to 1 foot tall and weighs between 8 to 11 pounds. This dog is smart, nice, active and barks every time it has an opportunity. Also, it is courageous and self-confident, lively, alert and vigilant.

Miniature Pinscher

It is devoted to its owner, cautious with strangers and it doesn’t accept children who tease it too much. It is rarely aggressive towards other dogs and it likes to interact with other animals. As for its training, it is easily done thanks to its willingness to learn and its capability to do so.

Papillon #13

Papillon is another toy dog that measures 8 to 11 inches and weighs 4 to 9 pounds, depending on age and the way it is fed. This is a dog that loves children, but that keeps its distance towards strangers. In addition, it is intelligent, alert, lively, playful, even restless, brave and eager to learn. It is obedient, affectionate and devoted to its owner.

Papillon dog breed

A Papillon dog is a perfect example of a pocket dog that would go everywhere with its owner without causing him or her trouble. Training must be done gently, as this dog is sensitive, but well intentioned.

Pekingese #14

Generally, a Pekingese is 6 to 9 inches tall and weighs 7 to 14 pounds. This dog is known for its stubbornness and for the fact that it must be trained constantly, maintaining a firm attitude. Of course, it is also lovable and sweet and friendly with kids. Its stubbornness and mean side start manifesting when it meets strangers or when it has to socialize.

Pekingese dog

Although really small, a Pekingese is active and it can be tiring to people with lower levels of activity. It was an imperial favorite in the old days, so no wonder its self-importance attitude prevails.

Pomeranian #15

A Pomeranian dog looks like a very adorable miniature lion. It is 7 inches to 1 foot tall and only weights between 3 and 7 pounds, depending on various factors. The Pomeranian is a wonderful companion, balanced, very intelligent, alert, loyal, courageous, gentle, friendly, courageous, fearless and especially smart, active, energetic and fast.

Pomeranian

Because it is gentle, tolerant and very small, it is not suitable for families with small children because they might hurt it without intending to do so. With a friendly and inquisitive nature, this dog breed loves to explore everything that surrounds it and discover new things every day.

Pug #16

Another dog with a very sweet face and a lovable personality, a Pug’s height is 10 inches to 1 foot tall and weighs between 14 to 18 pounds. This is a dog that can easily make people laugh. It is great with people in general, but also with children. Not a champion at running, this dog is kind of lazy, but it manages to impress without consuming too much of its energy at one time.

Pug dog

People with a lower degree of activity would be great owners for such a dog. Jealousy is one of its characteristics as well, so be aware!

Shih Tzu #17

On average, a Shih Tzu dog is 9 to 10 inches tall and weighs 9 to 16 pounds. This dog breed was created for companionship and nothing else. It is a robust dog breed, considered the less delicate one among all toy dog breeds. A Shih Tzu might look arrogant and proud at first sight, but once you get to know it, you will find out more about its tender and playful sides.

Shih Tzu

If kept in an apartment, it does not bark, but if it feels something is wrong, it will bark loudly. In other words, it easily adapts to any situation.

Silky Terrier #18

Measuring 9 to 10 inches in height and weighting 8 to 10 pounds, a Silky Terrier is energetic, intelligent, eager to learn, active, lively, playful, cheerful, obedient, watchful and protective even if it is small sized. Very devoted to its owner, it is loving and playful with children. It is vigilant with strangers and it does not allow them to get near children or even its owner.

Silky Terrier

As a curiosity, this type of dog loves to hunt rats, leaving beside its duties as a companion. Some Silky Terriers might never have the chance to hunt rats, but if they see one, they will definitely give it a try.

Toy Fox Terrier #19

Dogs belonging to the Toy Fox Terrier breed are 8 to 11 inches tall and weigh 3 to 7 pounds. When compared with other fox terriers, they are less sharp and calmer. This tiny dog is enthusiastic and it likes to chase small animals such as pets or birds.

Toy Fox Terrier

Curious, active, intelligent, affectionate, sensitive and friendly, a Toy Fox Terrier has proven to be an excellent companion for people with disabilities. It can be quite funny and its loyalty is exceptional as well. Since it likes to hunt, it has a medium level of energy which should not concern you because it consumes it inside an apartment just fine.

Yorkshire Terrier #20

The size of a Yorkshire Terrier is as it follows: 8 to 9 inches tall and weigh between 4 to 6 pounds. Smart and confident, a Yorkshire Terrier is a combination of a small loving dog and an adventurous spirit. This dog breed covers a wide range of personalities.

Some are cute and full of life, eager to follow their owners step by step, while others are overly mischievous in everything they do. Like all dogs, these ones also need early socialization.

Yorkshire Terrier

Socializing will help you have a friendly and well educated dog that makes you proud and does not embarrass you in public.

Small sized conclusions for small sized dogs

As seen, just because all the dogs belonging to the 20 mentioned dog breeds are very small or small, they are not alike when it comes to personality.

Pomeranian all small dogs

In fact, some of the smallest ones are known to be mean, restless and a little difficult to train. However, being so cute and soft makes them irresistible, adorable and impossible not to take them home. From this point of view, these dogs are very lucky and they can afford to act a little self-important and ask to be spoiled. Being jealous is also a way of showing their love and loyalty.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Steven Schick

    My sister is planning to get a dog. She wants her dog to be cuddly and someone she can carry outside the house. She is small than an average girl, so basically, a Lab doesn’t fit her. I suggested her chihuahua. She laughed when I told her they have similarities (small yet boldly and fierce).

    I have seen a lot of chihuahuas, they are a great option for people looking for a lower energy companion. I promised to buy her one tomorrow. :)

    • Such a great choice, Steven! Chihuahuas are great companion dogs and they are very intelligent and tiny. The breed also has the tendency to become a one-person dog so it can complement your sister’s needs for companionship and attention. My advice will be to understand the breed further, especially its needs and considering its small and a bit brittle frame.

  • Ruth Harris

    I stay in an apartment and recently, I’ve been thinking of getting a Corgi. I really crave for companionship and I want a dog that’s relaxed and quiet. Is the Corgi the right dog for me?

  • While Corgis were originally bred to be excellent (not to mention cute) herding dogs, they only require moderate amount of exercise and can thrive in apartment living. I’m sure it will keep you company for the years to come. They have the tendency to be yappy sometimes, but this won’t become a chronic problem because it will still depend on how you socialize and train it.

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