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Small Dog Breeds: Perfect Pups for Your Lifestyle, From Poodles to Chihuahuas (2024)

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small dog breeds

Seeking a small dog breed? You’re spoilt for choice!

Poodles are renowned for intelligence and loyalty. They are hypoallergenic.

Bichon Frises and Shih Tzus, with their long, silky coats, thrive in apartments.

Pomeranians are intelligent and easy to train. They adapt to compact spaces.

Chihuahuas make great lap dogs, though regular exercise keeps them happy.

Miniature Schnauzers are energetic watchdogs needing grooming.

Maltese are gentle and child-friendly. They suit lap-dog lifestyles.

With diverse traits, these small dog breeds cater to various needs. Dig deeper to find your perfect match!

Key Takeaways

  • Poodles are highly intelligent, loyal, and hypoallergenic, requiring regular grooming and exercise.
  • Bichon Frisés and Shih Tzus are great for apartment living, with their hypoallergenic coats needing frequent grooming to maintain their silky texture.
  • Pomeranians and Chihuahuas are adaptable to small spaces, with Pomeranians needing regular grooming for their thick coats and Chihuahuas requiring minimal grooming but regular exercise.
  • Miniature Schnauzers are energetic watchdogs with a wiry coat that demands regular grooming, while Maltese are gentle, good with children, and thrive as lap dogs.


Poodles are renowned for their intelligence and loyalty, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a devoted companion. These hypoallergenic dogs possess an energetic nature that requires regular exercise, coupled with a curly coat that demands routine grooming and an aptitude for training that allows them to excel in various activities.

Intelligence and Loyalty

Searching for a petite canine breed that boasts both intelligence and loyalty? Consider the Poodle!

These pups are renowned for their trainability and versatility, rendering them an ideal selection for active owners yearning for a furry companion that embraces adventure.

With their curly coat demanding meticulous grooming and their requirement for consistent exercise, Poodles are an excellent choice for those who desire a dog that not only possesses intelligence but also demands a touch of additional attention.

Additionally, their potential as lap dogs makes them the ideal cuddle buddies for cozy evenings indoors.


If you’re looking for hypoallergenic small breeds, you’re in luck!

There are several options to choose from:

Bichon Frise and Toy Poodles are both hypoallergenic breeds that make great companions.

Miniature Poodles are also hypoallergenic and known for their intelligence and ease of training.

Other hypoallergenic small breeds include:

The Bedlington Terrier, American Eskimo Dog, and the Basenji, which is Africa’s ‘Barkless Dog’.

So, whether you’re looking for a low-allergen lapdog or an active hypoallergenic breed, there’s a perfect small dog for your lifestyle.

Energetic and Require Regular Exercise

As a proud owner of a small, energetic breed, you know how important it is to keep your furry friend active and happy.

Poodles, for instance, are known for their high energy levels and playful nature. They are perfect fitness buddies, always ready for a game of fetch or a brisk walk around the block.

Other energetic breeds include the Beagle, Border Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, and Miniature Pinscher.

Keeping these active breeds engaged in regular exercise is vital for their overall health and well-being.

Curly Coat Requires Regular Grooming

Embrace the realm of small dog breeds, where Poodles reign supreme with their curly coats that require regular grooming.

Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus, and Pomeranians also boast luscious locks that need attention.

Chihuahuas, on the other hand, have a smooth coat that requires less grooming.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to pamper your pup!

Easy to Train With Quick Learning Abilities

Prepare to be amazed by the Poodle’s quick learning abilities!

This breed is a dream for obedience training, excelling in clicker training and positive reinforcement methods.

With treat motivation as their driving force, these dogs are willing to please and learn.

Socialization exercises are a breeze with Poodles, making them great companions for families with children.

Their hypoallergenic nature adds to their appeal as the perfect addition to your home.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is an affectionate, cuddly companion that thrives on human interaction and makes an excellent choice for families with children. This breed’s long, silky white coat requires regular brushing and professional grooming, but its minimal shedding and hypoallergenic qualities make it a good option for those with allergies.

Affectionate and Good With Children

The Bichon Frise is a breed that isn’t only affectionate but also fantastic with children. They’re renowned for their amiable nature and are frequently likened to the Shih Tzu regarding their suitability for apartment living.

Their diminutive stature renders them ideal for households with toddlers, and their jovial disposition ensures they’ll keep your little ones engaged.

Their dense coat demands regular grooming, akin to a Pomeranian, yet their hypoallergenic attributes make them an excellent option for allergy sufferers.

They’re also a sound choice for families with Corgis or Australian Terriers, as they harmoniously coexist with other small breeds.

Easy to Train

Bichon Frise: Easy to Train Small Dog Breeds

If you’re looking for a small dog breed that’s easy to train, the Bichon Frise is a great choice. These charming lap warmers are known for their intelligence and quick learning abilities. Early training and consistent training are key to their success. Socialization is also essential for their development. With their affectionate nature, they make excellent companions for families, especially those with children. They’re also hypoallergenic, making them a popular choice for those with allergies.

Requires Regular Exercise

Bichon Frise: The Perfect Companion for Active Owners

The Bichon Frise is a small, affectionate dog breed that requires regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Here are three ways to meet their exercise needs:

  1. Daily walks: Aim for at least one walk per day, adjusting the length based on their age and energy levels.
  2. Playtime: Engage in interactive play sessions, such as fetch or hide-and-seek, to provide mental stimulation and physical activity.
  3. Training: Incorporate training sessions into their routine, as they’re quick learners and enjoy mental challenges.

Long, Silky Coat Requires Regular Grooming

Bichon Frises are known for their long, silky coats that require regular grooming to prevent tangles and manage moisture.

With a frequency of 1-3 times a week, you’ll need to invest time in brushing and bathing to keep your furry friend looking and feeling their best.

Compared to other toy breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or English Cocker Spaniel, the Bichon Frise’s coat maintenance is a unique challenge.

But don’t let that deter you. With their affectionate nature and playful personality, the rewards are worth the effort.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu is an excellent choice for apartment living due to its good-natured temperament and modest size. These affectionate companions adapt well to small spaces, making them ideal for city dwellers or those with limited living quarters.

Good-natured and Adapt Well to Apartment Living

Shih Tzus are a great choice for apartment living due to their small size and adaptable nature.

They’re popular family dogs and make excellent lapdogs.

However, they may face challenges in apartment life, such as limited exercise opportunities and grooming needs.

As hypoallergenic breeds, they’re a good choice for those with allergies.

Shih Tzus require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy, and their long, silky coat needs frequent grooming.

Despite these challenges, Shih Tzus are affectionate and good-natured, making them a popular choice for apartment life.

Good-natured and Affectionate

Shih Tzus are the epitome of good-natured and affectionate companions. They’re friendly, adapt well to apartment living, and are great for families, the elderly, and first-time owners. These little dogs are gentle and playful, making them perfect lapdogs. With their regal appearance and aristocratic temperament, Shih Tzus are a loving breed that will surely win your heart.


The Pomeranian’s thick, fluffy double coat requires regular brushing to prevent matting and keep it in top condition. Despite their small size, Pomeranians are intelligent dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training, making them a great choice for owners willing to provide consistent training.

Thick, Fluffy Coat Requires Regular Grooming

Just like stepping out in a fur coat every day, your Pomeranian’s thick, fluffy coat demands regular grooming to stay regal and hypoallergenic.

Shedding isn’t a joke with these funny dogs, so arm yourself with grooming tools or schedule a professional grooming session.

It’s a small price for keeping your boisterous family and the Pomeranian’s regal cousin looking sharp and feeling great.

Intelligent and Easy to Train

Seeking a furry companion that’s as brilliant as it’s diminutive? Consider the Pomeranian! With a versatile nature and rapid learning capabilities, these pint-sized pups are the ideal companions for any way of life. Here are four reasons why the Pomeranian ranks among the most intelligent and effortlessly trainable small dog breeds:

  1. Intelligent Training: Pomeranians are quick learners, making them a breeze to train.
  2. Small Size: Their compact stature makes them a perfect fit for apartment living.
  3. Companion Ability: These pups are renowned for their affectionate and playful personalities.
  4. Quick Learners: With their intelligence, Pomeranians can acquire new tricks and commands in no time.


If you’re looking for a portable and affectionate companion, the Chihuahua could be an ideal choice. These tiny dogs adapt well to apartment living, making great lap warmers with their smooth, low-maintenance coats, but keep in mind that they require regular exercise and may need extra training and socialization due to their sensitive nature.

Adaptable and Make Great Lap Dogs

Chihuahuas are the perfect lap dogs for apartment living.

Their small size and weight make them ideal for those with limited space.

They adapt well to indoor environments and are great companions for those who want a dog that does not require a lot of exercise.

However, they do need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Despite their small size, they are loyal and affectionate.

Short, Smooth Coat Requires Minimal Grooming

Chihuahuas, the pint-sized charmers of the small breed world, boast a short coat that’s a breeze to maintain. Ideal for apartments, their low grooming needs fit snugly into a busy lifestyle. As quintessential lap dogs, they’re a cozy companion for couch cuddles without the hairy aftermath.

  • Low-maintenance: A quick brush, and they’re good to go.
  • Shedding? Minimal: Less vacuuming, more snuggling.
  • Bath time? Rarely: They stay spruce with less fuss.
  • Apartment-friendly: A glossy coat that’s living-room-ready.

Requires Regular Exercise to Keep Healthy and Happy

Regular exercise is essential for Chihuahuas to maintain their health and happiness. Insufficient exercise can lead to joint problems and obesity. A balanced routine of walks, playtime, and breed-specific exercises can keep your Chihuahua fit and content. Don’t forget dental care, as it’s vital for their overall well-being.

Sensitive and May Require Extra Training and Socialization

Chihuahuas are renowned for their delicate demeanor, which can render them difficult to train and socialize.

They frequently exhibit profound attachment to their owners and may become protective, potentially culminating in aggression directed at strangers or other canines. Chihuahuas are also susceptible to small dog syndrome, whereby they may behave aggressively due to feelings of insecurity or intimidation.

To foster a well-mannered and socially adept Chihuahua, it’s imperative to initiate training promptly and adhere to a consistent approach. Positive reinforcement, manifested in the form of treats and praise, can prove efficacious in incentivizing desirable behavior.

Socialization is equally essential, as it facilitates your Chihuahua’s acquisition of the ability to interact with diverse individuals and animals in a composed and self-assured manner.

Bear in mind the necessity of patience and perseverance, as training a Chihuahua may require more time and effort than other breeds.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer
The Miniature Schnauzer is an energetic and loyal companion known for its unwavering watchdog abilities. With a wiry coat requiring regular grooming and a need for daily exercise to maintain its spunky personality, this breed thrives in active households that can meet its physical and mental stimulation needs.

Energetic and Make Great Watchdogs

Miniature Schnauzers are energetic and make great watchdogs. They’ve a strong desire to please and are highly trainable. Here’s why they’re perfect for you:

  • Exercise Needs: Daily walks and playtime keep them healthy and happy.
  • Watchdog Potential: Their alert barking alerts you to potential dangers.
  • Apartment Suitability: They adapt well to apartment living.
  • Grooming Frequency: Regular brushing keeps their wiry coat clean and tangle-free.
  • Health Issues: Regular vet check-ups help prevent health problems.

Wiry Coat Requires Regular Grooming

Grooming a Miniature Schnauzer’s wiry coat is a regular chore that requires dedication. Bath time is essential to keep the coat clean and soft, but brushing is necessary to prevent matting. Regular grooming sessions can be a bonding experience, but it’s important to remember that a well-groomed Schnauzer is a happy Schnauzer.

Requires Regular Exercise to Keep Happy and Healthy

If you’re seeking a petite dog breed that’s playful, allergy-friendly, non-shedding, spirited, and inquisitive, the Miniature Schnauzer could be the ideal match for you. This breed is distinguished by its energetic nature and requires regular exercise to remain content and healthy. Here are four ways to guarantee your Miniature Schnauzer receives the exercise it needs:

  1. Daily strolls: Target at least one stroll per day, adjusting the length based on your dog’s age and fitness level.
  2. Playtime: Engage in interactive play sessions with toys such as balls, frisbees, or tug ropes.
  3. Training: Integrate training sessions into your regimen, as mental stimulation is equally crucial as physical exercise.
  4. Socialization: Regularly expose your Miniature Schnauzer to diverse environments and other dogs to foster a well-rounded, happy life.


The Maltese, a gentle and affectionate toy breed, makes an excellent lap dog and is known for being good with children. With their long, silky white coat and compact size, Maltese are adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, and thrive on companionship with their owners.

Gentle and Make Great Lap Dogs

Looking for a small breed that’s gentle and makes a perfect lap dog?

The Maltese is a great choice!

These pups are known for their gentle nature and are often used as therapy dogs.

They’re easy to train and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Just remember, their long, silky coat needs regular grooming to keep them looking their best.

Good With Children

If you’re looking for a small breed that’s great with children, the Maltese is a fantastic choice. This hypoallergenic breed is gentle and makes excellent lap dogs. They’re also good with children, making them a great addition to families.

Here are three reasons why the Maltese is a great choice for families with children:

  1. Gentle and Affectionate: Maltese are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them a perfect companion for children.
  2. Hypoallergenic: This breed is hypoallergenic, which is a great feature for families with children who may have allergies.

Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle
Toy Poodles are a delightful choice for those seeking a small, intelligent, and loyal companion.

They’re known for their curly hair which requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling.

Toy Poodles are energetic and need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy.

They’re highly intelligent, making them easy to train with quick learning abilities.

Toy Poodles are a great choice for those who want a low-shedding, hypoallergenic dog.

With their playful and affectionate nature, Toy Poodles make excellent companions for families and seniors alike.



The Papillon is a small, energetic, and playful dog breed known for its large, butterfly-like ears. Originating from toy spaniels, these dogs are intelligent, self-assured, and easy to train.

They’re affectionate and can be great companions for families, although they require an increased exercise routine compared to the average companion breed. Papillons are excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to changes in their environment.

They’re adaptable and can live in apartments, but they need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Papillons have a single, silky coat that’s somewhat long without covering the dog’s outline. Their coat color can vary, with black, brown, white, and various combinations being accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound
If you’re looking for a small dog breed that’s both athletic and affectionate, the Italian Greyhound might be the perfect fit. These dogs are known for their slender build and striking appearance, but they’re more than just pretty faces. Here’s why you’ll love having an Italian Greyhound as your companion:

  • Athleticism: These dogs are built for speed and agility, making them great for active owners who enjoy outdoor activities.
  • Companionability: Italian Greyhounds are loyal and form strong bonds with their families, making them excellent companions.
  • Hunting Ability: Despite their small size, they’ve a strong prey drive and can make excellent hunting companions.
  • Independence: While they love their families, Italian Greyhounds are also independent and can be left alone for short periods without getting too anxious.
  • Watchfulness: Their alert nature makes them great watchdogs, always keeping an eye out for potential threats.


Akin to explorers charting new lands, you’ve journeyed through an array of small dog breeds, each offering distinct qualities. From the hypoallergenic poodle to the affectionate Maltese, these small dog breeds cater to varied lifestyles. With this knowledge, you’re empowered to select the perfect companion aligned with your preferences and living situation.

Embrace the adventure of responsible pet ownership and let this guide illuminate your path.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.