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Top 10 Smallest Dog Breeds

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

September 4, 2012
Filed Under Pets 

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white pup running in top ten smallest dog breedsContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

It’s a dream come true…a dog that looks like a puppy its whole life long. I think that’s one of the reasons people love tiny dog breeds so much. And these smallest dog breeds continue to grow in popularity.

Whether it’s due to a desire for canine companionship in a smaller package, or a rediscovery of the long-standing love of lap dogs among Europeans and residents of the Far East, little dogs are chosen by men and women more and more every day. If you’re looking for the right one for you, here’s a list of the top 10 tiny breeds.


10. Yorkshire Terrier

yorkie in top ten smallest dog breeds

The Yorkie is the most popular of the toy breeds, and continue to grow in popularity. These silky-coated dogs average seven pounds when full grown, although some are bred to be slightly smaller.

Yorkshire Terriers are devoted family dogs, but can become yappy if startled, so make sure your puppy training addresses barking issues from the start. They’re very food motivated, so healthy dog treats are a good tool to use to work on basic commands.

9. Chinese Crested

Chinese crested in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Some people mistake this hairless breed for a chihuahua, but the Chinese Crested orginates in the Far East, although some say he arrived there centuries ago from Africa. The breed was developed as a companion for invalids, as hairlessness was thought to be less irritating to those who are ill. They are consumate lap dogs, loving nothing more than to curl up on a lap or stay close on a nearby dog bed.

8. Teacup Toy Poodle

teacup toy poodle in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Poodles are probably the most familiar of the very small dog breeds. Originally bred as hunting dogs, pooples are one of the only breeds to be available in four distinct sizes: standard, mintature, toy and teacup. The teacup size averages under 6 pounds, while the toy can reach 10 or 11 pounds.

Toy poodles are very intelligent, but if not properly socialized and trained, they can become nervous, unfriendly or even nippy. Make sure puppy classes, on-leash walks among people, and dog park time with other dogs are a frequent part of your pup’s life, and you should be able to head off any issues.

7. Cairn Terrier

Cairn terrier in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Best known as Toto in the Wizard of Oz, the Cairn Terrier is a friendly little pup with lots of energy. They are excellent family dogs, with the stamina and playfulness to keep up with small children well into its teen years. Cairns were named 200 years ago for their role in chasing rats from rock piles (cairns) in Scotland.

Cairns love to play, so a good assortment of dog toys is a must for this breed. They are heavier than some toy breeds, averaging about 13 pounds.

6. Chihuahua

Chihuahua in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Is it possible to see a Chihuahua without thinking of the Taco Bell commercial?

That’s unfortunate because these iconic super-small dogs have a long and impressive history dating back at least to the mid 1500′s in Mexico when they were favorite of the upper class. Some historians believe they may date back further, citing the description of a tiny dog Christopher Columbus brought back from his travels.

Like toy poodles, this breed can become nervous and snappy, so make sure good dog training and socialization starts as a puppy.

5. Maltese

maltese in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

If you see a tiny ball of white fur racing by you at the dog park, odds are it’s a Maltese. These tiny, high energy pups love their walks (and runs!), enjoy wrestling with dog toys as big as they are, and yet will happily spend the evening curled up in your lap.

The Maltese coat tends to tangling, so make sure you invest in a good dog brush for daily grooming.

4. English Toy Terrier

english toy terrier in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Often mistaken for Pinchers or Chihuahuas, these tiny, long legged terriers top out at only about 6-8 pounds. They were orginally bred in England for rat hunting, a talent that evolved into a blood sport where rats and the terriers were released into a pit. The dog that killed the most rats was declared winner. Fortunately, today’s English Toy Terriers are far happier chasing a ball around the yard with the kids.

3. Papillon

Papillion in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Papillon means “butterfly”, and these tiny pets live up to their name with flowing, elegant ear “feathers” that stream out behind them like wings. In the 16th and 17th century, these dogs were most often found on the laps of noblewomen. Today, they continue their tradition as content and cozy lapdogs or warm and friendly service dogs.

2. Pomeranian

Pomeranian in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

At only 3-7 pounds fully grown, Pomeranians are one of the smallest breeds on this list. These tiny bundles of fur are ideal for people looking for a small dog that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. But daily grooming is a definite must, as that long hair becomes matted with even a bit of neglect. Poms are extremely devoted to their families, so be sure to include good socialization to keep them open to strangers and other dogs.

1. Morkie

Morkie in the top 10 smallest dog breeds

Although not an offical AKC breed yet, I had to include these teeny fur babies in the list. They’re a cross between the Maltese and the Yorkie (both on this list.) The result is a tiny puff-ball of a dog with the energy and intelligence of both parent breeds in a more compact size. They are devoted little dogs, with a soft coat and a big heart.



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