20 Smallest Dog Breeds That Stay Small

Dreaming of a little dog that will fit perfectly in with your lifestyle? Whether you want a small dog due to living in a smaller home or simply prefer a little dog over a big one, small dogs make for wonderful pets.

Unlike the misguided craze around teacup pigs, which ended up growing into full-size pigs weighing between 50-100 kg, most genuine small breed dogs will remain small.

In this guide, we will review the top 20 small dog breeds that are guaranteed to stay small while still taking up a big space in your heart.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

Benefits Of Choosing A Small Breed Dog

Aside from being eternally little and puppy-like in size, small dogs have several great benefits to recommend over a larger breed.

These benefits include:

  • A longer life span, most little dogs live longer than their larger cousins, giving you at least a decade of companionship.
  • Travelling better and being more easily portable.
  • Requiring less exercise than larger, more active breeds,
  • Being easier to wash, simply pop them in the laundry sink.
  • Eating less, making them more affordable.
  • Being perfectly sized for carrying or lap cuddles

Despite their size, most small dog breeds have big personalities, so you’ll never be trading character for size.

Best Small Dog Breeds

1. Yorkshire Terrier

This breed is of British origin and remains one of the most popular toy-dog breeds globally.

Weighing as little as 2 kilos but no more than 3.5 kilos, these tiny little guys are incredibly cute.

While little, they are a breed of terrier, so can become a little feisty and bark frequently if not adequately trained. Available in blue and tan colours, they do require regular grooming due to the length of their coat but are not known to shed excessively.

2. Shih Tzu

Easily recognisable thanks to its silky white coat and big brown eyes, the Shih Tzu originates from China, where it is known as a noble breed. Weighing between 4-8 kilos, purebred Shih Tzu’s remain small and retain their fiercely loyal personalities.

Affectionate yet feisty, Shih Tzus are not a particularly compliant breed and require intense training as puppies to avoid unruly behaviour including excessive barking.

With their long coats, Shi Tzus will require more consistent grooming, including keeping their eyes clean to avoid staining of the surrounding fur.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

3. Scottish Terrier

Also known colloquially as a ‘Scottie Dog’ these dogs typically weigh between 8-10 kilos and have been a favourite companion of Western royalty throughout history. Originally bred to hunt and fight Scotties also love to dig - so it is essential to give them outlets for this energy through play.

Perfect for apartment dwellers, Scotties are not known to bark often. Intelligent, affectionate and needing less grooming than our top two entries, Scotties are a perennial favourite in the small breed category.

4. Pomeranian

Delightfully soft and fluffy, Pomeranians have incredibly thick coats and a sensitive nature paired with superior intelligence. Their average weight is between 2-4 kilos and some have been recorded as living as long as 16 years.

Small but mighty, Pomeranians are descendants of the German Spitz and make for excellent watchdogs. Their high-pitched bark can become a problem, so as always, training is a must.

Due to their thick coats, Pomeranians require quite a lot of grooming and shed significantly.

5. Papillon

Often underestimated due to their compact size, Papillons are supremely intelligent. Easy to train and with adorable butterfly wing-like ears (Papillon in French means butterfly) this breed is affectionate and energetic.

Despite being lively, they are not a breed that barks excessively and does not suffer from nerves or anxiety as many other petite breeds do. Stay small at between 3-4.5 kilos, the Papillon loves to cuddle on your lap and is easily carried.

6. Alaskan Klee Kai

The shorter, lighter and arguably cuter version of a Husky, the Alaskan Klee Kai actually comes in three different sizes; toy, miniature and standard. While toy varieties weigh in at around 4 kilos, the standard varieties can weigh as much as 10 kilos.

More independent than other small breed dogs, the Klee Kai is ideal for those who want a small dog that handles being alone better and isn't inclined to cling. Just like a husky, this small fluffy dog breed has a very thick coat that is prone to shedding, so they do require regular grooming.

7. Chihuahua

A popular short-haired breed, Chihuahuas are repeat winners of the World’s Smallest Dog category with the Guinness World Book Of Records. Small at as little as 1 kilo in weight, they have BIG personalities and require a lot of attention and love.

Needing minimal food or grooming, Chihuahuas are inexpensive to keep. However, they also don’t really respond to training and can become aggressive due to their intense personality so be prepared to manage these outbursts.

8. Jack Russell

With origins in fox hunting, Jack Russells are a lively, intelligent breed. A little bigger than other small breeds at between 6-8 kilos, Jack Russells are playful, short-haired dogs that require minimal grooming and adore being part of a family.

Prone to boredom, they do require plenty of playtime or enrichment activities to keep them out of mischief but also love to cuddle. Known to be a little stubborn when it comes to house training, you will need to be persistent in the puppy stage to ward off issues later.

9. French Bulldog

Teetering between being a small dog and a medium dog at 9-13 kilos, the French Bulldog is an increasingly popular option for those with limited space. Playful and energetic, they do require up to an hour of exercise a day to remain healthy and happy.

With their cute bat-like ears and sleek short coat, French Bulldogs are an attractive breed that requires very little grooming. They have a relaxed, loving disposition and are not prone to anxiety, making them a great option for busy families with kids.

10. Yorkiepoo

A designer breed that combines the best attributes of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Mini Poodle, the Yorkiepoo is pint-sized and free of the many health issues other small breeds possess. Thanks to their poodle genetics, they are hypoallergenic and have minimal shedding.

Size-wise you can expect them to weigh between 2-6 kilos and live as long as 15 years. As both poodles and Yorkshire terriers are prone to anxiety, it is no surprise the Yorkiepoo is the same. If left alone for long periods they can be destructive and prone to barking.

11. Pekingese

Popularised by the Chinese Imperial Court and one of the few pets permitted inside the Forbidden City, the name Pekingese translates literally to ‘the lion dog’. A fact that is easily understood when you see their lush mane.

Tiny at less than 6 kilos, Pekingese have short faces and large round eyes. They do not enjoy a lot of exercise or outdoor adventuring, making them perfect for cuddling indoors. They do require a decent amount of grooming to remain looking their best and have been known to bark a lot, so will need to be trained to avoid this.

12. Maltese

Famously gifted by Napoleon to his wife Josephine, the Maltese is largely considered to be one of the cutest small dog breeds in the world. Not prone to excessive shedding and having a show-worthy white coat, this breed stays between 3-4 kilos in weight.

Incredibly affectionate and playful, Maltese are perfect for families with busy children as well as those who just want a cuddly lap dog.

Maltese do have a reputation for barking a lot and being anxious, however, this is no more than any other small dog breed and can be managed with appropriate training.

13. Brussels Griffon

Dainty yet robust, Brussels Griffons are known for their intelligence and sensitive nature. Hugely playful and energetic, Griffons are happy to join you on an outdoor adventure but just as equally love a cuddle at the end of the day.

A great option for the family, Brussels Griffons adore children but can be a little stand-offish with unknown dogs or other pets. And while not a good watchdog due to their tiny size at between 4-6 kilos, they are excellent watchdogs.

14. Silky Terrier

Developed in Australia, this breed is self-assured, friendly and full of fun. Bred to be hunters, this breed is prone to chasing smaller animals and will not readily back down from confrontation so needs proper training for its own safety.

With a long glossy coat and weighing in at a tiny 3-6 kg, Silky Terriers are great with children and adults alike. Known to bark in excess if not trained early on, Silky Terriers can make for excellent watchdogs.

15. Pug

Sturdier than some of their counterparts, Pugs can weigh anywhere from 6-9 kilos and are easily recognised for their barrel-shaped body and short legs.

A hearty appetite is a well-known breed characteristic so their diets need to be monitored for them to remain small and at a healthy weight.

While they may have bursts of playful energy, most pugs are happy to sleep the day away and remain close to their owners. Many pugs suffer from breathing difficulties due to unscrupulous breeding practices, so always be mindful of this when choosing this breed.


16. Daschund

Affectionately known as sausage dogs, the miniature variety of this breed typically weighs less than 6 kilos. Known for their long, sleek bodies, Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers.

Low-maintenance and delightfully fun, Dachshunds can also be stubborn and independent. This makes them great for owners who cannot be with them all hours of the day but also means you’ll need to be dedicated to training to nip behavioural problems in the bud!

Due to their length, some dachshunds struggle with stairs and can develop spinal issues as they age, so be sure your home is suited to this quirky breed.

17. English Toy Spaniel

A relative of the Dachshund and King Charles Spaniels, the English toy spaniel is a gentle, relaxed breed that is happy to follow its owner's lead when it comes to activity levels. They weigh between 3-7 kilos and have a medium-length coat that is easy to care for.

This breed of spaniel is devoted to its owner and family and is generally reserved around strangers. Prone to anxious behaviour if left alone too long, this breed may also destructively chew or bark if not given enough attention.

18. Cavoodle

A cross between a miniature poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Cavoodle is one of the most popular cute, small dog breeds in Australia. As a hybrid of two well-known breeds, Cavoodles are hypoallergenic, gentle, even-tempered, people-oriented and highly intelligent.

Energetic and quite cheeky, Cavoodles need to be walked or engaged in active play for at least an hour a day. While classed as small dogs, some Cavoodles can be as much as 12 kilos fully grown, while smaller dogs could be as little as 5 kilos. Be sure to check their parentage to get a more accurate idea of their adult size.

19. Toy Poodle

Pint-sized and seriously petite, Toy Poodles when fully grown should not weigh more than 4.5 kilos. Despite their tiny size, they are incredibly energetic and intelligent, needing a lot of attention and play time to remain happy.

As a poodle, they are not prone to shedding, making them perfect for allergy sufferers. Eager to please and sensitive, it is easy to see why Toy Poodles have remained a favourite small breed for many years.

20. Miniature Schnauzer

With its proud bearing and robust body type, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is not a small dog. However, the average weight of a Miniature Schnauzer is between just 5-8 kilos. A relative of the larger Schnauzer family, this breed has an unusual wiry coat that needs minimal maintenance.

Eager to please and quite active, you will need to keep play and training interesting as otherwise, this intelligent breed will quickly lose interest. While they love a cuddle, they are also known to be independent and able to be left alone (with some toys) without issue.

Wrapping Up

While no means an exhaustive small dog breed list, we hope this has helped you narrow down the right companion for your needs. As always, before deciding on any dog, we recommend speaking with your vet to determine any breed-related health issues and ensure the best possible match.

Back to blog