From cute and fluffy to bright and bubbly; if you’re considering bringing a dog into your home, it’s likely you’re reading this as you have an interest in the small variety. This guide provides an insight into the best small dog breeds, their personality types and how they might fit into your lifestyle.
What is a small dog breed?
A small dog breed is any dog that weighs up to 10kg and reaches up to 18 inches in height. You may be familiar with phrases such as “toy” dogs or “handbag” dogs but this only applies to specific breeds – there are many other small dogs breeds to consider.
Popular small dog breeds
There are different reasons as to why small dog breeds are more popular than others. Some have become a part of popular culture, others have stayed as faithful favourites over the years.
- Chihuahua – despite their tiny stature, there is nothing shy about a Chihuahua. In fact, they’ve got a reputation for being a little bit argumentative. Think “large dog in a small dog’s body”. They’re highly territorial and will try and protect their owner. They’re beautifully soft to stroke and are generally considered to be a healthy breed
- Miniature Daschund – small in size, big in personality. They have a hunter’s streak which translates into a tendency to be brave, so be aware they do require training to keep them from getting into trouble or harm's way. Long-haired or short-haired, it doesn’t matter – they are happiest when exercised daily and then given lots of cuddles
- Pomeranian – like the Chihuahua, Pomeranians have also spent a little bit of time in the limelight due to being a popular choice amongst celebrities. Whilst they are deliciously fluffy and cuddly, you should only consider bringing a “Pom Pom” into your home if you’re happy to discipline them properly. They do have a reputation for being feisty which can cause problems in households with small children
What is the healthiest small dog breed?
"There’s no definitive way to identify the healthiest small dogs. All dogs have certain pre-dispositions to illness, however some are known to be a little more robust than others." - Martin, in-house vet.
Typically, the breeds below are considered to be the healthiest:
- Bichon Frise – spritely but not overly energetic, friendly but also independent, the Bichon Frise is even-tempered so unlikely to get themselves into trouble. There are ailments they can suffer from as they get older such as cataracts. However, they are generally considered to be healthy dogs
- Havanese – these sturdy little dogs are generally considered to be happy and healthy. You will need to keep an eye on their diet (as with all dogs to prevent risk of obesity) but ultimately they stay in good health
- Whippet – they stand a little taller than the average small dog, but their slender body and lightness of foot puts them in good company among the small dog breeds. Their delicacy puts them at risk of catching themselves on sharp objects or perhaps sustaining an injury but otherwise there are no major health concerns
Best small dog breeds for families
There are some small dog breeds that aren’t suitable for families, especially for those with babies or toddlers. Pomeranians can get irritated by small children if constantly petted. Corgis on the other hand can be a little bit bossy which may annoy teenagers who like their own space. If you’re looking for a family-friendly dog, it may be worth checking out:
- Shih Tzu – they may require a little help getting settled into a new home. Yet once they’ve been trained properly, Shih Tzu’s love playing with all members of the family. Have a go at teaching them tricks – they’ll enjoy the time you spend together being active. Just make sure to keep your kids’ special toys out of their way, as they’ll almost certainly want to use it as their fetch toy
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – this breed is easily recognisable for its long curly-haired ears, a doeful look and sweet temperament. They are quiet little souls whose petite frame requires only gentle walking. Their silky fur requires a lot of grooming, but will keep them looking gorgeously sleek
Calm small dog breeds
When life gets a little hectic, having a dog who is calm can help bring you a little peace. Some small dogs have a reputation for being "yappy" and even a little wild. If you are concerned about this, and particularly want to find the right calm small dog breed for your home, you should take the time to thoroughly research the breed you are considering. You should also bear in mind that every dog is different, even when a breed is known for particular characteristics.
Are small dog breeds cheaper to insure?
It’s easy to assume that bigger dogs are more prone to health issues or accidents. Small or large, each dog breed is different and has its own set of needs to stay happy and healthy. The cost of pet insurance is more determined by breed, age and the type of insurance you decide to take out.