What are the most popular small dog breeds?

What are the most popular small dog breeds?

Are you thinking of getting a pint-sized pooch? Whether you’re after a cuddly lapdog or a ‘Toy’ breed , small dogs can be a great choice of pet. After all, these miniature hounds have been bred to comfort and love their owners for hundreds of years. 

If you’re limited on space but are looking for a canine companion that is as cute as a button, then we’re here to demystify exactly why certain small dog breeds prove popular with pet owners time and time again.

Small dogs are generally more adaptable for living in apartments, and on the whole, require less exercise than their bigger doggy counterparts.

That said, smaller canines can live in pretty much any kind of housing and be happy, as long as they are properly cared for.

If you’re looking for a travel partner, small dogs tend to be accepted into far more establishments than larger canines.

When you have a smaller pooch, you’ll find that hotels, shops and even restaurants are more inclined to let you visit. For city dwellers, this might be an important factor.


What is the best small dog to buy?

Nowadays, more and more people are opting for a smaller-sized breed and find it more convenient to look after them ­– in fact, veterinary treatment costs can be a lot less than that of a bigger pup.

If you’re thinking about getting your very own furry companion but are concerned about how much it will cost to take care of them, finding the right breed is of paramount importance.

Don’t forget that there are shelters and dog homes all over the country with small doggies waiting to be rehomed.

If you’re unsure whether you want to buy a pedigree breed, consider adopting a rescue dog ­– they will be thoroughly grateful for the attention, love and emotional support that you can give them as their new owner. And if you compare dog insurance, you can get covered for any little accidents or illnesses that happen along the way.

We’ve selected some gorgeous small dog breeds to consider that cost less to keep than most. Which one would be best for you?



A brown and tan Chihuahua

Average height: 15cm

The ultimate teeny tiny ‘Toys’, Chihuahuas are one of the less expensive breeds among small dogs. They can cost around £300 to buy and will cost around £70 a month to keep.

Like many small dogs, they have a longer lifespan of up to 12 years in age ­– meaning that with the right treatment, they can live a long and healthy life by their owner’s side. They’re generally easy to groom as their fur is short, and require only 30 minutes of exercise a day to keep them fit and healthy.



Average height: 20-27cm

Dachshunds attract quite a loyal following, and owners tend to return to these lovable pets time and time again.

Also known as ‘sausage dogs’, dachshunds are a versatile breed and they are adaptable to a range of different living environments.

They are therefore an excellent addition to the family dynamic, and are sure to provide endless entertainment with their bold characters.

Of all the small dog breeds, they are one of the least expensive and can cost around £250-300 to buy as a pup.

They’re good for first-time dog owners if you’re looking for a companion that is kid-friendly and fun-loving. These tiny pooches need around an hour of exercise per day - but they are generally easy to look after, making them a good small dog to buy.


Jack Russell Terrier

Average height: 20-30cm

Traditionally used for fox hunting purposes, this miniature breed loves nothing more than digging, diving and chasing.

As a working dog, you can get a puppy for around £300 and upwards, depending on the breeder. Jack Russell Terriers are an iconic breed and require lots of exercise and stimulation.

If you have a lot of outdoor space, then this breed is the perfect fit. Jack Russells have the reputation of being fit and healthy little dogs, with a lengthy lifespan, which means you will probably spend less on vet bills in the long run.


What is the best house dog?

So what exactly makes a small dog perfect for living at home? It depends entirely on your circumstances: some people want a dog that doesn’t shed a lot of fur; others want one that doesn’t make too much noise; or they might desire a dog that can get along with other animals and humans. Here are a range of different small breeds that could fit into your ‘pack’.


Shih Tzu

A Shih-Tzu standing in a grassy field ona lead

Height: 20-27cm

The affectionate little Shih Tzu is the ideal household pet. Bred as a lapdog, they are friendly, cuddly, and love nothing more than to be considered an important member of the household.

These pups are adaptable to all living environments and are quite comfortable in a smaller apartment. A doting Shih Tzu will follow its owner from room to room and is an outgoing little house dog.

Shih Tzus, in fact, have a double coat, which does not fall to the ground or on to furniture, but instead sheds off into the coat itself.

As a result, you will need to keep on top of brushing them regularly. The best option for a Shih Tzu is to clip their fur, which keeps it out of their eyes.



Height: 20-25cm

A toy breed that has become a glamorous companion thanks to its silky, flat white coat, Maltese are surprisingly low-shedding and require only a daily brush and a frequent bath – much like ourselves!

They are, in fact, a superb breed for those with allergies. Maltese are lively and playful, and if there’s somebody at home all day, they appreciate the company more than most. They take well to training and adore learning new tricks.

This ancient breed dates back over 2,000 years when Maltese women of nobility would have a luscious lapdog by their side. If you would like a reliable watchdog, then a Maltese is a wonderful household member.



Height: 25-27 cm

Despite their loud bark, Pomeranians respond very well to socialisation with animals and humans from a young age and can grow to be very mellow and gentle creatures.

They are inquisitive ‘lap dogs’ that love attention and cuddles, so they’re ideal for families or older owners.

Poms have a double coat that requires daily grooming but subsequently brings out their gorgeous, fluffy fur. While they don’t require lots of space at home, Pomeranians enjoy learning new tricks and only need a minimum of half an hour’s exercise per day.


What small dogs can be left alone?

It’s common for many pet owners nowadays to have to leave their dogs at home for extended periods, although this isn’t recommended.

There are however some small dog breeds that are relatively independent and can cope well with periods by themselves or are quite happy entertaining themselves while you’re busy around the house.



A pug standing in a grassy field

Average height: 23-33cm

Pugs, for example, are quite content to snooze (and snore) all afternoon on the sofa. They don’t require a large amount of exercise, so long as when you leave them, they have access to some outside space to go to the toilet and wander about.

This makes them a good choice of small dog breed if you leave to go to work in the morning – as they’ll probably be sleeping. They rarely get into mischief when left alone, and will shuffle to the door to greet you with a delightful grunt.


French Bulldog

Average height: 27-30cm

While they’re not quite as docile as Pugs might be, French Bulldogs don’t require excessive exercise nor long runs, and so can be left to their own devices more so than other small breeds.

That in mind, they do prefer to have your company and attention and so they make an adorable family pet, or can be a very affectionate companion for people that work from home.

Frenchies don’t bark too much, so they are a pleasant small breed to have if you live in an apartment with neighbours.


What dogs stay small forever?

Are you interested in knowing which dogs stay the same size throughout their entire lives? Smaller dogs are incredibly popular, and so over time breeders have purposefully bred or ‘dwarfed down’ smaller versions of the most popular breeds.

Most of these breeds belong to the ‘Toy’ Group, which have been around for hundreds of years but have been bred for one purpose only – to accompany their human companions.

Nowadays popular with city dwellers, they are adaptable and quite happy to perch on your lap while you’re sitting on the sofa.

It’s important to note that while these breeds will be perfectly healthy if they are given the appropriate diet and exercise, their size and selective breeding comes with their own potential set of health risks, which certainly warrants further research.

It’s also a good idea to compare dog insurance plans so that you can mitigate the risks associated with any health concerns you do come across.

Watch out for ‘Teacup’ breeds in particular – official dog welfare groups warn owners about the dangers of buying a dog bred for aesthetic purposes, which can lead to all sorts of congenital defects and respiratory problems. 


Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise walking along grass in-between some green apples

Average height: 23-28cm

A toy breed with adorably fluffy fur, the Bichon Frise will remain the same size throughout their lives.

They are affectionate lap dogs and don’t require a huge amount of exercise but they do enjoy it! If you have a small garden, they’ll be content enough pottering about and stretching their four legs.

Their size is perfect for cuddling in your lap and perching on the arms of the sofa watching the outside world go by.

The coat of a Bichon Frise is also hypoallergenic and it helps them out enormously if you’re on top of clipping it regularly.


Yorkshire Terrier

Average height: 20cm

This is another small dog breed with an avid number of loyal followers. Yorkies are bright, chipper and ever so excitable.

Small but mighty, if you are looking for a tiny dog with attitude, they make a wonderful pet. In fact, they are usually full size by the time they’re one year old.

Yorkshire Terriers love attention and plenty of cuddles, and technically don’t require a lot of exercise but they certainly enjoy running and ball games nonetheless!

They do however need to be groomed daily to keep their coats free of knots and tangles, but a regular clipping will have them in tip-top condition in no time.


What small dogs are easy to train?


Toy Poodle

A brown toy poodle wearing a red bandanna running next to a wooden fence in a field

Average height: 24-28 cm

Frequent champions of obedience competitions and agility courses, the toy poodle takes the crown for being the easiest small dog to train.

Their boundless agility and ability to jump and fetch will leave dog owners astounded – they are, by definition, pint-sized athletes. Poodles have developed a reputation for being a ‘prissy’ dog.

They are, in fact, far from this. These are incredibly smart dogs, who need plenty of mental stimulation to keep them entertained.

Poodles are a wonderful companion for older adults that are still active but live in a peaceful household.

If you are prepared to keep this lively pooch mentally and physically stimulated, they will love you for it. Poodles are the most hypoallergenic of all the dog breeds and regular clipping will help keep them active, happy and clean.


Finding the right breed for you

There is a small dog out there for every type of dog owner – it’s all about finding the right breed to suit you. It’s important to remember, however, that they are still canines and should be treated as such.

Take their natural temperament into account, and remember that all dogs require exercise and some basic training to become the perfect pint-sized pet.

Unfortunately, many owners forget that their miniature dogs are more than mere fashion accessories. The welfare of a small dog is just as important as a bigger one, and they need a balanced diet and sufficient activity level to keep them entertained.

Small dog breeds are more prone to developing genetic health problems, as they have often been bred to be the size that they are. For that reason, it’s important to research further into potential issues that the breed might have before committing to a new pet.


Compare dog insurance to keep your small pet happy

We recommend getting your small doggies covered so that throughout their lives, you can take care of them without worrying about the potential cost of vet bills.

Compare dog insurance with us to discover the best deals and so that you can relax with your furry friend. Get a quote today!

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