The Top Ten Small Dog Breeds In America

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Posted on December 13th, 2007

Dogs are the most popular pets in the world, and for good reason. Dogs are loyal, fun, friendly, and they love their owners unconditionally. There are many kinds of dogs that people can choose from according to their preferences and needs.

People used to like big dogs, but lately, small dogs have become very popular. Small dogs are especially popular among women and families with children because they are easy to train, play with, and handle. Big dogs can be very tiring, and for the people who want their pets a little more peaceful, toy dogs are the way to go.

Here is a list of the ten most popular small dog breeds in America.

10: Papillon

a papillion dog
A black, white and brown Papillion

The Papillon is an old European small dog breed. It gets its name from the French word for ‘butterfly’ because of its liveliness and its erect ears. Papillons are friendly and affectionate. They are tougher than they look and are quite intelligent.

Papillons, however, are not simple lap dogs. They are energetic, playful and love go for walks, and move around all day. Papillons also have good agility and since they are intelligent, they are ideal to enter in dog competitions and shows.

Papillons need to be trained early so they can become confident and outgoing. In general, they are better for older children and they are also sociable to other pets.

9: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

cavalier king charles spaniel dog
Two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel by the sea

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a toy spaniel, though its size is bigger than the normal English Spaniel. The Cavalier is popular among pet owners because it is a happy, gentle, playful, and even-tempered dog. They are good for families, even those that have children because Cavaliers love playing with children.

Cavaliers love attention and affection. Cavaliers like sitting on people’s laps and cuddling, as well as snuggling with humans in their beds. They need to be trained early so that they will become confident. Cavaliers like running outside and chasing other small animals.

8: Miniature Pinscher

mini pinscher dogs
Lovable red and chocolate Mini Pinschers

The Miniature Pinscher, or the Minipin, is considered the most active and the liveliest of all small breeds. They are very energetic and brave, despite their size. Minipins can be hyper, and often think that they are larger than they really are, which can lead to occasional aggression towards other dogs.

Minipins are very stubborn and should be trained early for socialization and obedience, but once they are trained, minipins are good companions to have. Minipins are ideal for households with older children and even-tempered household pets. When you bring the minipin outside, make sure that your dog is attached to a leash because minipins tend to run off in their excitement.

7: Maltese

a maltese puppy
A cute Maltese puppy with a flower ribbon

The Maltese is one of the most intelligent and gentle of small dog breeds. They are lively, agile, and very playful, but like other small dog breeds, they need to be trained early so that they can get over their mistrust of strangers, and their tendency to bark a lot.

The Maltese is cheerful, loyal, loving, smart, energetic and playful. Their personalities are very strong, and the breed is known for its charm. Maltese puppies like obedience training and are almost always potential entries to competitions and dog shows.

6: Pomeranian

a pomeranian dog
A cute tri-colored pomeranian

Pomeranians, or what we call Poms and Pommies, are considered one of the smallest dog breeds in the world today. They are lively, energetic, and, like the minipin, Poms are prone to being hyper. Pomeranians look similar to the long-haired chihuahua.

Pomeranians are very curious about their surroundings and will tend to explore and observe everything that’s happening around them. They are sociable dogs, but they tend to bark a lot at strangers. Pommies are proud and confident to the point of being considered cocky. Since they are very intelligent and willing to learn, they can be trained to minimize their tendency to bark. The best way to teach a Pom new things is through positive reinforcement and gentle methods of training.

5: Pug

a pug dog
An adult black Pug

Pugs are small, sturdy dogs. They are the largest dogs among the small breeds, and they are very popular. Pugs are thought of as charming, adorable, and very entertaining. Pugs have squashed up faces, bulging eyes, short snouts, and a generally flat face. In fact, sometimes, pugs can run into walls and hit their eyes.

Pugs are popular mostly because of their facial structure. They are so different to look at compared to other dogs that they are cute. However, pugs are also even-tempered, pleasant, friendly, and easy-going. They are good with small children, other small pets, and even toddlers.

Pugs also don’t need training anymore because of their generally mature personalities, though they do enjoy training and they tend to learn easily.

4: Chihuahua

a chihuahua dog
An adult Chihuahua inside a subway train

If the pug is the largest, the Chihuahua, on the other hand, is the smallest of all the small breeds. Chihuahuas are intelligent dogs. They are also charming and loving to their owners to the point of wanting to be by their owner’s side all the time.

Chihuahuas are very affectionate and need to have close contact with their owners or their owner’s family all the time. They make great companions, though they tend to bark a lot when they see strangers because they are not trusting. Chihuahuas often think of themselves as large and will tend to challenge bigger dogs.

Chihuahuas can be good with children if they are raised together. They are intelligent and easy to train. Chihuahuas should be trained early so that they don’t become excessive barkers when they grow up.

3: Shih Tzu

a shih tzu dog
A beautiful adult Shih Tzu small dog

The Shih Tzu is a sturdy and robust breed. They are intelligent, affectionate, playful, outgoing, and naturally self-confident. Shih Tzus are great dogs for people living in apartments and the elderly. They are charming, loyal, and devoted to their family.

Shih Tzus are also great companions for travelers, and get along very well with other creatures. Unlike most other dog breeds, they are not aggressive towards strangers and other animals, though there are some that tend to bark a lot.

2: Toy Poodle

a toy poodle pup
An adorable white Poodle puppy

There are three sizes to the poodle, and its toy size is considered number two in the ranking of most popular small dog breeds. You have to understand, however, that toy poodles do not have the same characteristics and personalities as their standard and larger counterparts.

Toy poodles are less than a foot tall at the shoulder, and tend to be more sensitive than the standard poodles. They are more active, loud, and also less confident. Toy poodles need to be socialized and trained early so that they do not bark so much.

Toy poodles like long walks and exercise, so they are good for active people who like to travel and go to different places. Toy poodles are also good for families with older, gentle children.

1: Yorkshire Terrier

a yorkshire terrier dog
A long-haired Yorkshire Terrier

The number one on the count is the Yorkshire Terrier! The Yorkie is so popular in the United States that it almost caught up to the golden retriever, which is at number two in popularity of all dog sizes. Yorkies are popular because they have the traits that make larger dogs admirable, but all in a small body.

Yorkies are hard players and hardly ever run out of energy.

Yorkies need extra attention when it comes to training, because they can be willful. There are Yorkies that learn quickly, while there are others that tend to be very stubborn. Yorkies get along with other animals well, but they tend to be possessive of their toys and food.

Yorkies are good with behaved children. They also tend to bark shrilly at strangers, so they have to be trained early to reduce their barking tendencies.


These are the top ten breeds of small dogs in America. If you are looking for a loving companion, a small dog is perfect for you. They won’t give you much trouble, and they are also easy to care for. Unlike large dogs, small dogs are not difficult to catch up with, but are just as fun! They are also very cute, and there are many things you can do with a small dog. You definitely have to try it!

Although they are all cute and adorable, each breed of dogs needs different maintenance just like if you have a Chihuahua and an English Bulldog. There are Things You Should Get Your Chihuahua Puppy and there are Hazards To An English Bulldog. Also, there are Ways On How To Keep Your Dog Healthy.

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