The Most Popular Small Dog Breeds in the United States

These nine tiny pups might be just right for your family.

Our four-legged friends come in all shapes and sizes. And while there are some people who prefer larger dogs, many Americans still want (or need, thanks to limited living quarters) pups that are on the smaller side.

There are a myriad of incredible small dog breeds to choose from—and each one's cute factor is off the charts. If you're considering welcoming one of these dogs into your family, remember that not all pint-sized pups are the same—and a smaller dog isn't necessarily easier to care for from a temperament perspective. For that reason, you should never choose a breed solely based on size. "When it comes to selecting a dog breed, it's important to consider a variety of factors, including temperament and your lifestyle," says Erin Askeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, Camp Bow Wow's animal health and behavior expert. "It's also important to understand that breed alone doesn't automatically assure you of anything, including temperament and health."

Brunette woman carrying Yorkshire Terrier at beach
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There are, however, several small dog breeds that are extremely popular—which means there's a good chance they'd fit right into your family unit. Here, discover the tiny pups that top the American Kennel Club's list of most popular small dog breeds.

01 of 09

French Bulldog

Happy French Bulldog in flowers outdoors
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Who can resist the oversized ears and curious expressions of one of the American Kennel Club's top small dog breeds? French Bulldogs are famous for their sweet dispositions and adaptability (they thrive in cities and take well to apartment living) and are great companions for children, other pets, or even just one human parent.

02 of 09

Mini Schnauzer

Mini Schnauzer on wooden deck
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Askeland calls the Mini Schnauzer the best "all around" dog breed. "A Mini Schnauzer is a fantastic dog for a variety of people, including families, and they are typically healthy, adaptable, and outgoing," she says. They're also easy to train, enjoyable to travel with, and have low-maintenance grooming needs.

03 of 09

Mini Dachshunds

Dachshund running with ball

These "hot dogs" are easy to pick out of a crowd thanks to their distinct shape. Dachshunds are known for their bold personalities and adorably expressive faces—and always seem ready to jump in on the fun. They come in three different coat types and several different color variations. Most of the miniature varieties top out around 11 pounds. Despite their small stature, they come with a big bark, which is why this breed makes a surprisingly good watchdog.

04 of 09


corgi on the beach
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Corgis were a known favorite of Queen Elizabeth before her death, and there's a good reason why. These tiny sweethearts have been described as strong thanks to their herding past, but they're also affectionate, making them great options for people looking for a big dog personality in a little dog package. There are a couple of different Corgi varieties, with the Pembroke being the most popular. You can tell the difference between the Pembroke and other breeds (like the Carid) by looking at the ears (only a Pembroke's are pointed).

05 of 09

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terrier dog on the sofa
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Also known as a Yorkie, these long-haired dogs are known for their ability to track and trap. They are small in stature (most don't break 7 pounds) and boast a tenacious and feisty personality. They make great pets for people living in small spaces or urban areas and make excellent watchdogs. Pet parents who own this breed are likely going to have a house full of love and laughter, thanks to the tiny dog's big personality.

06 of 09

Cavalier King Charles

Cavalier King Charles spaniel in grass

Cavalier King Charles pups are known for their happy personalities, according to Askeland. "These dogs are easy-going, friendly, gentle, and loving," she says, adding how they love to show their athletic side (so get them outdoors to run and play before coming home for a good snuggle). "They want to be your best friend and hope you feel the same."

They thrive with lots of attention, and their coats do require a little extra work and grooming to keep them healthy.

07 of 09


chihuahua puppy in garden

If you're looking for a "teacup" sized dog, Askeland says you can't go wrong with a Chihuahua. "They are fairly low maintenance in their grooming and exercise needs, easy to travel with due to their tiny size, and they love to cuddle," she explains. "Despite their small size, they have plenty of personality. They are incredibly loyal and very intelligent, so they are eager to learn!"

Plus they're small enough they can tag along with you on just about any adventure.

08 of 09

West Highland Terrier

West Highland White Terrier runs along the path
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Also known as a Westie, this dog is a true adventurer. "Westies can be fantastic smaller dogs for those with an active lifestyle," Askeland says, adding that they have a huge love of all things outdoors and can't get enough playtime or opportunities to explore. "They are also highly social. Their grooming needs are less than a long-haired dog, as their wiry coats just need regular, easy brushing. They also tend to be on the low end when it comes to shedding."

09 of 09


beagle on boardwalk
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These dogs make great companions for those with kids, says Askeland. "Beagles are generally family-friendly dogs with a happy-go-lucky personality and desire to be a part of the group," she says, noting that the embody the best of both worlds thanks to their love of activities and their ability to stay home and chill out with family. "They do need play time and exercise and especially love to follow their nose. Their curious nature can get them in trouble, so keeping them busy with the right activities is a must."

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