“Cute” isn’t just an adjective, it’s a state of mind. No matter what size or temperament you’re thinking about for your next pet, there’s a cute dog to fit your needs.

By Chad Taylor
August 24, 2020
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Look, we get it. Much like art, “cute” is a matter of taste, especially when you’re trying to rank something. Most everyone might agree that something is cute, but to say it’s the cutest? That’s a bold step. Especially when it comes to identifying cute dogs. I mean, aren’t all dogs cute?

But cute isn’t just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also a state of mind! So this list doesn’t merely highlight some of the most adorable faces in dog-dom, it’s also here to shatter your preconceptions. Gone is the belief that only small dogs are cute! Away with notions of “cute” being solely the realm of the fluffy! These dogs are here to prove that cute comes in all shapes and sizes.

We submit for your consideration, 10 of the cutest dog breeds we’ve ever seen—in all shapes and sizes. 

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Cutest Small Dog: Yorkshire Terrier  

The Yorkie has long been one of the most popular breeds in the United States and it’s easy to see why. With their diminutive size (around 7 pounds) and their large, brown eyes, Yorkies are just begging to be scooped up and snuggled close. Bonus: Their coats are very similar to human hair, making them prime targets for a huge variety of styling options, further enhancing their adorability potential.

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Cutest Small Dog (Part 2): Norfolk Terrier  

Alert, expressive faces? Check. Tiny size? Check. Highly playful? Check. Yup, that’s a combination for cuteness! The Norfolk terrier might not be as common a breed as some of the others on this list, but one look at these little guys and it’s easy to see why they’d make the cut. With a wiry coat that gives them a kind of “scruffy ragamuffin” look and those big, expressive eyes, the Norfolk terrier is as adept at warming hearts as he is at hunting rodents on the farm.

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Cutest Small Dog (Part 3): Papillon 

Those ears! If the giant, fringed, wing-shaped ears that give the papillon its name aren’t enough for you, spending some time around this intelligent people-pleaser will definitely push you over the edge. These beautiful, delicately built dogs (under 10 pounds) have been a favorite of royalty for centuries, even accompanying Marie Antoinette as she walked to the guillotine. Any dog that gets picked for “last thing I see before I die” HAS to be cute!

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Cutest Big Dog: Golden Retriever  

There are other cute dogs that are even bigger (we’re looking at you, Newfoundland), but there are few dogs of any size that can match the goldie’s joie de vivre. These incredibly loving, goofy, people-pleasing balls of joy have been one of the three most popular breeds in the U.S. for over a decade, and it’s easy to see why. Look into the face of a goldie for more than a few moments and you’ll definitely find yourself smiling right along with them. And while they’re the biggest dog on this list—topping out around 75 pounds—they’re still a manageable size for most living situations and owners. 

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Cutest Athlete: Parson Russell Terrier  

We’re going to save the whole “Parson Russell/Russell/Jack Russell distinction” conversation for another time. But the bottom line here is that the Russell terriers are here to make sure you’re getting your recommended daily allowance of adorable. A dog that was seemingly custom made for television, the Parson Russell is photogenic, incredibly intelligent, and built for physical activity. Despite their small stature, these dogs thrive on agility training, hunting excursions, learning tricks, or even a spirited run around the lake.

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Cutest Couch Potato: French Bulldog  

I mean, just look at him. Look at that smooshed face. Those big, round eyes. Those giant ears. This little guy is consistently in the top five most popular breeds in the U.S. and has been a favorite among city dwellers specifically because of his even-tempered, adaptable nature. More than happy to curl up on a couch or find a sunny window for a nap, the Frenchie is the laid-back dog of your dreams, while also being one of the most adorable dogs around. Single guys: You want to meet ladies? Get a Frenchie. Thank us later.

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Cutest Celebrity Dog: Pomeranian  

If you’re famous, or just want a dog who can get more Likes than you, you’re looking for a Pomeranian. Usually clocking in right around 5 pounds, the Pom established itself in the early 2000s as the go-to “purse dog” for the Los Angeles glitterati. But don’t think for a minute that the Pomeranian is content as an adorable little accessory. Just take a look at Instagram and peep Jiffpom (real name: Boo), the impossibly cute Pomeranian with 10.6 million followers (or about 3 times as many as Martha Stewart). Jiffpom passed away in January, 2019 (RIP), but his page still garners thousands of likes every day and he’s been the subject of not one but four picture books. Make no mistake, when it comes to “cute,” the Pomeranian came to play.

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Cutest Genius Dog: Pembroke Welsh Corgi 

There are whole Pinterest pages and YouTube video compilations devoted to corgi butts. Not whole corgis. Just. Their. Bottoms. When the entire Internet is unified in its love for your booty, you know you’re a darn cute dog. Across the pond, Queen Elizabeth II has known that corgis were where it’s at for decades, as she’s probably been the most famous corgi owner ever. Anime fans will also know and love the corgi thanks to Ein, the super-intelligent dog from the Cowboy Bebop series. But even owners of non-animated, non-royal corgis will tell you: The only thing cuter than a corgi is a corgi doing tricks.

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Cutest Working Dog: Samoyed 

Fluffy, snow white, fluffy, intelligent, and VERY FLUFFY. What’s not to love? Bred to work in some of the world’s coldest locations, Samoyeds have a thick (did we mention fluffy?) white coat that keeps them warm in harsh environments. And it has the bonus benefit of making them completely irresistible to boot. In fact, a surprising number of the Samoyed’s features seem to pull “functional/adorable” double duty: The corners of their mouths are upturned to keep them from drooling and forming icicles on their face, and it results in the breed having a permanent smile!

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Cutest Ugly Dog: Toy Xoloitzcuintli   

As we stated at the beginning, not all cute dogs are small. However, a strong argument could be made that all small dogs are cute. And there may not be a better example of that than the Xolo. In the standard size, the Xolo can be a polarizing breed. Some love their ancient, noble look, while others find their blunt, squarish features off-putting or intimidating. Shrink that dog down to the toy size, however, and just about all bets are off. As their ears grow in proportion to the rest of their bodies, the heads of the toy-size Xolo take on a comical appearance. And the little mohawk that’s common to the breed gives them an air of affable punk rock. Like a baby in a leather jacket.