Not every cute dog is a tiny dog. But a strong argument can be made that every tiny dog is a cute one!

By Chad Taylor
August 24, 2020
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Purse dogs! Pocket dogs! Dogs you can carry in a Babybjörn and outfit with sunglasses! People love small dogs for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s their functionality as ratters or hunters of small game. For others, it’s their energetic nature and love of play and discovery. But no matter why you find yourself loving tiny puppers, everyone agrees on one thing: They’re adorable!

But more than just purveyors of good looks, little dogs are also practical. “As we become a more and more urban-based society, little dogs become more and more popular for apartment dwellers,” Dennis Riordan, DVM, of the Riordan Pet Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa, says. “They tend to be longer lived than larger breeds, they are generally lower maintenance in regards to grooming and feeding, and they have lower exercise requirements, which are easier to meet in places with less access to green space.”

Whether you want a lap dog, running companion, or fierce little hunter, there’s a lovable tiny dog out there just for you. And while everyone can probably chime in with their own personal favorite, here are a few that have caught our eye.

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Chihuahua 

A Chihuahua is the first dog just about anyone thinks of when you tell them to picture a tiny dog. Because they’re the tiniest! Clocking in at 5 pounds and below, Chihuahuas sometimes have a reputation for being … less than friendly. More often than not, any aggression issues are the result of a lack of training; a properly trained Chihuahua will be a loving, affable member of the family. They’re also undeniably cute. With their apple-shaped heads, round, expressive eyes and tiny stature, it’s hard not to see one and say “aww.”

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Brussels Griffon

Look at that adorable pout. These affable, curious little fellows always look like they’re slightly disgruntled at the world, but I assure you: These dogs are perfectly gruntled. Easily trained and deeply connected to their family members, Brussels griffons don’t tolerate being alone very well, so be prepared to take this little guy with you whenever possible. Or, even better, get two and they can be friends!

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Havanese

The only dog native to Cuba, the Havanese is a beautiful pup with a gorgeous silken coat that can be left shaggy, brushed smooth, or even corded. A natural born people-pleaser, the Havanese is intelligent and loves performing tricks and being the center of attention.

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Japanese Chin 

A well-socialized Japanese Chin is a sweet, fastidious dog who has been described as decidedly feline in his manner and personality. Bred as a lapdog for Eastern nobility, these little fellows are most at home on a soft couch or in your lap, so be ready for plenty of cuddle time.

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American Eskimo 

Hold on to your britches, because this dog just keeps getting cuter. Right off the bat, the American Eskimo is a gorgeous dog, with his shock of white fluffy fur, round, expressive eyes, and friendly face. These dogs are practically the dictionary definition of “people pleasers,” with a sweet, reserved personality and a deep loyalty for their family. If a standard American Eskimo (at 19 inches, 25 pounds) is too big for you, they come in a miniature version as well: 15 inches, 15 pounds. But if you wish they came in an even smaller package, just wait! Because there’s also a toy version that meets the criteria for the cutest and smallest dogs, weighing in at just 10 inches and less than 10 pounds!

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Maltese 

So silky. So soft. So fancy! The Maltese is the kind of dog who just looks like she should be rich. She’s blessed with a long, silky coat that you can have in any color you want, as long as that color is white. Outgoing and friendly, Maltese are long-lived companions who excel in agility competitions and make excellent show dogs, thanks to their naturally regal bearing. A breed that has benefitted from centuries of close companionship with humans, these intelligent little dogs take instruction exceptionally well, especially when paired with a treat.

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Miniature Pinscher 

Talk to fans of the breed and they’ll tell you there’s no better small dog than this “king of the toys,” the min pin. Alert, intelligent, and true tiny athletes, these little dogs are not toy versions of Doberman pinschers, as many people believe. Instead, they’re most likely a mix of dachshund and Italian greyhound lines. If you’re looking for a little dog to take on a jog or to compete in agility or flyball competitions, look no further than this handsome little runner.

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Papillon

The papillon is an incredibly smart, long-living, devoted family companion. He also has one of the most striking appearances you’ll see, courtesy of those giant, plumed ears from which the breed derives its name. (Their ears resemble butterfly wings, and “papillon” is French for “butterfly.”) These are dogs that will love to learn tricks and participate in games of fetch or hide-and-seek. But more than anything else, you’ll probably just want to stroke that soft, silky fur and look into those tiny, intelligent, expressive eyes all day long. We don’t blame you.

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Pomeranian 

If you’re here reading about a list of adorable small dogs and can honestly say that you don’t find Pomeranians cute, just stop it. We’re all friends here, and there’s no reason to lie. Their tiny, happy faces. Their poofball coats! Their bouncy, friendly nature. If you want a small dog in your life, there’s just nothing to dislike about the unfathomably adorable little Pom.

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Toy Poodle

Just about the only thing better than an adorable, teensy dog is an adorable, teensy dog who’s a low-allergen option! Just like their standard-size relatives, toy poodles come with that soft, curly coat that promises minimal shedding and easy maintenance. And that coat has the added benefit of coming on a 4- to 6-pound frame! Some of the longest-living little dogs around and one of the most intelligent breeds on the planet, toy poodles can provide entertainment, friendship, and an endless amount of Insta likes for years to come.

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Silky Terrier 

It’s right there in the name: THEY’RE SO SILKY! Resembling their cousin the Yorkshire terrier, the silky terrier comes from Australia and is a true terrier in every sense of the word: energetic, alert, and always up for a bit of fun indoors or out. Natural born hunters, they will love to chase any tiny critters that make their way into your yard, but most of the time you’ll just be holding these 10-pound guys, running your fingers through that soft, long fur and enjoying their kisses and companionship.

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Yorkshire Terrier 

It would have been sacrilege to name-check the Yorkie, then not TALK about the Yorkie! Affectionate, spritely, and keenly intelligent, these little dogs have been winning hearts for almost 200 years. Originally bred for chasing rodents in warehouses, these tiny dogs are still more than happy to play the role of mighty hunter if needed. But nowadays they’re much more likely to be found posing for your camera or wrapped up in your arms.