Cute small dogs: What are the cutest dogs that stay small?

Some people really don't like small dogs. They can be yappy, loud, and incredibly clingy. But there are actually many breeds with personalities as just as cute as their looks! So what are the best cute dogs that stay small?

Small dogs can be very annoying, but which ones are the cutest?
Small dogs can be very annoying, but which ones are the cutest?  © Collage: Unsplash/Alvan Nee/Karsten Winegeart/Edson Torres

There's a not entirely unfair cliché that say the smaller the dog, the louder and more irritating it tends to be.

But we're here to share a secret with you: it doesn't have to be the case!

In fact, there are plenty of dog breeds whose size is inversely proportional to the quality of their character: they're tiny, but have huge hearts that you might just fall in love with.

Disabled dog rides off into the sunset and wins hearts on YouTube
Dogs Disabled dog rides off into the sunset and wins hearts on YouTube

TAG24's dog guide is taking a close look at the top 10 cutest dogs that stay small.

Who knows, maybe your next pet is right here on this list!

Why are small dogs so cute?

Small dogs aren't always the friendliest, but they never fail to melt our hearts with their petite size.

According to Dr Christian Jarrett, a cognitive neuroscientist writing for the BBC's Science Focus magazine, this sense of cuteness is the result of an evolutionary trait that's hard to avoid as a human.

"In humans, and other animals, this response is an evolved, innate behavior that motivates adults to look after helpless infants, and to be more sensitive to their needs and feelings."

In other words, we find small dogs cute because they remind us of helpless infants that we are biologically programmed to love and protect. The attention that a small dog's presence attracts takes on the identity of a 'cute' response because it's a "trigger activity associated with reward and also compassion and empathy."

Seeing as domestic dogs have been bred and designed to fit into the traits we humans want out of our canine companions, this cuteness is likely the result of genetic changes made to trigger us on a neurological level.

Top 10 cutest small dogs in the world

There are some incredibly cute dogs out there, many of them of the large or medium variety. But there's plenty of charm to go around when it comes to small dog breeds too!

Here are the ten cutest dogs that stay small throughout their whole life.

Chihuahuas are incredibly cute and small, but have the most horrendous personalities out there.
Chihuahuas are incredibly cute and small, but have the most horrendous personalities out there.  © 123RF/Karegg

10. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are famous as dogs typically owned by the rich and famous.

Some of the longest living dogs in the world, the chihuahua needs a lot of training a lot of exercise if you want it to behave. If you let its emotions go uncontrolled or fail to give it the opportunity to release its energy, it's going to become downright demonic.

Still, with a lot of love and patience, the chihuahua can become a partner for life.

9. Russian tsvetnaya bolonka

The Russian tsvetnaya bolonka isn't a particularly common canine.
The Russian tsvetnaya bolonka isn't a particularly common canine.  © 123RF/Karegg

As its name unsurprisingly suggests, the tsvetnaya bolonka comes from Russia. Famous for its sweet and sunny disposition, these tiny little cuties are traditionally kept as lapdogs.

These little pooches sure do love children, too! In fact, they're considered some of the chillest family pets around – if you can get a hold of one, of course. They are relatively rare and usually not found in most pet shops outside Eastern Europe.

They don't shed much fur, require a lot of attention, but make up for all that with looks that'll melt even the iciest of hearts.

8. Dachshund

Bred to be hunters, Dachshunds are small and strong dogs.
Bred to be hunters, Dachshunds are small and strong dogs.  © 123RF/Olgagorovenko

A tiny little dog from the folks that brought us bratwurst and good beer, the dachshund is one of the more popular dog breeds in America right now. Often referred to as a "sausage dog", they were originally bred to hunt small animals – now they hunt naught but snacks.

As we detailed in our comprehensive dachshund in profile guide, these little rodent-like doggos are positively beaming with self-confidence and an overly inflated sense of their own abilities. It can be cute, but also tremendously frustrating and, considering the scrawny little legs they sport, truly hilarious at times.

Also relatively long-lived, this dog breed has become hugely popular over the years.

7. Miniature poodle

Miniature poodles have the curls of the poodle and the size of a smaller doggo.
Miniature poodles have the curls of the poodle and the size of a smaller doggo.  © 123RF/Annaav

If you're in the moodle for a poodle, but don't have the space at home, consider getting yourself the budget version! Miniature poodles are small doggos made up of a cross-breed between (you guessed it) a poodle and a small dog breed. There are a variety of options, but the most important thing is always kept the same: that beautiful curly hair.

Larger among the small dog breed family, these doggos usually grow to be around 12–16 inches tall. They are incredibly friendly, a favorite choice for groomers, and fabulous-looking if dressed in a tiny black tuxedo. With fur like that, the miniature poodle is sure to bring a smile.

Cheerful and fun-loving, miniature poodles are well-worth our time. They are somehow cute and adorable, nice to be around, and small. What more could you want from a doggo of this stature?

6. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are some of the cutest and sweetest dogs out there.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels are some of the cutest and sweetest dogs out there.  © 123RF/Irinanedikova

A real charmer, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel was named after English nobility and has featured in many a piece of 18th and 19th century art. As adorable and cute as they might look, though, this is a dog breed not to be trifled with.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels have become famous for their tendency towards severe separation anxiety, and their habit of becoming rather naughty when left to their own devices. Be careful with these fluffy fellows, they're bound to tunnel under the fence or scratch the glass on your sliding door.

Much like their namesake, King Charles II, these are some destructive and rather confusing little doggos. Restoration of the monarchy after Cromwell's death may be why they remain so popular, but chaos still follows them wherever they go.

5. Maltese

The Maltese might be really bad yappers, but they're decently friendly.
The Maltese might be really bad yappers, but they're decently friendly.  © Unsplash/Tali Despins

Named after the delicious chocolate balls that make any night at the movies an absolute delight, these small white dogs are fond of children, playful, and full of enthusiasm. They're also tremendously temperamental and will, like many small dogs, require a lot of your attention.

Maltese dogs often grow to be around ten inches in height and about 8–10 pounds in weight, and typically live for around 12–15 years. They feature an iconic silky white coat that requires plenty of baths and plenty of grooming.

If you're going to adopt a Maltese, make sure that you're aware of what you're getting yourself into. These creatures will suck away all of your spare time - but if cuteness is an ample reward for such a disadvantage, it's your funeral.

Fun fact: Maltese dogs were actually named after their place of origin, Malta, not the delicious snack.

4. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are commonly used as guard dogs - it's hard to understand why!
Pomeranians are commonly used as guard dogs - it's hard to understand why!  © 123RF/Brostock

Nothing resembles a ball of fluff more than these small-medium sized dogs that think they're so cool. Sure, their smiles might be infectious and their noses endless boop-able, but these dogs hide a scarcely believable and largely unknown secret: they were bred to be guard dogs!

Yes, you heard that right. These tiny little creatures, so friendly and warm and kind, were originally meant to guard the estates of wealthy Germans in the mid-late 20th century. With a puffy lion-like mane and caramel-colored coat, you couldn't imagine them taking on such a responsibility – and on balance, it's good that they won't!

Pomeranians are the perfect doggo for any family, any older human who can't walk as much they used to, or pretty much anyone who wants a small dog. There's literally nothing to complain about – they are incredibly cute, incredibly friendly, and incredibly sweet.

3. Bichon frisé

The Bichon frisé is a decently allergy-friendly dog breed.
The Bichon frisé is a decently allergy-friendly dog breed.  © 123RF/Kotikov

With a Frenchy name like Bichon frisé, complete with an accent and all, it's very unsurprising that these puffy little dogs come from France. Having lived in royal courts for much of their decently lengthy existence, these small little dogs have certainly developed a regal vibe.

Only generally living until they're about fifteen, the Bichon frisé is a favorite among those obsessed with grooming and presenting their doggos at award shows. They are generally pretty well-behaved if they have been trained properly, and they kind-of look like what would happen if a Maltese had babies with a miniature poodle.

The Bichon frisé is a pretty solid doggo. They are happy, sweet and friendly, relatively easily to train, generally quiet, and great with children too.

2. Pug

Pugs are kings among small and cute dog breeds.
Pugs are kings among small and cute dog breeds.  © Unsplash/Mink Mingle

What is there to say that hasn't already been said about pugs? These four-pawed creatures are so genetically modified that they actually have breathing problems as a result of it, yet we can't get enough of their endless concerned and out-of-breath looks.

Tiny and incredibly sweet, the pug impresses with a positive vibe and a happy temperament. When it's feeling chill, that is. You see, pugs often suffer from pretty bad dog anxiety. As a result, they can act up quite a lot and become rather aggressive and loud. Keep this in mind when adopting.

If you're looking for an affectionate, if seriously unnatural dog to live under your roof, then look no further than the pug. They're cute, they're affectionate, they're loyal, and they're ridiculously loud.

1. Yorkshire terriers

Yorkshire terriers kind-of look like rats, cute rats.
Yorkshire terriers kind-of look like rats, cute rats.  © Unsplash/Madeline

Drum roll for a classic, please: our top pick is the Yorkie!

The thing about small dogs is that they have this over-inflated sense of their own importance and their own physical ability. Yorkshire terriers are the manifestation of this fact. They are loud, they are aggressive, they are often obnoxious, and they always want to be the center of attention.

We're putting this bad boy at the pinnacle of our list, though, because they are some of the most fascinating dogs out there. These creatures can be little nightmares or they can be adorable angels. When carefully groomed they may look like nasty little rodent-things, but when fully-furred, they steal our heart in an instant.

Yorkshire terriers deserve more love, mostly because they frequently just lack the proper training that keeps their worst impulses in check.

Cute small dogs are well-worth a cuddle

Sure, small dogs can be insanely cute and insanely huggable, but they can also be loud and annoying. What's important, though, is to focus on an important fact: these irritating tendencies are mostly down to a lack of training.

The trick to keeping a small dog is simple: have it trained as a puppy, let it expend its energy via agility training, make sure that it is obedient and has been taught plenty of commands, and keep it mentally stimulated using puzzle games.

Don't give up on having a dog just because you don't have space for a big one. Instead, remember that its size doesn't have to dictate its personality. With the right training and discipline, any doggo can be a perfect pooch!

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/Alvan Nee/Karsten Winegeart/Edson Torres

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