Meet 15 of the Smallest Dog Breeds in the World
Whether you live in close quarters or feel more confident owning a smaller dog, there are many breeds to choose from. Like all breeds, the smallest dogs in the world require certain care from their owners so that they can live their best lives.
One key consideration when adopting a smaller dog is early socialization. Smaller dogs, because of their size, tend to be intimidated more than their larger counterparts, says Deborah Thomson, DVM, which can cause them to defend themselves and lash out in unhealthy ways in order to compensate for what they lack in size. Socialization with other dogs early on as well as meet and greets with many different types of people will help build these tiny dogs’ confidence.
Because these dogs are so small, their joints can only take a little stress, so careful attention must be paid to their diet to avoid patellar luxation and other joint issues, Thomson says. Work with your vet to determine the best feeding plan for your small dog to keep them happy and healthy throughout their lives.
What is the Smallest Dog in the World?
Miracle Milly the Chihuahua currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest dog. She weighed approximately one pound and was under 4 inches tall—well below the average of her fellow Chihuahuas. Miracle Milly unfortunately passed away in 2020, but not before capturing the hearts of millions around the world, including on her own island of Puerto Rico.
Looking for a teeny friend of your own? Here are 15 of the smallest dog breeds in the world.
Weight: 3–6 pounds. Height: 6–9 inches.
Chihuahuas are a very popular dog breed, not just in the U.S., but worldwide, with origin stories yielding from South America to China. They are incredibly fun to have around and can spice up any person’s life, but they can be on the feisty side if not socialized and handled properly. Just make sure to stay on top of their dental health, brushing their teeth a couple of times a week. “Any long-nosed breed tends to be more of a mouth breather,” says Thomson. “When their mouth is dry, they don’t have the protection their saliva provides, which can cause bacteria to breed.”
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Weight: 4–6 pounds. Height: No more than 10 inches.
Poodles come in many different sizes, and one of the most beloved sizes is that of the toy poodle. Standing no more than 10 inches off the ground, toy poodles offer the intelligence and lack of shedding that standard poodles boast in a pint-sized package. They love to be an integral part of the family, so make sure you have enough attention to spare! If you’re an apartment dweller who suffers from allergies, the toy poodle might just be the tiny dog for you.
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Weight: 3–7 pounds. Height: 6–7 inches.
Don’t let their size fool you. Pomeranians are bundles of fun who have lots of energy. They have amazing personalities and easily ebb and flow between showing affection and operating independently. Because they have the stamina of much larger dogs, exercise and stimulation are a must to keep your Pom happy and healthy. Poms make the perfect partner for an extroverted owner who loves to be out and about and craves physical touch! Make sure you have a secure fence before you let these tiny pups run free in the backyard—they can be escape artists.
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Toy Fox Terrier
Weight: 3.5–7 pounds. Height: 8.5–11.5 inches.
There are so many terriers to choose from, but the toy fox terrier wins hearts for a reason. Toy fox terriers are low-maintenance pups who love to have a good time. Whether you’re chasing them around your kitchen island or asking them to sit on your lap, they are happy to oblige. Toy fox terriers are also easy to groom. In addition to their short stature, they have a short coat that sheds mildly. As long as they get the occasional bath and a good brush once a week, they’re content … and not stinky! And as always with a smaller breed, factor in some dental hygiene as well.
Weight: 7 pounds. Height: 7–8 inches.
When you picture a Yorkshire terrier, you probably don’t picture a hunter. But these former ratters still have all of the spunk of their ancestors! Like all terriers, Yorkies are used to having a job to do, even if their job is now being a loyal family member. Because of their instincts, Yorkies are very easy to train and are up for any challenge. They’re known for their luxurious longer coats, which give them a certain elegance that you can’t find anywhere else. Because of their precious coats, it’s a good idea to establish a great relationship with a local dog groomer. “Yorkies must have good haircuts from the start,” says Dr. Thomson. “When there’s hair that goes into their eyes, they can develop eye issues. Mouth trimming is also important so that bacteria doesn’t blossom after eating.”
Weight: 5–10 pounds. Height: 8–11 inches.
A dog’s ears are some of its most distinguishing features, and the same is true for the papillon. With a name that means butterfly in French, the papillon sports a pair of long, feathered ears that frame their little faces and gives the impression of wings. Being part of the spaniel clan, papillons are content in just about every situation. They love to get their energy out in a good game of fetch but are just as happy to snuggle with you in between playtimes. Papillons get along well with every member of the family, but make sure to tell your children to be careful; small dogs are more fragile and can be more easily injured.
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Weight: 7–10 pounds. Height: 8–11 inches.
Is that a long-haired pug? Nope, it’s a Japanese chin! They’re the perfect friend for just about any owner, but especially those who are looking for a calmer companion with a lower energy level. They were originally bred as companions to nobility, leading them to believe they’re the true king or queen of the house! Japanese chins are very pretty dogs, which is all thanks to their fluffy coat and short muzzle. Because they are a brachycephalic breed, you’ll want to schedule in some regular face cleanings to ensure ultimate comfort of your Japanese chin. “Get accustomed to face-cleaning very early on,” says Thomson. “Clean the facial folds quite well to prevent bacteria from blossoming.”
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Weight: 7–10 pounds. Height: 9–11.5 inches.
Ever seen Star Wars? Then, the affenpinscher may look familiar to you, boasting a very Ewok-like appearance. This unique-looking pooch is sure to win you over with their monkey-like appearance and persistent personality. Affenpinschers have a unique temperament, which allows them to adapt to any environment and thrive in obedience training. Plus, it’s not unusual for affens to live past 15 years of age, which means they’ll be your friend for a long time! Pay mind to their extra special fur coats to keep your affen happy; their wiry, coarse fur needs a good brush at least twice a week to prevent matting.
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Weight: 8–10 pounds. Height: 7–10 inches.
Looking for a dog that can grow as cool of a beard as you? The Brussels griffon would like your consideration. These hipster-looking pooches have the cutest little faces, with a loving personality to boot. Brussels griffons are incredibly easygoing and adapt well to the energy level of their owners. They need at least one (short) walk a day, and they’re keen to spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun from the window. Brussels griffons have two different types of coats, both of which have their own care regimen. If you adopt a griffon with a smooth coat, they can get by with the occasional bath and weekly brushing. But if you adopt a rough-coated griffon, make sure to schedule recurring appointments with a groomer to keep them looking neat and tidy.
Weight: 8–10 pounds. Height: 10–12.5 inches.
If you need a dog to spoil, the miniature pinscher is the tiny dog for you. Dubbed as the King of Toys, min pins are quite intelligent and always are looking for something constructive to do in order to stay out of trouble. “Because they’re a sporting breed, they need a job to do,” says Thomson. “Owners need to be aware and provide lots of toys and stimulation so [miniature pinschers] don’t get into mischief.” If you’re the type to typically work from home, then the miniature pinscher is the perfect little pup for you, as they love companionship and don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods.
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Weight: 8–12 pounds. Height: 11–13 inches.
The Chinese crested is a unique-looking dog that is sure to strike up a conversation. In addition to being incredibly small, the Chinese crested is sometimes hairless! While grooming needs are infrequent, you’ll want to spend time conjuring up a skincare routine that involves moisturizing and sunblock to keep them happy and healthy. If your Chinese crested is of the powderpuff variety, make sure to brush their silky coats daily to avoid matting. On the bright side, they’re so small that brushing doesn’t take very long!
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Looks may be deceiving when it comes to the Havanese. Under all that hair is in fact a teeny tiny dog! Always with a pep in their step, Havanese dogs are incredibly charming and easygoing with just about everyone. Thomson says these pups tend to be good with children, too. When it comes to caring for this sweet, confident dog, it’s important to stick to a strict diet and grooming schedule to prevent any knee or joint issues, ear infections, and teeth problems, says Thomson.
Famous for putting their owner first, the Pekingese will make you feel incredibly special by always choosing you over strangers that crave their affection. While this may come off as aloof, Pekingese pups simply prefer to be around their loved ones! In order to build your Pekingese dog’s confidence around unfamiliar people, make sure to socialize them at an early age. But when they’re on their home front, Pekingese dogs will need absolutely zero coaxing to spend time on your lap!
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Weight: 7–14 pounds. Height: 13–15 inches.
There’s a reason that royal families of centuries past loved the Italian greyhound. In addition to being adorably small, Italian greyhounds have made great family pets for years. Because they love being part of a family, they can get a little emotional when left alone. Set them up for success by preventing separation anxiety and even surrounding them with other dogs who can keep them company when the humans have to leave home. Don’t underestimate your Italian greyhound, however. Because of their past as hunting dogs, they have an incredibly large prey drive and love to chase. For that reason, a dog-only home is the best living situation for this breed.
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