For some people, it’s the size of the dog that matters more than anything else. They want a pet, of course, but what they really want is a dog that is going to be more manageable than even the typical small dog. There are a host of small dog breeds out there who can be perfect companions for almost anyone, but there are also a number of pups who are even smaller.
The small dog breeds, more commonly called the tiny teacup breeds, are great for people who have limited room, limited mobility, or who are just not in a place in which they want to deal with a bigger animal. While there’s certainly no such thing as a dog that is perfect for every dog owner, looking into these breeds can be a good way to find out if a very small dog is the right fit for you.
While we are certainly going to take a look at a number of the smallest breeds out there, try to remember that small doesn’t always mean better. While most of these dogs are great animals, the attempts of some breeders to create ever-smaller designer teacup breeds have led to some major health problems that can make dogs miserable and that can cause their owner’s financial distress. As such, try to remember that searching for a small dog often means looking for a dog that’s the right size for you rather than looking for a dog that’s smaller than any other dog on the planet.
Tiny Dogs: A Look at Miniature Breeds
The Brussels Griffon
Weighing in at between seven and twelve pounds, the Brussels Griffon is not so much a breed as it is a collection of dogs who all fall under a single heading. These dogs include the Petit Brabancon, the Griffon Buxellois, and the Griffon Belge. The dogs do differ a bit in terms and especially in color, but they all have very similar personalities.
All of the dogs in this group weigh in at around the same weight, which varies somewhere between seven and twelve pounds. This definitely puts them all in the tiny dog category, though they’re not quite in that ultra-small teacup category. As such, they tend to make better pets for those who are looking for a slightly bigger small dog who will still be able to run and play with them.
Miniature and Toy Poodle
The poodle is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, and part of that popularity comes from the fact that you can find these dogs in a variety of different sizes. The only dog that officially has three different sizes, the dogs who tend to really fall into the tiny dog category are both the miniature and toy poodles.
The toy is almost certainly one of the best-known small dog breeds out there, with a weight that almost always falls below the ten-pound mark. This makes the Toy Poodle a bit bigger than the smaller toy breeds, but only by a little bit. Luckily, all versions of the poodle tend to inherit the breed’s incredible intelligence as well as the breed’s tendency to be easy to train, so they are great pets no matter what their size.
Typically tipping the scales at no more than seven pounds, the Yorkshire Terrier is in many ways one of the definitive small dog breeds. Feisty and full of personality, these dogs have gorgeous coats and tend to hit as both show dogs and as family pets. Though they don’t always take to strangers as quickly as one might like, Yorkies are fairly good around people as long as they are properly socialized.
The prevalence of Yorkies also means that they are commonly mixed with other dogs as hybrids. There are some truly tiny Yorkie hybrids out there, as well as a number of dogs who are bred for ever-smaller sizes. It’s always a good idea to look into the legitimacy of a breeder if you’re looking at a Yorkie who weighs less than four pounds, as you might be looking at a pet who has the potential for serious health problems.
The Maltese is another one of those dogs that tend to spring to mind when one thinks of tiny dogs. Another pup that tends to weigh somewhere between four and seven pounds, these are among the best lapdogs in the world and among the more popular tiny breeds even among those who just want a companion.
Don’t be fooled by their sweet nature, though – Maltese are also beautiful show dogs, with fantastic white coats and a very unique look. Truly capable of doing it all, these are perfect pets for those who want a tiny dog that will snuggle with them in the evening but that can be shown off all day.
Not a terribly well-known breed in the United States, the Japanese Chin is actually an ancient Japanese dog breed that weighs about the same as the Maltese or the Yorkie. Truly a beautiful dog, it’s another one of those toy breeds that tends to really stand out in the looks department.
One thing that’s quite unique about the Japanese Chin is how cat-like it acts. It’s not just that the breed is a bit aloof and independent, but also that it tends to love to perch up high and even groom itself. If you’re a fan of dogs who really like to do their own thing, this is one toy breed that might be for you.
If you’re looking to go even tinier, you might want to look at the Chihuahua. With an upper weight limit that tends to be around six pounds, these are incredibly small dog breeds with incredibly huge personalities. Though they may have a reputation for being a bit hyper, the truth is that most of these dogs enjoy spending their time curled up on the couch with their favorite people.
Toy Fox Terrier
While the Toy Fox Terrier might grow up to nine pounds, it’s amazing to note that some members of this breed can weigh as little as three and a half pounds. Naturally curious and active, these dogs were actually once used in circuses. Today’s version of the dog certainly loves to perform inside, but most of them are just as happy to be toted around by their owners.
Named for their butterfly-like ears, the Papillion is actually a tiny variation of the spaniel class. The smaller of these dogs can weigh as little as three pounds, but don’t let their small sizes fool you – these dogs are often quite feisty and aren’t always the best around kids. Great pets for those who have all the time in the world to dote on them, the Papillion is a truly tiny animal who wants nothing more than to be the most important thing in his or her owner’s life.
With a lower weight threshold of around three pounds, the Pomeranian is a tiny puffball that has a much bigger personality than its size might suggest. Foxlike and very small, these dogs are energetic and tend to have plenty of energy. With that said, though, they’re easy enough to carry around and most of them make for adorable pets as long as their owners understand that they absolutely expect to be the center of attention no matter what else is going on in their owners’ lives.
A relatively new breed that was only admitted to the American Kennel Club in 2006, this breed is an incredibly tiny version of the terrier that can weigh as little as two pounds when fully grown. Perhaps the definition of a toy breed, these dogs are so small that they can almost be scary to handle but most of them do have lovely personalities and can make great pets for those who are willing to handle them with care.
A Note on Designer Toys From Small Dog Breeds
While all of these dogs are quite small, it’s also important to remember that it’s taken decades (and in some cases, centuries) of breeding to both get the dogs to this size and to ensure that they stay healthy. One of the biggest problems in the dog breeding world right now is the attempt of dog breeders to create toy breeds that are even smaller, usually trying to tap into a market either for those who prefer to show off smaller dogs or who live in apartments.
If you are looking for a toy breed, it’s always a good idea to look for a reputable breeder before you start. He or she should not only have the papers for the dog’s parents but he or she should also be breeding dogs that fall into the normal size categories for even toys. It’s fine if the dogs trend towards the smaller end of the scale due to the size of both parents, but you definitely should look in askance if the breeder tends to have dogs who are typically much smaller than average.
Remember, the health of the dog you adopt is going to be your responsibility, and adopting dogs who are bred only for a smaller size with no other thought towards their future can be a painful and expensive process. Try to stick with breeders who are known to produce healthy dogs and never be afraid to ask questions of others who have adopted the same breed. With a little luck and a lot of research, you can adopt one of these tiny dogs and enjoy their company for many years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which is the smallest breed of dog?
At the moment, the smallest recognized breed of dog is the Russian Toy. Weighing in at no more than six pounds and at as little as six pounds, these dogs are small even for toy breeds. To get a sense of scale, these dogs can weigh as little as half as much as even a tiny Yorkie and tend to be half the size of a breed that’s as small as a Chihuahua.
2. What dogs stay tiny forever?
There are several different breeds that tend to stay tiny forever. Any breed in the ‘toy’ or ‘miniature’ class is going to tend to stay small, with most toy breeds staying the size of puppies for their entire lives. It’s rare to see any miniature breed eclipse the ten-pound mark even when they are adults, with some staying between two and four pounds even when they are fully grown. It’s important to remember that these breeds are bred to be this small, and attempting to keep another dog around that weight could be very dangerous for the dog.
3. What is the smallest miniature dog breed?
The smallest official miniature dog breed at the moment is probably the Russian Toy. Officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club back in 2008, these dogs can be as small as two pounds even when they are fully grown. It’s virtually impossible for any dog to be smaller than that in a way that will allow the animal to survive, so it’s likely that the Russian Toy is going to hold on to its crown for many years to come.
4. What are the 4 smallest breeds of dogs?
The four smallest breeds of dog are the Russian Toy (two to six pounds), the Pomeranian (three to seven pounds), the Papillion (three to ten pounds), and the Toy Fox Terrier (three and a half to nine pounds). Most also cite the Chihuahua as one of the smallest dog breeds out there, but the truth is that recent changes in dog breeding have brought a number of breeds below the minimum size threshold for the Chihuahua.