10 Miniature Dog Breeds

Miniature Dog Breeds

Smaller dog breeds have many great qualities, with cuteness and cuddliness making the top of the list. Yes, smaller dogs are often viewed as more attractive and more affectionate than many larger dog breeds. But that is not the only reason why miniature dog breeds are so popular. These dogs have many other great qualities.

First, they are fairly low maintenance when compared to larger dogs. Grooming takes less time, exercise is minimal, and small dogs can use training pads or litter boxes. Another reason miniature dog breeds are often preferred is the fact that they are travel friendly. In general, these smaller dogs are so much easier to bring along with you on errands, outings, and vacations. Lastly, these dogs are considered to be longtime companions. On average, smaller breeds have a greater longevity than larger dogs. By choosing from miniature dog breeds, owners will have many years of close companionship from their canine friend.

Health of Miniature Dog Breeds


Sadly, because of poor breeding practices, there are some miniature dog breeds that suffer from certain genetic health problems. Not every dog of every miniature breed will have these health issues, but they are things to keep in mind when selecting a pet.

Some common health problems include:

  • skin allergies
  • dental disease
  • hypoglycemia
  • hip dysplasia

Because of size they are also more susceptible to adverse reactions from drugs, chemicals, and allergens. Be sure your dog is kept away from household cleaning products, processed or harmful foods, and other damaging substances. Also be sure your dog has only the minimal number of vaccinations and medications, avoiding multiple vaccinations at one time.

Benefits of Living with Smaller Dogs

One of the main reasons why families choose smaller dog breeds is because they live in urban or highly populated areas where neighbors are close and property is small. Small dogs are good at living in smaller homes and apartments, obviously. Smaller dogs also have longer life spans, usually requiring less exercise, and often costing less to care for. These miniature dog breeds often need less food, less expensive veterinary care, and are much easier to travel with as well. Lastly, most miniature dog breeds make better companions because that is what they have been fostered to do. A small dog usually has only one purpose, being committed to and loving their owners. So find the right small dog by checking out some of the top miniature dog breeds listed below.

Top 10 Miniature Dog Breeds

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

As one of the most popular miniature dog breeds, Yorkshire Terriers are both gorgeous and feisty. These loving dogs may be small in size, but are large in personality. They are sure to attract glances everywhere they go, and bask in the attention. Yorkies have long silky coats and signature topknots that set them apart as a breed. Generally Yorkshire Terriers weigh between 4 and 6 pounds with an average life span of 12 to 15 years. These dogs are affectionate towards their owners and suspicious of strangers. They often do better with older children, will need plenty of attention and exercise, and should be exercised every day. One drawback of Yorkshire Terriers is that they are often difficult to housetrain. They also do not like cold weather and are prone to get the chills. These dogs are also known for being yappy if they do not receive proper and consistent training to stop the incessant barking.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer

For centuries these dogs have been popular, and for good reason. Originally bred to be ratters and guard dogs in Germany, Miniature Schnauzers are small, hearty dogs. They are also noisy, protective, and still a little predatory with smaller mammals. These dogs can learn quickly and are great at developing new tricks. However, they can also be stubborn, pretending not to hear when someone tries to get them to do something they do not want to do. Miniature Schnauzers generally weigh between 11 to 20 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. These dogs may be high-maintenance in terms of grooming, but also do not shed much. These dogs are also fairly good with children. The thing to watch out for is, though they are robust in body and mind, they are still miniature. Miniature Schnauzers forget how small they are and are known to pick fights with larger dogs they are not sure to win. Keep these dogs on a leash or contained in a fenced area to help keep them and others safe.

Dachshund

Dachshund

Also lovingly known as wiener dogs, Dachshunds are easily recognized and quite popular. These proud little dogs have long, muscular bodies and short, little legs. This elongated form with an elongated head is often the reason these dogs are coined as hot dogs and sausage dogs. People can’t help but smile at dogs of this miniature breed. Historically these dogs were bred to take on badgers in Germany. In fact, illustrations of this miniature dog breed date back to the 15th century. Generally Dachshunds weigh between 16 and 32 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Today the versatility of these dogs make them excellent family companions, sporting dogs, small-game hunters, and show dogs. They are delightful additions to a variety of different lifestyles. They are also always ranked near the top of most popular dog lists, not just the top of miniature dog breeds.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

As descendants of regal dogs in China, Shih Tzus live up to their royal lineage. In fact, their name actually means little lion. However, despite the monikers, there is nothing fierce about this miniature dog breed. They are extremely loving, bred solely to be companions with affectionate natures. These dogs have long, abundant locks with distinctive faces. Their sweeping hair may make them seem a little snobbish, but in reality they have friendly and appealing personalities. Generally Shih Tzus weight between 9 and 16 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 16 years. These dogs are highly adaptable. Though they are small in size, they are also sturdy. They are as well suited to city life in an apartment as they are to life on a country farm. No wonder Shih Tzus are considered one of the most popular miniature dog breeds.

Chihuahua

Chihuahua

This is another of the miniature dog breeds with small size and big personalities. Also, these dogs are also capable, still being ranked among the top 10 watchdogs. Chihuahuas are curious and adventurous. They need to be socialized to be happy; interacting with adults, children, and other dogs is preferable. They are highly suspicious of strangers, and they will need to be trained to meet people in a friendly manner. Chihuahuas generally weigh between 3 and 6 pounds with an average lifespan of 10 to 18 years. One thing to keep in mind when looking at this miniature dog breed is their size. These are some of the smallest dogs in the world. As such they are not generally recommended for families with young children who could unintentionally injure the little pets. Despite that, these are wonderful, go everywhere companions.

Pomeranian

Pomeranian

If you are looking for a pint-sized, entertaining companion then Pomeranians might be the miniature dog breed of choice. Fun fact is that these dogs are actually bred from lager sled dogs. No wonder they are compact, but active and energetic. They are good at competing in obedience and agility training, and can hold their own. Poms are also loyal animals, making great family companions. They can also get along with other dogs and animals when socialized. Generally Pomeranians weigh between 3 to 7 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years. These dogs can be persistent barkers and are suspicious of strangers. They can also be difficult to housetrain and are prone to overheating. Fortunately these dogs are great with children, good at learning tricks, and make excellent therapy dogs.

Maltese

Maltese

These dogs have been treasured as companions for over 2,000 years and the trend will not be changing anytime soon. These dogs are well known for their long, flowing coat that skims across the floor and makes the dog appear to be floating when they walk. Malteses used to come in a variety of colors, but now are almost always white. Though very beautiful, Maltese dogs also know how to work. They often compete in sports such as agility, rally, and tracking. They have a lot of extra energy and need not only exercise, but also a lot of attention. Generally Maltese weigh up to 7 pounds and have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Note though, that these dogs are not ideal for families with small children or other animals. They need to be taught their place in the home and cannot be left alone for hours on end. These are sweet, intelligent dogs are devoted to their owners and are a great miniature breed to have.

Pug

Pug

Pugs are often referred to as the big dog in a little body. They have a comical face, with big dark eyes and a round, flat face. Historically these dogs were bred to be lap dogs, and as such they rely on human companionship. These dogs are commonly known to be affectionate, but also reliable watchdogs. They make exceptional house pets. They are not prone to bark incessantly and will get along well with human and canine alike if properly socialized. Generally Pugs weigh between 14 to 18 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Be careful though, these dogs do not tolerate heat well and will need to be kept indoors on sweltering days. Otherwise these dogs are fun loving and one of the best miniature dog breeds around.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

These dogs are well noted for their fluffy white coat and penetrating black eyes. Though they may be small dogs they are full of mischief. Though the exact origin of the Bichon Frise is unknown, common belief is that they are descended from the Barbet, a wooly water dog. The breed quickly became a favorite of the nobility and were often carried wherever their royals went. These dogs are intelligent and trainable, but also tender hearted. This means a gentle hand is required while training and harsh scolding will be counterproductive. Generally Bichons Frises weigh between 7 to 12 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Because they are not known to shed, these dogs are also considered to be a hypoallergenic breed (find more hypoallergenic breeds here), great for owners with pet allergies. These dogs also tend to suffer from separation anxiety, and would not be a great choice if you must leave them alone for long periods of time.

Pekingese

Pekingese

Another one of the most notable miniature dog breeds is the Pekingese. This is the dog breed of imperial China. According to legend a lion fell in love with a marmoset and begged Buddha to be reduced in size so he could be with his love. Buddha allowed this, and the lion dogs of China are considered the descendants of this union. Though this is not likely how Pekingese dogs were bred, they are one of oldest of dog breeds. Though they appear so fluffy and cuddly, these dogs can hold their own. Their small size belies their lion hearts, and they are much braver and tougher than their appearance suggests. These dogs are loyal and protective of their family, but first you must earn their respect. Training must be firm, kind, and consistent. Generally Pekingese weigh between 7 and 14 pounds with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. These tend to be one-person dogs and will need quite a lot of grooming to help keep them clean and healthy. In return you get a dog who will offer you love, affection, and respect.


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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

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3 thoughts on “10 Miniature Dog Breeds

  1. I love little dogs. I have two of my own and wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoy having indoor dogs and like to be followed around.

    They do get under your feet a bit though! Haha. Especially in the kitchen when they think food is imminent.

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