Small Dog Breeds: A List Of The 23 Most Popular In America!

Small Dog Breeds

Many small dog breeds easily win every heart of a dog lover. They are simply too cute to ignore and move on. Therefore, it is time to find out which the most popular small dog breeds in America are.

I have gone through the American Kennel Club’s list of the most popular dog breeds for 2016 and picked the 23 smallest breeds from that list.

Down below, you can find them in the order they appear on that list with the original ranking numbers.

Get ready to fall in love with the cutest, most loving, loyal, and smallest dog breeds in America, and the world.

Beagles (5)

Brown beagle sitting in a park

This is a Beagle. America’s favorite small dog.

On the top of the list, Beagles are the fifth most popular dog breed in America and the first in the small dog breeds category.

How can they not be when they are about a little above one foot tall? Beagles are loving, fun, kids and adults companion.

However, they are small hounds, which means they require more patience than usual.

Training a Beagle is not at all easy as the dog breed demands creative exercises each time. Beagles are scent hounds, which means they are intrigued by different scents all the time.

They are friendly most of the time but can be pretty vocal with excessive howling. Find out more about America’s favorite small dog breed.

French Bulldog (6)

A white french bulldog walking in the park

In his little mind, he’s signing: “Can’t Touch This”!

The French Bulldog appears sixth on the list of the most popular dog breeds in America, earning him the second place on our list.

He is about one foot tall, not so good looking, but super friendly and cuddly.

He is a great companion, especially if you plan to be around the house most of the time.

There’s no need to worry about training a Frenchie; he’s very intelligent and easy to train.

However, he is also a freethinker, which makes him a stubborn little pet.

French Bulldogs also require attention and love just as much as they show their owners.

Please have a look at the official rescue website for French Bulldogs if you are interested in a saving a life.

Poodles (7)

a white poodle on top of tree trunk

This Poodle is hosting the Dog Oscar’s someday!

The third most popular small breed (and the seventh in all breeds) is the cute, show dog, the Poodle.

You definitely recognize it from the luxury hairstyle that most dogs of this breed rock out in the streets.

However, this small dog isn’t just for show. In fact, they have a particular job, which the hairdo helps in making possible.

They are water dogs developed primarily for hunting waterfowls.

Poodles are excellent house dogs, provided that you can keep their intelligent minds busy with training.

They look adorable, but they also need training if you want them to do the part as well. Check out this article for more on Poodles.

Yorkshire Terrier (9)

Yorkie looking straight at the camera

A Yorkie looking as cute as he could.

The Yorkie was once the second most popular dog in all of the U.S. Today, he’s the fourth in our list of popular small dog breeds.

However, the cuteness that was crowned the best small dog is still there, with all the personality traits that he brings to the table.

Yorkshire Terriers are wonderful apartment dogs as long as you have a little bit of fun with them every day.

They are friendly with people and others pets that they are familiar with, but very wary of strangers.

They are protective of their owners and friends because of their terrier side.

However, they are great when properly trained. An excellent article for more on Yorkies from PetGuide.

Dachshund (13)

A dachshund playing in the park with a frisbee

A Dachshund fetching a frisbee.

They are the most comical dog breed in cartoons (probably).

Dachshunds are cute dogs with short legs and longer bodies.

Basically, a Dachshund is half a dog in height and a dog and a half in length.

However, that physique is not just for show, it actually helps the dog dig in the ground and fight badgers, which is why they were bred for.

Dachshunds are playful by nature, and they get easily attached to their owner.

They are excellent apartment dogs except that they are a bit stubborn when it comes to training.

Read this article for more on the Dachshund dog breed.

Miniature Schnauzer (17)

a white grey miniature schnauzer smiling at the camera

He is happy to be one of America’s favorite dogs!

One of the most fun small dog breeds, always on the top 20 of the most popular dogs in the United States, Miniature Schnauzers are not just cute.

They have a terrier heritage that makes them very protective dogs.

They get along well in an apartment but are pretty vocal about strangers coming in the house.

A Miniature Schnauzer is a typical small dog who does not recognize how small he actually is.

If you have one, you definitely had to save him at least once from fighting a bigger dog than he is.

Miniature Schnauzers are an ideal addition to the family.

Check out the American Kennel Club’s official website for more on the Miniature Schnauzer dog breed.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis (18)

brown pembroke welsh corgis looking at the camera

A Corgi is always on the top list of the cutest dogs ever!

There are two Welsh Corgis, the Cardigans and the most popular one, the Pembrokes.

The difference between these two small herding dogs is in their tails.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis have docked tails while the Cardigans have longer tails.

Other than that, the two breeds are so similar that they were registered as one breed until 1934.

Pembroke Welsh Corgis were originally bred as herding dogs, which ultimately means they have a strong herding instinct.

This instinct makes it harder to train them to be house dogs as they may start nipping at children’s feet.

However, with enough training, they can be cute family companions.

DogTime’s article on Pembrokes is a must-read.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (19)

a black cavalier king charles spaniel angry

Cute and Angry? That’s even cuter!

Probably the best toy dog breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great house dog.

They love people and will do anything to please them.

This is a mutual feeling as humans also love the cute furry Cavaliers and keep petting and feeding them all the time.

This, of course, can lead to issues of overfeeding, which is easily avoidable if you make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.

Training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is easy as the dog is constantly looking to please their owner.

They may bark when seeing strangers, but they have a soft spot for people that instantly pet them.

Also, if a Cavalier is bored, chasing a bird is his favorite thing to do.

Check the official website for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club of America for more.

Shih Tzu (20)

a white shih tzu in a basket

This Shih Tzu is winning the show!

Shih Tzus are the ultimate friendly dogs.

Although historians trace its origins to more aggressive, dominant breeds, the Shih Tzu is possibly the friendliest dog by nature.

This breed is highly adaptable to apartments, houses, or even farms.

They will do anything to be around people and play with them.

Although friendly, training a Shih Tzu has proven to be difficult.

Housebreaking a Shih Tzu requires a lot of patience and consistency.

Their small size makes them vulnerable to kids, and other pets that are larger than Shih Tzus are.

That’s why dog owners always advised keeping the interactions between a Shih Tzu and other people and pets under supervision.

PetBreeds have a great piece on Shih Tzus for you to check out now.

Boston Terrier (21)

Brown boston terrier smiling

A Picture taken on the right time!

Descendants of Pit Bulls and dogs bred to be fighters, Boston Terriers turned out to be very loving, peaceful dogs.

They are small dogs that, due to their small, short coated bodies, prefer to be apartment dogs.

Usually found in a black coat with a white neck is what earned the Boston Terriers the nickname of “American Gentlemen”.

Boston Terriers’ dark side shows up mainly in males when they feel endangered or that their territory is invaded.

In which case, the fighter side of dog puts him and other pets in danger.

However, this aggression is very rare and usually avoided with proper training.

VetStreet’s article on the Boston Terriers is worth your time in case you are considering getting one for yourself.

Pomeranian (22)

brown pomeranian showing his red tongue

One of the cutest picture of all dogs!

Pomeranians are the smallest Spitz dogs.

However, “being small” does not translate to their understanding, so they regularly act as “big dogs”.

This attitude makes them great watchdogs, but it can lead them to serious trouble.

Dog owners advise keeping Pomeranian indoors for many reasons that include: too cute not to steal, too small not to hunt, and too curious not to run.

Training a Pom is one of the hardest things to do for a dog owner.

They are clearly curious and ready to learn but of their own accord.

They have an Alpha Male instinct that should be toned down as early as possible.

They are good with kids, but kids may not be good with them.

Read this article about Pomeranians from PetWave to learn more.

Havanese (23)

a white havanese next to a sunset

Is that an angel?

This small dog was first bred to accompany wealthy families since 1800s.

Havaneses understand that very much and show it through the love they give to their family of humans and other pets.

However, this makes them vulnerable to separation anxiety as they need someone to keep them company too.

Training a Havanese is much like training a big dog.

They need to put all their energy into exercise, which makes them perfect for sports and agility training.

If you can be consistent with your training, a Havanese will win you hearts, new friends, and earn money on the side.

Check out the Havanese Club of America official website for more on the Havanese dog breed.

Shetland Sheepdog (24)

brown shetland sheepdog walking among the grass

A beautiful Shetland Sheepdog!

Their name says it all actually; Shetland Sheepdogs are dogs that were bred in Shetland to guard and herd sheep.

They are great shepherds and herding dogs that have turned into apartment dogs thanks to their small size and playful nature.

Still, the herding instinct is still there, and it’s really strong.It is not at all easy to train a Shetland Sheepdog although it is considered one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds.

They can understand and follow new commands almost immediately, but they require an expert trainer for that.

HillsPet has an excellent article on Shelties that you should definitely read.

Cocker Spaniels (29)

a sleeping golden cocker spaniel puppy

That’s a cute puppy!

This beautiful Cocker Spaniel is a handful indeed.

He was America’s favorite toy dog for a long time until other breeds came to take his position.

Today, he is still popular ranking before last in the top 30.

Similar to all Spaniels, he is a hunter who should remain on a leash when walking him outdoor.

Otherwise, he’ll chase a bird, rabbit, squirrel, or anything that grabs his attention.

Cocker Spaniels are not that difficult to train but are expensive to care for.

Their coat needs constant brushing and grooming to keep the dog as handsome as he should be.

They are very playful and wouldn’t mind living in an apartment.

This article about Cocker Spaniels from DogTime is pretty inclusive and is worth checking out.

Chihuahuas (30)

brown and black chihuahua calmly sitting in the park

A calm Chihuahua… rare?

Possibly the smallest of all dog breeds on this list, Chihuahuas are among the best watchdogs that specialists recommend.

They are aggressive little pets that love to protect their owners.

You can assume that Chihuahuas have no clue how small they are until one of them sneaks from a little hole in the fence.

Chihuahuas are loving dogs that will fiercely protect you.

They are great with kids and other pets as long as the dogs are trained to be friendly most of the time.

A Chihuahua rarely trusts strangers, both human and pets.

Make sure to visit Chiwawadog.com for everything about Chihuahuas.

Pugs (32)

a puppy pug with a blanket around it

It’s a chill day!

One of the best apartment dog breeds, and a popular toy dog, Pugs are loving pets.

They thrive on human companionship and will show love and appreciation day in and day out.

Pugs aren’t shy of showcasing their funny side with their cleverness and clown side.

Training a Pug isn’t difficult, but it can be challenging depending on your training skills.

They would usually try to outsmart you as a proof of their intelligence, but they can easily be managed with persistence and patience.

Pugs are great indoors as they rarely bark, play whenever you feel like it.

You should watch their eating habits, so they wouldn’t get fat.

Pets4Homes does quite the job describing Pugs in this article.

Maltese (33)

White maltese in a white room

You could barely see the dog!

This cute toy dog is famous for his superb white color that makes him very distinct than other small dog breeds.

They used to be multicolored in the past, but they are mostly found white today.

Malteses are sweet and loving of their owners and behave as protective watchdogs.

Due to their small size and their attitude, Malteses aren’t the best fit for a house with children playing around.

They can easily get hurt and retaliate against children by biting them.

However, training them to behave accordingly won’t be a problem with positive reinforcement and proper socialization.

Check out PetMD for more on the Maltese dog breed.

West Highland White Terrier (41)

white west highland white terrier in the backyard

The Westie is guarding his yard.

Westies are born with an understanding that they are all that matters when they enter a room.

Their fun and friendly appearance brings light to wherever they are, and they totally know it.

West Highland White Terriers have always liked to play with everyone, including kids, other pets, and maybe even strangers.

The one thing that annoys them is a rat or rabbit running free.

Training a Westie is the easiest thing if you know how to treat him well.

Positive training with clickers is the best way to go.

Westies are also clean dogs that are best kept indoors.

They bark a lot to show they are good watchdogs, but they actually are just excited for the action.

This article from VetStreet on Westies is pretty impressive.

Shiba Inu (44)

a shiba inu in the park with his tennis ball

“Who wants to play with me?”

The smallest, and the oldest of the six Spitz dogs that originated from Japan, is the meme “Doge” dog.

Shiba Inus are active, intelligent dogs who don’t like to be told what and what not to do.

They enjoy annoying their owners by always outsmarting them.Shiba Inus look like foxes and are as clean and agile as cats.

However, training them proves to be the most difficult.

A Shiba Inu is more likely to train you rather than let you train him.

Also, they tend to be aggressive toward other pets even when they are bigger in size.

Check out our ultimate guide about Shiba Inus.

Bichon Frise (45)

a white bichon frise in the snow

This cute dog fits right in!

One of the happiest dog breeds of all time, the Bichon Frises are great apartment dogs who love to be around their humans.

They are always white with black eyes and noises.

Bichons have a playful, active nature that enables them to win hearts instantly.

However, that nature also makes them sensitive.

Just like any playful apartment dog, housebreaking is harder than expected.

On the plus side, they shed very little.

It is understandable to be protective of such a cute dog if you ever own one, but you shouldn’t make them shy and afraid of their surrounding environment.

Make sure to read more about the Bichon Frises on the American Kennel Club official website.

Papillon (53)

a papillon taking pictures on a white background

That’s a great supermodel!

The Papillons take their name from the French word meaning “butterfly” which is a reference to how their ears look like a butterfly's wings spread out.

This breed is gaining popularity for its agility and intelligence as a bonus to its cute, beautiful look.

Although officially recognized as a lap dog, a Papillon won’t stay in your lap that much.

They’d rather be active around the house and always find a way stay busy.

This makes them great for sports, but it doesn’t make it easier to train them.

YourPurebredPuppy has a great article on the Papillon dog breed.

Scottish Terrier (58)

white scottish terrier walking on a leash in the street

Is that dog floating in the air?

The Scottish Terriers are dogs that love to dig in your backyard if you have one.

They were bred to hunt, and that instinct remains a significant part of their overall temperament.

Scottish Terriers love to be active most of the time, but their short legs don’t allow them to train for a marathon with you.

The Scottish Terrier’s body is shaped so that he could dig and run short distances pretty fast.

He’s the third dog as far as alarm barking is concerned, which makes him the quiet the watchdog.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Scottish Terriers.

Miniature Pinscher (68)

a black miniature pinscher playing in the park

Just a Min Pin enjoying life.

The Min Pin does not surprise anyone when his “big dog” attitude comes to life.

Many already associate this small dog breed with the Doberman, which is a strong dog breed on its own.

Miniature Pinschers, however, are a much older breed with bigger attitude than their small body could handle.

Min Pins are great hunters or watchdogs, although their size makes them seem like a complete toy dog for toddlers to have around.

That, of course, couldn’t be more wrong as Miniature Pinschers shouldn’t be left unsupervised around children.

They can easily hurt each other while playing rough.

Be sure to check out DogTime for more on Min Pins.

You can check out this video of the 20 Smallest Dog Breeds in the world and let us know which one you like the most. 

Also, be sure to let us know in the comments down below whether you have a small dog breed that is on our list, and share with us your experience owning such a small, big-hearted dog breed.

About the Author Youness Bermime

Hi, there! My name is Youness, a professional content writer and marketer. I love dogs, and I think Huskies are, for most of the time, better than humans. I am, also, the owner and editor of WritersDo. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post because I enjoyed writing it. Don't forget to share it with your friends!

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