Extra Small Dog Breeds You’ll Love

Smiling white chihuahua with large black eyes on a light gray background. Space for text.

Key Points

  • Small breeds tend to have dental issues, so vet checkups are important.

  • Early socialization in small breeds helps them adapt to different situations.

  • Pay attention to coat length and texture to determine a grooming routine.

When you're thinking about adopting a dog, size matters. Extra small dog breeds, often weighing under 10 pounds, provide compact companionship that come with their own unique features that set them apart from larger breeds.

Extra small dogs are highly adaptable to a variety of living situations, making them perfect for apartment living. They require less exercise, less food, and are easier to travel with. However, it's important to note that they also tend to have specific health considerations, may require additional socialization, and can be more susceptible to injuries due to their size.

If a large dog isn't an option, but you still want one, then you're already on your way to less stress. Scientists at Washington State University discovered that petting a dog for just 10 minutes has a significant impact. Study participants had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone. The animal visitation study stated, "This RCT [randomized controlled trial] demonstrates that petting animals during a 10-minute, college-based animal visitation program featuring shelter cats and dogs lowered salivary cortisol levels of students compared to those who merely observed, watched still images of the same animals, and waited without external stimuli."

As with any pet choice, it's crucial to consider factors such as the breed temperament, care and grooming needs, and the breed's compatibility with your lifestyle. Keep in mind that each of these petite puppies comes with its own set of characteristics that may require specific attention.


The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds in the world, but don't let its size fool you. This tiny canine packs a big personality! Known for its alert and lively nature, the Chihuahua is a confident and spirited companion. With its expressive eyes and prominent ears, this pint-sized breed is as adorable as it is compact. 

Chihuahuas easily adapt to various living situations and make fantastic lap dogs, bringing joy and entertainment to their owners with their playful antics.

The Chihuahua hails from Mexico and many believe they descended from the Techichi, a small canine that dates back to Mayan times. They were a sacred breed cherished by ancient civilizations. Chihuahua's popularity grew in the United States in the early 20th century.

Physical Characteristics and Temperament of the Chihuahua

Renowned for their tiny size, Chihuahuas are fiercely loyal dogs. They typically weigh no more than six pounds and sport a variety of coat textures and colors. 

Chihuahuas have an oversized personality compared to their size. Most in this breed are lively, devoted, and often protective of their owners. Yes, there are anxious dogs in this breed, but just like with any breed they aren’t all the same. 

Care and Training Needs of Chihuahuas

Though small, Chihuahuas don’t seem to care and show their bold nature and assertiveness around other dogs. Therefore, early socialization is crucial. When it comes to grooming, short-haired Chihuahuas require weekly brushings, while long-haired varieties need daily attention.

Due to their small size, they also require dental care to prevent tooth and gum diseases. Brushing their teeth three times a week paired with regular vet visits prevents dental issues. 

Now, be warned that just like people, Chihuahuas enjoy their sleep. Chihuahua Munty showed her mom that a pep talk wasn't needed and that sleep was important with pure sass.


The Maltese is a gentle and affectionate toy breed that brings elegance and grace to any home. With its silky, white coat and dark, expressive eyes, the Maltese exudes beauty and charm. 

Despite its small size, this breed has a courageous and spirited personality. Maltese dogs have a big loyalty and an even bigger love for their human companions. They thrive on affection and are well-suited for families or individuals looking for a devoted lapdog who's always ready for cuddles.

The Maltese breed's roots trace back over 2,000 years to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Loved by the nobility, these dogs symbolized wealth and luxury in ancient Egypt and Rome. 

Physical Features and Behavior of the Maltese

Characterized by their flowing white coats and expressive eyes, Maltese dogs tip the scales at only four to seven pounds. 

They have a playful and friendly disposition, enjoying the company of their family members. Maltese dogs are also incredibly intelligent dogs. They adapt to different situations quickly, as long as they have proper training

Care and Training Needs of Maltese Dogs

With their long coats, Maltese dogs require daily grooming to prevent matting. They are also prone to dental issues, so regular tooth brushing is essential. 

Maltese dogs generally are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcement, but early socialization is vital to prevent them from becoming overprotective or timid.


The Pomeranian is a small and fluffy breed that captures hearts with its vibrant personality. Despite its petite size, this breed is bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Intelligent and curious, Pomeranians love being the center of attention and make excellent companions for families or individuals seeking a compact and lively companion.

Pomeranians came from the province of Pomerania from the ancient spitz breeds of the far northern countries. The closest relatives of this breed are the American Eskimo dog and the Samoyed. 

The earliest Pomeranians weighed around 30 pounds. As time went on, the breed got smaller, and soon enough this dog was a well-loved lapdog. Queen Victoria fell in love with this breed in 1888 and her sable and red Pomeranian Marco has the credit for the inspiration of starting this breed’s smaller size. 

Physical Features and Behavior of the Pomeranian

Pomeranians typically weigh between 3 to 7 pounds (1.4 to 3.2 kilograms) and stand about 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. 

Pomeranians have a double coat, which consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a longer, harsh-textured outer coat that comes in various colors. With their fox-like faces, small ears, and expressive dark eyes, Pomeranians have an adorable and alert appearance.

In terms of behavior, Pomeranians have a playful and energetic nature. They have a vibrant personality and love to engage in activities with their owners. Pomeranians are intelligent and quick learners, making them trainable and capable of mastering tricks. 

Despite their small size, they possess a confident and bold demeanor. Pomeranians are also affectionate and loyal to their owners, forming strong bonds. Many dogs of this breed love to communicate through barking and other vocal sounds. They have much to say and need their owners to hear it. 

Calming Dog Ad

Care and Training Needs of Pomeranians

With that double coat, these dogs need regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Seeing a professional groomer helps maintain their coat’s health and appearance. A good daily brush is enough to keep the tangles away. 

Early socialization and training make a big difference in how this breed responds to different situations. Positive reinforcement training is the best method for training a Pomeranian. These dogs respond well to rewards and consistency. Being relatively independent dogs, they also need leash training early on. 

Like most small dogs, this breed is prone to dental issues. Keeping up with regular vet visits means keeping the Pomeranian healthy. 

Yorkshire Terrier on grey background

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, or "Yorkie," is a small and feisty breed that combines elegance with a bold spirit. Known for its glossy, floor-length coat and confident demeanor, the Yorkie stands out in a crowd. 

This breed comes from the Industrial Revolution in England. This breed used to be bigger than we know today and went with mill workers to catch rats. In 1865, the breed started to grow smaller in stature. The father of the modern Yorkshire Terrier was Huddersfield Ben, and he made history by not only being a show dog but also his small stature. 

Physical Features and Behavior of the Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies typically weigh between 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kilograms) and stand around 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. 

Known for their luxurious, floor-length coat, Yorkies have silky, straight hair that comes in a range of shades, including black and tan. Their expressive eyes and perky, erect ears add to their adorable appearance.

Regarding behavior, Yorkshire Terriers are confident, energetic, and courageous. They have a lively personality and love to be the center of attention. Despite their small size, they have a fearless nature, making them alert watchdogs. Yorkies are affectionate and loyal to their owners, forming deep bonds with their families.

Additionally, Yorkies are intelligent and trainable, often excelling in obedience and agility activities. With their distinctive physical features and lively temperament, Yorkshire Terriers make delightful and lovable companions for individuals and families seeking a small, vivacious dog.

Care and Training Needs of Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers have specific care and training needs that contribute to their overall well-being and development. Grooming is crucial for their long, silky coats, which require regular brushing and occasional professional grooming to prevent matting. 

Yorkies are active and energetic, so daily exercise in the form of walks, playtime, or mental stimulation is necessary to keep them healthy and happy. Socialization is important for this breed, as many don’t love strangers. Introducing them to various people, animals, and environments from an early age helps them become well-adjusted and confident. 

Yorkies are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, making them quick learners. Training should focus on basic obedience commands, leash walking, and potty training. Yorkies like most small breeds are prone to dental issues, so regular dental care and annual veterinary check-ups are essential.

 Shih tzu dog

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a small, affectionate breed known for its luxurious, long coat and friendly nature. With its distinctive pushed-in face, expressive eyes, and flowing hair, this breed captivates hearts wherever it goes. 

The history of the Shih Tzu is a mystery but a recent study believes that this dog is one of the 14 oldest dog breeds in history. There were dog bones found in China that prove that dogs have been around as early as 8,000 B.C. 

Many believe this breed came from Tibetan Monks and was given as gifts to Chinese royalty. As for the true history, no one really knows. There are paintings, art, and writings from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D) that portray small dogs similar to the Shih Tzu. 

No matter where the breed came from, it's easy to see where it gained the title of little lion dogs.

Physical Features and Behavior of the Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus typically weigh between 9 to 16 pounds (4 to 7 kilograms) and stand about 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. 

Known for their elegant appearance, Shih Tzus have a long, flowing double coat that requires regular grooming. Their expressive eyes, flat face, and short muzzle contribute to their endearing charm. 

In terms of behavior, Shih Tzus have a gentle and sweet temperament. They are friendly, loving, and enjoy being around their human companions. Shih Tzus thrive on affection and make great family pets, as they get along well with children and other animals. Despite their small size, they have a confident and dignified demeanor. While they are generally calm and adaptable, they also have bursts of energy and enjoy playtime. 

Shih Tzus are loyal, making them devoted companions. With their distinct physical features and loving personality, Shih Tzus bring joy and warmth to the lives of their owners.

Care and Training Needs of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus have specific care and training needs that contribute to their overall well-being and development. Their long, flowing coats require regular grooming, including brushing and occasional professional grooming to prevent tangles and matting.

Due to their brachycephalic (short-muzzled) faces, Shih Tzus are prone to dental issues, so regular dental care is essential. They also often have eye issues, where their eyes bulge out of their faces. 

Despite their small size, Shih Tzus have moderate exercise needs and benefit from daily walks and playtime to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They are affectionate and sociable dogs, so regular socialization with different people, animals, and environments helps them develop good behavior and confidence. 

Positive reinforcement training techniques work best with Shih Tzus, as they respond well to praise, rewards, and gentle consistency. Basic obedience training, house training, and leash manners should be part of their training regimen. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care are essential for their overall health. 

Small Bodies, Big Hearts 

Small dog breeds offer a host of qualities that make them exceptional pets. Their compact size allows them to fit seamlessly into various living spaces, making them suitable for apartments, condos, or houses with limited space.

Small dogs often require less exercise than larger breeds, making them a perfect choice for individuals or families with busy lifestyles. Their portable size also makes them great travel companions. Despite their small stature, these breeds often possess larger-than-life personalities, bringing joy, laughter, and companionship to their owners.

Small dogs don't hide their loyalty, affection, and ability to form strong bonds with their human companions. Whether snuggling on your lap, playing a game of fetch, or simply being by your side, small dog breeds have a way of filling our lives with love and happiness.

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