There are dog breeds on all ends of the weight scale, from 9 pound toy breeds to 140 pound giant breeds, and every type in between. Certain breeds are more reliably consistent than others: you know just how big they’ll get, or just how small they’ll remain, which can be important if space is a concern in your home, or if you just don’t want to have a larger dog. Here are some small dogs that stay small.
Toy Breeds Stay Small
Toy breeds are dogs that never grow beyond about 20-22 pounds. The following is our list of little dogs that stay reliably small. You can count on these dogs to mature from puppyhood to adulthood without ever growing into “medium-sized” territory, with perhaps some very rare exceptions of nature.
Small Bodies, Big Personalities
Remember, just because your puppy may stay puppy-sized forever, doesn’t mean you should treat them like a puppy forever. To avoid behavior problems, give your small dog as much discipline, and as many boundaries, as you’d give to any dog of any size. Make sure they get exercise, training, and plenty of stimulating interaction. These small efforts in the beginning of their lives will ensure everyone stays happy.
Toy Breed Origins
Until very recently in history, dogs were bred to work. Whether as hunting companions, herders, diggers, or guard dogs, a dog’s contribution to the family had to justify their expense, and the effort it took to keep them. It wasn’t until the 19th century that wealthy classes and nobility began to desire dogs as companions alone, and this is when dogs were selectively bred for looks, temperament, and petite size.
6 Great Small Dogs
Pugs | 15 - 20 pounds
These much-beloved small dogs are a favorite in American households for their sweet, lazy natures. They look like little aliens, with rolly skin around their faces, compact bodies, bug eyes, and a short face that can make breathing a challenge if they’re over-exercised. Clever, but stubborn, Pugs tend to grow to around 15 pounds, with males topping out around 20 pounds.
Chihuahua people regard their pets as the best and smartest of all the small dog breeds, and for good reason. Chihuahuas are smart, eminently trainable, devoted to their people, and sometimes frighteningly clever. They’re a versatile breed, originally from Mexico. They can be as small as 2-3 pounds or as large as 10 pounds. The largest healthy weight for Chihuahuas maxes out around 15 pounds. Anything over that generally means your Chihuahua should go on a diet, or get more exercise.
Miniature Dachshund | 10 - 14 pounds
Known as “hot-dog dogs” for their long bodies and stumpy legs, a Miniature Dachshund’s average size is around 10-14 pounds. (Full sized Dachshunds are closer to 25-30 pounds.) Coat and color vary -- some have long hair, some have short hair, some are brown, some are darker or of mixed color. Of German origins, this breed was originally developed to seek out and chase vermin. Have a mouse problem, but not a cat person? Dachshunds are still good at the job. Their body-to-leg ratio can sometime cause spinal problems, but keeping your Dachshund fit and not overweight is excellent prevention from spinal and other health problems down the road.
Of Slavic origins, these bundles of fur are much smaller than they seem under all that poof. Their average body weight is only 4-8 pounds, which makes them a favorite for putting into purses and carrying around, though not all Poms will tolerate such portability. Poms make great family pets -- they tend to be friendly, loyal, gentle, and very spritely and active. As with many small dogs, Poms can suffer from luxating patella -- slippage of the kneecap -- later in life. You can attempt to avoid this painful and expensive outcome by keeping your Pom fit and well exercised.
Bred originally as companion dogs, Shih Tzus are known to have a calm, agreeable nature. Their long coat doesn’t shed much, but does require daily brushing to avoid mats and tangles. Be sure your schedule permits for this sort of involvement. Shih Tzus can weigh anywhere from 8 to 16 pounds, and come in a variety of colors.
Maltese | 8 - 10 pounds
Silky of coat, white of color, and Italian of origin (from the island of Malta, of course), these small dogs stay small for life, at about 9 pounds, and stand a foot or less off the ground. Maltese dogs are affectionate and cuddly. They’re playful, but can get snappy with children.
More on Dog Breeds
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