11 Tiny Dogs With Big, Bold Personalities

A small dog is a delight to behold. So cute. So precious. But don’t be fooled. So-called toy breeds are all dog, just as likely to bark and misbehave as their bigger brethren. While their tiny size does mean you have to protect them from injury (watch your step!), their brash personalities can fill up a room.

Here's how we size up 11 popular diminutive dog breeds.

11 Popular Diminutive Dog Breeds

Brussels Griffon Dog Breed

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

Brussels Griffon: Small Body, Big Mischief

Charming but naughty is an accurate description of the Brussels Griffon. His ancestors include Terriers, Pugs and English Toy Spaniels, which gives him a lot of spice tempered with a little bit of nice. He’s playful indoors and enjoys going for walks. Whether you choose a smooth- or rough-coated Griffon, he will need grooming about twice a week. The Brussels Griffon is easy to tote, weighing 8 to 12 pounds.


Karin Newstrom, Animal Photography

Pomeranian: The Baby of a Bold Family

This animated pompom of a dog is the smallest member of the Spitz family, making him a relation of the Keeshond, American Eskimo and Chow Chow. He is known for his foxlike expression, alert and outgoing personality, prick ears, curled tail and dense double coat, which comes in all colors and patterns. The Pom is a featherweight at 3 to 7 pounds, although some can grow to be bigger, especially if they become proficient at begging for table scraps.

Japanese Chin

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Japanese Chin: Loves To Entertain Family

This bright and affectionate dog is an entertainer of the highest order. He will put on shows for his family but doesn’t like to strut his stuff in front of strangers. The Chin stands 8 to 11 inches tall and typically weighs 4 to 7 pounds, although some are larger. The Chin’s silky coat requires brushing twice a week but is easy to care for.


Leanne Graham, Animal Photography

Chihuahua: Small and Mighty (and a Little Bitey)

This Mexican breed known for its big ears, short stature and fierce bark, holds the title of world’s smallest dog with a weight of not more than 6 pounds. But not all Chihuahuas are so petite. Some come in larger sizes, making them good choices for families. They are suited to any size home and get their exercise by running around the house. Chihuahuas come in two coat types: short and long. And be warned that some heed the motto: small and mighty but a little bit bitey.

Yorkshire Terrier dog breed

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

Yorkshire Terrier: Big Explorer in a Little Package

The Yorkie, as he’s nicknamed, is a true Terrier, even though he’s classified as a toy breed. The bold and curious Yorkie typically weighs no more than 7 pounds, but anyone who lives with him knows that there’s a much bigger dog lurking inside that tiny package. He loves to explore inside and outdoors. He is a popular companion dog, prized for his long, beautiful coat of blue and gold.


Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

Papillon: A Petite Powerhouse of an Athlete

Named for his butterflylike ears (Papillon is French for butterfly), this dog is a member of the Spaniel family. He is highly intelligent and active, the perfect choice for someone who wants a small, smart and athletic dog to train for canine sports. Papillons stand just 8 to 11 inches tall and pack a lot of can-do attitude in their bodies that typically weigh 4 to 9 pounds.

Dachshund dog breed

David Jensen, Animal Photography

Kaninchen Dachshund: A Small But Attention-Getting Doxie

Most of us think of Dachshunds as coming in only two sizes — standard and miniature — but in Europe, there is a third size: kaninchen, which means “little rabbit.” This smaller variety weighs only 8 to 10 pounds. The Mini Dachshund is not much bigger, weighing less than 11 pounds, but everyone notices his cute little strut when he comes into a room.


Eva-Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Maltese: Charming and Courageous

Gentle, fearless and smart, the Maltese looks like royalty dressed in a long white cloak of silky hair. This is a playful dog who leaves legions of fans in his wake because he loves everyone and enchants all who meet him. With sufficient enticement — in other words, plenty of treats — he learns quickly. It is easy to take this fairylike dog with you wherever you go. After all, he weighs only 4 to 7 pounds.

Toy Poodle dog breed

Tetsu Yamakazi, Animal Photography

Toy Poodle: An Itty-Bitty Clown

This is the smallest of the three Poodle varieties, but he is just as smart and active as the mini and the standard. Once a circus performer, the Toy Poodle is now a popular companion and show dog, and he excels in many dog sports, especially agility and obedience trials. His curly coat comes in many solid colors. The Toy Poodle is 10 inches or smaller and usually weighs 4 to 8 pounds.

American Eskimo Dog

Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography

Toy American Eskimo: "The Dog Beautiful" in a Tiny Package

While this breed was born in the USA, he was never an Eskimo dog. Bred down from other Spitz breeds, such as the German Spitz, the Keeshond, the white Pomeranian and the Italian Spitz (Volpino), he was a popular trick-performer in circus acts of the 19th century. Nowadays, this beautiful white fluff ball is more often found as a family companion. The Toy American Eskimo (he also comes in mini and standard sizes) is 9 to 12 inches tall and weighs 6 to 10 pounds.

English Toy Spaniel

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

English Toy Spaniel: A Big-Hearted Family Friend

The gentle and happy ET, as he’s nicknamed, is a friend to family members of all ages as long as he is handled carefully and treated respectfully. He’ll nestle on the sofa with you or enjoy chasing birds outdoors. At 8 to 14 pounds, he is small enough to take places but sturdy enough to play with the kids, and he is well suited to any size home.

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