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15 Dog Breeds Under 30 Pounds: Pictures, Facts, & History

Hanh Duong

By Hanh Duong

mudi dog outdoors in autumn

Are you considering getting a small dog, but not sure which breed would be the best fit for you? When it comes to these little furballs, size is just the beginning! Each breed has a unique personality, coat type, and energy level. Some are outgoing and adventurous, while others are calm and independent. You’ll find short-haired dogs, long-haired dogs, and even curly-haired dogs. Some love to cuddle up on your lap, while others are always ready for a game of fetch.

So, how do you choose the right small pet for you? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a furry companion. Do you want a dog that’s super active or one that’s more laidback? Are you willing to commit to regular grooming, or do you prefer a low-maintenance coat? To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the best small dog breeds weighing under 30 pounds. Get ready to find your new best friend!

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Top 15 Dog Breeds Under 30 Pounds

1. Affenpinscher

an affenpinscher dog at the park
Image By: Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Weight: 7 to 10 pounds
Height: 9 to 11.5 inches

Meet the Affenpinscher, a dog that is as loyal as they’re curious and as amusing as they are fearless. This little pup may be small but has a personality larger than life. With a serious demeanor that belies their playful antics, the Affenpinscher is an entertainer at heart. The French have given these canines the nickname “diablotin moustachu,” which translates to “mustached little devil.” And Star Wars fans can’t decide whether they look more like an Ewok or a Wookie.

Standing less than a foot tall, these tough little pups approach life with confidence and a swagger contrasting with their small size. Their dense, shaggy coat comes in various colors, and their gait is light and confident. They may be a bit stubborn sometimes, but Affenpinschers are ultimately loyal, affectionate, and always entertaining.

2. American Hairless Terrier

American Hairless Terrier
Image Credit: nika174, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Weight: 12 to 14 pounds
Height: 12 to 14 inches

This breed hails from Louisiana and comes in both hairless and coated varieties. The hairless version is a great choice for those with allergies who want a terrier with plenty of personality and courage.

These dogs stand around 12 to 16 inches tall and have wedge-shaped heads, a defining feature of the breed. Their ears are V-shaped, and their eyes are round and expressive. The hairless variety may still have eyebrows and whiskers, while the coated type has a short, shiny coat. When they move, they do so with a confident step that shows off their terrier spirit.

One great thing about the American Hairless Terrier is that they shed far less than most other dogs. However, this also means they need extra care in the sun and cold weather. Despite this, they make excellent watchdogs and fiercely protect their humans. So, if you want a pet that’s both loyal and lively, this breed is definitely worth considering.

3. Mudi

Image By: Joe Barti, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Weight: 18 to 29 pounds
Height: 15 to 18.5 inches

The Mudi is a truly remarkable dog that possesses an impressive range of skills and abilities. This medium-sized herding canine from Hungary has been around for over a century and has evolved naturally from a combination of the Puli, Pumi, and German Spitz breeds. With exceptional intelligence, agility, and alertness, the Mudi is a highly adaptable and versatile working dog that excels at herding and protecting livestock.

Not only is the Mudi a loyal and dedicated protector of their family and property, but they’re also renowned for courage and tenacity. Despite being relatively rare, with only a few thousand individuals worldwide, Mudies are greatly admired for their active and biddable nature, making them a highly sought-after breed among dog enthusiasts all over the world.

4. Basenji

Basenji outdoor
Image Credit: Verbitskaya Juliya, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 13 to 14 years
Weight: 22 to 24 pounds
Height: 16 to 17 inches

This pooch, known as the “Barkless Dog of Africa,” is a remarkable and captivating breed. The Basenji is an intelligent and poised hunter with a compact and sweet face that makes for a one-of-a-kind pet. However, they require an owner who can handle their exercise needs and the challenge of training this canine.

One distinctive characteristic of the Basenji is their glistening short coat, wrinkled forehead, and tightly curled tail. But what truly sets them apart are their expressive almond-shaped eyes, which convey a range of subtle, human-like emotions. When standing still, Basenjis are a sight to behold, but it’s when they’re in motion that they truly shine. With long, smooth strides, their impressive agility will leave you in awe.

And here’s a fun fact: Basenjis don’t bark but have a unique way of expressing themselves. They make an odd sound that’s been described as a cross between a yodel and a chortle.

5. Beagle

beagle dog lying on the ground
Image Credit: Masarik, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Weight: 20 to 30 pounds
Height: 13 to 15 inches

These cuties are known for their playful personalities, silly antics, and adorable puppy eyes that are sure to melt your heart. Beagles come in two different sizes and many colors so that you can find the perfect match for you. They were initially bred to hunt in packs, so they love being around humans and other dogs. This makes them ideal for families.

Beagles have been a favorite among pet owners in the United States for years. They are intelligent and curious animals who love to play. That’s why you’ll need to give them lots of attention and exercise. In return, they will shower you with love and affection. If you want a loyal furry friend who will always keep you entertained, then the Beagle is the breed for you!

6. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terrier dog
Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 11 to 16 years
Weight: 17 to 23 pounds
Height: 15 to 17.5 inches

Bedlington Terriers are like terriers in sheep’s clothing—they’re super stylish and cuddly too! They were first bred in an English mining shire and have become popular housemates, watchdogs, and athletes.

What makes them so unique? They’ve got tasseled ears, a curly coat, and a unique tail. But they’re not just pretty faces; these dogs can run like the wind when chasing something. When they’re not running around, Bedlingtons love nothing more than snuggling up with their family. They’re always looking for attention and will protect their loved ones no matter what.

7. Bichon Frise

white bichon frise dog sitting on the grass
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 15 years
Weight: 12 to 18 pounds
Height: 9.5 to 11.5 inches

The adorable Bichon Frise has been charming humans with their beauty, intelligence, and undeniable cuteness for decades. And let’s not forget about that stunning white coat that’s so soft and velvety you can’t resist petting them.

Bichons are not only cute but also very adaptable and friendly towards other dogs and kids. Their small size makes them perfect for city living, and they love to learn new tricks and perform for their loved ones. But the best part of having a Bichon as your furry friend? Their happy-go-lucky personalities will brighten up any room and bring a smile to your face.

8. Biewer Terrier

Biewer terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 16 years
Weight: 4 to 8 pounds
Height: 7 to 11 inches

Have you heard about the enchanting Biewer Terrier? This furry, tri-colored toy terrier is elegant and full of love and affection. Their bubbly, whimsical personality remains intact even as they grow older, and they love to carry around a toy or two at all times.

These devoted and faithful furry friends make great family members and are known for being very friendly to strangers. On the other hand, Biewer Terriers are very robust and athletic, making them great vermin hunters. Let the Biewer Terrier inspire you with their boundless positivity, loyalty, and love.

9. Havanese

cream havanese dog in the forest
Image Credit: Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Weight: 7 to 13 pounds
Height: 8.5 to 11.5 inches

These tiny pups native to Cuba are quickly becoming a favorite among city dwellers across America. With their springy steps and big brown eyes that gleam with joy, it’s hard not to smile when you’re in the company of a Havanese. Their gorgeous, silky coats come in all sorts of colors, and while some owners prefer to clip them short for easy grooming, others love to let their hair grow long and curly.

Thanks to their small but sturdy bodies and adaptable nature, Havanese are the perfect city dog. But they’re just as happy in the countryside, as long as they have plenty of attention from their owners.

And while they may be small, Havanese take their job as watchdogs very seriously. They’ll keep an eye on their surroundings and let you know if anything seems amiss, but they won’t bark unnecessarily. All in all, the Havanese is a lovable, loyal companion that’s sure to steal your heart.

10. Japanese Chin

japanese chin
Image Credit: GoranH, Pixabay
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Weight: 7 to 11 pounds
Height: 8 to 11 inches

This toy breed is the epitome of elegance and sophistication, with a plush, silky coat and a regal bearing that’s sure to turn heads. In addition to being beautiful, the Chin also has a unique personality. With a distinctly feline nature, these lapdogs are fastidious, graceful, and often quiet. They’re the unrivaled noblemen of Japanese breeds, making them the perfect choice for those who want a touch of royalty in their lives.

With their large, expressive eyes, plumed tail, and exotic appearance, they’re sure to grab attention amongst your friends and family.

11. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Weight: 8 to 10 pounds
Height: 7 to 10 inches

These little dogs are perfect for owners who want a companion that’s always by their side. And have you seen their big, human-like eyes? You’ll fall in love with them instantly!

Griffs come in four different colors: red, black, and tan, beige, and black, and they have two types of coats: smooth and rough. They’ve got a black muzzle and whiskers, which have earned them the nickname “bearded dogs”.

Even though they’re small, Griffs are sturdy and move with a purposeful trot, showing they know what they want. They’re social and easily trained, making them great companions. However, they might not be the best playmates for lively kids due to their sensitive nature.

12. Cairn Terrier

cairn terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: D_Theodora, Pixabay
Lifespan: 13 to 15 years
Weight: 13 to 14 pounds
Height: 9.5 to 10 inches

These little canines were bred in Scotland to fearlessly hunt down small prey, and their curious and alert nature makes them the perfect companion for exploring and digging.

With a tough double coat that’s wiry on top and downy beneath, Cairns sports a shaggy yet charming appearance. Their alert posture and sparkling eyes are a testament to their brightness and intelligence.

Cairns are compact enough for cozy lap snuggles and robust enough for a good playtime romp. They thrive on close family connections and love to be in the thick of things. If you’re a fan of terrier qualities such as independent thinking, gameness, and fierce loyalty, then Cairn Terriers might be the ideal pet for you.

13. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog outdoors
Image Credit: Courtney Mihaka, Unsplash
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Weight: 13 to 18 pounds
Height: 12 to 13 inches

This breed is a true aristocrat; their name alone speaks to their connection with British history. One of the first things you’ll notice about the Cavalier is their adorable face. Those big, round eyes have a gentle, almost melting expression that’s hard to resist.

However, these dogs are just as happy chasing squirrels in the backyard as they are lounging on the couch with their favorite human. Cavaliers are also very adaptable and they often get along well with kids and other dogs.

14. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dog in the meadows
Image Credit: Veronika Andrews, Pixabay
Lifespan: 13 to 18 years
Weight: 8 to 12 pounds
Height: 11 to 13 inches

This dog breed has spotted pink skin, furry socks, a unique spiky “crested” hairdo, and a feathery tail—the sweet and slender Chinese Crested. This playful and ultra-affectionate companion canine is genuinely one of a kind—the Chinese Crested can be hairless or coated. The hairless variety features smooth, soft skin and tufts of hair on the head, tail, and ankles, while the coated type is covered with a soft, silky coat.

But no matter which variety they are, both share the same fine-boned elegance and graceful movement. They are attentive and affectionate housemates, always in tune with their family.

15. Coton de Tulear

coton de tulear dog sitting on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 15 to 19 years
Weight: 8 to 15 pounds
Height: 9 to 11 inches

The Coton de Tulear, also known as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” is famous for its cotton-like fur and talent for clowning and playing around with its favorite humans. They have a great sense of humor and are naturally playful and light-hearted. Their unique vocalizations and ability to walk on their hind legs make them a complete entertainment package.

Despite their playful behavior, Cotons are also incredibly gentle and empathetic creatures. They are always aware of their owner’s needs, making them excellent companions who offer endless joy, comfort, and entertainment. With their exceptional personality and long lifespan, a Coton de Tulear will undoubtedly become your best friend for years to come.

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Are you considering getting a furry friend but have limited space in your apartment or home?! Little pups are perfect for cozy living spaces and make excellent companions. Plus, their smaller size comes with a longer lifespan than their larger counterparts, giving you even more time to create lasting memories with your best friend.

However, before you commit to adopting a small dog, it’s essential to do your research. Each breed has unique needs and requirements, so ensure you’re prepared to give your new furry friend the care and attention they deserve. With the right knowledge and preparation, you’ll be well on your way to welcoming a lovable new addition to your home!

Featured Image Credit: Inesmeierfotografie, Shutterstock

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