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21 Tiny Dog Breeds That Stay Small Forever (With Pictures)

Beth Crane

By Beth Crane

pug standing outside

Dogs are one of the most diverse species in the world. They evolved alongside people, and we molded them to fit in with our lifestyles, utilizing them for work and employing them as loyal companions. Because of this variety, there’s a breed for everyone; some like big dogs, and others prefer small ones. Those that love the tiniest dog breeds might like them because they live in a small place such as an apartment, or they might just love how cute and puppy-like many of the smallest breeds are! In this article, we’ll look at 21 of the tiniest dog breeds that stay small for their whole lives. You can pick which one could be your perfect companion that’ll fit on your lap forever!

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The 21 Tiny Dog Breeds That Stay Small Forever

1. Chihuahua

chihuahua sitting on wood
Image Credit: McCann Michelle, Shutterstock

Chihuahuas are the most famous tiny dogs on this list, and they’re petite, slender, and delicate. They originated from Mexico and stole the hearts of everyone they came into contact with. While tiny, Chihuahuas have big personalities and can be quite sassy if they’re used to being pampered!

2. Pomeranian

pomeranian dog looking up
Image Credit: EugeneEdge, Shutterstock

Another tiny and glamorous dog, the Pomeranian, is the smallest of the Spitz group of dogs. The Pomeranian hails from Pomerania and has a huge personality that barely fits into its minuscule frame. These pups don’t grow bigger than 7 inches, but their explosively fluffy coats can make them look much bigger! Pomeranians have lots of energy, so a few quick walks around the block each day are recommended to keep them happy.

3. Maltese

happy adult maltese running outdoor
Image Credit: Kimrawicz, Shutterstock

The Maltese is an instantly recognizable small breed known for their soulful black eyes and bright white, flowing coats. Maltese hail from Malta (though some believe they were developed in England) and were a favorite of British Royalty in the Victorian era as the perfect companions. The Maltese has a long and silky coat that needs constant grooming to keep it tangle-free, but the puppyish good humor and delicate frame of the breed means many Maltese owners don’t mind their extensive grooming needs.

4. Toy Poodle

brown toy poodle on couch
Image Credit: Servando Juvera, Shutterstock

Toy poodles are the smallest iteration of the Poodle breed, ranging from the large Standard Poodle down through the Miniature to the Toy. Toy poodles are perfect miniaturizations of their taller cousins, sporting curly coats and cleverness that make them some of the most cross-bred dogs. The tiny Toy Poodle is often crossed with other small breeds, such as the Maltese, to create “hypoallergenic” designer dogs who retain their tiny build into adulthood while catering to those with dog allergies.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

standard yorkshire terrier standing on grass
Image Credit: Imageman, Shutterstock

Yorkshire Terriers are an incredibly popular breed that stays tiny throughout their lives. The most a pedigree Yorkie should weigh is around 7 pounds, but don’t let their size fool you; the Yorkshire Terrier is a true Terrier at heart and is filled with tenacity and zeal. These sweet-faced pups are bold and daring and need consistent firm training to combat stubbornness. In the show ring, the Yorkie remains the only dog in the UK Kennel Club to be presented on a decorative box!

6. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

These funny-faced dogs are only 10 inches tall but have plenty of energy and spunk. The “human-like” Brussels has soulful eyes and a bushy beard that gives them an air of importance. This self-importance is evident in most Brussels Griffons, and they don’t make great companions for children due to how sensitive and clingy they are to their adult owners. However, a paw on your leg and a look into their deep eyes are all it takes to fall in love with these sweet dogs, and they’re some of the most loyal canines you’ll find.

7. French Bulldog

Adorable french bulldog lying down on green grass in a park
Image Credit: Wirestock Pexels

Most people are no strangers to Frenchies, as they’ve become incredibly popular over recent years. They’re friendly, clownish, and calm and make gentle playmates for children despite their small size. While Frenchies bring laughter and love to the table, their brachycephalic head structure can also bring big vet bills because of the health problems the breed can suffer from.

8. Miniature Schnauzer

salt and pepper miniature schnauzer laying on green grass
Image Credit: Debra Anderson, Shutterstock

The Miniature Schnauzer is another perfect miniature of a much larger breed, the Standard Schnauzer. First developed in Germany, these smart and stern-faced dogs only grow to around 14 inches in height. However, they don’t let that stop them, and they perform amazingly well in the show ring and dog sports, such as agility and obedience. They’re also sturdy enough to withstand rough-and-tumble play with children and are often very accommodating to people of all ages.

9. Papillon

Brown Papillon
Image Credit: Alexa, Pixabay

Papillon (meaning “butterfly” in French) is one of the smallest Spaniel breeds, but their massive, feathered ears make them appear much bigger than they truly are! Weighing a maximum of 10 pounds, the tiny Papillon belies its delicate appearance by being a true dog at heart. They are known for being happy, bouncy, and incredibly playful; if you want a tiny dog that looks and acts like a (beautiful) puppy all the time, the Papillon is the canine for you. Plus, the drop-eared variety of the Papillon is known as the Phalene; there’s a variety for everyone!

10. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier posing in garden
Image Credit: Ruben PH, Shutterstock

The well-balanced and gentle-mannered Boston Terrier, named after the progenitor dog’s home city, is slightly bigger (but still tiny) than other dogs on our list. Hoopers Judge, the dog who started the Boston Terrier breed, is the dog from which all other Bostons are descended. The Boston Terrier is a happy and friendly dog named the “American Gentleman” due to its black and white tuxedo coat.

11. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound standing
Image Credit: Natallia Yaumenenka, Shutterstock

Italian Greyhounds are incredibly athletic dogs that only weigh between 7 and 14 pounds when fully grown despite being 13 to 15 inches tall. They are independent dogs that do better with adult owners but bond so tightly with their families that they won’t ever leave them alone. The Italian Greyhound is a great choice if you want a playful, active (true to Greyhound form), and incredibly loving dog.

12. Japanese Chin

japanese chin in grass
Image Credit: Rudy Umans, Shutterstock

The Japanese Chin is an ancient Japanese breed honed into a beautiful, affectionate, and even-tempered dog over the years. They have the short-muzzled look of the Pug combined with long and flowing locks similar to Papillons, which gives them a regal look that can range from noble and lofty to silly and comical. They are loyal dogs that love to be around their people and are tiny enough to fit into any living space.

13. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dog in the meadows
Image Credit: Veronika Andrews, Pixabay

The Chinese Crested is an incredibly interesting small breed because it is one of the only “semi-furred breeds.” Hairless” Chinese Crested dogs have a crest of hair surrounding their heads, feet, and tails, and spotty pink skin can be seen on the rest of their bodies. These dogs are great for those who want a low-maintenance coat, but be aware that the “powder-puff” variety of the Chinese Crested has a full coat of flowing hair!

14. Schipperke

Photo credit: N_S, Pixabay

The tiny Schipperke is a breed like no other. If you miniaturized a wolf, gave them some manners, and added a dash of mischief, you’d get the wonderfully furry Schipperke. Hailing from Belgium, this breed was a barge dog that kept ship captains company with their friendly and loving natures. They are forever curious and lively but very stubborn despite being so small.

15. Miniature Dachshund

miniature dachshund
Image Credit: James Player, Shutterstock

The Mini Dachshund is a very popular pup for all the right reasons. This tiny version of the Standard Dachshund only weighs up to 11 pounds and sports the short legs and long “wiener dog” body the breed is known for. Mini Dachshund owners can choose from three coat types: wire, smooth, or long. These tiny dogs are lively and loving but can be stubborn and more than a little sassy!

16. Pug

fawn pug puppy
Image Credit: kikkian, Shutterstock

The Pug is one of the most famous breeds around. Their flat faces and bright eyes are just one of the things people love them for; these little dogs have small bodies but hearts made of pure gold. Pugs are great with kids, love all family members, and love to charge around, making everyone laugh. Unfortunately, they’re also plagued with health problems due to their body conformation and brachycephalic heads.

17. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature pinscher runs on the lawn
Image Credit: Dulova Olga, Shutterstock

The Min Pin is as proud as it is fearless, packing loads of personality into a frame seldom weighing more than 10 pounds. These tiny dogs look like mini-Dobermans, but they can come in an array of colors, including brilliant red and classic black and tan. The Miniature Pincher is known as a loving but stubborn dog, and they have a gait that almost looks like an elegant horse trotting, which makes them a pleasure to watch.

18. Shih Tzu

white shih tzu dog playing and running outside in the green grass
Image Credit: JayneKlein, Shutterstock

Shih Tzus are a favorite among toy dog owners, and they are often brimming with affection for children and adults. These little dogs were bred solely for companionship, so they have truly perfected the art of being a loving lap dog. The Shih Tzu weighs between 9 and 16 pounds fully grown, and they have a beautiful long coat that flows when they charge around. They need extensive grooming, but they are so amiable that they make the whole grooming process a joy from start to finish.

19. Biewer Terrier

biewer terrier dog sitting on grass
Image Credit: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

The Beiwer Terrier is a purebred mix of several other toy breeds that became a tiny, puppy-like dog that retains its love for toys well into old age. The Beiwer wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 2019, but they are known to be loving and happy with all they come across. They only weigh up to 8 pounds, which makes them less suitable for families with small children due to how easily they could be hurt.

20. Pekingese

Image Credit: heroindra, Pixabay

These compact pups were the favored breed of Chinese Royalty and lived in the palaces they were specially bred for. The Pekingese is a flat-faced breed, and owners must be careful when walking or playing with them in hot weather. However, their flowing coats and bright but independent personalities make them a firm favorite of those who like a less clingy toy breed. The Pekingese remain unswervingly loyal to their owners for their whole lives.

21. Lowchen

Credit: WatersPix, Shutterstock

The Lowchen (or “little lion dog”) sports perhaps the most unusual coat of all breeds on this list. They are often shaved very short on the back half of their bodies in the classic “lion cut,” giving these happy and friendly dogs the regal look of a lion due to their flowing manes. Lowchens are a German breed that is very popular in Europe, and their affectionate nature with adults and children ensures this tiny breed will remain popular for many years.

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Why Do Small Breeds Stay Small Forever?

The diversity in dog body types is a marvel of nature, and no other mammal in the world has as much variation within one species. The fact that some dogs grow massive and others stay puppy-sized throughout their lives comes due to genetics; studies have isolated three genes that affect muscle, fat, and general growth, which is why some breeds are tiny throughout their lives. There are other reasons that some dogs can remain small; dwarfism is why some dogs can remain very small and can affect dogs of any breed. There are several types of canine dwarfism, but the size difference is related to restricted growth hormone levels (usually along with other abnormalities).

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Tiny toy breeds are not for everyone. Many of them can be more frightened because of how big the world looks, while others can be bold and stubborn at times. However, for those who love the little ones, these traits make up only a tiny percentage of what makes toy breeds charming. They are often very loving and adorable, and they stay puppy-like in stature for their whole lives. Portability and cuddles are the names of the game with these minuscule breeds, and there is so much variety between them that there’s a dog suitable for everyone!

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Featured Image Credit: Katrinbechtel, Pixabay

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