chihuahua puppy small dog falling asleep in hand

37 Of The World's Smallest Dogs And Tiny Dog Breeds That Stay Small

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and it's fascinating to see the wide variety within the same species. For instance, mastiffs can be as tall as of 36 inches at the shoulder and weigh over 200 pounds, while other dogs stand under 10 inches and weigh less than 10 pounds. Here are 37 of the world's smallest dogs and tiny dog breeds that stay small, which include dogs that are under 15 inches tall and/or weigh less than 20 pounds at their maximum.

    Pros And Cons Of Small Dogs

    Like dogs of any size, owning a small dog has its advantages and disadvantages. It ultimately comes down to personal preference. Here are the pros and cons of smaller dogs:


    • They fit into small spaces, such as apartments.
    • They are easier to travel with, whether you're taking them on a day outing or a full-blown vacation.
    • They typically have longer lifespans.
    • They are more economical and generally less expensive.
    • They tend to require less exercise.
    • They are easier to control and not as strong (e.g., pulling on walks is more manageable).
    • Everything about them is smaller (e.g., accidents, poop, teeth, body, etc.), making cleaning up, grooming, dental care, etc. easier.


    • They are more sensitive to cold temperatures, and often require extra care and cold weather clothing.
    • Their smaller, more fragile bones and bodies require extra care and attention when handling, petting, grooming, etc.
    • They can be more stubborn and not as easy to train.
    • They may be more anxious and tend to become more aggressive when anxious.
    • They are not always the best with children since they can be too rough.
    • They tend to bark more and are more prone to becoming problem barkers.
    • They can be less social and more defensive, especially around larger beings like bigger dogs (e.g., small dog syndrome).
    • They tire out more easily, so they may not be suitable for more active owners.
    • They are more prone to dental disease, teeth issues, and kneecap problems.
    • Treats and toys need to be the proper size to avoid choking hazards or inability to use.
    • Due to their fast metabolisms, small dogs typically need to eat smaller meals more frequently.

    Smallest Dog Breeds

    1. Affenpinscher

    Affenpinscher dog breed

    Average height: 9 – 11.5 inches
    Average weight: 6.5 – 13 pounds

    Although the Affenpinscher is part of the Toy Group, its origins are more similar to that of a terrier. It originated in Germany in the 1600s, bred for rodent control. Eventually, owners brought them indoors to catch mice and pests in the kitchen. Over time, they developed into dogs with two purposes: ratters and devoted companions. While the exact genetic origins of the Affenpinscher are unknown, it is believed that they descended from German Pinschers and Pugs, among others. They were also used to develop several breeds, including the Brussels Griffon and Miniature Schnauzer.

      2. American Hairless Terrier

      American Hairless Terrier dogs dog breed

      Average height: 12 – 16 inches
      Average weight: 10 – 16 pounds

      The American Hairless Terrier is the only hairless breed originating from the U.S. and is descended from the Rat Terrier. In the late 1800s, Rat Terriers were brought to rural America from their native England by British miners seeking a new life. They were crossed with Smooth Fox Terriers, which stabilized the Rat Terrier breed. However, in 1972, a hairless Rat Terrier was born. She was then bred and, over eight years, gave birth to three hairless dogs (two females and one male). The final two were bred, producing several hairless offspring, and thus the American Hairless Terrier arose.

        3. Australian Terrier

        Australian Terrier dog breed

        Average height: 9 – 11 inches
        Average weight: 12 – 16 pounds

        Australian Terriers are small, sturdy, confident, and intelligent working dogs. They descended from several breeds of working terriers that British settlers brought to Australia in the 19th Century. These included the Cairn, Norwich, Scottie, Yorkshire, Skye, and Dandie Dinmont terriers. However, a tougher dog was needed to adapt to the challenging Australian conditions. Aussie Terriers are fearless, all-purpose workers that serve as pest control and watchdogs. Interestingly, the Australian Terrier was the first of several Australian breeds to be recognized in Australia, as well as in other countries.

          4. Bichon Frise

          Bichon Frise dog breed

          Average height: 9 – 12 inches
          Average weight: 12 – 18 pounds

          The Bichon Frise was bred to be a companion dog, accompanying European nobles from the 13th century until the French Revolution in 1789. When the nobles were imprisoned or executed, their dogs were left to fend for themselves. However, many street performers adopted and trained them to perform. To this day, the Bichon Frise still thrives on companionship and attention - which is unsurprising given its original purpose. It is said that a Bichon Frise knows no strangers and assuming everyone is a friend.

            5. Biewer Terrier

            Biewer Terrier dog breed

            Average height: 7 – 11 inches
            Average weight: 4 – 8 pounds

            The Biewer Terrier is a recent breed that descends from Yorkshire Terriers (or Yorkies). In 1984, in Germany, a Yorkie litter produced the first documented black, white, and tan puppies. These tricolor pups were rare and unique, as they had a recessive gene for piebald coats not typically found in Yorkies. The breed was named after a Yorkie breeding couple named the Biewers. The breed's exact origins were debated, but recent DNA testing showed that it comes from the Yorkie, Maltese, Havanese, and Bichon Frise.

              6. Bolognese

              Bolognese dog breed

              Average height: 10 – 12 inches
              Average weight: 5.5 – 9 pounds

              The Bolognese is a centuries-old dog originating from Bologna, Italy. In fact, there are writings about their value from the 11th and 12th centuries. However, due to its ancient history, the exact origins are unknown. It is part of the Bichon family though and likely descended from the Bichon Frise, as indicated by its fluffy white coat. The Bolognese was favored by Renaissance nobles and commonly gifted as a companion dog. The breed also almost went extinct, but breeders revived it.

              7. Brussels Griffon

              Brussels Griffon dog breed

              Average height: 7 – 10 inches
              Average weight: 8 – 12 pounds

              Like the Affenpinscher, the Brussels Griffon (or Griff) is part of the Toy Group, but its origins were closer to that of a terrier. The Griff arose from Brussels, Belgium, in the early 1800s as a rat dog that controlled rodent populations in stables. It is believed that the Griff descended from Pugs, English Toy Spaniels, King Charles Spaniels, an old Belgian breed called the Brabancon, and maybe Yorkshire Terriers.

              In the 1870s, the breed rose in popularity as a companion dog. It was around that time that breeders refined the Griff to be smaller and have a more human-like look (hence its pouty, flatter face, similar to other brachycephalic breeds such as the English Bulldog or Pug). The first AKC registered Griff was in 1910, but the breed almost went extinct due to the World Wars. However, breed enthusiasts ensured the Griff's survival.

              8. Cairn Terrier

              Cairn Terrier dog breed

              Average height: 9 – 13 inches
              Average weight: 13 – 18 pounds 

              The Cairn Terrier is one of the smallest and oldest terriers, originating in Scotland as rat-hunting dogs for farmers. The exact origins are unknown because several types of terriers were categorized together as "Scotch terriers" for years. What is known is that Cairns were in the West Highlands, particularly the Isle of Skye (where its cousin, the Skye Terrier, originated), since at least the 1600s.

              The breed got its name from "cairns," which are mounds of stones used as boundaries or grave markers in Scotland. Rodents would use these mounds as homes, so Cairn Terriers were developed to dig into them and flush out vermin. They are one of the smallest ground terriers, but in a pack, they could go after foxes, otters, and other predators. Because they had to confront animals alone, the Cairn Terrier had to be independent, brave, and tough.

              Fun fact: Toto from "The Wizard of Oz" movie was played by a Cairn Terrier, which boosted the breed's popularity.

              9. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

              Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog breed

              Average height: 9 – 13 inches
              Average weight: 13 – 18 pounds

              The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) is a toy breed that originated in the United Kingdom. It descended from toy spaniels that were developed as companion dogs in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. They also served to attract fleas to save their owners from catching the plague. During the Tudor Period, these toy lap dogs were named King Charles Spaniels. There was no breed standard, but these dogs generally had flat heads with pointed muzzles and high-set ears. However, by the mid-19th century, English breeders crossed them with Asian toy breeds (likely the Pug and Japanese Chin) to develop spaniels with flatter faces, domed skulls, and an underbite. These dogs became known as English Toy Spaniels. Nonetheless, breeders in the 1900s were able to recreate earlier versions, which became the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

              10. Chihuahua

              Chihuahua dog breed

              Average height: 5 – 9 inches
              Average weight: 3 – 7 pounds

              The Chihuahua is the most famous and popular of the Mexican dog breeds. It is one of the smallest dogs in the world, standing only 6 to 10 inches tall and weighing just 3 to 7 pounds. Chihuahua-like dogs can be found in artifacts of ancient cultures around the world, but how they came to Mexico is unknown. What is known is that the preferred breed of the Toltecs of Mexico was the Techichi - a larger, heavier ancestor of the Chihuahua. The Aztecs conquered the Toltecs in the 12th century and are credited with refining the Techichi into a smaller dog. In the mid-1800s, Americans found these dogs in the state of Chihuahua, which is where the modern breed gets its name.

                11. Chinese Crested Dog

                Chinese Crested Dog breed

                Average height: 9 – 13 inches
                Average weight: 5 – 12 pounds

                The Chinese Crested Dog dates back so far in time that its exact origins are unknown. It is believed to have origins in Africa, Mexico, and China. It is thought that large ancient hairless dogs were imported from Africa to China and miniaturized over generations. However, according to research, the breed is an ancestor of Mexico's most ancient breed - the Xoloitzcuintli or Mexican Hairless Dog. Researchers believe there is a possibility that early ancestors were imported to China, where further breeding resulted in the Chinese Crested we see today. Either way, the Chinese Crested Dog eventually traveled the world on Chinese trading vessels as pest control and exterminators. It became so widespread that European explorers recorded sightings in Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa. It arrived in the U.S. around the 1880s and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1991.

                12. Coton de Tulear

                Coton de Tulear dog breed

                Average height: 9 – 12 inches
                Average weight: 7 – 13 pounds

                The Coton de Tulear is one of several African dog breeds. It originates from Madagascar, which lies around 250 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa. The breed was named after the seaport town of Tulear and their white puffy coat, said to be as soft as cotton (or "coton" in French - their name is of French origin due to French colonialism). Although the exact origins are unknown, they are considered part of the Bichon family and believed to have descended from a Spanish breed called the Bichon Tenerife. One origin theory suggests that small white dogs (possibly Malteses) survived a shipwreck, lived in the wild, and mated with local dogs. Regardless of the exact ancestors, it is believed that they arrived in Madagascar in the 16th and 17th centuries.

                Originally bred to be sailors' companions, the Coton de Tulear would provide rodent control and entertainment on ships (and were sometimes used as barter). Eventually, however, they became lapdogs, especially favored by the nobles. Madagascar's aristocrats adored the Coton de Tulear so much that it became known as "the Royal Dog of Madagascar," and laws were passed to prohibit ownership by lower classes. For centuries, the breed was almost exclusively found on the island until French travelers discovered it in the 1960s. They then exported the breed to Europe, where it instantly became popular, and shortly after, it arrived in North America.

                13. English Toy Spaniel

                English Toy Spaniel dog breed

                Average height: 9 – 11 inches
                Average weight: 8 – 14 pounds

                The origins of English Toy Spaniels are up for debate. Some believe they were brought to Europe from Japan or China, while others believe they were imported from Spain to Asia, where they were miniaturized and exported back to England, Italy, and France. These Toy Spaniels of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were developed as companion dogs, in addition to their role in attracting fleas to save owners from catching the plague. During the Tudor Period, these toy lap dogs were named King Charles Spaniels. There was no breed standard, but these dogs generally had flat heads with pointed muzzles and high-set ears. However, by the mid-19th century, English breeders crossed them with Asian toys (likely the Pug and Japanese Chin) to develop small spaniels with flatter faces, domed skulls, and an underbite so its bottom teeth protruded farther than its top. The resulting dogs, known as English Toy Spaniels in America, became quite popular and temporarily dominated the previous style, which eventually became the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

                  14. Havanese

                  Havanese dog breed

                  Average height: 8 – 13 inches
                  Average weight: 7 – 13 pounds

                  The Havanese is a small dog originating from Cuba, bred to be a companion lapdog. The breed was named after the capital city of Havana, where they were most favored. They are believed to be part of the Bichon family and descend from the Bichon Frise, Maltese, the extinct Bichon Tenerife, and Blanquito de La Habana (meaning "little white dog of Havana"), among others. Some say they were brought over by Italian seafarers, while others believe it was by Spaniards who colonized the island. Either way, these small dogs were prized by Cuba's aristocrats and the wealthy. Over 300 years, the breed was refined, potentially crossed with the Poodle, into the modern Havanese. During the Cuban Revolution starting in 1959, many Cubans fled to America and brought their Havanese dogs. After their arrival in the U.S., American fanciers and breeders helped these little dogs become more popular.

                  15. Italian Greyhound

                  Italian Greyhound dog breed

                  Average height: 12 – 15 inches
                  Average weight: 7 – 14 pounds

                  Italian Greyhounds, relatives of the standard Greyhound, are small sighthounds that have existed for thousands of years. In fact, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that they were bred as companions to the nobles 2,000 years ago during the Roman Empire in the areas that are now Greece and Turkey. These miniature Greyhounds were also believed to be small-game hunters during this time. During the Renaissance in Italy, these little dogs became a status symbol for aristocrats and the wealthy. They then made their way to other nobles in Europe and even Africa. The breed was nearly wiped out due to the obsession with miniaturizing dogs as well as the World Wars. However, breeders, particularly in America, ensured the survival of the Italian Greyhound.

                    16. Japanese Chin

                    Japanese Chin dog breed

                    Average height: 8 – 11 inches
                    Average weight: 3 – 15 pounds

                    The origins of the Japanese Chin are unknown. Some believe it originated from China, while others believe it originated from Korea. There is also debate about who introduced the breed to Japan and when - such as Buddhist monks, Chinese emperors, or European merchants and anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years ago. What is agreed upon is that Japanese nobles played a significant role in developing the flat-faced, short-nosed Japanese Chin as it is today. In fact, the breed was kept in isolation for around 200 years until 1854 when Japan reopened for trade. These companion lapdogs were then imported to Europe and gained popularity, eventually spreading to America and receiving AKC recognition in 1888.

                      17. Lhasa Apso

                      Lhasa Apso dog breed

                      Average height: 10 – 11 inches
                      Average weight: 12 – 18 pounds

                      The Lhasa Apso is an ancient breed that originated in Tibet a thousand years ago, where it was highly regarded throughout villages and monasteries. In fact, recent DNA studies suggest that the Lhasa Apso is one of the 14 most ancient breeds recognized by the AKC. The breed was developed as both companion dogs and guard dogs, despite their size. It is believed that they were watchdogs for Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan Mountains, alerting to visitors by barking. As such, it's not surprising that they have been associated with the Dalai Lama for centuries.

                      Due to their homeland, the Lhasa Apso was bred to tolerate high altitudes (around 13,000 feet above sea level), extreme temperatures, and harsh, mountainous terrain. They are compact but muscular, with a dense and insulating coat for cold weather tolerance, a feathered tail that drapes over their back to protect from intense midday sun, large round feet for traction in ice and snow, facial hair to protect the eyes, and a broad muzzle and large lungs (resulting in a long body) for better breathing in high altitudes. Their name comes from Tibet's sacred city of Lhasa, while "Apso" means "longhaired dog." The breed came to America in the 1930s and 40s after the Fourteenth Dalai Lama began gifting Lhasa Apsos.

                      18. Löwchen

                      Löwchen dog breed

                      Average height: 12 – 14 inches
                      Average weight: 8 – 18 pounds

                      The origins of the Löwchen are unknown and have been the subject of long debate. While the name is German (meaning "little lion"), the Löwchen has been popular among wealthy women in France, Italy, Holland, Spain, and Russia, as well as Germany, since the Middle Ages. They are believed to be part of the ancient line of Bichon and descend from breeds like the Bichon Frise and Maltese (as evidenced by Renaissance art). Art also shows that the Löwchen has existed since at least the 15th century, with the earliest evidence found in a 1422 painting. Interestingly, it appears that these companions and lapdogs have not changed much since then. In fact, the lion haircut commonly given to Löwchens may have arisen so that the dogs could warm people's feet with the exposed skin. A more realistic theory, however, is that the lion cut was for grooming and sanitary purposes to prevent matting and pest infestation. The Löwchen's popularity dipped, and the breed became rare during World War II. But fanciers and breeders revived the population, and the breed eventually made its way to the U.S. in 1971.

                      19. Maltese

                      Maltese dog breed

                      Average height: 8 – 10 inches
                      Average weight: 6 – 9 pounds

                      The Maltese is a small white dog that has been around for thousands of years, so its exact origins are unknown. Although evidence suggests that the Maltese originated in south-central Europe from spitz-like dogs, the breed is believed to have gotten its name from the city of Malta. Due to its location (Malta lies 60 miles south of Sicily in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea), it served as a crossroads and gateway for three continents. As a flourishing seaport, Malta became a hub for the exchange of goods and culture - including dogs - and was also a target of conquest. Starting in 1500 B.C., Malta was conquered and occupied by the Phoenicians, who are believed to have introduced little white dogs to the island. When the Greeks arrived, they became enamored and depicted the "Melitaie Dog" in their art. During the Roman Empire, the Maltese became a status symbol and fashion statement for aristocrats. It is believed that Maltese dogs were carried by their women owners in their bosoms or sleeves. After the fall of the Roman Empire and during Europe's Dark Ages, Chinese breeders played a crucial role in ensuring the survival of the Maltese breed. They refined the breed by crossing them with native toy breeds and exported them back to Europe.

                      20. Miniature Dachshund

                      Miniature Dachshund dog breed

                      Average height: 4 – 7 inches
                      Average weight: 10 – 12 pounds

                      The Dachshund (also known as the Doxie, Wiener Dog, and Sausage Dog) originated in Germany, dating back around 600 years. Their name translates to "badger dog," which reflects their original purpose as badger hunters. They were also skilled at hunting other rodents, particularly burrow-dwelling creatures like rats and rabbits, as well as foxes and wild boar (in packs). The breed comes in two sizes, each serving different purposes - standard Dachshunds weigh around 30 pounds and were used to hunt larger game, while miniature Dachshunds weigh around 11 pounds and were used for smaller game.

                      The exact ancestry of the Dachshund is unknown, although smooth and long-haired Dachshunds existed before wire-haired ones, which were bred in the late 19th century. It is believed that Dachshunds descended from a mix of hounds and terriers from Germany, France, and England. Other breeds have been speculated in their lineage, especially considering the coat varieties. These include German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers, Pinschers, Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, Spaniels, Schnauzers, Scottish Terriers, and Dandy Dinmont Terriers.

                      The Dachshund's unique body shape was specifically designed for its work underground. The distinctive long and low body allowed them to navigate through tunnels. Their floppy ears protected their ear canals from dirt and debris, while their curved tail enabled them to be seen in tall grass and easily pulled from a burrow if stuck. The different coat varieties were also purposefully bred for specific environments and tasks, with wire coats allowing for work in thorny areas and long coats providing insulation in colder climates. Additionally, their hound-like howl served as a means for their human hunting companions to locate them when underground.

                      21. Miniature Pinscher

                      Miniature Pinscher dog breed

                      Average height: 10 – 13 inches
                      Average weight: 8 – 10 pounds

                      Miniature Pinschers, also known as Min Pins, were developed in Germany to exterminate rats from homes and stables. While experts, along with historical artifacts and paintings, suggest that they date back several centuries, the first factual documentation of a Min Pin was around 200 years ago. It is believed that the Min Pin is a cross between a Dachshund, Italian Greyhound, and possibly a German Pinscher as well. Although Min Pins may resemble Dobermans, they were not developed as miniature versions and are a much older and distinct breed.

                      The first breed standard was written after German breeders established the Pinscher Klub in 1895. The popularity of Min Pins grew after that, especially during the World Wars. The breed was first imported to the U.S. around 1919, and it was recognized by the AKC in 1929 (which was also when the Miniature Pinscher Club of America, Inc. was formed). Initially, they were classified in the Terrier group but were reclassified in 1930 to be part of the Toy Group.

                      22. Miniature Schnauzer

                      Miniature Schnauzer dog breed

                      Average height: 12 – 14 inches
                      Average weight: 9 – 18 pounds

                      Miniature Schnauzers originated in Germany in the mid-to-late 19th century. They were bred to be efficient rat hunters. The medium-sized Standard Schnauzer was originally bred to be an all-around farm dog capable of hunting rats, herding livestock, and guarding the property. Over time, farmers desired a smaller dog and began developing the Miniature Schnauzer to target vermin. They may have been created by breeding the smallest Standard Schnauzers or crossing Standards with smaller breeds such as the Affenpinscher, Min Pin, or Poodle. The Miniature Schnauzer possesses the same distinctive beard and longer fur on the nose as the Standard and Giant Schnauzers. The first documented Miniature Schnauzer appeared in 1888. The breed was introduced to the U.S. in 1924 and recognized by the AKC in 1926.

                      23. Norfolk Terrier

                      Norfolk Terrier dog breed

                      Average height: 9 – 10 inches
                      Average weight: 11 – 12 pounds

                      Norfolk Terriers, along with Norwich Terriers, are two of the smallest working terriers. They originated as one breed in Britain in the 1800s, bred to kill rodents on farms. It is believed that they descended from Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Irish Terriers. The breed's reputation as excellent ratters spread, and by the late 19th century, Cambridge University students brought them in to help solve the rat problems on campus, earning them the nickname "Cantab Terriers."

                      Breeders have refined the breed over the years, leading to its recognition in the 1930s by both the AKC and UKC. However, in 1964, Norfolks (with down-ears) were distinguished from Norwich Terriers (with up-ears) by the UKC. The two breeds were recognized separately by the AKC in 1979. 

                      24. Norwich Terrier

                      Norwich Terrier dog breed

                      Average height: 9 – 10 inches
                      Average weight: 11 – 12 pounds

                      Norwich Terriers, along with Norfolk Terriers, are two of the smallest working terriers. They originated as one breed in Britain in the 1800s, bred to kill rodents on farms. It is believed that they descended from Border Terriers, Cairn Terriers, and Irish Terriers. The breed's reputation as excellent ratters spread, and by the late 19th century, Cambridge University students brought them in to help solve the rat problems on campus, giving them the nickname "Cantab Terriers."

                      Breeders have refined the breed over the years, leading to its recognition in the 1930s by both the AKC and UKC. However, in 1964, the Norwich (with up-ears) were distinguished from the Norfolk (with down-ears) by the UKC. The two breeds were recognized separately by the AKC in 1979.

                      25. Papillon

                      Papillon dog breed

                      Average height: 8 – 11 inches
                      Average weight: 7 – 10 pounds

                      Papillons are one of the oldest toy breeds, dating back some 700 years. The breed's history has been traced through art from the 1500s, mostly from royalty such as queens and princesses. They were bred to be companions and lapdogs for aristocratic women and became favorites of the European nobility. It is believed that Papillons were developed during the Renaissance by crossing existing toy breeds and spaniels, which may explain why Papillons are one of the more athletic toy dogs For example, they can jump high for their size - between two and four feet, which is more than two to four times their height! They likely traveled trade routes between Europe and Asia. Although their name is French for "butterfly," named for their distinctive butterfly ears, early breeding, refining, and popularizing of the breed likely occurred in Italy and Spain.

                        26. Pekingese

                        Pekingese dog breed

                        Average height: 6 – 9 inches
                        Average weight: 7 – 14 pounds

                        The origin of the Pekingese is unknown because they are also incredibly ancient. According to a Chinese legend, they were created by the Buddha, who shrunk down a lion, which may explain their "lion's mane" appearance with longer coat around the neck and shoulders. What is known is that Pekingese were companion dogs to the ancient Chinese ruling class and nobles, who bred them along with other flat-faced lapdogs on this list for centuries. Stealing one was supposedly punishable by death. The Pekingese remained a secret until 1860 when Britain invaded Peking (Beijing) during the Opium Wars. The dogs were brought back to Queen Victoria, and their popularity subsequently rose. They arrived in the U.S. in the 1890s and were recognized by the AKC in 1906.

                        27. Pomeranian

                        Pomeranian dog breed

                        Average height: 6 – 11 inches
                        Average weight: 4 – 8 pounds

                        Pomeranians originated from (and are named after) Pomerania, an area of northeastern Europe that is now part of Poland and western Germany. Their ancestors from hundreds of years ago were bred from larger spitz-type sled dogs. The breed's popularity increased after Queen Victoria became enamored with the dogs. At that time, they weighed around 30 pounds, but Victoria bred them down to their current miniature size to become true companion lapdogs. Today, the Pomeranian, also known as Zwergspitz in some countries, is the smallest spitz breed.

                          28. Pug

                          Pug dog breed

                          Average height: 10 – 14 inches
                          Average weight: 14 – 18 pounds

                          Pugs are one of the most popular dogs around the world today. However, the Chinese breed dates back thousands of years when ancient emperors and ruling families in China bred Pugs to be their companions and ideal palace dogs. They had an affinity for flat-faced breeds, which they considered highly valuable. In the 1500s, Dutch traders brought the breed back to Europe, leading to their rise in popularity. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria developed a passion for the breed. Pugs made their way to the U.S. around the same time and were officially recognized by the AKC in 1885. Although these small dogs once lived in large and lavish residences, they are content living in apartments today.

                          29. Russian Toy

                          Russian Toy Russkiy Toy dog breed

                          Average height: 8 – 11 inches
                          Average weight: 3 – 9 pounds

                          The Russian Toy, or Russkiy Toy, is a tiny breed that descended from English Toy Terriers brought to Russia during the 18th century. Aristocrats and socialites admired these imported small dogs, making them stylish and fashionable "living accessories." In fact, there is a preserved dog that supposedly belonged to Peter The Great from 1716-1725 in the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg. By the start of the 20th century, they were a status symbol for the upper class. The dogs were no longer rare and were no longer called English Toy Terriers; instead, they were known as Russian (Russkiy) Toy Terriers.

                          The breed nearly went extinct during the Russian Revolution of 1917 when people stopped breeding companion dogs. However, efforts were made across Russia to restore the breed after Stalin's death. In 1958, a long-haired puppy was born to two smooth-coated parents, either by mutation or the introduction of other unknown toy breeds. This marked the birth of the breed's second variety, known early on as the Moscow Long Haired Toy Terrier. Between 1966 and the 1980s, official standards for one breed with the two varieties were written. In 2006, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized both varieties under the Russian Toy breed, and "Terrier" was dropped from its name.

                          30. Schipperke

                          Schipperke dog breed

                          Average height: 10 – 13 inches
                          Average weight: 10 – 18 pounds

                          The Schipperke (pronounced "SHEEP-er-ker") is a small Belgian breed that dates back to the 1600s. The breed originated in the Dutch-speaking northern area of Belgium called Flanders. It descended from the now-extinct black sheepdog known as the Leauvenaar, who was also the ancestor of the Belgian Sheepdog. While the Belgian Sheepdog was bred to be larger, the Schipperke was bred to be smaller for peasants who could not afford bigger dogs.

                          Due to their sheepdog ancestry, the Schipperke likely originated as a farm dog that herded livestock, guarded the property, and hunted game. However, they were discovered by captains who needed a compact dog to guard their ships and control rodent populations on board. Shopkeepers also employed the breed to guard their stores and eliminate vermin. The Schipperke is a light sleeper with a healthy bark (despite their size), allowing them to excel as watchdogs.

                          There is some debate about whether the Schipperke is a sheepdog or a Spitz, and their history of names doesn't provide much of an answer. In Flemish, their name means "little boatman" or "little captain," given to them because of their role aboard ships. But in areas of Leuven and Brussels, "scheper" (which sounds similar to "schipper") was the word for shepherd, translating their name to "little shepherd." In addition, the breed was also known as "Spits" or "Spitzke," a common descriptor for a small dog with pointed ears. Furthermore, DNA analysis has shown that they are closely related to the Spitz family. Despite the debate, they are considered a small shepherd in their native Belgium but are comfortable being around water due to their background.

                          31. Shih Tzu

                          Shih Tzu dog breed

                          Average height: 8 – 11 inches
                          Average weight: 8 – 16 pounds

                          Although Shih Tzus are often thought of as an ancient breed from China, they actually originated from Tibet. It is believed that even older Tibetan breeds, like the Lhaso Apso, were crossed with the Pekingese to create the ancestor of the Shih Tzu. Tibet then sent these dogs as gifts to Chinese royalty, after which the Chinese bred them with the Pug and Pekingese to create the modern Shih Tzu. The breed was kept as a royal companion for hundreds of years and was believed to be so valuable that the Chinese refused to sell, trade, or give them away. This kept the breed a secret until they were imported to Europe in the 1930s. The Shih Tzu then spread throughout Europe and was brought to the U.S. after World War II by returning soldiers. The Shih Tzu was officially recognized by the AKC in 1969.

                          32. Silky Terrier

                          Silky Terrier dog breed

                          Average height: 9 – 10 inches
                          Average weight: 8 – 11 pounds

                          Often mistaken for Yorkshire or Australian Terriers, Silky Terriers are their own distinctive breed, although the three are closely related. This is because Australian breeders used Yorkies and Aussies prominently when developing the Silky in the early 20th century. As a result, Silkies are larger than Yorkies but smaller than Aussies. Other breeds thought to be involved include Cairn, Skye, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. They were initially called "the Sydney Silky" (as they were primarily from Sydney), but are now referred to as the Australian Silky Terrier in their native home and simply as the Silky Terrier in North America. Although originally bred to be companion dogs, Silkies do have a prey drive (they are known for killing snakes in Australia) and may display some digging tendencies.

                          33. Toy Fox Terrier

                          Toy Fox Terrier dog breed

                          Average height: 8 – 12 inches
                          Average weight: 3 – 7 pounds

                          Toy Fox Terriers (not to be confused with Australia's Miniature Fox Terrier) originated in the early 20th century when American breeders crossed the runts of Smooth Fox Terriers with other toy dogs. Possible breeds included Toy Manchester Terriers, Chihuahuas, and Italian Greyhounds. Toy Fox Terriers were developed as rat hunters for barns and farms. Breeders wanted a dog with similar characteristics to the Smooth Fox Terrier but smaller in size. Fun fact: the Toy Fox Terrier's size and intelligence allowed them to become popular in traveling circuses. In 1936, the UKC formally recognized the Toy Fox Terrier as its own distinct breed from the Smooth Fox Terrier. However, it wasn't until 2003 that the AKC formally recognized the breed.

                          34. Toy Manchester Terrier

                          Toy Manchester Terrier dog breed

                          Average height: 10 – 12 inches
                          Average weight: 10 – 12 pounds

                          The Toy Manchester Terrier originates from England. In the mid-1800s, local mill workers enjoyed two pastime sports: rabbit hunting and rat killing (where people bet on dogs set loose in a pit of rats). Breeders sought to develop a dog that could serve both purposes, so they crossed the ratter Black and Tan Terrier with the Whippet to create a distinct Manchester Terrier. During the Victorian Era, the Standard Manchester Terrier was considered a gentleman's companion, as women desired a smaller dog. By breeding the smallest Standard Manchesters together, a miniature version was created. Thus, the Toy Manchester Terrier emerged as a separate breed until 1959. Since then, the two varieties have become one breed, the Manchester Terrier, with the Toy and Standard as its two varieties. The AKC, however, categorizes the two varieties into separate breed groups, with the Standard in the Terrier Group and the Toy in the Toy Group.

                          35. Toy Poodle

                          Toy Poodle dog breed

                          Average height: 9 – 11 inches
                          Average weight: 5 – 10 pounds

                          The Toy Poodle is the smallest Poodle, with the Miniature and Standard being the larger varieties. Over 400 years ago, the Poodle was originally used to flush and retrieve ducks and other game from water. They are believed to be related to the Irish Water Spaniel and Barbet, both of which are bird dogs. Despite being associated with France (it's the national breed of France and called "Caniche," meaning "duck dog" in French), the breed actually originated in Germany. Its name comes from the German word "pudel" or "pudelin," which means “to splash in the water.” The Standard Poodle is the oldest variation of the three and was bred down to the Miniature Poodle in the 1700s. Both varieties became popular among the nobles of France and Europe and were even used as truffle hunters, thanks to their keen sense of smell. Additionally, the smaller Poodles were popular in European circuses due to their trainability. In the early 20th century, the first Toy Poodle was bred with the intention of creating a companion dog for city living.

                          36. Volpino Italiano

                          Volpino Italiano dog breed

                          Average height: 10 – 12 inches
                          Average weight: 9 – 12 pounds

                          The Volpino Italiano is a rare breed that originated in Italy thousands of years ago, with depictions in paintings from the 1400s-1500s. It is related to, but not descended from, the German Spitz, as both share the same ancient European Spitz ancestor. Researchers believe that modern spitz breeds like the Pomeranian and American Eskimo Dog may have descended from the Volpino Italiano and other breeds. During the 18th Century, Volpino Italianos were abundant in Tuscany and Latium. They served as companion dogs and watchdogs to nobles, commoners, farmers, and others. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Italian immigrants brought the Volpino Italiano to North America. However, the breed's popularity sharply declined, and it ended up on the brink of extinction. In fact, it's believed that there were only five purebred dogs left in 1965. Breeders took notice and worked to revive the breed, which gained popularity once again in Italy in the 1980s. Nevertheless, the breed remains extremely rare, with just 160 registrations per year in Italy from 2011-2019 and only a few thousand registered around the world.

                          37. Yorkshire Terrier

                          Yorkshire Terrier dog breed

                          Average height: 6 – 8 inches
                          Average weight: 4 – 7 pounds

                          Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, originated in the northern English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire during the mid-1800s. Though they became a fashion symbol and lapdog, the Yorkie started out as a working dog for the working class. It is believed that the breed was developed by weavers from Scotland who migrated to the northern regions of England and brought along their terriers. They were bred to fit into the nooks and crannies of textile mills to exterminate rodents. Coal miners also used them as ratters in the mines. Yorkies likely descended from several types of Scottish breeds and terriers (both current, such as the Skye and Dandie Dinmont, and extinct). They may also have some Maltese in their genes.

                          The breed was recognized by the Kennel Club of England in 1886, which boosted their popularity. They became more fashionable than functional, especially popular with women as companion dogs. And as the Yorkie became more fashionable, their size became smaller.

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