Popular small breeds of dog

Facts and information on all the popular small dogs also known as companion or lap dogs. There are many different types of breeds, the category or group varies depending on size and weight. The very small breeds are in the toy group while others are usually in the terrier or utility group. The many wonderful dog breeds available in the toy category are often called lap dogs, they make great pets for any age, young or old and are very friendly and offer wonderful companionship to their owner. Information includes group, size, weight, height, behaviour and temperament, also if the dog is suitable for very young children or the elderly and if they are friendly and make great companions. If you are looking for a dog and interested in one of the small dog breeds as a pet there are many specialist breeders around the country. If you would like to adopt instead, try the pet rescue centres and the animal shelters. The RSPCA can offer help and advice about giving a dog a new home.


Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog in the world with either a long coat or a short coat. Named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, where they were discovered in 1850.

Group: Toy

Coat: Long coat or short smooth coat

Height: 15 - 23 cm

Weight: 2 - 12 lbs

Life Span: 15 years

Origin: Mexico

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are a gentle, playful dog with a cheerful temperament. They have a thick white coat with corkscrew curls, a non-shedding breed that requires daily grooming.

Group: Non-Sporting or Toy

Coat: Long, thick and textured

Height: 23 - 30 cm

Weight: 7 - 12 lbs

Life Span: 12 - 15 years

Origin: France


Malteses are a small white dog that does not shed its coat and is covered from head to foot with luxurious long, silky, white fur.

Group: Toy

Coat: Thick, white, silky and shiny

Height: 21 - 25cm

Weight: 4 - 10 lbs

Life Span: 13 - 15 years

Origin: Malta


Pugs are a small dog with a big personality known for their playful nature. They have a wrinkly face and a fine, glossy coat which can be apricot, fawn, silver or black.

Group: Toy

Coat: Smooth, fine, soft and short

Height: 25 - 28 cm

Weight: 15 - 30 lbs

Life Span: 12 - 18 years

Origin: China

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are small with a sturdy build and a long, flowing, thick double coat lined with a woolly undercoat. They are known for their intelligence and have a friendly, energetic, lively character.

Group: Utility or Toy

Coat: Long thick double coat

Height: 20 - 28 cm

Weight: 9 - 16 lbs

Life Span: 9 - 15 years

Origin: China

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, also called Yorkie, are a small breed known for being independent, courageous and intelligent. They are a long-haired breed with no undercoat.

Group: Terrier or Toy

Coat: Long silky and fine

Height: 18 - 22cm

Weight: 5 - 7 lbs

Life Span: 9 - 15 years

Origin: United Kingdom

West Highland Terrier

West Highland Terriers, also known as a Westie, are lively dogs with bright eyes and a very distinctive white coat.

Group: Terrier

Coat: Straight and rough

Height: 25 - 28 cm

Weight: 15 - 20 lbs

Life Span:

Origin: Scotland

Japanese Chin

Japanese Chins, also known as the Japanese Spaniel, are very good companion or lap dogs. They have a long, straight, silky coat that is usually black and white.

Group: Toy

Coat: Long, straight and soft

Height: 20 - 27 cm

Weight: 7 - 11lbs

Life Span: 15 years

Origin: China


Pomeranians are compact, sturdy dog that are lively and energetic. They have two coats, a soft, fluffy undercoat and a long, coarse top coat.

Group: Toy

Coat: Long, straight and coarse

Height: 18 - 22cms

Weight: 3 - 7 lbs

Life Span: 9 - 15 years

Origin: Germany