Tiniest dog breeds

August 18, 2020
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Tiniest dog breeds

As many dog owners can attest, small dogs are hard to resist. The tiny faces of lap-sized breeds can win over nearly any dog lover’s heart—and they certainly know how to captivate social media. The undeniable cuteness of pugs and Yorkies have made them the internet’s sweethearts. Even better, small dogs are often cheaper to own, as they require less food, are easier to bring along on your day-to-day adventures, and can thrive just as well in a cramped city apartment as on a sprawling farm. However, underestimating what a breed is capable of because of its size is a big mistake. Small dogs are so much more than adorable snugglers.

In the following slides, Stacker has analyzed the data on the 193 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (released in May 2020), splitting them into small dog and large dog categories. This list of the 97 tiniest breeds was compiled using a size index based on the typical maximum height and weight for each dog breed, and the end result is an eclectic group of pooches that truly only share one thing in common—their status as the smallest pups around. Not a single dog on the list stands taller than 22 inches from shoulder to paw.

Each one of these small breeds is unique in its own way, whether its claim to fame is being raised in the lap of luxury alongside kings and queens, working long hours on farms keeping the mice away, protecting holy cities, or hunting puffins on rocky islands.

Keep reading to learn about the history and typical characteristics of each breed, and you’ll find that though they are compact, there’s nothing diminutive about the personalities of these 97 unique little dogs.

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#97. Whippet

- Size index: 43.2
- Typical max height: 22 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Standing between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder, whippets are essentially miniature versions of the greyhound. The athletic dogs are fast, reaching speeds up to 50 mph, rarely bark, and are low-maintenance pets good for city dwellings and country homes alike.

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#94. Polish Lowland sheepdog (tie)

- Size index: 42.5
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

In the final days of the Roman Empire, the Huns succeeded in invading the area now known as Poland. Upon their arrival, they began to breed their Hunnic dogs with those native to the region—the end result was the Polish Lowland sheepdog, a level-headed herding and guard dog. These pups have a beautiful double coat, but their shaggy fur requires lots of maintenance in order to keep it free of mats and debris.

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#94. English springer spaniel (tie)

- Size index: 42.5
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

English springer spaniels are highly trainable, polite, and social dogs. The people-pleasing pooches are good with kids and enjoy long walks just as much as they do lounging indoors. The breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as a range of eye conditions, and responsible owners should get their pets screened regularly for signs of these ailments.

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#94. Australian cattle dog (tie)

- Size index: 42.5
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

Related to Australia’s native wild dog, the dingo, Australian cattle dogs are resilient, smart, and loyal. Bred to be herders, these pups are extremely hard workers with boundless energy. They require plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them from getting into mischief.

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#93. Spanish water dog

- Size index: 42.2
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 49 pounds

The curly haired Spanish water dog has been a fixture in the Iberian Peninsula for so long, no one is really sure how they got there. A highly intelligent breed, the dogs pull double duty, working as both herders and waterfowl retrievers.

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#92. Welsh springer spaniel

- Size index: 42.1
- Typical max height: 19 inches
- Typical max weight: 55 pounds

Thought to be the oldest British spaniel, evidence of Welsh springer spaniels dates back to 250 B.C. It’s unclear how the breed, descendants of the original spaniel of the Iberian Peninsula, made the journey from Spain to Wales, but they’ve been Britain's hardest-working bird dog ever since.

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#91. Standard schnauzer

- Size index: 41.7
- Typical max height: 19.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

Known as the mittelschnauzer in their native Germany, standard schnauzers are the country’s version of an ideal farm dog. Dating back to the Middle Ages, schnauzers have earned their keep working as ratters, guardians, herders, and hunters. Modern standard schnauzers make wonderful companions and are great with kids, making them an ideal family dog.

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#90. German pinscher

- Size index: 41.3
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 45 pounds

One of Germany’s oldest dog breeds, the German pinscher was first bred to be a rat-catcher. The small, sleek breed makes an excellent watchdog, but their independent streak requires a good amount of obedience training and an owner with a firm hand. As such, these dogs aren’t an ideal breed for a first-time owner.

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#89. Brittany

- Size index: 40.9
- Typical max height: 20.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Brittany pups were first introduced to America in 1931. Prior to the American Kennel Club’s recognition of the breed in 1934, the dogs had been working as hunting companions for centuries in their native France. Today, Brittanys have earned the distinction of being Dual Champions, meaning they’re good showmen in the ring and accomplished hunting dogs in the field.

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#88. Poodle

- Size index: 39.5
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 70 pounds

Poodles may have a reputation as being a prissy pup, but in reality, they were bred as retrieving water dogs some 400 years ago. Highly intelligent, poodles are also natural entertainers and have long been associated with the circus, particularly in Europe. Very people-oriented, poodles are friendly and eager to please.

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BIGANDT.COM // Shutterstock

#87. Field spaniel

- Size index: 39.4
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

A cousin of the Cocker Spaniel, Field Spaniels are similar in appearance but markedly different in their energy levels. Field Spaniels are docile and calm and can spend much of their day lounging around. That being said, they can be extremely playful when the mood strikes, and are trustworthy around children, making them great for families with young kids.

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#86. Kerry blue terrier

- Size index: 39.4
- Typical max height: 19.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Named for its home county of Kerry, Ireland, the Kerry blue terrier has mysterious origins but is so beloved in its native land that it became the mascot for the patriots during the fight for independence. The breed’s most distinctive characteristic is its blue coat, which comes in shades from light grey to deep slate. Originally employed as farm dogs, the pups also make great, high-energy family companions.

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#85. Soft coated wheaten terrier

- Size index: 38.6
- Typical max height: 19 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Another Irish farm dog, the soft coated wheaten terrier is also known for its coat. Rather than the blue hue of the Kerry blue terrier, these dogs have longer, silkier, gold fur. Like many terriers, the soft coated wheaten terrier is willful and independent meaning that they need obedience training at an early age.

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#84. Finnish spitz

- Size index: 38.5
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 33 pounds

The Finnish spitz is Finland’s most popular dog breed. It is thought that the dogs’ ancestors arrived in Finland some 3,000 years ago with migrants from central Russia. Originally, the pups were all-purpose hunters, but through their evolution, they’ve become particularly skilled gamebird dogs.

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#83. Basset hound

- Size index: 38.3
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 65 pounds

Experts believe that the basset hound was bred by the friars of the Abbey of St. Hubert who set out to develop a scent hound that could track rabbits and deer while being easily followed by hunters on foot. An unrivaled scenting dog, the only breed with a more accurate nose is the bloodhound. Basset hounds aren’t particularly affectionate, but they’re extremely loyal making them a good fit for families.

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#81. Keeshond (tie)

- Size index: 38.2
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 45 pounds

For centuries, keeshond acted as companions and guard dogs on the Dutch barges that sailed among the man-made canals in the Low Countries. An important part of the history of the Netherlands, the dogs were also the mascot of the Dutch Patriots Party and earned their name through this association. Keeshond are best known for their “spectacles”—markings around their eyes that make them appear as if they’re wearing glasses.

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#81. American water spaniel (tie)

- Size index: 38.2
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 45 pounds

Native to the upper Midwest, American water spaniels were bred specifically to hunt waterfowl in the Great Lakes region. Exactly how or when they were bred in somewhat of a mystery, although experts have been able to identify a handful of the component breeds. American water spaniels have been described as merry, intelligent, and friendly, but getting your hands on one may prove tricky—it's believed that there are only about 3,000 of the dogs in existence.

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#80. Norwegian buhund

- Size index: 37.8
- Typical max height: 18.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

1,200 years ago, Norwegian buhunds accompanied their Viking owners as they set out on raids all across Europe. Although they’ve had their fair share of adventures, Norwegian buhunds are, at heart, homebodies. The farm dogs love people, are very affectionate, and are known to be particularly close with children.

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#78. Lagotto Romagnolo (tie)

- Size index: 37.4
- Typical max height: 19 inches
- Typical max weight: 35 pounds

A curly haired breed, lagotto Romagnolo may look like cuddly teddy bears, but they’re actually incredibly hard-working dogs often used to snuff out truffles with their exceptional noses. In fact, the Italian breed, which dates back to the Renaissance, is often regarded as the world’s best truffle dog.

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#78. American Eskimo dog (tie)

- Size index: 37.4
- Typical max height: 19 inches
- Typical max weight: 35 pounds

Despite what the breed’s name may lead you to believe, American Eskimo dogs have nothing to do with Eskimos; instead, they were brought to America by German immigrants in the 1800s. Following WWII, and the growing prejudice against all things German, the dogs’ name was changed from German spitz to American Eskimo dog. The breed has earned its keep working both as an all-around farm dog and as a part of trained dog acts in vaudeville shows and the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

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#76. Miniature American shepherd (tie)

- Size index: 37.1
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Miniature American shepherds are a truly compact breed, usually standing between 13 and 18 inches tall. In the 1960s, members of the U.S. Rodeo circuit began selectively breeding the small American shepherds that traveled with them in an effort to create an even more petite herding dog. Miniature American shepherds are energetic, intelligent, and incredibly friendly making them incredibly popular with owners everywhere.

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#76. Boykin spaniel (tie)

- Size index: 37.1
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Around 1900 in Boykin, South Carolina, a dog-man named Whit Boykin was developing an entire breeding program around a brown spaniel named Dumpy. Dumpy had been found as a puppy by Boykin’s hunting partner, and the two men were so impressed with the pup’s versatility in the field (Dumpy was equally talented at water retrievals and in birding) that they sought to create an entirely new, homegrown breed. The result was the Boykin spaniel, an athletic, sweet-natured pup as at home in the field as he is relaxing with his family.

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#75. Cirneco dell’Etna

- Size index: 36.9
- Typical max height: 20 inches
- Typical max weight: 26 pounds

Cirneco dell’Etna dogs are a truly ancient breed, thought to have existed in Sicily for some 3,000 years. The sighthounds, or coursing hounds, easily outrun most of their prey but are low-maintenance and mild companions at home. These sweet-natured pups are easily recognizable by their chestnut coat, and slim, athletic bodies.

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#74. Pyrenean shepherd

- Size index: 35.5
- Typical max height: 18.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

The shepherds of the Pyrenees mountains, which border France and Spain, have been using ancestors of the Pyrenean shepherd dogs to help them in their work for thousands of years. The shaggy-haired pooches come in a wide range of colors, but all share the same high-energy personality. These dogs love to run and exercise, and as a result, wouldn’t do well in a small city apartment.

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#73. Pumi

- Size index: 35.3
- Typical max height: 18.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 29 pounds

The Pumi is one of three sheepdogs that are indigenous to Hungary. Some 300 to 400 years ago, Puli, the oldest of these sheepdogs was interbred with European herding dogs, resulting in the corkscrew-curled Pumi. The breed is renowned for intelligence and energy, and love to use their voices to make their presence known.

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#72. Bulldog

- Size index: 34.8
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 50 pounds

It is believed that bulldogs were first bred in England during the 13th century in order to participate in bull baiting, a gruesome blood sport that has since been outlawed. The muscled dogs are often used as a symbol of courage and determination, but they are also incredibly easy going and loving. The lovable breed is often used as a mascot for organizations like Yale University and the U.S. Marine Corps and is the national symbol for the country of England.

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#71. Icelandic sheepdog

- Size index: 34.7
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

The Iceland sheepdog is the only dog indigenous to Iceland. The breed was first brought to the country some 1,100 years ago by Norse settlers, who used the spitz to help herd livestock. The dogs are fiercely devoted to their humans, friendly, and enthusiastic, always ready to do anything asked of them.

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#70. Puli

- Size index: 34.3
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 35 pounds

The oldest of the sheepdogs indigenous to Hungary, Puli have retained their strong herding instincts for centuries, and will often attempt to corral anything from other dogs to toddlers. Their distinctive corded coat developed to protect them from the harsh winters of their native region, and although it may look high maintenance, very little grooming is actually required to keep the animals clean and safe from mats and burrs.

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#69. English cocker spaniel

- Size index: 34.1
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 34 pounds

The American Kennel Club declares that the key characteristic of an English cocker spaniel is its balance: in temperament, construction, and movement. For example, while the hunting dog is basically unmatched in the field it can be an incredibly relaxed and mellow companion in the home. The merry little dog is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone he comes in contact with.

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#68. Irish terrier

- Size index: 34.0
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 27 pounds

Irish terriers, known for their fiery red coats, have existed in their present form since sometime in the 1870s. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1885, some 30 years before they were used as messengers and sentinels during WWI. After the end of the war, the breed went back to being an all-purpose farm dog—working as a ratter, guard dog, herder, and hunting companion.

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#67. Sussex spaniel

- Size index: 33.6
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 45 pounds

Standing at only 15 inches high, Sussex spaniels are low to the ground, a characteristic that gives them an edge when it comes to hunting birds, but one that’s at odds with the high grasses and hedgerows that cover the English countryside. Since they couldn’t be easily seen by their owners while on the hunt, Sussex spaniels developed a specific “language” of barks and babbles in order to relay their whereabouts. As a result, the small, spunky dogs tend to be more vocal than other spaniels and they don’t hesitate to make their presence known.

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#66. Rat terrier

- Size index: 33.5
- Typical max height: 18 inches
- Typical max weight: 25 pounds

It’s said that President Teddy Roosevelt gave this homegrown breed their name, the rat terrier. The dogs are natural exterminators, and can easily root out and dispose of small rodents. The laid-back pups also make excellent playmates for children and don’t need tons of room for exercise, making them a great option for city dwellers.

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#65. Staffordshire bull terrier

- Size index: 33.5
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 38 pounds

Staffordshire bull terriers are all muscle, which gives them an intimidating appearance and points to their past as sport fighters. However, responsible breeders have turned these pups into sweet-natured canines who are good with children and companionable with other dogs (as long as they are socialized early on).

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#64. Tibetan terrier

- Size index: 33.2
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

It is believed that Tibetan terriers were bred by Buddhist monks in order to guard the monasteries in the holy city of Lhasa. With affectionate and sensitive personalities, they certainly would have made wonderful companions. Traditionally, Tibetan terriers are believed to bring luck to their owners, and certainly, any household that brings one home is sure to be the better for it.

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#63. Petit basset griffon Vendéen

- Size index: 32.4
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Bred among the rocky terrain of coastal France, the petit basset griffon Vendéen had to be tough in order to survive. With strong legs and a rough coat, these small dogs are perfectly primed to hunt rabbits and other small game in packs along the coast. This pack mentality also means that the breed gets along swimmingly with other dogs and small children.

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#62. Bedlington terrier

- Size index: 32.3
- Typical max height: 17.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 23 pounds

The first Bedlington terrier, a dog named Piper, was bred in 1825. The flossy-haired dogs may look like lambs, but for almost their entire existence, beginning with Piper who was employed as a varmint killer, they’ve been engaged in some pretty brutal work. Still, the breed is naturally loving, and are able to develop close bonds with their owners, adapting well to a more suburban life.

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#61. Boston terrier

- Size index: 32.0
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 25 pounds

All Boston terriers are descended from a single ancestor named Judge, who arrived in Boston in 1870. Nicknamed the “American Gentleman,” these sweet, happy-go-lucky dogs are people-oriented, comical, and well-suited to urban life.

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#59. Shiba Inu (tie)

- Size index: 31.8
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Shiba Inu dogs have been around since at least 300 B.C., working as hunters in the mountainous regions of Japan. The pups almost went extinct during WWII, but were brought back and are now the most popular companion animal in the Asian country. The first Shiba Inu was brought to the United States in 1954 by a military family returning home.

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#59. Basenji (tie)

- Size index: 31.8
- Typical max height: 17 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Basenjis might be the oldest breed of dog recognized by the AKC. In fact, it is thought that they might be directly related to the first domesticated dogs of interior Africa. Even thousands of years later the breed’s hunting instincts remain strong, as a result, they’re incredibly active and require lots of room to run and play.

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#58. Glen of Imaal terrier

- Size index: 30.9
- Typical max height: 14 inches
- Typical max weight: 40 pounds

Heeding from one of the most remote corners of Ireland, the Glen of Imaal terrier was bred to work hard. One interesting job the terriers held was running on a hamster wheel-like contraption that spun slow-roasting cuts of meat over an open fire. This work earned them the nickname, “turnspit dog.”

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#57. Cocker spaniel

- Size index: 30.9
- Typical max height: 15.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

One of the world’s most-loved dog breeds, the cocker spaniel is believed to have originated in Spain, where it was put to work as a companion for bird hunters. The breed makes an eager playmate for children and a ready companion for athletes, its sweet, cheerful nature endearing it to anyone it comes in contact with.

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#56. Shetland sheepdog

- Size index: 30.5
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 25 pounds

A cousin of the Collie, Shetland sheepdogs were first bred on the Shetland Islands, the rocky northernmost point of the U.K. Their smaller size meant that they required less food to fuel their herding, making them ideal for farms where food might be scarce. While Shetland sheepdogs are great family pets, they can be apprehensive of strangers and need encouragement to open up to new faces.

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#55. Norwegian lundehund

- Size index: 30.1
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

The only dog bred to hunt the now-protected puffin, the Norwegian lundehund earned its keep by scaling the sheer rock walls on the island of Vaeroy, snatching the birds from their roosts, and carrying them back to waiting owners. In order to accomplish this nearly impossible feat, the breed developed some unique characteristics, like six functioning toes on each foot, an “elastic neck,” and incredibly flexible shoulders.

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#54. Manchester terrier (standard)

- Size index: 29.8
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 22 pounds

Developed in Manchester, England, the Manchester terrier was bred to be both a hunting dog and a rat exterminator. A full-grown standard Manchester terrier has a smooth black and tan coat and weighs between 12 and 22 pounds, giving it an incredibly lithe appearance.

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#53. Swedish vallhund

- Size index: 29.3
- Typical max height: 13.75 inches
- Typical max weight: 35 pounds

It is thought that the Swedish vallhund was developed sometime between the eighth and 11th centuries when Vikings crossed their Scandinavian spitz dogs with Welsh corgis. While their exact lineage is unknown, historians are certain that the Swedish vallhund has worked as a cattle dog and farmhand in western Sweden for years.

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#52. Smooth fox terrier

- Size index: 29.3
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 20 pounds

In days past, when fox hunting was still a popular and legal pastime in Britain, the smooth fox terrier was used during the hunt to chase the foxes out from their underground cavities. Tenacious and lively, these dogs have been nicknamed “the gentleman of the terrier world.”

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#51. Wire fox terrier

- Size index: 29.1
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 19 pounds

A coil of ready-to-spring energy, the wire fox terrier has a strong personality and can be difficult to train. However, their long lifespan and easy companionship make them an excellent choice for owners up to the challenge. Perhaps the best-known member of the white-haired breed was Caesar, King Edward VII’s best-loved dog.

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#50. Beagle

- Size index: 28.7
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Beagles are known for their hunting skills, but there’s so much more to this lovable pup. The breed is believed to date back to fifth-century Greece, and they've been used for all kinds of unusual jobs in their long history. In addition to being used by Homeland Security to find food and other contraband tucked away in your luggage, they also make terrific bed bug detectors.

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Nyaah // Wikimedia Commons

#49. American hairless terrier

- Size index: 28.4
- Typical max height: 16 inches
- Typical max weight: 16 pounds

The American hairless terrier is the first hairless breed to originate in the United States. These hypoallergenic dogs make great family pets, but they require a few things most breeds don’t—namely sunscreen in the summer and a cozy sweater in the winter to keep them warm.

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#48. Cardigan Welsh corgi

- Size index: 28.1
- Typical max height: 12.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 38 pounds

Despite not being Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred breed of corgi, the cardigan Welshes have been around longer than their Pembroke cousins. These reliable little animals are farm dogs at heart, and they’re right at home working with livestock and keeping mice out of the barn.

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#47. Miniature bull terrier

- Size index: 28.1
- Typical max height: 14 inches
- Typical max weight: 28 pounds

Thanks to their distinctive looks, miniature bull terriers have a history of being spokesdogs for famous brands. Notable members of the breed include Target’s Bullseye, and Bud Light’s Spuds MacKenzie—who, despite being a ladies’ man in the commercials, was actually a female named Honey.

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Shleiderbmx // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Welsh terrier

- Size index: 27.8
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 20 pounds

The Welsh terrier is inseparable from the history of Wales. The breed was first mentioned roughly 1,000 years ago in the country’s history, but the pups didn’t receive their name until 1855. Originally bred to hunt fox and rodents, these days the Welsh terrier is more likely to be found working a dog show crowd than sniffing out prey.

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#45. Lakeland terrier

- Size index: 27.1
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 17 pounds

Lakeland terriers are becoming increasingly rare. These furry dogs once worked the lake districts in England, and they are notorious burrowers. The first president of the Lakeland Terrier Association claimed that he had a Lakeland terrier that once chased an otter into a 23-foot burrow, and had to be rescued as a result.

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Chadwest // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Border terrier

- Size index: 26.7
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 15.5 pounds

Border terriers were bred to hunt small game, and for that reason, they don’t make good pets for households where hamsters or gerbils reside. However, if you’re looking for a competitive breed, then you can’t do better than these wiry dogs. Border terriers have been known to annihilate the competition in Earthdog trials.

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Frosya a // Wikimedia Commons

#43. French bulldog

- Size index: 26.6
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 28 pounds

Frenchies, as they’re known to their loyal owners, are a true companion breed. In fact, these pampered pups hate being chastised, rarely bark, and can’t swim. However, they are extremely caring—a Frenchie in England even stepped in to care for a baby orangutan after it was abandoned by its mother.

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tanakawho // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Italian greyhound

- Size index: 26.4
- Typical max height: 15 inches
- Typical max weight: 14 pounds

In the past, Italian greyhounds were a favorite of aristocrats. When you take into account their sleek look and love to be held in their owner’s lap, it’s easy to see why so many people fall for this breed. Italian greyhounds aren’t just terrific snugglers, they’re also extremely fast. According to Animal Planet, they can run up to 25 mph.

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Hervé Herbillon // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Miniature schnauzer

- Size index: 26.2
- Typical max height: 14 inches
- Typical max weight: 20 pounds

These small dogs were originally used as guard dogs in Germany. They were also in charge of keeping vermin away from farms. This job was made easier thanks to their thick whiskers, which made it much harder for their prey to bite them during a hunt.

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Pleple2000 // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Skye terrier

- Size index: 25.9
- Typical max height: 10 inches
- Typical max weight: 45 pounds

Skye terriers love their owners, but they can be ambivalent about everyone else. These regal animals were a favorite of Queen Victoria, but they have working dog roots.

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Jappitoo // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Löwchen

- Size index: 25.8
- Typical max height: 14 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

Löwchen literally translates to “little lion dog.” It’s an appropriate name for a breed that often sports an impressive mane. Löwchens are primarily companion dogs, and their gentle natures make them ideal for work as therapy dogs as well.

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Ceskyfreund36 // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Cesky terrier

- Size index: 25.6
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

According to the American Kennel Club, there are only around 600 Cesky terriers in the United States. This calm terrier breed may be rare stateside, but those who have the privilege of being a Cesky owner likely know that these sturdy dogs are keen hunters and eager competitors in agility sports.

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#37. Parson Russell terrier

- Size index: 25.5
- Typical max height: 14 inches
- Typical max weight: 17 pounds

In 2003, the Parson Russell terrier was acknowledged as a separate breed from the Jack Russell, but the two types of terriers are intrinsically linked. Both breeds are known for their energy and stamina, and they share a creator in the English priest John Russell.

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Pmuths1956 // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Pembroke Welsh corgi

- Size index: 25.5
- Typical max height: 12 inches
- Typical max weight: 30 pounds

According to Welsh legend, Corgis were a favorite of fairies who would use the adorable dogs for transportation and to work in their tiny cattle. While that bit of fantastical history is hard to prove, Queen Elizabeth II’s adoration of the breed is common knowledge.

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DodosD // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Pug (tie)

- Size index: 24.2
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

Pugs are perhaps the internet’s favorite dogs, but they’re more than just a cute face. It’s believed that pugs may be the oldest breed of dog with their origins dating back to 400 B.C. Their long heritage comes with some major pampering—some Chinese emperors were known to have given their pugs a royal guard.

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tml_fan_1313 // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Cavalier King Charles spaniel (tie)

- Size index: 24.2
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

King Charles was absolutely mad about this breed, so much so that he issued a decree that they were allowed entrance into any building, no matter how high the security. During King Charles’ reign, these spaniels had a noble but sad job to do as well. They attracted fleas, saving their owners from bites and, reportedly, the plague.

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鏑木對馬守 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Schipperke

- Size index: 23.7
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 16 pounds

Schipperke means “little captain” in Flemish. It’s an appropriate name for a breed that loves the water. Historically, these pups were barge dogs that spent most of their time on the water with their owners.

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Томасина // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Chinese crested

- Size index: 22.8
- Typical max height: 13 inches
- Typical max weight: 12 pounds

These little dogs are neither fully hairless or of Chinese origin. The Chinese crested actually originated in Africa, but they came to be popular as ratters on Chinese ships, which earned them their name. They are also notably fluffy for a supposedly hairless breed, and require a bit of routine grooming to keep their unique look tidy.

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#31. Dandie Dinmont terrier

- Size index: 22.5
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Dandie Dinmont terriers have a literary origin to their name. The breed’s name comes from Sir Walter Scott's novel "Guy Mannering." The diminutive dogs are known for their prominent poofs of hair atop their heads and their relatively mild-mannered temperaments.

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Emery Way // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Russell terrier

- Size index: 22.0
- Typical max height: 12 inches
- Typical max weight: 15 pounds

Russell terriers, Jack Russell terriers, and Parson terriers all originated from the same dedicated breeder—Rev. John “Jack” Russell. As a result, they’re extremely similar, but what makes the Russell terrier a bit different is its shorter legs. They were bred this way to make them easier to carry on hunts.

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mrRobot // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Bichon frise

- Size index: 21.9
- Typical max height: 11.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The bichon frise was treated so extravagantly by their owners that they inspired a new word: "bichonner," or “to pamper” in French. It’s hard not to dote on these fluffy dogs, though; after all, they do look like little white clouds with paws when they’re properly groomed.

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Ionwind // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Sealyham terrier

- Size index: 21.8
- Typical max height: 10.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 24 pounds

These white terriers were bred specifically to hunt small game like badgers, otters, and pheasants. Even their white coats played a role in their job as excellent hunting companions, because it made them stand out in landscapes full of brown and gray hues. Just because these dogs were bred to hunt, that doesn’t mean they can’t become accustomed to a glamorous lifestyle—Sealyham terriers have won best in show from the Westminster Kennel Club four times.

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Antonio Villascusa // Wikimedia Commons

#27. West Highland white terrier

- Size index: 21.6
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 20 pounds

Westies, as they’re affectionately nicknamed, are bold dogs who were bred to chase prey down burrows. This is a skill they’ve retained in modern times that can occasionally get them into trouble when they overestimate their ability to fit into a small space.

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#26. Miniature pinscher

- Size index: 21.6
- Typical max height: 12.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 10 pounds

Contrary to popular belief, the miniature pinscher is not a miniature Doberman pinscher. In fact, they’re far more closely related to the Italian greyhound and terrier breeds. These little dogs are known for being a tad bit stubborn, but they’re perfect for people who love active pups.

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#25. Portuguese podengo pequeno

- Size index: 21.5
- Typical max height: 12 inches
- Typical max weight: 13 pounds

The official dog of Portugal, the Portuguese podengo pequeno was once commonly found on the ships of Medieval Portuguese explorers. These days, these small dogs can still be keen hunters, but they’re happy being their owner’s best friend as well.

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Mateusz210 // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Dachshund

- Size index: 21.3
- Typical max height: 9 inches
- Typical max weight: 32 pounds

Dachshunds have stolen quite a few hearts, but one of the most famous advocates for the breed was none other than Queen Victoria. The monarch helped make the breed popular in England, and they’ve remained a favorite ever since. In 1972, one lucky dachshund named Waldi became the first official mascot for the Olympic Games.

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kizzzbeth // Flickr

#23. Manchester terrier (toy)

- Size index: 21.3
- Typical max height: 12 inches
- Typical max weight: 12 pounds

In Victorian England, these spry dogs were known as the gentleman’s terrier. While they may have earned the name due to his popularity among the upper class, this is one breed with manners to spare. With proper training, the Manchester terrier is eager to learn and be a lifelong companion for their lucky owner.

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lisaschaos // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Lhasa Apso (tie)

- Size index: 21.1
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The Lhasa Apso is considered sacred in Tibet, their country of origin. Many Tibetan people believe that the dogs play a crucial step in the reincarnation process, and that before a priest can be reborn as a human, they will first be reincarnated as a Lhasa Apso.

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Lilly M // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Australian terrier (tie)

- Size index: 21.1
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The Australian terrier has been called the clown of the dog world, and for good reason. These sweet dogs want nothing more than play and keep their owners happy. Despite their good nature, this is a scrappy breed with a history of working on farms.

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Brent Soderberg // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Havanese

- Size index: 20.7
- Typical max height: 11.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 13 pounds

They may be small, but Havanese dogs are mighty. These pups are often trained as service dogs, even helping the hearing impaired. They can also be trained to sniff out mold, and make terrific circus performers.

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Patricia Vicente // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Shih tzu

- Size index: 20.7
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 16 pounds

In Mandarin, shih tzu translates to “little lion.” At one point, the dogs were given to Chinese royalty as gifts, and they remain quite regal today. Thanks to their gorgeous coats and agile nature, shih tzus make wonderful show dogs.

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Cheryl Brind // Flickr

#18. Scottish terrier

- Size index: 20.5
- Typical max height: 10 inches
- Typical max weight: 22 pounds

Scottish terriers were all the rage in the United States during the 1930s. They even charmed Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose Scottie, Fala, was called the “most photographed dog in the world.”

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Timothy A. Clary/AFP // Getty Images

#17. Coton de Tuléar

- Size index: 20.4
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 15 pounds

The Coton de Tuléar was once the official dog of Madagascar, and only royals were allowed to own the breed. Thanks to their affable personalities, the breed has grown in popularity, ranking as the 80th most popular dog breed in 2016.

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#16. Affenpinscher

- Size index: 20.0
- Typical max height: 11.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 10 pounds

The French describe the affenpinscher as “diablotin moustachu”—mustached little devil. Don’t worry, their nickname is an affectionate one that has more to do with their coats than their personalities.

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LostinTexas (Alex Archambault) // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Japanese Chin

- Size index: 19.5
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 11 pounds

In the past, Japanese Chins were found in the palaces of Japan and China, where they even occasionally had servants of their own. Their pampered natures persist to this day, making them the perfect breed for someone looking for a companion dog with an appetite for being spoiled.

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Terry Best // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Toy fox terrier

- Size index: 19.3
- Typical max height: 11.5 inches
- Typical max weight: 7 pounds

Like most terriers, this tiny breed was originally used as a ratter. However, their eagerness to learn and trainability has led to the toy fox terrier being suitable for another profession—clown assistant. Their boundless energy and jumping skills have made them a circus favorite.

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Huggorm // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Papillon

- Size index: 19.3
- Typical max height: 11 inches
- Typical max weight: 10 pounds

Called papillon thanks to their butterfly-like ears, this toy breed isn’t big on lounging. Papillon owners should be prepared to spend a great deal of time playing with and exercising their energetic pup.

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    Ladykransteer // Wikimedia Commons

    #12. Tibetan spaniel

    - Size index: 18.9
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 15 pounds

    A favorite among Tibetan monks, the Tibetan spaniel was sometimes used as a guard dog for monasteries. This instinct hasn’t gone away over the years. Tibetan spaniels still alert their owners when someone is approaching their territory.

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    SylwiaAptacy // Pixabay

    #10. English toy spaniel (tie)

    - Size index: 18.7
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 14 pounds

    The history of the English toy spaniel is linked to English nobility. Queen Elizabeth I had an English toy spaniel, and her doctor reportedly called it “the comforter.” Their early popularity may have led to them becoming one of the first toy breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

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    Ronald Müller-Hagen // Wikimedia Commons

    #10. Cairn terrier (tie)

    - Size index: 18.7
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 14 pounds

    The Cairn terrier holds a special place in pop culture history. One little pup named Terry took on the role of Toto in the "Wizard of Oz," ensuring that the breed was forever immortalized on the big screen.

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    Helene Gisin Hgisin // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Norwich terrier (tie)

    - Size index: 18.2
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 12 pounds

    While the Norwich terrier’s love of roaming makes it a bad idea to let them off the leash in a wide-open space, it would be a shame not to nurture their love of the outdoors. Norwich terriers tend to excel in both Earthdog competitions and agility training.

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    Onni // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Norfolk terrier (tie)

    - Size index: 18.2
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 12 pounds

    The Norfolk terrier is one of the smallest dogs around, but they don’t let their size stop them from being fierce hunters. Not only were these dogs bred to be ratters, they were also known to run in packs for fox hunts.

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    island silks // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. Silky terrier (tie)

    - Size index: 17.7
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 10 pounds

    These tiny champions are often found in show dog competitions, but they’re not just there because of their shiny coats. The silky terrier is an accomplished herder, tracker, and flyball competitor.

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    Dan9186 // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. Brussels griffon (tie)

    - Size index: 17.7
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 10 pounds

    This uncommon little breed is often confused with Yorkies, but the Brussels griffon is very much its own dog. Perhaps best known to Americans from the movie "As Good as It Gets," the Brussels griffon loves snuggling, and—believe it or not—climbing, cat style.

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    SheltieBoy // Wikimedia Commons

    #5. Maltese

    - Size index: 17.3
    - Typical max height: 10 inches
    - Typical max weight: 8 pounds

    Why is the Maltese white? You can thank the Roman emperors for that. The Maltese were bred to have pure white fur because ancient Romans considered white to be a sacred color.

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    ūsų darbas // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Pekingese

    - Size index: 17.1
    - Typical max height: 9 inches
    - Typical max weight: 14 pounds

    Imperial China took their love for Pekingeses seriously. In fact, if you were caught stealing one, it was an offense punishable by death. While that part of their history is intense, their time in the palaces of China made them the lovable lap dogs they are today.

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    Jeremy Noble // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Chihuahua

    - Size index: 15.3
    - Typical max height: 9 inches
    - Typical max weight: 6 pounds

    Those tiny Chihuahua heads are hiding some serious brainpower. Based on their head size, Chihuahuas technically have the biggest brains in the dog world, and make no mistake, they will attempt to use all of that knowledge to try and outsmart their owners.

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    Pelz // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. Yorkshire terrier

    - Size index: 13.9
    - Typical max height: 8 inches
    - Typical max weight: 7 pounds

    Yorkies are a toy breed, but they’re one that likes to keep busy. Yorkshire terriers can make terrific therapy dogs, and despite their small size, they’re keen competitors that are especially gifted when it comes to agility training.

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    G.Goodwin Jr. and Snark // Wikimedia Commons

    #1. Pomeranian

    - Size index: 12.4
    - Typical max height: 7 inches
    - Typical max weight: 7 pounds

    At one point in their history, these small dogs were actually quite large. Their ancestors pulled sleds and were used to herd other animals. These days, they’re the smallest breed around, but Pomeranians are proof that size doesn’t matter when it comes to inspiring artists or wooing royalty like Queen Victoria.

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