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The best small dog breeds

They may be little, but they’ve sure got big personalities. And their personalities are as varied as their appearances. From feisty Fox Terriers to pampered Pomeranians, there’s a small dog out there to steal your heart.

We’ve rounded up our favourite small dogs – and trust us, it was no easy task! These pups all have unique qualities that make them pawfect for different lifestyles. Read on to find one that’s just right for you.

Jack Russell Terrier

Wet Jack Russell Terrier in a forest wearing a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor

Jack Russell Terriers are fearless, energetic little dogs who make great pets for active homes. They are always on the go and love running and chasing. Make sure they are well-trained and socialised as puppies, and you’ll have a wonderful companion in a small package.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel sat on a doorstep next to a handbag wearing a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor

It’s no surprise that these plucky Spaniels were a royal favourite. They love people and train easily, making them a great choice for first-time owners and families. Don’t forget to groom them regularly to prevent their silky coat from getting matted and uncomfortable.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu looking out from behind a bush wearing a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor

Shih Tzus are the ultimate in cuddly lap dogs. Their favourite spot is right there by your side, and they’ll happily spend hours on the sofa being stroked and bonding with you. Their long silky coats are usually reserved for show dogs, with most owners preferring a lower maintenance cut. They only need a little exercise, so a couple of brisk walks each day will do the job.

Yorkshire Terrier

Another silky-coated breed, Yorkshire Terriers, were originally bred for catching rats in mines, although these days they are usually seen living a life of luxury with their owners. These adaptable little dogs are adventurous and curious, so you’ll need to keep their brain working hard and make sure they’re well-trained from the off.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are characterised by their fluffy white coat and cheerful demeanour. Always carrying their tail high, these pups love to play and are affectionate and gentle. They adore spending time with their owners, whether that’s on an exciting walk in the park or cuddling on the sofa at home.

French Bulldog

There’s a reason French Bulldogs are amongst the most popular dogs of the moment. Their relaxed, easy-going personality coupled with their short coat makes them super low maintenance. They come with buckets of character, and if you can deal with the snoring, will be your best friend in no time.

Miniature Poodle

Miniature Poodles might have a reputation for being pampered and spoilt, but their roots go back to being hunting dogs. These dogs may be the most well-groomed dogs in the park, but don’t let that fool you – they’ve got loads of energy and are super intelligent. With the right amount of exercise and plenty of mental stimulation, they make wonderful companions.


Long coated Chihuahua stood outside in the wind wearing a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor

Chihuahuas might be the quintessential ‘handbag dog’, but there’s much more to these little dogs than meets the eye. They have character by the bucketload, and with the right early training and socialisation, they make loving companions. 

West Highland Terrier

The jolly White West Highland Terrier is a charming dog affectionately known as a Westie. They tend to be super confident, playful pups. Westies have their own mind, so you’ll need to know just what motivates them to make training a breeze. They are a joy to own and a great option for families with children, thanks to their playful nature.

Mixed breeds

Terrier type dog outdoors in the autumn wearing a PitPat Dog Activity Monitor

There are lots of small cross and mixed breed dogs out there that make pawfect pets, often stealing the hearts of their owners from the off. If you decide to choose a mixed-breed puppy, ask the breeder about the temperaments and appearances of the parents to get an idea of what your puppy might be like. If choosing to rescue, simply ask the centre. They’ll ensure you’re matched with a dog just right for you.

There’s a small dog out there for every type of owner – from the active to the relaxed, low maintenance to high maintenance. They all have a love of play and walkies – after all, even these small pooches need an outlet for their energy! 

Find out just how much exercise your small dog should be getting, and make sure they hit their goals with a PitPat Dog GPS Tracker. You’ll get tailored recommendations based on your pup’s age, breed and weight, so you will always be able to get the balance just right.

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