Although we love our dogs at every stage of their lives, there’s nothing more adorable than the puppy years. With velvet soft fur, tiny paws, and eyes that are too big for their heads—in the best kind of way—puppies never fail to melt our hearts.
As with all good things, however, the puppy years eventually come to an end. While we wish our dogs could never grow up, especially when we have one of the 50 cutest dog breeds as puppies, the next best thing is a dog that says small throughout their entire life. If you’re looking to prolong the puppy-effect, you’ll want to adopt from these adorably small dog breeds that stay small.
10 adorably small dog breeds that stay small
10 adorably small dog breeds that stay small
Who doesn’t love a pocketbook pup? Chihuahuas are extremely affectionate dogs, who “love to burrow and be by their people,” says Lisa Bernier, Head of BARK For Good. Their warmhearted nature helps them socialize well with children, making them the perfect family pet. In addition to being extremely lovable pups, Bernier says Chihuahuas often have a “Napoleon” complex, as they will bark loudly to alert their owners of “stranger danger.” Our heroes!
Throughout their 12-20-year life span, chihuahuas usually only reach three to six pounds and require minimal grooming maintenance. Other than getting cold easily and needing their dental hygiene to be monitored, Chihuahuas are generally a “hardy breed of dogs,” says Bernier. What could be better than these adorable dogs that stay small enough to fit in your day bag?
Ever wanted a tiny dog with hair as long and luscious as your own? You’re in luck—Yorkshire Terriers are famous for their ability to have lengthy locks, little bodies, and making their owners melt as much as these adorable puppy pictures will. According to Bernier, these dogs stay small throughout their entire 12-15-year life span, only reaching an average of five to seven pounds. Before you adopt your pup, you should consider that Yorkshire Terriers can be “tenacious and feisty,” which makes them “difficult to train,” says Bernier. However, Yorkshire Terriers are also exceedingly “affectionate and protective of their people,” making them warm and loyal companions.
The logistics? These tiny terriers need to be groomed regularly, watched for dental concerns, and prevented from jumping off of high places, as they are prone to joint and bone injuries. Although these furry friends require a bit of work, they are one of the most adorable breeds of dogs that stay small forever.
Miniature dachshunds, colloquially known as “wiener dogs,” are some of the most adorable small dogs in the world. These puppies are “funny, affectionate, courageous, stubborn,” and “clever,” says Bernier. Not to mention they are hilarious to look at—just like these funny dog photos you need to see! Throughout their 12-16-year life span, these dogs reach an average weight of 11-12 pounds. Since mini dachshunds love to burrow, crate training them is incredibly easy, says Bernier. That being said, Bernier warns that these dogs “can be hard to house-train and can sometimes be snippy with children.” While these pups may take some time to adjust to your home, you’ll never have to worry about finding your pet the perfect Halloween costume—just add a bun!
Since these mini dogs stay small and long, they are extremely prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), cautions Bernier. Therefore, it’s important to “watch their back, never let them jump up or off high places,” and keep them from doing “too many stairs,” Bernier says. Other than monitoring this health concern, these funny dogs that stay small require minimal grooming maintenance and are sure to make you smile!
These sweet pups will likely have you wondering whether you have accidentally adopted a stuffed animal (I mean look at that face!). Weighing in between four to six pounds, these dogs are sure to stay small throughout their 12-15-year life spans. Maltese pups are “gentle, very affectionate, and love to be pampered,” says Bernier. While these little dogs are not “super high energy,” they “definitely need daily walks” and tend to fall so in love with their person that they can “be prone to separation anxiety.”
Anyone looking to adopt a Maltese should be prepared to groom their pup on a daily basis (you didn’t think their fur was naturally that fluffy, did you?). While this may feel like a lot of work, this small dog breed makes up for it by being exceedingly healthy. The only health concern that is unique to Maltese dogs is being prone to dental problems, so be sure to monitor your furry friend’s teeth!
There’s a reason these pooches are called “Toy” Poodles—these dogs are so cute and cuddly that you could actually confuse them for toys! These dogs reach an average weight of four to eight pounds throughout their 10-18-year life spans. Since Toy Poodles can be extremely high energy and require daily exercise, they are one of the most fun breeds of dogs that stay small, Bernier explains. In addition to being entertaining companions, Toy Poodles are “fairly clever” and “socialize well with children,” the dog expert says. Toy Poodles also have a feisty side, as they will bark at strangers, “can be a little nervous,” and are “prone to separation anxiety,” adds Bernier.
Since Toy Poodles are equipped with an adorable coat of curls, these dogs require regular grooming. These dogs are mostly healthy, other than being prone to dental problems and eye issues, Bernier says. If you’re looking for a furry friend that will perfectly fit with your family, toy poodles are a fun and loving choice.
These little pups are “playful, affectionate,” and “love snuggling with their humans,” says dog expert Lisa Bernier. Shih Tzus tend to weigh about 9-16 pounds and can live for 10-18 years. Since these dogs were originally bred to live in royal palaces, they are very well behaved, require little exercise, and are the perfect pets for apartment living or homes without backyards. Despite their royal status, Shih Tzus are not one of the most expensive dog breeds in the world, making them easy to adopt! In their free time, there’s nothing these dogs love more than sitting on their person’s lap and showing off their long, beautiful coats. Since these dogs are great companions, Shih Tzus are prone to separation anxiety.
Since Shih Tzus are known for their long and impressive coats, it’s important to groom these dogs daily. Unfortunately, these dogs do have a lot of health concerns, including “hip dysplasia, kidney infections, dental issues, breathing problems, and eye and ear infections,” says Bernier. It’s also important to keep these dogs out of the heat. While you have to take extra care of your Shih Tzu, these are some of the most loving dogs that stay small that you can find!
Brussels Griffons are some of the most “lively, intelligent, and sensitive,” dogs that stay small. The pups tend to weigh between 8-10 pounds and live for 12-15 years. According to Bernier, pups of this adorable breed are known as “Velcro dogs,” because they are prone to having separation anxiety. While this may be difficult to manage at first, Brussels Griffons have “a ton of personality and socialize well with children,” says Bernier.
To keep their coats clean and pampered, these dogs should be groomed on a daily basis. Like most small dogs, Brussels Griffons must be watched for dental problems. The other health concerns that are unique to this breed include overheating “because of their squished faces, breathing problems, eye problems, and difficulty giving birth,” says Bernier. While this may sound like a lot to handle, it’s important to remember that these are only concerns—not all Brussels Griffons will experience these health issues. Not to mention the fact that their cuteness will surely make up for the extra TLC these dogs require!
In the market for a loyal best friend? Look no further—an Affenpinscher puppy is the perfect pal. Weighing between 7-10 pounds, these dogs stay small throughout their entire 12-15-year life span. Despite their little size, Affenpinschers are confident, brave, and dependable. According to dog expert Bernier, Affenpinschers have “yapping tendencies due to their watchdog habits and significant separation anxiety.” However, a bit of extra training is a fair price to pay for their high energy and ability to “endlessly entertain their owners with their clowning,” says Bernier.
Bernier suggests grooming your Affenpinscher regularly, but there’s no need to pamper the pup on a daily basis. More good news? The only health concern unique to Affenpinschers is dental problems, says Bernier. These healthy and happy dogs will surely make for a happy owner, but if you don’t think an Affenpinscher is the right fit, try these simple tips for picking the best dog breed for you.
Calling all homebodies, you probably don’t realize how badly you need a pug. These small dogs are “calm, very snuggly, and love nothing more than napping on their human’s lap,” says Bernier. Why curl up on the couch and watch a movie alone, when you can have a soft and sweet pug to cuddle with? According to Bernier, mellow pugs are perfect for apartment living and do not require a lot of exercise. Throughout their 13-15-year lives, these dogs usually weigh an average of 12-18 pounds.
Before adopting a pug, it’s important to note that these dogs are “brachycephalic.” This means that they have short heads, which make them susceptible to breathing issues. Additionally, pugs are also prone to dental problems, eye problems, sensitive to extreme temperatures, and require regular cleaning to prevent infections. Since a pug’s eyes are bigger than their stomach, it’s important to “regulate their food intake so they don’t become overweight.” Despite the small bit of extra care that’s needed to keep these pups healthy, pugs are low-maintenance and make for perfect companions.
If you’re looking for a sweet and friendly dog that stays small, you should definitely adopt a Papillon. According to Bernier, these dogs have a “cheerful temperament,” are loyal to their people, and are “smart and easy to train.” Since Papillons can be very high in energy, Bernier suggests taking your pup for daily exercise. These furry friends are prone to separation anxiety, but this is a small price to pay for such a loving pet. Besides, there are tons of great ways to keep your pet busy while you’re at work or out of the house. Within their 14-16-year life spans, Papillons tend to average between 5-10 pounds.
These dogs require daily grooming to stay clean, but their small bodies make this an easy task. Aside from dental problems, the only health concerns unique to papillons are joint issues and sensitivity to anesthesia. However, hopefully, your papillon will never have to experience these issues!
The spirited and observant Manchester Terrier costs an average of $600 to purchase and has a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years. Over the years, these game terriers can rack up a potential minimum healthcare cost of around $10,500, due to common breed health issues such as cataracts, patellar luxation (kneecap issues) and cardiomyopathy.
Luckily, Manchester Terriers are easy and inexpensive to groom with a typical bathing cost of $27.
These small dogs, weighing in at only 10 to 16 pounds, are often referred to as little black devils thanks to their mischievous and energetic temperament. Schipperkes cost an average of $650 to purchase with typical bathing costs coming in around $30.
Schipperkes are at risk to develop eye problems, patellar luxation and autoimmune thyroiditis, bringing their minimum potential healthcare costs to $7,200 throughout their 13-to-15-year lifetime.
Photo credit: Svetlana Valoueva/Shutterstock.com
28. Irish Terrier
Don’t get an Irish Terrier if you’re looking for a lap dog. These feisty dogs have a life expectancy of 13 to 14 years and have an average purchase price of $650.
Their lifetime healthcare cost is lower than other dog breeds' at only $1,000. Grooming costs sit around $42 due to a coat that requires careful attention. But at least these dogs hardly shed.
Photo credit: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com
27. German Wirehaired Pointer
If you dream of owning a German Wirehaired Pointer, you might want to consider adopting instead of buying one. These medium-sized hunting dogs cost an average of $700 to purchase with minimal bathing costs of just $35.
German Wirehaired Pointers make the least expensive dog list because they’re generally healthy, with potential minimum healthcare costs equating to about $1,700 throughout their 12-to-14-year lifespan.
Photo credit: Alisa/Shutterstock.com
26. Border Collie
Smart working dogs that hate to be bored, Border Collies land on the list of least expensive dogs thanks to an average purchase cost of only $525 and lifetime healthcare costs that are around $1,800. Just look out for hip and eye health issues, which can progress over time throughout their 13-to-16-year life expectancy.
To groom a Board Collie, expect to pay around $50. And, be sure to brush them two to three times a week for minimal shedding.
Photo credit: LSphotoCZ/Shutterstock.com
A Beagle’s easy coat and low bathing cost of only $23 make this one of the least expensive dog breeds to own. These friendly and happy dogs cost approximately $650 to purchase and have a life expectancy of 11 to 15 years.
Their minimum lifetime healthcare costs could potentially total $7,700, thanks to common health conditions such as spinal problems, hip dysplasia, chronic ear infections and allergies. To offset these high healthcare costs, consider taking advantage of the tax breaks for pet owners.
Photo credit: SomPhoto/Shutterstock.com
24. Australian Silky Terrier
The Australian Silky Terrier comes in a smart and sassy, 10-pound package at a purchase price of $550. This terrier’s silky coat requires frequent brushing to prevent matting, and typical grooming costs total $45.
These dogs are fairly healthy and can live 12 to 15 years, but common genetic health problems can add up to a minimum of $2,500 in healthcare costs.
Photo credit: Utekhina Anna/Shutterstock.com
23. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
These active, low-to-the-ground dogs are a favorite of the Queen of England, who has owned and bred Pembroke Welsh Corgis. With an average purchase price of $550 and average bathing cost of $40, Corgis make the cut as an affordable dog breed to own.
These dogs live 12 to 14 years and have a minimum potential lifetime healthcare cost of $4,000 due to genetic conditions like hip dysplasia and the most serious breed-specific issue: degenerative myelopathy, a type of spinal cord disease.
Photo credit: TatyanaPanova/Shutterstock.com
The Otterhound was originally used to hunt — you guessed it — otters in Great Britain. They cost around $550 to purchase and require careful bathing practices that typically cost around $40.
An Otterhound usually lives 10 to 13 years and is at risk of developing health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy and gastric torsion (bloating), which can lead to potential minimum health costs of $3,500.
Photo credit: Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com
These spotted dogs are famous for their running abilities and their firehouse mascot status. A Dalmatian has an average purchase price of $700 and bathing costs of only $30. But it’s the low cost of healthcare that makes these dogs inexpensive.
Dalmatians live an average of 10 to 13 years and have a minimum healthcare cost of only $700, although they are prone to genetic health problems such as deafness and kidney and bladder stones.
Photo credit: volofin/Shutterstock.com
These tiny, feisty dogs have become famous as the purse-sized companions of rich celebrities, and they make the list of least expensive dogs due to their cheap $23 bathing price tag. On average, they cost $650 to purchase.
Chihuahuas have a life expectancy of 12 to 18 years, with potential lifetime healthcare expenses adding up to a minimum of $5,500.
Photo credit: otsphoto/Shutterstock.com
19. Cesky Terrier
The average purchase cost of a Cesky Terrier is only $400, and the minimum potential healthcare costs for this dog comes out to $1,500.
With a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, this terrier's grooming costs can be pricier than other breeds, at about $57 per session.
Photo credit: Andreas Gradin/Shutterstock.com
18. Field Spaniel
A relative of the Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel, the Field Spaniel is an ideal hunting dog and family dog. These dogs live 10 to 12 years and come with an average price tag of $550.
Having this dog professionally bathed can cost around $40, and their lifetime healthcare costs add up to a potential minimum of $2,300. Common health issues include hip dysplasia and autoimmune thyroiditis.
Photo credit: Dmytro Vietrov/Shutterstock.com
17. Redbone Coonhound
Laidback and gentle, Redbone Coonhounds stand out with their striking mahogany-red coats. They have an average purchase cost of $650.
Redbone Coonhounds land on this list of the least expensive dogs thanks to a low grooming cost of $31 and a lifetime minimum healthcare cost that could possibly hit $1,500. These dogs will live 11 to 12 years.
Despite a bad reputation, American Pit Bull Terriers can be loving, trustworthy and loyal family dogs. With an average purchase cost of $600 and a typical bathing cost of only $27, Pit Bulls are one of the least expensive dogs to own.
These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years and a minimum potential healthcare cost of $5,100 for common health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia and bloat.
Photo credit: Matthew Lyon/Shutterstock.com
The Pekingese, who typically weighs in at no more than 14 pounds, is characterized by a bold attitude fit for a much bigger dog. These dogs have an average purchase price of $500 and a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Professional bathing for a Pekingese typically costs $40, while the minimum healthcare cost for common issues — like Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and pyloric stenosis — can potentially reach $3,150.
Photo credit: Rita Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com
14. Bichon Frise
Known as one of the sweetest and most affectionate dogs, the Bichon Frise is characterized by its curly, cotton-ball like hair. An average purchase price of $525 and typical bathing cost of $33 make the Bichon one of the cheapest dogs to own.
These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years and a potential minimum healthcare cost of $4,300 to treat common breed-specific issues, like cataracts and patellar luxation.
Photo credit: Vladimir Nenezic/Shutterstock.com
The Affenpinscher comes with a low $400 average purchase price tag and an estimated grooming cost of $42 to keep up its shaggy but neat coat.
The average lifespan of an Affenpinscher is 11 to 14 years, and over their lifetime, the minimum healthcare costs for common issues could reach $4,000.
Initially bred to hunt badgers, Dachshunds are characterized by their short legs, long backs and fun spirits. They’re inexpensive to own, with an average purchase price of $500 and a typical bathing cost of only $23.
Weiner dogs, as they’re affectionately called, have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Expect to potentially pay a minimum of $7,300 for back problems, the breed’s most common health issue.
Photo credit: OlgaOvcharenko/Shutterstock.com
Papillons are known for their butterfly wing ears. These small, smart dogs cost on average $400 to purchase, and estimated bathing costs total $40.
A Pappilon's life expectancy is 13 to 15 years, and minimum healthcare costs come in around $3,600 due to a number of health issues that commonly affect smaller toy dog breeds.
Buying a wrinkly-faced Pug costs an average of $350. These dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Bathing costs are a low $27, but healthcare costs for issues common to the breed and other flat-faced dogs start at a potential minimum of $9,600.
This hunting dog is known for its distinctive feathered coat. An English Setter has an average purchase price of $350 and a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years.
It will cost about $40 to bathe an English Setter in order to prevent mats and tangles, and the breed’s potential minimum cost for common health issues sits around $3,900.
Photo credit: Best dog photo/Shutterstock.com
8. Treeing Walker Coonhound
These tri-colored dogs are often confused for an oversized Beagle, although the two breeds are totally different.
The speedy and competitive Treeing Walker makes the list of least expensive dogs with an average purchase price of $500, typical grooming costs of $31 per session, and minimum healthcare cost of common issues starting at only $1,500. Their life expectancy is 12 to 13 years.
Photo credit: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock.com
7. Miniature Pinscher
Miniature Pinschers think they’re bigger than they are, and often bark at and chase anything that crosses their path. The average purchase cost of a Miniature Pinscher is $500, and like many small dogs, they have a longer life expectancy of 14 to 15 years.
The typical cost of bathing is low at $25, and the potential minimum healthcare costs for common issues like patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease start at $2,500.
Photo credit: DragoNika/Shutterstock.com
6. American Foxhound
Although the American Foxhound is one of the older American breeds, it’s also one of the least well-known. The average purchase cost of an American Foxhound is $475, with bathing costs coming out to an estimated $27. The minimum potential cost for medical issues totals $1,500.
Photo credit: Steve Heap/Shutterstock.com
5. Parson Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terriers are athletic, cleaver and friendly. These medium-sized terriers have a $400 average price tag, with a typical $25 professional bathing cost.
The breed, also known as a Jack Russell Terrier, is generally healthy. The minimum cost of potential common healthcare issues is a budget-friendly $2,800.
Photo credit: Christian Mueller/Shutterstock.com
4. Plott Hound
The Plott Hound is a tenacious hunting dog who will sniff out any animal, from a raccoon to a bear. The breed’s low $275 average purchase cost makes it one of the most affordable dog breeds to own.
The typical grooming cost for a Plott Hound is $31, and it will general cost a minimum of potentially $3,000 to treat health problems like gastric torsion, commonly known as bloat.
Photo credit: Will Hughes/Shutterstock.com
3. Black and Tan Coonhound
American born and bred, this hunting dog known for its black and tan coloring is happy-go-lucky and calm by nature. Ranked No. 3 on the list of least expensive dog breeds to own, the Black and Tan Coonhound has an average purchase price of $350 and estimated bathing costs are $27. Healthcare costs to treat common issues like hip dysplasia come out to only $1,500.
Playful and fearless, Rat Terriers love to “talk” and socialize with their families. These small dogs are one of the least expensive toy breeds, with a purchase price tag averaging $350 and typical professional bathing expenses coming out to $25.
The low $1,500 minimum healthcare cost of the breed’s common issues helps to round-out the Rat Terrier as the second-least expensive dog to own.
Photo credit: Shane Cotee/Shutterstock.com
No. 1 on the list, the Harrier, is the most affordable and also one of the rarest dog breeds. This hound is sweet and affectionate, but as a hunting dog you can expect a Harrier to be high-energy.
This is the cheapest dog to own thanks to the budget-friendly combination of a $300 average purchase price, $27 typical grooming costs and a minimum potential healthcare cost of $1,500 for common issues.