Best Lap Dogs: Top 5 Pint-Sized Pups Most Recommended By Experts

There’s nothing better after a long day of work than to snuggle up on the couch with your furry best friend. Rain or shine, happy or sad, no matter what we did that day, these pups are there to love us no matter what. The bond one shares with their dog can’t even be put into words, as the love these animals show us daily is insurmountable. While these precious furry friends come in all shapes and sizes, and their temperaments differ from dog to dog, some breeds have a specific reputation for being some of the best lap dogs in the world. These little nuggets of fluff that fit perfectly in your snuggle make for the best companions for those looking for a smaller breed to fit in with their lifestyle while still providing all that love and affection. 

Did you know that petting and snuggling with your dog stimulates not only them but you as well? Petting dogs may make even the grumpiest person more sociable, according to a new study. Researchers in Switzerland say seeing, feeling, and touching a dog boosts neurons in the pre-frontal cortex, the area of the brain that helps regulate emotional interactions. Dogs often help people cope with stress and depression, so shedding light on the phenomenon could lead to the development of better treatments. Seeing as some dogs are already trained to be service animals to help deal with physical disabilities or illnesses, it makes sense that those animals would naturally help their owners cope with mental struggles as well. Though the term “emotional support animal” can be overused in some spaces, it comes from the truth. Animals, specifically dogs who have shared a bond with their owner, can make the day easier for someone who struggles with mental illness

They may be small in size, but these lap dogs bring an abundance of joy and warmth to our lives. Whether it’s the loyal and gentle Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or the playful and outgoing Pomeranian, these breeds have a knack for melting our hearts with their adorable antics. Their compact size also makes them ideal for apartment living or those with limited space. From snuggling on the couch to going for leisurely walks, these lap dogs are always ready to shower us with unconditional love and bring a smile to our faces.

Are you convinced yet? If so, we at StudyFinds are more than happy to help you find your next pup. As always, we have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you the top five best lap dogs you can add to your pack. Disagree with our list? No worries; we would love to hear from you in the comments down below! Now, onto the list of furry friends, shall we?

The List: Best Lap Dogs, According to Canine Experts

1. Bichon Frise

Known for its cheery and affectionate nature, the Bichon Frise is the perfect addition to any household. Bonus points go to the fact that their coat is hypoallergenic. “This adorable doggo could easily be mistaken for a white, fluffy teddy bear. So, it should come as no surprise that the Bichon Frise is super cuddly! The Bichon Frise isn’t just renowned for his velvety plush appearance, though; he has all the qualities of a pawfect lap dog. He’s affectionate, happy-go-lucky, and loves nothing more than snuggling up on his owner’s lap. He also gets along well with children and sees a friend in everyone,” says K9 of Mine.

photography of white long-coated dog
Bichon Frise (Photo by Seth Reese on Unsplash)

“One of the more outgoing dogs on our list is the Bichon Frise. Though these pups can be social butterflies, they are very adaptable and do well in all types of households and locales. Their fluffy white fur does require regular grooming, but brushing every day won’t be tricky if your Bichon is always on your lap,” adds PureWow.

“Playful yet curious, this breed loves attention. They make perfect lap dogs due to their superb social skills and small size. The Bichon Frise feels most content when surrounded by people, as they dislike being left alone and also do not leave you alone. And like many lap dogs, puffy is how a Bichon Frise looks. That is, they’ll sport a dense white double coat that stands away from the body. But don’t worry, they hardly shed,” explains TheSmartCanine.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may be best known for its calm and loving disposition. Their peaceful personalities not only make them great lap dogs but also good therapy dogs. “While this dog breed is not afraid of a bit of exercise, they are still small and sweet babies that love a good cuddle. When you are ready for more activity, they’ll be game,” describes Pawp.

a brown and white dog sitting on top of a wooden floor
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Photo by Tracy Anderson)

“The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was literally bred to be a lap dog. Their purpose in life is to love and be loved by you. Don’t let their regal name fool you—the Cavalier King Charles can fit into a laid-back lifestyle just as well as a luxurious one. A true chameleon, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel adapts to the needs of his family, being amiable with both children and seniors, as well as any furry friends already in the home,” notes Daily Paws.

“These are some of the most versatile dogs out there (and are more forgiving than the Bolognese if you’re a 9-to-5er). Cavalier King Charles Spaniels will be by your side whether you want to live on your couch or at the park. Athletic, yet calm. Energetic, yet gentle. Cavs truly make terrific lap dogs,” comments PureWow.

3. Bolognese

“Nicknamed the Bolo, this little breed loves being close to loved ones, which means they’re best in a home where they aren’t left alone often. But why would you want to leave them anyway? They’re serene and sweet, and in addition to cuddles, they require solid hair brushing every few days,” reports Rover.

Bolognese dog
Bolognese dog (Photo by islavicek on Shutterstock)

“The Bolognese gets its name from Bologna, Italy, where it was first developed centuries ago, much like our favorite spaghetti sauce. Bolognese weigh under ten pounds and are just 10–12 inches tall, so they are suited as bed buddies, too,” observes Southern Living.

“Don’t expect a Bolognese to be forgiving if you leave them home alone all day. This is a dog who adores its humans and needs to be around them frequently. Like the Biewer, if their coat is kept short, grooming is a breeze. Another perk? They don’t shed, which makes them ideal for folks with allergies,” writes PureWow.

4. Shih Tzu

With its long, flowing coat and friendly demeanor, the Shih Tzu is often kept as a companion pet and is known for its loyalty and gentle nature. Originating in China, the “Shih Tzus are as adorable as they are playful and easygoing. Once considered the number one dog for grandmothers, these small pups are lovable and full of life. These gentle lap dogs aren’t naturally inclined to be aggressive and are really patient with children and other pets. They can get along with anyone and everything, and they seem content as long as they have someone to share it with,” remarks PetKeen.

a brown and white dog with a red bow on it's head
Shih Tzu (Photo by Edson Torres on Unsplash)

“The Shih Tzu may look pretty high-maintenance, but it’s actually among the best lap dogs that don’t shed. Centuries ago, Shih Tzus found a place in the royal laps of Chinese emperors, but today they’re pretty easygoing about whose legs they’re warming, making them great family pets,” adds TrustedHousesitters.

“Translating to ‘little lion,’ the Shih Tzu does boast an impressive mane, but their connection to the king of the jungle stops there. In fact, these long-haired beauties are legends in their own right, with lineage dating back to Chinese emperors more than 1,000 years ago who revered Shih Tzus as coveted companions. All this to say, these pint-sized pups had a whole palace to parade around in, and that still didn’t stop them from laying claim to available laps,” writes DailyPaws.

5. Chihuahua

By far the tiniest dog on the list, don’t let their size fool you; these little fun-sized dogs are mightier than they appear. Full of love to give, “Small and full of personality, this dog breed loves to be held and makes a great lap dog. They are also super loyal, so yours may be the only lap they want to be on,” explains Pawp.

tan chihuahua lying on couch
Chihuahua (Photo by Alicia Gauthier on Unsplash)

“These miniature pups have big personalities, and fans of the breed love their trademark sass. Although Chihuahuas can fit in purses, owners need to remember that they’re still dogs that love to go on walks and play! What’s more, if they’re coddled too much by their humans, they may end up taking on a guard dog role and developing ‘Napoleon Syndrome.’ Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy lots of cuddle time on the couch,” adds iHeartDogs.

“While this breed loves nothing more than snoozing in the lap of its loved one, the Chihuahua won’t be shy of stepping on anyone’s toes in the process of choosing favorites. The lucky winner will be the subject of all of this little doggy’s adoration and affection. As one of the best small lap dogs around, the Chihuahua won’t turn its nose up if its living space is also a little on the small side,” concludes TrustedHousesitter.

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About the Author

Jilly Hite

New York raised and Florida-based Jilly Hite studied screenwriting and theatre at The Lee Strasberg Institute before becoming a full time content creator and podcaster. She loves old movies, musical theatre, and her pup Ted.

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