A woman working with her Shih Tzu on her lap

A woman working with her Shih Tzu on her lap (Photo by MilanMarkovic78 on Shutterstock)

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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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

Lea la versión en español en EstudioRevela.com: Mejores Perros Falderos: Los 5 Caninos de Tamaño Pequeño Más Recomendados por Expertos.


About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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  1. Tammy says:

    You TOTALLY blew past a GREAT, funny, goofy, opinionated, smart, loving, entertaining pup!
    The pompom, aka the Pomeranian. I’ve had two separately now we have two litter sisters and they love to cuddle, share popcorn, cucumbers, blueberries and more. They are Poppy and Pixl. Pixl even gives us a little howl when we get in the door! I have a recording of it. Too bad I can’t share it! They are the BEST stress relieving, wiggle butts around!!🤣🩷🤣

  2. Tommy says:

    I have 2 two year old Boxers, they are sisters. They make wonderful lap dogs.

    1. LeeAnn Baker says:

      My #1 is my mini dachshund 💖

  3. Karla Haussmann says:

    You forgot the pug as they were bred to be companion dogs and they seem to know when you are upset

  4. Cortney baker says:

    Havanese should be on this list too

  5. Leonard C says:

    Love those small ones. What about bigger dogs thinking that.they’re lap dogs? Our blue nose pitbulls ( 10yrs n 5 yrs old) still squeeze, warm up to and cuddle into our laps!!! And with smiles to top itoff!! And if you’re not careful, get sonthered with gobs of kisses.!! Wish i could post pics of them. Pohaku (10) and KeKona (5) both trained mobility assistance service canines plus Humane Sociery HI’s theraputic canines for them in HI.

  6. Delores Pumphrey says:

    You are absolutely right about Shih Tzus. My girl won the heart of my husband’s who did not care for dogs. He actually has said “no fair..you had her for a couple of hours. She is easy going and loves people. She is smart and takes her treat to wherever we are and continues to eat. When we ask for a kiss becareful, as she might lick the skin right off of you. Since I do not show her, I keep her hair short because she overheats easily. But I keep her beard and mustache to keep that cute look that they have. Only problem and a warning…one falls in love with this breed and if they cannot take their Tzu on vacation, they stay home because it is a vacation everyday with this breed. I’ve had two Tzus. My first one died due to Congestive Heart Failure. I was devastated. This breed has one thing in common. They love being with you. It is in them

  7. Holly says:

    I’ve had three small dogs throughout my marriage:
    A miniature Schnauzer, Misti, was my 1st baby (about 15lbs). I had her before any of my children were born but, as much as she adored me, she adored my children.
    Our (handicapped) miniature Dachshund (about 15-17lbs) Otis, melted all of our hearts… he was as loyal as loyal could be, and loving, loved to be held and yet could outrun anyone.
    Finally, our littlest one at 6 to 7 lbs, Lilly, our Havapoo… smart, loyal, loving… will sleep on the couch with me all day when I’m sick but also, loves her walks and playing, both inside and out. If kids are outside, it’s hard to walk her because all of the neighborhood children adore her and want to pet her… and of course, she loves it, too, rolling on her back so they can rub her belly… and she’s just as social with the neighborhood adults, as well. She loves our family, although only my husband and I still live in our home. And she does have her favorites… I went away for three days for the first time in a few years and my husband said that she was a mess (until I was again home). She can do about a dozen tricks, knows her outside yard limits (unfenced small condo yards), behaves as if she understand everything we say and almost never leaves my side, even following me to lay next to the shower, etc. And she is so darned loving and polite. She has been the best behaved and most loving small dog we’ve had. And she doesn’t shed!