Best Miniature Dog Breeds: Top 5 Petite Pups Most Recommended By Pet Experts

There’s nothing like the puppy stage, when your new best friend fits perfectly in your lap and can be easily toted around in your arms. Of course, most pups quickly outgrow this stage. But believe it or not, the best miniature dog breeds remain just as tiny and portable as they were as puppies for their entire adult lives. These pocket-sized dogs make fantastic companions for on-the-go pet owners, and for anyone who wants a forever lap dog.

When you bring home a puppy, it can be hard to anticipate just how much you’ll grow to love your furry companion. But as most dog owners will agree, puppy love is a very real phenomenon. In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 American dog owners finds that three-quarters of respondents consider their dog a member of their family. The same number are willing to go the extra mile for their pooch since they have an irreplaceable bond with them. 79 percent want to give their pups everything they need to feel loved. Most respondents also recall bringing home their dogs as one of the happiest days of their lives (72%).

Yet another survey reveals even more about the love Americans have for their pets. The 2023 study of 2,000 cat and dog owners found that 25 percent would consider getting a tattoo of their current pet — while 25 percent are already planning to get one. Another 16 percent of those polled already have a pet-themed tattoo on their body. And tattoos aren’t the only way survey participants honor their furry friends. Forty-two percent of respondents own at least one item depicting an animal that resembles their pet, and 44 percent own something with an actual picture of their specific pet printed on it – most commonly clothing (21%).

With so much love to go around, it’s no wonder that some potential dog owners want to be able to hold their dog close for more than the first few months of their life. Miniature dog breeds are often easy to travel with, enjoy longer average lifespans, and of course, are too cute for words. If you’re on the hunt for the perfect pint-sized pup to join your family, StudyFinds can help. We sought out expert reviews on the best miniature dog breeds around, from the brilliant toy poodle to the spunky Pomeranian. This list includes the most frequently recommended breeds, but be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite that we missed!

A poodle by a fire
A toy poodle by a fire (Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash)

The List: Best Miniature Dog Breeds, According to Experts

1. Toy Poodle

If you’ve ever confused a dog for a plush bear, odds are you were probably looking at a toy poodle. This ultra-petite pup is unlikely to ever reach a weight in the double digits, meaning they’ll stay puppy-sized forever. “If you’re looking for adorable toy dog breeds that look like teddy bears, these fluffy little nuggets are about the same size as a stuffed animal but much more cuddly and a whole lot more fun to play with,” says Reader’s Digest. “Maxing out at around five pounds and less than ten inches tall, they’re just as portable as your favorite teddy. They’ll be your devoted sidekick for years.”

beige coated dog
Toy Poodle (Photo by Casey Chae on Unsplash)

“Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. The smallest of the bunch measure between 4 and 6 pounds, so you can scoop one up with just one hand,” notes Good Housekeeping. “Toy poodles may have a reputation for being high maintenance and frou-frou, but the truth is, they’re whip smart and fairly active. So go ahead and train them to do cool tricks or play hide and seek—the kids will go wild for it. Bonus: they’re allergen-free, too!”

Plus, pocked-sized poodles easily match the agility and intelligence of their larger relatives. This makes them a breeze to teach new tricks and behaviors, and you’re sure to enjoy many stress-free adventures with your poodle pup. As PureWow puts it, “poodles of all sizes are extremely smart and highly trainable. They make outstanding family pets for this reason, not to mention their willingness to join in any activity.”

2. Chihuahua

If you’re in the market for a highly relational pup that wants to be together 24/7, look no further. The world’s smallest dog breed is also sure to become your new best friend. As Top Dog Tips puts it, “this is the puppy purse dog. They are extremely affectionate and hate to be alone. These intelligent dogs are fairly easy to train and make great dogs for apartments but require a lot of care and attention, making them a good ‘to go’ small dog.”

brown chihuahua on green grass during daytime
Chihuahua (Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash)

“Un poquito Chihuahua (so small—maybe 6 pounds and 6 inches tall overall, and that’s generous) is one of the best miniature dogs ever. Fiercely loyal and full of pluck, she might be the most mini on this list, but transcends her size with a massive personality and ample amounts of adoration for you,” explains Daily Paws. “A ‘Chi’ commands the spotlight, so positive reinforcement training is totally her jam.”

While many people may think of Chihuahuas and think of a yappy or unfriendly dog, this breed can actually be quite lovable. When managed with careful training, these pups have big personalities that can easily win hearts. “Clocking in at under six pounds, chihuahuas are the classic ‘purse dog’ and do exceptionally well in small apartments, too,” notes Good Housekeeping. “Though they are famously known for their feistiness, they do respond well to training (and it’s recommended otherwise they will soon rule the house!).”

3. Maltese

This fluffy pup is as sweet as they are adorable. With a great personality and an adult weight that’s typically under 10 pounds, the Maltese makes the perfect petite pet. As Good Housekeeping says, “here’s a pint-sized pooch that makes an excellent family pet. They’re sweet, smart and fun well into old age. And with that cuddle-worthy fluffy white fur, they’re practically a living stuffed animal.”

white long coat small dog on green grass during daytime
Maltese (Photo by dole777 on Unsplash)

“With those expressive eyes and outgoing, spunky personalities, you would have to have a heart made from coal to resist this lovable miniature dog,” claims Reader’s Digest. “The only drawback is that their adorable white fur requires daily brushing to prevent matting. But that just means you get to spend more time with this little angel.”

The Maltese’s gorgeous white coat is the breed’s signature trait. If you’re prepared to put in a bit of work to maintain it, your Maltese pup could even compete in dog shows. “The miniature Maltese is a cheerful, energetic breed, fit for couch cuddling and high society alike,” notes PetHelpful. “Their beautiful coats can grow long and shiny with the right attention, making them gorgeous show dogs.”

4. Yorkshire Terrier

These adorable pups love to be close to the action. Whether that means coming along for a hike or just snuggling on the couch, the Yorkshire Terrier just wants to be around its people. Ranging from two to seven pounds, these dogs are little but have plenty of love to give. As PetHelpful puts it, “Yorkies are small dogs to begin with, but the teacup variety can be as little as two or three pounds! These sweet little tan and black dogs are hypoallergenic and make excellent apartment pets.”

shallow focus photography of Yorkshire terrier
Yorkshire Terrier (Photo by Fernanda Nuso on Unsplash)

“A delightfully sweet and devoted companion you can carry in your tote? Sign us up! Yorkies love to be with their human, and if that means a shopping trip to Nordstrom in a snazzy tote, so be it,” adds Reader’s Digest. “Yorkies aren’t likely to trigger allergies or shed too much. They can be little yappers, which really just translates to ‘lively and alert.’ At least you’ll know when your Amazon order is delivered.”

As an added bonus, these little guys make surprisingly good guard dogs. With great ears and a strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness for their people, you can be sure that they’ll let you know if anything is amiss around your home (and look adorable while doing so). “Small but mighty, ever-popular Yorkies don’t get larger than seven pounds. That doesn’t stop them from acting like watchdogs,” notes Good Housekeeping. “Their human-like hair is hypoallergenic (and looks darling tied up in a bow if you’re into that sort of thing).”

5. Pomeranian

It’s hard to imagine anything cuter than a Pomeranian pup. Even better, their personalities tend to be just as lovable. These tiny pups may be known for their distinctive looks, but this breed’s temperament is equally noteworthy. “Talk about a teeny frame with a huge personality,” says PureWow. “Pomeranians are fluff balls of joy, willing to romp around with kids (gently) or frolic in the yard with other pets. Whether you reside in the city or country, Poms will be content, as long as you house train them early.”

brown and white pomeranian puppy on green grass field during daytime
Pomeranian (Photo by Trent Pickering on Unsplash)

“Is this a miniature dog or tiny fox? That teeny, fox-like face is so precious, but as you probably know, Pomeranians are all dog. You can’t help but scoop them up to cuddle,” says Reader’s Digest. “They tend to be headstrong, feisty, and sassy, and they love to be the center of attention. Sometimes they’re just playful, but other times they convey their opinions with yapping.”

Another example of the pint-sized guard dog, the Pomeranian is keenly aware of its surroundings. They may not weigh much, but they sure can keep a close eye on their home and their people. As Country Living explains, “these pooches are always on the lookout, and their protective nature makes them great watchdogs. While they’re only between six and seven inches tall and weigh between three and seven pounds, they’re active—and they make great friends.”

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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. This article may contain affiliate links.


  1. I love the Yorkie! I had 2 and found them to be great travel companions, excellent guard dogs (chased rabbits, squirrels, mice, rats etc from my backyard), and let me know when the mail arrived. They were always in the window looking for my car so they could greet me when I came home. Yorkies are a small dog that lives large.

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