1. Home
  2. Environment

The Smallest Dog in the World: 18 Tiny Dog Breeds

Ever wondered what the smallest dog in the world is? Today, we’ll cover the tiniest dog breeds on the planet, in all their majestic adorability–ranked by size.

Smallest Dog In The World

What makes a dog the smallest dog in the world comes down to one of two things: their height or their weight.

Dogs have remained at the top spot for the most popular pets worldwide for centuries, with more than 50 million households owning at least one dog. Big or small, they have proven to be man’s best friend. However, there is a growing affinity for small dogs that just cannot be denied.

Looking for something bigger? Check out our companion article on the largest dogs in the world.

Small Dogs Make Fantastic Family Pets

Part of the important factors behind small dogs becoming such a favored pet is because of the diversity of breeds. The world’s largest purebred dog registry, the American Kennel Club (AKC), recognizes 199 different dog breeds in 2022, and the list is forever growing.

Some of the world’s tiniest dog breeds have become increasingly popular because of their convenience and adaptability.

Tiny Dog Breeds

This article will mainly focus on the breeds’ average height, with a brief mention of their weight, which can alter the rankings entirely.

The American Kennel Club recognizes all breeds mentioned in this article, and the information regarding their height, weight, and life span comes from the American Kennel Club website.

Need help picking your pet? Here are the best small dogs to own.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the world’s smallest dog breeds that make the perfect travel-sized companions.

What Are the Smallest Dog Breeds in the World?

1. Chihuahua

Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is well-known as being the world’s smallest dog breed, but what they lack in height, they sure make up for in personality. 

Chihuahua’s range in height and, on average, are between 5 – 8 inches tall, with some being considerably smaller. Recently, a chihuahua named Miracle Milly was awarded the smallest canine title by the Guinness World Records, coming in at the height of 3.8 inches tall. 

As more and more people move to the cities, apartment living is on the rise, and so is the want for smaller breed dogs. This want is perfect for Chihuahuas who adapt exceptionally well to living in smaller housing units. A benefit of Chihuahuas is their tiny legs, meaning their owners aren’t required to take them on long, time-consuming walks like their larger breed cousins. 

It’s another well-known fact that Chihuahuas have that classic small dog syndrome. In their minds, they’re as big as everyone else, and they will be sure to let you know it.

Chihuahua Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 5 – 8 inches tall
  • Average Weight: Up to 6 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

2. Miniature Dachshund

Miniature Dachshund

Miniature Dachshunds get overlooked when thinking about the smallest dogs in the world, but although on average they weigh roughly 11 pounds (5 pounds more than the Chihuahua), their average height is 5 – 6 inches. 

Dachshunds come in a regular or miniature size, and their iconic long bodies and short legs give them the alternative name of the Sausage Dog. 

The breed originated in Germany, with both sizes used for hunting purposes. Although hunters still use some for their original purpose, miniature and regular Dachshunds have taken on the role of loyal companion and occasional house watchdog. 

Mini Dachshund Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 5 – 6 inches
  • Average Weight: Up to 11 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 years

3. Pomeranian

Pomeranian

Pomeranians are one of the world’s most popular toy breeds, even being favored amongst royals. An identifiable characteristic of Pomeranians is their long, fluffy, and extremely soft coat that comes in a range of colors.

Like the other dogs with a tiny stature, Pomeranians like to think they are as big or bigger than everyone else and show off a big-dog demeanor that, in some cases, even scares Great Danes away.

Some Pomeranians can weigh as little as 3 pounds, making them the perfect handbag or lapdogs for their work from home or out and about owners.

Pomeranian Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 6 – 7 inches
  • Average Weight: 3 – 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 years

4. Pekingese

Pekingese

The Pekingese breed was bred and cherished for centuries by the imperial family of China. Made distinctive by their long coat and short muzzle, the Pekingese breed is stubborn and hard to train, but they are incredibly loyal to their family and enjoy taking on the watchdog role. 

Although they’re one of the world’s smallest dogs, they are one of the heaviest on our list, weighing up to 14 lbs when they’re fully grown. If you choose to own a Pekingese, you best be up for regular grooming sessions as their double coat sheds seasonally and requires a fair deal of maintenance.

Pekingese Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 6 – 9 inches
  • Average Weight: Up to 14 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

5. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are excellent family dogs that are hypoallergenic and get on well with young children.

Despite being one of the smallest dogs, the Yorkshire Terrier takes on the classic terrier characteristics of being brave and feisty, once being used to catch rats in mines. The traditional coats of the Yorkshire Terrier are floor-length and silky; however, owners nowadays cut their coats short to reduce their regular grooming requirements.

Yorkshire Terrier Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 7 – 8 inches
  • Average Weight: Up to 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11 – 15 years

6. Maltese

Maltese

Maltese dogs have been around for centuries, claiming dibs on the laps of their wealthy owners. Their long, snow-white luxurious hair made them sought-after dogs for ladies worldwide, and there are even reports of the Maltese making their way to the Roman Aristocrats.

Maltese are affectionate, alert dogs that respond well to training, with more and more of them being entered into dog sports.

Maltese Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 7 – 9 inches
  • Average Weight: Under 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

7. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon

Bred initially in Belgium, the Brussels Griffon has a distinctive and funny-looking beard. Even though their beards make them look grumpy, the Brussels Griffon are goofy companions that do well with other dogs or pets.

Griffons are an energetic and playful small breed but are shy with new people and don’t respond well to roughhousing from children.

Brussels Griffon Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 7 – 10 inches
  • Average Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

8. Russian Toy

Russian Toy

The Russian Toy breed is one of the most recently recognized breeds by the American Kennel Club, only being added to the list at the very start of 2022.

Russian Toys are elegant-looking small dogs with long legs and slim figures. Their lineage dates back to the Russian aristocracy and their breed, in general, thrives on human companionship.

The coats of Russian Toys are either semi-long or smooth, and weirdly enough, their attitudes also differ. Smooth coat varieties tend to have more terrier-like tendencies than long coat varieties.

Russian Toy Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 8 – 11 inches
  • Average Weight: Up to 6.5 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

9. Papillion

Papillion

When looking at the smallest dogs, you need to consider the Papillion. It’s a popular small breed dog for families with young children as they have a hardy construction and respond well to rough play.

Also referred to as butterfly dogs because of the hair on their ears, Papillions have been around since the mid-1500s, even featuring in a family portrait with Louis XIV.

As they’re easy to train, they perform well in dog shows with high energy and regularly win first place in a range of different dog sports.

Papillion Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 8 – 11 inches
  • Average Weight: 5 – 10 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

10. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin has a long silky coat, short muzzle, and round eyes, which give them an almost judgemental look on their face.

Looking at its name, you would think the Japanese Chin originated in Japan. Well, most experts believe that they actually originated from China, as they share many characteristics with the Pekingese. The Chinese bred Japanese Chin as companion dogs for both the Chinese and Japanese royalty. They even later joined Queen Victoria and the British royal family in 1863.

Japanese Chin Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 8 – 11 inches
  • Average Weight: 7 – 11 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 years

11. Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier

Another of the popular small dog breeds that holds a special place in their heart for their owners is the Toy Fox Terrier. Toy Fox Terriers are categorized as toy dogs in America, whereas the UK categorizes them as terriers.

Originally bred for catching rats in barns, the Toy Fox Terrier now sits proudly on its owner’s lap or likes to run around outdoors with its favorite people.

Toy Fox Terrier Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 8.5 – 11.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 3.5 – 7 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 years

12. Shih-Tzu

Shih-Tzu

The next on our smallest dogs list is the Shih Tzu. The breed originated in China and Tibet. Shih Tzus also get the name of Lion Dogs because of their long hair around their heads that resembles a mane. While not the national dog of China, they are certainly the more recognizable breed.

Extremely affectionate with children, Shih Tzu once spent their days relaxing in royal palaces. However, now it’s more common for them to be curled up next to you in the sitting room.

Shih-Tzu Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 9 – 10.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 9 – 16 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

13. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise once found themselves living a life of luxury in Spanish, French, and Italian royal courts. But, after the French Revolution in 1789, the days of luxury were over for the Bichon, and the French cast them out to live on the streets.

It was here that street entertainers took them in and trained them to be agile circus performers. The breed is now known for being hypoallergenic, with soft hair all over their bodies, usually rounded off at their heads.

Bichons are highly sociable dogs and get on well with other breeds, other pets, and children.

Bichon Frise Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 9.5 – 11.5 inches inches
  • Average Weight: 12 – 18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 – 15 years

14. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle is the smallest of the three poodle size varieties, all of which regularly compete in dog shows with their iconic Continental Clip hair cuts.

Toy Poodles were the most popular dog breeds used in circuses, and to make transportation and handling more straightforward, breeders made them in miniature size.

The Toy Poodle with its low-allergenic coat is easy to train, making them fantastic dogs for families with young children.

Toy Poodle Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: Up to 10 inches
  • Average Weight: 4 – 6 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

15. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinscher

Compared to their bodies, Miniature Pinschers have long muscular legs that, when on the move, resemble a horse trot.

The Min Pin originates from Germany, where breeders bred them from German Pinschers, Italian Greyhounds, and Dachshunds. 

When given adequate training, the miniature pinscher is a great family member that is fearless and playful. Although playful, Toy and food aggression are extremely common in Miniature Pinschers, so that’s something to keep in mind if there are small children in the house. 

Min Pin Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 10 – 12.5 inches
  • Average Weight: 8 – 10 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 years

16. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested

Another hypoallergenic breed is the Chinese Crested dog which also comes in a hairless variation. Hairless, however, doesn’t mean completely hairless in this instance. It has concentrated areas of hair around its head, face, tails, and feet, with only its body being hairless.

Both varieties are fantastic housemates, and their distinctive features make it nearly impossible to mistake them for any other breed.

Chinese Crested Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 11 – 13 inches
  • Average Weight: 8 – 12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13 – 18 years

17. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel got their names from two 17th Century British monarchs, who had a great fondness for the black and tan pups. Further down the line, breeders crossed the breed with Pugs and Japanese Chin, which then created the English Toy Spaniel.

It’s worth noting that the English Toy Spaniel is also a smaller dog, and could easily be added to this list.

Cavaliers are full of energy, easy to train and get on well with small children and other animals.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 12 – 13 inches
  • Average Weight: 13 – 18 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

18. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound

The final smaller dog breed to make the list is the Italian Greyhound. 

Greyhounds are elegant dogs, and the Italian variant is no exception. Italian Greyhounds are similar to its same breed, larger brother, the English Greyhound, just in a miniature, more slender form.

These dogs are always on alert and run at fast speeds in pursuit of prey or even a tennis ball. Due to their slimline bodies and short coats, the Italian Greyhound needs extra layers in cold weather, so don’t be surprised if your dog ends up with a bigger wardrobe than you.

Italian Greyhound Vital Statistics

  • Average Height: 13 – 15 inches
  • Average Weight: 7 – 14 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14 – 15 years

The World’s Smallest Dogs: Final Thoughts

No matter how big or how small the breed, dogs will always hold a special place in our hearts. The impact a four-legged friend can make on our lives is enormous, and it goes without saying that the canine species will be in our lives for many more years to come.

We’re interested to know, do you prefer tiny dogs, big dogs, or somewhere in between? While it’s true that small hounds do not make excellent watchdogs, they do serve as a fantastic addition to a family household.

Is there any other breed you think should make it onto our teeny dog list? Leave us a comment below.