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15 Small Dog Breeds for Families

Nov 30,2021

Having a family and a dog at the same time may look challenging for many people. A lot of responsibilities, time, effort, commitment...and of course money. There are still many dog handlers, who see their paw friends as family members and provide them with the same amount of care and love. However, choosing the right dog when having a family, could be a difficult task, that requires many things to consider. Lifestyle, location, allergies to fur, breed, temperament...these are some important factors that you should take into account before you make a choice. 

Talking about breeds, in today’s article we will let you know more about 15 small breeds, considered suitable for families. If you are still wondering what dog breed to choose so that it will fit your apartment and will be loving to your children, you may want to keep reading. 

1. Beagle

Beagles are very lovely, friendly and intelligent. They get along with family members of all ages. This may be important to you, if you have kids and do not want to take any risks in regard to their safety or the safety of the dog. If you live in an apartment, this would not be a problem for these cute doggies, as long as you take care of their physical shape. They need regular exercises and long walks outside. Beagles like being around people and other animals. If you decide to get a dog of this breed, you may need to be prepared to train him/her in order to avoid any signs of separation anxiety. It is considered that the adult dogs may be left home alone for a maximum of 6 hours, while puppies should not be left alone for more than 2 hours. Beagles tend to shed seasonally so you need to keep this in mind if you deal with fur allergies. These canines are likely to need grooming on a weekly basis. They are trainable and energetic. If you are more into a calmer lifestyle, and do not like walking and exercising a lot, this breed may not be the right choice for you. Another thing you may need to know is that they are likely to use vocalization. In other words- they can bark a lot. These dogs are about 12-15 inch high and their weight can reach up to 30 lbs by larger representatives or be under 20 lbs by smaller representatives. The average lifespan of this breed is about 12-15 years.


2. Pug

Gorgeous creatures who enjoy sleeping and eating! Sound familiar, ah? If you are looking for a lovely companion to watch TV with, this is the right choice for you! Their level of trainability is not the highest one, as they can be independent and stubborn, but this does not mean that you can not train them. If you decide to train your Pug, you may want to use techniques based on positive reinforcement. Pugs love being around people and small children. However, this breed is quite protective despite its small size, so you need to keep that in mind when interacting with other people and/or their pets. Although Pugs are not one of the most athletic breeds, they can be very playful and curious. You may need to monitor their physical shape and conduct exercises on a regular basis. It is important to know that these dogs tend to shed (the level of shedding may be moderate or extreme). As mentioned above in regard to the Beagles, you need to take shedding into consideration, if you are allergic to fur. Hence, you will need to groom your paw friend at least once a week. The good news is that these doggies usually do not bark much. This can be considered an important advantage if you live in an apartment or just enjoy being in a silent and calm environment. They are also adaptive, which is a really important feature in dogs. Pugs’ lifespan is approximately 13-15 years. They can reach up to 13 inch in height and between 14-18 lbs in weight. 


3. Brussels Griffon

You may be unfamiliar with this breed, and we will be happy to provide you with information about its virtues. These dogs are intelligent, affectionate, trainable and playful. The representatives of this breed look for interaction and enjoy long walks in the company of their beloved owners. They do not shed a lot, but seasonal shedding may occur. They do not require a lot of grooming, but it would be beneficial for them, if you take care of this activity at least once a week. The Brussels Griffon is also an adaptive breed. Despite all good features of these lovely creatures, we need to list some disadvantages of having a Brussels Griffon at home. They may attach to you a lot and may not like being left home alone. We would recommend that you conduct training at a young age to interfere with any signs of separation anxiety. Another disadvantage is that these dogs are not well suited to young children, as children can be clumsy and hurt the dog accidentally. However, this does not mean that you can not raise a representative of this breed along with children, but if you decide to do it you may need to supervise them both when interacting with each other. The Brussels Griffon may bark a lot if not properly trained. The lifespan of the breed is about 12-15 years, its representatives can reach up to 10 inch in height and between 8-10lbs in weight. 


4. French Bulldog

We bet that all of you are familiar with this breed! And there is a reason for that! These dogs are trainable, easy-going, intelligent, adaptive, loving, attached to their owners and get along with children and other dogs. They tend to shed on a seasonal basis- usually 2-3 times a year, and you may need to brush them from time to time. The representatives of this breed are friendly to new people, are not likely to use a lot of vocalization, so you (and your neighbors) can enjoy a calm and silent evening at home. Although this breed is relatively quiet and open to new people, it is also known as protective and territorial, so you may be alert if there are intruders. These dogs are energetic, especially at a young age and need both a physical and mental stimulation. However, you need to remember that the French Bulldog is prone to exhaustion due to high temperatures and you should avoid exercises or long walks when it is too hot. The approximate lifespan of this breed is 10-12 years, they are likely to reach up to 28 lbs in weight and 11-13 inch in height.

5. Bichon Frise

Really cute doggies, aren’t they? These white fluffy canines are affectionate to their owners and open to new people and other dogs as well. They love being around people, including children. Their lovely appearance and positive attitude make them welcomed by most people. Moreover, these dogs are very adaptive, trainable and energetic. You will need to provide daily exercises and stimulate them physically and mentally. Although the canines of this breed are really fluffy, they do not shed a lot and are deemed relatively hypoallergenic. However, the Bichon Frise is a breed that requires high maintenance and regular grooming. So, you will need to add this activity to your daily tasks if you would like to have a representative of this breed at home. In regard to barking- these canines can bark a lot, mostly to get the attention of their owners, however, they are not considered a breed with the highest barking levels. The lifespan of the breed is about 12-15 years, the weight they can reach is up to 11-12 inch in height and up to 11 lbs in weight.

6. Cocker Spaniel

This breed is very popular and their representatives are known for their lovely personality, cute appearance...and really soft ears, that you may not resist to touch. Gentle with children, family members, adaptive and open to strangers...Such great companion dogs! They can be trained, so if you want to teach your lovely Cocker Spaniel basic or advanced obedience and social skills, go ahead! You may need to invest time in playing with and exercising your canine as well as provide them with mental  challenges. Cocker Spaniels shed, and how intensive the process of shedding will be, depends on the certain dog. Since the representatives of the Spaniels are long-coated, they need regular maintenance and grooming, so that tangling can be avoided. These wonderful dogs are prone to bad barking habits, that is why you may need to socialize them at a young age. Proper socialization is important for development of healthy habits and turn your pup into a well-behaved adult dog. The average lifespan of this breed is 12-15 years, the approximate weight they can reach is 33-35 lbs, the maximum height they can reach is about 16-17 inch.

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Another gorgeous small dog breed with a lovely personality! These cuties meet all the basic requirements to be great family dogs- they are affectionate, enjoy cuddling and sitting on the lap of their owner. These dogs are eager to please their owners and really enjoy their company. They will suit well to children and are friendly to other dogs as well. The dogs of this breed shed year-round, so regular maintenance and brushing at least twice a week is necessary to keep their coat groomed. Barking is not a common feature of these doggies, and they are not likely to show any signs of aggression towards strangers or other dogs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not excessively protected, however, they can show this kind of behavior over their owners and home. They are very trainable, respond well to positive reinforcement and are quite energetic. The average lifespan of this breed is 9-14 years. The adult representatives may reach up to 18 lbs in weight and 13 inch in height.


8. Havanese

If we have to score the abilities of the Havanese as a good companion dog, the score will be 10/10. These dogs are loving and gentle to the whole family, including its youngest members, and to other dogs as well. You will be glad to know, that the Havanese does not shed a lot and when they lose hair it usually does not fall, but stays in the outer coat. This breed has a soft double coat. However, you need to keep in mind that Havanese still need regular grooming. You may need to use a brush 2-3 times a week and bath your furry friend once a week or two weeks, depending on the coat. Moreover, you may need to hydrate him/her with a spray and not brush his/her coat while it is dry. Your fluffy friend will be happy to play with you and he/she is likely to accept strangers as friends. These dogs are such a friendly and devoted companion! You will be able to not only play with your paw friend, but train him/her as well, as Havanese are known for their good trainability. Havanese are not known for being barkers, however, this does not mean that they will not bark at all. They are curious and may show protective behavior as well. You need to keep in mind that mental stimulation and exercises may be needed so that your paw friend stays fit. The average lifespan of the Havanese is 13-15 years. They can reach up to 16 lbs in weight and up to 11 inch in height.


9. Poodle

First, we need to specify that this breed can be divided into three sub breeds depending on their size: the Standard Poodle, Medium Poodle, Miniature Poodle and Toy Poodle. You can choose the size that will suit your needs and lifestyle the most, i.e. if you are interested in training your doggy more difficult tasks, you may need the larger-sized Poodles; if you are looking for a pet that will get along with your family members and comes in a compact size the smaller-sized Poodles will be a great option. Poodles are affectionate and will get along with adult and young family members. Basically, they are good to other dogs as well, but we would recommend that you socialize them first and conduct proper training while they are still young before meeting them with other animals. Poodles are considered hypoallergenic. However, this does not mean that they will not shed at all. They are likely to shed once every few weeks. Although these dogs are considered suitable for people with allergies to dog fur, you will need to groom them regularly. Their single soft coat needs regular maintenance. Poodles are deemed moderate barkers, hence if you decide to raise a dog of this breed, you will need to keep in mind that sometimes you will not be able to enjoy a quiet time at home. However, they are not likely to bark at no reason. These canines are very intelligent and energetic. If you provide them with enough exercises and quality play time during the day they will be able to spend the excessive amount of energy. They are very trainable, playful and adaptive dogs and can learn various tasks. The approximate lifespan of this breed in general is 12-15 years. The Toy Poodles can reach up to 11 inch in height and up to 6 lbs in weight. The Miniature Poodle can reach up to 15 inch in height and up to 17 lbs in weight. The maximum weight of the Medium Poodle is about 42 lbs and its maximum height is approximately 18 inch. The largest version of the breed- the Standard Poodle, can reach the height of 24 inch and the weight of 70 lbs.


10. Boston Terrier

Are you looking for cheerful companion with а good temperament? The Boston Terrier is a lovely small-sized breed popular among families with children, as they are easy-going with all family members. Due to their lovely and easy-going personality, they are likely to behave friendly towards other dogs, even if they are representatives of larger breeds. These doggies are not likely to be afraid of large-sized dogs. The Boston Terrier sheds minimal and you can manage the process through regular brushing. This breed is not considered one of the smelliest breeds, however, the most common type of smell that you can get from your doggy, is an odor caused by development of yeast on their body and feet. Hence, this breed requires regular bathing and grooming. You may need to bathe your paw friend every week or up to every sixth week (but not more) based on the lifestyle. Although these dogs can become good guard dogs, they are not likely to show any signs of aggression if socialized properly. Boston Terriers may bark occasionally, but they are nor known as a breed that has barking problems. These canines are intelligent, trainable and eager to please their owners. They enjoy mental stimulation, so your paw friend will be happy if you figure out interactive games and keep him/her busy. The average lifespan of the breed is 13-15 years, the maximum weight that these dogs can reach is 24 lbs, the maximum height is about 17 inch. 

11. Dachshund

A lovely breed whose standard-size version was developed to hunt badgers, while the smaller-sized version was raised to chase rabbits and smaller animals. They can be wire, smooth or long-haired. These canines provide great companion, are very loyal and can be really good family dogs. However, you may need to bear one thing in mind when your children are around your dog and supervise the interaction. Dachshund is considered suitable for families with kids if treated well. The representatives of this breed can live among with other dogs, but if this is the case, you may need to chose a similar sized breed or a breed with a similar temperament, as these canines may show a strong personality. Dachshund is deemed a breed that sheds moderate. The representatives of the wire-haired type are likely to shed the least. The representatives of the wire-haired and long-haired Dachshund tend to shed about twice a year. This breed requires grooming, however, how intensive it would be, depends on the coat-type. Dachshunds are protective dogs, despite their small size, but they are really attached to their owners and adapt quickly to new environments. Hence, you will be happy to have a Dachshund as a paw friend, if you tend to travel a lot and want/need to take your doggy with you. These canines were bred as hunting dogs that is why you can expect your furry friend to be a barker. However, if you are looking for a kind of alerting dog in a compact size, this breed may be very suitable for you. Dachshunds are energetic and will enjoy mental stimulation as well. You will need to remember this if you decide to chose a dog of this breed as a new part of the family. The average lifespan of the breed is  12-16 years, the maximum weight these dogs can reach is about 32 lbs and their maximum height is approximately 9 inch.


12. Maltese Dog

We are fascinated by the silky, pure-white coat of this lovely breed that makes them look noble! This toy group breed is very affectionate with all family members and provides great companionship. However, if you have small children, we would recommend that you choose a different dog breed for a family dog or be extremely careful. Because of their small size and thin bones, they can be easily hurt. It is recommended that you socialize your furry friend at a young age, as these dogs may be unaware of their small size and get injured. You may need to supervise them when being around large dogs. Maltese are not considered aggressive, however, they may try to be the alpha and show domination towards their owner. You will be happy to know, that despite their long coat, these dogs do not shed a lot. If your doggy sheds a lot this may be caused by stress, anxiety or health issues and you may need to check with a veterinarian. Regular brushing and grooming every few months are recommended as their coat needs to be maintained and kept from getting matted. Maltese are not aggressive to stranger and are considered quite friendly and open to new people. This small-sized breed can be really protective towards their owners and their territory and proper socialization is important. They will enjoy the playtime with you and are quite energetic and intelligent. You will be able to train your canine various tasks, but remember to be gentle, as these doggies are likely to be more sensitive. Since the Maltese is a  companion dog breed, its representatives may develop separation anxiety when being left at home. This may lead to excessive barking. You need to be patient and engaged in training so that your lovely pup can become a confident and well-behaved adult dog.  The average lifespan of this breed is 12-15 years. The maximum weight that these canines can reach is about 9 lbs and their maximum height is approximately 10 inch.


13. Shih Tzu

Another gorgeous toy breed with an amazing and noble appearance. The breed Shih Tzu, which means “lion” originates from Tibet and is known for its lovely long coat and short snout. Despite its name, this breed is very gentle and loving with all family members, including small children and also get along with other dogs. These doggies have a happy, friendly and loving personality and make great companion dogs. They are likely to show signs of aggression only if they are hurt, sick or in some cases- if they have become too possessive. Despite their long coat, this breed sheds less then many other breeds and is considered hypoallergenic- wonderful news for those of you who are allergic to dog fur. However, the wonderful coat of the Shih Tzu needs a lot of grooming and bathing every week or not more than every 3 weeks. Along with the regular grooming sessions you should be prepared for the vocal inspirations of your doggy. These canines are prone to barking and you may need to conduct training to correct this behavior. However, these dogs are intelligent and very adaptive and can be easily trained. Moreover, they usually get along with new people and are polite towards strangers. However, you need to keep in mind, that the Shih Tzu can be protective when it comes to their owner and home. These dogs are energetic and will enjoy mental stimulation. Their lifespan is approximately 10-16 years, the maximum weight they can reach is about 16 lbs and their maximum height is about 11 inch.


14. Chihuahua

Meet one of the smallest and lovely dog breeds whose name originates from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Despite their very small size, these canines are not afraid to show their personalities as needed. These lovely small pups develop a strong bond with their owners and are very attached to the family. However, if you have small children, this breed is not suitable, as it can get easily injured. The representatives of this breed are great and loyal companion dogs, but some of them may develop aggressive tendencies and show a stubborn personality. Chihuahuas shed mostly in spring and fall when they change their coat but luckily for their owners the are considered slight to moderate shedders. You do not have to worry about your clothes and enjoy cuddling with your doggy, as Chihuahuas prefer cuddling with their beloved humans. Theses dogs are easy to maintain and you will need to get them groomed and shaved about every three months. However, if your canine tends to have tangles and matted coat you may need to arrange grooming more often. These dogs are playful and adaptive and can make great guard dogs. That is why they can be quite vocal and the level of barking is considered really high. However, you will be able to train your dog different tasks and correct all bad habits, as Chihuahuas are highly trainable. These intelligent canines will do wonders for some treats as a reward. The average lifespan of this breed is about 12-20 years, the maximum height they can reach is about 10 inch and the maximum weight is about 7 lbs.

15. Pomeranian

We all are familiar with these small gorgeous balls of fur who we can not resist to cuddle. This toy dog breed of Spitz type is named after the Pomerania region in Central Europe. The canines of this breed are considered healthy dogs. However, the most common health conditions of this breed are a luxating patella: condition in which the patella dislocates, and a tracheal collapse: “incomplete formation or weakening of the cartilaginous rings of the trachea resulting in flattening of the trachea”. The Pomeranian canines are very affectionate to their owners and can be become wonderful family dogs. Similar to other small-dog breeds, they do not suit well to small children, as they can get injured. Their personality is really friendly and if you decide to raise such a dog along with your children, you may need to supervise their interactions. These canines are good with other dogs, but you should be careful if you have a large-sized dog at home. The shedding levels of this breed are rather low. Pomeranian dogs usually shed year-round like many other dogs. If you have a pup, you will need to brush it once a week and after it becomes an adult dog, you will need to brush him/her 2-3 times a week. The representatives of this breed are considered generally friendly towards strangers, however, they are likely to become suspicious around new people. They will crave the attention of their owner and may show signs of jealous behavior. They can be very protective of their owners. Despite of how loyal and loving these dogs are, you need to be careful to not over-handle them. They are adaptive and have a lot of energy. They are very trainable, but sometimes can be a little stubborn. However, they are pretty intelligent and you just need to be patient. The average lifespan of this breed is 12-16 years, the weight that they can reach is about 8 lbs and the maximum height is about 12 inch.

Remember that you need to consider a lot of factors when choosing a dog breed and always evaluate dogs as individuals.