Top 20 Best Small Dog Breeds

Top 20 Best Small Dog Breeds

Updated on January 2nd, 2020

Does your favourite small dog breed make 2019’s list of the top 20 small dog breeds?

At the start of 2019, ITV carried out a survey of 10,000 people to find out Britain’s most popular dog breeds for 2019.

The results were broadcast live on a television programme called “Britain’s Favourite Dogs” by TV presenters Ben Fogle and Sarah Cox.

They were joined on live TV by loads of different dogs to showcase the best of their breeds.

I’ve been through the list to discover Britain’s most popular small dog breeds which you can find below.

Britain’s most popular small dog breeds

According to the list, here are Britain’s 20 most popular small breed dogs.

Can you guess the top 3?

Go on, give it a go, then scroll down to see if you are correct!

20. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are white fluffy dogs with an almost cloud-like appearance.

Their coat is a silky texture with corkscrew style curls similar to that of a poodle. Because of this, they don’t shed their fur which makes them an ideal choice of dog for those with allergies.

Bichon Frise

19. Lhasa Apso

Lhaso Apsos were originally bred in Tibet, as a way of alerting monks in the Buddhist monasteries of any intruders.

Their coat is long and requires regular grooming to keep it in good conditions.

Lhasa Apsos are fearless, assertive dogs who aren’t afraid to let you know that they are there!

Lhasa Apso

18. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers are small companion dogs who make excellent family pets.

They are a popular choice of dog breed for senior citizens due to their loyalty, easy-going natures and small size.

Also known as Yorkies, they are the sixth most popular dog breed worldwide.

Yorkshire Terrier

17. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terriers are a small breed of dog from Britain, named after the mining town of Bedlington in Northumberland.

They were originally bred as hunting dogs to catch vermin and they are famous for their distinctively shaped faces and fluffy grey coats.

Bedlington Terrier

16. Chihuahua

These tiny dogs are small in size but BIG on attitude.

Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, weighing in at just 1.5-3kg on average.

They are the fourth most popular dog breed worldwide, with over 107,00 registrations.


15. Pug

Pugs have a distinguished appearance about them. They are characterised by their flat faces, curly tails and short coats.

They come in a range of colours, including fawn, black and brown.

Due to their flat faces, pugs can be prone to breathing problems and are at a higher risk of overheating in summer.

Related: How to keep your dogs cool in summer


14. Toy Poodle

I’m a bit partial to toy poodles, as my Gran had one when I was younger. He was a black toy poodle called Buddy and I used to taking him out for walks.

Toy poodles and miniature poodles are two small types of poodle.

Poodles do not shed their fur, making them great for allergy sufferers.

They are an intelligent dog breed, although they are very proud and slightly aloof, which can get in the way of their training!

toy poodle

13. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs, or ‘Frenchies’, are another flat-faced dog to make the list of popular small dog breeds.

Frenchies have become very popular in the UK in the past few years.

They are easy-going and affectionate, although they can be stubborn if they don’t want to do something.

French Bulldog

12. Shih Tzu

As a proud dog mum to a wonderful shih tzu called Socks, I definitely think that shih tzus should be further up the list!

These little flat-faced dogs originated in Tibet and were developed in China. Their fur doesn’t shed, making them hypoallergenic dogs.

I had to laugh as I did a bit of research into the shih tzu breed to write this article, as most of the reference websites I read said that shih tzus rarely bark!

Well, Socks must be the exception to that rule then – he barks at EVERYTHING!

Shih Tzu

11. West Highland Terrier

In the area that I live, West Highland Terriers are one of the most common small breeds of dog that I see when I’m out walking my two dogs.

Also known as Westies, these white dogs originated in Scotland and are an active, independent dog.

Just like with shih tzus, Westies are known as ‘hypoallergenic’ dogs because their fur does not shed.

West Highland Terrier

10. Border Terrier

Originally bred as a hunting dog for foxes and similar animals, the border terrier is a rough-coated breed of dog that often keeps some of his hunting tendencies.

Border terriers are fearless dogs and require a firm owner to remind them who is the leader of the pack.

They are robust and adventurous and enjoy running around in the countryside exploring their surroundings.

Border Terrier

9. Lakeland Terrier

As you may expect, Lakeland terriers take their name from the Lake District in England.

They were originally bred to protect sheep from foxes and other such predators.

They have fluffy coats and an unusual rectangular-shaped face.

Lakeland Terrier

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the 19th most popular pure-breed dog in the United States.

They have long, straight hair and silky coats and come in a range of colours including ruby, Blenheim, black and tan & tricolour.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

7. Cavapoo

A cavapoo is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle – usually a toy or miniature poodle.

They are also known as a Cavoodle and they are one of Australia’s most popular breeds.

They usually have the curly hypoallergenic coat of a poodle, and the laid-back nature of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.


6. Jack Russell

Jack Russell terriers are energetic, happy dogs who have strong wills and lots of energy! Originally bred to hunt, these smaller dogs need to be kept busy with walks and activities.

They can be quite vocal when they want to be, which means they can be good watchdogs.

However, Jack Russells are also well-suited to being family pets, although they tend to be happier with older children who know how to behave properly around dogs.

Jack Russell

5. Miniature Daschund

Dachshunds, also known as sausage dogs, have been bred to have long bodies and short legs which can make them susceptible to back problems. Because of this, they are best suited to live in homes without many stairs.

Originally bred to hunt badgers, these cute little dogs are now more traditionally found snoozing on sofas than out hunting in the forests.


4. Cavachon

Cavachons are a cross between Cavalier King Charles spaniels and Bichon Frises.

They are known for being incredibly cute, often being referred to as teddy bear dogs, particularly as puppies.

Cavachons have increase dramatically in popularity over the past five years or so due to their loving natures, appealing looks and happy personalities.

They are great family dogs and highly trainable.


3. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmonts are a small breed of terrier, originally from Scotland.

Similar to dachshunds, they have long bodies and short legs, however their coat tends to be long and they have a unique knot of hair on their heads that is symbolic of the breed.

Dandie Dinmonts are officially classed as a ‘vulnerable breed’ by the Kennel Club due to the low number of puppies that are registered each year.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

2. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature schnauzers are one of my favourite breeds of dogs so it’s great to see that they rank second highest in the list of best small breed dogs.

These salt-and-pepper coloured dogs weigh between 5.5kg and 9kg, making them a great sized dog for living in smaller houses or apartments.

They are affectionate and loyal, although they can be stubborn.

Miniature schnauzers make great family pets and they are often well-suited to living with cats.

Miniature Schnauzer

1. Mixed Breed

Did you guess that the most popular small breed dog isn’t actually a breed at all?

That’s right, the fabulous mixed breed dog comes in at number 1!

I love that mixed breeds are the nation’s most loved small dogs, especially because I have one myself!

My Freddie, pictured below, is a shih tzu x jack Russell.

mixed breed dog

Other small dog breeds that didn’t make the cut

This list of small breed dogs, whilst all gorgeous of course, unfortunately just missed out on the top 20 list of small dog breeds.

Is your favourite small dog breed in this list?

I bet there are even some small dog breeds in here you’ve never heard of. There certainly were some new ones for me!

  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Papillon
  • Brussells Griffon
  • Havanese
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Pekinese
  • Silky Terrier
  • Coton De Tulear
  • Griffon Bruxellois
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Japanese Spitz
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Affenpinscher
  • Lancashire Heeler
  • Sporting Lucas Terrier
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Lowchen
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Chinese Crested
  • Boston Terrier
  • Schipperke
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Maltese Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Parson Russell Terrier

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