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Tiniest dog breeds

  • Tiniest dog breeds

    As many dog owners can attest, small dogs are hard to resist. The tiny faces of lap-sized breeds can win over nearly any dog lover’s heart—and they certainly know how to captivate social media. The undeniable cuteness of pugs and Yorkies have made them the internet’s sweethearts. Even better, small dogs are often cheaper to own, as they require less food, are easier to bring along on your day-to-day adventures, and can thrive just as well in a cramped city apartment as on a sprawling farm. However, underestimating what a breed is capable of because of its size is a big mistake. Small dogs are so much more than adorable snugglers.

    In the following slides, Stacker has analyzed the data on the 193 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club (released in May 2020), splitting them into small dog and large dog categories. This list of the 97 tiniest breeds was compiled using a size index based on the typical maximum height and weight for each dog breed, and the end result is an eclectic group of pooches that truly only share one thing in common—their status as the smallest pups around. Not a single dog on the list stands taller than 22 inches from shoulder to paw.

    Each one of these small breeds is unique in its own way, whether its claim to fame is being raised in the lap of luxury alongside kings and queens, working long hours on farms keeping the mice away, protecting holy cities, or hunting puffins on rocky islands.

    Keep reading to learn about the history and typical characteristics of each breed, and you’ll find that though they are compact, there’s nothing diminutive about the personalities of these 97 unique little dogs.

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  • #97. Whippet

    - Size index: 43.2
    - Typical max height: 22 inches
    - Typical max weight: 40 pounds

    Standing between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder, whippets are essentially miniature versions of the greyhound. The athletic dogs are fast, reaching speeds up to 50 mph, rarely bark, and are low-maintenance pets good for city dwellings and country homes alike.

  • #94. Polish Lowland sheepdog (tie)

    - Size index: 42.5
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 50 pounds

    In the final days of the Roman Empire, the Huns succeeded in invading the area now known as Poland. Upon their arrival, they began to breed their Hunnic dogs with those native to the region—the end result was the Polish Lowland sheepdog, a level-headed herding and guard dog. These pups have a beautiful double coat, but their shaggy fur requires lots of maintenance in order to keep it free of mats and debris.

  • #94. English springer spaniel (tie)

    - Size index: 42.5
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 50 pounds

    English springer spaniels are highly trainable, polite, and social dogs. The people-pleasing pooches are good with kids and enjoy long walks just as much as they do lounging indoors. The breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia as well as a range of eye conditions, and responsible owners should get their pets screened regularly for signs of these ailments.

  • #94. Australian cattle dog (tie)

    - Size index: 42.5
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 50 pounds

    Related to Australia’s native wild dog, the dingo, Australian cattle dogs are resilient, smart, and loyal. Bred to be herders, these pups are extremely hard workers with boundless energy. They require plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them from getting into mischief.

  • #93. Spanish water dog

    - Size index: 42.2
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 49 pounds

    The curly haired Spanish water dog has been a fixture in the Iberian Peninsula for so long, no one is really sure how they got there. A highly intelligent breed, the dogs pull double duty, working as both herders and waterfowl retrievers.

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  • #92. Welsh springer spaniel

    - Size index: 42.1
    - Typical max height: 19 inches
    - Typical max weight: 55 pounds

    Thought to be the oldest British spaniel, evidence of Welsh springer spaniels dates back to 250 B.C. It’s unclear how the breed, descendants of the original spaniel of the Iberian Peninsula, made the journey from Spain to Wales, but they’ve been Britain's hardest-working bird dog ever since.

  • #91. Standard schnauzer

    - Size index: 41.7
    - Typical max height: 19.5 inches
    - Typical max weight: 50 pounds

    Known as the mittelschnauzer in their native Germany, standard schnauzers are the country’s version of an ideal farm dog. Dating back to the Middle Ages, schnauzers have earned their keep working as ratters, guardians, herders, and hunters. Modern standard schnauzers make wonderful companions and are great with kids, making them an ideal family dog.

  • #90. German pinscher

    - Size index: 41.3
    - Typical max height: 20 inches
    - Typical max weight: 45 pounds

    One of Germany’s oldest dog breeds, the German pinscher was first bred to be a rat-catcher. The small, sleek breed makes an excellent watchdog, but their independent streak requires a good amount of obedience training and an owner with a firm hand. As such, these dogs aren’t an ideal breed for a first-time owner.

  • #89. Brittany

    - Size index: 40.9
    - Typical max height: 20.5 inches
    - Typical max weight: 40 pounds

    Brittany pups were first introduced to America in 1931. Prior to the American Kennel Club’s recognition of the breed in 1934, the dogs had been working as hunting companions for centuries in their native France. Today, Brittanys have earned the distinction of being Dual Champions, meaning they’re good showmen in the ring and accomplished hunting dogs in the field.

  • #88. Poodle

    - Size index: 39.5
    - Typical max height: 15 inches
    - Typical max weight: 70 pounds

    Poodles may have a reputation as being a prissy pup, but in reality, they were bred as retrieving water dogs some 400 years ago. Highly intelligent, poodles are also natural entertainers and have long been associated with the circus, particularly in Europe. Very people-oriented, poodles are friendly and eager to please.

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