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Types Of Small House Dogs

Small dogs are often bred-down, smaller versions of the larger dogs with which we are all familiar. Some of these small dogs once had jobs but they have become lap dogs or small house dogs now. Here’s a look at some of the different types of small house dogs you may encounter.


There are a number of small house dogs that have terrier-like traits or which are related to the terrier breeds. “Pinscher” means terrier in German and the Affenpinscher and Miniature Pinscher were created from larger terrier breeds. The Brussels Griffon was also created from terrier breeds. The Manchester Terrier, the Silky Terrier, the Toy Fox Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier all have the terrier spirit and were bred from terriers. So, if you like terriers you will have no trouble finding a small house dog with terrier traits. Many of these dogs are brave and have lots of personality.

Sporting Dogs

There is a hint of the sporting dog in some small dogs, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Dogs that resembled the Cavalier can be seen in paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries in England. Like sporting dogs, the Cavalier is a gentle dog who loves to be with his owner. They make excellent family dogs. There are several Toy dogs and Non-Sporting dogs with the name “Spaniel” such as the English Toy Spaniel but these dogs are not actually spaniels. It’s possible that there was some spaniel mixed in with these breeds at some point long ago, but they are Toy dogs and should not be considered spaniel in type or personality.

Spitz Dogs

The Pomeranian and the American Eskimo Dog in the Non-Sporting group are reminiscent of the northern dogs that once pulled sleds. They look like Spitz-type dogs. The Pomeranian was at one time much larger and used to be a sled dog in northern areas. The American Eskimo Dog is the descendant of several different white breeds such as the white German Spitz, the white Keeshond, and white Pomeranian dogs, among others. They were exceptionally smart dogs and were used as circus dogs because they were so easy to train.


You can even find a member of the Hound group among the small house dogs. The Italian Greyhound, which stands only 15 inches tall at the shoulder, is a smaller version of the Greyhound and the Whippet. These gentle, playful dogs are quite laid back and relaxed and make wonderful companions for the home.


You can find a number of small house dogs who were once kept as watchdogs. For example, the Lhasa Apso, the Tibetan Spaniel (who is not really a spaniel), and the Tibetan Terrier (who is not really a terrier) were all kept in Tibet as watchdogs for Buddhist monks and for the nobility. The Tibetan Terrier was even used as a small herding dog at times. These little dogs will still watch over you in your home.


Finally, there are many small dogs which have always been companions and lapdogs. The Pekingese, the Chinese Crested, the Japanese Chin, the Maltese, the Papillon, and the Pug have always been valued as pets. They still fulfill that important role today as small house dogs.


Small house dogs have interesting and varied backgrounds. Many of these breeds were originally kept for other purposes. They come from terrier, sporting, spitz, and the hound group, for example. Some small dogs, however, have always been kept as companions. Whichever small dog you choose, they are all loving and make good pets.

Small House Dogs

If you are thinking of getting a small house dog, there are many from which to choose.  Your choice may depend on your own personality and what you are looking for in a dog.  Do you want a dog with long hair?  Short hair?  A dog that can go for walks with you?  Or a dog that doesn’t need much exercise?  Do you like a quiet dog or one that is more lively?  You should ask yourself questions like these so you can decide which small dog is right for you.

Here are some small house dogs for you to consider, along with some of their traits.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier was originally bred to hunt rats and vermin in the textile mills of northern England but he was too beautiful to remain in this job.  He quickly became popular as a pet.  The Yorkie is small but he still has a terrier temperament.  These little dogs are brave and bold and they don’t back down from anyone. They are also quite devoted to their owners.  Be advised, however, that the Yorkie will take over your house and think he’s boss if you don’t keep reminding him that you are in charge.  The Yorkshire Terrier only weighs 4 to 7 pounds.


The Chihuahua is a Mexican breed and comes from the state of Chihuahua.  Similar dogs may have been used in native religious ceremonies centuries ago.  The Chihuahua is smart and alert.  They are feisty, bold dogs. They are not always good with children, though they should be all right with older kids.  Chihuahuas come in both long-coated and smooth-coated varieties.  They weigh no more than 6 pounds.


The Pug is a clownish, friendly, outgoing little dog.  They are considered one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back to about 400 BC. They are an Asian breed and probably originated in China.  They have some similarities to the Pekingese, another old breed.  The Pug was often kept in Buddhist monasteries in those days.  They were taken to the West in the 16th century and became very popular in the Netherlands and other countries.  Pugs adore their owners and will do anything to please them.  They love children and make excellent family dogs.  Pugs can weigh up to 18 pounds.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier originated in the United States, in Boston, as its name suggests.  These dogs were bred down in size from English Bulldogs and the English Terrier.  The Boston Terrier is quiet, tidy, and very gentle.  They only need a modest amount of exercise and very little grooming.  They are easy to keep and they prefer to always be next to their owner. Boston Terriers come in three different sizes:  less than 15 pounds;  15 to 20 pounds; and 20 to 25 pounds.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is quite popular all around the world.  These dogs are not really spaniels.  Instead, they are considered a Toy breed, though some dogs may point at a butterfly sometimes.  The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel resembles the dogs that are seen in British paintings in earlier centuries but this breed was recreated in the 20th century.  The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a friendly dog and considered easy to train.  They are good with children and make a good family dog.  Their long coat does need regular grooming. They enjoy long walks.  This is a sweet and gentle dog. These dogs typically stand 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 18 pounds.

Lhasa Apso

These happy, mischievous dogs date back centuries and originally functioned as household guardians for Tibetan nobles and Buddhist monks, especially in Lhasa.  They were finally brought to the U.S. in the 1930s as a gift from the 13th Dalai Lhama. As a small watchdog the Lhasa may be suspicious of strangers so they do need to be well-socialized. The Lhasa makes a very good family dog, especially if you have older children. They like to take long walks with you. The breed has a long, flowing coat but many owners like to keep their dog in a shorter cut. The Lhasa stands about 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 18 pounds.