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The Top 14 Small Dog Breeds — Because Everybody Loves a Lap Dog

Vladimir is a regular contributor to PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information. PetMD's content is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

Tiny dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed

If you're on the hunt for a big ol' dog to train for a triathlon with, you might want to move along — nothing to see here! This post is strictly dedicated to tiny little lap dogs. The teensiest breeds' little legs aren't really built to swim and run, but they sure are made for cuddling.

We certainly have nothing against large dogs (we've never met one we didn't love, actually), but now that our lives are more fast-paced than ever, small dogs make a lot of sense for a large population of adopters. They're lower-maintenance, easier to care for and don't require a big yard to run around in.

For apartment-dwellers, families, busy professionals and those who just don't like big dogs, here are our top 14 small-breed dogs.

14. Maltese

Tiny dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: Darrell Knetsch/EyeEm/Getty Images

A good dog for those with allergies (it's not a big shedder), the Maltese is friendly and often gets along well with other dogs and even cats. Just don't leave them alone too much, these companion dogs need human contact. Easily distinguished by their straight and long white coat; it may seem as though the Maltese has just stepped out of a doggie hair salon. However, over-coddling these adorable creatures can actually do them more harm them good, often leading to behavior disorders.

More: 15 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds

13. Boston Terrier

Tiny dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: Tereza Jancikova/Getty Images

A great family dog, the Boston Terrier is friendly and bonds well with kids. Another plus is they don't require a ton of grooming. Instead, it just needs the occasional brushing to get rid of excess hair. But be warned, they love to munch on household items, so lots of chew toys are definitely recommended. You should probably keep anything you don't want destroyed out of this dog's way, too.

12. Pugs

Tiny dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: Melissa Thereliz/Getty Images

What's not to love? Their small, wrinkled face, short legs, and charismatic personality makes the Pug a comedic and friendly companion. And though they can be headstrong at times, the Pug is generally pleasant and willing to please. The dog's unique muzzle does make them prone to snoring and wheezing, so you may want to consider buying some ear plugs if you decide to bring this dog into your bedroom.

Next Up: More top 14 small breed dogs - Pomeranian

Originally published March 2009. Updated September 2017.

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