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Top 14 small dog breeds for people who prefer the tinier things in life

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.

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

4. Beagle

Lap dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: @Hans Surfer/Getty Images

These are the little guys everyone’s always going gaga for at the dog park. Beagles are cute, cuddly, friendly and energetic — what’s not to love? And while most of us are already familiar with the fact that small dogs live longer than big dogs, you might be surprised to learn that beagles are one of the longest-living dog breeds, with an expected lifespan of more than 15 years. On top of that, these playful pups are good with kids and easy to groom.

3. Papillon

Lap dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: Dmitri Kotchetov/EyeEm/Getty Images

These shaggy little pooches that the American Kennel Club calls “happy, alert and friendly” fall into the toy dog group, making them extra-easy on the eyes. But don’t let their froufrou reputation fool you — Papillons are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds on earth, with protective watchdog characteristics. Overall, this small breed is even-tempered, active and easy to groom.

2. Pekingese

Lap dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: pekie/Flickr

A cute household pet today, this ancient toy dog breed hails from China — which explains why Pekingese pups are also commonly called lion dogs... because they resemble Chinese guardian lions. Across the board, the laid-back Pekingese are known to be great apartment dogs and can be an especially good match for newbie pet owners. While these fluffy dogs do shed, they are also trainable and smart as a whip. Ever the loyal sidekick, your Pekingese is going to be happy spending most of his time on the couch with you while you watch Netflix, as long as he's getting his cuddles.

1. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Lap dog lovers, unite! The best small dogs have been revealed
Image: Mário Simoes/Flickr

Considered a toy dog by the American Kennel Club, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel from the U.K. is known to be affectionate, graceful and gentle. If you're looking for a family-friendly breed that’s great with children, this small spaniel may be your best bet. The highly trainable Cavalier enjoys relaxing at home and playing with the kids. And here's another fun fact that may make you love this little guy even more — Charlotte also had a Cavalier King Charles on Sex and the City.

Which small-breed dogs get your vote? Tell us below!

Originally published March 2009. Updated October 2016.

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