Top 5 Favorite small dog breeds

Feb 27, 2012 at 9:09 a.m. ET

With so many charming toy breeds, how can you pick just one? Small breeds may share the cute factor, but their personalities vary from one breed to another. Find a pocket-sized partner that fits your lifestyle among these top five favorite small breeds.

Cute pekingese with tongue out


This years' crowned winner of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show captured the hearts of pet lovers nationwide. With the heart of a lion and an irresistible mug, the fluffy Pekingese ranks high on the list of small breed favorites. Often known for a charming personality and strong demeanor, this breed proves that big things come in small packages. Pekes lack the ability to share the spotlight, and they love being the center of attention — which make this breed an excellent fit for older couples and households with older children.

Shih tzu

Mild-mannered and sweet-tempered, the shih tzu will quickly become your best friend. Like most small breeds, shih tzus were bred for companionship. This easygoing breed can be an excellent addition to any family, big or small. With long lifespans and a typically sound health record, the shih tzu will loyally stand by your side for an average of 14 loving years. When it comes to training, patience is a must. Shih tzus take longer than most breeds to learn basic commands. Training in the early stages is highly recommended for this laid-back pup.

Yorkshire terrier

Whether it's the breed's energetic spirit or its endearing Napoleon complex, the Yorkie is a true human companion — and the second most popular breed in the world. This hypoallergenic breed thrives on human companionship and often relates better with humans than with their canine counterparts. More than just a pretty face, the Yorkie boasts a very high intellect and learns commands beyond basic training easily. Due to its strong sense of human entitlement, this small breed is best fit for adult households.


Some dogs were bred to hunt, while others were bred to guard. Pugs were bred to make you laugh. As the comedians of the canine world, pugs can put a smile on just about anyone's face. Complete with big bulging eyes, a flat snout, corkscrew tail and a sea of wrinkles, this breed is everything but serious. Pugs love to play and romp, but most of all, they love to be by your side. This typically healthy breed does require a strict diet and routine exercise; pugs are prone to become overweight. Low in maintenance and gentle in nature, pugs make great members of all families.


Fluffy and bouncy with an extra dose of charisma, the Pomeranian proves happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. This is one breed that knows how to smile for the camera. Playful and energetic, Poms require a lot of attention and care, and they're always up for pampering and socializing. Poms typically prefer human companionship over canine camaraderie; early pet socialization is recommended for future dog park interactions.

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