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15 Dog Breeds That Don’t Grow Too Big

Written by Khalil
Khalil is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Sunday 18 July 2021
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
breeds that don't grow big
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Dog breeds that don’t grow too big come with numerous benefits: they’re easy to handle, easy to care for, easy to carry around, and are lovely in general. But above all, if you’re short on space or are suited to the apartment lifestyle, small dog breeds are an ideal choice for you. And if that’s what you’re looking for, this is the article for you.

Today, we’ll look at fifteen dog breeds that don’t grow big, and we’ll also answer some of the fur parents’ frequently asked questions. So, without further ado, we bring you our first pick: the Bolognese.

1. Bolognese

With an exceptional personality, the Bolognese dog is fluffy and gives more of a royal and luxurious look. This breed makes for one of the best apartment dogs since it’s not energetic and doesn’t require much exercise either.

The Bolognese grows up to a height of 11-inches and weighs no more than 9 lbs. Its fluffy, thick coat, which doesn’t shed much, requires frequent grooming (twice or thrice, weekly).

Atop all the perfection, you can enjoy your Bolognese dog for up to 14 wonderful years. However, it’s not the breed for you if you work 9-5, as it gets rather lonely.

2. Chihuahua

One of the smallest doggy-packages globally, Chihuahuas are lovable and sporty dogs, 6 to 10-inches tall and 3 to 6 lbs heavy.

With a lifespan of 10 to 18 years, Chihuahuas are born to give you the companionship you need. These dogs have boat-loads of energy, don’t require much exercise, and are effortlessly trainable, even if you’re new to the pet game.

If you’re still hesitant about training them, you can go with readily trained ones, too. And since their lifespan is longer than most dog breeds around, with trained adult Chihuahuas, you’ll still have many years to enjoy their company.

3. Brussels Griffon

Brussels “The Griff” Griffon is that kid in your class who got an early beard. Sociable, tiny, furry, and, most importantly, bearded, the Griffs are a perfect antidote for loneliness.

These stress-relieving creatures grow 7 to 8 inches tall and don’t weigh more than 11 lbs. Like Chihuahuas, the Griffs are also known for their long life expectancy (10-15 years).

This dog breed has several coat variants, viz. black, tan-and-black, and chestnut-and-black and is known for its sophisticated personality. While being energetic and fun, the Griffs prefer as few human companions as possible and can be pretty emotional.

4. Miniature Dachshund

A stunning detail in nature’s miniature art, the Miniature Dachshund is the toy version of the Dachshund hunter dog breed. Mini Dachshunds are known for their short legs and long torso, because of which they grow about 5 to 6-inches tall and up to 11 lbs heavy.

One of the most recognized dog breeds, this toy Dachshund knows how to carry itself around. It’s a brilliant yet smug dog breed, which makes it hard to train, usually. However, given their extensively long lifespans (12-16 years), buying a trained adult would be better.

intelligence of a miniature dashchund
Miniature Dachshunds are smart and independent dogs.

5. Maltese

Of all the dog breeds that don’t grow too big, the Maltese dog tops the chart with nothing but sheer cuteness. Maltese’s furry appearance suggests that it’s a member of the Dog-ish Royal Family, and its lively yet people-oriented nature confirms it.

This toy breed of debatable origins grows up to 9-inches tall and weighs up to 6 pounds. Are you somebody who stays at home mostly? A Maltese is perfect for you as, with its small size, it satisfies its exercise appetite easily, doing your job for you.

Of a warm and friendly nature, the Maltese is easy to train. It enjoys regular walks with its parents, though it doesn’t require much exercise.

6. Pekingese

Conveniently one of the funniest little doggies out there, the Pekingese or Peke is a toy dog breed hailing from China with an adaptable mentality. You travel a lot or hardly leave your place – the Peke is best for you in all cases.

With luscious fur, these bite-sized dogs grow up to 9-inches at withers and 14 pounds heavy. The Pekingese are impressively intelligent, and like with most intelligent dogs, you can have a hard time training them.

However, their attitude towards their owners is loving, and they make an overall excellent companion with a lifespan of 12-15 years.

7. Papillon

Papillons are companion dogs who spend their lives loving and being loved. Weighing up to 9 pounds at max, Papillons grow up to a height of 11-inches only, making them ideal for novice pet parents.

These Continental Toy Spaniels (another name for this breed) are easy to grow attached to and hang around for about 16 years, giving you a high-quality time, all-in-all.

Papillons are loaded with energy and have long and silky fur, so they, naturally, require more exercise and grooming than other dogs. Only go for these if you’re happy to spare enough time on a regular basis.

8. Yorkshire Terrier

One of America’s favorites, the Yorkshire Terrier or “Yorkie” is an innately energetic and playful dog breed that you can’t get enough of – ever. About 9-inches in height and 7 lbs in weight, Yorkies are genuinely tiny and portable.

Their coat varies beautifully from long to short and rarely sheds. It does, however, require a decent amount of brushing and grooming, regularly. Yorkies are intelligent, active, and need regular exercise.

Note: small dog breeds aren’t strong at all. It’s only safe to have these when your kids are sensible enough – usually teenagers – otherwise, they might injure them.

9. Prague Ratter

Not a stranger’s best friend, the Prague Ratter is believed to be the smallest dog breed in the world. If that isn’t a dog breed that doesn’t grow too big, then I don’t know what is. It was first bred in the Czech Republic in the Middle Ages as a member of an anti-rat cult, but now its only job is to cuddle up with its owner.

Measuring 7 to 9-inches at withers and about 7 pounds on the bathroom scales, the Prague Ratter is immensely energetic and lively. Their excitement sometimes turns into over-excitement, and they end up fracturing a bone, so keep an eye out for them.

Also, note that due to a thin coat, the Prague Ratter doesn’t get along with cold weather very well. With this dog breed in the house, be ready for some doggy winter shopping!

10. Japanese Chin

One of the more mischievous small dog breeds here, the Japanese Chin (simply Chin), is a dog who does not fear height. If you’ve got tall furniture, keep your camera ready as you’ll be seeing it accomplishing new heights every passing day.

Originating from China & Japan, the Chin is about 11-inches tall and 9 lbs heavy, and its lifespan ranges from 10 to 14 years. It doesn’t have many exercise requirements, but its soft, furry coat needs regular grooming.

Though loving and playful, the Chin has an adaptive personality, which means that it becomes like people in its surrounding.

what japanese chins are
Japanese Chins are dogs who don’t need to spend most of their time outside to release energy.

11. Japanese Terrier

The Japanese Terrier is a highly exotic dog breed, both physically and mentally. With its black-and-tan head and snow-white body, this canine is a unique show-off. Its thin coat neither sheds much nor requires much grooming and is, overall, smooth and glossy.

This 13-inch tall and 9 pounds heavy dog breed is also unique because it’s the only Terrier breed to originate from Japan. These dogs are vigilant and active yet don’t require much exercise, making them ideal for apartment life.

However, like most dogs, Japanese Terriers are prone to diseases. Once you adopt a puppy, be sure to have it medically tested and have treatment started if there’s any diagnosis.

12. Alaskan Klee Kai

With a lifespan of up to 16 years, the Alaskan Klee Kais are like a mini version of the Siberian and Alaskan Huskies, except that they’re companion dogs. This dog breed doesn’t grow too big and their temperament differs from their cousins as well – unlike Huskies, Klee Kais have a soft and tender mentality.

Though small, this is one of the medium dog breeds (13-17 inches height, 10-15 lbs weight). Their size makes them perfect for you if you love Huskies but don’t have enough space for one.

The Alaskan Klee Kai is, however, highly energetic and requires a lot of exercise regularly. If you’re not so active, this breed might not be for you.

13. Pug

A Pug, the 14-inch-14-pound dog breed originating from China, is nothing but wholesome. Because of being one of the oldest breeds in town, pugs pack a loving and caring temperament that they’ve gathered over hundreds of years.

This mischievous dog breed gets fat quickly, too. Pugs adore eating, and you’ve got to be careful enough not to overfeed them. With an efficient diet, make sure you walk your Pug regularly to maintain its fitness and health.

If you’re not much of a dog grooming person, too, then Pugs are perfect for you as their short coat doesn’t require regular grooming. It does, however, shed regularly.

14. Shih Tzu

Unmistakably adorable, the Shih Tzu is the lap-dog you need for your apartment. Not only does it make for a stress-relieving pet, but also a remarkable artifact that your guests would love to admire!

Shih Tzus are among the more noticed small dog breeds with their long, lusciously furry coats, 9 to 11-inch height, and 10 to 15 pound weight. Their temperament is another thing that makes them apartment-friendly: they’re affectionate, active, and adaptable.

This dog breed, however, requires regular grooming and bathing. Only get a Shih Tzu if you’re up for such a commitment.

15. Scottish Terrier

Easy to confuse with stuffed toys, the Scottish Terrier is abnormally cute, fluffy, and toy-like. Though Terriers were initially bred as diggers and hunters, they’ve long resigned from the profession and now live a retired life in the most stylish of modern American apartments.

Scotties are famous for their signature terrier look, with the long coat that sheds almost no fur, requires daily grooming, and comes in wheaten, brindle, and black colors.

Scottish Terriers are naturally of a reserved temperament and aren’t much fond of noise. However, they are quite energetic and require regular exercise. These 11-inch tall and 20-pound heavy creatures usually live for around 12 years only.

Have questions about small dog breeds? See if you can find an answer below.

What is the smallest full-grown dog?

Milly, a four-year-old Chihuahua, is the smallest full-grown dog recognized by the Guinness World Records. Milly measures only 4 inches from the ground and weighs around 1 pound only!

This toy Chihuahua lives in Puerto Rico with her parents Semler and Davila. She has become a worldwide celebrity owing to her world record.

Since such small dogs are extremely fragile, you need to be well-versed in raising and caring for them. Milly’s owners fed her with a dropper for half a year after her birth, responsibly saving her life.

Is a 20-pound dog considered small?

Dogs that weigh 20 lbs and less are generally considered small, though they’re nearly in the territory of medium dog breeds. All dogs on this list usually range from 3 lbs to 18 lbs, from pups to full-grown canines.

Medium dogs usually have three subdivisions: medium-small, medium, and medium-large. Collectively, however, they weigh between 20 and 60 lbs. For apartments, medium-sized dogs are a good choice, too. Large dog breeds, however, weigh more than 70 pounds.

Though all the dog breeds we’ve listed above categorize as small dogs, some might grow slightly bigger than expected if they tend to gain extra weight.

What are teacup dogs?

A teacup dog is a miniature version of a dog that is already small. Some of the famous breeds of this size are Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and Pomeranians. Teacup dogs are famous because of their pop-cultural appearances and celebrity endorsements.

Unfortunately, their cuteness comes at a cost. These dogs are prone to diseases such as hypoglycemia, fontanelles, and liver shunts, primarily because they’re inbred.

What are the usual height and weight range of toy breeds?

Toy breeds’ heights typically range from 6 to 15 inches while their weight varies between 4 and 12 lbs, though not strictly. Your dog can be a couple of inches taller or shorter, or a couple of pounds heavier or lighter, as all dogs are different.

Still, if you’re concerned that your dog might be unusually small or large for its breed, then consulting a vet is your best bet.

What is the most popular toy dog breed?

The toy or miniature poodles are the most popular toy breeds according to AKC Statistics from 2020. While miniature poodles measure up to 15 inches from the ground, the toy poodles measure only 10 inches.

Though extravagantly gorgeous, you need to be extremely gentle with these toy and mini Poodles, as their bones are weak (though minis are slightly more robust compared to toy Poodles).

Can you recall all the breeds that don’t grow big? No worries: from Bolognese to Papillon and Yorkshire to Scottish Terrier, all these breeds weigh between 3 and 18 lbs, and that is the takeaway. Now you know everything about dogs that are apartment-friendly and don’t require much space.

Even if space doesn’t matter to you, these are great indoor pets, anyway. If you’ve found a breed that’s for you, go for adoption instead of purchasing them. Local shelters have loads of pups waiting for their new pawrents!

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