13 Best Small Companion Dogs: Personality, Training, and More

Small companion dogs

Do you want a small dog that is easy to train, playful and loving? If so, one of the best small dog breeds for you may be a Boston Terrier. These dogs are known for being gentle and good with children. They are also relatively easy to train and have low exercise needs. This blog post will list ten dog breeds that make for good companions and write detailed information on each breed.

Small dog breeds are often stereotyped as being yappy, hyperactive, and harder to train than larger breeds, but this is not always the case. Many small dogs are gentle and good with children, and they are relatively easy to train. They also have low exercise needs.

Small dog breeds love to play and have a lot of personalities. They are also very loyal and make great family dogs. If you are looking for a fur baby that is easy to train, playful, and loving, then this list is for you.

What’s the difference between small dog breeds and toy dog breeds?

Generally speaking, small dog breeds weigh up to 25 pounds and stand no taller than 16 inches at the shoulder, while toy dog breeds can weigh up to 12 pounds and measure less than 12 inches tall. But these definitions aren’t set in stone, as some dogs that fall into the “small” category may be closer in size to a toy breed.

Thirteen best small companion dog breeds:

We gathered most of our data on the best small dog breeds by reading other pet parents’ experiences, the American Kennel Club, and other Vet blogs referenced at the bottom. Also, from our own experience with our Shih Tzus.

Boston Terrier

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The Boston Terrier is a small, compact dog that is squarely built and well-muscled. They have a black and white coat that is short and smooth. The Boston Terrier breed was first developed in the United States from cross-breeding Bulldog and Terrier breeds.

The American Gentleman is a good companion dog. These dogs are intelligent and easily trained. They are also gentle and good-natured, making them great around children.

Boston Terriers do best in a home with a yard where they can run and play. They are relatively low-maintenance dogs and only need to be groomed occasionally.

Training: Puppy training and socialization classes are recommended for Boston Terriers. It is essential to expose the puppy to a broad range of people, locations, and situations to grow into a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult.

Life Expectancy: 11 to 13 years

Height: 15 to 17 inches

Weight: 12 to 25 lbs.


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The following breed on our list is the Chihuahua. These dogs are the smallest breed of dog globally and originate from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. They have a long, smooth coat that can be either short or long-haired. The most distinguishing feature of the Chihuahua is their large, round eyes. These dogs are very devoted to their owners and make excellent companion dogs. They are also relatively easy to train. Chihuahuas do best in a home with a yard where they can run and play. They do not require a lot of grooming but should be brushed regularly to prevent tangles in their long coats.

Training: The Chihuahua is a bright and highly intelligent little dog. He responds well to suitable training methods and desires to please his people. You must set the tone from the outset that you are in command. Never allow your Chihuahua puppy to perform anything that an adult would find unacceptable.

Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 yrs

Height: 5 to 8 inches

Weight: Less than 6 lbs


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Beagles are great dogs with playful tempers, loyal natures, and friendly dispositions. They’re also intelligent animals that can sometimes make their walks very exciting as they try following every smell they encounter on the ground!

Beagles are kind, friendly, and cheerful, with all qualities that make them ideal family pets. It’s no wonder that the Beagles have been the most popular hunting dogs among American pet owners for years. These lively, curious, and energetic hounds enjoy lots of playtimes.

Training: As with all dogs, puppy socialization and training courses are strongly advised. Treats are a powerful tool in dog training. Beagles don’t react well to harsh methods, but patience, affirmation, and inventiveness will win out.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 yrs.

Height: Around 13 inches

Weight: Up to 25 lbs

Shih Tzu

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The next breed on our list is my favorite; the Shih Tzu. These dogs originated from China and were bred as companion dogs for Chinese royalty. They have a long, silky coat that can be either black or white. The most distinguishing feature of the Shih Tzu is their long, flowing hair.

These affectionate pups are very devoted to their owners and make excellent companion dogs. They are also relatively easy to train. They require regular grooming to keep their long coats from tangling.

Training: It’s essential to socialize the puppy while he or she is young and teach them basic manners. While some dogs can learn everything without issues, others may require a little extra help. In general, Shih Tzus learn quickly and like being praised for their accomplishments. Introduce new habits one at a time, be firm, and never give in while the dog is misbehaving.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 yrs. My little Shih Tzu is 13 yrs old 🙂

Height: 9 to 10 inches

Weight: 9 to 16 lbs

Related Read: Best Dog Beds For Shih Tzus.


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The Dachshund is a popular and attractive dog breed. Daschies are long, low to the ground, and come in three coat varieties. Dachshunds, or wiener dogs, were initially bred to hunt badgers. Nowadays, they are gentle and loving companion dogs.

They’re considered a high-energy breed. They make good watchdogs and will bark when someone approaches their home or family. They are loyal and devoted to their families. Dachshunds need moderate exercise and generally adapt to apartment living.

Training: Dachshunds are bright, clever dogs that can be difficult to train due to independence and stubbornness like the Shih Tzus. They respond well to positive, reward-based training and enjoy giving and receiving affection. They are delicate creatures who don’t take kindly to harsh commands or punishment. It is essential to have patience and consistency when training them.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 yrs

Height: Standard: 8-9 inches, Miniature: 5-6 inches

Weight: Standard: 16 to 32 lbs, Miniature: Under 11 lbs

Related Read: Best Dog Beds For Dachshunds.


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The Poodle is one of the most popular dog breeds. They come in three sizes (standard, miniature, and toy) and many coat colors. Poodles are highly intelligent dogs that are easily trained. They excel in obedience, agility, and other dog sports. Poodles are playful, high-energy dogs that need daily exercise. They make great companion dogs and do well in small homes or apartments.

Training: The Poodle is a clever and easily trainable small dog breed. They are agile and graceful, and they enjoy and excel in various canine sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking. Poodles are very people-oriented, and if your training routines are fun and cheerful, they are quick to please you. Just be sure that you are being consistent with what you ask.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 18 yrs

Height: Standard: over 15 inches

Weight: Standard male: Up to 70 lbs, Standard female: Up to 60 lbs.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire terrier

Yorkies are small dogs with a lot of energy. At seven pounds, they have a strong punch in a tiny package. The Yorkshire Terrier is a tiny dog with a long, silky steel blue coat and golden tan.

Yorkies are one of the most well-known toy breeds in various American cities, packing a lot of big-city attitudes into a little self-important package. They are favorites among city dwellers.

Yorkies are long-lived, hypoallergenic, and make excellent watchdogs. These personality breeds provide years of laughs with their loveable antics!

Training: Yorkies are loving, loyal pets that make great companions. They’re very bright and eager to please. Great adoration and rewards for good conduct are more effective with the Yorkie. We recommend starting to socialize your Yorkie with strange situations, people, and other dogs from an early age. 

Life Expectancy: Up to 15 yrs

Height: 7 to 8 inches

Weight: 7 lbs

French Bulldog

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Next on our list of best small companion dogs is the french bulldog. These dogs are short and stocky with a flat face and large, round eyes. They come in many coat colors, including brindle, fawn, and white.

French Bulldogs are gentle, loving, and devoted to their families.

The Frenchie is a muscular dog with a compact body. They make good watchdogs but do not bark excessively. French Bulldogs need moderate exercise and do well in apartments. They are a relatively easy breed to train.

Training: The Frenchies are intelligent, strong-willed dogs with a lot of character and require some training to become a good company. They can be hard-headed, but they’re people pleasers at heart, making them easy to train. They will cooperate with proper motivation such as treats.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 yrs

Height: 11 to 13 inches

Weight: Under 28 lbs


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A pug is the most wonderful companion you’ll ever have. They adore belly scratches, head rubs, and receiving kisses and cuddling with their human; they will look at you as if you’re the most significant person in the world. Give them all of the love they need, and they will be eternally grateful to you. Pugs are also known to have a “clownish” personality and will make you laugh with their silly antics. These small dogs need moderate exercise and do well in small homes or apartments.

Training: Pugs are highly trainable because they live to please their people. They have a sensitive disposition, and you should not use harsh training methods. If you leave your furry friend alone for lengthy periods, a Pug will become upset. It’s critical to begin socialization and puppy education at an early age.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 yrs

Height: 13 to 15 inches

Weight: 14 to 18 lbs

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a popular breed of dog known for its friendly personality and good temperament. These dogs are gentle and loving with their families and make the perfect lap dogs. They are also easy to train. Cavaliers require moderate exercise.

Training: Cavaliers are highly intelligent and easy to train, and they excel in various canine activities, including obedience, rally, and agility. They’re also ideal for therapy work due to their sweet demeanor. Like all breeds, early socialization and puppy training sessions can assist the young Cavalier to learn good manners. They will feel comfortable in a variety of situations and around other dogs.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 yrs

Height: 12 to 13 inches

Weight: 13 to 18 lbs


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Havanese are loving and bright dogs. They do not do well in kennels and want to be with their people. They’re energetic dogs who enjoy practicing routines and playing games with their owners.

Havanese are bright and trainable. They must be socialized to avoid being scared of people they don’t know.

A Havanese’s life should be filled with human contact as possible. They are usually good with other pets if properly introduced, and they love going for walks.

Havanese require brushing and combing three or more times a week to keep their coats free of tangles. They do not need haircuts.

The tiny size of the Havanese makes it a poor guard dog but an excellent watchdog. If not trained, one may bark excessively from time to time.

Training: A gentle, patient trainer may train your Havanese into a wonderful companion dog. They love people and get along with other dogs and non-aggressive pets.

Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 yrs

Height: 8 to 12 inches

Weight: 7 to 13 lbs.


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The Maltese is a great dog breed to have around your house. These hybrids are gentle, loving, and devoted to their owners—they never bark excessively or make much noise! Perfect addition for any family with small children who want an easy-going pet that will keep them company while you’re away.

Maltese require moderate exercise and do well in small homes.

The Maltese has had a variety of names throughout history, including “Roman Ladies Dog,” “The Comforter,” “Spaniel Gentle,” “Bichon,” “Maltese Lion Dog,” and simply the Maltese.

Training: Maltese dogs are intelligent. But, it is crucial to keep them in a routine with their training. They are athletic, talented dogs that make a fantastic competitive partner in dog sports such as obedience or agility. They can be stubborn and tenacious, but they respond well to kind training.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 yrs

Height: 7 to 9 inches

Weight: Under 7 lbs.


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Pomeranians are active, intelligent, tiny dogs that make good companions. They are alert and can be good watchdogs. They require moderate exercise and do well in small homes or apartments.

Pomeranians require regular grooming, including brushing and combing their silky hair three times a week. They also need their fluffy coat trimmed every few months.

Training: Train your Pomeranian to walk on a leash and come when called from an early age. Housebreaking may be difficult, so consistency and perseverance are required. Because they’re tiny dogs, it’s critical to keep your Pom from jumping on and off couches and beds, as this may result in joint or even bone fractures. Poms are bright and highly intelligent.

Life Expectancy: 12 to 16 yrs

Height: 6 to 7 inches

Weight: 3 to 7 lbs

Frequently Asked Questions

Best small companion dogs: the calmest small dog

The calmest small dog is the Bichon Frise. They are a small toy breed that is gentle, playful, and loving. They are easy to train and make great lap dogs.

If you have other pets in the house, the Bichon Frise may be a good fit since they are known to get along with others. A short daily stroll is sufficient to keep them active. For the most part, they are content to sit all day indoors.

What is the friendliest small dog breed?

The Toy Fox Terrier is one of the friendliest small dog breeds and is known for its gentle disposition. These dogs are always eager to please their owners and make great companions for people of all ages. They are also relatively easy to train suitable for first-time dog owners.

The Toy Fox Terrier is a playful and amusing breed that comes in various hues and coats and is continually entertaining for everyone in the family.

What is the most low-maintenance small dog?

Speaking from experience, I think Shih Tzus are the most low-maintenance small dog breeds. The Shih Tzu is a charming and playful lapdog popular with children. Shih Tzus are excellent companions. They are incredibly docile and energetic, so they only require little exercise, such as daily walks or indoor play.

Chests should be brushed every day to prevent shedding, especially if your dog has a long coat. They are minimal shedders, but dogs with a long coat will need to be groomed regularly.

Best small companion dogs: the most loyal

Chihuahua: Chihuahuas are famous for developing solid relationships with one particular human family member.

Yorkshire Terrier: This tiny pup is one of the cutest and kindest dogs you’ll ever meet. But do not be fooled by his petite stature. Yorkies have a history of defending their owners, making them one of the most loyal dog breeds.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: The Cavalier King Charles is one of the most loyal breeds. They’ll always be by your side and protect you from any harm with their furry faces and sturdy bodies – even if it means risking life or limb for their Royal Highnesses!

Best dog training program

Most people think that dogs are just naturally disobedient, but this isn’t the case. Dogs are intelligent creatures that want to please their owners, but they need guidance and direction in order to do so.

Brain Training for Dogs is a proven program that will teach you how to engage your dog’s intelligence and encourage them to develop lovable, consistent behaviours much quicker. This program is endorsed by top trainers and behaviourists and has been used by over 100,000 people worldwide.

Check out my extensive review of the program here.


If you’re looking for a small dog that is easy to train and has a great personality, any breeds on our list would be perfect. However, if you want an even easier training experience, consider enrolling in our Brain Training For Dogs online program. With this step-by-step guide, you can have your dog trained in no time – regardless of their breed or size!

Small dog breeds are more than just tiny versions of larger dogs. They have their personalities and traits that make them perfect for different lifestyles. The best way to narrow down which small breed is right for you is to look at your lifestyle and consider the characteristics that suit it best.


American Kennel Club, Vet Street, and Pet MD.

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