Best Small Size Family Dog

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What is the best small size family dog?

Do they actually exist?

Yes, they do exist!

Shih Tzu
One of the small dog breeds that is widely recommended for families is the Shih Tzu.

Yes, I know… Small dogs and small children? Not usually a good combination right? I would NOT recommend leaving a small dog with a small child or toddler alone! EVER!

It’s a disaster just waiting to happen! Small children do not understand that your little dog is not just a fun toy to play with and may end up really hurting the dog, sometimes  even fatally.

Plus, since a small dog is most likely terrified of the child and may end up biting and scratching the little tyke to get away. So, if you do have a smaller dog or really ANY size dog, please supervise the child when it is with the dog! As they say, “better safe than sorry!”

Small Dogs Are Too Mean?

Many breeds of small dogs are known to be a little nippy, mostly because their owners didn’t train them properly. Why? Probably because it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time when their little puppy was biting at their owner’s fingers while playing. Thinking “Oh, this is so cute, he’s nibbling my finger! It doesn’t really hurt, so it shouldn’t matter. It won’t grow much bigger anyway.”

Usually owner’s of larger breed dogs would recognize that this is not a good thing to ignore while the puppy is growing up since it is going to get bigger and it is going to hurt someone if this behavior is not stopped. So, no matter what size your dog is going to grow up to be, it is a good idea to properly train your dog not to nip or bite anyone.

Some small breeds tend to be more high strung, but there are also small breeds that are more relaxed and laid back that actually get along with kids. So, if you are looking for the perfect small dog for your family, look at the breeds that usually are more easy going, fun loving, and friendly.

Ten Best Small Size Family Dog Breeds

  1. Shih Tzu– Weight: 9-16 pounds. Height: 8-11 inches. Grooming: May require daily grooming depending on whether you want to keep its hair long or cut it short in a “puppy cut” style. May also need to be bathed more frequently than others, especially if you leave its coat long. I own one and usually we end up giving it a bath every couple of weeks…sometimes more depending on what she gets into. They also tend to get stains under the eyes, so it is best to clean under them daily or at least every other day. Life span: 11-14 years.
  2. Beagle– Weight: 18-30 pounds. Height: 13-15 inches. Grooming: Easy. Life span: 12-15 years. Usually very gentle and friendly nature. Most are easy to train. Does tend to bark and howl, especially if not exercised daily. A daily walk usually keeps them happy. When they are outdoors it is best to keep in a fenced yard or on a leash, otherwise it may run off if it finds something interesting. Although they have a tendency to run off, the one I owned up until last year when he passed away never went very far and always came back when called. He was very loving and gentle, but a bit shy of others especially at first.
  3. Pembroke Welsh Corgie– Weight: 25-27 pounds. Height:10-12 inches. Friendly, but protective. May tend to bark quite often and can be hard to train. Grooming: Easy. Life span: 11-13 years.
  4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel– Weight: 13-18 pounds. Height: 12-13 inches. Grooming: May need to be brushed about every other day. Life span: 9-14 years. Very quiet, affectionate and eager to please, but can be hard to train. Needs daily exercise.
  5. Boston Terrier– Weight: 10-25 pounds. Height: 15-17 inches. Grooming: Easy. May tend to bark, depending on the individual nature of the dog.  Sometimes stubborn, but usually rather easy to train. Life span: 10-14 years.
  6. Miniature Schnauzer– Weight: 13-15 pounds. Height: 12-14 inches. Grooming: Once or twice weekly combing and occasional cutting and shaping about every other month or so. Life span: 12-14 years. Affectionate and love to be with its family. Considered somewhat easy to train.
  7. Pug– Weight: 14-18 pounds. Height: 10-11 inches. Grooming: Occasional brushing, but does need its wrinkles cleaned daily. Playful, affectionate, and does not need too much exercise. A short, daily walk will keep it happy. Usually are easy to train. Life span: 12-15 years.
  8. Havanese– Weight: 7-13 pounds. Height: 8.5-11.5 inches. Grooming: Non-shedding.  Fur needs to be combed out two to four times a week. Known to be very affectionate, gentle, and loving dogs, but may be a bit difficult to train. Tendency to be quite vocal. Life span: 12-14 years.
  9. Maltese– Weight: 4-7 pounds. Height: 9-10 inches. Grooming: Somewhat difficult. Needs daily or every other day combing, plus the white coat is very hard to keep clean, so it may need to be bathed more often than most. Gentle, but will stand up for itself. May be better suited with older, respectful children, because of its very small size. Life span: 12-14 years.
  10. Teddy Bear–  Height and weight varies quite a bit depending upon what exact breeds the parents are since Teddy Bears are not a recognized breed. They are usually a mix between Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise, but may also have poodle in one of the parents lineage.  Weight: Ranges from 7-16 pounds.  Height: up to 12 inches. Grooming: Difficult unless you choose to cut the hair into a shorter style. Coat, which is usually kept long, tends to tangle easily and needs daily combing, in my opinion. I own one, so I know this for sure! If you decide to keep it long, make sure you don’t skip its daily brushing. Otherwise, it is very hard to get these tangles out!  Loves to play, but can be a bit stubborn, at least mine is. Gentle, affectionate, and loves to be wherever you are and as for exercise, a short walk or playing out in the yard will usually do. Life span: about 15 years.

The dog breeds listed above are just what I found while searching the internet to have a tendency to have a calm and easygoing disposition. There are also other factors such as the dog’s individual personality, training, environment, and treatment throughout its whole life to consider.

Want to learn more about different dog breeds and the common characteristics of each breed? Then you may want to purchase this book below on dog breeds.

Of the breeds listed above, I do own or have owned three of them. They are the beagle, the Shih Tzu, and the Teddy Bear. All three of these breed of dogs, have done very well with my own kids, not to mention their friends!

Please remember that although my experiences have been very good with these three breeds, dogs are individuals! Some are more calm and easygoing while other pups from the same litter might be high strung and nervous or just plain full of extra energy. I have owned all of these three dogs since they were pups, so I know how they were treated and trained.

So, there is no guarantee that a puppy or dog of a certain breed will be good with kids and never bite under any circumstances…i.e. the dog is sick, not feeling good, or in pain it just might nip or bite if someone adds even more discomfort such as repeatedly pulling on its tail. Every dog has its limits to how much it can handle before it may snap, just like anyone.

Here’s a book I found on Amazon that may just help you understand why your dog does what it does.

I would recommend that you do your own research on what breed would suit you and your family the best before you commit to owning any dog. Remember, some of these dogs do live quite a long time…some up to 15 or more years! So, be prepared to take care of the dog you do choose for its lifetime. Make sure this is what you really want and once you decide you are ready to own a dog be committed to its training, care, and happiness!

Want to know more about finding a good family dog?

What do you think? What is the best small size family dog?

I’d love to hear any comments or questions you have about this, so please comment below!


6 thoughts on “Best Small Size Family Dog”

  1. I have a Boston Terrier named Vinny and he is my best friend in the world. Great around my little nieces, huge personality, and just the best overall companion you could possibly hope to have. Great information here, ill definitely be back!

    • Hi Howie,
      That’s great to hear! Boston Terriers are such beautiful, and not to mention cute dogs! I’ve never owned one personally, but people I know that do own one, swear they’re the best. The ones I’ve met in person do seem well behaved, happy dogs. I’m glad to hear your Vinny is great around your little nieces too.

      Thank you so much for such a kind comment and I hope to hear from you again sometime soon. Best wishes to you and Vinny! 🙂

        • Hi Clyde,
          So great to hear from someone that has two little Chihuahuas. They sure are cute dogs! I know quite a few of my family members that have chihuahuas as well and they are quite lovely little dogs when we’ve gone to visit in the past.

          Thank you for your recommendation. It’s always good to hear what other’s think of certain breeds and how they find their temperament to be. Hope you and your little ones are having a great time together and if you’d like to recommend anything you use with taking care of yours or tips on chihuahuas I’d love to hear them.

          Best wishes ~Sherry

  2. My parents have a maltese/yorkie mix and he requires grooming. However, he is a nut case. They lacked on getting him groomed for awhile and I work at a vet practice, so I took him in and used the clippers to give him a quick shave down. He wouldn’t sit still, he tried biting me and to say the least, he didn’t get the full hair cut he should have. His body was clipped unevenly, his face looked uneven, his legs looked abnormally large and his tail was the only part on his trimmed body that looked nice. He goes to the groomers from now on. No questions asked.

    • Hi Irina,
      He sounds like he doesn’t especially like getting his hair cut! I know it isn’t easy to do a good job of giving a dog a hair cut when it won’t hold still…I’ve been in the same predicament as you in the past, and the results looked like how you described how your dog looked when it was done!
      If you want to try grooming your parents’ dog again instead of bringing it to a groomers, it does help to give your dog some treats it really likes and introduce the shaver to it slowly. Let it sniff the shaver while it is off and give your dog those treats while it is checking out the shaver. Then when it isn’t bothered by it being off, turn it on, but at a little distance away from the dog so it is able to get used to the noise. Then as you keep giving it treats every so often get the shaver closer, but don’t use it on the dog quite yet. Let it get comfortable with the noise of the shaver next to it and keep giving it rewards when it is acting calmer. If it is still seeming to be upset by the sound of the razor, keep working at getting your dog used to it a little at a time. Once your dog is staying calm and still then give it a try and keep its favorite treats handy! This should hopefully help, but then again it is all up to you whether or not you want to go to the trouble of grooming your parents’ dog or bring it to a groomer, which is a lot less work.


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