What is the best small size family dog?
Do they actually exist?
Yes, they do exist!
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!