Large amount of cuteness in a small dog.

Generally speaking, dog fans are divided into two camps: big dogs and small dogs. Both sides make great cases for their choices. I think it's safe to say that each owner thinks their breed choice is the perfect size!

A quick online search for popular dog breeds will turn up large breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers swapping between the top two spots most years.

Representatives of the group known as "small breed" might appear further down the list. But they are there! Beagles, Yorkshire terriers, and Dachshunds continue to be very popular.

One of the fastest to rise in popularity is the French Bulldog which has seen a sharp uptick in popularity over the past decade, with a 323% increase in registrations since 2003.

Five Popular Small Breed Dogs By Country

United States Flag Map

United States

  • Beagle
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Poodle
  • Dachshund
  • French Bulldog

Canada Flag Map


  • Pug
  • Chihuahua
  • Shih Tzu
  • Beagle
  • Pomeranian

United Kingdom Flag Map

United Kingdom

  • Border Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Pug
  • Miniature Schnauzer

Downsizing the Dogs

Small breeds have been bred specifically for companionship, rather than for hunting ventures or working alongside their owners. The Best, Worst, and Most Unusual authors Bruce Felton and Mark Fowler say that "history shows that lapdogs have been used for pets, fashion accessories, status symbols, and to provide warmth for the wealthy and fashionable." Still pretty true in 2015, don't you think?

"#Smalldogs were used in earlier times to attract fleas away their owners."

Large breeds certainly do require more physical strength on the part of the owner and more living and exercise space to move about. This can make it difficult for an inexperienced pet owner. We've all seen examples of dogs walking owners, rather than owners walking dogs. To be fair, sometimes the small breeds can be just as strong-natured.

Behavior and leash training for both large and small breeds makes the entire pet ownership experience a more pleasant one. Bad behavior from a diminutive dog is still bad behavior!

Pets of all sizes provide companionship, responsibility training for children who can be in charge of feeding or exercising the family pet, or a snooze-proof, wet-nose wake up call. Pets only know how to love one way -- unconditionally. They can be an exercise accountability partner or a wireless alarm system that can provide a sense of safety and well-being as well.

Smaller Dog Makes a Smaller Impact

My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet.
- Edith Wharton

Let's be honest, a lot of their appeal is because they are just so cute!

Small also describes the best part of the downside of owning a dog. These breeds eat less (sometimes expensive) food, require less clean up work in the yard or the dog park, aren't as hard on the lawn, take up less of your sofa or bed, and because they are well ... smaller … shedding is less of an issue. Less hair on the dog means less there on the floor, in the air, on your clothes, or in your food.)

Generation X, Millennials, and aging Baby Boomers are moving into smaller spaces and this makes small breeds very popular. After all, small dogs can get a lot of exercise on a short walk or with a toy indoors. And smaller mouths and teeth cause less damage … maybe.

Small breeds can be included in family car trips or vacations. They are portable enough for short trips around town as you run errands. Small children can enjoy cuddling with a small breed who is more to scale with their body size.

If you or a family member is allergic to dogs, small breeds are better because while they may not shed less, they do have less hair to shed. Small breeds are also easier to bathe and do not cause the damage to a home that big dogs may cause.

Cute dogs wearing clothes.

Small Dogs are Fun

Sometimes people are drawn to small breeds because they are seen as more childlike. After all, why not have an adult dog the size of a puppy? Over the past few years, an entire industry has blossomed around clothing for dogs. Owners like to dress their dogs up for holidays, sports events, and even special occasions such as weddings. It is much easier to find novelty clothing for smaller dogs, not to mention much easier to dress them in it!

Smaller breeds are also fun to train for agility or performance competitions. Here's an interesting fact about Country Brook Design. Owners Jim and Chris Witt needed high-quality, attractive small fabric collars for their miniature Pinschers. When they began designing and crafting collars for their dogs to wear in agility competitions, other pet owners took notice. The rest, as they say, is history.

Large amount of cuteness in a small dog.

Small Breeds Can Have Big Problems

Small dogs do come with their own set of health problems. The downfall of having a small breed will vary by breed and even with the specific dog. Many small breeds have health issues due to overbreeding.

Joints and arthritis can set at an early age. Very tiny females should be spayed at an early age, because accidental pregnancies can prove to harsh for their bodies and result in illness and even death.

Pugs, for example, are known to have problems with seizures. Also, dental health with all small dogs is difficult to maintain because their mouths are so tiny.

As a general rule, small breeds make perfect first time pets for inexperienced owners, singles, or senior adults.Small dogs are not all the same and you should select a breed that will best fit in with your current lifestyle.

If you are interested in adopting a small dog from a shelter or rescue organization, look for breed rescue sites online. Do some research and remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure. You may want an active, lively dog that was surrendered for those very same reasons. On the other hand, a breed that needs daily grooming or vet care may be more than your daily schedule or your budget can handle.

Bringing a pet into your life can be one of the best things you do for yourself or your family. Country Brook Design invites you to share pictures of "Your Pets in Our Collars" with us on Facebook, on Twitter @countrybrook, and on our boards on Pinterest.

Doggone Fun Things to Know

According to recent surveys:

  • 94% consider pets to be family members
  • 74% identified more with "pet parent" than "dog owner"
  • 18 of the top 20 names for dogs are human names

Top male dog names:

  1. Bailey
  2. Max
  3. Charlie
  4. Buddy
  5. Rocky
  6. Jake
  7. Jack
  8. Toby
  9. Cody
  10. Buster
  11. Duke
  12. Cooper
  13. Riley
  14. Harley
  15. Bear
  16. Tucker
  17. Murphy
  18. Lucky
  19. Oliver
  20. Sam

Top female dog names:

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Molly
  4. Daisy
  5. Maggie
  6. Sophie
  7. Sadie
  8. Chloe
  9. Bailey
  10. Lola
  11. Zoe
  12. Abby
  13. Ginger
  14. Roxy
  15. Gracie
  16. Coco
  17. Sasha
  18. Lily
  19. Angel
  20. Princess