Are you looking for a canine companion who is loyal, loving, and small enough to fit in on your lap without cutting off your circulation? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Luckily, there are plenty of small dog breeds to choose from, each with its own distinct personality, characteristics, and needs.
In this quick guide, we’ll help you find the perfect lapdog and introduce you to some of the most popular miniature-sized dog breeds available today. So, whether you’re looking for a tiny dog that’s easier to handle or one that is less expensive when it comes to meals and day-to-day maintenance, you should be able to find the perfect pooch for your home with one of these breeds.
The 14 Best Lap Dog Breeds for a Good Cuddle
1. Toy Poodle
Poodles are probably one of the most instantly recognizable of the small dog breeds. And you’ll be happy to know that they’re the most hypoallergenic dog because they don’t shed but have tons of fur to go around. These “Teacup” Poodles are smaller than their standard poodle cousins, which can grow to be about twice their size. You can expect this poodle to grow no longer than about 16 inches in length, and no more than about 8 inches in height at the shoulder. They love attention and bonding with families. But they should never be left alone, as they can be quite destructive. These poodles are fairly active and love to run around and play. But they have a short energy shelf life of about 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus are as adorable as they are playful and easy-going. Once considered the #1 dog for grandmothers, these small pups are lovable and full of life. These gentle lap dogs aren’t naturally inclined to be aggressive and are really patient with children and other pets. They can get along with anyone and everything, and they seem content as long as they have someone to share it with. These adorable dogs make a great lap dog. If you do get a Shih Tzu from a breeder, be sure to have them show you their papers, as there are many illegal breeders that sell mixes as purebreds.
Pomeranians are another awesome lap dog breed and they require more attention than other small dogs. The downside: they can shed more than a little bit. Poms are usually friendly and affectionate but always ready to rumble if someone is aggressive with their owners or if they feel threatened. But they’re not as aggressive as other breeds, and they don’t have the neurotic tendencies that can be associated with smaller dogs. As long as they’re introduced to children as puppies, Poms can be very good with them and make for excellent house pets. But note that they can be a bit mischievous and impatient, so training them while they’re puppies definitely helps.
4. Yorkshire Terrier
These small pups were all the rave in the 90s and their reputation is still going strong. Yorkies can be trained early to prevent their incessant barking. They’re super loyal and playful and don’t require a lot of food to feed them every day. Their small size, low maintenance and only mild shedding make them one of the most popular lap dog breeds. Yorkies are often timid and gentle and love light play – note that like Toy Poodles, they only have about 30-45 minutes’ worth of energy time. After that, don’t be surprised if they just take a seat and rest, no matter where you are. These dogs are intelligent, can be very sensitive, and will grieve for their lost friend as few other animals.
The Chihuahua is probably one of the most popular small dog breeds – and the Taco Bell commercials definitely helped. Chihuahuas have their share of critics as well as fierce defenders. Chihuahua owners will be able to tell you that there is no more loving, sweet-natured animal than a Chihuahua. They’re not just big brains. Their intelligence, alertness, communication skills, and hilarious antics are all part of their daily lives. The long-haired breed has the silkiest fur, and it’s not even close to other dog breeds. Chihuahuas are healthy dogs and can live for many decades. They are also known for their barking ability, making them excellent watchdogs.
Maltese almost look like little walking pillows. They are an amazing choice if you are looking for the gorgeous hair of a Pomeranian with less shedding. These dogs are bred to be companion pets and don’t care much for being left alone. However, they can be super sweet and are very loyal to caring owners. They’re great with children and people, as well as other dogs and cats. If you want a dog that is intelligent and small enough to fit on your lap comfortably, the Maltese is definitely one to consider.
Beagles are one of the most popular breeds of dogs, known for their intelligence, loyalty, and playful nature. The Beagle was originally bred to hunt, but as you may already know, they also make great lap dogs. They’re incredibly affectionate and enjoy hanging around the house, just spending time with their owners. They’re also fairly low maintenance, only requiring regular brushing and occasional bathing. Plus, they love to be around people and enjoy being the center of attention. With their gentle and loving nature, Beagles make wonderful lap dogs and are perfect for singles and families.
8. Jack Russell Terrier
Jacks are perhaps the most independent dog breed and can be difficult to train. The upside: they make awesome little guard dogs and will alert you immediately of any strange sounds or intruders. Small terriers are super smart, and it’s best if you train them while they’re young or you’ll find that they can be a terrible nuisance, especially in a small apartment. They are also prone to hip and knee problems, so it’s best to take them to the vet for a checkup about every 4 to 6 months.
9. Japanese Chin
These dogs resemble Shih Tzus but are actually from Japanese heritage. They’re known for their thick, lion-like mane, plumed tail, and thick coats. The Japanese Chin is a small dog with huge eyes and a narrow muzzle. Overall, it’s a charming companion and a great cuddler. These dogs are grateful, quiet, and cuddly, and they’re also growing in popularity in the US. They’re also pretty sensitive to their owners’ emotions and make for the perfect emotional support dog. So, if you need a dog to be there for you during trying times, the Japanese Chin is definitely one to take a look at.
10. Chinese Crested
These small dogs are more peculiar than anything. Some of them even resemble miniature horses with their white manes, paw pad fur, and sleek builds. The Chinese Crested is active, funny, and it can either be hairless or covered with a short coat of fur. The good thing about the hairless crested is that you don’t have to worry about any shedding or that awful doggy odor. However, they’re less likely to be able to tolerate colder temperatures, so make sure you keep them covered, particularly when outside temperatures are below about 72° Fahrenheit. These small dogs are great watch dogs and have a strong will, making them perfect for owners that want a dog that’s looking to please its owners and is friendly.
11. Miniature Pinscher
Miniature Pinschers, like the larger versions, originate from Germany. These tiny dogs can be very territorial. They make for great watchdogs and are also great emotional support dogs. They are highly intelligent and very energetic considering that they come in such a small package. You’ll find non-stop entertainment with these small pups and it’s best to train them early, as they can get a bit rambunctious as untrained adults.
12. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These spaniels have a sense of elegance and refinement; perhaps it has to do with their association with royalty in the 1800s. In any event, they make for great companions and are great for singles and larger families. These dogs are very stubborn and can be a bit disagreeable at times. They can also be very territorial but very affectionate as well. It helps to spend a lot of time with them while they are puppies so that you can form a strong bond. Once you have that, you’ll find that these dogs are both loyal and very caring. They love vegging out with their owners and are also good for a bit of active play time as well.
13. French Bulldog
If you could sum up these small dogs in two words, it would probably be laid back. Need a dog that is easy going and super relaxed? Then you may want to consider a French Bulldog. Not only are they adorable with their large eyes and chubby bodies, but they are very playful, affectionate, and make great emotional support dogs. These small dogs are great with children and typically get along well in any environment with other animals. They vary in color, and you can find one and black, white, tan, and even spotted fur patterns. Though they are on the heavier side, the typical Frenchie only weighs anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, and they only stand around 1 foot tall as adults. If you prefer a dog that is intelligent, charming, and super friendly, look no further than the French Bulldog.
Need a dog that will keep you laughing? These small dogs pack quite the punch when it comes to entertainment and they’re just as lovable. Their dark eyes, wrinkled foreheads, and flat faces make Pugs one of the most sought-after dogs in the US. You’ll be surprised to know that they also have Royal Chinese lineage. They’re the perfect lap dogs and will keep you warm on those cold winter afternoons on the couch. These dogs are great for small spaces and get along well with children and other animals. They do shed a lot, so you’ll need to brush them about every other day. You may also find that they are prone to some breathing issues and prefer moderate temperatures due to their short muzzle.
As you can see, you have quite a few different choices when it comes to finding an awesome lap dog breed. However, before you decide on the breed, you may want to make a list of pros and cons with each one. For example, do you prefer a “no-shedding” breed, or one that is more laid back? If so, you may want to look at breeds with short single coats or those with calmer dispositions. Ultimately, no matter which of these dogs you choose, they’re sure to provide you with lots of entertainment and cuddles.
Featured Image Credit: SewCream, Shutterstock