Top 10 Best Small Dog Breeds for Kids

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
The kids have been begging you for one, but you live in cramped quarters. It might seem impossible for you to bring a dog into your family, but trust us. This is not a problem. You just need a dog that will fit your small space. Here are our choices for the top 10 best small dog breeds for kids.

All kids love dogs. That’s a fact. The only problem is that not all dogs are well suited to be around children. So, if it’s time to grow your family with a pet for the kids, but they’re still young, your backyard is small (or non-existent), and you aren’t sure which breed would be the right fit, there is a simple solution. Small dogs. They are like big dogs, just smaller (what a concept!). However, small dogs don’t always have the best reputation. Rumour has it that little dogs can be high-strung and aren’t good with kids. Thankfully, that’s just a rumour. Sure, there are some little dogs out there who won’t mix well with children, but there are also big dogs with the same problems. It all comes down to finding the right dog to fit your family.

There are a number of pint-sized pooches that will ably fit the bill an mix with kiddos. It’s just important to keep in mind that you’ll want a dog that is sturdy enough to withstand the rough-and-tumble playtime a child will deliver, is friendly, even-tempered, and more importantly, is easy for both you and your kids to train. Always remember that establishing kids as mini-alphas through early training is crucial in order to ensure their commands are obeyed (especially if walking the family pet will become part of their current or future responsibilities). So, while choosing the right dog to fit in with your family is important, it’s equally important to train your pup properly so that it fits in well with your entire family. Nature and nurture both play important roles finding the perfect pupper match for any family.

With these criteria in mind, here are our picks for 10 best small dog breeds for kids. All of these adorable little fur babies has the potential to be the perfect pooch for your home.

10. Miniature Bull Terrier

This mini version of the Bull Terrier grows to between 10 and 14 inches in height and weighs in at approximately 15 pounds. A great size for kids, the Miniature Bull Terrier loves to play. This pup is also quite friendly and affectionate toward anyone who crosses his path. While he can be highly energetic, his small stature means that exercise needs are easily met and a small home or apartment will fit the bill. His short, flat coat requires minimal weekly grooming and provides a perfect opportunity for kids to care for and bond with this friendly little guy. Beyond that, this dog is protective of the people he cares about, so he can even make a decent watchdog. And because these pooches really love having fun all the time, playtime, and even training sessions, will make you and your kids laugh. It’s practically impossible to have a bad time with a Miniature Bull Terrier in your life. These puppers can be endlessly goofy and fun-loving – making them a perfect fit with a couple of kiddo’s eager to have fun. Plus, whenever he is around family or strangers, this canine will be welcoming and social. So any time that your kids have their friends over, you can rest assured that your Miniature Bull Terrier will be comfortable around new faces, and he will want to play just as much with your kids’ friends as with his own family. A perfect pooch for just about any family. Fun and love are always one step away with one of these doggo’s.

9. Boston Terrier

If there was ever a dog breed that knows how to go with the flow, this is the one! The Boston Terrier is gentle with kids, amusing, bright, and friendly. Quite Compact (his height will reach a mere 15 to 17 inches with a weight that will come in between 10 to 20 pounds), this urban pooch is easily trained, people oriented, always up for a walk, and known for his spunkiness. Who doesn’t love spunk in a pup?! Nicknamed the American Gentleman for his tuxedo markings, he’s a family oriented charmer that requires minimal grooming to keep his coat clean and shiny. Even better, shedding is minimal compared to other breeds, so you won’t have to go crazy with cleaning up dog hair all over your home. On top of all that, these dogs will adapt well to living in an apartment or a house. So, they’re a great choice for anyone who happens to be living in a smaller space. Besides these favorable traits, the Boston Terriers are well known for their goofy character and their legendary funny exploits. With them by your side, fun and laughs will never be far away in the house. Overall, these sensitive pooches make wonderful family pets, because they are quite loving, and are considered one of the top kid friendly and dog friendly breeds. They will get along great with everyone, even strangers. So if it’s a sociable companion you’re looking for, the Boston Terrier won’t disappoint. This adorable pooch lights up any room that he enters. A true pocket sized pup – with a giant personality!

8. Havanese

This family pooch is in high demand due to his affectionate disposition, highly trainable personality, and hypoallergenic non-shedding coat. Even though he was originally bred for Cuban aristocracy in the 1800s, he fits into any family dynamic by playing the role of loyal and loving lap dog or playful childhood companion. Standing a mere 8-11 inches in height, he weighs in at a miniscule 7-13 pounds. Longer-haired versions of this breed can be clipped short for easy weekly grooming. Plus, even though this breed is small, it also features a sturdy body. This can be helpful when playing with children, who aren’t always gentle with their fury friends. Always up for some playtime, these dogs genuinely enjoy being around kids. Because they are so easy-going, sweet, and loads of fun, they will keep your entire family company, as well as make you laugh and bring you joy. Get your kids involved in training this pooch, as doing so is a great opportunity to get everyone to form a strong bond with one another—and it teaches your kids another wonderful way to interact with their pet. It’s tough to bring a Havanese home without the furry friend charming every member of the family.

7. Maltipoo

Who doesn’t love any dog with a little poodle in them?! This cross between a Maltese and a Poodle is a fun-loving, feisty, and affectionate dog with the hypoallergenic properties typically associated with poodles. He is highly trainable, does well with everyone from older kids to seniors, and enjoys interactions that include both cuddles and games. His smaller stature (maxing out at 8-14 inches in height and 5-20 pounds in weight) means that regular walks are typically short and a simple daily brushing keeps him looking his best. Plus, these pooches are adaptable to a variety of environments, including small apartments, and they are a good choice for your family if you have never owned a dog before. Friendly towards everyone, including kids, other dogs, and strangers, the Maltipoo is a social breed that are as smart as they are playful. Plus, their character can have a true spark of fun: they can quickly become the center of any playtime party! And what is even better, they can be an endless bundle of cuteness – the parent breeds for the Maltipoo are cute on their own, let alone mixed into one bundle of fluff. Just keep in mind that these dogs are sensitive, so teaching your kids to be gentle and patient is crucial. These dogs require loads of attention, as they do not like being alone, so they can make loyal and loving companions to kids as they grow up. Maltipoos are a perfect addition to any home filled with first time dog owners. They will teach every member of your family just how much joy a dog can bring into your home. And, with proper care, they can stick around for a good long number of years.

6. Scottish Terrier

Also known as a Scottie, this highly animated breed has the stubborn and independent streak of a Scot, but thrives in a family environment due to his sensitive, loving, and endearing nature. He’s surprisingly agile for such a solid little dog and while he loves a good long walk, obedience and leash training should begin early as the instinct to chase can be strong with this one. At just 10 inches in height and between 18 and 20 pounds in weight, this pup won’t take up much room in any home with limited space. The Scottish Terrier’s wiry coat requires weekly grooming and provides a great bonding opportunity for kids. Overall, these energetic, smart, and playful dogs are one of the top kid friendly breeds. Granted, a Scottie might be a tad bit overly energetic, but this usually isn’t a big deal – it’s easily solved with some good playtime that will help burn off that excess energy with ease. They will also get along great with other canines as well. These pups fit well into almost any environment. Friendly towards everyone, including strangers, they are even a good choice if you are living in an apartment. However, because this isn’t one of the easiest breeds when it comes to training, the Scottish Terrier might not be a wise choice if you are new to dog ownership. Obedience school is recommended for anyone who isn’t prepared to properly train their Scottie. Just remember to be patient and start early!

5. Bichon Frise

This plucky little dog’s sweet nature and lack of shedding make him a great fit for kids with allergies. His high energy level means daily walks or play times are required to keep him out of mischief. However, starting training as early as possible is important. The Bichon Frise has a tendency to develop the dreaded small dog syndrome. And they can become a bit willful and hard headed when not trained early on. They will walk all over their humans without proper training and socialization. So make sure to involve older kids in the training to ensure that your dog will learn to respect their commands. This little guy reaches 9-11 inches in height and weighs just 7-12 pounds, so he will fit into any small home. Frequent brushing will be required to maintain his fluffy, white coat though. These dogs require work, but the payoff is well worth it. A Bichon Frise is a true bundle of temperament and strong character in a proper miniature size. But even so, they can be the sweetest thing in a family environment and around kids when socialized and trained on time. And, of course, who can resist the endless fluffiness and spunk of a Bichon Frise?!

4. Miniature Schnauzer

This is one cheerful, loving, and intelligent little pup! His playful energy means that he does well with kids. He always enjoys romps in the yard and his personality can be described as alert and spirited, yet obedient to command and keen to please. Obedience training will help ensure this wilful pooch learns to heed commands and become an ideal family pet. He stands between 12 and 14 inches high, weighing just around 10 to 15 pounds with regular clipping required to maintain his distinctive coat and profile. These doggos can have quite the balance of desirable personality traits, making them a good fit in almost every home. When shown care and affection from an early age – with just a tad bit of discipline – Miniature Schnauzers will turn out into the ideal family dog. And, of course, their size makes them fit ideally in most small homes. There’s just that coat maintenance to look out for. So, while the Miniature Schnauzer isn’t exactly a low maintenance pet, but if you treat him right this pup will light up your entire family’s life. A little dog with a big heart!

3. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

These solid pooches are amongst the best small dog breeds for kids for a variety of reasons. A loving and intelligent personality makes them easy to train, while their need to have a job to do means the physical and mental stimulation that comes from active and playful children is a perfect fit. What is more, Corgis are well known to be amongst the most loyal dog breeds around. That means that they will stick by you and your family no matter what – when a proper bond is established. Corgis are also quite energetic. They practically need a hyperactive child around just to keep up with them. A herding background requires early training as the “Urge to Herd” may result in nipped heels. By adulthood they reach up 10 to 12 inches in height and can weigh up to 30 pounds. Weekly grooming and an occasional bath will be all you need to do to keep them looking their best. A Welsh Corgi can be surprisingly obedient (they were after all bred to herd cattle) and easy to train. And when you add to that the ideal loyalty and their goofy character and looks, the combination is more than fantastic – it is ideal!

2. Pug

This versatile little dog is great with kids or seniors. This is true if the Pug is the sole household pet or one of many. As a result, they have become a family favorite who want nothing more than to hang with their peeps, sit on laps, and love excessively. Named the “Clowns of the Canine World” because of their sense of humor and love of showing off, they weigh between 14 and 18 pounds and stand just around 10 to 14 inches. Frequent grooming is required because of their double coat and heavy shedding in the summer months. You’ll never mind that extra grooming though. These dogs are so absurdly lovable that all you’ll want to do is snuggle with them and care for them. Taking care of your Pug will never feel like work. It will always be a pure and absolute joy. This goofy character and plenty of love to share makes them the ideal small dog breed for kids and the family. They will fit into every surrounding and bring laughter with them no matter where they are.

1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

A friendly, gentle, and quiet breed, this little pooch is highly intelligent and easily trained, making them a perfect family pet. Though lively and outgoing, they aren’t considered a high energy breed so short walks should meet their physical needs. This is a low maintenance dog that lives a high energy lifestyle. A wonderful pick of small dog breeds for kids, these pooches have an eager and willing-to-please personality but won’t tolerate rough-housing (so your children will have to be warned to keep playtime gentle). Naturally well behaved, they get along with all other dogs and even non-canine pets (yes, even cats!). They stand a mere 12-13 inches and weigh 10-18 pounds with a need for regular, but not frequent grooming and trimming. These dogs are pure pleasure. Bringing one into your home will put a smile on everyone’s face and a spring in everyone’s step. There’s very little downside here, which is why the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was an obvious choice to top this list.

Teach Your Kids to Be Kind to Their Dog

Regardless of what canine breed you choose – large or small – it is best to spend some time teaching your kids to be kind, patient, gentle, and compassionate towards animals, including their pets. And it’s also smart to be there to supervise interactions between young children and your dog. Little kids can require some extra guidance, especially if they are dealing with animals for the first time. Supervision and advice will go a long way. This way, you can rest easy knowing that everyone will get along wonderfully. Once that is taken care of, all that is left is for everyone in your home to let your new dog into their hearts. And after a while, everything will turn out just spiffy!

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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