What are Dog Breeds Under 20 Pounds?

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Dog Breeds Under 20 PoundsSometimes, the little dogs have the biggest personalities, and in your search for your next best friend, you’ve come to the right place. According to the American Kennel Club, smaller dogs are classified to be 25 pounds or less and can fit into various groups. There are dogs of a small stature for every coat type, activity level, and personality. 

In this guide, we share the best tiny dog breeds under 20 pounds to help you find out which one might be right for you and your family. 

Best Toy Dog Breeds Under 20 Pounds

Whether you’re looking for the most popular small dog breeds to help them fit in small spaces or you want one that will be low maintenance compared to larger dogs, you’ll surely find one for you below. 

1. Affenpinscher

Affenpinschers are fun, loyal, and curious toy dogs that won’t typically grow bigger than 10 pounds; their small size and fluffy hair are what have led to their nickname “monkey dogs.” They also share a similar appearance to the ewoks of Star Wars, which is why they’re beloved by their owners. These hypoallergenic dog breeds will get along well with other dogs but they might not fare so well with small animals such as ferrets, hamsters, and other kinds of rodents.   

2. Japanese Chin

This ancient breed comes with a noble past, making them popular among the aristocrats of Japan, and weren’t known in the Western world until 1854. They are known for their big and expressive eyes — these affectionate dogs are generally quiet, graceful, and fastidious. Weighing around 7 to 11 pounds and growing up to 8 to 11 inches tall, their long and silky coat screams elegance and royalty despite being one of the smallest dog breeds.  

3. Bichon Frise

This small white dog is adaptable, playful, and happy all the time, which has made it a popular companion dog but they can also be great watchdogs. These pups can grow bigger than 10 pounds but they’re still a toy breed worth looking into and have brought joy to Italian, French, and Spanish royalty through the ages. Moreover, these small breed dogs are among the most diverse and can thrive as city dogs, and apartment dogs, and are also a hypoallergenic breed. 

4. Boston Terrier

These dogs are known to be great companions, and are sporty, lively, and friendly, just like the city they were named after. Boston Terriers display equal parts of alertness, curiosity, and fun, and are one of the bigger small dogs, reaching up to 25 pounds but can certainly weigh under 10 pounds. They are great city dogs, and will happily live inside an apartment but will still need daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy.  

5. Brussels Griffon

While these dogs aren’t among the most popular dog breeds in the world, these dogs come with big personalities. These energetic dogs are human-like with sassy personalities — they come in two variants, those with rough coats and the other with smooth coats. While they can live almost anywhere, they aren’t the best choice for homes with young children.   

6. Silky Terrier

While they look very much like Yorkies, these tiny pups are a whole other breed that’s native to Australia. Despite arriving in small packages, they come with high energy and love to work for their owners. Their luscious and long hair will need daily brushing and these dogs will need a lot of exercise to ensure they stay healthy.  

7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The eyes of the Cavaliers never lie and you can be sure that they are loving, affectionate, and sweet dogs that are both fun and active while still being great lap dogs. This playful pup can be found in a wide size range and was named after King Charles I of Britain who favored these cute dogs. While they aren’t hypoallergenic, they are versatile in many ways and can make excellent companions and great family dogs, while fitting in all kinds of homes. 

8. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested dog has a striking and distinctive appearance and can weigh anywhere between 8 to 12 pounds, so they’re not the smallest dogs. Fun fact: These dogs can come with or without hair, and the ones with hair are referred to as “powderpuff” and the hairless ones are a great match with allergy sufferers. Because they appear hairless, you will need to give their skincare special attention to prevent sun damage. 

9. Dachshund

Better known as “weiner dogs” or “hot dogs”, the Dachshund is a small dog with a big personality and is well-loved for their intelligence, boldness, and independence. They come in various sizes — miniature Dachshunds will weigh no more than 11 pounds, while the standard variety can weigh as much as 30 pounds. These lively hound dogs can also be great sporting companions, and good watchdogs, and can even serve as hunting dogs.  

10. Cairn Terrier

These shaggy little dogs come with loads of energy and were initially bred in Scotland to help hunt for foxes and other small animals. Weighing in at 13 to 14 pounds and growing no more than 10 inches, this hypoallergenic small dog can be a good choice for those who may have allergies. After 1939 these dogs saw a spike in popularity when the breed played a role in The Wizard of Oz. 

11. Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is the smallest of the three Schnauzer types, weighing between 11 to 20 pounds and standing no more than 14 inches. These charming and intelligent dogs need a lot of exercise as a result of their history working as farm dogs. Once you give them a job, any job, and they will be happy for the day. 

12. French Bulldog

In recent years, the adaptable and playful French Bulldog’s popularity has exploded, and has become a loyal companion to families around major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Because they’re so friendly and don’t require much exercise, they’re currently the most popular dog breed in the country. Apart from being great city dogs, they’re also good apartment dogs and can serve well as a watchdog too — no wonder they’re so well-loved!  

13. Italian Greyhound

Don’t be fooled by their name — the Italian Greyhound comes in a tiny size compared to their much bigger cousins. Standing at a maximum height of 15 inches at their shoulders and weighing in at just 7 to 14 pounds, these dogs are both sensitive and sociable, making them well-suited to families with older children. Unfortunately, because of their small and slender bodies, they won’t do so well with rough play and may easily get hurt with small children. 

14. Lhasa Apso

These smart, elegant, and confident dogs are easygoing and fun with their families but aren’t so welcoming of strangers. The Lhasa Apso isn’t the smallest dog in this list and will generally weigh around 12 to 18 pounds. They were once used as guard dogs around monasteries and palaces throughout the Himalayan mountains; today they share these same traits and can be wonderful apartment dogs.  

15. Toy Fox Terrier

These cute little dogs come in at a maximum weight of 9 pounds and stand around 8 to 12 inches — they are playful and feisty, making them a great source of entertainment for their pet parent. However, their mischievous antics may become uncontrollable without proper training and early socialization. These dogs come with plenty of energy and will need lots of exercise to stop them from getting bored and becoming destructive. 

16. Maltese

Much like every other dog in this list, the Maltese is happy, charming, and affectionate but it can also be a stubborn and independent dog. They’re also one of the smallest dog breeds here and weigh no more than 10 pounds — they have been members of many aristocratic families that go back 28 centuries. They’ve been lap dogs for hundreds of years and are among the oldest toy breeds and despite their tiny frame, they can be terrific watchdogs. 

17. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers, also known as min pins are small dogs with huge personalities, with bat-like ears that are fun-loving, fearless, and highly intelligent. These dogs fall between the 8 and 10-pound range and are sometimes referred to as the “King of the Toys.” Even though their small size won’t intimidate anyone, they are great watchdogs and are willing to adapt to all kinds of families and living situations. 

18. Biewer Terrier

Pronounced “beaver,” the Biewer Terrier is a cute dog that is beloved by all family members and is the ideal lap dog. Weighing around 4 to 8 pounds and standing between 7 to 11 inches, these dogs originally came from Germany. They are a descendent of Yorkies, although they come with a genetic twist — the piebald genes they carry result in white fur that comes with patches of color.   

19. Alaskan Klee Kai

Weighing 6 to 25 pounds and growing up to 17 inches, the Alaskan Klee Kai comes in different variants including standard, toy, and miniature. These dogs are a relatively new breed that started using a Siberian Husky back in the 1970s. Like their parent, these dogs will also have an independent spirit, are talkative, and very determined. 

20. Toy Poodles

Smart, proud, and active, the Poodle is always among the most popular breeds in the United States, where they are loved by plenty of dog lovers. These dogs usually weigh between 10 to 15 pounds and won’t stand any taller than 10 inches. The Poodle is also the national dog of France, where they are known as the “Caniche” or “duck dog,” but no matter what they’re called, they are great companion dogs.  

21. American Eskimo Dog

The Toy American Eskimo Dog is a loyal, bright, and friendly dog that can be a wonderful family pet — they are smart, versatile, and energetic. They love playing, and running and will do well with obedience and agility courses. These dogs come in various sizes, including standard, miniature, and toy, and despite their size, they are surprisingly hardy and strong dogs.  

22. Shih Tzu

This is another dog that comes with a long history of being favored by royalty thanks to their affectionate, loving, and playful nature. They can range in weight from 9 to 16 pounds, and will come with dark, expressive eyes — they are perfectly happy living in an apartment and are happy to go on a short walk or spend time playing indoors to keep them healthy. Also known as “little lions”, they can be a wonderful lapdog for any individual, couple, or family with children.   

23. Yorkshire Terrier

What these dogs lack in size comes out in their attitude and personality and have characteristics that result in the classic terrier, including feisty, brave, affectionate, and determined. These toy breeds weigh no more than 7 pounds, making them great city dogs that you can take anywhere in the country inside a bag as small as they are. The best part is that they can be wonderful house companions, great watchdogs, and are also friendly to people with allergies. 

Choosing the Best Dog Breeds Under 20 Pounds

Because there are so many different dogs you can choose from, it can be confusing looking for the right one for you and your needs. Here are just a few you can think about before committing to a new pet: 

  • What is the dog’s personality, activity level, and grooming need? Do they match your lifestyle? 
  • Think about the short-term and long-term financial commitments necessary to keep a pup healthy, happy, and safe. 
  • If you’ve never owned a dog, be sure to think about your mental, emotional, and physical readiness. 
  • Make sure that you have enough space indoors and outdoors, along with other basic requirements for the dog you choose. 
  • A dog can live as long as 15 years, so be sure that you’re ready for a long-term commitment, not just now but for the future too. 


Now that you’ve seen the many small dogs that you can potentially take home to be your new best friend, it’s time to think about which one will suit your family and your needs. There are a lot of considerations to think about but once you’ve made a decision, you can be sure that any of the pups above can fit in well with your lifestyle. Even if you’ve always had bigger dogs in the past, you might be surprised by how much impact a small pup can have on your life.