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The 5 Best Tiny and Delicate Dog Breeds

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

The Maltese is a tiny delicate dog breed that does not shed much.

The Maltese is a tiny delicate dog breed that does not shed much.

Some people like tiny dogs because they are easy to keep in a small apartment. Others like them because they do not eat much and are easy to clean up after. Some of us just like tiny dogs.

1. Chihuahua

The tiniest dog breed is the Chihuahua. It only weighs a few pounds, and some breeders are even trying to select a tinier “teacup” size by breeding the smallest puppies from each litter.

Paris Hilton bought one in 2016 for $8000.

Chihuahuas are not recommended for families with small children. That does not mean all Chihuahuas are going to be bad with kids. It is a generalization, and some dogs do not act like most dogs of the breed. If you have small children and still get a Chihuahua, make sure you have an alternative home for her just in case things do not work out.

Your Chihuahua needs her teeth brushed daily since she will be prone to dental problems. Some of them are also prone to heart disease, luxating patellas (trick knees), tracheal problems, and obesity.

If you keep your dog in shape though, she can be one of the longest-living tiny dog breeds.

2. Yorkshire Terrier

Why are Yorkies so popular? Do you think it has something to do with how cute they are? I do. They are tiny, and although the breed standard declares that the maximum size must be seven pounds, a lot of them are much smaller.

Other people like Yorkies so much because of their spunky attitude. They tend to bark a lot and make great small watchdogs.

Yorkies do not shed much, but their long hair needs to be combed every day. They also need to have their teeth brushed every day to prevent the development of periodontal disease.

Some of the tiniest dogs in history have been Yorkies, but they do have a lot of health problems. Any of the dogs bred to be “teacup” size are more likely to have bad knees, heart disease, nervous problems like epilepsy, and bouts of low blood sugar.

Cute, feisty, and really tiny—what else are you looking for?

Even a pair of tiny Maltese still do not take up much space.

Even a pair of tiny Maltese still do not take up much space.

3. Maltese

This is not the smallest toy breed but he is one of the tiniest; an average adult weight is only about six or seven pounds.

Maltese have a lot going for them. They are good for first-time dog owners, something that cannot be said for some tiny dogs. He is good with cats, gets by with minimal exercise, and does okay in a small apartment. A lot of Maltese are calm and will be satisfied with a nice couch to sleep on all day.

A lot of people choose not to get a Maltese after looking at show dogs and hearing about how much work it is to groom their long hair. They are really cute with long hair, but if it is too much work they can be clipped in a “puppy cut” and just brushed quickly once daily.

(When I had a Maltese we always kept him long, but since we were living in the city at the time it was easy to keep him clean and brushed. Dogs out in the country probably need to be clipped.)

Some of the dogs do have problems with tear staining and like many tiny breeds, they must have their teeth brushed once daily. Since they are prone to dental disease they might end up needing a dental cleaning every few years no matter what you do.

Are these guys perfect? No dog is, but they come close. They are small, good companions, and great pets to have around.

Tiny dogs, like this Miniature Dachshund, can be a handful.

Tiny dogs, like this Miniature Dachshund, can be a handful.

4. Miniature Dachshund

A tiny Miniature Dachshund weighs only about eight pounds, but some weigh a few pounds more.

This little dog has a lot going for him but you also need to be careful. The full-sized Daschund is reported to be the most aggressive breed, and some of them have problems with food aggression and dog-dog aggression.

Since the long-haired variety was developed by breeding with the Papillion, another tiny dog breed, I think they are easier to get along with than some of the other varieties. (That type may also be less aggressive.)

it is wrong to generalize too much when discussing dogs, but all varieties of Doxie are independent and will act as watchdogs as well as companions.

Doxies need to be brushed (but not as often as a Maltese), their teeth need to be brushed daily, and they must not be allowed to become obese because of the danger of developing back problems.

They are one of the longest-lived breeds, often living 15 or more years if taken care of. And they are tiny, perfect for a small apartment and a small lap.

The Toy Poodle is an intelligent dog.

The Toy Poodle is an intelligent dog.

5. Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle is one of the most intelligent dogs, and that is good in some ways but not in others. They may get into trouble because of being bored but one of the best things about having a Toy Poodle is teaching her tricks. Many people pick them because they do not shed much, weigh less than 10 pounds, and also because they are good in an apartment.

She will need a daily walk, like all breeds, but most of the time your Toy Poodle will be happy at home learning new things or just hanging out.

These dogs are prone to luxating patellas (trick knees), diabetes, epilepsy, ear problems, and several other less common diseases. A healthy Toy Poodle is one of the dog breeds with long lives.

And besides that they are tiny.

Where Should You Find Your Tiny Dog?

Lots of other toy dog breeds are available. The Brussels Griffon is great if you like his looks, the Japanese Chin is good if you need a quiet dog in an apartment, and the Shih Tzu is a good choice if you want a dog under 15 pounds and also need your lap kept warm.

If none of these dogs appeal to you, look at more pictures of toy dogs and then find out about how that breed will fit into your life.

When you have decided, be sure to check with your local animal shelter and You might find the tiny dog you are looking for closer than you think. You can check the internet to find the breed rescue in your area, and if nothing else works out visit a dog show and talk to some of the breeders who raise the type of dog you are looking for.

Do not buy a dog from a pet shop. He may seem perfect at the moment, but if the pet shop or internet wholesaler is willing to sell to anyone they are actually a puppy mill. Your new dog will be poorly socialized and will be difficult to housebreak, hard to train, and may end up biting members of your family.

Take a bow, Tiny.

Take a bow, Tiny.


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 26, 2020:

Jennifer, it is normal for dogs to start drying up at about 3 weeks, so yes, that is fine. For social reasons they should be with the mom, and learn things from her, at least until 8 weeks old.

Jennifer Woolwine on August 26, 2020:

I have a yorkipoo she had her first litter of puppies they are 4 weeks is it normal for her to not nurse them as much now?

Melissa on August 03, 2020:

Please stop telling people these dogs are good with kids! Most kids are not careful with dogs. Dogs are not toys! They go to homes where they are abused by children.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 18, 2020:

edwina--I am glad you are happy with JRTs. They have a high prey drive and I would not recommend them over a calm dog like the Maltese or the Shih tzu.

Here is some info, as they are good for an athletic owner that wants an active dog

but then again

Elizabeth Pina on June 14, 2020:

Will I am looking for a TEACUP CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES and I been looking on my phone trying to find one for free to take home to love and care for the puppies and it can do the same for me bec July 16th 2019 I had a TEACUP CHIHUAHUA dog and I to save his life and he save mind and that was on July 4th 2012 will after beening together for years but this hateful person got my baby and killed him and I so so miss him so so his name is PAPITO man do I miss him

Will thank you for reading my story

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 24, 2013:

I think Yorkies have great personalities but I do worry about their health issues. I hope you find the right dog!

dogfond on May 23, 2013:

this is a great read. I have a beagle and two german shepherds but i really want to add a yorkie. voted up.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 25, 2013:

Hi moonlake that sounds like pretty typical Chihuahua! Find a special person, buddy up, and keep anyone else away. They are funny little dogs.

moonlake from America on March 25, 2013:

I want a Chihuahua but my husband doesn't want one. We had a Chihuahua many years ago and she was my dog and didn't like my husband to even sit near me. She would push herself between us on the sofa and growl at him. Voted up and shared.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 04, 2013:

According to the study I read in "Tiny Dog Fancier" magazine it was a pack of L&Ms (do they still make those?), but I had completely forgotten that. Miniature Dachshund owners are expected to cry during the movie "Hachiko", of course.

Bob Bamberg on March 04, 2013:

and has a pack of Luckys rolled into the sleeve of that shirt, but cries at weddings and sad movies.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 04, 2013:

I like your anecdote, Bob. Did you also notice that the typical Miniature Dachshund owner is over 6 foot in height, overweight, usually in construction, and often wears shirts that have not been changed in the last 3 days?

Bob Bamberg on March 04, 2013:

I think the Yorkie is the cutest of them all. Because they brought their owners into my store over the years, I was able to develop a profile of the typical Yorkie owner in my little corner of paradise: upper middle-aged to elderly woman, impeccably coiffed and dressed, dangling earrings, lots of make-up and sugary perfume, and pampers the life out of the dog...carries it everywhere and feeds it chicken cordon bleu and cotton candy and serves it Perrier water. Of course, that's only anecdotal... Voted up and interesting.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 02, 2013:

I will, and thank you!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 02, 2013:

Dogs with scissors bites, and big mouths, have a much easier time "self-cleaning". Even if Lily loved to chew she would still have problems. Just open up her mouth and see how her teeth are crammed in there. (If you have a chance check out my hub on "Small Dog Dental Problems")

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 02, 2013:

Our labs ate dry food all their lives and never had bad breath. However, they did like to chew their rawhide 'bones' and Lily does not.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 02, 2013:

Definitely work on the teeth every day! At 9 months a Chihuahua already has dental changes.

I appreciate your comment on her personality. If I followed all expert advice, I never would have bought a Maltese when my son was only three. The dog and my kids got along fine, breaking the rules.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on March 02, 2013:

Our Lily is a tiny Chihuahua weighing in at just three pounds. Unlike many of that breed, she is extremely friendly and outgoing. She loves everyone, especially children.

I think she does have a luxating patella (I got that from you, and thanks Doc!), so we'll see what our vet thinks. She also has very bad breath and she's just a puppy, so I guess I'll have to start brushing her teeth.