If you’re thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, there are a lot of things to consider. One of the most important is size. There are advantages and disadvantages to small dog breeds. Here is a brief guide to the most popular breeds and categories to help you decide which one is best for you.

trainable breeds

If you want trainability, you might consider the Papillon or Phalene (the forerunner of the Papillon). They are both happy breeds and good with children. They run on the smaller side, often 6 to 10 pounds; if you have children in the clumsy stages, dogs this size often end up inadvertently injured or killed. Also consider the Pomeranian, the Schipperke, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the smaller poodle breeds, and the ever-popular Border Collie.

breeds of best friends

There are many dogs that shed and need patience with training that still make excellent companion animals. If you don’t mind putting more effort into training, Chihuahuas, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Maltese, Japanese Chins, Shih Tzus make great best friends. Remember that the extra time you spend with these dogs in training is the more quality time you spend together.

dogs without shed

Many of the small breeds exhibit little or no shedding. Worth checking out are the Chinese, Mexican and American Crested Hairless Dogs, the gentle Brussels Griffon, the new Kyi-Leo (also very affectionate), the Poodle and the Bichon Frize. Even dogs with long hair like the Maltese often shed little, so always check before you remove a breed based on appearance, especially if you and the dog get along.

How small is too small?

Some of the smaller breeds experience difficulty because they have been bred too small. Talk to a vet to see which breeds may experience cramping internal organs and teeth that don’t fit properly in the mouth, causing pain.

where to find your best friend

Puppy mills have been in the news for decades as a cruel, unhygienic, and generally horrible way of providing puppies to pet stores. They have been mugged by animal activists over and over again for a reason, and you should avoid supporting puppy mills. If you must purchase a puppy, go to an established AKC breeder and inspect the facility for kind practices and a loving home for breeding partners.

Although there are many excellent breeders, consider adopting from a shelter. These dogs are as dignified as any other, and you have the advantage of having a dog that is probably already housebroken!

Also consider adopting a mixed breed. These are often the healthiest of dogs and are as intelligent and friendly as any purebred. However, if your heart is set on a purebred dog and you want to adopt a senior dog, each breed has a rescue organization – you can easily find a companion simply by sending an email or making a phone call.

In the end, always make your final choice on personality and not “cuteness” factors. It is more important that the two of you be inseparable friends than to look good together.