13 Most Affectionate Small Dog Breeds (with Photos)

Small dogs are great, especially if you have limited space to add a furry friend. If you’re looking for a petite pal who loves attention, you’ve come to the right place! In no particular order, here’s a list of 13 of the most affectionate small dog breeds.

most affectionate small dog breeds
13 Most Affectionate Small Dog Breeds

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise breed loves to be affectionate and close to their owners. With them, you’ll always have a friend by your side, but their love for their family makes them prone to separation anxiety

The Bichon Frise may not be a good fit if you’re likely to be gone most of the day as they don’t like much alone time. 

Bichon Frise so white
Bichon Frise is so white as a cloud!

The Bichon Frise can be great for those with allergies because they shed little fur and dander. Although they don’t shed very much, they do require routine grooming. 

Routine grooming is a small price to pay for the amount of love and affection you’ll receive from your furry pal. They are adaptable and would love to be a great addition to your household!


The Bolognese is a very clingy and loveable little lap dog. They love not just their owner but the whole family, making them a great family pet for those even with small children.

Like one of the kids, they know how to get their way. So, don’t let them fool you! They are intelligent and could benefit from obedience training and a firm owner. 

bolognese dog breed
The Bolognese dog breed – you read that right! Small and playful.

The Bolognese has fur that is the texture of cotton. It’s so soft and fluffy, like cuddling a teddy bear! This fuzzy fur doesn’t come without care, though.

The Bolognese must be brushed daily and groomed monthly to keep its good looks and prevent painful matting.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are loyal and affectionate to not just their owners but others as well.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel tongue out
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel sitting in front of a camera while tongue is out.

The Cavalier is so friendly and loveable that they may not make the best guard dog since they are likely to get along well with strangers. They want to always be with you, whether going for long walks or snuggling on the couch.

What’s great is they are okay with or without a ton of exercise. They make an excellent dog for more active families and families that may be more homebodies. 


Chihuahuas are great little friends with LOTS of love to give. Their personalities are different, just like people. Their characters range from quiet and timid to energetic and sassy.

What they do have in common is they love to be with their human.

Brown Chihuahua
Brown Chihuahua standing in front of a pink wall.

Chihuahuas enjoy being by your side, which you can easily do since they can be carried around effortlessly. They can easily attach to a single person, but if appropriately introduced, they can be loyal to and love others. Be careful not to carry them around and coddle them so much, or they can become too protective and bossy.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a soft and sweet-tempered little pal. They love children and can be excellent even in homes with other pets. They genuinely love their family, and a great thing is they don’t require a ton of space. 

Shih Tzu approaching
Shih Tzu approaching a stranger.

Shih Tzus don’t need much room to run, so they can be an excellent pet for apartment dwellers. They’re not only suitable for any family size, but they’re also recommended for those with allergies.

Shih Tzus are also light shedders and are, therefore, less likely to give an allergic reaction to those who are allergic to dogs. Although they don’t shed a lot, they have long, beautiful fur that will need frequent grooming. 


The Pekingese are generally calm and don’t like rough-housing much. With a good atmosphere, they can be loving and affectionate companions.

They are very affectionate, have a great bond with their family, and therefore are more likely to have separation anxiety. Due to the stress when being apart, it’s recommended to crate-train them for times when they are required to be home alone.

Pekingese on the grass
Pekingese on the grass with an underbite.


Pugs can be a great little canine companion that will willfully shadow you around. They love to snuggle but still have a fun side.

pug dog with curly tail
Pugs are famous for their curly tails

Pugs are playful and slightly independent. Sometimes during their fun, they may even become mischievous and get into trouble. Although sometimes active and playful, their favorite thing is to snore on your lap.

Due to their small nature and low need for exercise, they make the PERFECT pet for apartment living. 


Maltese dogs can be protective but are still extremely loving. They are friendly to all, including those they don’t know. The dog’s sensitive nature makes them great as therapy dogs with proper training. 

newly groomed Maltese dog
A newly groomed Maltese standing on the floor.

Not only can the Maltese do well with training to become therapy dogs, but they do well with obedience training. They are eager to please and love to be wherever you are.

Whether you love to exercise or are a couch potato, the Maltese will love you either way. As with most of the dogs on this list, they are great for homes of any size and require frequent grooming.

American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog is cheerful and gentle, making them great for families with kids and other pets. They are great family dogs, but their need for love makes them prone to separation anxiety.

American Eskimo Dog
An American Eskimo dog smiling.

Like many dogs who appreciate affection, the American Eskimo Dog may act out and destroy things if left alone for too long. For this reason, it is recommended to crate-train them to give them a safe space while you’re away.

Yorkshire Terriers

The Yorkshire Terrier is synonymous with the word lap dog. They are affectionate, small-breed dogs that will become your friend for life with just a touch. They are small and feisty and are great for families of all sizes.

They can even be great for those with allergies.

Yorkshire Terrier in the forest
Yorkshire Terrier is standing on a wood.

Their fur is more like human hair, making them a great candidate for households with dog allergies. Their hair has them shedding much less fur and dander, lowering their risk of causing an allergic reaction. They still require frequent grooming, but their love and charm will make it worth it.


If you have plenty of time to spend and are looking for an affectionate companion, the Havanese would love to join your family. They love people of all ages and are gentle creatures with a passion for attention.

Havanese puppy
Havanese puppy sits comfortably.

Havanese pups will be delighted to spend time on your lap or follow you around throughout the day. They’ll be a cozy little addition to your favorite couch or chair with their extra soft coat. With this fuzzy fur, however, they will require regular grooming and upkeep.

French Bulldog

Although larger than others on this list, with an average of 28 lbs, the French Bulldog has a temperament deserving of a spot. They are affectionate and mild-tempered and thrive on your affection.

French Bulldog with owner
Blue French Bulldog with the owner.

French Bulldogs are patient and playful, making them suitable for any family, including those with young children. They are usually great with other animals as well.

Their love for companionship also makes them prone to separation anxiety. Try not to leave your furry friend for too long to help meet their needs and keep them happy and healthy.

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is one of the more playful pups among the most affectionate small dog breeds. They are essentially mini Greyhounds, and although they enjoy your cuddles and attention, they are also full of energy.

Italian Greyhounds have a little more energy than the others on this list and like to keep active with their owner. If you don’t mind long walks or runs, this may be a great companion to add to your household. 

brown Italian Greyhound
A brown Italian Greyhound standing on the grass.

Due to their small stature and thin limbs, the Italian Greyhound is not recommended for those with young children or any rough play. Their small size and thin coat also make them more susceptible to the cold.


If looking for an affectionate pup, there are plenty to choose from. Pay attention to your family dynamic and which breed best fits your household.

In general, those who are among the most affectionate small dog breeds are also more prone to separation anxiety. Keep this in mind when choosing your fur-ever friend!