11 Breeds of Puppies That Don’t Grow Big (with Photos!)

Reviewed and Fact-Checked by Veterinarian Charlotte Stiles (DVM)


Do you live in a small apartment and would like a dog that doesn’t mind a smaller space? Or maybe you want a little dog for some other reason.

Either way, there is a long list of dog breeds to choose from! Most doggy professionals categorize a small dog as around 20 lbs or less. Some of these dogs can weigh 2 lbs! 

puppies that don't grow big
11 Puppies That Don’t Grow Big

In this blog post, we’ll look at all the pooches that won’t go big and learn more about each fascinating breed. 

1. Chihuahua

The tiniest of them all, Chihuahuas are among the most popular dog breed. A Chihuahua weighs 3 to 6 pounds when fully mature. They reach a maximum height of 6 to 10 inches, so your dog will stay small and cute forever. 

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

Despite being small dogs, Chihuahuas have a lot of energy and enjoy physical activities. This means that they need plenty of playtime and it is best to give them a short walk once a day. They are a relatively healthy dog breed with moderate grooming needs. 

Short-haired Chihuahuas are the easiest to groom. Chihuahuas are great but they are not the best option when you have young children. This is mainly because they get easily intimidated because of their small size and can react aggressively toward children who inadvertently intimidate them. 

They also tend to be quite vocal and will sound the alarm at intruders. 

2. Toy Poodle

Smart and trainable, Poodles are a beloved dog breed and there are 3 sizes to choose from. The Standard Poodle weighs about 70 pounds, the Miniature weighs 10 to 15 pounds and the Toy Poodle only weighs 6 pounds or even less. Toy Poodles have that fluffy look characteristic of all Poodles. 

Toy Poodle puppy on the couch
Toy Poodle puppy sits on the couch.

This feature, coupled with their small size, gives them an adorable look that gives the same vibe as looking at a baby. They are a little high maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs but they shed the least compared to other small dog breeds. 

Poodles in general do not shed much and are recognized for their hypoallergenic coats, making them suitable for folks with allergies. Their curly coats can mat easily so they’ll need regular brushing. 

3. Maltese

This is another fluffy companion dog whose small size is part of its charm. The Maltese is an affectionate, happy-go-lucky dog which makes it an excellent choice for first-time dog parents. Maltese weigh under 7 pounds and grow to be 7 to 9 inches tall

beautiful Maltese dog on a bench
A beautiful Maltese sits on a bench.

They are not very big fans of children but they are fast learners which makes their training easier. Maltese have a long life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years. Their grooming needs are moderate as they also have hypoallergenic coats and don’t shed much but they too, require brushing 2 to 3 times a week. 

Maltese need to be protected from extreme weather because they are prone to chills. They are easy, trainable dogs that can suit most households, even those with children or seniors.

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Weighing at only 7 pounds or less when fully matured, and standing at a height of 8 to 9 inches, Yorkshire Terriers are the perfect apartment pet.

a Yorkie dog outside
A Yorkie dog standing outside.

These dogs are friendly companions, but they are known for their love of barking because they are territorial and want to protect their homes and owners. They are healthy dogs that play around a lot. 

However, Yorkshires that are too small in weight tend to be prone to several health issues. In general, Yorkshires Terriers do not do well in cold areas because they are prone to heat and cold. They are known for their long, silky coat that is also hypoallergenic, so they will suit households with pet allergies. 

5. Pomeranian

Hailing from Pomerania in Germany, Pomeranians weigh as little as 3 pounds and will seldom get bigger than 7. They are natural performers and enjoy attention. However, they are easily distracted and can be stubborn.

Pomeranian puppy on the couch
Pomeranian puppy barking and whining on the couch.

Early socialization and training are key.

Their double coats shed quite a fair bit so you’ll need to brush them frequently, especially in the shedding seasons of spring and fall. 

They are excellent family dogs and enjoy playing with children and being the center of attention. They have modest exercise needs but can be active, so a daily walk will be necessary and loads of playtime in between. 

6. Japanese Chin

With a lustrous coat and sensitive, affectionate personality, the Japanese Chin makes an excellent companion dog. They are versatile creatures that usually get on well with other dogs, children, and environments. 

Japanese Chin posing
Japanese Chin posing for a photo shoot!

While the Japanese Chin can be reserved around strangers, it is very loving to people it is familiar with. They weigh between 7 to 11 pounds when fully grown and grow to 11 inches tall or less. The Japanese Chin has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and is quite low maintenance

They have low exercise needs but like all dogs, could always benefit from a daily walk. Their coats need to be brushed regularly to keep out the tangles, and you might have to trim the hair every once in a while to keep the long, silky coat under control. 

7. Shih Tzu

If there was a congeniality award for small dogs, the Shih Tzu would stand a good chance of winning. This breed gets along with most other things including other dogs and children. They can be aloof with strangers but will quickly warm up to them and show plenty of affection. 

Shih Tzu approaching
Shih Tzu approaching a stranger.

A Shih Tzu weighs about 9 to 16 pounds at maturity and is 10.5 inches tall or less. The breed also has one of the longest life expectancies among dogs because it lives to be between 10 to 16 years, with some Shih Tzus known to live till 18! 

Their fur coat is quite high maintenance but on the upside, it does not shed much. Usually calm and affectionate, Shih Tzus are easy to train and are great companions.

8. French Bulldog

A close cousin of the Bulldog, the French Bulldog, or “Frenchie,” has all the characteristic features of a Bulldog like loose, wrinkly skin and a flat face. This breed is one of the larger ones on this list as adult Frenchies can be up to 28 lbs and as tall as 12 inches. They have minimal grooming needs and don’t shed much. 

French Bulldog puppy outside
French Bulldog puppy standing on the grass.

Frenchies can be energetic but tire easily and are prone to many serious health conditions. This is because they belong to a group of dogs called brachycephalic dogs. Brachycephalic dogs are characterized by their short noses and wide heads, and they include breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Boston Terriers. 

While they may look cute, it’s important to be aware of the health concerns that come with owning a brachycephalic dog. Because of their short noses, they often have trouble breathing, and they are also more prone to overheating. You’ll have to take care of these dogs while exercising them as they can also be prone to respiratory distress.

9. Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is an excellent companion dog because they are affectionate, easy-going, and small. Weighing 12 to 18 pounds and standing 10 to 11 inches tall, Lhasa Apsos are known for their lush, floor-length fur coat that comes in a range of colors. 

Lhasa Apso
A Lhasa Apso proudly trotting

The beautiful fur coat requires regular brushing with the correct brush to maintain its health. They do not shed too much despite their long hair. Lhasa Apsos make great watchdogs despite their small stature. 

They have a regal appearance and personality but are playful and friendly. Lhasa Apsos may be small but they are quite independent. 

10. Dachshunds

With their trademark short legs and long bodies, Dachshunds have their origins in Germany and they come in different sizes. Standard Dachshunds weigh between 16 to 32 pounds while Miniature Dachshunds weigh 11 pounds or less

happy Dachshund
Happy Dachshund standing on the floor.

Despite their small size, they are excellent hunters with amazing scent-tracking capabilities. They were first bred for badger hunting! Dachshunds have a lot of energy and are very lively, but they have an independent streak which has given them a reputation for being stubborn and difficult to train

They shed moderately and have low grooming needs. Because of their exceptionally long bodies, they are prone to a few spine problems. 

11. Schipperke

Weighing 11 to 18 pounds and standing 13 inches, the Schipperke is a small Belgian breed of dog that is known for its black fur and fox-like appearance. While the breed is relatively rare, it has gained popularity in recent years as a companion dog. 

two Schipperkes
Two Schipperkes enjoying a sunny day out

The Schipperke is an intelligent and active breed and is well-suited to homes with active families. They are also relatively easy to train and are generally good with children. However, their high energy levels can make them challenging to live with if they are not given sufficient exercise. 

Final Thoughts 

“No matter how big your pup is, having a dog is a big responsibility and requires lots of thought and consideration.'”

OodleLife Veterinarian Dr Charlotte Stiles (DVM)

There ya go! Plenty of little dogs that don’t grow big to choose from. Just remember, being little doesn’t mean a dog isn’t active, so be sure to do your research and find one that suits your lifestyle!