So your kid wants a dog. And they want one that’s small and cute.
You agree; a dog will keep your child occupied on the days you come home late. Or on rainy days. Even on the days when you’re working at home, trying to ward off distractions.
But there are countless cute small dog breeds, and you’re torn about which to adopt. When you look into their eyes, you see nothing but heaven. You want to grab them all and run.
But, pause. Take a moment to select the best small dog breed for kids. Dogs are our best friends, yes, but certain breeds thrive as companions.
As well, some dogs are better trained by adults, while others can easily be handled by kids.
So it’s best to understand the best small dog breeds for kids
We know, we know, they’re all cute, but … you can do it!
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Dog a Good Companion?
- Barbichon Dogs: For Kids Who Love Entertainment
- The Dachshund: For Kids who Love to Snuggle
- The Boston Terrier: The Dog With Heaven’s Eyes
- The Yorkshire Terrier: The War Dogs
- Let’s Make it a Happy Place
What Makes a Dog a Good Companion?
What does your child enjoy doing? Running? Skateboarding? Reading?
This is the first question you should ask yourself when deciding on what is the best small dog breed for kids. It will help determine the canine personality to look out for.
While some dogs can play and run all day, others would rather sit in your lap, listening to bedtime stories.
Here are some general factors to consider:
- Energy: If your child likes to play, getting them a cute lap dog will not meet their needs. Consider a dog that has a high energy level. One that’ll be active during playtime.
- Loyalty: Every child needs a loyal friend, and some dogs fit this description better than others. They’ll follow their owners everywhere. The Xoloitzcuintli is one of the most loyal dog breeds there is. They come as toys, miniature, and large breeds.
- Affection: Some dogs connect deeply with their owners. They listen, snuggle, and make you happy when you’re down. If your child is emotional, you’ll want to consider a dog that fulfills this need.
- Friendliness: Certain dogs are more child-friendly than others.
The Quick List
The below table is a quick breakdown of small dog breeds that make the best companions for kids.
|Breed||Why They Make the Best Companion for Kids|
|Barbichon Dogs || |
|Dachshund || |
|Boston Terriers || |
|Yorkshire Terriers |
Barbichon Dogs: For Kids Who Love Entertainment
Barbichon dogs are a related breed of dogs that originated in the Mediterranean and is #1 on our list of best small dog breeds for kids.
Most Barbichons are toy dogs, weighing between 4 and 20 pounds. They make brilliant companions and performers and are often used in dog shows and other showbiz.
The Bichon Frise
Height: 9–11 inches
Weight: 12–18 pounds
Cute, funny, and easy to train, this circus dog (pronounced “bee-shawn free-say”) will win kids’ hearts with these endearing traits:
- They’re highly affectionate. Love them silly, and they’ll love you right back.
- Bichons are always in a good mood. Well, except when you leave them at home all day. This breed loves attention.
- Forget their tiny nature; the American Kennel Club (AKC) gives them a 4 out of 5 for energy. If your child is looking for a fashion dog to tuck into a purse … maybe not the Bichon. It just might jump out of that purse in the middle of a red carpet!
- They easily adapt to training, but they prefer a gentle approach. Who provides lighter training than kids?
- Remember what we said about their energy level? Yeah. Teach them a few tricks and Bichons will use them to crack you up all day. They’re entertainers.
- They easily make friends with people and other animals.
The breed came into the U.S. in 1956 but didn’t make it to the AKC Studbook until 1972.
In 1973, the AKC admitted Bichons into its dog shows. They were classified under the “Non-Sporting Group.”
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: 7–12 pounds
Cousins to the Bichon, the Havanese have their roots in Cuba. The AKC welcomed them in 1995.
And what makes the Havanese special?
- They were originally brought up as companions. This means they adapt well in all houses and families.
- The AKC gives them a 5 out of 5 rating for playfulness.
- They love paper! Don’t ask us the story behind that, though.
- Absolutely child-friendly.
- They don’t bark too loud or too often, though they can be protective when the need arises.
- The Havanese is another affectionate breed. They were even once used as therapy dogs.
- They follow their owners everywhere.
- They’ll live with your child for up to 14 years.
Many breeds from the Barbichon family are natural companions. As mentioned earlier, they’re often trained as performance dogs, so things will never get boring with a Barbichon.
Here are some mind-blowing tricks to teach them:
The Dachshund: For Kids Who Love to Snuggle
Height: 6–10 inches
Weight: 11–32 pounds
If your kid loves to cuddle, this is the right breed for them. A Dachshund will crawl up onto your blanket, ignoring their own bed.
Since 1950, this breed has been one of the most popular dogs among American families.
And yes, they inspired the name “hot dog,” but there’s much more to their story. We like to call them “The loyal dogs,” and we’ll tell you why.
First, Dachshunds live longer than any other small dog breed. The oldest Dachshund lived to be 25 years, and another lived to be 21 years. This lifespan makes them long-lasting friends. This is an excellent perk, as experts believe that older dogs make better friends for kids.
Secondly, Dachshunds have committed hearts:
- Does your kid fantasize about having a personal escort? Just get them a Dachshund. They follow their owners everywhere. Sometimes they even get protective.
- They enjoy helping around the house. Dachshunds are extremely intelligent and could help kids find their shoes, tie their laces, find their keys, etc.
- Dachshunds often bond closely with their owners.
That’s not all. The Dachshund is packed with other child-friendly attributes besides loyalty:
- They relate well with other animals and people.
- Dachshunds were trained as hunters, so to date, they love burrowing. What are they looking for? No idea, just play along!
- They aren’t particular about the outdoors; they make good indoor dogs.
- They like long walks and exercise.
If your child hasn’t had a dog before, this Weiner breed will be a good start. They’re relatively easy to train, though they can be strong-willed. But if your child enjoys being challenged, they’ll appreciate this attribute. It’ll be an exciting roller coaster of knowing who’s boss; the dog or its owner.
Dachshunds also love being rewarded for their hard work. Here’s a 1-minute watermelon treat to make for them:
The Boston Terrier: The Dog With Heaven’s Eyes
Height: 15–17 inches
Weight: 12–27 pounds
You can’t get mad at a Boston Terrier. You just can’t. One look into their eyes, and you’ll come cuddling back. This is one of the reasons Americans call this breed “The American Gentleman”—they’re just too sweet.
What makes the Boston Terrier adaptable for kids?
- They’re highly intelligent.
- They look tough, but within them is the softest pal.
- Their eyes will make your kids go “awww” even when they feel sad.
- Boston terriers love children.
- They enjoy light training.
- They’re neither too energetic nor dull.
- It’s fun watching them dig into their meals. Does your child enjoy workouts? This will be a wonderful dog to bring along on gym days; they’ve got to burn off all that grub!
- Their bark is neither too loud nor scary.
- They make pretty interesting memes with their wild expressions.
The Boston Terrier is a crossbreed between a White terrier and a Bulldog.
They gained popularity in the U.S. in 1915. In 1979, they became the official mascot of Boston University (Rhett the Terrier).
The Yorkshire Terrier: The War Dogs
Height: 6–8 inches
Weight: 4–7 pounds
There’s a fascinating story about a Yorkshire Terrier, Smoky, who served in WWI.
She was an endearing one, quick to put a smile on people’s faces. So much so that she used to comfort victims of the Biak Island invasion.
Today, Yorkie Terriers are still bundles of joy. Feisty, yet great friends:
- They’re good around people, even strangers
- Great for playing hide-and-seek; they’re so tiny, you’ll barely see them hiding
- They are playful and good around children
- They could also make great lap and elite dogs; they carry themselves with pride
- They’re affectionate
- Though small, they are brave
- They’re not particular about the outdoors; just a little daily outdoor exercise will do
Looking for fun things to do with your dogs? Here is a video for inspiration:
Let’s Make it a Happy Place
When you finally decide what best small dog breed for kids is best for your family let us know in the comments.