Small dogs sometimes get a bad rap as being “yappy,” hyperactive and harder to train, but as with any stereotype, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, the smaller breeds do indeed pack a lot of personality into a little body. However, they are faithful companions with a lot of heart and have a loving disposition with adults and children alike.

Small dogs can be happy in any space, from a large home to a modest studio apartment, and they tend to live longer than their larger counterparts (from 12 to 20 years), but don’t lump them all in one small box. The following breeds have some striking differences between each of their personalities.


The Chihuahua hails from Central or South America and is a descendant of a dog known as the Techichi. They usually weigh no more than 6 pounds and stand about 6-inches tall. Small dogs with big-dog attitudes, Chihuahuas rule the roost of any space they are in, but despite their stature, they still need sufficient training like any other dog. Breed hallmarks include big eyes and a round or apple-shaped head. They come in a variety of colors and long or short coats.

Chihuahuas do well in a home without small children — they are a little too dainty for rough play. They also need protection from the cold but are otherwise adaptable and good-natured pets.

Chihuahua Overview

Temperament: Charming, Graceful, Sassy

Height: 5-8 inches

Weight: Up to 6 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-16 years