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Good Small Breed Dogs for First Time Dog Owners: Slideshow

Learn some of the small breed dogs that we think are great for first time dog.

Good Small Breed Dogs for First Time Dog Owners: Slideshow

Are you considering getting a dog for the first time? Thinking a small dog will fit best into your home and lifestyle? We've compiled a list of small breed dogs that tend to have great personalities and relatively easy care requirements. These are in no particular order. Remember, all dogs need basic veterinary and grooming care and require good socialization and kind handling to develop their best personality. It's important to remember that small dogs are more easily injured than large dogs and may not be right for certain homes.

Bichons are loving, friendly, and cute.

Bichon frise

Bichons are small, generally ending up between 6.5 and 11 pounds. They tend to be friendly, smart, and loving. They will need to be groomed regularly to keep their coats short, clean, and to avoid matting. These dogs don't shed, but they can still be a problem for people who are allergic to dogs.

Havanese dogs are cute, friendly, and love to be with you.


These dogs are energetic, have great attitudes, and love to stick close by their human(s). They will require frequent grooming to keep their coats silky and untangled. Havanese dogs want to please their people, so they learn quickly. They will need routine haircuts and brushing in between.

Boston terriers think they’re bigger than they are.

Boston terrier

This is a small dog with a big dog attitude. Boston terriers tend to be good-natured and accommodating. They can play all day long, but like to snuggle in on their human's lap to watch TV, too. They like to act like clowns, and if they are well-socialized, they're friendly to everyone and good with other dogs and cats, too.

When properly socialized, shih tzus love everyone.

Shih Tzu

These little balls of fur and love are wonderful companions. They want to be with people, whether they're playing, walking, or cuddling. It's important to socialize them well when they're puppies. Avoid carrying them everywhere or letting them get away with nipping or jumping behavior because it's cute in such a tiny dog. Those behaviors will escalate and may result in a yappy, snappy adult dog. However, when diligence in training and socialization is practiced, shih tzus are wonderful pets.

Yorkies need frequent brushing.

Yorkshire terrier

Yorkies are beautiful, friendly dogs. They do have a tendency to want things their own way, so proper training and socialization are critical. They will need to have frequent brushing and trips to the groomer every couple of months for a trim. Even though they are small, Yorkies have a lot of energy that needs to be channeled into appropriate activities like going for walks and playing.

Be sure not to let your pug dog get overweight.


These dogs are muscular, robust, and friendly. They need large amounts of attention, preferring to always be with a human or canine companion. Because of their shortened faces, they may have breathing problems, low tolerance for heat, and may not be able to exercise as much as longer-nosed dogs. It will be important to control your pug's diet carefully, so he doesn't get overweight. Still, pugs are fun, loving family dogs that require only the basic grooming that all dogs need.

Poodles are among the smartest of dogs.

Miniature or toy poodle

Poodles are smart, learn fast, and love to be physically active. Training and continued activity are important for these dogs because even though they're small, they are physical, and lack of exercise and mental stimulation can result in inappropriate behaviors like chewing and barking. Agility training might be a great activity for a poodle. Your small poodle will need to go to the groomer every 6-8 weeks.

Rescuing a small mixed breed dog from a shelter is a great idea.

Mixed breed

Rescuing a dog is the best way to add to your family. You can find purebred dogs through rescue groups and shelters. You can also find great mixed breed small dogs. Combining the characteristics of two or more breeds can result in a delightful personality and physical characteristics. Don't rule out a mixed breed when you're thinking about getting a small dog. You may even be able to determine what breeds make up your adorable mutt: "Canine DNA Testing."

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