8 of the Best Mini Dog Breeds

Dog breeds come in all shapes and sizes. From the tiny Chihuahua to the large Great Dane, there seems to be a dog breed for everyone. In fact, some people have even created hybrid dogs by crossing two different purebreds together. But what about those of us who don’t want a big dog? For those looking for something small but not too tiny, we compiled a list of eight mini dog breeds that are perfect for apartment living or just lounging on the couch with you!

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a toy breed that has been around since ancient times. Though their origins aren’t entirely clear, they’re believed to have developed from crosses between Spanish Water Dogs and Pugs, with some speculation that they also have Affenpinscher or Griffon Bruxellois in their ancestry. These dogs were particularly popular during the Victorian Era, though they fell out of favor in the late 19th century due to a distemper epidemic that swept through Europe. After being largely forgotten for many decades, they are now becoming more popular again thanks to appearances on shows like Frasier and The Middle .


Originally bred to be family companions, the Havanese is notable for being one of very few breeds developed in the United States. They are believed to have descended from Bichon Tenerife and Poodle crosses brought over by Spanish sailors, but today’s Havanese has diverged from these origins and is largely considered a separate breed. They are very people-oriented dogs who love nothing more than spending time with their family…which may explain why owners report that they’re often referred to as the Velcro dog !

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Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher has been around since the late 19th century, when rat terriers were bred down in size to reduce their prey drive and make them suitable for apartment living. Today’s Min Pin can be somewhat independent, but they’re still known to form strong bonds with their families and even follow them around like puppies! These little dogs should not be underestimated either; it’s believed that they contributed to creating both the Doberman Pinscher and the German Shepherd Dog .


The Bolognese is a small breed believed to have descended from the Maltese. While they are often referred to as “poodle-like” by their owners, they are not technically related to poodles…it’s just that their fluffy coats and bright eyes make them look the part! Bologneses were favored by Italian noblewomen during the 16th century, but after playing a role in creating the Yorkshire Terrier, Coton de Tulear, and Havanese they fell out of fashion until recently having been reincarnated as popular pets once again. 5) Pug: Coming all the way from China, Pugs quickly became favorites among Chinese Emperors and Buddhist monks due to their intelligence and affectionate personalities. These dogs were so well-regarded that they were often buried with their owners during the Tang Dynasty, leading to them being named one of Time Magazine’s best historical pets . Over time, Pugs came west and became favorites among European nobility. Queen Elizabeth II famously owned several Pugs , including her first dog Rolfe who was even made a member of the British Empire!

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Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is one of the world’s oldest companion breeds, having been kept by Chinese Emperors as early as 206 BC. They’re believed to have mostly descended from small Spaniel-type dogs imported over from Europe during the 16th century though it’s also possible that they share some ancestry with the Pug and Pekingese . They were eventually brought west during the Victorian Era, where they became favorites of nobility on both sides of the Atlantic. Today these little dogs are mostly kept as companion animals though they have also performed well in a variety of dog sports including agility, obedience, rally obedience, tracking, flyball, freestyle, and even herding!

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is believed to be one of very few breeds developed twice in two separate parts of the world. Though their exact origins are unknown, records indicate that small fluffy white “caniche” dogs were popular pets among Italian nobility during the Renaissance…leading many to believe that they descended from Asian Spaniel-type dogs similar to the Japanese Chin. Later, these little dogs found their way over to France where they were crossed with small poodles (which explains why they’re one of the few non-shedding breeds) and water spaniels to produce a breed that we now call the Bichon Frise! Today this breed is mostly kept as a companion animal but has also historically performed well in agility and obedience trials and even successfully completed guide dog training !

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer’s origins are somewhat unknown since it appears to be a combination of several different smaller German Spitz breeds. However, records indicate that small Schnauzers were popular pets among European nobility during the 19th century leading many to believe that these little dogs are descended from German Spitz-type dogs. The Miniature Schnauzer was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1926, but initially they were known as “Zwergschnauzers” (“Dwarf Schnauzers”) due to their smaller size compared to the Standard Schnauzer.

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Mini dogs are a popular choice for dog owners who live in small apartments and/or have limited outdoor space. They’re also often favored by people with allergies or respiratory sensitivities, as they tend to produce less dander than larger breeds.