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“Cute” is a totally subjective concept. Even “small” can be subjective. After all, if you’re 6-feet-4-inches, anyone under 6 feet can look small to you. However, we are bravely putting forth our list of 12 small, cute dogs that rank high in the “adorable” category, while also being among the smallest breeds recognized by the AKC. They’re in no particular order: we can imagine the arguments that would ensue if we ranked this list! We’re absolutely sure we’ve left out someone’s favorite cute small breed.

cav king charles spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If you aren’t enchanted by this joyous, gentle little dog, check your pulse. Happy, adaptable, and loving, with heart-melting twinkling eyes, the Cavalier is an ideal companion. Although weighing in at only 13-to-18 pounds, there’s still a lot to love in this tiny, graceful package.


The national dog of Cuba is popular worldwide for his charm, playfulness, and intelligence. His silky coat, arched tail, and springy gait just add to his cuteness. Sturdy and spirited, he’s as good at dog sports, such as agility and rally, as he is at warming your lap.


As any Pug owner knows, it’s hard to make it down the street without someone bending over to ooh and aah over your dog. It’s a toss-up, which is more winning: their cute little monkey faces and square bodies or their mischievous, lovable personalities.

bichon frise

Bichon Frise
We could almost stop the list right here, because there is nothing cuter than this little ball of fluff. With his dark, inquisitive eyes, pep, and cheerful disposition, the Bichon Frise is irresistible. Bonus: the breed is hypoallergenic.

italian greyhound

Italian Greyhound
While some are drawn to fluffy dogs, others may find the sleek and elegant Italian Greyhound better fits their definition of cute. This diminutive Greyhound, standing just over one foot tall, is full of grace, sweetness, and affection.


If those butterfly ears don’t win you over, the Papillon’s happy and alert personality will. The breed is a perfect package of daintiness, elegance, and liveliness. More robust than he looks, the Papillon loves dog sports, learning tricks, and being your adorable sidekick.

norfolk terrier

Norfolk Terrier
Just because he’s small, doesn’t mean he’s a lap dog. The Norfolk Terrier was bred to hunt vermin and small animals, with a hardy, sporting instinct. Compact, with expressive eyes and wiry coat, he’s a fun-loving and friendly companion.

boston terrier

Boston Terrier
Anyone who thinks he doesn’t care for small dogs hasn’t met the Boston Terrier. Rarely will you find such an amusing and intelligent canine companion. That compact little body, weighing in at no more than 25 pounds, has a unique tuxedo coat and, combined with those expressive dark round eyes, he’s both handsome and adorable.

yorkshire terrier

Yorkshire Terrier
Is it any surprise that this is one of the AKC’s most popular breeds? Yorkies pack a lot of personality into those small bodies. They’re sprightly, affectionate, inquisitive, and energetic. The coat is their crowning glory: with a silky coat that is parted on the face and flows straight down each side of his body, he’s runway ready.


This cocky little extrovert probably doesn’t think of himself as cute, but with his dense coat and an expression that seems to be smiling at you, you may find him adorable. He’s a lively, animated companion, with a personality much bigger than his diminutive stature.

french bulldog

French Bulldog
Described as having bat ears and a smushed, wrinkly face, the French Bulldog may not sound very cute, but he’s actually downright irresistible. He’s so playful, affectionate, and smart that he can turn anyone into an adoring fan of the breed. Muscular and compact, this little charmer only stands about 12 inches tall and weighs in at 20-28 pounds (males) or 16-24 pounds (females).

japanese chin

Japanese Chin
This dog is so adorable that you may not mind that he thinks he’s the boss of you. With his straight silky coat and plumed tail, he looks like a little aristocrat, and he does have a noble, almost catlike air. But he’s also a bundle of joy and charm — loving, loyal, and sensitive — that lives to be your companion.
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Selecting a Puppy

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