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This little dog is inquisitive and hardy, quick to learn and a little scrappy, with true terrier tendencies like rooting and digging. Temperament: Cairn Terriers are independent but eager to please, and tough enough to romp with the whole family. Like many terriers, the Cairn needs daily physical and mental exercise, like a moderate walk where he can sniff and explore the world around him. Plan on combing the Cairn’s wire coat weekly, along with an occasional trim.

This sweet little dog has earned a reputation as one of the best small dogs for kids, with a gentle demeanor, quiet nature, and love of companionship. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel makes an excellent upbeat companion. Temperament: Deciding which are the best small dog breeds for your family is always a personal choice, but Cavaliers may be a good option. They are amiable toward other dogs and strangers, easy to train and well-behaved with kids. The Cavalier loves to sniff and chase, so he’ll need a fair amount of exercise each day, but he’ll take it the form of play or a quick walk around the block. The Cavalier’s long coat needs to be brushed about every other day, with occasional trimming. Known as one of the smallest dogs (even among tiny dog breeds!), this pocket-sized pup is still full of big personality, with lively energy and fierce loyalty to his family. Chihuahuas have tons of character and some headstrong tendencies, but their devotion is unquestionable. Temperament: Chihuahuas may be reserved with strangers and tend to do best with kids who are older or more patient. Chihuahuas are lively, but they can do very well getting exercise indoors.

In fact, many may be sensitive to cold or extreme outdoor temperatures. Short-coated varieties need minimal care, including brushing to remove dead hairs, while longer coated varieties require brushing a few times a week, plus trimming every few months. There are two kinds of Corgi – Cardigan Welsh and Pembroke Welsh. The latter is distinctive due to his lack of a tail. Temperament: As far as miniature dog breeds go, Corgis are sturdy for their size and generally good with kids. They tend to be well mannered with strangers, but may bark from time to time. They’re hardy and agile for their size, and need leash walks or moderate play sessions regularly. Plan on brushing your Corgi’s coat once or twice a week. Low to the ground with a great sense of smell, these fearless little dogs hail from 1600s Germany, and were bred to help weed the farm of vermin. Personality: Loveable, friendly and playful, Dachshunds generally make good family pets. Temperament: Longer haired varieties may be quieter, while wirehaired varieties may be more outgoing. In general, Dachshunds are good with kids in their own family. Dachshunds can do well in apartments, but these little dogs still like to sniff, scratch and explore outside. Weight: 11-32 lbs., depending on whether the dog is miniature or standard. Smooth varieties need brushing about twice a year, while longhaired breeds need brushing once a week and the occasional trim. Both should also have their long ears cleaned with a cotton ball about once a month. Go ahead and call them the class clown of the small dog breeds, because these silly little dogs love to play and entertain. Personality: French Bulldogs are fun-loving and carefree, with a sweet and snuggly side. Temperament: Their sturdy stature makes Frenchies great family pets who love to cuddle and snooze with their human companions. Short walks should suffice to keep Frenchies happy, but take care in warm weather, as they don’t do well in a lot of heat. The Frenchie’s fine, smooth coat doesn’t need much maintenance, just an occasional brush, though he does have face wrinkles that should be cleaned regularly with a damp washcloth. This happy-go-lucky little dog is the only native breed of Cuba and was originally bred to be a pampered lap dog amongst the aristocracy.

Personality: Like many miniature dog breeds meant to be companions, the happy Havanese is intelligent, outgoing and loves to be the center of attention. Temperament: These small puppies take an equal-opportunity approach to affection. They are good with kids, non-aggressive toward other pets and tend to be easy to train, though they may be vocal from time to time. Havanese can do well in apartments, but they still need daily play or short walks.

The Havanese has a hypoallergenic coat and doesn’t shed, but he requires regular trimming and brushing two to three times a week. Smart, sharp and spry, these small dogs love action and are known to wander off in search of adventure. Temperament: Jack Russell Terriers get along with kids, but like other small dog breeds that come from Terrier stock, they may chase cats, and it might be best to keep them away from small pets. In true Terrier fashion, these small dogs need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, or they may bark, dig and get into trouble. Jack Russells need brushing around once a week, along with occasional trims around the face and feet for rough-coated varieties.

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