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Best Small Family Dogs

Best Small Family Dogs

You want a dog to keep your kids company and teach them responsibility, but maybe you live in an apartment or don't want to deal with big messes in the puppy stage. Our Capitola vets advise some of the best small dog breeds to welcome into your family.

Choosing the Best Small Breed For Your Family

Before adopting any pet, it's important to do your research so you know you're getting the new addition to your family best suited to you. If you're looking for a family pet, the best dog breed to compliment your lifestyle and to get along with your children may not be the same as another family's ideal breed.

Depending on if you have very active or more relaxed children, you'll want a pup who can keep up with their lifestyle and suit their energy levels.

Households with very young children may consider adopting an older dog with a gentle temperament, as they will require less training and be more tolerant.

Small Dog Breeds Suitable for Families

Every dog has its own personality, and temperaments can change depending on a number of factors, but there are biological elements to dog traits depending on their breed. Below are some of the best small dog breeds for your family.


The Yorkipoos are an intelligent and energetic mix of Yorkshire Terrier and miniature Poodle. This breed is fortunately hypoallergenic and loves to play! This is the perfect small dog for an active family who doesn't mind a bit of barking.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers usually weigh just under 25 pounds and have big personalities! This delightful breed craves companionship and loves to spend time with the family. While some Boston Terriers high-energy, others can be very gentle and sweet. Carefully observing the puppy play before adopting can tell you what you need to know about their personality.


Pugs make peaceful family pets that are perfect for apartment living. Like humans, this sturdy breed loves to eat and sleep and may need a little encouragement to get out and exercise. If your family loves to curl up on the couch together to watch movies, a pug might be the ideal breed for you. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (what a name!) loves to cuddle but does require a fair amount of exercise to be content. A home with a fenced yard is ideal for this little sporting breed so they may chase squirrels, chipmunks and butterflies to their heart's content. Cavaliers need companionship and really enjoy spending time with kids and other dogs.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a playful, loving, bundle of fun! With minimal shedding and a longer lifespan, your kids will adore having this little character in their lives. The Bichon Frise forms strong ties with their humans and doesn't like to spend extended periods of time alone. This is the ideal small dog breed for active, fun-loving families!

Cocker Spaniel

Good with older children and even-tempered, the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest breed of typically athletic dogs. These pups love romping around in the garden with the kids or playing with other dogs. Cocker Spaniels can adapt well to apartment living, but they do crave companionship and don't do well left alone for long periods of time.

The Mutt

Maybe 'mutts' aren't an official breed, but they can and do make excellent family pets! Mutts come in all shapes and sizes, just visit your local shelter or puppy rescue and see! With a little patience and determination, you could rescue a puppy and find the ideal small dog for your family.

For more advice on choosing the best dog for your family, contact our Capitola vets today.

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Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Capitola companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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