Best Small Dogs for Kids: Top 10 Family-Friendly Breeds Revealed

Looking to add a furry new family member to your home? One that’s small in size but huge on fun, affection, and kid-friendly energy? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’re dishing on the absolute best small dog breeds that make perfect pint-sized playmates for children.

From the spunky and spirited to the calm and cuddly, we’re breaking down the top pups with the loving personalities and easygoing temperaments to thrive in homes with little ones. Because let’s be honest – families with kids need a four-legged friend who can tolerate lots of noise, energy, and maybe even a rambunctious toddler tackle or two!

Adorably compact but with big dog attitudes, these mighty mites are sure to steal your heart. Get ready to fall head over heels for their cute faces, silly antics, and undying devotion to their families.


The Papillon is a toy-sized dog that usually measures between 8 to 11 inches and weighs around 6 to 10 pounds. Their distinctive appearance includes white fur and irregular brownish or black patches, mostly around their ears and head.

This elegance and grace previously made them a symbol of status, but nowadays, their loving nature and friendliness is what captivates families.

When it comes to getting along with children, Papillons can be delightful companions. They offer a mix of affection, playfulness, and intelligence, which makes them quite suitable for families.

However, like all dogs, they need proper training, socialization, and care to thrive as a loving and cherished member of your household.

Let’s break down some of the key attributes of Papillons that might appeal to your family:

  • Highly trainable: Ranked as one of the brightest toy breeds, Papillons are quick learners and excel in obedience and agility training. This can be a fun activity for you and your kids to engage in together.
  • Playful and lively: These little dogs are full of energy, both indoors and outdoors. Their spirited nature is sure to keep your family entertained and active.
  • Graceful: Papillons are light-footed and elegant, which means they’re less likely to knock over household items like lamps during playtime.
  • Friendly temperament: With proper training and socialization, Papillons can develop a warm and friendly demeanor, making them great companions for kids.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are charming dogs known for their gentle and friendly nature, making them an excellent choice for families with children.

They LOVE to be around people and are famous for their affectionate demeanor. In addition, they are incredibly adaptable, adjusting easily to various environments and situations. With their silky coats and beautiful appearance, you’ll find your home becomes even more lively with a Cavalier as part of the family.

When it comes to training, Cavaliers are eager to please and generally easy to train. As with any dog breed, it’s essential to start training early and remain consistent. Engaging in regular training sessions will not only help you bond with your furry friend but also keep them mentally stimulated.

Here are a few essential tips to remember when raising a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

  • Socialize your Cavalier early, exposing them to various environments, people, and other dogs to promote a confident and well-behaved pup.
  • Establish a daily exercise routine to keep your dog physically active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Regular grooming keeps their coat looking lovely and helps to minimize shedding.
  • Make sure to provide your Cavalier with lots of love and attention; they thrive in environments where they’re part of the family.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are gentle, loving dogs that can form strong bonds with their family members. Their small size makes them suitable for both apartments and larger homes. Plus, their short coat is low-maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about shedding or grooming too much.

As Italian Greyhounds are very sensitive creatures, they’re likely to thrive in a peaceful and harmonious environment. This means they’ll do well in a household where everyone treats them with respect and affection. You’ll get a loyal and loving friend in return!

When it comes to exercise, these agile dogs require regular activity to keep them happy and healthy. While they may have a natural instinct to chase, you don’t need a large yard to keep them entertained. A brisk walk or some playtime in a nearby park should be enough to satisfy their needs.

Remember, though, that it’s important to keep an eye on their diet since they should have a distinct hourglass shape and not be too thin or fat. Feeding them small meals specially formulated for small breeds is recommended.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when introducing an Italian Greyhound to your kids:

  • Be sure your children understand the importance of treating the dog gently and with respect
  • Regularly involve your kids in the dog’s care, such as feeding, walking, and playing
  • Teach your children to recognize the dog’s body language so they know when it’s time to give them space


This affectionate and gentle breed is known for its ability to form strong bonds with its human family members, and with the right training and socialization, they can become a beloved addition to households with children.

One of the best qualities of the Maltese is their adaptability. Whether you live in a cramped apartment or a spacious house with a yard, they’ll be perfectly happy to be part of your family. They do require regular grooming, but their small size means it won’t be too overwhelming.

But how does the Maltese fare with children, exactly? While they can become wonderful companions for kids, they’re more suited for families with older children who understand how to handle small dogs safely. It’s crucial to teach your little ones the importance of gentle interaction and avoid any rough play that might accidentally hurt their furry friend.

To make the Maltese a perfect family member, consider the following tips:

  • Establish a routine for grooming, exercise, and feeding to ensure a healthy and happy Maltese
  • Provide early socialization with other pets and children, as the Maltese will benefit from exposure to various situations
  • Enroll them in positive reinforcement-based obedience training to instill good habits and avoid behavioral issues


beagle sitting on sand

Did you know that Beagles are one of the best small dogs for kids? These cheerful, friendly pups are known to be quite gentle and even-tempered, making them a perfect addition to any family.

While considering a Beagle for your family, you might wonder about their temperament. Luckily, Beagles are known to be very sociable and open to meeting new people.

They’re actually known to make rather poor guard dogs, as they’re usually more excited to greet strangers than to ward them off. This means that you can expect your Beagle to be friendly with both your kids and their playmates.

In addition to their friendly nature, Beagles are also energetic and playful. This makes them an excellent choice for families with active kids who love spending time outdoors, going on walks, and playing fetch.

When it comes to training, Beagles can be a bit stubborn. However, with your guidance and patience, these intelligent pups can learn new tricks and commands. Here are some training tips for your Beagle:

  • Use positive reinforcement with treats and praise
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging
  • Be consistent with commands and expectations

French Bulldog

These adorable little dogs with their distinctive bat ears and compact build are known to be great companions for kids.

In fact, according to the ATTS, French Bulldogs have a stable temperament with a 96.2% passing rate.

So, what makes Frenchies so suitable for families with kids? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Affectionate Companionship: Bred to be companions, French Bulldogs absolutely love being around people. Their loyalty and affection make them a perfect fit for families looking for a furry friend.
  2. Playfulness and Energy Level: Kids love to play, and so do Frenchies! Although not overly energetic, these little canines have a playful side that will keep your children entertained without wearing them out.
  3. Size and Sturdiness: With their small, muscular bodies, French Bulldogs can easily keep up with their young human counterparts. Their compact size also means they’re not too delicate for kids to handle.
  4. Socialization and Training: When French Bulldogs are properly socialized and trained, they adapt well to family life and enjoy meeting new people. This sociable nature ensures your Frenchie will happily interact with everyone in the household.

Remember, proper socialization and training should begin early in a French Bulldog’s life. This will ensure their sweet and friendly personality shines through.

While these dogs are already known for their stable temperament, good habits developed early on will only make them even better companions for your kids.

Bichon Frise

So, you’re looking for a small dog that’s great with kids? The Bichon Frise might be the perfect match!

First things first, you’ll be instantly charmed by the Bichon Frise’s friendly and playful temperament. This playful pup loves to interact with everyone they meet, making them an excellent companion for children.

Always up for snuggling or exploring new places, the Bichon Frise will keep your little ones entertained for hours.

When it comes to living with a Bichon Frise, you’ll find them pretty easy to manage. As an energetic breed, they love to take part in various activities like games and exercises.

No doubt, their affectionate nature is ideal for families craving a loving pet.

Now, you might be wondering if their gorgeous white, curly coat is a hassle? Don’t worry! The Bichon Frise’s hypoallergenic coat is not only beautiful but also low-shedding.

This means less time spent cleaning fur and more time enjoying your new fluffy companion!

Here are some quick facts about the Bichon Frise:

  1. Size: Small, weighing between 10-20 pounds
  2. Lifespan: 12-15 years
  3. Trainability: Highly intelligent and responds well to positive reinforcement
  4. Exercise needs: Moderate, enjoys daily walks and playtime


Originating from Cuba, Havanese dogs belong to the Bichon family. They’re known for their charming personalities, small stature, and adaptability as family pets.

Several factors make them stand out as great options when considering a small dog for your family:

  • Size: Havanese dogs typically weigh between 7 and 13 pounds, with a height of 8 to 11 inches. Their small size makes them easy to handle and perfect for homes with limited space.
  • Temperament: They’re known for their kind nature, being gentle around babies and young children. What’s more? They tend to bond strongly with all family members.
  • Easy-going attitude: Havanese dogs are slow to anger and can tolerate the occasional rough handling by kids. Their patience and adaptability make them suitable playmates for energetic children.

In addition to their adorable looks and loving nature, Havanese dogs are also intelligent. They enjoy learning new tricks and taking part in different activities with the family.

Some things you can do with your Havanese include:

  1. Obedience training
  2. Agility exercises
  3. Playing fetch
  4. Going for walks together

On top of everything, Havanese dogs are known to be relatively low-shedders, which means less hair around your home and a bonus for those with allergies.

Cocker Spaniel

These friendly, small to medium-sized pups are known for their affectionate and gentle nature around kids. They’re intelligent, easygoing, and just love to shower their human family members with love.

To help your Cocker Spaniel become the best furry friend for your kids, early socialization and training are essential.

These pups are known for their exceptional performance in obedience, agility, and even as guide dogs, so your family will have no trouble with their adaptability and intelligence.

Here are the main facts you should consider when thinking about a Cocker Spaniel:

  • They are medium-sized, with optimal weights ranging from 20 to 35 pounds when fully grown.
  • Their silky, feathery coats are fun for kids to groom, promoting bonding between your child and pet.
  • They are active, hunting dogs, which means they need regular exercise – a perfect opportunity for kids to explore the outdoors together with their new companion.
  • They are generally gentle, friendly, and easygoing, making them ideal family pets, especially for young children.

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