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Best Small Dogs for Families

You’ve decided to bring a dog home. If you're thinking of the best small dogs for apartment living or young children, our Charlotte veterinarians have got you covered. Though these breeds may be small in size, they are big on personality.

What should I consider when looking for the best small dog for families?

Care Needs: What are the specific care requirements of that pup you have your eye on? Do they have specific grooming needs, or known health risks? Who will walk it? Think about your new pet and who will be responsible for training and daily care.

Size: If you have young, rambunctious kids who love to run and play, you’ll want to carefully consider if a small dog is for you, since some breeds may be more fragile, while large dogs can feel more confident due to their stature (although they may require regular grooming and walks, and need a large yard). 

French Bulldog and Child

Temperament: Dogs can be jovial and playful, calm and laid-back, or anywhere in between - just like people. Ensure your new pet has a temperament that matches your brood’s.

Energy: You’ll find some dogs are incredibly physically active and needs lots of stimulation - they love spending their days running top speed in the yard and playing with their owners, while others are more content to lie next to you while you read. Decide among the family whether you’re looking for a running buddy or a more cuddly canine. If you live in a smaller space, you may want to read up on the best small dogs for apartment living. 

Now that you know what to consider when it comes to choosing a dog, let’s look at the best small dogs for kids.

Best Small Dogs for Families


Poodles are known for their eagerness to please their owners, fondness for people and of course, their playful nature. Their agility and sharp sense of intelligence means training is easy and fun.

However, they’ll need mental stimulation and exercise to ensure all that energy is used constructively, and this breed will need training to curb the instinct to rule as the alpha dog.


This breed has long been famous for its happy-go-lucky, friendly personality. A combination of pack instincts, gentle disposition and even temperament make it a go-to choice for families with children. Bonus: its short coat makes grooming easy.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This toy spaniel is sweet, gentle, and attentive - perfect for a family looking for a canine companion for children, whom they get along with nicely. And, not to worry if you have another dog in the house - they are known for being amiable. This breed’s athleticism means they’ll also be up for chasing squirrels in the park, or that frisbee you’ve been meaning to take for a spin.

French Bulldog

A couch potato that requires little exercise (a daily walk will be enough to keep this breed in shape), French Bulldogs are known for being gentle, humorous companions to children, as well as mischievous. Its alertness means it’s also a great watchdog, while its short coat is low-maintenance and only requires occasional brushing.

Wondering which small dog breed is best for you? Our Charlotte vets can provide insights and advice. Contact us today.

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