Smartest Dog Breeds: Small Breeds

These dogs all make up the smartest breeds in the world, in order of intelligence.

The Shetland Sheepdog, or more commonly and affectionately called Shelties make for excellent family dogs. While they can be quick to back at strangers, they do it as a protective measure rooted in loyalty and watchfulness.

The iconic ears have this pup coined the ‘butterfly dog’. After all Papillon in French means butterfly. This toy-sized Continental spaniel is one of the oldest toy spaniels, dating well past the 16th Century. Their happy disposition make them easily trainable family-friendly dogs.

This sturdy herding dog can round up cattle, sheep, and horses or can curl up at your feet next to a warm fire. They are loyal and eager to please their owners. They are marvelous with kids, making them a great family dog option.

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Whether policing farmland or guarding an apartment, these hypoallergenic dogs are highly adaptable to their environment. They are highly trainable and exhibit inexhaustible love and affection for their owners.

With a propensity to bark as a protective mechanism, this Spitz-type breed originated in Belgium in the 1800s. They were prevalently used as watchdogs and rattlers on the wharfs. This is fitting, as their name means ‘little captain’ in Flemish.

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This compact Spaniel comes in many different colors – even in the same littler. They are smaller than Cocker Spaniels, but they carry similar temperaments, which include hard working and talent in the field and a happy, loving disposition at home.

Cocker Spaniels are the smallest member of the sporting group breeds. They are affectionate dogs, making them great for families. Be aware that grooming their coat often is important to keeping their fur untangled.

The intelligent Pomeranian is the smallest of the Spitz type toy dog and is related to the sled dogs of the Arctic. A prideful dog, they are nonetheless eager to learn and are great with the family.

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The Cardigan is one of the oldest known breeds on record, dating over 3,000 years back to Wales. The Cardigan is larger than the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. However, both breeds can be called Welsh Corgis in conversation.

Also known as a “Yorkie”, these dogs were originally a blue-collar breed. Anything from being a rattler in the mines to clothing mills in the town, these dogs have adjusted their priorities over the years. They have a more laidback lifestyle today.

These playful dogs love to dig. Bred to run in tandem with foxhounds, their quality traits have bestowed more affectionate, trainable behavior than other terriers.

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This sleek framed terrier, is muscular and full of energy. The jet black coat and chestnut markings make this small breed very recognizable. Always surveying, they remain watchful of their surroundings.

While this pup was bred in Australia to hunt rodents and snakes, they have a happy disposition and are very affectionate with people. They just might keep you on your toes with their cleverness. 

Weighing under 25 pounds, this pup was originally bred in the Scottish Highlands to fearlessly root out foxes in their dens. Since then, it seems they’ve put up their paws. They love attention from their owners and make for cuddly companions.

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Affens were originally bred to exterminate rats and other pets, like many terriers. Although they are pinschers, they have stayed true to terrier energy – busy, bold, and stubborn.

Hailing from Australia, Silky Terriers are a hypoallergenic breed that is content in smaller spaces like an apartment or condo. It gets its name from its long shiny coat.

Coming from Germany, this Miniature Pinscher must not look in the mirror often, as it doesn’t seem to know its own size! Fearless and bold, this fun-loving pup is an extrovert with an infectious, big dog personality.

This British breed of terrier gained recognition as an independent breed in 1964, branching off from its Norwich Terrier variety. They are family friendly dogs who remain active.

No, this isn’t a poodle. Or a lamb. Bedlingtons are unmistakable companions. Their puffy white coat matches their fiery energy and playful demeanor.

Make sure to have a place where this pup can expend its energy. Its sleek and athletic build has all the makings of a terrier breed. These high-spirited, smart pups are wonderful with kids and families.

This Spitz was bred to be a versatile hunting dog agile enough to pursue squirrels and brave enough to hunt bears. These intelligent pups are playful and relatively vocal.

This gentle, regal pup is eager to please. He will let you know it with his ferociously waging tail. Among the larger sized in the Toy Group, they make for great dogs for families of all sizes.

Pronounced BEE-shawn FREE-say, this sweet, cheerful ball of white puff loves to get into mischief. Their compact size makes them great apartment dogs.

This gentle, regal pup is eager to please. He will let you know it with his ferociously waging tail. Among the larger sized in the Toy Group, they make for great dogs for families of all sizes.

While relatively rare, the Tibetan Spaniel makes for a great family companion dog. Their reserve and guarded nature has them watchful and vigilant. To those they befriend, they are happy and playful.

This small terrier, originally bred in England for fox hunting, As they would need to be to chase after foxes, they are clever and bold in personality. To be a family dog, they need to be socialized young.

Also known as a Westie, these terriers are independent and smart dogs who from time-to-time can exhibit some stubbornness. Small and sturdy, these pups make fore great family pets.

Over 300 years old, the dachshund originates from Germany. As one could surmise from their body type, these scent hounds were originally bred to track badgers and other tunneling animals. Of late, it seems like they’d rather kick their paws up and snuggle with the family.

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For a household with older or well mannered kids, this small breed can be a good family pet. Their terrier instincts of boldness, intelligence, and swiftness are not lost on this breed. This little pup is always up for an activity and adventure.

An excellent family dog, these terriers come from Wales. Prevalently used in hunting and sporting, they nonetheless have a softer side when at home. Highly intelligent and fun, their playful nature will have them a centerpiece in the family.

Its unmistakably distinctive tuxedo style coat has had it coined an “American Gentleman”. This level headed dog makes for a great companion.

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These even tempered, smart dogs doesn’t let size get in the way. They are truely fearless. To the family members they chose to be closest, they are very loyal. To strangers, they can be standoffish.

This British breed of terrier gained recognition as an independent breed in 1964, branching off from its Norwich Terrier variety. They are family friendly dogs who remain active.

After a more serious history hunting otters, foxes, and badgers, this breed has evolved its more brutish temperament to one of the friendliest of the Terrier Group breeds.

While there are a number of Instagram famous dogs now, Pugs actually have a long history, originating in China. They have distinctive features in the face with their short muzzles and brick-like, thick frame.

The signature look of a French Bulldog is striking. These miniature bulldogs have bat like ears. Their size and unrelenting love for humans make them great companion dogs.

The Shetland Sheepdog, or more commonly and affectionately called Shelties make for excellent family dogs. While they can be quick to back at strangers, they do it as a protective measure rooted in loyalty and watchfulness.

Weighing in at less than 7 pounds, these foot heigh canines make up for in personality what they lack in stature. As a very popular hypoallergenic breed, they check many boxes for people.

Italian Greyhounds are the smallest of the sighthounds. They are shy by nature so they may whither in new social situations, but once they fee comfortable, their gentle, loving personality is special.

Standing at about a foot tall, the Chinese Crested has a shocking presence, given its distinctive grooming styles. It might not look it, but it fur is soft and silky.

This small Scottish terrier gain popularity back in the day for its brilliance in tracking otters. While its appearance doesn’t sing ‘terrier’, on the inside, this pup is all terrier.

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As the ‘Holy Dog of Tibet’, the Tibetan Terrier has a longstanding duty of watching over the Buddist monasteries high up in the isolated regions of the Himalayas. Their smart and pleasant personalities make them very family oriented.

Most likely developed from the Tibetan Spaniel, the Japanese Chin’ brachycephalic facial features (flat-faced, short headed) give it a noble air. This toy breed has been in Asia dating further than 1,500 years.

Coming from humble beginnings bred to patrol the farm, this pup has a welcomed blend of self-assurance and loving charm. There’s no shortage of personality here.

True to their name, these dogs can be a little – stubborn. They can be difficult to train because of it. That said, they have a lively personality and an infectious personality.

This tiny sized dog weighing less than 6 pounds loves being a purse like companion. Loyal to the end, this compact dog is playful and striking. After all, many restaurants and movies have features this breed. For good reason.

Dating back 1,000 years in Tibet, these vigilant watchdogs policed the perimeter of the monasteries high in the Himalayas. Packed in a tight frame, there’s no shortage of wit and charm in this pup.

This low maintenance toy companion is prone to barking. Their personalities are warm and outgoing. They are perfectly comfortable spending most of their time lounging around or cuddle up on the lap of their owner.

An excellent family dog, the Beagle is a small scent hound that can take to the field or can curly up on the couch. They make fantastic companion dogs, for kids and adults.

Originating in China and favored by the Chinese Imperial Court, these regal looking Toy dogs don’t disappoint. Their well balanced personalities make them wonderful compact companions.

Arguably the oldest dog, the “barkless” Basenji is a highly intelligent, compact framed dog. True to their longstanding relationship with people, they can be fiercely loyal to their families. 

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