Cuddly Breed Suggestions?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 6:03am PST 
Hi everyone,

After wanting to adopt for over a year, my partner and I are looking to bring a dog (maybe a puppy) into our family sometime towards the end of this year. We have researched a lot but are a bit stuck on which breeds we should be focusing on. I was hoping you may be able to point me in the right direction of some suitable small breeds for us with your incredible wealth of knowledge! smile

Not sure if this will help, but a little about us; We're a happy family of 2. We are pretty relaxed people & we'd definitely prefer to sit in a park or a cafe than go for a hike on the weekend. We can provide minimum about 1 - 2 hours exercise per day (in addition to playing). We are people who will want to bring our dog everywhere he or she is welcome. We both love and have grown up with large dogs our whole lives (I grew up with pitts & staffs, and he with rotties) but are now deciding to get a small dog.
Naturally our dog will sleep and spend most time inside, so not sure if this is important but we live in Sydney, Australia where temperatures average between 25 - 35C (77 - 95F) in summer & 5 - 15C (41 - 59F) in winter. It does not snow in our city.

We are looking for a dog that is;
Toy - Small sized. Maybe a petite medium sized dog. Our home & yard is tiny so unfortunately we can not budge on that at all. frown
A big personality!
Relaxed and friendly attitude.
Super cuddly. Has to be a people dog.
Does not bond exclusively to one person. (I've heard many chihuahuas tend to do this. Please correct me if I'm wrong!!)
Not yappy.
Low to medium energy.
Low shedding. I'm happy to groom daily but not too fond having to vacuum shedded hairs up daily.

Haha, I know it's a lot to ask for! Does anyone think there may be a breed that fits the bill? Please let me know me know if I've missed something! smile
Thanks very much!! happy dance

Edited by author Mon Feb 4, '13 6:05am PST


Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 6:58am PST 
I have a Bichon Frise, so I'm a bit biased. Look into that breed. These dogs are around the 10-15 pound range. They have a double coat so they shed very minimally. If you brush them daily (gets the loose hair out from the under the double coat), you can put the dog on your sweater and not have to use the lint remover later.

They are "quirky" dogs so they're not just your regular lap dog. They prefer to be around people a lot, so if nobody can be with the dog for the most part of the day, this may not be the dog for you. They are super cuddly and would be happy sitting on your lap anytime or anyday but they are also zesty dogs so they require exercise to minimize behavior issues. But because they are small dogs you can play with them in your living room and they would do the "bichon buzz" (it is quite an experience!) and that would be sufficient exercise if you don't mind the indoor racket. They would run like Flash Gordon around and around in circles. This is good on rainy days when the walking trails are muddy or when you're sick and won't have the energy to walk the dog.

The biggest challenge with owning a bichon is potty training. My dog took until he was almost a year old before he learned to "hold it". So, I took him out on a strict schedule to avoid indoor peeing. The next biggest challenge is grooming. Their hair needs to be trimmed often around the eyes, mouth, and paws. They also have a super white coat so any dirt on them is very obvious. The next big challenge is avoiding separation anxiety. They will need to be taught that it is okay to be alone for a while.

But once you get those challenges overcome, the bichon is a really rewarding small dog with a big personality! And they can even be around children - they're not as "fragile" as the other small breeds (of course, the kids would still need to be careful - the bichon is a small dog after all).

Hope this helps.

Noms for the- pug...
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 9:30am PST 
Well, right up until you said low shedding, I thought a pug would fit all of your criteria perfectly. laugh out loud

Pugs are wonderful little dogs with big personality and love to cuddle. But they shed like you wouldn't believe. And the hairs are prickly and like to stick in your clothes and even your skin like little needles.

Other breeds you may want to look into are French Bulldogs, Tibetan Spaniels, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. I don't have personal experience with these three breeds, but I'm currently researching them myself for my next dog and they seem like they might fit a lot of your requirements. Beware of health issues in Frenchies and Cavaliers though. And if you end up with any of the flat-faced breeds like Pug, Frencie, etc, you would need to be careful not to over-exert them in the summer. My pug could handle about a 30 min walk in the shade when he was in his prime. If you're just bringing them out to chill at a park or cafe, make sure you find a shaded area and have water available for them to drink.

My family has had 3 chihauhaus and I would not suggest that breed for you because many of them are not really people dogs. The 3 I grew up with were bonded to the immediate family but that was it. They did not like to be around strangers (as in anyone they didn't see on a daily basis).

You may also want to consider a mixed breed rescue. I had a neighbor who rescued a pekinese/poodle mix from a shelter and that little dog would have easily suited your lifestyle.


Miss- Pig!
Barked: Mon Feb 4, '13 11:12am PST 
Considering the soaring temps you get where you are, i'd probably steer clear of French Bulldogs, Pugs and other brachycephalic breeds. They don't generally do well in extreme heat and i know parts of Australia has been having some crazy hot temps lately!

I do like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel recommendation, but the breed is not a particularly healthy one. You would need to do a great deal of research into finding a really great breeder who is doing all the recommended health tests and is producing healthy and sound dogs if you chose to go the breeder route. Obviously going through rescue that is one disadvantage in not knowing the dogs health. They are extremely loving and good family dogs. Friendly with everyone, sweet, gentle and happy little things. A really great little breed.

The advantage of going with an adult rescue dog is knowing it's temperament and most are already house trained and have some basic training in place. You can explain to the staff exactly what you're looking for so they can do their very best in matching you up with the right dog.

Edited by author Mon Feb 4, '13 11:14am PST

Kip & Oogie

Goof Fox & Diva- Squirrel
Barked: Wed Feb 6, '13 12:33am PST 
You know, while many chihuahuas are one-person-dogs, I wouldn't say all of them are that way... I grew up in an area where there were TONS of chihuahuas, and how they turned out depended on both genetics and socialization... well bred chis that were socialized around multiple people from early on ended up being great, cuddly, personable little dogs. Ones from sketchy pasts that weren't given the opportunity to socialize ended up downright nasty and mean towards strangers. That was just my observation though, and I think that's a truth that crosses all breeds to some degree.

I myself have two pomeranian/chihuahua mixes from the same litter and both are great little dogs. The female is quiet, sweet, low energy, and on the independent side. The male is the cuddliest/most affectionate dog I've ever encountered; he is literally a noodle of a dog and sleeps in my arms every night- total velcro dog with a very silly personality. They are both good around strangers in part because they were socialized from the get-go; that said I am their favorite person with my boyfriend coming in at a close second. They shed very little considering they are long-haired!

So in your search, don't rule out mixed breed dogs- they can be great too! Regardless of the breed you pick, if you end up picking a puppy from a litter then my advice for your chance at the most "cuddly" dog would be to get the one that is interested in you, yet also chill enough to be picked up/rolled on it's back without struggling. It's been said that males are more affectionate than females, and while I've had that experience with my two, I think affection level depends more on personality than sex (ie: submissive dogs will be more likely to be cuddly than dominant or independent dogs, male or female). Not really a breed recommendation, but hopefully it helps when it comes time to pick out your pup- whatever breed you choose big grin