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20 Rare Small Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

jagdterrier dog in the grass

20 Rare Small Dog Breeds (With Pictures)

If you think you know all about every dog breed on the planet, think again! While there are plenty of common small dog breeds like the Poodle or the Shih Tzu, there are also plenty of much rarer dog breeds that you likely haven’t heard of.

We’ve highlighted 20 of these breeds for you here so that you can learn more about these rare yet adorable small dog breeds.

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The 20 Rare Small Dog Breeds

1. Affenpinscher

an affenpinscher dog at the park
Image Credit: Didkovska Ilona, Shutterstock
Height 9 to 11.5 inches
Weight 7 to 10 pounds

The Affenpinscher might be the best-known small dog breed on this list, but that doesn’t quite make them a household name. They’re great companion animals and extremely loving. They’re great lap dogs throughout and through, but they retain a large personality that defies their small size.

2. Biewer Terrier

Biewer terrier
Image Credit: Dominique Bradette, Shutterstock
Height 7 to 11 inches
Weight 4 to 8 pounds

At first glance, the Biewer Terrier reminds you of a Yorkshire Terrier, but there are a few notable differences that make them an entirely different breed. They first came to the United States in 2003, and by 2021, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed.

3. Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier outdoors
Image Credit: Grigorita Ko, Shutterstock
Height 15 to 17.5 inches
Weight 17 to 23 pounds

The Bedlington Terrier is a bit larger than the other small dog breeds on our list so far, but they’re still far from a large dog. They have a unique appearance with curly fur and floppy ears. Just as interestingly, they were once fighting dogs, but with their sweet demeanors today, you would never know!

4. Norwegian Lundehund

norwegian lundehund in white background
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock
Height 12 to 15 inches
Weight 13 to 16 pounds

An ancient hunting dog, the Norwegian Lundehund is a dog breed that almost went into extinction in recent times. They’re making a bit of a comeback but are still extremely rare. Another unique feature about this breed is that every Norwegian Lundehund has six toes on each foot.

5. Bolognese

Image Credit: islavicek, Shutterstock
Height 10 to 12 inches
Weight 4.5 to 8 pounds

The Bolognese is an extremely small dog, but they still retain a compact demeanor compared to many other dog breeds. They’re incredibly playful, but unlike many other small dog breeds with unlimited energy, the Bolognese can calm down a bit once you meet their daily exercise needs.

6. Cesky Terrier

Cesky terrier
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Height 10 to 13 inches
Weight 14 to 24 pounds

While the Cesky Terrier isn’t well known in the United States, they’re actually the national dog of the Czech Republic. They’re natural hunting dogs that work in packs, but they also get along great with kids and are great family dogs.

7. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier standing on grass
Image Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock
Height 8 to 11 inches
Weight 18 to 24 pounds

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is another vermin hunting dog breed, and with long bodies and big heads, their appearance certainly fits the mold. No matter how you look at them, they’re extremely cute. They come from the area between Scotland and England, but today, you can find them all over the world, even if they’re not all that common.

8. Finnish Spitz

Finnish Spitz on the snow
Image Credit: rodimov, Shutterstock
Height 15 to 20 inches
Weight 30 to 35 pounds

The Finnish Spitz is among the largest dogs on our list, but they’re still far smaller than many other dogs out there. While they’re a bit larger, they’re also among the most determined, and this feature makes them great hunting dogs. They’ll stick with their prey for hours, ensuring their target doesn’t get away no matter how long it takes!

9. Nederlandse Kooikerhondje

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dog standing
Image Credit: Lisjatina, Shutterstock
Height 15 to 16 inches
Weight 20 to 30 pounds

The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is another dog breed that’s rare in the United States but more common abroad. They’re popular throughout the Netherlands where they’re a common duck-hunting dog. They hunt in packs and are incredibly loving, although they do need a bit of socialization to ensure they act the way they should around children.

10. Pumi

Two pumi dogs in a studio
Image Credit: jne valokuvaus, Shutterstock
Height 16 to 18.5 inches
Weight 22 to 29 pounds

The Pumi is another dog that is on the larger side of things for this list, but they’re still longer than most other dogs out there. They’re incredibly loving, but they’re also high-energy and need plenty of time outdoors.

Still, if you take the time to train them, they always want to try and please you, and they shed far less than most other dog breeds.

11. Russian Toy

russian toy terrier
Image Credit: Evgeniia Shikhaleeva, Shutterstock
Height 8 to 11 inches
Weight Up to 6 pounds

The Russian Toy dog is a rare dog breed, but it’s also among the smallest dog breeds in the world. They only weigh about 6 pounds, but while they’re tiny dogs, they’re extremely smart and eager to please, making them the perfect lap dog!

12. Skye Terrier

Skye Terrier
Image Credit: Sevostyanaova Tatyana, Shutterstock
Height 9.5 to 10 inches
Weight 30 to 45 pounds

The Skye Terrier is another dog on our list with a vermin-hunting pedigree, but they might be the most distinctive-looking dog here. They have a long coat around their entire body, giving them a shaggy appearance throughout.

And while a quick look at a picture of one of these dogs might make them seem super small, these dogs can reach 45 pounds! Of course, on the smaller side of things, these dogs can top out closer to 30 pounds too.

13. Danish-Swedish Farmdog

Danish Swedish Farmdog
Image Credit: Kewalin Madsen, Shutterstock
Height 12 to 14 pounds
Weight 15 to 20 pounds

The Danish-Swedish Farmdog often goes by the name Danish Puncher, but no matter what you call them, they’re great farm dogs that also have outstanding ratting skills. They get along great with families, but they’ve declined in popularity over the last 50 years, and it doesn’t seem like the breed will be making a revival anytime soon.

14. Dutch Smoushond

Dutch Smoushond
Image Credit: joop snijder photography, Shutterstock
Height 11 to 13 inches
Weight 10 to 11 pounds

As another dog breed with a ratting heritage, the Dutch Smoushond is far from a unique entry on our list. However, the breed almost went completely extinct after World War II, although a more recent revival from breeders has kept the Dutch Smoushond from extinction.

15. Jagdterrier

jagdterrier standing
Image Credit: Oksamutnaya, Shutterstock
Height 13 to 16 inches
Weight 17 to 22 pounds

The Jagdterrier is a working dog with a German heritage, although they haven’t gained a ton of popularity throughout the rest of the world. Other names for them include the Deutscher Jagdterrier or the German Hunt Terrier, and while they’re not currently AKC registered, it seems like formal registration might not be too far down the road.

16. Kromfohrlander

Kromfohrlander dog puppie posing on park bench.
Image Credit: Djordje Novakov, Shutterstock
Height 15 to 18 inches
Weight 20 to 35 pounds

Another sweet and loving dog breed, the Kromfohrlander is still one of the rarer small dog breeds in the world. They’re a little more popular in Europe, but even there it’s not too common to see these dogs. They come in both wire-haired and smooth-haired variants, but both variants belong to the same breed.

17. Löwchen

Little Lion Dog Lowchen
Image Credit: Svetlana Valoueva, Shutterstock
Height 12 to 14 inches
Weight 9 to 18 pounds

While the Löwchen is a rare dog in the United States, they’re a bit more common throughout Europe. The Löwchen is a small put but has a big personality, and since their name translates to “little lion,” this big personality makes tons of sense.

While they’re a rare dog throughout most of the world, they have a longstanding history throughout Europe.

18. Peruvian Inca Orchid

Peruvian Inca Orchid
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock
Height 10 to 26 inches
Weight 18 to 26 pounds

While some Peruvian Inca Orchids fit right into the small dog category, others are far too large. That’s because the Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in small, medium, and large sizes. Most Peruvian Inca Orchids are hairless; however, there are varieties that have hair.

19. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka dog in the grass
Image Credit: Hanicka1982, Shutterstock
Height 10 to 11 inches
Weight 6 to 9 pounds

If you want a super sweet and loving lap dog, the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is an outstanding choice. They’re super small pups that get along great with children and other pets in the home, and they’re relatively easy to train with a bit of consistency.

20. Swedish Vallhund

swedish vallhund dog in the grass
Image Credit: Marcel van den Bos, Shutterstock
Height 12 to 14 inches
Weight 20 to 31 pounds

The Swedish Vallhund might be a small dog, but they have a rich history that dates all the way back to the Vikings. They’re still a relatively rare dog, but the AKC officially recognized the breed in 2007. Even with this, the breed is still pretty rare, and it’s unlikely that the breed will grow too much more in popularity any time soon.


Final Thoughts

While you likely won’t see too many of the dogs on this list walking down the street any time soon, that doesn’t mean they’re not great pups that deserve a little more attention and love! Whether you’re simply looking to learn a bit more or want a unique small dog breed, all the pups on our list are great dogs to learn a bit more about!

Featured Image Credit: Malivan_Iuliia, Shutterstock

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