We’ve compiled a list of 10 dogs under 50 pounds, so this is a great place to start on your search for your future family member!
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re thinking of getting a new pet. Dogs are our very best and loyal friends, but the classic “good boy” golden retriever is big.
Not all of us live in the countryside with plenty of space for a larger dog to roam. Or maybe you just want a smaller dog, regardless of your living space and lifestyle.
Why Did We Pick the Dogs Listed Here?
Dogs are really amazing because they come in so many different shapes, sizes, colors, and coat textures. We wanted to reflect on the great diversity of dogs on this list.
Different countries’ national kennel clubs recognize dog breeds and sort them into general groups, according to the dog in question’s original purpose.
- Herding – Rounding up livestock like sheep, cattle, or even reindeer
- Hounds – Dogs that hunt by either sight or smell
- Non-Sporting – An eclectic group of dogs that don’t fit neatly into the other groups
- Sporting – Hunting game birds, such as ducks
- Terriers – Plucky dogs that were bred to kill vermin and/or hunt small game
- Toy – Mostly lap dogs
- Working – Dogs with jobs, like guarding, and police and military work
We use the AKC’s dog breed standards to describe each dog on this list. Some countries may have different dog groups or breed standards concerning size, weight, or coat color.
Also, the dogs we’ve listed below are ordered by weight, from lightest to heaviest. We could never order dogs by which ones we thought were the best because all dogs are the best!
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed recognized by both the AKC and CKC.Originating in what is now Mexico, Chihuahuas were raised and very much loved by the Aztecs centuries ago.
These dogs have 2 variants, long and smooth-coat, and their fur comes in just about any color. Their grooming needs are minimal, and they don’t require a lot of exercise.
Chihuahuas may have a reputation of being a spoiled little purse dog, but that’s not the Chihuahua’s fault. They are tiny, but they are not human babies, nor are they stuffed toys. Chihuahuas must be trained and treated like bigger dogs. If treated like an actual dog, a Chihuahua can be a wonderful pet and friend.
Country of Origin: Mexico
Weight: No more than 6 pounds
Height: 5-8 inches
Named after the capital of their home country, the Havanese is the only dog breed native to Cuba.
They have a beautiful silky coat that can be kept long, but many pet owners cut or even cord the fur, so it is more manageable.
They are smart and spunky little dogs who respond well to learning new tricks, so they make excellent dogs for first-time owners.
These dogs need moderate levels of exercise and will do well living in the country, suburbs, or city. Havanese love their people, and you will surely love this dog!
Country of Origin: Cuba
Weight: 7-13 pounds
Height: 8.5-11.5 inches
We’re perhaps a little biased (one of us owns a Cairn Terrier), but these are the best little dogs in the whole world.
Cairn Terriers come from the Western Isles of Scotland, and they were named after the Gaelic word for rock piles that indicated a boundary line or gravesite. These terriers were bred to flush out and kill the rodents which lived in these cairns.
Most famous for their role as Toto in The Wizard of Oz (1939), Cairn Terriers are closely related to the West Highland White Terrier. Their wiry coat needs to be hand-stripped (plucked) of dead hairs and can come in colors including black brindle, cream, red, and silver (but never white).
These little guys are very clever, and with lots of socialization and proper training can become great pets for families with gentle older children or teens.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom (Scotland)
Weight: 13 pounds (female), 14 pounds (male)
Height: 9.5 inches (female), 10 inches (male)
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, then you’ve seen a “Shibe” at least once.
The Shiba Inu has been around for quite some time, with records of their existence dating back to at least 300 BCE.
More aloof and introverted than most dogs, the Shiba Inu was originally small mountain hunters, though now they’re the most popular pet dog in Japan and are growing in popularity everywhere else. I mean, look at that face and curled tail—it’s very understandable!
Shiba Inu are a double-coated breed, and they have seasonal shedding that requires lots of heavy brushing. Their iconic cream or white markings (urajiro) are complemented by 3 different coat colors: red, black and tan, and sesame. Red is the most common.
Country of Origin: Japan
Weight: 17 pounds (female), 23 pounds (male)
Height: 13.5-15.5 inches (female), 14.5-16.5 (male)
Shelties are closely related to Collies, but they aren’t categorized as the same breed. Shelties hail from the Shetland Islands of Scotland, where they lived as farm dogs and livestock herders.
Being a hardworking herder, Shelties are intelligent, eager to please their humans, and easy to train. They make great family pets and are happy in both rural and urban settings.
Shelties enjoy learning new tricks to stimulate their minds, and they will be satisfied with moderate levels of exercise.
Their long coat comes in black, blue merle, and sable, all with white markings. Shelties require brushing a few times a week to reduce shedding.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom (Scotland)
Weight: 15-25 pounds
Height: 13-16 inches
The French Bulldog, or “Frenchie,” has become an extremely popular dog breed in the past decade. This is probably because of their good nature and versatility.
French Bulldogs are happy in the city or country, like households with families or just adults, have low-maintenance grooming needs, and don’t require as much exercise as many other popular dog breeds. They are known to be happy and silly dogs who bring a smile to every person they meet.
However, keep in mind that French Bulldogs have flat faces like Bulldogs, English Toy Spaniels, and Pugs, making them more at risk for health issues pertaining to the respiratory system. These types of dogs cannot handle hot and/or humid weather as well as dogs with longer snouts (due to their inability to pant well) and are prone to wheezing and snoring.
Country of Origin: France
Weight: under 28 pounds
Height: 11-13 inches
Beagles are a popular family pet for good reason: they’re happy-go-lucky, outgoing, and loving to their families.
These little scent hounds come in 2 size variants: 13 inches and under and 13-15 inches. Either way, Beagles are among the smallest of scent hounds, bred to work in hunting packs of their own kind, followed by their humans on foot or horseback.
Beagles are energetic dogs that need a good amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Being such a social and outgoing breed means they’re best suited to households where at least one person is home most days.
If you get a Beagle, it won’t take long for them to make their way into your heart!
Country of Origin: United Kingdom (England)
Weight: 20 pounds (13 inches and under), 20-30 pounds (13-15 inches)
Height: 13 inches and under, 13-15 inches
Brittanys are game bird dogs that hail from their namesake region in France.
These long and leggy dogs were bred to hunt just about anything with feathers, including ducks, pheasants, partridges, and more.
Most Brittanys are born with natural bobtails, though pups with longer tails usually have them docked.
American and French breeding of the Brittany has diverged slightly. An example of this is that the United States’ breed standard for the Brittany says the dog can only be white, with orange and/or liver markings, while in France, a black coat is acceptable.
Regardless, the Brittany is a beautiful, versatile, and hardworking dog that requires lots of exercise. A Brittany would be a great dog for someone who spends a lot of time outdoors.
Country of Origin: France
Weight: 30-40 pounds
Height: 17.5-20.5 inches
The Keeshonden, once named Dutch Barge Dogs, are descendants of spitz dogs, with their thick, fluffy coat, foxy face, small pointy ears, and curled-back tail. All of this, plus the “spectacle-like” markings around their eyes, makes for one adorable dog.
This Dutch dog worked on the barges of the rivers and canals in the Holland region. After the French Revolution, the Keeshond became a symbol for a patriot faction in the Netherlands.
It’s surprising Keeshonden aren’t as popular as other breeds, considering how intelligent and cute they are: they are very trainable. Keeshonden require regular brushing and moderate levels of exercise.
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Weight: 35-45 pounds
Height: 17 inches (female), 18 inches (male)
You’ve probably seen a Miniature Schnauzer before, but it’s larger, less well-known cousin was the original.
These bearded pooches are strong and sturdy dogs from the Bavaria region of Germany. They were bred to be all-around working dogs who could be of great help on farms since the Middle Ages.
Standard Schnauzers have distinct whiskers, and their coats are wiry, with solid black or salt-and-pepper colour. They don’t shed much if stripped like a terrier. Traditionally, Standard Schnauzers’ ears have been cropped, and their tails docked, though today, this is becoming less common, especially for dogs not in the show ring.
These dogs are very friendly and love being with their favorite people.
Country of Origin: Germany
Weight: 30-45 pounds (female), 35-50 pounds (male)
Height: 17.5-18.5 inches (female), 18.5-19.5 inches (male)
We often imagine “man’s best friend” and ideal family pet as a larger dog, but not everyone wants or can handle a large dog. There are so many different kinds of dogs out there, and this list of dogs under 50 pounds is just the tip of the iceberg.
We recommend you do some more research. National kennel clubs like the AKC and CKC list a number of dog breeds, and their guides can help you find the right dog for your lifestyle, and can probably help you get in contact with breeders with good reputations.
Not every purebred dog comes has to be bought from a breeder as a puppy, however. Your local shelter probably has both mixed and purebred dogs. Many dog breeds also have rescue organizations to help them find new homes.
Perhaps your future pet mightn’t be a purebred dog at all. There are so many loving mixed-breed dogs in shelters, especially adults and seniors. We recommend that you take a visit to your local shelter and see what dogs they have because your new best friend is probably waiting there for you.
Whether you buy a dog from a reputable breeder or adopt from a shelter, we hope you can find the right dog for you and your family.
And remember, always spay/neuter your dogs!