Skip to Main Content
  • Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic

    896 N. Burlington Boulevard, Burlington, WA 98233 US


  • The Chuckanut Valley Feline Center

    1214 Dupont Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 US


Ask About Financing

Best Small Family Dogs

Best Small Family Dogs

There are many things to consider when getting a new dog, and there are some small dogs that suit families. Our Burlington and Bellingham vets will talk about what to consider when getting a new dog and the best small dogs for your family.

Choosing the Best Small Breed For Your Family

Before inviting a new dog into your home, it's important to do a little research. The best dog breed to complement your lifestyle and to get along with your children, may not be the same as another family's ideal dog breed.

Many breeds of small dogs make excellent playmates for energetic older kids, while other small dog breeds have gentle, patient personalities more suited to younger or less active children.

Households with very young children may benefit from adopting an older dog with a gentle temperament, that will require less training and be more tolerant.

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).

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 need 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.

Small Dog Breeds Suitable for Families

Every dog will have its unique personality, and temperaments can vary, but these are our top choices for family-friendly small dog breeds.


This breed is an intelligent and playful mix of Yorkshire Terrier and toy or miniature Poodle. Yorkipoos are hypoallergenic and energetic. The perfect small dog for an active family who doesn't mind a bit of barking.

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers typically weigh in just under 25 pounds, and come brimming with personality! This delightful breed craves companionship and loves to be with the family. While some are high-spirited others can be very gentle and sweet. Carefully observing the puppy at play, before adopting, can help you to find the right Boston Terrier puppy for your family.


Pugs make peaceful family pets that are perfect for apartment living. Like humans, this sturdy breed loves to eat and sleep and may need a little encouragement to get out and exercise. If your family loves to curl up on the couch together to watch movies, a pug might be the ideal breed for you. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel loves to cuddle and snuggle with their family but does require a fair amount of exercise to remain contented. A home with a fenced yard is ideal for this little sporting breed since chasing squirrels, chipmunks and butterflies is a favorite pastime of these lovely characters. Cavaliers need companionship and thoroughly enjoy spending time with kids as well as other dogs.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a playful, loving, bundle of fun! Low shedding and long-lived, your kids will adore this little character. This breed forms strong ties with its people and doesn't like to spend long periods alone. The Bichon Frise is the ideal small dog breed for fun-loving families.

Cocker Spaniel

Good with older children and even-tempered, the Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the sporting group. These dogs adore romping around in the garden with the kids or playing with other dogs. Cocker Spaniels can adapt well to apartment life but crave companionship and don't do well if left alone for long periods.

The Mutt

Okay, so mutts aren't an official breed, but they can and do make excellent family pets. Visit your local animal shelter or puppy rescue agency to check out the vast array of characters just waiting for a forever home. Mutts come in all shapes and sizes. With a little patience and determination, you could rescue a puppy and find the ideal small dog for your family.

For more advice on choosing the best breed of small dog for your family, contact our Chuckanut Valley Vet Clinic and Chuckanut Feline Center vets today.

New Patients Welcome

Chuckanut Valley Vet Clinic and Chuckanut Feline Center is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Burlington and Bellingham companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us