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Best Small Family Dogs

If you're contemplating the addition of a new four-legged family member, you might be curious about which breed would be the perfect fit for your household. In this blog post, our veterinarians in Exeter present a selection of small dog breeds ideal for families.

Small Breeds Suitable for Families

Conducting preliminary research is crucial in the process of selecting the perfect canine companion for your family. The breed that best fits your family's lifestyle might differ from what suits another family's preferences in an ideal dog breed.

Exploring the realm of small dog breeds reveals numerous options that can serve as fantastic playmates for lively older children. Simultaneously, breeds are characterized by gentle and patient personalities, making them well-suited for younger or less active children.

For families with very young children, an older adopted dog with a calm temperament can be an ideal match. Such dogs typically require less training and tend to exhibit greater tolerance towards children.

It's imperative to remember that each dog possesses its distinct personality, and temperaments can exhibit considerable variation.

Small Dogs That Love Family Life

When embarking on the journey to acquire a new pet, conducting thorough research is crucial. Steer clear of untrustworthy breeders and pet stores that may source their animals from puppy mills. Opting for a responsible and caring breeder is essential for your new puppy's well-being, happiness, and proper adjustment.

If you are uncertain where to begin your search for a small dog, consider consulting your veterinarian. Vets often have valuable insights and can recommend reputable local breeders, ensuring a reliable and positive experience in acquiring your new furry friend.

Cocker Spaniel

  • Cocker Spaniel is the smallest member of the sporting group and loves being around older children. These dogs adore romping around with the kids or playing with other dogs in the garden. They adapt well to apartment life but crave companionship and don't do well if left alone for long periods.

Bichon Frise

  • Bichon Frise is a playful, loving breed that just wants to have fun! Low-shedding and long-lived kids adore these little characters. This breed forms strong ties with its people and doesn't like to spend long periods alone. The Bichon Frise is an ideal small dog breed for fun-loving families.

Boston Terrier

  • Boston Terriers, on average, tip the scales at just shy of 25 pounds, embodying a wealth of personality! This charming breed ardently seeks companionship and revels in being part of the family. Their temperament varies, with some exuding high spirits while others exhibit gentleness and sweetness. When considering adoption, visiting the breeder and observing the puppies at play is advisable. This lets you discern and select the pup that best aligns with your family's lifestyle. 


  • Pugs are ideal for apartment living and excellent companions for families seeking a tranquil atmosphere. Similar to humans, this robust breed enjoys the pleasures of dining and lounging, occasionally requiring a gentle nudge to engage in physical activity. If your family delights in cozying up on the couch for movie nights or reading sessions, a pug would seamlessly blend into your lifestyle!


  • Yorkipoos are an intelligent and playful mix of Yorkshire Terrier and toy or miniature Poodle. This breed is both hypoallergenic and energetic. These dogs make the perfect pets for active families who don't mind a bit of barking.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • The affectionate and cozy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel delights in quiet moments with its family, yet it thrives on regular exercise to stay happy. An environment with a fenced yard suits this petite sporting breed perfectly, as they particularly relish engaging in favorite pastimes like chasing squirrels, chipmunks, and butterflies. Cavaliers crave companionship and find great joy in spending time with children and other canine companions.

The Mutt

  • Yes, we know that 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, sizes, personalities, and temperaments. With a bit of patience and determination, you could rescue a puppy and find the ideal small dog for your family.

Looking for more information to decide on a dog breed? Contact our Exeter vets today.

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Pacific Crest Companion Animal is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Exeter companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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