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9 Miniature Dog Breeds That Stay 'Miniature' Forever

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If you reside in an urban area and don't have much space, a miniature dog might just be the perfect match for you. The term "Miniature" generally refers to dog breeds that are smaller in size. For example, the French Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, and Bichon Frise can all be referred to as miniature dog breeds due to their tiny stature.

However, smaller versions of certain breeds are officially called "Miniature." In other words, these dog breeds have "Miniature" in their name, unlike other toy dogs. For example, the Dachshund has a 'miniature' version called "Miniature Dachshund." Generally speaking, small breeds are some of the cutest dogs out there.

As I pointed out earlier, miniature dogs generally don’t require much space or exercise. Because of that, they're naturally great for apartment living, particularly the ones that are less vocal and calm. However, if you have little kids, you might want to check whether the type of small dog you’re considering is good with kids. That's because some miniature dogs don't make good pets for families with young children. Although all toy dogs are referred to as miniature, this article only includes small dog breeds with "Miniature" in their name.

1. Miniature American Shepherd

A merle Miniature American Shepherd
  • Weight: 9.1 – 18 kg
  • Height: 36 – 46 cm
  • Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, energetic, trainable
  • Life expectancy: 12–13 years
Frequently abbreviated MAS, the Miniature American Shepherd is the 'miniature' version of the Australian Shepherd. It is a small herding and working dog bred from small-sized Australian Shepherds in the late 1960s. At that time, the breed was known as the Miniature Australian Shepherd. It wasn't until 1993 that the breed was renamed Miniature American Shepherd.

Nonetheless, many people today still refer to the breed by its original name. This is prompting people to ask if the Mini Australian Shepherd and the Mini American Shepherd are the same breed. I've written an article about this topic and that link should take you to it.

2. Miniature Bull Terrier

A Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Weight: 9.1 – 16 kg
  • Height: 25 – 36 cm
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Temperament: Stubborn, even-tempered, energetic, playful, loving, courageous
  • Life expectancy: 11 – 14 years
If you like the Bull Terrier but think it's too big for you, then its miniature version might be the perfect match for you. The AKC describes the Miniature Bull Terrier as an "upbeat, mischievous dog" that "comes equipped with terrier fire and fearlessness." No other breed can be mistaken for the Miniature Bull Terrier, a dog with a square body and egg-shaped head. Like an adorable toddler, the breed is full of mischief and is endlessly entertaining. However, early socialization is a must for the Miniature Bull Terrier.

3. Miniature Dachshund

A Miniature Dachshund
  • Weight: 8 to 11 pounds
  • Height: 13–15 cm
  • Temperament: Curious, Friendly, Playful, Loyal, Affectionate, Versatile
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Dachshunds come in two sizes: standard and miniature. The miniature version was bred to hunt small animals, although it's not built for distance running. The AKC describes the Miniature Dachshund as a "smart and vigilant dog, with a big-dog bark. As such, the Miniature Dachshund makes a great watchdog. This dog can be a bit stubborn, as it was bred to be an independent hunter. However, its endearing nature and unique look are winning hearts all over the world.

4. Miniature Fox Terrier

A Miniature Fox Terrier
  • Weight: 3.5 – 5.5 kg
  • Height: 24 – 30 cm
  • Temperament: Bold, Tenacious, Inquisitive, Loyal, Protective, Loving
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 18 years
The Miniature Fox Terrier is a small, fine, lightweight working dog known colloquially in its native Australia as the “Mini Foxie”. Bred for hunting small rodents, the Mini Foxie is known for its speed and agility. Notwithstanding the breed's strong level of prey drive, it has proved well-suited to being a house dog in more urban areas.

The Mini Foxie's diminutive size and playful nature make it a good household pet, particularly in households with young kids, according to the Mini Foxie Club of Australia. What's more, like most working terriers, the Mini Foxie gets along well with other animals. However, this dog should not be left alone with small pets, such as reptiles and fancy rats, as it was originally bred to hunt them.

5. Miniature Pinscher

A Miniature Pinscher
  • Weight: 4–5 kg
  • Height: 25–30 cm
  • Temperament: Clever, Playful, Friendly, Responsive, Energetic, Outgoing, Assertive, Active, Independent
  • Life expectancy: 12 – 16 years
Known to fans as the 'King of Toys,' the Miniature Pinscher is a proud, fearless, and fun-loving toy breed. This sturdy, compact dog resembles the Doberman Pinscher, whose temperament is energetic, alert, and loyal. Confident, alert, and suspicious by nature, the Miniature Pinscher is known to be very vocal and make a good watchdog. In addition, it is a high-energy breed that needs a job or activity to stay happy and healthy.

6. Miniature Poodle

A pure black Miniature Poodle
  • Weight: 10 - 15 pounds
  • Height: 28 – 35 cm
  • Life expectancy: 10 – 18 years
Poodles come in three size varieties: The Standard Poodle, the Miniature Poodle, and the Toy Poodle. Whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy, Poodles are highly active dogs that need daily exercise to suit their high energy level.

7. Miniature Schnauzer

A black and white Miniature Schnauzer
  • Weight: 5 – 8.2 kg
  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Life expectancy:  12 – 15 years
  • Temperament: Intelligent, Friendly, Alert, Spirited, Obedient, Fearless
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
Small but tireless enough to patrol acres of farmland, the Miniature Schnauzer's original purpose was to catch small rodents on farms. However, the dog's main mission in life today is to bring companionship and joy to households around the world. It ranked as the 17th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2023.

8. Miniature Siberian Husky

A Miniature Siberian Husky
  • Weight: 15-30 pounds
  • Height: up to 17 inches
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years.
  • Temperament: Energetic, Friendly, Sociable, Stubborn, Vocal
As the smaller version of the Siberian husky, the Miniature Husky possesses the same physical and behavioral traits as its medium-sized counterpart. The dog is very playful and full of energy and thus requires lots of daily exercise and stimulation. The Miniature Siberian Husky is generally known to be more loving than the medium-sized Siberian Husky.

9. Miniature Rat Terrier

A Miniature Rat Terrier
  • Weight: 4.5 – 11 kg
  • Height: 10 to 13 inches
  • Life expectancy: 15 – 18 years
  • Temperament: Lively, Intelligent, Inquisitive, Alert, Affectionate, Loving
Rat Terriers are a tough, elegant-looking breed with a background as a farm dog and hunting companion. The breed comes in two sizes: the Miniature Rat Terrier and Standard Rat Terrier. Whether Miniature or otherwise, Rat Terriers are known to be affectionate and good with small children. It is a high-energy breed with high mental stimulation needs.


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