The Top 10 Small Dogs in Australia


There are some fantastic small dog breeds out there and most of them make fantastic companion animals. Whether you’re not as mobile as you used to be, you have young and fragile children, or you haven’t quite got the space needed for a Great Dane or Border Collie, there’s a small breed out there that’s perfectly suited to you.

Even in this nation of the quarter acre block, Australians love their small dogs. There are a number from around the world that have found permanent places in the hearts of the country and, furthermore, there’s even a local breed in the mix.

Here are the most popular small dog breeds in Australia at this time, listed from 10 to 1, along with a brief description. Is your best friend on the list?


10. Basset Hound

The Basset Hound is a small to medium-sized domesticated dog with short, muscular legs and a pair of long drooping ears. Basset Hounds are very long in the body. In fact, they are longer than they are tall and their legs have the thickest bones of any dog of this size.

Related to the Bloodhound, the Basset Hound is equipped with a short and smooth coat, with rolling loose skin and big floppy ears.

The average Basset Hound will measure between 30 to 38cm and a healthy example should weigh between 23 to 29kgs. Basset Hounds will live to the age of between 11 and 12 years.


9. Dachshund

The short-haired Dachshund’s coat is sleek and shiny and Dachshunds can come in a variety of colours including red or cream, black and chocolate, dapple, sable, piebald, brindle, and wild boar.

The Dachshund or Doxie as it is affectionately known, is a loveable dog with a bright personality. They love nothing better than curling up under a blanket with their owners and they also love the company of other dogs, especially another Dachshund. They also make great watchdogs.

The Dachshund weighs about 4.9 kilos at the age of 12 months and they stand at about 20 to 27kgs. Dachshund’s have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.


8. Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier (a.k.a. “Aussie”) is one of the smallest terrier breeds. It is sturdy, short-legged and has a long head with triangular, erect ears and dark brown eyes.

Aussie Terriers do not need as much exercise as larger breeds, but should still be taken on a daily walk to satisfy its physical and mental needs. A bored Aussie can become destructive, loud, and resentful. Be sure to give the dog enough toys and activities – the Aussie is a working dog and will resort to digging or other destructive behaviours if you do not keep it occupied.

The average Australian Terrier weighs between 4 and 6 kg and stands around 23 – 28 cm tall. Their lifespan is 12 – 15 years.


7. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a toy breed of domesticated dog that is of Chinese origin and related to a group of ancient breeds of canine. Loyal, playful and very affectionate, the Shih Tzu is a popular breed amongst older adults and those living in smaller households.

Shi Tzus are good dogs to train as they obey basic commands. Good, simple clear communication is necessary, however, and mindfulness by children is a must. Shi Tzus have been known to nip and bark at children.

You’ll find Shih Tzus in a wide range of colours, including whites, blacks, gold, brown andgrey. They also come in various shades of these colours and can be a mix of two or threecolours, depending on the coats of their parents.

On average, Shih Tzus measure 20.3 to 27.9 cm and should weigh about 4 to 7.5kgs. Generally a healthy Shih Tzu will leave to between 10 and 16 years of age.


6. Pomeranian

The Pomeranian is a small, Spitz-type toy dog named after the Pomerania region of northern Poland and eastern Germany. The breed has featured in the top 20 most popular dog breeds in the USA every year since at least 1998.

They are very playful, active, friendly and intelligent. They are incredibly alert dogs, and they often bark when encountering new environments and people/animals. This can develop into a habit of excessive barking.

The life expectancy of a Pomeranian is between 12 and 16 years, but a well-bred, well-fed and often exercised dog could live even longer.


5. Beagle

Beagles are sturdy small to medium-sized dogs with friendly personalities and loads of energy. They belong to the sporting hound family and they have a strong scent drive which can lead them in all sorts of directions.

Although, like many breeds of dog, the Beagle was first developed for hunting purposes, they’re known for their gentle and even-tempered ways. With a reputation for being joyful and playful, the Beagle is a popular choice for young children. They are very excitable, however, and their advanced sense of smell can cause them all sorts of distractions whilst down the street or in the park so careful supervision is recommended.

When in a home environment Beagles can become easily bored so stimulation through play time and regular exercise is a must.

Beagles are generally sized between 33 and 41 cm and weigh between 8.2 and 15.9kgs. A happy and healthy Beagle will usually live to between 12 and 15 years of age.


4. French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is a very energetic and loyal companion. A small, playful dog with agood reputation for playing nice with kids, the French Bulldog has been a favourite of urban dwellers since the mid-1800s, into the early 20th Century and is now seeing new popularity with the modern Australian family.

The French Bulldog is of small to medium stature and has a lean and muscular build. They have large heads and short legs. They don’t require a lot of space to keep them occupied and have proven a popular choice for people living in apartments.

Although the breed requires little dedicated exercise, consistent human contact is required and indoor living is a must. The French Bulldog will generally live for between 12-16 years.


3. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell is a small and spirited domesticated dog of the terrier family. Compact, muscular and very energetic, Jack Russells are known as the small dog with the big attitude.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a tenacious and stubborn animal due to the breed’s development for fox hunting from the now extinct English White Terrier.

Well-balanced and alert, Jack Russells reflect their hunting history in the amount of exercise they require. If you’re not in the position to thoroughly exercise your Jack Russell at least once or twice a day, it may not be the breed for you.

Jack Russells have a great reputation for being healthy, happy and adventurous little dogs. They are known to generally live to a good age and rarely come down with serious illnesses during their lives.

The average Jack Russell Terrier measures between 25 to 38cm and should weigh between 6 to 8kgs. A healthy Jack Russell will live to the ripe old age of between 13 and 16 years of age.


2. Miniature Poodle

The Miniature Poodle is a small and lively domesticated dog, known for its thick, tightly curled coat and enthusiastic nature. The Miniature Poodle is a smaller variant of the Poodle, a water retriever hunting dog, officially adopted by the French but believed to have originated in Germany. It was popularly used in the gun dog role for duck hunters and paintings of the breed stretch back to the 15th and 16th Centuries.

The breed was developed to find and dig up truffles, a common practice in England, Spain and France in the 1800s. Those that weren’t put to work ended up becoming the companion animals to the aristocracy, and the true beginnings of the Poodle hair design tradition.

Miniature Poodles come in a very wide range of colours. Some include white, brown, black, silver, red, apricot, cream, silver beige, parti and brindle. The parti colour is popularly considered the original colour of the Poodle.

Miniature Poodles generally measure between 24 and 28cm and a healthy example should weigh between 3 to 4kgs. The average Toy Poodle will live for between 12 to 15 years.


1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a small dog, equipped with a moderately long coat, long floppy ears and a well-feathered chest and tail. Officially classified as a toy breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was originally developed by cross breeding King Charles Spaniels with Pugs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are very affectionate, energetic and eager little dogs. They love human contact and have a great reputation with children. As with all dogs, it’s important to maintain supervision with smaller children. Because the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is small, it may not be as tolerant to provocation. It’s also notable that the breed is generally very tolerant of other pets in the home, even cats. Early socialisation is a good way to avoid any problems that may otherwise arise, however.

The breed comes in a variety of colours, including black and tan, red and white (known as Blenheim) and a mahogany red.

The average Cavalier King Charles Spaniel measures between 30 to 33cm and a healthy dog will weigh between 5 to 8kgs. The life expectancy for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is about 9 – 14 years.


If you’re interested in looking at some other small dog breeds, visit our complete list of small dog breeds available in Australia.

*Please note, any pet insurance advice provided is general only. Refer to the applicable Product Disclosure Statement for details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover.
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