Cute and popular small dog breeds in South Africa (with photos)

Cute and popular small dog breeds in South Africa (with photos)

Small dog breeds are some of the best animals to have in a home. Where kids are present, dogs can teach them compassion, responsibility, and also cooperation. Cute small dogs are incredible playmates that also tend to bring much joy to their owners, as well as those around them. Before you choose a dog for adoption, ensure you get the best kind of breed that fits your lifestyle.

small dog breeds
Image:, @kennelsandkats
Source: UGC

Different dogs suit different age groups, as some are preferable for adults than they are for children. This is because some tend to be more playful, while others are gentle, patient, and less energetic. Therefore, when looking for small breed dogs, it is essential to consider the age of the prospective owner.

The best small dog breeds in South Africa today

As you discover and learn about some of the cutest dogs in SA, it is advisable to make your final decision based on a number of factors. Some of them include your budget, daily schedule, activity levels, and living arrangements. Adopting some small dogs breeds is more costly and time-demanding than keeping others. Therefore, it is important to consider different aspects to ensure that you purchase the most suitable dog breed for you.

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1. Chihuahua

miniature dogs
Image:, @_leo_lilly
Source: UGC

Chihuahuas fall under the category of cute dogs that stay small. Named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, they come in different colors, sizes, coat lengths, and head shapes. These energetic and adorable dogs are most suitable for people who live at home and elderly persons. If you have toddlers, they may not be the best option for you.

Chihuahuas are very protective of their owners and not friendly to intruders. They are excellent watchdogs, but not the best for guarding purposes. They love cuddling and desire to be cared for like babies.

If you intend to leave your pet at home during the day, ensure you get at least two so that they can keep each other company. When you get back home, they will endlessly fight for your attention.

Image:, @chihua_dream
Source: UGC

Further details:

  • Origin: Mexico
  • Average mass: Male: 5.4-9.1 kg Female: 5.4-8.2 kg
  • Life span: 10-18 years
  • Colors: White, gold, black, fawn, chocolate, cream
  • Temperament: Devoted, lively, alert, courageous, quick

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2. Miniature Schnauzer

dogs that stay small
Image:, @maryleesachs
Source: UGC

These miniature dogs are highly intelligent and easy to train. They are excellent family guard dogs as they uphold devotion and loyalty. They are also prone to adding weight when they fail to exercise regularly. Therefore, you need to be ready to put in the extra work in taking walks with them and engaging in other activities that facilitate exercise.

If you are the kind of dog owner that loves spoiling your pet with fancy and unnecessary food, take the necessary precautions to ensure that your dog does not get overweight. For this, and most other tiny dog breeds, small portions of food are enough to satisfy them.

dog breeds
Image:, @schnauzerworld
Source: UGC

Further details:

  • Origin: Germany
  • Average mass: Male: 5.4-9.1 kg Female: 5.4-8.2 kg
  • Life span: 12-15 years
  • Colors: White, black & silver, black, salt & pepper
  • Temperament: Friendly, obedient, alert, fearless, intelligent

3. Yorkshire Terrier

teacup dog breeds
Image:, @pure_yorkie_love
Source: UGC

This is a small dog breed that is naturally curious and overprotective. They crave for endless attention and are not suitable in a household with children under the age of eight.

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These cute dogs are highly active, and they enjoy physical and mental stimulation. It is important to keep them well stimulated as it prevents them from barking too much. Yorkshire Terriers adapt to new surroundings quite easily, thus are great travel buddies.

The Kennel Union of South Africa (K.U.S.A) claims that the standard weight of this breed is up to 3.2 kg. On the other hand, a large number of ‘Yorkie people’ believe that a Yorkshire less than 1.8 kg is not within the breed standard.

Therefore, if a Yorkie’s weight is between 1.8 kg and 3.2 kg, it is considered to be a standard breed. However, in South Africa, Yorkshire Terriers are often sold when weighing more than 3.2 kg. Some have even been found to grow and exceed 8 kg.

small dogs
Image:, @livtheyorkie
Source: UGC

Despite the existence of these larger sizes of the breed, some are very tiny. They are referred to as teacup dog breeds as they can easily fit in a cup of tea. This category is believed to weigh less than 1.2 kg.

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The smaller a dog is, the more expensive it will be to maintain as it will require special care due to its fragile nature.

small breed dogs
Image:, @yorkie.babyleo
Source: UGC

Further details:

  • Origin: England
  • Average mass: 3 kg
  • Life span: 12-20 years
  • Colors: Blue, black, chocolate, tan
  • Temperament: Intelligent, confident, bold, independent, courageous

4. Maltese Poodle

small breed dogs
Image:, @nuggetthemaltipoop
Source: UGC

The Maltese are highly active within a house as they prefer enclosed spaces to outdoor areas. They are an effective watchdog as they are quick to hear and alert their keepers of any suspicious noises. However, they are not the best for guarding a household as they love being around humans.

These lovely animals do not require loads of exercise as they naturally enjoy play and moving around. However, it is important to take them out for a walk daily to facilitate mental stimulation.

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They tend to be very cuddly animals and thrive on attention and love. If denied human attention, they suffer from separation anxiety, which makes them bark excessively and become overly destructed.

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miniature dogs
Image:, @izzie.themaltipoo
Source: UGC

Further details:

  • Life span: 15-18 years
  • Colors: White, light ivory
  • Temperament: Intelligent, spirited, keen, lively, loving, affectionate

5. Morkie

cute small dogs
Image:, @rosemary_clooney_the_dog
Source: UGC

This is a small and adaptable crossbreed of the Maltese Poodle and Yorkshire Terrier. The Morkie is a playful, friendly, loyal, and happy lap dog that craves for loads of attention from its owner. Despite their small size, they are full of confidence and attitude.

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Morkies do not require large amounts of physical exercise as a 20-minute walk every day is enough. They are not the best exercise, running, or hiking partners. Ensure that you do not strain your pet to avoid injuries associated with over-walking toy breeds.

cutest dogs
Image:, @yorkshire_gram
Source: UGC

Further details:

  • Origin: United States of America
  • Average mass: Male:2.7-5.5 kg Female:1.8-3.6 kg
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Colours: Brown, black, tan and white, tan and black
  • Temperament: Fearless, curious, friendly

Many small dog breeds are prone to developing Small Dog Syndrome, which is caused by the animal believing that it is the boss or more superior than others. This syndrome develops if the owner is too lenient with them and allows the dog to get away with everything simply because they are adorable and tiny. This condition can lead to jealousy of visitors, over-protectiveness, obsessive barking, and other notorious behaviour. Therefore, ensure you set limits and create rules to ensure that your cute dog does not get to this level. Why shouldn’t you get yourself one of these cuteness overloads today?

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