27 of the World's Fluffy Small Breed Dogs:  Which one is right for you?

By Janice Jones    | Last updated 01-06-2024

Fluffy small breed dogs seem to be getting more popular these days and we wanted to know why.

According to the American Kennel Club, the most popular breed in the U.S. is the Labrador Retriever, neither small nor fluffy, but when you clump fluffiness into a category of its own, the cuteness factor clicks on, and people's hearts begin to melt.

Fluffy Small Breed Dogs Header Image

The breeds originate in different countries, their personalities vary widely, and their care and grooming needs are even different.

But what they do have in common is their size and length of hair.  All are small, many very small.  They have hair that grows often without much shedding involved making them very hairy dogs.  But what distinguishes them as a unique group of canines?

That is easy.

It is the tendency to cause humans to go into a cuteness overload, which we have not been able to find a cure for as of now.

27 Fluffy Small Breed Dogs

There is a downside.  When people fall head over heels in love with fluffiness, their sweet fluffy small breed dog begins to feel they just might own the world.

Without socialization and training, some of these dogs are destined to becoming victims of Small Dog Syndrome. 

Of course, this is not a genetic problem, but a people problem, so if you decide that one of these fluffy small breed dogs will be your next best friend, be sure to include time in your schedule for a little training and socialization. 

Beyond that, fluff means you'll be spending some grooming those velvety soft (maybe fuzzy) hairdos.  

27 of the World's Fluffy Small Breed Dogs

These fluffy small breed dogs are listed in alphabetical order.

We don't want to be accused of playing favorites to any of these fluffy small breed dogs.  It hard not to love them all!

I've provided information for each breed along with a link to a complete breed profile page.  Please, always do extensive research or consult with a veterinarian or a professional breeder to get comprehensive and accurate information about any breed of dog you are considering adopting or purchasing.

1. American Eskimo Dog

The American Eskimo Dog comes in three sizes, but the one we feature on this site is the toy version which 9–12 inches (22.9 – 30.5 cm) and 6–10 lbs. (2.7-4.5 kg.). 

Eskies as they are often called were once circus performers because of their high intelligence and ability to perform. 

Today, they make loyal family companions who excel in problem solving tasks.  Their long thick coat is comprised of a dense under coat and a straight outer coat. 

Brushing is necessary because these dogs do shed and frequent brushing helps keep some of the hair from covering the house.

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Average Cost: $600 to $1,000 

Typical Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and legg-calve-perthes disease 

Trainability: Easy because they are highly intelligent and eager to please 

Energy Level: Agile, active, and energetic dogs. They require a fair amount of exercise

Hypoallergenic: No, they shed quite a bit, which can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.

Level of dog experience needed to own one: Best suited to individuals who have some previous experience in dog ownership. 

More about the American Eskimo Dog

2. Bichon Frisé

For the fluffy dog lover, the Bichon Frisé may be the Pièce de résistance. 

With all that hair and large dark eyes, a Bichon puppy is irresistible.  Gentle, affectionate, and cheerful, these dogs love everyone.  With all that charm and good looks, what more could you want. 

Well, for one, they are also intelligent and clownish making them a great choice as a family dog. 

But someone in the family will need to take over the grooming tasks, as these fluffy small breed dogs need daily brushing to stay looking great. 

White dogs also sometimes have problems with tear or face stains, so be prepared to deal with that too.  Overall, they are a great choice.

Average Cost:  $600 to over $2000, or more

Life Span:  12 to 15 years

Health Problems:  hip dysplasia, allergies, and bladder issues. They are also prone to dental disease

Trainability: Bichons are intelligent and usually eager to please, which makes them highly trainable. T

Energy Level/Exercise Needs: The Bichon Frisé is a moderately energetic breed. They need regular exercise, including daily walks and playtime to keep them fit and prevent obesity. They also enjoy participating in dog sports like agility or obedience competitions.

Hypoallergenic: Yes, the Bichon Frisé is considered a hypoallergenic breed, which means they are a good choice for individuals with allergies. 

Level of Dog Experience Needed: Bichons make a good choice for both experienced dog owners and first-time owners due to their friendly nature and trainability.

Availability: The Bichon Frisé breed is widely available and popular in many countries. It might be easy to find a responsible breeder or a rescue organization, but potential dog owners should do careful research to avoid puppy mills and unethical breeders.

More about the Bichon Frisé

3. Biewer Terrier

At first glance, the Biewer Terrier looks like a colorful tricolored Yorkie or a hybrid mix between a Maltese and Yorkie (Morkie). 

Pronounced “Bee-Vair,” the breed was first discovered and developed in Germany by a couple, Werner and Gertrude Biewer, Yorkshire terrier breeders.  They mated two of their dogs together in 1984 and produced a blue, gold, and white dog named Schneeflocken von Friedheck.  The explanation for this unusual “Yorkie” was a rare recessive piebald gene mutation. 

Average Cost:  $1,200 to over $3,500

Life Span:  12 to 15 years.

Specific Health Problems:  luxating patellas (knee displacement) and dental problems due to their small mouth size.

Trainability: Biewer Terriers are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please their owners, which makes them relatively easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and consistency.

Energy Level and Exercise Needs: Biewer Terriers are a lively and energetic breed. Regular exercise, such as daily walks and games in a secure area, is needed. 

Hypoallergenic: Biewer Terriers are considered to be a hypoallergenic breed. 

Level of Dog Experience Needed: Biewer Terriers can be a good choice for both experienced dog owners and first-time owners. 

Breed Availability: As a newer breed, Biewer Terriers may not be as readily available as other breeds. It is advisable to carefully research breeders to find one who is reputable and follows good breeding practices.

Read the Complete Biewer Terrier Breed Profile and Information Resource.

4. Bolognese

Is it real or just a stuffed dog?  Sometimes it might be difficult to tell. 

They have a plush thick coat, round dark eyes and a button nose making them a picture perfect rendition of a sweet stuffed toy.  But they are not stuffed, at least not with the materials normally used in toys. 

Rather, they are stuffed with personality, charm, and intelligence.  They are less active than most fluffy small breed dogs which make them perfect for apartment living. 

But that plush coat does require some work, so purchase a few good brushes, and get to work.

Average Cost: $800 to over $2,000

Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Specific Health Problems: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and eye and dental problems.

Trainability: Bolognese are intelligent dogs and typically easy to train.

Energy Level and Exercise Needs: The Bolognese is not a highly energetic dog

Hypoallergenic: Yes. Bolognese dogs are considered hypoallergenic

Level of Dog Experience Needed: Bolognese are great dogs for first-time owners.

Breed Availability: The Bolognese is a rare breed, especially outside of Italy. You may have to wait, do quite a bit of research, or travel to find a reputable breeder.

More about the Bolognese

5. Chinese Imperial

This is much controversy about these dogs.  In one camp are the Shih Tzu breeders that say the Chinese Imperial is just another Shih Tzu dog who might be the runt of the litter. 

On the other side are breeders who breed only small size Tzu in the 3 to 8 pound range. 

Is there an Imperial gene?  No one has proven it but there are certainly plenty of very small Shih Tzu dogs out there doing just fine. 

If you want small and fluffy, these might be the dogs for you, but expect to pay a high price, as they do not come cheap.

More about the Chinese Imperial Dog

6.  Long-Haired Chihuahua

Loyal, feisty Chihuahuas, are you wondering if this tiny breed might be right for you? 

The Chi is one of the most popular dog breeds in America.

Some think the popularity of the breed can be attributed to the hit movie,  “Beverly Hills Chihuahua," or "Legally Blond" in the 1990s or the seemingly over abundance of them in the the arms of Hollywood starlets.

Others remember the Taco Bell Commercial with the talking dog, Gidget and her famous line,"Yo Quiero Taco Bell"

Average Cost: The average cost for a Long Haired Chihuahua is about $500 to $1500.
Life Span: These dogs live for an average of 15 to 20 years.
Health problems: They may suffer from dental problems due to their small mouths and are also prone to heart disease and patellar luxation.
Trainability: They're moderately easy to train, though they can sometimes be stubborn.
Energy Level: They are fairly active and enjoy daily exercise.
Hypoallergenic: No, they aren't known to be hypoallergenic.
Level of Experience Needed: The Long Haired Chihuahua can be suitable for both first-time and experienced dog owners but might be too delicate for families with young children.
Availability: This breed is widely available.

Read about the Chihuahua Long Hair Dog Breed Profile and Info

7. Chinese Crested Powderpuff

The Chinese Crested Powderpuff maybe one of those best-kept secrets of the dog world—gentle, happy, loving and totally devoted to his owner. 

Many people label their small breed dog a Velcro dog because they tend to follow you everywhere, and no dog deserves this description more than the Chinese Crested.  

Many people know the breed through their notoriety in the annual Ugliest Dog Contest.  However, that does not begin to do the breed justice. 

Sometimes affectionately called the Dr. Seuss dog because the hairless variety can resemble some of the unusual characters imagined by the famous children’s author and illustrator.  

Average Cost: $800 to $2000
Life Span: About 13-15 years
Health Problems: Common issues include dental problems, allergies, and eye problems including Progressive Retinal Atrophy.
Trainability: Typically easy to train due to their intelligence.
Energy Level: Moderate - require daily play and exercise.
Hypoallergenic: Yes
Level of Experience Needed: They're suitable for first-time dog owners.
Availability: Moderately available.

Read about Chinese Crested Powder Puff Dog Breed Profile and Info

8. Coton de Tulear

You cannot get much fluffier than a Coton.  The texture of the hair is cottony soft and if you want something wonderful to touch and pet, the Coton should be your choice. 

But do not pick a dog just because he is soft and cottony.  Luckily, the Coton offers much more to his owner than his amazing coat. 

They are a sturdy breed who loves to romp and play, snuggle or just plain sit and try to figure out their owner. 

They make great pets, but beware; they are still very rare, at least in the U.S. so it might take some time to find the one of your dreams.

Average Cost: Between $1,200 to $2,500
Life Span: Around 15-19 years
Health Problems: Hip dysplasia, heart issues, allergies, and eye problems.
Trainability: Known to be intelligent and usually easy to train.
Energy Level: Moderate, although they're known to have bursts of energy (sometimes called the "Cotie Capers").
Hypoallergenic: Yes, they are considered hypoallergenic.
Level of Experience Needed: Well-suited to first-time dog owners, but they may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
Availability: Moderately available but may require some searching to find a reputable breeder.

More about the Coton de Tulear

9. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

One might not think of a terrier as being “fluffy,” but the Dandie is different from most terriers. 

They also make wonderful family pets.  They are smart, loving, and loyal, but expect to look long and hard for a puppy. 

Their price may not reflect their rare status, but at least in the United States, they are very hard to find. 

In fact, you might go a lifetime before you ever see one out and about.  Still, you might want to add this to your fluffy small breed dogs list to check out.

More about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

10. Havanese

Here is a winner if you are looking for a family dog with a big personality. They get along with everybody including other pets. 

While not yappy, they will alert you if someone comes to your door.  They are intelligent and need some stimulation to stay out of trouble.  

Even though they are small, they are sturdy and gentle. 

With all that fluffiness comes some grooming, so be prepare for brushing, combing, and everything else that goes along with owning a fluffy dog.

More about the Havanese

11. Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is an old breed that has stayed around for a reason. This breed is  loyal, cheerful, attentive and hardy  with plenty of energy to play. At the same time, they are affectionate and ready to cuddle with their family. They have a personality that will make them fit right in as a member of the family.

Read more about the Icelandic Sheepdog Breed Profile

12. Japanese Chin

A highly sensitive dog, these dogs bond closely with their owners and make the perfect loyal companion. 

As an adult they have a wonderful thick coat, but it takes a while to grow it all in so do not expect the puppy to be as fluffy as say, some of the other breeds mentioned on this page. 

They do shed and brushing daily is recommended to keep the Chin looking his best. 

These are quiet dogs and do great in apartments, but they still enjoy a daily walk. 

Since they are not a common breed, it might take longer to find the puppy of your dreams, but the wait is well worth it.

More about the Japanese Chin

13. Japanese Spitz

Just a quick look at the Japanese Spitz and you'll know why we added this pup to our list of fluffy small breed dogs.

Intelligent and energetic, the Japanese Spitz makes a great family dog.  They love to please and will remain loyal to all that love them. 

They sport a thick coat, as is the case with all the Spitz breeds that has a dense undercoat and straight outer coat.  Much brushing is needed as these dogs do shed. 

Be prepared for hair around the house even with the daily brushing and combing. 

But, if fluffy is what you want along with an amazing family dog that does very well with children, this might be the breed for you.

More About the Japanese Spitz

14. Lhasa Apso

Here is a highly adaptable dog that loves the creature comforts of life.  They do not need much exercise but appreciate a daily walk.  They love their families and try to please so training as long as it is positive can be very rewarding. 

They are a little wary around strangers.  They use their keen sense of hearing to alert you to anyone who comes nearby.  For these reasons, they make excellent watchdogs. 

As far as the fluffy factor is concerned, they have their fair share, which means daily grooming to keep those locks looking good.

More about the Lhasa Apso

15. Lowchen

If you are looking for a clown or a built in entertainer, this might just be the perfect breed for you. 

They love being in the limelight and just in case you might be busy doing something else, they will help you remember that they are there ready to entertain and be entertained. 

Dubbed the little lion dog, because after having he classic cut for this breed, they resemble a lion, mane and all.  Prepare to groom, as they are fluffy and do best with a daily brushing. 

More about the Lowchen

16. Maltese

A real charmer in a tiny body, these dogs are happy to be by your side, on your lap or sharing your pillow at night. 

They are fluffy and with all that fluff, you will need to spend time grooming:  brushing and combing to keep mats at bay, but most Maltese can be trained to enjoy grooming if the training starts early. 

Since they are tiny, the best homes for these pups are with families with older children, couples, and singles.

More about the Maltese

17. Papillon

Does the Papillon look like a butterfly to you?  It must have resembled one long ago, as this is how they got the name. 

Papillon means butterfly in French and my guess is that the breed’s amazing ears had something to do with their name. 

They are friendly, outgoing, and happy with some energy to spare.  There will not be a dull moment in a household owned by a Papillon. 

Most owners state that they never outgrow their puppy years when it comes to playfulness.  With all that charm and fluffiness, where can you go wrong! 

Since they have a single coat, they maybe just a little easier to groom, but still plan on regular brushing to keep mats away.

More about the Papillon

18. Mi-Ki

The Mi-Ki breed is a playful small dog that has been bred mixing 3 small dogs: the Maltese, the Papillon, and the Japanese Chin. 

The breed is not an AKC recognized breed and is classified now as a “Rare Dog Breed”.

Both the IMR (International Mi-ki Registry) and the AMRA (American Mi-Ki Registry Association) are in the process of keeping strict breeding programs with DNA profiling through the United Kennel Club, Inc.

The breed is a highly intelligent little muse who can charm the pants off anyone. This is a non-shedding breed with hair instead of fur, which is a plus in houses like ours with allergies.

Read about the Mi-Ki Dog Breed Profile

19. Pekingese

I do not think it gets any fluffier that this!  They look like royalty and display an aura of nobility, but then they have been bred for centuries to be a companion dog. 

They are loving, sweet and affectionate to their families but also wary of strangers making them good watchdogs. 

A little unpredictable around children, these dogs are best for families with older children, couples, and singles. 

Grooming will require some of your time, but because they do not require too much exercise, you still have time left over for some fun and games.

The Complete Pekingese Dog Breed Profile and Information

20. Pomeranian

These little fluff balls are the happy go lucky fellows of the canine world.  They are energetic, bouncy and crave attention. 

If trained early their tendency to be yappy can be reduced and because they are a highly intelligent breed, training maybe easier to accomplish. 

They are fragile, so they might not be the perfect choice for families with small children, but with owners who understand them, they are very loyal, and can spend hours on your lap if you allow it. 

Prepare for a little wrist action with your brush, though as their fluffiness needs attention daily.

Visit the Complete Pomeranian Dog Breed Profile

21. Poodle

The poodle does not have to be fluffy if you choose to keep him clipped short, but with a body of hair that continues to grow and grow, you will spend a lot of time at the groomers. 

That curly hair can be blown dry and brushed with a slicker brush to achieve one the fluffiest hairdos in all of canine-dom. 

Think Poodle Show Dog, if you can't understand why we added this to our list of fluffy small breed dogs. 

Some owners prefer the groomer route so they have more time to play with, exercise, and train these remarkably smart dogs. 

More about the Toy Poodle

22. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya BolonkaRussian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Of all the fluffy small breed dogs, this one might be the rarest, at least in the United States.

These spunky dogs can satisfy most of their energy needs indoors eliminating the need for a large backyard.  They are intelligent and sociable and make great lap dogs. 

They come in a wide variety of colors and according to the standard, any color But white is permissible. 

Their coat is long, soft, and wavy to curly.  They require regular brushing, but the grooming requirements of this breed might not be as great as some other long coated small dogs.   

These dogs are considered a rare breed so please be forewarned:  There might be an extensive wait to find the perfect puppy and most come with a hefty price tag.

23. Shetland Sheepdog

If you think you want a fluffy small breed dog, the Sheltie might have what you want.

Fun loving, devoted, and smart are three words to describe the personality of a Sheltie.  They may look like a miniature collie, but they are breed of their own.  

They are a good choice for a family and thrive in a suburban or rural setting.  Being a little yappy, they may not be perfect for apartment living. 

They fit the bill of fluffy because they have a thick double coat that consists of a harder outer coat and soft inner layer that does mat easily if not brushed. 

They usually shed about once per year; when this is happening, daily brushing is necessary to control all that hair. 

In the meantime, a good brushing with a pin or slicker brush and an undercoat rake works well to keep them looking their best.

Learn more about the Shetland Sheepdog Dog Breed Profile

24. Shih Tzu

Perhaps one of the most popular fluffy dogs, the Shih Tzu provides their owner with the fluffy cute look but does not stop there.  Personality plus! 

These dogs are sweet, devoted, playful, and sturdy. These fluffy small breed dogs will warm your lap as they stare into your soul with their large round eyes.

Most Shih Tzu dogs have a stubborn side, but if you find the appropriate motivator, you can easily train most of them to basic commands and more. 

Be careful where you purchase one, though, as health issues have surfaced because of their popularity due to over breeding.

More about the Shih Tzu

25. Tibetan Spaniel

Read about the Tibetan Spaniel Dog Breed Profile and Info

26. Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terriers resemble miniature versions of the Old English Sheepdog. 

Although not as small as most breeds featured on this website, they are small enough to be mentioned, weighing in at between 18 and 30 pounds.(8 to 14 kg). 

They have a moderate to high energy level so daily exercise is a must, but they are sociable and gentle, almost laid back in temperament and make great family pets. 

Their double coat consists of a thick warm undercoat and a top coat that is soft with the texture of human hair. 

Once a puppy’s adult coat grows in, they need regular grooming, brushing, and combing to prevent mats from forming. 

More about the Tibetan Terrier

27. Volpino Italiano

Read more about the Volpino Italiano Dog Breed Profile

So, this is our list of fluffy small breed dogs.  What do you think?  Do you own one of these fluffy small breed dogs and want to tell us about your pet? 

Do you have a different fluffy small breed dog that we forgot to list?  Tell us too.  Use the form below to tell the world about your fluffy small breed dogs.

Pin for Future Reference

World's Best Fluffy Breed Dogs27 of the World's Best Fluffy Small Breed Dogs

Have any comments, concerns, ideas or suggestions about what you just read?

Do you have any comments about this page that you'd like to share? Please take a moment and share your thoughts, ideas, comments, or suggestions for everyone to read.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Funny Dog Commercial Question For All 
I have been looking for the small dog they have in the commercial where he is in the middle of other stuffed animals that look the same as him, and he …

What is this dog  
I NEED TO KNOW WHAT KIND OF DOG THIS IS ---Greetings from Small Dog Place--- This is one incredibly cute little dog. From your description and …

Long Haired Chihuahua Not rated yet
You missed adding the Long Haired Chihuahua. It looks a little like the Papillon but for me it's very cute! A word about Long Haired Chihuahuas from …

Click here to write your own.

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

Does This Article Deserve Your Thumbs Up?

We always appreciate your support and encouragement.  Your thumbs up means so much to us.  Please like this article.

If you find this page or any page on Small Dog Place Helpful, or useful in anyway, I'd love it if you would click the small heart found on the bottom right of each page.

You can also share or bookmark this page -- just click on the:

10 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Dog Breed

Free Monthly Newsletter

Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter and get our Free Gift to You.

my  E-book, The Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Dog (and how to avoid them)