Quiet Small Breed Dogs:  Your Top Ten List

Quiet Small Breed Dogs   By Janice Jones  |Updated 11-22-2021

Ask a large dog owner, and they may tell you that quiet small breed dogs are an oxymoron—they simply don’t exist. 

Many people love small dogs. 

Right? 

You would not be here right now if you didn’t have some affinity for smallness.  And, many small dog owners live in apartments and condominiums where a barking dog could be construed as being a nuisance. 

There are many small breed dogs that don’t bark much and to prove it to you; I have researched and located ten breeds of small dogs that are quiet. 

By quiet, I mean they are not considered yappy—barking every time a leaf falls from a tree two miles down the street. 

Do They Bark?

Quiet Small Breed Dogs Graphic

Of course, all dogs bark with perhaps the exception of the Basenji who makes other types of communicative sounds. 

Barking is one way that dogs communicate.  Most dogs will alert you to someone at your door or wandering on your property. 

The difference between these barks and those that are just plain annoying is in degree and purpose. 

The worst offending barkers can’t help themselves.  They bark and bark.  A purposeful bark alerts the owner to something out of the ordinary. 

Many on my list of quiet small breed dogs still make excellent watch dogs.  I equate yappy dogs to the boy that cried wolf.  It is too easy to tune them out.

Isn't Barking Just a Training Issue?

Some trainers say that barking is all a matter of training.  People who have dogs that bark are somehow responsible for training them and encouraging them to bark. 

There is some truth to that, but it does not tell the whole story.  Some breeds are just more excitable and impulsive than other breeds are.  

Barking is part of their nature. Not all quiet small breed dogs calm and lazy.  In fact there is a wide range of temperament types in these dogs. 

Top Ten Quiet Small Breed Dogs

First, let’s look at the top ten quiet small breed dogs.  There will always be people who know at least one example on our quiet dog list that were noisier than #%^&*!  

There will always be exceptions to the rule.  but, here is my recommendation for the quietest small breed dogs.

Basenji

The Basenji is a primitive type dog originating in Africa.  Mischievous and energetic, these dogs are known as the barkless dogs of Africa. 

Rather than bark, these guys like to scream, growl, even yodel in a canine sort of way. 

They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, but require little in the way of grooming. 

Not the smallest of the small breed dogs, but probably the one least likely to bark.  If you are a first time dog owner, this may not be the breed for you. An experienced dog owner who wants one of these quiet small breed dogs will find this dog to be very special.

Basenji

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sweet and docile, these dogs get along well with everyone.  They are one of the larger of the toy breeds, weighing in at between 13 and 18 pounds. But they are still considered a quiet small breed dog.

Fiercely loyal, they will follow you everywhere. 

Some think of them as lazy, lounging around in your most-comfortable chair, but they are also playful and enjoy walks and activities as long as it involves their owners. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Bolognese

If you are looking for small, fluffy, and quiet, then the Bolognese might be a perfect match for you. 

They are related to the other little white dogs of the Mediterranean (Coton, Maltese, Bichon) but certainly more quiet than their cousins. 

Easy to love and spoil, if you do not watch out with these dogs, you might have a problem with Small Dog Syndrome on your hands.  Training and socialization will be needed early on, but you will not have to be worried by an overly yappy canine.

Learn more about the Bolognese

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound (IG for short) may need a few reminders from time to time that he is a small dog and not the same as his bigger cousin the Greyhound. 

Energetic and playful, he will keep you going and happily amused for years to come.  His grooming needs are minimal, but extra effort might be needed when training.  You will need to convince him that what you want him to do is what he wanted to do all along.

Learn more about the Italian Greyhound

Japanese Chin

Smart, mischievous, and playful are just a few words that describe these entertaining dogs.  They don’t need to be extremely vocal to get your attention, so they make a great choice for someone who prefers quiet dogs. 

They are tiny, weighing in at less than 9 pounds, but are very athletic, and almost cat-like in their antics.  Even though they do not bark much, they have been known to “Sing” and even carry on conversations with their owners.  Overall, though, they are definitely one of our quiet small breed dog choices.

Learn more about the Japanese Chin

French Bulldog

Sweet, charming, and clever, the French bulldog is increasingly becoming more popular each year.  They are an excellent choice for apartment living, as they don’t bark much. 

They do just as well in the country or suburbs.  They are comical and will keep you entertained, never bored, but don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time. 

If you are looking for a quiet breed, with low grooming needs that will keep your couch warm, then this could be the perfect choice for you.

Learn more about the French Bulldog

Related:  Why is the French Bulldog so Popular?

Chinese Crested

Here is a very distinct look that you can’t confuse with any other dog.  The Chinese Crested comes in two varieties, the Powder Puff and the Hairless. 

They are not known to be barkers, but early training and socialization will prevent any inappropriate behaviors from becoming established. 

They are happy, playful, snuggly dogs that prefer to be close to their owners.  As highly sensitive dogs, they don’t like being left alone for long.

Learn more about the Chinese Crested

Related:  Chinese Crested Powder Puff

English Toy Spaniel

Similar to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but a separate toy breed, the English Toy Spaniel is calm and quiet.  They are a loyal companion, but not as well-known as their cousin, the Cavalier. 

They are affectionate and adaptable to all lifestyles, but do best when they are near their owners. 

They are an excellent choice for those living in an apartment or condo.

Learn more about the English Toy Spaniel

Norwegian Lunderhund

Norwegian Lunderhund Dog BreedNorwegian Lunderhund

The Puffin Dog as this breed is sometimes called is relatively rare in the US.  Bred initially to climb cliffs and catch puffin birds on the Norwegian islands, his anatomy is somewhat different from other dogs. 

He has six digits on his paws and neck that is so flexible that he can almost bend it backwards.  He is loyal and energetic, curious and stubborn.  These dogs are probably not a good choice for a first-time dog owner. 

Learn more about the Norwegian Lunderhund

Shih Tzu

While every dog is unique the breed is generally considered to be a relatively quiet one.  Do they bark?  They do when they have something to say and that is generally when they see something different or unique in their environment. 

They make excellent watch dogs, and will bark to alert you to a visitor or even a passing squirrel, but they are not considered to be a yappy breed.

Learn more about the Shih Tzu

What About Small Dog Hybrids?

It's often difficult to know whether a hybrid will be a barker or quiet until you bring him home and live with him for a couple of weeks.  Here's what our readers are telling us.

Shorkie lying on a pink bedShorkie (Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier mix)

Carla from Ohio writes...

"I have a female Shorkie (Shih Tzu/Yorkie)and thankfully she takes her barking habits from the Shih Tzu side because she is almost always quiet & will only bark now and then at something catching her attention out the window but even then it is only a bark or two and finished or not at all.

She has the hair texture of the Yorkie & the hair coloring of the Shih Tzu and is non shedding. She is small like a Yorkie but longer body after the Shih Tzu. She's friendly with everyone of all ages and playful. Never yappy or snappy."

Small Dogs, Big Barkers

Your favorite breed not on our list of quiet small breed dogs? 

Some big barkers can be trained and conditioned to bark less.  In all fairness, I thought I should let you know which breeds I think are noisy, perhaps yappy?  With that said, here is my list of noisy but extremely lovable small breed dogs.

Pekingese

Pomeranian

Beagle

Shetland Sheepdogs

West Highland White Terriers

Maltese

Toy Fox Terriers

Chihuahua

Miniature Schnauzers

Poodles

Cairn Terriers

Stories about Quiet Small Breed Dogs From Our Readers

Willow is a miniature YorkipooWillow is a miniature Yorkipoo

From Karen Sayers, (Newport UK)

She is adorable, very loyal and loving. She can run and run and really likes a good exercise. She loves cuddles and being close to you, is protective and territorial and very intelligent. Unfortunately this breed tends to be a barker for the slightest sound, if anyone passes the house or there's a sound in the distance. She is still the most wonderful dog.

Lhasa ApsoSarge, a 13 year old Lhasa Apso

From Susan Buslett from North Carolina

Sarge is a 13 year old Lhasa. Over the years I have owned several. They are not yappie dogs. He lets me know if someone is outside, but otherwise doesn't bark for the sake of barking. They do require a firm hand but are definitely worth it. They are extremely loyal.


Midge is now 8 years old and we have had her since 8 weeks old.  She is not a barker, or tapper like our neighbor Terriers but does like to carry on when the neighbor's dog comes to the fence and barks at her.  The other time she barks is when someone comes to the door.  

She is definitely part of the family and reminds us of that when its bedtime as she goes back to the bedroom and gives us one bark to remind us of that.  By nature, she would like to take charge of the household if we would allow, but that's only because she likes to be with us.  Loveable and currently the only pet we have in the home having lost our Lab a couple of years ago.

Gene from McAlester, OK


Perfect lady who never barks and loves everyone.  At 76 I have had many dogs and she is the best.

Dennis from Dayton, Texas, USA


Cici, a Havanese

This is Cici, a Havanese from Hershey.  Jill, Cici's owner writes, "I had a Havanese for 15 years who never barked. At all. Only if the doorbell rang.  Now I call that a very quiet small breed dog.

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