Mainly bred to hunt small animals, terriers have spunky personalities and an abundance of energy.
Terriers are a good choice for pet owners who have the patience and commitment to meet their needs. With plenty of energy, these pups can be determined and even headstrong – but with just the right amount of training they make great working dogs as well as loving companions.
Generally thought of as small dogs, the terrier group actually encompasses breeds ranging from 4 pounds all the way up to over 100 pounds.
Today, I will be focusing on the lower end of the weight scale. So, if you’re looking for a little dog with a big personality, consider getting one of the 10 smallest terriers.
- Miniature Rat Terrier
- Norwich Terrier
- Norfolk Terrier
- Japanese Terrier
- Silky Terrier
- Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
- English Toy Terrier
- Toy Fox Terrier
- Biewer Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
10. Miniature Rat Terrier
Standing 10 to 13 inches tall at the shoulders and weighing 10 to 18 pounds, the Miniature Rat Terrier is the 10th smallest terrier breed. They are a small, quick and intelligent dog that makes a good companion for an active family.
Rat Terriers are full of life and joy. Not only can they be trained to do all sorts of activities, like agility courses and hunting, but their alert disposition makes them naturally good watchdogs, too. In fact, it may take them some time to warm up to strangers.
Rat Terriers have one of the longest lifespans of any dog, regularly living up to 18 years.
9. Norwich Terrier
The Norwich Terrier is the 9th smallest terrier breed. This dog was developed in the East Anglia region of England as a vermin hunting dog, but they are also good family pets.
Weighing only 10-13 pounds and standing 9-10 inches tall at the shoulder, the Norwich Terrier is a spunky breed with its signature hard, wiry coat boasting an array of colors including all shades of red, wheaten, grizzle, tan, and black & tan. Certain individuals may also have white markings.
Loyal, energetic and intelligent, the Norwich Terrier is the perfect pup for city dwellers and country folk alike. It’s an adaptable breed, comfortably thriving in urban or rural conditions.
8. Norfolk Terrier
Closely related to the Norwich Terrier, the Norfolk Terrier is the 8th smallest terrier breed. This breed was considered to be a subset of the Norwich Terrier until 1979 when the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Norfolk Terrier as a separate breed.
The main difference between the two breeds, is that the Norfolk Terrier’s ears are folder over, while the Norwich Terrier has erect, pointed ears.
Norfolk Terriers form meaningful bonds with their owners, making them reliable watchdogs. Like their cousins, they are highly adaptable to new environments and situations.
7. Japanese Terrier
Weighing 10 to 12 pounds and standing 10 to 13 inches tall, the Japanese Terrier is the 7th smallest terrier. Originating from Japan, the breed is smart and trainable, but can sometimes exhibit an independent spirit.
Known as one person dogs, they have a tendency to strongly attach to their owners while being weary of strangers.
The Japanese Terrier is a versatile dog, competing in both show dog and agility competitions.
Relatively common in Japan, Japanese Terriers are rare outside of the country. In fact, there appears to only be one Japanese Terrier breeder in the United States.
6. Silky Terrier
The Silky Terrier weighs between 9 and 11 pounds and is no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder, making it the 6th smallest terrier breed. This small, friendly terrier was originally bred in Sydney, Australia.
Closely related to the Yorkshire Terrier, this hypoallergenic breed may look like a toy lap dog, but is actually an adept vermin hunter.
The Silky is either a great watchdog or an overactive barker, depending on your perspective. Despite their prey drive and tendency to bark, Silky Terriers are well suited for apartment living as long as they are given the opportunity to get enough exercise.
5. Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
The shorter cousin of the Rat Terrier, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier stands 8 to 12 inches tall and weighs as little as 8 pounds – although some can reach over 20 pounds.
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is named after 26th President of the United States who owned what was known at the time as a short-legged Rat Terrier.
Despite their short legs, “Teddies” are actually athletic dogs that compete in agility and even dock diving competitions.
4. English Toy Terrier
This is the part of the list where we get into the truly small terriers weighing no more than 10 pounds. The English Toy Terrier weighs 6 to 10 pounds and is 10 to 12 inches tall, making it the 4th smallest terrier breed.
The English Toy Terrier, also known as the Toy Manchester Terrier, has a short, glossy coat in shades of black and tan.
A popular choice in 19th century England for the ethically questionable sport of rat-baiting, the English Toy Terrier still retains its strong hunting instinct.
While one of the smallest terriers, it definitely has the terrier attitude. However, with early training the English Toy Terrier can be a well-behaved, affectionate family pet.
3. Toy Fox Terrier
The Toy Fox Terrier is a small breed of dog that originated in the United States. They are known for their diminutive size, standing only 8 to 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 4 and 9 pounds.
Despite their small size, Toy Fox Terriers are energetic and athletic, with a muscular build and a keen hunting instinct. They have pointed ears that stand erect, and their tails are typically docked to about 2/3 of their original length.
Toy Fox Terriers are also known for being great watchdogs, as they are alert and will bark to alert their owners to any potential threats. They are adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, as long as they are given enough exercise and attention.
2. Biewer Terrier
Originating in Germany, the Biewer Terrier stands 7 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 4 and 8 pounds. They are known for their distinctive coat, which is white with black, brown, and gold markings that are typically symmetrically distributed throughout the body.
Despite their small size, Biewer Terriers are sturdy and athletic dogs that enjoy physical activities like agility and obedience training. They have an affectionate nature and love to cuddle and play with their owners.
Closely related to the Yorkshire Terrier, the Biewer Terrier was only recently recognized by the AKC as a separate breed in 2021.
1. Yorkshire Terrier
The title of Smallest Terrier goes to the the Yorkshire Terrier. Yorkies typically weigh between 4 and 7 pounds, and stand about 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder.
Known for its long, silky coat and spunky personality, Yorkies are one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. And while they do make great family pets, don’t let their size fool you. Like all terriers, they are skilled rodent hunters.
One particularly tough Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky became a national hero after World War II soldiers found her in foxhole and she became a part of their platoon. After the war, Smoky would visit soldiers in veterans’ hospitals making her America’s first therapy dog.
Smallest Terrier Breeds
Despite their small stature, the above 10 smallest terriers are athletic dogs that love to hunt rodents. While they will be happy to cuddle up next to you on the couch at the end of they day, they are not your typical lap dogs.
Whether you want to classify these dogs as toy breeds or not (there’s no agreed upon criteria of what makes a toy breed), these dogs are terriers first and foremost.
No matter how cute they look, all of these terriers have a strong prey drive and require an adequate amount of physical activity to maintain their well-being and happiness.