Can You Identify These Small Dog Breeds?



By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: dowell / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Famous author Mark Twain once said, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." The pooches you'll encounter in this quiz might consider that their life motto. Tiny pups, like the Yorkshire Terrier, Shih Tzu and Bichon Frise, may be small in stature, but are often big on personality. We guess that's to make up for what they lack in brawn!

There's some history and science behind these small dog breeds that's pretty interesting. For example, history tells us that many of these small dogs have pup ancestors who were considerably larger. The Pomeranian, for one, was bred down from the Spitz, which is a sled dog. (Now you're just laughing picturing a Pomeranian pulling a sled, aren't you?) Yet, other dogs are small because, well, they're just small. The Chihuahua, for instance, has always been a tiny fella with roots in Mexico.

Small dog breeds are great, though, and preferable for many, such as those who live in apartments and small homes or older individuals who might struggle to physically handle a bigger dog. Some of us just like having a small dog to curl up in our laps. Luckily, there are several dozen small to toy-sized (extra small!) breeds to choose from. Work your way through this quiz and see how many small dog breeds you know — and perhaps learn about some you didn't!

Oh rats! Which of these tiny pups was originally bred to chase rodents?

The Yorkshire Terrier originally hails from the Yorkshire area of England, a one-time manufacturing hotbed. Business owners looked to Yorkies, as they're popularly known, to be ratters, thanks to their small stature and short legs.


Which of these breeds did royal women hide up their sleeves?

The Maltese breed has long been beloved by royalty, from those in ancient times to more modern-day celebrities. In Roman times, there were even poems written about this chic pooch.


The world's tiniest guard dog? What breed might remind you (incorrectly) of a small Doberman?

Though it shares the word "Pinscher" with the (much bigger) Doberman, the Miniature Pinscher, the "Mini Pin" as it's sometimes called is actually a descendent of a breed between an Italian Greyhound and a Dachshund.


If you enjoy spending time on the water, which of these pooches might be a good fit?

The Bichon Frise earned a reputation early on for being a good travel buddy, making him a popular option for sailors gone for long periods. This made the breed particularly popular in areas of the Mediterranean along ship routes.


Which of these breeds was the first in the U.S. to earn recognition by the American Kennel Club?

One of the few breeds with origins in the United States, the Boston Terrier was first acknowledged by the AKC just before the turn of the 20th century.


They get along just fine! Which of these breeds has both an American and English variety?

With a name like Cocker Spaniel, you might not have guessed there are American and English varieties of this breed. They appear slightly different with the American possessing a smaller head and the English have a longer snout.


Which of these breeds has gone by both "liberty pups" and "badger dogs" in its lifetime?

The Dachshund was used frequently as a representation of Germany during the period around World War II, which caused some contempt toward the breed. This led to the new naming attempts.


Which of these breeds possesses a physical attribute that may give you trouble at the beach or on an airplane?

The French Bulldog, while a trusted companion, would be best left at home for a day at the pool or beach, particularly if you're flying to get there. Their short snouts and round heads can create breathing problems that make these scenarios less-than-ideal for them.


That's some serious air! Which breed is capable of jumping five times its own height?

You might think the Jack Russell Terrier was named for the springy, pop-in-the-air Jack-in-the-box, but that's simply not the case. However, the breed is quite agile, able to jump five times its own height into the air.


Which of these breeds did the Chinese believe was a cross between a lion and a marmoset?

Chinese legend asserts that the Pekingese was born out of a union between a lion and a marmoset (or monkey). We aren't sure about that, but we know that this pooch has enjoyed the royal treatment throughout the ages.


Which of these breeds' definition of "perfection" is not one curl, but two?

The Pug's curly tail is one of the breed's signature trademarks. One curl is great, but according to the American Kennel Club, a double curl is considered a perfect trait in the pup.


Which of these breeds most enjoys the thrill of the chase?

Because the Shetland Sheepdog was bred as a herder of other animals, it gets its love of the chase from those instinctual cues. Luckily, this breed responds well to training (to keep them from chasing everything moving!).


Ferocious! Which of these pups is most closely related to wolves?

They may be little, but these dogs are most closely related to their wolf ancestors than other, larger breeds you might suspect. Asian breeds, of which the Shih Tzu is part, are wolves closest descendants apart from Nordic breeds.


Which of these dogs' distinctive coat was an integral part of its breeding?

The West Highland White Terrier's coat is so important that it was bred for that feature, specifically. Perhaps that's why the word "white" appears in its name; the color was useful in helping the dog stay visible (and not get hurt) during hunting expeditions.


They're no clowns, but which of these breeds became a regular fixture in traveling circuses?

The American Eskimo Dog's agility made them a natural for traveling circuses. They demonstrated that agility by being the first dog breed to ever successfully walk a tightrope!


Which of these breeds had full run of England's castles and even the House of Parliament?

King Charles II was such a big fan of this breed that not only did he give it the run of the castle and even the House of Parliament, but also his own name. That's right — the Charles name of the breed relates back to King Charles II himself.


Which of these breeds is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean more than 2,000 years ago?

The Italian Greyhound derives its name from its Mediterranean roots, believing to have originated in an area near Greece and Turkey some 2,000 years ago. Historians believe this because of art depicting the animals and skeletal bones that have been discovered.


No poking! Which of these dog breeds can keep a soft spot on its head similar to that of a baby?

The Mexico-originating Chihuahua has a lot in common with a human baby. It may keep a soft spot most commonly associated with a newborns' head, known as a molera, for its entire life. No poking please!


Which of these breeds do the French refer to as "diablotin moustachu," which means "mustached little devil?"

The Affenpinscher typically fails to leave up to its nickname by the French — "mustached little devil" — instead, taking on an agreeable and affectionate personality. Perhaps the name comes from its cute furry face.


Which of these pooches shares its name with a popular Italian pasta dish?

The Bolognese breed shares its name with a popular pasta dish, both of which attribute their history to the Italian city of Bologna. The Bolognese (dog, that is) is covered with white, woolly hair.


Which of these breeds was protected by stiff penalties imposed on those who might steal or harm them?

Under Welsh law long ago, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi endured certain protections from theft or harm, thanks to penalties imposed on those who might steal or cause injury to them. A corgi's talents were believed to have been an indicator of a family's wealth.


If you enjoy being a couch potato, which of these breeds would be your BFF?

The Chinese Crested dog was originally bred to become a companion for people who were ill or could not leave their bed. This pup is perfectly content to lie alongside you on the couch or the bed — that's how loyal he is!


Which of these breeds was heavily influenced by the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s?

The Havanese breed, which gets its name from its original hometown of Havana, Cuba, lives on today in the United States thanks to roughly a dozen pups that Cuban refugees smuggled out of the country into the U.S.


Which of these pups is known for its multi-talented abilities as a shepherd, watchdog and therapy pet?

Despite its small stature, the Australian Terrier is a well-rounded pooch, having worked as a ratter, shepherd, watchdog and therapy pet throughout the years, as well as serving as a loving companion.


This pup's name means "butterfly." Which of these breeds' appearance earned them this name?

The Papillon earned its name, which means "butterfly," for its appearance. Its tall, pointy ears draped in long hair give the appearance of a butterfly. Papillons are one of the oldest breeds of toy spaniels.


Which of these breeds saw two survive the sinking of the Titanic in 1912?

Aboard the Titanic when it set sail were 12 dogs. As the tragic events of its sinking unfolded, three dogs survived including two Pomeranians. One of those surviving dogs belonged to Martin Rothschild, who perished in the accident. His wife — and the dog — were saved.


Which of these breeds was a favorite of the King of Rock 'N' Roll, Elvis Presley?

Not only was Elvis known for his collection of pups, including one Poodle named Champagne, but he treated the dogs as gifts, bestowing them upon the women in his life, including his wife, Priscilla, his mother and a girlfriend before that.


War dog: Which of these breeds nearly went extinct due to World War II?

A Japanese breed, the care and keeping of the Shiba Inu took a backseat during the period of time surrounding World War II. When the war concluded, they successfully reinvigorated the breed using just three bloodlines, including the the Mino Shiba, the Shiba Shu Shiba and the San In Shiba.


Which of these breeds is known for its boundless energy, making it a perfect companion to children?

Looking for a pup to keep up with your active lifestyle? it might be time to consider a Wire Fox Terrier, a breed that hails from England. Whether your kids — or this pup — tire out first remains to be seen!


Talk about a well-rounded dog! Which of these breeds used to pull double-duty as a hunter and in-home companion?

Border Terriers were well-loved for their ability to serve effectively on hunting expeditions, particularly when it came to burrowing into holes, and becoming a loving in-home companion at the end of a long day.


More of a cat person? Which of these dogs has been noted for its cat-like behaviors?

The Japanese Chin, which ironically was first discovered in China, has many cat-like tendencies including a love of climbing atop household furniture. They are also noted for their feline style of grooming, involving a paw-licking-and-face-rubbing approach.


You'll always know when this guy is happy. Which of these breeds' smile is so memorable it's earned its own name?

Sporting the "heeler smile," the Lancashire Heeler is well-known for its gleeful expression, which closely resembles an infectious smile. This pup looks similar to a Corgi, and its short legs make it a perfect pup to nip at the heels of cattle and get them moving.


This dog worked its way up. Which of these breeds was first used in farming, but upgraded to hunting?

The Norrbottenspets, which is pronounced "Nor-Boat-Ten-Spetz," hails from the country of Finland. The breed was first used to help on farms, but its super smarts made it an ideal companion for hunters.


Forever immortalized in art: Which of these breeds can be found painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

The Volpino, native to Italy, was a favorite of painters and royals in its home country. The Volpino was so beloved it can be found in several paintings inside the Sistine Chapel.


If you were headed out on a boat for the day, which of these breeds would be best by your side?

It's no coincidence the Schipperke's name sounds pretty close to "skipper," the overseer of a sailing vessel. Years ago, the Schipperke became a popular addition to barges and a friend to sailors.


Which of these breeds, based on appearance, might be right at home on the set of Star Wars?

The Brussels Griffon, native to Belgium, bears a striking resemblance to a host of fictional characters, including Chewbacca or an Ewok. These fairly rare pups often have a grumpy-looking expression and regularly mistaken for other, more common breeds.


This breed hails from the Land Down Under. Which pup are we talking about?

Don't confuse the Silky Terrier with the Yorkshire Terrier, although the two are related. In fact, the Silky descended from Yorkies and Australian Terriers. Their coats are different from Yorkies, too, conforming to the shape of their bodies.


Which breed is notorious for hearing frequencies twice as high as the human ear can hear?

The Miniature Schnauzer's hearing is a well-known trait of the breed, able to discern frequencies twice as high as human hearing is capable of. This keen sense of hearing dates back to its working days, when it was used to help hunt rodents.


With spotted pink skin and an irregular pattern of fur, which of these breeds is sure to be a conversation starter wherever you go?

The Chinese Crested dog may not be the cutest pup to all, but he's a conversation starter for sure with his punk rock 'do on his head and the appearance of fluffy socks on his feet. At least you don't have to worry about a bunch of shedding!


Which of these dogs, which resembles a fluffy cotton ball, is known as the "Royal Dog of Madagascar?"

The Coton de Tulear hails from — you guessed it — Madagascar. Legend has it that this breed of dog survived a shipwreck and swam to the Madagascar shore, where they are today considered to be near extinction.


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