10 Most Popular Small Dog Breeds in the Philippines

Every person needs a companion, and there’s perhaps no animal better suited for the job than the dog. Dogs have been an essential and beloved part of human history, from the first moment our prehistoric ancestors domesticated wolves to the lovable furry friends we enjoy today. We had a previous post on ’10 Most Popular Dog Breeds in the Philippines’ that went into depth about the most cherished dog breeds in the country. Today, we’re going to be taking another look at man’s best friend— this time on the shorter side. Here’s a list of the ten most popular small dog breeds in the Philippines.

Why Small Dogs?

After thousands of years of domestication and breeding, it’s no surprise that dogs have become one of the most diverse species on the planet. There are dogs bigger than your average human, and dogs small enough to fit in a purse. There are dogs for hunting and sport, dogs for guarding the house, and dogs for your kids to play with. Long-haired,  short-haired, even bald— the variety is endless. So why talk about small dog breeds?

Smaller dog breeds are relevant to the Philippine experience due to a host of different reasons. First, Philippine homes don’t always have big enough gardens or outdoor space for dogs to run around in, especially in more urbanized areas. Second, attitudes towards home ownership are changing with demographics, with real estate website Lamudi listing condominiums as the second most popular search for property hunters. Smaller homes means smaller pets. Third, smaller dog breeds are cheaper to raise and take care of overall, as they require less food and supplies when compared to larger dogs. And fourth, they’re just, well, cute dogs.

While smaller dogs aren’t necessarily better than larger ones, they are pretty convenient if you’re tight on space or resources. They’re also easier to transport, which is a big plus in a country where according to Statista only a little over 1% of the population own private cars. On the whole, as life in the Philippines becomes increasingly more urbanized and congested, small dog breeds like the terrier might be a more appropriate alternative for prospective pet owners who want a companion but don’t have the space.

A Note to Prospective Owners

Whether you have a big or small dog, of course, the key to good pet ownership is to understand their needs and care for them. Cute dog breeds, no matter how cute, are still living beings, and require a safe and nurturing environment, correct feeding, regular check-ups, and more to survive. Before heading to the pet store to pick up that cute corgi, make sure that you have a thorough understanding of its health, food, and entertainment and socializing needs. Small breed dogs, though small, require all the love and care that large breed dogs do, too.

Shih Tzu

If there’s one dog breed whose popularity has endured for decades in the Philippines, it’s the shih tzu. Originating in China and with a name that means “little lion”, the diminutive shih tzu is not a fighter but a lover. It’s affectionate, outgoing, and companionable, able to interact well with other animals. Children are also no problem, as long as they know how to treat a Shih Tzu puppy gently. Shih tzus don’t need more than the regular amount of exercise, which makes them ideal pets for people living in apartments or homes without too much space.

They do have certain conditions that they’re prone to, such as allergies and canine hip dysplasia, but with the right care they’re overall easy dogs to care for. If you’re looking for a dog that’s friendly, affectionate, and cheerful, then the shih tzu may be the one for you.


Known for being the world’s smallest dog, the chihuahua is a top contender if you’re looking for toy dog breeds. While their true breed origins are murky, they’ve become one of the most loved and popular toy dog breeds worldwide.

Chihuahuas are friendly, athletic, and fast learners. They also tend to forget that they’re smaller dogs, and have been known to go head to head with bigger breeds. Owners should take care to keep a close eye on them during walks and around small children, as their small size can lead to easy injury. Overall, they’re wonderful, devoted companions despite their small size.


The foxy-looking, tiny pomeranian is another one of the most popular small dog breeds in the Philippines, and it’s not hard to see why. Pomeranians are small, feisty, and lively, with larger than life personalities. They’re alert and curious, but can tend to be territorial and aggressive when it comes to other dogs. However, if they’re properly socialized they get along with other dogs and animals just fine.

They also make great watchdogs, and are interested in exploring new places. If you have small children, it’s better to supervise their interactions with your new pomeranian puppy, as the puppy can be prone to injury with rough handling. Teacup pomeranians are among the smallest dog breeds in the world, and can weigh anywhere from 1.3 to 3kg.


The pug is a sturdy, compact dog with distinctive wide-set eyes and a wrinkly face. Despite their somewhat unconventional looks, they’re fantastic companions for humans, and are affectionate, playful, intelligent, and loyal. They’re relatively inactive, even for a small dog breed, making them great pets for condominiums or apartments. A pug dog can be prone to certain conditions like hip dysplasia, so make sure your breeder has the proper certification. They can also be stubborn and willful when it comes to training, so it’s best to start training pug puppies early.


Although a first glance may have them looking like the image of sophistication, poodles are incredibly affectionate and make fantastic family dogs. They’re very trainable and intelligent, and although they can get destructive when bored, are easily appeased by regular exercise and play. Poodles can come in a variety of sizes, but the best-suited for smaller households is the toy poodle, which is on the smaller side. They can be prone to certain diseases, like hip dysplasia, Addison’s disease, and bloat. When buying poodle puppies, make sure you’re getting them from reputable breeders in order to ensure that they’re bred up to standard.


Gentle and intelligent, the Maltese is one of the friendlier dog breeds around. It not only makes a great companion dog, but with proper training can also be a fantastic therapy dog and competition dog. While affectionate, Malteses can take a while to train, so it’s best to start a Maltese puppy on crate training as soon as possible. Your Maltese dog may have a sensitive digestive system, so make sure to pay attention in case of teeth, gum, or other eating problems. Overall, they are lively and people-oriented, and respond well to positive reinforcement.


Bred to be companions to the imperial families of ancient China, the Pekingese are now beloved family dogs the world over. They’re extremely intelligent, but that intelligence comes with a stubborn streak a mile wide. Training Pekingese puppies can be a challenge, and requires a lot of patience. Pekingese are very loving and affectionate with family members but can be wary of strangers, making them good watchdogs.

They can be yappy, so it’s a good idea to teach them when to stop barking, especially if you have neighbors that are sensitive to noise. Pekingese are also very sensitive, so they might not be a good choice if you have young children who are prone to pulling and teasing as they won’t hesitate to defend themselves.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire terrier is the most popular toy dog breed in the United States, and enjoys a healthy popularity in the Philippines as well. Popularly known as the “Yorkie”, Yorkshire terriers are devoted companions, adventurous, lively, and loyal. They are loving towards family but can get aggressive and yappy towards strange dogs or strangers, which may need some toning down especially in small apartments. In terms of exercise, a good play session is enough to satisfy them, which is why they make such good apartment dogs.

French Bulldog

Long recognized as a companion dog, the French bulldog is a miniature cousin to the English bulldog and known for its distinctive bat-like ears and muscular body. They are relaxed, intelligent dogs, and are easily trained as long as you keep them interested. French bulldogs love human contact and companionship, and are also excellent watchdogs without being too noisy. On the whole they are easygoing and don’t require intensive exercise, which makes them a favorite for apartment living. They can be drooly and a little difficult to housetrain, but on the whole are exceptional companions.


The recipient of a recent boom in popularity thanks to social media, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an intelligent, active dog breed that has captured hearts the world over. Originally bred to herd cattle and sheep, they are great with children and other animals. They can be quite vocal dogs and can be prone to overeating, so food intake should be monitored and adjusted accordingly. Their history as a sporting and herding dog means that they need quite a lot of exercise, but they can be great running partners. Make sure your corgi puppy gets socialized properly when they’re young, as they can suspicious and unfriendly towards strangers.