11 Small Dog Breeds With Curly Tails


Welcome to my latest article about small dogs with curly tails.

I have created a list that contains eleven different breeds.

Curly tails have been the focus of some of my other dog breed lists, including a post about curly tails and floppy ears, large dogs with curly tails and black dogs breeds with curly tails.

Call me obsessed if you will!

The smallest dog on today’s list is the Chihuahua and the largest is a Norwegian Buhund.

And something that I have just found out is that there is a genetic mutation that causes certain breeds to have abnormally short tails.

The specific gene is C189G.

It belongs to a group of genes that influence the development of a mammal’s vertebrae because a dog’s tail is just an extension of it’s spine after all. 

Let me introduce you to the first breed in my curly tail list.

[1] Pug

Pugs have spent hundreds or perhaps thousands of years being doted on by some very important people. 

Whether that be as companions to Chinese Emperor’s, doted upon by Queen Victoria or playing Frank in the smash hit film, “Men In Black”.

And most Pugs expect nothing less than to entertain and be adored. 

Because of this they are great family dogs- as long as they are at the centre of all the action.

But they are terrific with young children and accepting of other family pets. 

With a double coat made out of short hairs, Pugs have a relatively thick tail that loops over their back in a tight curl. 

And don’t panic if you have just bought a Pug puppy with a straight tail.

It will tighten up over the next few months. 

These are small dogs, short in stature but a fairly muscular physique.

A tall Pug will max out at about 30 cm or 12 inches and should weigh no more than 18 pounds or 8 kilos.

But you do need to balance their love of food with adequate exercise otherwise a Pug might easily “turn to fat.”

[2] Norwegian Buhund

Perhaps this breed of dog is a touch too big to really be allowed on this list but I think after you have looked at the tail, you will forgive me.

This breed is new to me as I have never written about it before.

It’s tail is as bushy as a fox’s tail and it is so curly that it loops over the centre of the dog’s back. 

It has a dense coat made up of short hairs which can be shades of wheaten or black. 

An adult male will have a maximum height of 47 cm or 19 inches and it will weigh between 14- 18 kg (31 to 39 lbs.)

These dogs were bred to be highly adaptable whether they are herding animals or guarding property.

As you would expect from such versatility, the Buhund never tires. It will just keep motoring along. 

Great for all you bike riders, runners or hikers who are looking for a curly tailed companion!

[3] Bichon Frise

If you want a small breed of dog that has a curly tail and is pure white, why not try a Bichon Frise?

An unclipped Bichon is a mass of soft tight curls over its entire body and these curls create a wonderful halo effect around the dog’s face- similar I think in some strange way to the same shape as an Orangutan.

And the tail- well it is short and frizzy. 

It looks as if someone has looped an elastic band around its base, keeping the explosion of hair in place. 

In terms of height, a Bichon is shorter than a Pug at a mere 28 cm or 11 inches and a feather- like 10 kgs or 20 lbs.  

This is another companion dog that is eager to please and responds well to training and will fit into family life easily. 

[4] Shih Tzu

For such a tiny country, it is amazing how many breeds of dogs that Tibet has given us.

Terriers, Spaniels and a Mastiff are three Tibetan breeds that I have written about. 

Dating back to the seventeenth century, Shih Tzus were bred to keep members of the royal family company.

And they were loved so much that at one point there was a ban on selling or giving any Shih Tzu away. 

An unclipped Shih Tzu has an amazing coat of long silky hair that flows down to the ground. 

A properly groomed specimen is a joy to behold. 

Their tail flops over their backs much like the Bichon Frise but without the curls. 

Coat colours come in a wide range of colours including black and white and liver and white. 

An adult should be no taller than about 10 ½ inches  (26 cm) and weigh no more than just over 7 kg (15 lbs.)

This bred are wary of other dogs but friendly to all people, they are very alert and notice everything- barking to let people know!

[5] Havanese

From Tibet, we move onto a breed which originates in Cuba. 

From mountain ranges to tropical heat, it is hard to think of two places with such different climates.

Then why, I ask myself, do a Shih Tzu and a Havanese look so similar?

But there are some differences. 

A Havanese is a touch bigger than a Shih Tzu standing just shy of 12 inches in height but in terms of weight, a Havanese is a few pounds lighter, weighing around 13 pounds.

A Havanese’s coat isn’t as silky as a Shih Tzu’s, either. It is more unkempt.

But their tails are just as curly, looping over their backs. 

Although both breeds come in a wide variety of colours, the shades are slightly different between the breeds and the pattern of colours on the coat also differ. 

Havanese respond better to training and are generally more obedient and they also require more exercise than their Tibetan lookalike.

Perfect for the active dog owner who prefers obedience over personality! 

[6] Maltese

What do you call a dog which originated from somewhere in Central Europe?

A Maltese. 

Yes, this is a breed of dog that has the same name as a set of Spanish Islands but doesn’t have any evidence linking it to them!

Like a Bichon Frise, Maltese dogs only have one coat colour, which is white.

And like Shih Tzus, they have long hair which flows in all directions down to the ground.

But a Maltese is dwarfed by both a Bichon Frise and a Shih Tzu in that they are only 9 inches (23 cm tall) and weigh a maximum of 7 pounds or 3 kilos. 

[7] Pomeranian

Now onto a more sensible name for a breed.

What do you call the breed of dog with origins in Pomerania (Poland)?

A Pomeranian, thank goodness. 

If the ears of a Shih Tzu, Maltese or Havanese were a bit lost amongst all their hair, then a Pom has upright triangular ears which are visible despite all of their fluffy hair.

Such is the fluffy volume of a Poms coat, that to me this breed always seems to come from having their hair blown dried. 

In some ways, they have a similar coat to a Chow Chow and are one of a number of dogs who look like a fox. 

They have a tiny version of a lion’s mane. 

And talking of hair dryers, a Pomeranian’s fluffy tail loops over their back almost as if it has been in a wind tunnel. 

In height they are taller than a Havanese, standing at a maximum of about 14 inches (36 cm) tall and weighing anything between 1.8 – 3.1 kgs (4- 7 lbs), there really isn’t anything much to these dogs. 

Not surprisingly, this breed of dog is very lively and can be quite a handful as it tries to hide it’s tiny size behind a big personality.

This can cause a few conflicts with other dogs or humans who are not family members. 

[8] Schipperke

My final choice is the Schipperke.

Size- wise this breed is very similar to the Havanese, with an adult male growing to a maximum 33 cm or 13 inches and tipping the scales at a maximum of 9 kg or 19 lbs. 

It shares some of the same heritage as the Pom because it too has pointed ears, like all Spitz dogs. 

Their name translates to mean little boatmen which is strange because they were primarily used as shepherding dogs, not as ratters on boats.

One of their nicknames is “the little black devil” which perhaps tells any potential owner what they need to know about the breed.

Fiercely independent and stubborn and with unlimited amounts of energy, these dogs are not for the inexperienced or feint hearted.

They present a real challenge to all but the most committed owner.

And they can be very vocal to boot!

[9] Shiba Inu

With a red and white coat, triangular ears and a tail that curls over their back like a furry snake might, it is hard not to describe Shiba Inus as fox- like.

Which is funny because they are described by many owners as being more like cats than dogs. 

And these dogs were bred for hunting and many still have that lust for life or high prey drive that their ancestors needed.

Standing up to 19 inches or 43 cm tall a male can weigh around 22 lbs or 10 kgs. 

And in terms of coat colours, you aren’t limited to red or orange as they are available as black and tan or a sesame colouring. 

If you are worried about how clean dogs are, this breed could be your dream come true.

As they are incredibly clean, they spend much more time than your average mutt preening themselves and making themselves “presentable.”

And in Japan these dogs are the number one choice for people looking for a companion dog.

Just right for a person who wants a bit of company..

[10] Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi

I am staying with the “dogs that look like foxes” theme but I’m moving from Japan to Wales.

The next small dog with a curly tail that I want to highlight is the Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi.

Most famous because at one stage Queen Elizabeth II had her palace full of these dogs, these dogs are an unlikely entry on to a curly tail list.

You see, historically these dogs have had their tails docked- a practice which is now illegal in the UK. 

But an undocked Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgi has a great tail as does its cousin the Cardigan Welh Corgi.

Their tails are fluffy with a slight curl at the end. 

Standing at around 12 inches or 30 cms high and weighing up to 31 lbs or 14 kg, Corgis have a unique look.

As well as the tail, they have these wonderfully big triangular ears that sit bolt upright on top of their head.

And like Dachshunds, Corgis have very long bodies. 

Corgis are an immensely popular dog in the US, much more so than in the UK by all accounts

[11] Chihuahua

We have almost come full circle!

Starting off with a tiny Pug, we are finishing with a teeny tiny Chihuahua. 

Before I detail just how small Chihuahuas are, I want to describe their curly tail.

According to the AKC breed standard, it can be sickle shape or loop over the dog’s back.

And the sickle shape of the tail can be horizontal or vertical. 

And for a dog that is so small, their tails are quite long. 

Chihuahuas can range in height from about 6 inches to 10 inches, which is 15 – 25 cms.

But to be a real Chihuahua, they need to weigh less than 6 lbs- or 2.7 kg.

Originating from Mexico thousands of years ago, Chihuahuas didn’t become widely known outside of that country until the start of the twentieth century.

If you are looking for a pocket sized bodyguard, then this breed might be for you.

Chihuahuas are known to bond very strongly with a few people and with their jealous personalities they might have a few sharing issues when it comes to spending time with other people or dogs! 

But however cute these dogs may be, owning one requires a lot of thought.

Because they are so small they are very fragile- which can also have an impact on the vet bills.

Tiny bodies are harder to treat…

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!