9 Small, Skinny Dog Breeds

Photo by sally9258 on Flickr

Hello and welcome to another of my lists.

This one contains nine breeds of dogs that are small and skinny.

Smaller dogs are perfect for people who don’t have a lot of space in their homes.

And these breeds are all mostly short haired, which means as well as not taking up much room, they won’t leave much mess around either.

In terms of character, there are a wide range in my selection.

From the introverted and quiet Italian Greyhound to the Miniature Pinscher which wants to be front and centre at all times.

Enough of a choice to cater for a wide range of needs.

And if you wanted a small dog because they don’t need a lot of exercise, then that is a bit of a myth.

All of these dogs will require a daily walk or two.

And while we are on the subject, skinny dogs don’t stay nice and slim by magic.

As well as exercise, you will need to make sure that you are feeding these dogs the right amount of food.

Still interested? Let me introduce my first breed…

[1] Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is slender, small, elegant and skinny, looking much like a regular Greyhound except smaller. Bred in Italy from smaller Greyhounds, they share most of the traits of their larger cousin but in the build of a toy companion. 

At 13 to 15 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 7 to 15 pounds, they have the sleek lines and curves that most hounds do, hinting at their love for running and pursuit. Their narrow muzzle head and somewhat delicate muzzle and ears also add to this breeds elegance and almost aristocratic stature.

Highly affectionate and attentive, they are innately charming and loves getting as much hugs and cuddling as possible. 

[2] Chinese Crested Dog

The Chinese Crested Dog is impossible to miss. This affectionate and playful small dog sports a signature crested hairstyle that is its namesake, making the breed unique and unmistakable.

Standing at 11 to 13 inches and weighing only 8 to 12 pounds, the Chinese Crested is the consummate toy dog. There is a hairless variety which has hair on the head and ankles and a coated variety, called the powderpuff which sports a smooth and glossy coat in any color combinations. There are also rare but beautiful Chinese Crested dogs with distinctive grey hair and blue eyes.

It is generally agreed that the Chinese Crested was bred from large hairless dogs that were brought to China from Africa centuries ago into the modern and much loved dog breed that we have today. 

[3] Toy Manchester Terrier

Sleek and graceful, the Toy Manchester Terrier shows of its athleticism despite its toy build and stature. Bred from a regular Manchester Terrier, this breed has the same elegant lines of a hound and the energy and intelligence of a terrier, making it a standout among toy dogs.

The TMT stands at 10 to 12 inches and weighs under 12 pounds, placing it firmly in the toy dog category. However, the TMT is a true terrier and loves the chance to show of its athletic abilities. With the tight coat in either mahogany or black and the tan spots above their eyes, they can resemble a small Doberman but this small dog has its own charming personality – loyal, affectionate, and alert.

[4] Miniature Pinscher

The Mini Pinscher is a big personality in a small body. Confident, fearless and energetic are not enough to describe this “king of toys,” as many people call them. Their stately and self-assured stance tells all about this much beloved toy breed. 

At 10 to 12.5 inches and 8 to 10 pounds with distinctive high set ears and large puppy dog eyes, the Mini Pinscher is an easily recognizable dog breed. While they somehow resemble the Doberman Pinscher, this toy dog breed is actually much older, being originally bred in Germany for hunting small vermin like rats. 

[5] Peruvian Inca Orchid

Not quite a toy dog but still small nonetheless, the incredibly rare Peruvian Inca Orchid looks as pretty and as delicate as its name implies. But don’t let its appearance fool you – it is highly agile, smart, and fast. As true sighthounds, they are good hunters with the energy and the wits to match.

Standing at 9.75 to 15.75 inches and weighing 8.5 to 17.5 pounds, the PIO comes in small, medium, and large sizes, all accepted as breed standard. They come in hairless and coat varieties, with the coats varying from short and smooth, long and curly, and long and straight. The PIO is slim with sleek, elegant lines with a slender muzzle and distinctive erect ears.

[6] Portuguese Podengo Pequeno

This handsome small dog is the smallest of the charming Podengo dogs, thus the name Pequeno which means small (the other two are Medio and Grande). Lively, friendly, and playful, this small dog breed has the looks to match, with its almond-shaped eyes, erect ears, and its dense or long and wiry coat.

The Pequeno is 8 to 12 inches tall and weighs 9 to 13 pounds. This ancient dog breed were originally were bred for hunting, with the Pequenos being used for hunting small prey and game as well as protecting from rodents. 

[7] Rat Terrier

The smooth patched coat of the Rat Terrier gives it an adorable yet elegant compact look. Like all terriers, they are energetic and smart with a happy and playful personality to go with it. This small dog breed loves to play and dig and can be the life of the party, all in a small package.

The miniature Rat Terrier stands at 10 to 13 inches at the shoulder (while the regular can grow as much as 18 inches tall), weighing 10 to 25 pounds. Originally bred to its small size by the American settlers to help with pet control and hunting small game, it has retained its energy yet affectionate demeanor.

[8] Russian Toy

The Russian Toy is the quintessential toy dog, with its skinny build, lean muscles, and long legs. This breed’s coat comes in a semi-long or smooth variety. The semi-long variety has a nicely feathered look on its tail and legs while the smooth variety is sleek, shiny and quite elegant.

Bred from the English Toy Terrier in early 20th century Russia, the Russian Toy became a symbol of aristocracy and were kept as beloved pets by the Russian upper classes.

With a height of 8 to 11 inches and weighing a maximum of 6.5 pounds, there’s no denying that the Russian Toy is a compact, portable breed. Despite its size, it is lively and friendly, though it can sometimes be aloof towards strangers. 

[9] Toy Fox Terrier

Intelligent, alert, and agile, the Toy Fox Terrier do very well in agility competitions and performance shows. Bred from the Smooth Fox Terrier, this toy terrier’s size made it perfect for hunting vermin and small game in farms. Today, they are better known as charming, loyal, and energetic companions.

The Toy Fox Terrier stands at 8.5 to 11.5 inches and weighs 3.5 to 7 pounds. The TFT’s coat is short, smooth, and comes in a variety of color combinations. Its big ears – described as bat ears – and small heads make for a goofy and endearing look, hinting at its big personality.  

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!