Which Small Dog Breeds Are The Healthiest?

Which Small Dog Breeds are The Healthiest - Anydoggie

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My friend Pete asked me yesterday if I know which small dog breeds are the healthiest. With his girlfriend, they were thinking about getting a puppy. Preferably a small, cute dog. She insisted she wanted a small dog with the least health issues because it would break her heart if the pup suffered from ill-health. I said I heard the “mutts” are super healthy (that’s also why we got our Jo, a Welsh Corgi mix), but other than that, I was not sure. So I decided to do a research and find out:

In general, there’s no way to say which small dog breed is the healthiest. The small dog breeds which are considered the healthiest, are Mixed-breeds or “mutts,” Manchester Toy Terrier, Chinese Crested Dog, Italian Greyhound, Bichon Frise, Pomeranian, Toy Fox Terrier, Maltese, Tibetan Spaniel, and Parson Russel Terrier. To ensure your pup lives a long and happy life, you should provide her with a lot of exercise, affection, healthy food, and regular veterinarian check-ups. 

To learn about the full list of the healthiest small dog breeds and how we chose small dogs that have fewer health problems than the others, keep on reading.


What are the criteria for selecting the healthiest small dog breeds?

Before I started searching for the healthiest small dog breeds, we decided to define the criteria that will determine the breed’s general health:

The easiest is to look at the average life expectancy, which you can find on the website of the American Kennel Club. Enjoying the company of a pup that lives well to her 15 – 20 years is a dream of every dog parent.

However, we weren’t convinced yet. We also wanted to consider factors, such as genetic diseases, which could be fatal. Incorrect breeding methods usually cause such disorders. These could be heart disease, cancer, epilepsy, degenerative disease of the spine and hind legs, short-headed syndrome, which causes breathing issues and heatstroke. The small dog breeds which I included in the list should have the fewest of the above mentioned genetic diseases.

If you are getting your pup from a breeder, you should make sure it’s a certified breeder with a good reputation. Such dog breeders have a moral responsibility to raise healthy dogs and educate you about the possible health issues related to the breed. 

If you get your puppy from a litter (for example, shelter), try to find out as much as possible about her parents. The owners or veterinarian records could alert you about any serious medical issues. 

After being clear about the criteria for selecting the healthiest small dog breeds, I’ve made a list of 20 small dog breeds.

20 small dogs that have the least health problems

Below is the list of 20 breeds of small dogs that usually don’t suffer from severe genetic disorders listed above. Next to their names, I listed their life expectancy and a little bit about them.

1.Mixed breeds or “mutts”

Life expectancy: 14-16 years

Mixed breeds are known to be healthiest because there is more variety in their genetic mix. The more breeds are in dog’s pedigree, the less likely it is that she will suffer from genetic problems of purebreds. 

Naturally, there are exceptions to the rule, and you can find very unhealthy mutts. Still, if you want the odds on your side, go for a mixed breed. You will find plenty of them in your nearest shelter, and you will be giving a chance for a good life to a beautiful pup!

2.Manchester Toy Terrier

Life expectancy: 14-16 years

Manchester Toy Terriers are not only healthy, but they are also considered the sports cars of the dog breeds – sleek, speedy, and very good looking!

3. Chinese Crested Dog

Life expectancy: 13-16 years


Chinese Crested Dogs are a quite healthy breed, and due to their appearance, they are a great conversation starter.

4. Italian Greyhound

Life expectancy: 14-15 years

Italian Greyhounds are a very healthy breed, and you can find them portrayed alongside Italian aristocrats on many Renaissance paintings!

5. Bichon Frise

Life expectancy: 14-15 years

Bichon means “little curly lap dog” in French. They are not only healthy but also one of the most affectionate dogs and super companions. 


Life expectancy: 12-16 years

Pomeranians are healthy and super cute. With a special haircut, they look like small teddy bears. 

7. Toy Fox Terrier

Life expectancy: 13-15 years

Toy Fox terriers are cute, affectionate, and will do anything with you. They are known as the FOMO dogs (fear of missing out). 

8. Maltese

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Maltese are not only healthy but also known companions to ultra-rich people. There is a story that one of them once inherited a couple of million dollars!

9. Tibetan Spaniel

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Tibetan Spaniels, known for their perky nature, guarding Tibetan monasteries, are miniature versions of mountain lion dogs. 

10. Parson Russel Terrier

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Healthy and active, Parson Russel Terriers make a great companion to active people. 

11. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Life expectancy: 12-15 years

Cardigan Welsh Corgis, alongside their closest relatives Pembroke Welsh Corgis, are some of the cutest dogs on the planet, with a lot of character and active lifestyle.

12. Havanese

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Havanese are rare to find. Yet, when you get one, be sure to know they are quite healthy, and they used to make a company to notables such as Queen Victoria.

13. Silky Terrier

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Silky Terriers are native to Australia and were bred to hunt poisonous snakes. They are a quite active, skillful, and healthy breed. 

14. Border Terrier

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Border Terriers are the most laid-back from the terriers’ breed. Nevertheless, they are very active and can travel long distances. 

15. Miniature Dachshund

Life expectancy: 12-14 years

Did you know that hot dogs used to be called Dachshund sausages? Well, the resemblance is there! Miniature Dachshunds are a healthy and loving breed. 

16. Shiba Inu

Life expectancy: 11-15 years

Shiba Inus, hailing from Japan, are some of the most loyal dog breeds. They are healthy, active, and sometimes behave like teenagers.

17. Yorkshire Terrier

Life expectancy: 11-15 years

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, are the second most favorite dog breed (losing only to Labrador Retriever). They are a very healthy breed, full of energy and love. 

18. Australian Terrier

Life expectancy: 11-15 years

Australian Terriers are the most obedient in the terriers’ breed. They are quite healthy and very curious.

19. Lowchen

Life expectancy: 11-13 years

Lowchen means “a little lion dog.” Bred in France and Germany, they were the favorites of the aristocrats, making them company on many official gatherings. 

20. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Life expectancy: 11-13 years

The legend has it that fairies used to ride Pembroke Welsh Corgis to battle. Whether true or false, these cuties were bred to herd sheep so are quite healthy and active breed. 

BONUS: Healthiest small dog breeds that don’t shed

While I was researching the healthiest small dog breeds, I also asked ourselves which ones shed the least. Shedding is usually associated with allergies, so it’s good to know about which dogs are hypoallergenic before you get one. Besides, if you have a dark couch and a white dog, it’s certainly not fun to clean!

Among the healthiest small dog breeds listed above, below are the ones that shed less and are considered hypoallergenic – they are less likely to shed dander-covered fur that scatters dander into the air, causing allergies. But just because they shed less doesn’t necessarily mean that they are safe for everyone with dog allergies!

  • Bichon Frise – Bichons, thanks to their hypoallergenic coat, don’t shed, and it’s easy to take care of them.
  • Chinese Crested Dog – Chinese Crested Dogs are hypoallergenic thanks to the fact that they don’t have much fur and are of low maintenance.
  • Havanese – despite their lush coat, Havanese are hypoallergenic and don’t shed.
  • Maltese – Malteses have a beautiful, silky, and hypoallergenic coat that doesn’t shed. 
  • Yorkshire Terrier – Yorkies have a cute, hypoallergenic coat that sheds very little, and it’s easy to maintain. 


After sharing this research with my friend Peter and his girlfriend, they fell in love with the Pomeranian. They found pictures of Pomeranian with different haircuts and couldn’t stop talking about how cute the pups are. They are now looking for a Pomeranian breeder with the AKC (American Kennel Club) certification, who will have a litter in the next few months. 

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