10 Cutest Dog Breeds to Keep as Pets

Not only do our canine friends love us unconditionally, but their affectionate and playful nature can always be counted on to make us smile. Dogs are downright adorable. And, although this list is subjective since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you might agree that these are some of the cutest pups around.

Tip

If you’re planning on getting a dog, match up a dog’s energy level, care needs, and space requirements with your own—then consider looks, coat color, and names.

Breed Characteristics

There’s a look for everyone to love, from big shaggy dogs to dogs with wrinkled faces to tiny pups with perky expressions. The breeds run the gamut from mini to huge, fluffy to short hair, colors, and personalities. Dogs that keep their puppy looks into adulthood tend to be among the cutest canines.

Here are 10 of the cutest dog breeds with looks that can make you smile.

 

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Pembroke Welsh Corgi

welsh-corgi-pembroke in the forest

According to Welsh legend, corgis are associated with cute, little fairies that loved Pembroke Welsh corgis. Stories of corgis pulling fairy coaches, herding fairy cattle, and carrying fairy warriors abound in Wales. Corgis are playful, intelligent, and affectionate dogs. They need lots of exercise and attention.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Herding (AKC)

HEIGHT: 10 to 12 inches

WEIGHT: Up to 30 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Low-set and long; colors include black and tan, fawn, red, and sable with white markings

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

 

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Beagle

Beagle dog in the beach

Beagles are one of those breeds that maintain their puppy looks. Beagles are excellent hunting dogs, but did you know their ears can improve the performance of their noses? Beagles’ long flappy ears push smells toward their noses, so they can better process scent information. These dogs need an active household and are often great for families with children.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Hound (AKC)

HEIGHT: Up to 15 inches

WEIGHT: Up to 30 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Short coat; colors include black and tan, brown and white, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 15 years

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Pomeranian

Pomeranian on a chair next to a flower pot

Pomeranian faces look like they’re constantly smiling. Pomeranians today have gained somewhat of a stuffy reputation for being lapdogs, but they were initially herding dogs that pulled massive sleds over rough terrain. Poms used to weigh about 30 pounds and were packed with muscle. Modern Poms are affectionate but need consistent training to keep their stubborn nature in check.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Toy (AKC)

HEIGHT: 6 to 7 inches

WEIGHT: 3 to 7 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Fluffy double coat; colors include black, chocolate, orange, red, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years

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French Bulldog

white french-bulldog portrait

French bulldogs were bred to be little warming blankets for artisans working in chilly shops. The Frenchies would sit in their laps, keeping them cozy. These dogs still love laps today. These big-eared, scrunchy-faced pups are very affectionate and loyal dogs that often get along well with children and other animals.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Non-sporting (AKC)

HEIGHT: 11 to 13 inches

WEIGHT: Under 28 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Short, smooth coat; colors include fawn, brindle, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

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Yorkshire Terrier

puppy yorkie walking in the forest

Puppy faced Yorkshire terriers have a lap dog reputation these days. But in their heyday, these petite pups worked hard to keep workspaces pest free. Their small stature enabled them to squeeze into tight spaces to chase after rodents, and their big dog attitudes made them fearless when it came to the hunt.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Toy (AKC)

HEIGHT: 7 to 8 inches

WEIGHT: 7 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Silky coat; colors include black and tan, blue and tan, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 16 years

 

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Old English Sheepdog

Old English Sheepdog on the bed

Despite their name, Old English sheepdogs are only a few hundred years old. They were developed to drive livestock, among other farm work. Nowadays, they’re primarily adorable pets who are alert, intelligent, and very playful. To keep them looking their best, they typically need daily brushing and regular bathing.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Herding (AKC)

HEIGHT: 21 inches and up

WEIGHT: 60 to 100 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Shaggy, double coat; colors include blue and white, gray and white, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

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American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire terrier puppy standing on ground

You can’t get much cuter than a pit bull puppy. “Pitbull” isn’t a breed but rather a category for several breeds, including American Staffordshire terriers. These dogs tend to be affectionate, friendly, and playful. But they do need vigorous daily walks and play sessions to channel their high energy.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Terrier (AKC)

HEIGHT: 17 to 19 inches

WEIGHT: 40 to 70 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Muscular body; short coat; colors include black, blue, fawn, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years

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Labrador Retriever

Young puppy Labrador Retriever portrait

From their sweet personalities to their happy smiles, there’s a lot to love about Labrador retrievers. According to American Kennel Club, Labs have been the No. 1 dog in the U.S. for more than two decades. These dogs are good-natured, sociable, and highly trainable. But they do prefer an active household.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Sporting (AKC)

HEIGHT: 22 to 25 inches

WEIGHT: 55 to 80 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Short, dense coat; colors include black, chocolate, and yellow

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 12 years

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Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier playing with the woamn hands

Boston terriers look similar to Frenchies sporting the same giant ears. They are a fun-loving, affectionate breed that is full of enthusiasm for life. They’ve been nicknamed the “American Gentleman” due to their tuxedo-like markings, which help make them even more lovable. These dogs can make great family pets and tend to respond well to training. They prefer a household in which they can have company for most of the day.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Non-sporting (AKC)

HEIGHT: 15 to 17 inches

WEIGHT: 12 to 25 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Short face; smooth coat; colors include black and white, brindle and white, seal and white, and more

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years

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Maltese

white Maltese dog

The Maltese is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. It has been depicted in artwork and literature from many ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Today’s Maltese is an adorable, affectionate, and friendly companion that loves to hang out in its favorite person’s lap. This breed gets by with daily walks and playtime to satisfy its exercise needs.

Breed Overview

GROUP: Toy (AKC)

HEIGHT: 7 to 9 inches

WEIGHT: Up to 7 pounds

COAT AND COLOR: Big, dark, alert eyes; long, silky, single-layer, white coat

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 15 years

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Breeds to Avoid

There are so many cuties that, really, it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. However, you can foul up big time if you get a dog that does not match your energy level. Fancy yourself a runner and want a running companion? Steer clear of bulldogs, pugs, and most toy breeds. Bulldogs and pugs have short muzzles and flat faces that are not built for running for long; they are prone to overheating. Toy breeds have shorter legs, and some have less stamina. Although beagles are small, these hunting hound dogs can run for days.

If you’re more of a couch potato, then some breeds are definitely not right for you. Most herding or hunting dogs, like Australian shepherds, corgis, Labradors, golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, and terriers, will want an outlet for their excessive energy. These breeds can work for you if you plan on sending your dog to daycare every day but avoid them otherwise.

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