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These are the 6 most loyal small dog breeds for you & your family, ranked

6 of the most affectionate and devoted small dog breeds, ranked in order of loyalty

While there’s no question that dogs and loyalty go hand in hand, small dogs are more often known for their sass. It’s not hard to picture an ankle-biter barking up a storm at any bigger dog who walks by, but when it comes to their people, these pint-sized pups couldn’t be more loyal. Whether this loyalty looks more like affection, protection, or just being close to you will depend on the breed and the individual dog, so it’s worth thinking about what you’re truly looking for. With any of the breeds on this list, though, you can’t go wrong.

These are the six most loyal small dog breeds — ranked in order of loyalty. Of course, this came down to our research and beliefs, so you may have a different opinion. We’d love to know what you think–which do you think are the most loyal small dog breeds?

A Shih Tzu sits in the grass and looks to the side

Shih Tzus are lap dogs through and through–they practically ooze loyalty!

Shih Tzus were bred to be companion dogs, in case you couldn’t tell from their personality! When you bring one of these affectionate pups into your home, notes Dr. Marty Goldstein, you’re signing up for one of the closest bonds you’ll ever make. They’ll be happy as your “Velcro dogs” no matter what you’re up to, and with their curious yet calm personalities, you’ll be happy to include them. Loyalty is just one reason to love this adorable, ancient breed.

Cute Chihuahua standing in grass.
McCann Michelle/Shutterstock

It might surprise you, but a Chihuahua can be one of the most devoted family dogs.

If you’re surprised to see this sassy breed on this list, you’re not alone. Even though many Chihuahuas have that stereotypical spice to their personality, they are also fiercely devoted to their families. Veterinarian Christie Long writes, “Chihuahuas are very loyal to their people! In fact, since Chihuahuas seem to consider themselves humans and not dogs, they seem to be exceptionally loyal to the humans they live with.”

A Beagle puppy sits on the floor next to a used potty pad while someone reaches out to pet them.

Beagles are adaptive, upbeat, and always ready to tag along on your next adventure. 

These funny and personable pups will make an excellent companion whether you’re on a walk, out for a hunt, or just relaxing at home. The American Kennel Club credits this breed’s loyalty to their history as pack-hunting dogs — they instinctively love being with their people.

Though beagles aren’t the most affectionate pups on this list, they will be more than happy to spend time with you no matter what you’re doing. They love to run and play (that’s a hunting dog for you!) but these family dogs will go gaga for some scratches and snuggles as well (via AKC).

A black and tan Dachshund wearing a pink bow sits in her bed

Who doesn’t love the devoted, doting Dachshund as a lap dog?

The smart and stubborn wiener dog might make training a bit of a challenge, but you’ll have zero difficulties in the loyalty department. In fact, the ASPCA says that this breed is so loyal, that they often get jealous! They may even get particularly attached to one person, making them perfect pups for single adults, college students, or families with older children. And with a long little body like theirs, how could you not fall in love?

Two Affenpinschers sit in the grass next to two mushrooms

The Affenpinscher’s sweet face and even sweeter personality make them a winning breed for many.

This sweet and happy pooch, whose name is German for “monkey-like terrier,” is one of the oldest small dog breeds, claims Wisdom Panel. They’re pros at living double lives thanks to their history as both working and companion dogs, so you know they’ll be ready to go whether you’re heading to the couch or out for a walk. Do keep up with their training, though, as loyalty can turn into guarding for Affenpinschers with nothing better to do (via Wisdom Panel).

A Cardigan and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi stand next to one another

Cardigan Welsh Corgis are just as loyal as they are adorable, making them some of the best pups.

The American Kennel Club describes Cardigan Welsh corgis as “affectionate, loyal, and smart,” so you know you’re getting a great companion with this breed. No matter who you are or what age you are, these pups will be your buddies. Cardigans can be friendly whether you’re a friend or a stranger, though they can easily become cuddly and silly around their favorite people. This high-energy breed can also show their affection through barking, according to the AKC, so be warned!

What other breeds would you add to this list? There are so many more sweet, affectionate, and devoted dogs out there, but these are 6 of the most loyal small dog breeds according to canine professionals. Of course, an individual’s personality plays a huge role in their tendencies, too, but coming from an inherently loyal breed is never a bad thing.

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