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5 Small Family Dogs

Miniature Schnauzer

The distinguished-looking miniature schnauzer can appear quite serious with his salt-and-pepper coat, pronounced eyebrows and voluminous beard, but this wiry terrier is a lively pet that's considered extremely intelligent and easy to train, making him an excellent choice for most families.

Standing about 12 to 14 inches (30 to 35 centimeters) at the shoulder, this handsome dog originated in Germany. Classically employed on farms to keep vermin away from crops, he's naturally loyal and protective of those he loves. This breed will alert you with lots of barking when someone comes to your door, but that's about as far as his guard dog tendencies go -- he's typically cheerful and happy to make new friends. The AKC says miniature schnauzers adapt well to most living spaces, including small apartments, so long as they get regular exercise and a daily dose of playtime.