5 Small Family Dogs

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel made our list for being friendly enough to get along with the whole family (and energetic enough to wear the kids out before bedtime).

When you think of small dogs, do you think of tiny, fragile pocket pets that wouldn't last a day in your chaotic household? Images of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears toting tiny tail-waggers have made small dogs de rigueur, but very few pups enjoy living in a purse or being carried around all day. Most small breeds are just regular dogs in compact bodies, and, being that they tend to be adaptable to most living situations and to play well with children, they make excellent family pets.

Before you adopt a small dog, consider your lifestyle and what you hope a new addition will bring to your household. Do you want a dog that will comfort your child and be content to just be close to you? Or do you want the sporting qualities of a big dog in a small package? Also consider the age of your child and whether you have other pets in the home already. If you have children under the age of five, many experts recommend waiting until a small dog is at least 6 to 10 months old before bringing him home, as small dogs tend to be really tiny as puppies and could be injured easily [source: Palika].

In this article, you'll learn about five popular small-breed picks for families and what makes these tiny dogs top dogs.