Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

11 Small Audacious Dog Breeds That Don’t Want To Be Lap Dogs

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on October 26, 2016

Most people consider small dogs as the dainty, fragile pets that people want to carry around in their purses. While many owners might wish to have this kind of dog, many others simply want a smaller companion that can keep up with them just like any “regular” dog does. If you’re thinking that small breeds can’t do all of the things your Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds can, you might be surprised. There are plenty of tiny pups that hate the lap dog life. They want to be out in the world adventuring with their human companions! So if you’re looking for a tiny dog that’s ready for action, check out these audacious breeds!

#1 – Shetland Sheepdog

Image source: Adam Minter via Flickr

The Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature Collie but has just as big of a personality – if not more! Sheltie owners will tell you first hand just how rambunctious this small breed is. They are a top performance breed in many venues including flyball, agility, herding and obedience. Shelties Originally bred for herding, they are active and intelligent dogs that love learning all kinds of new behaviors.

#2 – Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Image source: luckyno3 via Flickr

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is well-known because of Queen Elizabeth’s affinity for the breed. But they aren’t just royal lap dogs – the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a very active and intelligent breed. Originally bred for herding cattle, they are feisty little dogs with the heart of a lion. They excel in various dog sports and make great hiking and camping partners as well.

#3 – Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Image source: Pan Jittibophit via Flickr

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the older of the two Corgi breeds and shares a similar disdain for the lap dog life as their Pembroke cousins do. Also bred for herding cattle, Cardigans are active, courageous dogs always ready for the next adventure. They do very well in nearly any performance venue they are asked to compete in and enjoy every moment of training and play.

#4 – Toy Poodle

Image source: Miia Kierikki-Malinen via Flickr

The Toy Poodle might look dainty, but they are fiery little dogs in a tiny body. The breed is actually a very popular choice for those looking for a small performance dog, as they excel in agility, obedience, lure coursing and more. Toy Poodles are very active and intelligent dogs that can get bored very quickly and become destructive when not provided enough mental and physical stimulation.

#5 – Border Terrier

Image source: Dennyboy via Flickr

The Border Terrier is growing in popularity and despite their little bear looks, they are very active dogs always ready for the next trick. Border Terriers are commonly seen in agility and obedience competitions where they enjoy learning and performing advanced skills with their handlers. They are fun-loving and affectionate dogs that make great active companions for someone that prefers a small breed.

#6 – Jack Russell Terrier

Image source: Mark Robinson via Flickr

The Jack Russell Terrier is known for it’s activity. This is great, because their size and appearance makes them look like little stuffed animals sometimes. But they are ill-suited for the lap dog life. In fact, an under-stimulated Jack Russell is nothing short of a living nightmare. When in the right home, Jacks make excellent running and hiking partners and excel at advanced competition dog sports.

#7 – Papillon

Image source: John Morrison via Flickr

The Papillon looks like a little stuffed animal, but the breed is not as fragile as one might think. Although bred originally as a companion dog, Papillons are known for loving and active lifestyle. They are a popular choice for those competing in obedience and agility and do surprisingly well despite their tiny size.

#8 – Cairn Terrier

Image source: Roberto via Flickr

Like most terriers, the Cairn Terrier is a feisty dog with an ego that’s ready to take over the world. They are very active dogs that make excellent companions for those looking for a small dog they can run and hike with. However, true to their terrier nature, the breed can be a little stubborn and difficult to train.

#9 – Dachshund

Image source: Morning theft via Flickr

The Dachshund is a very popular small dog from the hound breeds, originally bred for hunting small game in burrows and dens. Although they do enjoy staying close to their owners, they are also relatively active dogs that can keep up with the larger pups. Dachshunds can be stubborn, like all hounds, but they do enjoy learning new tricks and are very fun-loving, active dogs.

#10 – English Cocker Spaniel

Image source: Funky Chickens via Flickr

The English Cocker Spaniel was originally bred to hunt birds, although it’s much more of a family companion these days. They have a gentle and affectionate personality, but are always ready to have fun with their families no matter where the adventure takes them. English Cockers are said to be a little hardier than their American cousins and make great companions for those looking for a small, social dog they can take everywhere.

#11 – Lancashire Heeler

Image source: Osrin via Flickr

The Lancashire Heeler is a small herding breed, similar to the Corgis, that was originally used for driving cattle. Also similar to the Corgis, it is a small dog with a lot of personality and a need for an active lifestyle. They are easily trained and enjoy various dog sports. Lancashire Heelers are intelligent and affectionate dogs that make wonderful companions in the right home.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog