Small Japanese Dog Breeds (5 Cute And Small Dogs)

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Japan has an exciting wealth of diverse and traditional cultures, and there is always something unique to discover.

In this instance, man’s best companion and pet, the dog, tops the list.

Small Japanese Dog Breeds
Learn more about small Japanese dog breeds

If you’d like to get a cute Japanese small dog breed, here’s a list of our favorites.

5 Cute And Small Japanese Dog Breeds

Japan is home to some of the world’s miniature dog breeds. As man’s best friend, it’s no wonder millions of Japanese people prefer to raise dogs instead of children.

Their love for these cute animals is now common to the rest of the world.

Below is a list of five cute and small Japanese dog breeds that make the best bosom buddies.

1. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inu dog breed from Japan
Shiba Inu

As one of Japan’s oldest and smallest pure dog breeds, the Shiba Inu is tiny but well-built.

Its muscular yet miniature body is why it initially was a swift hunting dog.

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However, today, the energetic kind-hearted dog is a well-loved household companion. 

Facts About The Shiba Inu

  • Their tan, reddish-fur color with white streaks, wariness, and swift strides make them appear like foxes, especially when young. 
  • The average height of an adult Shiba Inu dog of any gender ranges from slightly under 14 inches to about 16.5 inches tall.
  • Female Shiba Inu weighs about 17 pounds, while males weigh about 23 pounds.
  • The life expectancy of Shiba Inu is approximately 14-16 years.
  • When in a family setting, they are very affectionate and love cuddles. 
  • They are good around children but have a loud, sharp bark that can be nasty if you maltreat them.
  • Their fur does not shed as much, so you can groom them once a month. Trim their nails regularly as well.
  • Drooling is unlikely, meaning your couches will be mess-free.
  • Although moderately open to strangers, they can be highly protective of their owners.
  • They  adapt well to a new environment and daily routine.
  • Like humans, Shiba Inu may be prone to allergies, so watch for signs such as scratching or skin irritation.

2. Japanese Spitz

Japanese Spitz
Japanese Spitz

A Japanese Spitz is the best choice if you love a furry pet with unlimited energy.

This breed is intelligent, loyal, and always happy despite its size.

It is the perfect companion for a store trip, a beach drive, or a park walk.

Facts About The Japanese Spitz

  • Their coat is pure white with a fluffy mane around their short necks.
  • Their short furry tails curl beautifully over their back.
  • With a small back muzzle tip that is fox-like, they have black beady eyes and pointed ears that can catch sound from any distance.
  • The average height of an adult Japanese Spitz is between 12 to 15 inches.
  • Their weight ranges from 10 to 25 pounds, depending on their diet.
  • Japanese Spitz has a lifespan of between 10 to 14 years.
  • Due to their playful nature, they love being around humans, especially children and enjoy regular cuddles.
  • They are  open to strangers and will be playful with everyone.
  • Japanese Spitz sheds a lot and needs daily or weekly brushing to remove excess fur.
  • They can adapt to any environment but do well in apartments with a regular exercise schedule.
  • Due to their friendly nature, they do not do well alone or in isolation.
  • Train them early on to socialize; they are intelligent and always eager to learn.

3. Poochin or Japanese Poodle

Japanese Poodle
Japanese Poodle

Poochins are tiny cute, designer hybrid pets resulting from the breeding of a Japanese Chin and a Poodle.

As an adorable mix breed, they make perfect indoor companions for the young and elderly.

You will likely spot a Poochin lazing in the owner’s arms, on the couch, or in bed.

Facts About The Poochin or Japanese Poodle

  • Their fur colors range from white, gray, black, and cream to sable, silver, and reddish brown.
  • A mature Poochin is about 7 to 15 inches tall.
  • Adult Poochins weigh between 6 to 13 pounds.
  • The life expectancy of a Japanese Poodle is 10 to 13 years.
  • They are friendly and always eager to play with children and adults.
  • Although they do not need much exercise, walking around the block once a day is ideal.
  • Training young Poochins is easy as they are intelligent. Teach them obedience while they are young.
  • With proper grooming, Japanese Poodles do not shed as much.
  • Although they look like a pure breed, they are not. They are a mixed breed despite their parents having been around for decades.

4. Japanese Terrier

Are you looking for a pet dog you can carry around? Then the Japanese Terrier is your ideal best friend.

Although these tiny dogs love to play indoors and outdoors, they especially love staying close to humans. 

As one of the rare pure breeds in Japan, today, you will find them in more homes than eight decades ago.

They almost faced extinction during the Second World War and in the late 40s when western dog breeds became popular.

Facts About The Japanese Terrier

  • Japanese Terriers have a mixture of thin white, black, and tan fur.
  • Once they adjust to their owner, they are wary of strangers but good with children. They are  protective of their territory.
  • Their average height is about 10 to 13 inches tall.
  • An adult Japanese Terrier weighs between 10 to 13 pounds.
  • Their life expectancy is about 13 to 15 years.
  • They tend to be alert; sudden movements or noise warrant a sharp bark.
  • Although these healthy animals do not shed and require less maintenance, regular grooming is necessary for proper health.
  • Their teeth require brushing, using a veterinarian-recommended toothpaste for dogs.
  • Although they like lying indoors, regular outdoor walks are necessary to keep them agile.
  • Despite being stubborn sometimes, training them young is crucial as they can run off quickly.

5. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin
Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is the cutest and most noble pure breed dog with a silky smooth black and white fur coat.

The adorable pet loves all things pampering and is well-loved by women due to its dignified and quiet nature. 

As a miniature toy-like indoor friend, it gets affectionate with every family member, especially children.

One of the distinctive features of the Japanese Chin is their sloppy ears and flat-like face with wide-set eyes that appear surprised.

Facts About The Japanese Chin

  • Their lifespan is between 10 to 12 years.
  • On average, they weigh between 7 and 11 pounds.
  • An adult Japanese Chin is about 8 to 11 inches tall.
  • Depending on their surroundings, they shed their silky fur moderately and only require weekly brushing and a monthly bath.
  • Since they are more prone to specific neurological conditions, regular screening is necessary.
  • They are stubborn little dogs who can wander off if left unattended.
  • Since they were bred as show dogs for royalty, they tend to prefer comfort. Training them is easy, although they may shut down in harsh situations.
  • Due to their quiet nature, they are well suited for apartments and condos. A 20-minute walk every day is sufficient.
  • They sleep a lot, with the average Japanese Chin sleeping almost 18 hours daily.
  • Most Japanese Chins are allergic to corn.
  • They cannot swim as their long fur can weigh their small bodies down.

Care And Diet Of Small Japanese Dog Breeds

Caring for small Japanese dog breeds is simple if you follow a few essential tips.

Depending on your pet’s coat of fur and shedding frequency, grooming can be daily, weekly, or monthly.

Those with long fur that mats quickly require frequent grooming and blow drying can help remove dirt, fleas, and dandruff.

Diet Of Small Japanese Dog Breeds
Caring for small Japanese dog breeds (Tips)

To allow your dog to get accustomed to grooming, include nail trimming and baths when they are puppies.

Their ear canals tend to hide a build-up of dirt and wax, and cleaning them every few weeks prevents cases of premature hearing loss.

However, deafness in dogs is usually a sign of old age.

Dogs, even small ones, require regular exercise. Let them out into the yard if you have one every day. Alternatively, create a walk schedule to keep their bones and joints strong and healthy.

Although some dog breeds, such as Shiba, are born housebroken, take time to train your pet from as early as four weeks old.

Most small Japanese dog breeds do well with quality food, whether processed or prepared at home.

Follow your veterinarian’s diet recommendation for all ages and only feed them the foods they approve.

  • If your dog is prone to being overweight, controlling its portions and type of diet is necessary.
  • Treats are suitable for all dogs but feed them sparingly as they are the top reason for obesity in pets.
  • Check with your vet which human food is okay to feed your dog.
  • Lastly, ensure your dog has access to clean drinking water daily.


The pet industry in Japan and worldwide is worth billions due to these adorable animals.

If you want a friendly, loyal, loving, long-term companion, consider adopting a small Japanese dog from the list above. You will appreciate why there are millions of them in Japan alone.

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