10 Small Dog Breeds Easy To Train
[Full Guide]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Small-sized dog breeds have a lingering bad reputation of being too weak, feeble, and hard-to-train. This discussion has been around for a long time. These dogs’ owners would agree that these pups are so cute that you want to squeeze them all the time and carry them in your backpacks. What if we tell you that small dog breeds can be trained too? Not all of them are as delicate as they look.

In this article, we will discuss ten such small dog breeds that can be easily trained to be agile and strong. Sometimes they can even turn out to be better trained than their larger counterparts! Their utility in therapy and as service dogs can not be ignored too. Engaging these breeds from the puppy phase will be beneficial as they grow and improve their abilities. So if you are looking for a trainable small-sized canine friend, here’s the list to choose from.

Without any further delay, let’s cut to the chase.

Smooth Fox Terrier

This breed has a history of eradicating pests from farms, rats, foxes making them a decent hunting force. Agility comes naturally to them, and this aspect can be enhanced through consistent training.  

They are also known to be good companions for kids as they are low on aggression. They are loving and loyal to the core. Being sharp observers and sniffers, they qualify for the role of watchdogs as well. The only point to be considered is their increased tendency to dig. This unwanted habit can also be removed via obedience training, making them a top choice for training.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Originally from the country of Wales, they have been used as farm dogs for a long time and are still found in ranches across the country. Their primary physical characteristics are their tiny legs and bat-shaped ears.

Although they are affectionate and cute, they are quick responders to training methods. Their intelligence and observational prowess make them qualify in this list of easily trainable dog breeds. Positive reinforcements in encouraging words and belly rubs can help get fast responses from this breed of small dogs.


Papillon in French stands for “Butterflies,” and that is how this breed’s ears are shaped like. Let the name not fool you, as these dogs are impressive in stamina and agility training exercises. Historically used to kill rats, they are quick and enthusiastic learners.

They are highly effective in the healthcare industry being therapy dogs and seizure detectors. Papillons are generally buzzing in energy. They love playing outdoors, and this trait makes it simple to train this breed of small-sized dogs.


A sharp hunter, this breed helps keep your home free from vermin. They come in two varieties – short hair and long hair ones. 

They have an inherent ability to be good search and rescue dogs. With proper training, they are more than capable of searching for missing people. Their keen sense of smell makes them agile chasers and hunters of tunneling animals like foxes and rabbits in farms.

Shetland Sheepdog

Originally used as herding dogs, they are another smart and trainable breed of dogs. They enjoy getting engaged in obedience and physical training exercises. 

They are loyal, dedicated, and committed to the assigned task. Although these dogs can be loud barkers, this behavior can be easily controlled via training from an early age. They are most comfortable in vast spaces like farmlands and ranches and a joy to be around while playing outdoor games.

Brussels Griffon

This breed from Belgium was historically used for trapping rats. They possess a dignified bearded appearance. Their ability to learn new tricks quickly and be suitable companions for outdoor games makes them a small size breed to reckon with.

They are low in aggression, affectionate and keen observers. A key differentiator is the nature to quickly gel with new people, surroundings, and training methods.

Italian Greyhound

A smaller breed of the Greyhound, the Italian cousin is sleek and muscular but smaller in size. Their calmness and loyalty characterize them. They were used as lap dogs by noblewomen in Italy during the middle ages. They are fast runners and adaptable to both indoor and outdoor environments.

Although house training can be a challenge, they are sharp observers and highly trainable to perform complex actions like using a garbage box. The speed and agility they have made them a solid contender in dog shows and pet competitions.

Parson Russell Terrier

This one is a popular breed of dogs across the USA due to their smart looks, trainability, and agility. Regular training is a requirement for them as they tend to utilize their excess energy for mischievous deeds like tearing up your furniture and stealing clothes.

Their incredible endurance and cognitive abilities make them a popular choice in pet competitions. Parson’s can be the ideal canine partner if you take fitness as a top priority in your lifestyle.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

They have been a part of the British Royal Family for decades. Although small in size, they enjoy energetic sports such as flyball and are high agility and athletics. Their obedient, friendly, and gentle nature make them suitable for families.

Frequent training is necessary for these fellas as they tend to get lazy and sluggish if not engaged properly. Easily trainable and tailor-made for therapy makes them one of the top small breed dogs out there.

Cairn Terrier

If you think this breed is meant for sitting in a fancy basket, think again. A traditional hunter from the Scottish farms, the Cairn Terrier can chase small tunneling animals and ward off pests from farms. 

If trained from an early age, this category of Terriers can be as sharp and tenacious as their larger counterparts. They are suited for tracking trials and dog competitions. 

A Few Worthy Mentions

Boston Terrier

They are an easy-to-train and gentle breed of dogs. Obedience training is a piece of cake when it comes to the Boston Terrier. A rare combination of cute and intelligent, this breed is a decent choice for trainable dogs.

Toy Fox Terrier   

They are renowned for performing in circuses and pet shows. The key reason is that they love agility training and learning new tricks. Showmanship comes naturally to them. They are also a loving and gentle breed of small dogs.


One of the smallest dogs to ever exist, the Chihuahua make up for their physical brevity through the high intellect. They are quick learners and trendy show dogs. Most of us would have come across this breed in movies or TV shows time and again.


This breed is not always associated with being trainable as they are cute and fluffy in looks. One of the most adored breeds by kids, as these dogs can be easily controlled. They learn new tricks quickly and are suitable for therapy. Pomeranians are also known for showcasing good results in tracking contests.

Miniature Schnauzer

Being an owner of one, my Schnauzer, Bobby is the center of attraction in our house. Bobby is active and energetic most of the time. Always willing to learn new tricks and obedient, my Schnauzer is the apple of our eyes.

Wrapping It Up

There you have it, our list of ten most trainable dogs of small size and with a bunch of additional breeds worth mentioning. Before you choose your breed, we recommend you have a clear purpose for owning a small-sized dog. The aim could vary among participants in dog contents, safeguarding needs, or a source of leisure and entertainment.

Each of these small dog breeds has a particular cognitive level of learning and responding to the training programs. Their learning curves will vary, which should not be a cause of concern or disappointment as an owner or trainer.
Ensure that your dogs get sufficient rest, proper diet, and regular medical consultations to gain full results out of the training activities. Physical injuries can often occur to these dogs during training. Never insist or force your dog to continue performing physical acts in an injured state. The cause of the pain must be looked into at the earliest to prevent it from increasing.

We hope this article gave you some insights into the small dog breed that suits your needs.

We will leave you with a cute video of two baby Chihuahuas in a playful mood and having fun.