15 Best Lap Dog Breeds For A Good Cuddle

Lap Dogs

What could make a night watching old moviesin your favorite lounge chair even better? A lap dog! These little sweeties can warm your lap and your heart faster than the time it takes for you to eat a pint of Häagen-Dazs. 

And lap dogs are so much more than tiny heating pads. They’re your #1 fan, your partner in crime, and your closest friend. We’re going to talk about these canine phenoms so you can tell your nosy neighbor more than, “Because my Doberman won’t fit,” when she asks you why you have one.

Besides their weight and fur color, we’ll also explore their tiny temperaments and why you should run to the rescue to adopt one. So, without further adieu, we present 15 of the best lap dogs you can find. Then, you can get back to your ice cream.  

What Is a Lap Dog?

A lap dog is a dog that is small enough to fit on your lap to provide comfort and love to both you and themselves.

Lapdogs have been around for eons; however, it was in the 17th century when lap dogs, through art and literature, bounded their way into society’s consciousness. But it was in the 18th century when the subject ballooned, giving lapdogs a permanent place in the minds of many.

They have almost always been associated with females, and it would be a rarity to find an 18th-century painting that featured a man and a lapdog. In high society, these little dogs were bejeweled, rode in carriages, and ate from the same table as humans. Queen Victoria and King George IV adored them. 

A bit of jealousy may have crept in when men started writing about the lap dog being a woman’s only friend and if they could be a replacement for a man. These dogs were also used as a representation in literature of a woman’s social class position and where she fit in with society. 

Fast forward to the lap dogs of today, and you’ll see a common theme – that they are highlighted on the laps and in the purses of celebrities. There, they are a representative of just how rich and famous someone is.

Now, let’s get into more good stuff.  

Lap Dog Breeds

Discover an amazing variety of pint-sized pups to grace your lap and heart; these dog breeds may be small in stature but are immense in affection and charm.

1. Bichon Frise

lap dogs
Weight12-18 lbs.
Fur & colorDouble-coated – White, white & apricot, white & buff, white & cream
Lifespan14-15 yrs.

Bichon Frise, or “bichon à poil frisé” in French, means “curly haired dog.” This ball of cuteness actually originated in Spain but was largely developed to be the dog we know and love today in France.

Their mere presence in circuses of old and conformation shows always brings “Oohs” and “Aahs.” 

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

best lap dogs
Weight13-18 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle- or double-coated – Blenheim, black & tan, black & white, ruby, chocolate, chocolate & white
Lifespan12-15 yrs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are people-dogs. They adore being close to their humans. The CKCS is calm, devoted, and even-tempered, and their silky coats are the envy of other breeds. 

These Spaniels are quite adaptable and can fit right into either an athlete’s or a couch potato’s life. (But always exercise your little beauty daily.)   

3. Toy and Miniature Poodles

small lap dogs
GroupNon-sporting (miniature); Toy (toy poodle)
Height10”-15” (miniature); No more than 10” (toy)
Weight10-15 lbs. (miniature); 4-6 lbs. (toy)
Fur & colorSingle-coated – 27 possible colors or color mixtures (miniatures and toys)
Lifespan10-18 yrs. (miniature); 10-18 yrs. (toy)

These brilliant lap dogs are recognizable around the world. Just don’t keep them in your lap all day. Miniature and Toy Poodle dogs are athletes who love to swim, hike, and run. 

According to the American Kennel Club, this dog breed originated in Germany, not in France, and one thing is for sure… There’s no such breed as a French poodle.

4. Tibetan Spaniel

lap dog
Weight9-15 lbs.
Fur & colorDouble-coated – Black, black & tan, cream, gold, red, sable, silver sable, white
Lifespan12-15 yrs.

The Tibbie has a medium activity level. He’ll love a long walk daily as well as lounging in your lap when he feels like it.

But no jogging around the block for this little guy. With his flat face like a pug’s, he’s brachycephalic, so he is really sensitive to heat and too much activity. 

5. Pug

small lap dog
Weight14-18 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle- or double-coated – Black, fawn
Lifespan13-15 yrs.

With its curled tail, black mask, and wrinkly face, you’ll know a pug when you see one. Happy to sit in a good lap for the day; pugs are also brachycephalic, so make sure he stays in air-conditioned areas. 

6. Pomeranian

good lap dogs
Weight3-7 lbs.
Fur & colorDouble-coated – 24 possible colors or color mixtures
Lifespan12-16 yrs.

This gorgeous lap dog is often used to breed with other dogs. Did you know:

  • The Pomeranian Chihuahua mix is called a Pomchi. (A cutie-pie!)
  • The Pomeranian Dachshund mix is called a Domeranian.

Queen Victoria had a hand in popularizing this ball of fluff. After her reign with them by her side, Poms were literally bred to be about 30 lbs. smaller.

This small specimen of a dog thinks he’s a German shepherd and will let you know every chance he gets. In the world of small dogs, this one is pretty famous. But remember, Poms require regular grooming to maintain their looks!

7. Bolognese

lap dogs breeds
GroupFoundation stock
Weight6-10 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle-coated – White
Lifespan12-14 yrs.

The Bolognese is an affectionate, easy-going, and intelligent lap dog with white, wavy hair. The Maltese are their closest relative. They love to spend time snuggling with their owners, and leaving them alone for long periods isn’t recommended.

They’re named after the ancient Italian city of Bologna, where they’re thought to have originated. Catherine the Great had a Bolognese, which was also called Bichon Bolognese since they’re related to the Bichon Frise. 

8. Maltese

best lap dog breeds
WeightUnder 7 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle-coated – White, white & lemon, white & tan
Lifespan12-15 yrs.

With their long, straight, silky coat that barely sheds, you’ll need to brush Maltese dogs daily to keep that sleek look. This dog breed, among several others, descends from the ancient Bichon family, which also includes the Havanese.

9. Italian Greyhound

Weight7-14 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle-coated – 22 possible colors or color mixtures
Lifespan14-15 yrs.

These elegant lapdogs have a long, lanky, sleek appearance. Italian greyhounds are sighthounds, which means they track prey using their vision, agility, and speed rather than scent.

10. Boston Terrier

most affectionate small dog breeds
Weight12-25 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle-coated – 5 possible color mixtures
Lifespan11-13 yrs.

Boston Yorkies are Boston terrier and Yorkshire terrier hybrids. They’re curious and easy to train and have long, shaggy coats. The Boston terrier’s parents are an English bulldog and a white English terrier. 

Boston terriers are incredibly loyal and good watchdogs. However, they require exercise and mental stimulation in their daily regimen.

11. Japanese Chin

snuggle dogs
Weight7-11 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle-coated – 6 possible color mixtures
Lifespan10-12 yrs.

Brachycephalic dogs, including the Japanese Chin, suffer greatly in extreme temperatures due to their capacity to breathe. Take special care when treating these dogs with kid gloves.

Despite their names, their history goes back to ancient China where they enjoyed the company of nobles and royalty.

12. Chinese Crested

chinese lap dogs
Weight8-12 lbs.
Fur & colorHairless or single-coated – 20 possible colors or color mixtures
Lifespan13-18 yrs.

The “so ugly it’s adorable” lap dog can be hairless or coated (“powderpuff”). If they’re mixed with a Pekingese, you’ll get a Crested Peke, which weighs around seven pounds, can go up to fourteen pounds, and can live 12-18 years.

13. Brussels Griffon

Weight8-10 lbs.
Fur & colorDouble-coated – Beige, black, black & tan, red, brown, tan, wheaten, blue
Lifespan12-15 yrs.

With an incredibly affectionate nature, the Brussels Griffon is one of the least-known dogs on this list. Often dubbed as ‘velcro dogs,’ they have a remarkable tendency to form inseparable bonds, sticking close to their beloved humans at all times.

They originated in Belgium from mixing the Affenpinscher with a street canine.

14. Shih Tzu

Weight9-16 lbs.
Fur & colorDouble-coated – 19 possible colors or color mixtures
Lifespan10-18 yrs.

These small dogs are good with most children (who know how to handle dogs) and other dogs. This is the reason that makes them a perfect companion for small children. Shih Tzus are adorable and playful and love to snuggle in with their guardians.

15. French Bulldog

lap dogs that dont shed
WeightUnder 28 lbs.
Fur & colorSingle- or double-coated – 10 possible colors or color mixtures
Lifespan10-12 yrs.

I dog-sit for a French bulldog who’s delightful and one of the best lap dog breeds and companion dogs around.

French Bulldogs are one of the most popular dog breeds and are fun, gentle, and bold (“Who’s that walking by my house!”). His sister is a Great Dane, so it’s a real-life Mutt and Jeff around there.


What Dog Is the Perfect Lap Dog?

The perfect lap dog is a small one that doesn’t require lots of exercise, is very affectionate, and loves to be with its people.

What Is the Cuddliest Lap Dog?

It depends on the individual dog. If they’re easy-going, gentle, and loving, they’re going to be very cuddly.

What Is the Laziest Lap Dog?

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel can be one of the laziest lap dogs. Well, they are royalty.

Final Thoughts   

So you have quite a few dogs to choose from who’d rather be on your lap than running in the yard any day. From the Italian greyhound to the Boston terrier, these dogs display excellent temperaments and stellar personalities.

Lots of them need extra TLC on their gorgeous coats (Sorry, Chinese Crested!), so be up for the challenge. You’ll also need to stay on top of their vet visits – twice a year – since breeding these tiny ones can be tough on their health. 

If your days are full of lounging and binge-watching shows, any of these dogs will be right by your side to enjoy the good life. Just be sure to watch the remote control… I wouldn’t put it past a Pomeranian to switch the channel to a dog show.

Jen Flatt Osborn
Born with a pen in her hand and a deadline (and probably a tail), Jen considers writing a vocation, an art, and a release. She’s a freelance copy/content writer who specializes in the pet industry. Previously, she was the founder/director of an animal sanctuary for 12 years, taught classes to middle school students about dog behavior, and has lived a life full of devotion to animals and their welfare. As a vegetarian, Jen advocates for the humane treatment of every living creature. She currently lives with one delightful canine who encourages her to put her head out the car window more often.

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