21 of the cutest dog breeds to make you coo, smile (and want more dogs…)

  • The cutest dog is arguably the one you have sitting on your sofa right now. Beauty being in the beholder’s eye, it’s impossible to pin down the top dog of the 21 cutest breeds in the world. It’s entirely subjective – otherwise we’d all have black and white springer spaniels, wouldn’t we?

    All puppies are almost always adorable, but the jury’s out when the pup grows up. Some people love the Shetland pony-sized Great Danes. For others, mini equals magic and they melt at the sight of a Chihuahua. There are dog fans who are smitten with designer cross-breeds, other dogophiles (technical term cynophilist) who insist on a pure-bred. Some think dogs look just perfect dolled up in cutesie sweaters and bows; others who believe there’s nothing better than a muddy dog wagging his tail in a bog.

    Do you like a flat nose or a pointy snout? Curly locks or smooth and shiny? Are short legs sweet, or long pins perfect? Do you like a waddler or a sprinter? Happily with the hundreds of dog breeds on our planet, there’s a lid for every pot.

    The cutest dog breeds: has your favourite made the cut?

    Cutest dog breeds: dachshund


    AKA Sausage Dog. How can you not resist this gorgeous little face? And considering their teeny legs, they’re actually pretty speedy. Don’t be fooled by their adorable looks – they’re bred to hunt badgers, but their feistiness is part of their appeal. And they are more likely to be found these days yapping delightedly and making sure everyone knows that the best things come in small packages.

    Cute whippet puppy


    For those who love a pointy dog, you can’t fail to be charmed by the speed and elegance of the whippet, which wins in the cuteness stakes over the greyhound on account of being a mini version. If you’ve ever watched a whippet – one of the fastest dog breeds – let off steam with some “zoomies”, you’ll know they have high entertainment value to make you giggle.

    Foxhound puppy

    A foxhound puppy at the Belvoir kennels


    Those who choose to take on hound puppies to walk for local hunt kennels are besotted by the breed. They’re bouncy bundles of energy, bent on destruction, but you can forgive them any misdemeanour.

    “In the cuteness stakes, foxhound puppies probably win,” says H&H hunting editor Catherine Austen. “Their feet are so enormous for their bodies at the puppy stage and they are irrepressibly joyful characters.”

    Springer spaniel

    English Springer Spaniel

    H&H’s resident canine tester, Fidget (above), fits the bill for those charmed by the rugged outdoor type. One of our favourite British dog breeds, spaniels are energetic, intrepid, friendly, companionable and with the most beseeching “dog eyes” that simply insist you smile back. They scrub up beautifully, but are at their best looking mightily pleased with themselves with a wildly wagging tail and splattered in mud.

    Cutest dog breeds: Pomeranians


    These appealing bundles of fluff have adorable, smiley faces like a playful fox. Their alert ears and soppy almond-shaped eyes, together with their voluminous coats and plumed tails ramp up the cuteness factor. Plus, they are playful – so kids love them.

    3 Havanese puppies


    This family-friendly pooch is the national dog of Cuba. They are a pocket-sized sweetheart with the gentle-natured temperament to match their stunning looks. And, oh the hair envy! Their double coat is long, thick and feels like silk.

    Chihuahua with a chick


    Oh yes, they look cute and cuddly, but behind those big liquid eyes and inside that tiny package is a massive personality bursting to get out! Feisty, alert, brave, they’d be a daunting force if they weren’t one of the smallest dog breeds – as it is they’d fit in your handbag, if you like that sort of thing.

    Lakeland Terrier in a jumper

    Lakeland Terrier

    Meet Sassy, H&H picture editor Bex Pattenden’s beloved Lakeland. These self-assured terriers with swagger in their step and a twinkle in the eye are the epitome of a big dog in a small package. As long as you don’t want your cute little dog to be a pushover, these are a winner.

    English Bull Terrier sunbathing

    English Bull Terrier

    Comical, mischievous, playful and endearing, these “egghead” terriers are dear to those who favour charisma over fluff.

    Cute dogs: Two Labrador Retriever puppies

    Labrador Retriever

    There’s a reason the Labrador Retriever was picked as the face of Andrex: soft, fluffy and undeniably cute, they gave toilet rolls iconic value. And 50 years after first appearing in the ad, they’re still synonymous with the brand (besides being the perfect family pet).

    Boston terrier in long grass

    Boston Terrier

    Loyal, intelligent and always looking like they’re dressed to go to a party, the Boston is a smart little dog with style.

    Jack Russell terrier

    Jack Russell

    Fearless, feisty, tough, tenacious, and super friendly – these little dogs just demand to be noticed! As they were bred to work, they are athletic, busy, lively and as intelligent as dogs come. (The JR is a favourite at H&H Towers; meet the news editor’s sidekick, Charlie, above).

    Australian Shepherd Dog blue eyes

    Australian Shepherd Dog

    A loyal and energetic dog whose herding instincts require an experienced home, but fans are smitten with this attractive fluffy-coated breed. He loves to work, so teach this highly intelligent dog a few tricks and they’ll wow your friends, while their coloured eyes are particularly alluring.

    Basset hound


    These distinctive hounds seem to invite sympathy with their velvety droopy ears and endearing eyes, but they are typically a bouncy, loyal and affectionate dog, full of character. They also have cute comedy value too, with their stubby legs, giant expressive paws, long body, baggy skin and ears swinging to the ground.

    A pair of Great Danes

    Great Dane

    These gentle giants might look imposing due to their impressive stature, but they typically have sweet and affectionate natures. Their huge heads, giant paws and floppy ears give them an adorable look – and, of course, the loveable Scooby-Doo was a Great Dane.

    Three cute mini schnauzers, parents and pup

    Mini Schnauzer

    At the opposite end of the size scale are the mini Schnauzers, with their trademark beards and friendly grandpa look. Schnauzer translates as whiskery snout – and who can resist their bushy eyebrows and distinctive facial hair? They’re also bouncy, playful and full of charisma – an extrovert who loves being around humans.

    Weimaraner gundogs in a pick-up


    Sweet, protective, and extremely beautiful, the Weimaraner is a strong, athletic dog, with a passionate desire to please his human. They crave a good leader, and are utterly adoring and adorable in return.

    Lowchen dog


    The Löwchen, also known as the “Little Lion Dog”, used to be one of the rarest breeds in the world. It is indeed a little dog with the heart of a lion – robust and brave, but rather more cuddly than its namesake. Bold, affectionate and lively, this portable pooch is sometimes clipped down the hindquarters and most of the tail, leaving a full mane and plumed tail – looking exactly like a tiny lion. However, they look gorgeous with their full flowing locks.

    Italian dog Lagotto romagnolo

    Lagotto Romagnolo

    This Italian working dog was bred to root out truffles, and is known for its tight curls that cover the whole body as well as luxuriant facial hair. It looks just like a cuddly toy, and is endearing and affectionate to boot, but at its heart it is a rugged worker with a superb nose.



    Cuteness personified is a Maltese cross toy poodle – resulting in an adorable-looking miniature dog, with a friendly personality alongside its undoubted charm. One to make even the least soppy human go “ahhhhh”.

    Bertie: Polly Bryan's cutest dog

    Heinz Hound

    The best of dogs is often the one that wasn’t planned at all. No pedigree breeding, no illustrious lines of ancestry, just a downright top character with Heinz 57 genes. Mongrel, mutt, hybrid, cross-breed – who cares when the dog is as cute as Bertie (above), belonging to H&H dressage editor Polly Bryan. (And for the record – he’s a lurcher/American Staffie = perfect).

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