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A lap dog is a generic term associated with a dog that is both small enough to be held in the arms or lie comfortably on a person’s lap and temperamentally predisposed to do so. This means that their personalities and genes also make them actually prefer lounging in laps to just about everything else.

Lap dogs are not a specific breed, but is a generic term for a type of dog that is small in size and friendly towards humans. There are many toy breeds who aren’t really considered lap dogs because they are more independent or energetic.

These dogs live in homes where they don’t have to be left alone for long periods of time. Many of these dogs are affectionate and enjoy being close to their people as often as possible. Some may even become destructive if left alone for too long.

If you live in an apartment or you just don’t have space for a large pet, then these small-statured dogs may be the perfect fit for you. What these pups lack in size, they more than make up for in loyalty, playfulness, and plenty of cuddles.

We’ve rounded up some of the most friendly and tiny breeds of lap dogs you will just love to see.

Best Lap Dog Breeds

Biewer Terrier

The Biewer terrier is a rarer breed that has quickly gained popularity since being officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2021. Their coats need to be brushed regularly (keeping them trimmed short makes life easier). Biewers are smart and will enjoy games indoors or long walks outside—whatever you’re in the mood for.


Although it’s tough to distinguish between all of the small white dog breeds out there, this one counts as one of the oldest. Maltese have entertained their owners for thousands of years. They’re so lovable that the ancient Greeks even built tombs in their honor.

Bichon Frise

These non-shedding dogs are known for being unbelievably happy, loving, and lovable. They require little exercise, making them ideal for apartment living. They’re intelligent, although sometimes they exhibit a stubborn streak.

Toy Poodle

Toy poodles not only enjoy lap time with their owners, but they also want to impress their owners. These puppies love being the center of attention.

The breed isn’t the most social, so it’s essential to adopt this breed at a young age and spend time with friends, family, and other dogs to help your pup become well adjusted.

Cocker Spaniel

This is one of the cutest dog breeds, and it is considered as a good family dog. Cocker Spaniels love playing games and sitting on their owners. This dog breed is available in buff, liver, white and black colors.

Boston Terrier

The amusing Boston Terrier is known for bringing comic relief into any situation. They love people and will want to take walks with you, go to the park, or have a nice game of fetch.

Agile and intelligent, these pups do great learning tricks and even competing in sports such as the obstacle course. But best of of all, they will love to cuddle up on your lap.


A true lap dog in its size, these feisty fur-babies can have very little energy or be fairly energetic, and it’s often hard to predict them. Normally, Chihuahuas prefer a calmer setting with older kids and adults.

Their size means that they cannot be left outdoors unsupervised, which is fine with them – they want to be everywhere their person is. If left alone, they can become extra loud and very destructive.


The bolognese gets its name from Bologna, Italy, where it was first developed centuries ago, much like our favorite spaghetti sauce. Bolognese weigh under ten pounds and are just 10-12” tall, so they are suited as bed buddies, too.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This dog breed has been a part of history and pop culture for centuries. As a calm breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are the quintessential lap dogs.


Havanese pups are affectionate and relatively easy to care for — music to everyone’s ears. With soft coats and small bodies, these little bundles of joy will not only keep your lap warm but also give you a whole lot of puppy loving.

Cuddly, cute, and endearing, you’ll enjoy spending time with them and dressing them up in ridiculous clothes. That is most definitely what I would do, if I had one of them.


The Papillon was bred with the exclusive purpose of being companions dogs for European royalty.

A small, delicate dog, Papillons are known for their large, erect ears with hair that grows out rather than down. Intelligent, friendly and affectionate, the Papillon loves to be in the company of its owner and wants nothing but its family’s attention.

Though Papillons are a calm, laid-back breed, they do require daily exercise and regular grooming, specifically in and around their ears.


Calm and loyal, the Pekingese is another great breed of lap dogs. These beautiful little creatures are small in size and enjoy cuddling with their favorite human. They can adapt well to most surroundings, they’re smart and easy to train, and they don’t need a ton of exercise.


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