Top 17 Small Terrier Breeds That Stay Small for Pets

Terriers were initially bred for hunting rabbits, rats, foxes, and other small rodents. But as the love of small pet dogs increases, there was need to breed small terrier breeds that will stay small and make great pets.

They are good at digging the ground and crawling into tunnels while hunting for their prey. That is why they are called ‘Terrier’. The word terrier means ‘earth‘ in Latin and that is how they got their name.

Most terriers have a high prey drive, and they can hunt and kill feathery creatures and furry. 

Typically, all small terrier breeds are adaptable, playful, and energetic which means they love attention

If you are looking for a small dog that is well suited for homes, then you need to get yourself a terrier because they have lots of personalities. 

In this article, we will show you a list of small terrier breeds that you can buy and note that not all terriers are friendly to children.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

What Are Small Terrier Breeds?

Although terriers might be small, they should be given regular exercise and attention or else they might turn out to be very destructive. 

Some might start digging, chewing, escaping, or constantly barking. 

Generally, terrier breeds are very active and energetic.

The average weight of a terrier according to our list is 27 pounds and that is why we picked these 17 breeds of small terriers. 

The smallest being the Yorkshire terrier which is 7 pounds and the largest being the Airedale terrier which is 70 pounds. These breeds are:

  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Rat Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Irish Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Border Terrier

Terriers need to be well trained and socialized and if you want to adopt a terrier, you need to understand its characteristics.

The above are just some breeds of terriers that have a small to medium size that anyone can keep at home. 

Terriers have different characteristics, history, common conditions, and temperaments, as the following facts show.

TOP 17 Small Terrier Breeds That Stay Small for Pets

Each terrier breed has its own individual character which means they need socialization and training to keep them fit. 

Even though terriers are very social and love the company of people, not all of them are friendly with young children. 

We have compiled a list of 17 terrier breeds that are very popular and will leave your heart melting with love.

Small Terrier BreedsSize (smallest to larger)AppearanceCharacteristicsCost
Yorkshire Terrier7 poundsCompact and toy sizedIntelligent and bold$1200 to $2000
Norwich Terrier12 poundsPricky ears and have a double coatIntelligent, affectionate and energetic$1500 to $2000
Border Terrier14 poundsShort dense undercoat with wiry topcoatObedient and fearless$800 to $1500
Cairn Terrier15 poundsWiry soft undercoatHardy, intelligent and active$800 to $1200
Jack Russel Terrier17 poundsCompact muscular bodyFearless, intelligent and energetic$800 to $1300
West Highland White Terrier20 PoundsPure white and have soft furry undercoatActive and hardy$800 to $1500
Miniature Schnauzer20 poundsBushy beards and eyebrowsPlayful and energetic$1000
Australian Terrier20 poundsSturdy and medium bonedCourageous and affectionate$1000 to $1500
Scottish Terrier22 poundsBlack, small hair and smallAlert, playful and independent$1000 to $1500
Welsh Terrier22 poundsSturdy and compact sizeIntelligent and alert$800 to $1200
Irish Terrier23 poundsLong head with strong jawsLively, respectful and intelligent$600 to $1000
Bedlington Terrier23 poundsResembles a lambAffectionate, intelligent and good tempered$1500
Rat Terrier25 poundsShort, smooth and shiny furEnergetic and determined$300 to $600
Staffordshire Bull Terrier37 poundsShort smooth coatAggressive and loyal$1500 to $2000
Kerry Blue Terrier40 poundsSoft wavy black coatLoyal, alert and gentle$1000 to $1600
Bull Terrier70 poundsShort, flat and shiny coatActive and protective$1200 to $2000
Airedale Terrier70 poundsDense, wiry coat with black tanStrong and energetic$800 to $1500
Size, appearance, characteristics, and price comparison of small terrier breeds

1. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier

Scotland is the birthplace of the West Highland White Terrier, and it is the only terrier from Scotland that is pure white. 

This breed is ever active, hardy, and full of personality

They require regular exercise and failure to do so will lead to them being very destructive. 

An average West Highland White Terrier weighs between 12 to 20 pounds and will have a height of 11 inches from the shoulder.

2. Rat Terrier

Rat Terriers are believed to have originated from the United States during the early 1900s and they were initially used for hunting and killing rats and other small rodents. 

This dog is very determined, energetic, and has a high spirit

since they are playful you should give them daily exercise. 

The average height of a Rat Terrier is 13 inches for a miniature and 18 inches for the standard breed. 

Rat Terriers have a small to medium size body which is sturdy and compact. 

They weigh an average of 25 pounds.

The Rat Terrier and Miniature Schnauzer small terrier breeds
The Rat Terrier and Miniature Schnauzer small terrier breeds

3. Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is the smaller version of the giant and standard Schnauzer breed that originates from Germany. 

They were initially used as farm dogs and would also hunt for rats.

Miniature Schnauzer is playful, energetic, and highly spirited. 

An average Miniature Schnauzer has a height of 12 to 15 inches and will weigh around 20 pounds max. 

These dogs need regular grooming every month because of their wiry coat which is either black, silver, salt and pepper, or even solid black.

4. Jack Russel Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is intelligent, fearless, energetic, and athletic. 

This breed originated in England in the 1800s and it was developed by a gentleman known as John “Jack” Russell. 

Jack Russel Terriers are excellent hunters, and they were used to hunt for rabbits and foxes. 

Always ensure that you give these dogs regular training and exercise to stimulate them mentally and physically. 

An average Jack Russel Terrier weighs around 17 pounds and has a height of 10 to 15 inches.

Cairn Terrier and Jack Russel Terrier
Cairn Terrier and Jack Russel Terrier

5. Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier was developed in the Scottish Highlands almost two centuries ago and they were used to hunt foxes, rats, and other tiny rodents. 

This breed is very active, intelligent, and hardy

Cairn Terriers require regular brushing every week and you should also give them moderate exercise. 

They make wonderful family dogs because they are outgoing and friendly. 

The average weight of a Cairn Terrier is 15 pounds and will have a height of 10 inches from the shoulder. 

They have a wiry double coat which comes in colors of grey, black, or a mix of brindles.

6. Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier has a sleek sighthound shape that resembles a little lamb, and they were used in coal mines in the 1800s. 

This breed was developed in England and just like any other terrier, they too were used for hunting rats and other furry rodents. 

Bedlington Terrier is good-tempered, intelligent, and affectionate

You will need to give this dog professional grooming every month because of its crisp coat. 

A fully grown Bedlington Terrier will weigh around 23 pounds and will be 15 to 18 inches tall. 

Their coat comes in a liver, sandy, blue, and sometimes a combination of tan.

Scottish Terrier and Bedlington Terrier
Scottish Terrier and Bedlington Terrier

7. Scottish Terrier

The Scottish Terrier originated from the Scottish Highlands, and they were perfect hunters known for killing rats and other farm rodents. 

Famously known as “Scotties”, they are known to be playful, alert, and independent. 

They are not very tall and a fully grown Scottish Terrier has a height of 10 inches and will weigh around 22 pounds. 

Scottish Terrier has a light tan coat although you can also find others that have a dark tan. 

They are the best companion dogs, however, they will not get along well with other dogs.

8. Norwich Terrier

Are you looking for a dog that is hardy, affectionate, intelligent, and energetic, then you need to look no further than a Norwich Terrier. 

The Norwich Terrier originated in England, and they were used for hunting foxes and running alongside hunters. 

Standing at 10 inches, they are among the smallest breed of terriers weighing just 12 pounds.  

Norwich Terriers have straight, hard and wiry coats that can either be black, tan, red, or grizzle. 

A Norwich Terrier resembles the Norfolk terrier, but the difference comes in their ears.

A group of Kerry Blue Terrier and Norwich Terrier dog breeds
A group of Kerry Blue Terrier and Norwich Terrier dog breeds

9. Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier was developed in Ireland more than a century ago and they were used for hunting and herding livestock. 

If you are looking for a terrier that does not shed much, then you need to get a Kerry Blue Terrier. 

This terrier is affectionate, loyal, alert, and gentle and will make the perfect companion pet. 

Kerry Blue Terrier puppies are born with a black coat but as they grow, it turns into light blue-gray. 

The weight of a Kerry Blue Terrier is 40 pounds max and has a height of 17 to 20 inches.

10. Irish Terrier

Most people love the Irish Terrier because it is dominant, respectful, lively, and intelligent. 

The Irish Terrier has a fiery red coat that needs regular grooming and as its name suggests, it was developed in Ireland. 

Irish Terriers are the best companion family dogs that will keep your whole family energized. 

Their coats vary in color from golden red, bright red, white, and red, white. 

An Irish Terrier has a height of 18 to 20 inches and weighs 23 pounds. 

Always ensure that your Irish Terrier gets regular exercise and training.

Bull Terrier and Irish Terrier
Bull Terrier and Irish Terrier

11. Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier was developed in England, and it was used as a fierce competitor in dogfighting. 

But today this breed is one of the sweetest and distinguished family companion of terriers. 

A Bull Terrier weighs 70 pounds and has a height of 21 to 22 inches. 

Bull terriers are protective, active, stubborn, and sweet-tempered

They have short coats that include red, white, blue, brindle, and fawn. 

Bull Terriers have a unique face that is long and resembles a horse face.

12. Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is the largest among all terriers coming at a height of 20 to 23 inches and weighing 70 pounds. 

Airedale Terriers are energetic, strong, and can be stubborn sometimes. 

They are easy to train, and they are very obedient. Grooming and daily exercise are a must. 

Airedale Terrier has a strong and well-balanced body making it the best terrier for any family. 

Airedale Terriers have a straight, wiry, and dense coat that comes in a mixture of dark grizzle, black, and a mix of tan.

13. Welsh Terrier

The Welsh Terrier has a dense double coat that is soft and repels water and this breed of terrier originated from the UK. 

The Welsh Terrier weighs 22 pounds,15 to 15.5 inches tall and they have a lifespan of 14 years max. 

This breed is very intelligent, alert, spirited, and very friendly and will make the best companion pet in any household.  

The Welsh Terriers were originally bred to be working dogs but today they are very active, and you need to give them regular walks and vigorous exercise. 

Most Welsh Terriers have a black and tan coat, and you need to groom them regularly to prevent matting.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Airedale Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Airedale Terrier

14. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier originated from England, and it is a medium-sized terrier that is a fearless, bold, loyal, and intelligent breed. 

They share their lineage with the pit bull, which is why they share common traits. 

They are not very friendly with young children and close supervision is required. 

An average Staffordshire Bull Terrier will weigh around 37 pounds,14 to 16 inches tall and their coat varies in color from black, red, white, or even blue. 

This breed has high chances of having health issues and regular checkups are important.

15. Yorkshire Terrier

If you are looking for a terrier that is confident, intelligent, bold, and courageous, then you need to get a Yorkshire Terrier. 

This breed of terriers originated from England during the 19th century, and they will make the best companion pet for any family. 

They weigh around 7 pounds, 8 to 9 inches tall and their coats are either steel blue or tan in color. 

They do not shed much, and you need to give them regular grooming to maintain the nature of their soft coat. 

Yorkshire Terriers are very playful and if you notice that your terrier is not running around your house, you need to check with your vet.

16. Australian Terrier

As the name suggests, the Australian Terrier was developed in Australia and they are a very courageous, affectionate, and loyal breed. 

They are the smallest among the terrier breeds weighing about 20 pounds, 10 to 11 inches and they have a lifespan of 15 years. 

Australian Terriers have coats that vary from red, blue, sandy, and tan. 

You need to groom them weekly because their coat is soft, coarse, and straight and failure to brush them might lead to tangles. 

Australian Terriers should always be kept active because boredom might lead to destruction, resentfulness, and barking loudly.

Australian Terrier and Border Terrier
Australian Terrier and Border Terrier

17. Border Terrier

If you are looking for a terrier breed that is excellent with young children, then you need to choose the Border Terrier. 

They have a lifespan of up to 15 years and they are obedient, affectionate, and fearless

An average Border Terrier weighs around 14 pounds,12 to 15 inches tall and they were developed in Scotland. 

Border Terriers have a dense wiry undercoat that requires regular brushing or else it will develop an allergy. 

This breed loves to hunt, dig and is very playful. 

They are the best breed to keep as companion pets because they do not easily develop health issues.

What Terrier Breeds Are Good for Hunting?

While terriers can make the best companion and pet dogs today, they also have a hunting characteristic that people do not know. You can also read about small game hunting dog breeds and small hound breeds for different options if you need a small dog breed for hunting.

Different types of terriers are good for hunting even though they are also good companions. 

The following are some of the best terriers that are excellent for hunting. 

American Pitbull terrier, Jack Russell’s terrier, border terrier, rat terrier, beagle, wire fox terrier, Lakeland terrier, Manchester terrier, Irish terrier.

What Terrier Breeds Are Good for Guard/Watch Dogs?

The following dogs are not only the best pets but will also make you feel safe because they were born to protect you. 

They include the Airedale terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Giant schnauzer, and Black Russian terrier.

Wrapping Up

Terriers are dog breeds that were initially bred for hunting and digging out prey. 

The word terrier means earth in Latin and that is why most terriers are good at digging the ground for prey. 

Most terriers have different shapes and sizes, and they are always energetic and full of life. 

Training a terrier is very easy because they are very intelligent and trainable. 

Next time you are looking to buy a terrier to keep as a pet, just go back to our list and you will find something that works for you.