9 Small Dogs That Bite [Tiny Terrors?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Lots of us are enchanted by the pint-sized charm of small dogs, but have you ever been caught off guard by their unexpected nibbles?

As a former vet tech, I’ve totally had my fair share of interactions with these pocket rockets of personality.

So, if you’ve ever felt like you need a secret decoder ring to understand why your mini-mutt occasionally thinks fingers are gourmet treats, stay tuned as I round up a list of small dogs that bite, together with a bunch of useful information on how you can handle it.

Let’s dive right in.

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List of 9 Small Dogs That Bite

List of 9 Small Dogs That Bite

It seems silly to ask whether small dogs bite because of course they do! I mean, don’t ALL dogs bite?

However, some people think that these small and cuddly dogs won’t bite because of their tiny size.

But please don’t get fooled by their adorable little faces because these furballs can bite, and it can hurt!

Perhaps small dogs don’t bite as often as bigger dogs, but when they’re frightened or startled? They sure can bite you big time.

So now you’re probably wondering what small dogs bite because they all look equally angelic and charming.

I’ve put a list here that you can browse, and see whether your favorite dog breed falls into the category!

1. Yorkshire Terrier

Many dog owners have shared with me how much of a biter their Yorkshire Terriers are.

The thing is, there are a lot of reasons why this happens, and it’s often not really their fault.

Most Yorkie puppies have trouble when they’re teething. They feel more pain when teething than other breeds.

Hence, at a very young age, they’re prone to nibbling to ease the pressure of teething.

When this habit isn’t stopped as they grow into adulthood, Yorkies become biters.

But if your Yorkie just started biting after the puppy stage, then the reason why he is fond of biting is different.

It could be because of excitement, fear, or attempts to get your attention.

2. Pomeranian

Pomeranian is another favorite dog breed that dog owners love. 

Pomeranians have fluffy fur that goes so well with their lovely personality. They’re playful and sweet.

But this playfulness usually becomes too much to the point that they bite during playtime.

Most often, their bites aren’t meant to hurt you.

They’re just excited to be playing, and since biting is natural among dogs, Poms will accidentally bite a person.

But if you are a stranger who took a Pomeranian by surprise, don’t expect the bite to be accidental.

Because as small as they can be, Poms are great security dogs.

3. Mini Pinscher

As small as Mini Pinschers can be, they are rather territorial and wary of strangers. It’s no wonder why some people dub this breed as aggressive too.

I personally don’t think Mini Pinschers are aggressive. They are just overly confident pups who will take on whoever threatens their space.

They’ll bite without hesitation if you pose a danger to his safety.

Even some dog owners speak of their fair share of experience with their Mini Pinschers’ destructive side.

Because it turned out that Mini Pinschers don’t only bite people but also toys, shoes, and other things they can get their mouths around!

4. Papillon

Don’t feel a little comfortable around a Papillon you don’t personally know just because of their beautiful long silky fur.

This breed can be friendly and sweet to those he already knows but can be scary to strangers.

Papillons are great watchdogs and will let their owners know someone is coming by barking.

And if they sense that you’re a threat, they’ll surely bite.

5. Chihuahua

A popular breed among dog owners who love small-sized doggies, Chihuahuas are adorable and friendly when socially trained.

Since they are small, they tend to be more anxious around strangers.

They are known to bark constantly when around people who make them uncomfortable. And make no mistake because they’ll surely bite when given the chance.

Dog owners usually mention that Chihuahuas who aren’t socially trained get aggressive in the long run.

Hence, it’s not impossible to hear someone say “I’ve been bitten by a really small dog called Chihuahua!”

6. Pekingese

Pekingese are a toy-size royal dog that was originally bred in China. 

They’re small and friendly, but they can be quite assertive. Their assertiveness sometimes includes biting to make sure your attention is focused on them.

If you encounter a Pekingese and he somehow bit you, the reason might be because you crossed his boundaries.

This dog isn’t clingy, and he needs his personal space from time to time 

If you pick him up when he isn’t in the mood for cuddles, he’ll most likely bite you. 

7. Dachshund

Dachshunds were originally bred to be hunters.

With their very cute short legs and long bodies, you won’t think much of them other than they’re adorable.

But looks can be deceiving since they’re very smart and good hunters. 

Since they’re bred to hunt prey, it’s a given that they can bite when threatened.

Don’t worry though because Dachshunds aren’t usually used to hunting anymore these days. They’re now adopted as indoor pets by many dog owners.

8. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu are great lap dogs, and they’re quite cuddly with all their fluffy fur and cute pudgy face.

Families usually adopt this breed because they’re great with children.

But Shih Tzu can bite too, especially when they are excited or frightened.

Since Shih Tzu is playful, their excitement can become overwhelming to the point that they’ll accidentally bite the hand playing with them.

In this case, the biting is not intentional.

But since these dogs are small, they are easily intimidated by strangers. When threatened, Shih Tzu will bite in an attempt to protect themselves.

9. Jack Russell Terrier

Named after their original breeder, Jack Russell Terrier is a smaller type of terrier considered a working dog.

They love preying on foxes, and they’re good hunters too.

Although they don’t seem much when it comes to appearance, Jack Russell Terriers will always fight back when threatened.

They are known to bite both animals and humans which seem daunting and dangerous to their safety.

What Are the Reasons for a Small Dog Biting?

What Are the Reasons for a Small Dog Biting

Territorial aggression

Because of their tiny size, small dogs tend to engage in territorial aggression.

They know that they’re small and can easily be defeated if it comes to a fight, hence they’ll take precautions by marking what is theirs.

The territory that small dogs mark as theirs will serve as their safe space.

But when a person or another animal steps into their territory without warning, they’ll feel invaded and will surely bite to make you leave.


Small dogs are… small. So of course they’ll feel intimidated from time to time.

They can easily feel scared because of their size.

Hence, these dogs will resort to the worst protection they can muster to protect themselves and that is biting.

Being playful

Most small dogs are naturally friendly and playful.

But sometimes, because they feel excited and overstimulated while playing, small dogs will bite.

This kind of bite isn’t intentional, and the small dog will most likely feel sorry once he realizes what he did.

Doggy says, you might want to read this too: Are Aussiedoodles aggressive?

How Do I Stop My Small Dog From Biting?

If your small dog is still a puppy, you can start training him not to bite by using a time-out procedure.

In this way, you’ll have to yelp as if you’re in pain once you feel your puppy’s teeth on your skin.

You’ll need to quickly walk away from him without acknowledging him. This means that you’ll have to ignore him for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Your pup will try to catch your attention, but don’t let his sad whimpers affect you.

Once the minute is up, you can already interact with him and go back to whatever play you two were doing.

Do this procedure every time your pup tries to bite you until he realizes that he’s doing something bad.

If your small dog is already grown up, you can try the socialization method to stop him from biting.

In this method, you’ll have to expose him to different people and other animals.

This method takes a long time to work, and it’ll require your patience.

But don’t push your dog too hard if he’s really uncomfortable around new people or animals. Pull him out from your attempt to socialize once he starts getting aggressive.

Then shower him with treats if he remains to behave while socializing.

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How Do I Avoid a Dog Bite?

There are many tips on how to avoid a dog bite. Here are some Dos and Don’ts you have to remember so you can avoid being bitten.


  • Be wary of your surroundings but remain calm once the dog’s attention is on you.
  • If you come face to face with a dog you suspect will bite you, soften your eyes and breathe calmly.
  • Learn how to tell the difference between aggressive and friendly dogs like growling and tense facial muscles.


  • Escape from a dog by running. You’ll only get chased.
  • Scream at a dog. This will only make him more apprehensive and aggressive.
  • Surprise a dog by suddenly touching him especially when he’s sleeping.
  • Touch a puppy when its mother is near.

What Should You Do When a Dog Bites You?

There are 7 steps in treating a dog bite in the event you got one.

These steps will save you from a fatal infection that you might get from the dog’s saliva, especially if you get bitten by a stray.

  1. First, you’ll have to wash the wound for ten minutes using any mild soap and clean lukewarm water.
  2. Second, use a clean cloth to slow down the bleeding if you’re losing too much blood.
  3. Third, check if you have any OTC antibiotic cream at home. Apply some to the wound if you have.
  4. Fourth, use a clean bandage to wrap the wound.
  5. Fifth, keep your wound bandaged until you visit a doctor to avoid infection.
  6. Sixth, if your wound has already been checked by a doctor and it shows no sign of infection, change the bandage at least 3 times a day.
  7. Lastly, constantly check your wound for any signs of infection.

Can You Sue a Dog Owner if Their Dog Bites You?

Yes, you can sue a dog owner if their dog bites you.

You can even ask for compensation for any damage the dog bites might have caused your health.

It won’t matter whether the bite was mild or severe, you can still hold the dog owner liable for the incident.

You can also file a lawsuit against the dog owner even if their dog didn’t bite you.

For example, you were riding your bicycle and your dog suddenly started chasing you.

In an attempt to escape from the dog, you accidentally crashed your bicycle on a tree which damaged it.

You can then ask for compensation their dog has caused on your property, which is your bicycle.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a small dog bite harmful?

Any dog bite, whether it comes from a small or big dog, can be harmful. The risk of rabies infection is still present whether the dog that bit you is small, making the bite potentially harmful.

Why do dogs bite without warning?

Some dogs didn’t learn how to growl before biting, hence they bite without warning. There are also cases in which dogs have in fact warned you that they’ll bite, and you just misinterpret the warnings.

Do smaller dogs bite more often than bigger dogs?

Smaller dogs are usually more active and aggressive than bigger dogs. And since the reason why dogs bite is because of aggression, it can be true that smaller dogs bite more often than bigger dogs.

Why are small dogs so fierce?

Small dogs tend to be more fearful than bigger dogs because of their size. Hence, they act fiercely to try to intimidate anyone that seems like a danger to them.

What is the best training method to calm your dog?

The best training method to calm your dog is to reward relaxed behavior. Always give your dog some treats and praise when he behaves around guests and other animals. Your dog will eventually learn that being calm and relaxed means more treats and pets.

In Conclusion: Small Dogs That Bite

Small dogs with a penchant for nibbling might catch you by surprise, but armed with understanding and patience, you can guide their behavior in a positive direction. 

Just like a dash of hot sauce in a recipe, a little training goes a long way. 

Embrace the quirks, wag on!

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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