A lap dog is pretty much what it sounds like: a dog who sits in laps. Big surprise, huh?! But, beyond that obvious definition, lap dogs are not only small enough to fit on laps, but their personalities and genes also make them predisposed to actually prefer lounging in laps to just about everything else (OK, maybe except that T-bone steak). There are many toy breeds who aren’t really considered lap dogs because they are more independent or energetic (you’ll notice Havanese and Papillon pups aren’t on our list). There are also several larger breeds who think they’re lap dogs but are probably too big for that to be comfortable for anyone (we’ll let you be the judge of that). The lap dogs on this list are tiny pooches who will happily spend their afternoon glued to you and your warm legs. Many were bred hundreds of years ago to do just that: sit on their owners and look pretty.
Ideally, lap 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. Since many of them are toy breeds, their size allows them to thrive even in smaller apartments. Be aware, however, that outdoor exercise is healthy for all types of dogs. While some get enough activity playing fetch in the hallway, others need more rigorous cardio or lengthier walks to stay mentally and physically healthy. Talk to your vet about your dog’s particular needs!