Small dogs are the most common request from potential adopters in the Nashville area. There are many options for finding a small dog to adopt. The best adoption websites are Petfinder.com, AdoptaPet.com and RescueMe. Not all foster animals are typically posted for each rescue, so if you are wanting to connect with a local rescue group or attend an Adoption Day, here is a comprehensive list of local rescue groups who specialize in small dogs. Many of these groups are breed-specific rescues. Please keep in mind that when a range of adoption fees is given, the lowest fees are for senior, special needs or mixed breed dogs. Puppies and young adults will often have a higher adoption fee. All of these rescue groups are registered 501-c-3 nonprofit organizations which can take tax-deductible donations.
All-American Dachshund Rescue
AADR is a national dachshund rescue that is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Due to their short legs, Dachshunds can easily fall off of a sofa or bed and be seriously injured. Dachshunds are also prone to weight gain, so they need a healthy diet and regular exercise. Adoption fees range from $150 to $350 depending on the dog’s age. AADR adoptions include a microchip and the option of transportation out of state to an approved home. Dachshunds are known for being curious, playful, affectionate and entertaining. Like most small dogs, Dachshunds can be stubborn and require a human who can be a strong pack leader.
Critter Cavalry Rescue
Critter Cavalry is a large multi-breed dog rescue based in Franklin, TN. While CCR works with dogs of all sizes, they have a large selection of small dogs for adoption, many of them purebred. The standard adoption fee is $250. Most of their foster dogs are rescued from nearby kill shelters. Adoption Days are held on Saturdays from 12 pm to 5 pm at the Cool Springs PetSmart.
Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary
Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary is one of the oldest rescue groups in Nashville, started in 1999. Former members of FFAS have gone on to create Agape Animal Rescue and Nashville Cat Rescue. Freedom Farm is based out of the Rivergate PetSmart where they hold adoption days from 10 am to 2 pm every Saturday. While Freedom Farm takes in dogs of all sizes, in recent years they have been focusing mainly on small dogs pulled from local kill shelters. FFAS works with puppies, young adults and senior dogs. Their adoption fee is $105.
Internet Min Pin Service
The Internet Miniature Pinscher Service, Inc. (IMPS) was formed in July of 1998 through an email group. Today it is a national organization linking small local Min Pin rescue groups all over the country. Over 20,000 dogs have been adopted since then. The adoption application is available online. The Miniature Pinscher or “MinPin” is known for being sturdy, loyal, brave, intelligent and full of energy. MinPins require a strong pack leader with clearly defined house rules.
Kimber’s Kritters is a small local animal rescue that focuses mainly on small dogs pulled from high-kill shelters in the area. This group also fosters pit bulls and small exotic animals like birds, snakes or guinea pigs. Their main goal is to foster mixed breeds, medically needy dogs and elderly dogs. The standard adoption fee is $175. Transportation is available for out-of-state adopters. Kimber’s Kritters holds Adoption Days at the Hermitage Petco every Saturday from 1 pm to 5:30 pm and Sundays 2 pm to 6 pm.
Jack Russells are adorable, spunky and playful. However, they do have some behavior issues that require consistent training and prevention. Jack Russells are described as “happy yet prone to mischief”. Jack Russells are known for digging, being aggressive toward smaller animals, intolerant of awkward handling by children, shedding, and being escape artists. They also have a great deal of energy so they need regular walks and playtime. Russell Rescue is based in Columbia, TN.
Nashville Schnauzer Rescue
Nashville Schnauzer Rescue is part of the multi-state Schnauzer Love Rescue. Adoption fee is $200 to $450. Transportation is available to help your new pet travel to a home in a nearby state. The rescue’s focus is mainly on Miniature Schnauzers. These dogs are known for being intelligent, loving and happy, typically great with children. They are good watch dogs and are easy to to travel with.
Southern Cross Boston Terrier Rescue
Located in the Bellevue area of Nashville, Southern Cross Boston Terrier Rescue is a multi-state breed rescue with a local branch here in Nashville. Adoption fees range from $150 to $400. A microchip is included with adoption. The Boston Terrier is known for its gentle, intelligent, and enthusiastic personality. They learn quickly and need adequate daily exercise to remain healthy and well-adjusted.
Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue
Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue is a small, Tennessee-based breed rescue for Maltese dogs and mixes. Please note that this rescue does not adopt dogs to families with children under 10 years old or to homes with electric fences. Southern Comfort is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, about 3 hours west of Nashville. Maltese are playful, active and gentle companions. They are highly intelligent so they learn quickly and easily learn to perform tricks. Maltese are usually great with other dogs and cats.
Westie Rescue of Tennessee
Westie Rescue of Tennessee is a small, breed-specific rescue for West Highland Terriers and mixes. The adoption fee ranges from $250-$450. Foster dogs will not be adopted to families with children under the age of 8 years. A fenced-in yard is preferred but not required. WRT is located in Franklin, TN, just half an hour south of Nashville. The West Highland White Terrier is known for being friendly with strangers, great with children, and a quick learner.
Willy’s Happy Endings
Willy’s Happy Endings is located in Woodlawn, Tennessee, about 2 hours east of Nashville. The main focus of this rescue is small, senior dogs. Since many small dogs have long coats, please make sure you can afford regular grooming for your new dog, in addition to food, toys and veterinary care. Willy’s charges a $100 adoption fee which includes all veterinary care. Younger dogs have an adoption fee of $125.
Yorkshire Terrier Rescue of Tennessee
Yorkshire Terrier Rescue of Tennessee is a local branch of the Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, Inc which includes 46 states. Adoption fees begin at $175 which includes a microchip. Despite their small size, Yorkies are known for being spunky, brave, and clever. They need a good pack leader to avoid developing small dog aggression. Yorkies are very affectionate and loyal to their masters.
Most dog rescues have similar adoption procedures. First you will fill out an adoption application online where you will be asked some basic personal information and answer questions about where your dog will live, if you have a fenced-in yard, whether you own your home and whether children or other animals live with you. Another section will ask how you plan to handle housetraining, inappropriate chewing, and veterinary bills. The adoption application also asks for a reference from your veterinarian along with 3 personal references. Once your application and references have been reviewed, a home visit will be scheduled. This involves a rescue volunteer coming to visit your house to see the parts of your house and yard where the dog will be kept. The volunteer will be checking to make sure you are not a hoarder, that your house is reasonably clean, and your fence is secure with no escape holes. Once you are approved for adoption, you pay the adoption fee which normally ranges from $100-$300 and can bring your new dog home.