Timber connections with steel dowel-type fasteners may fail in ductile or brittle ways. The design of this joints was traditionally focused on ductile failure, assuming that brittle failure could be avoided by means of geometrical limitations. However, recent studies demonstrated that these assumptions do not always guarantee ductile failure. A new design model for timber connections with small diameter dowel-type fasteners is provided in this paper. Its improved accuracy is demonstrated by analysing an extensive database of experimental tests and comparing its prediction accuracy to that of existing models.