Small dog breeds are excellent for many reasons as the next addition to your family. You might live in a small apartment or home and want a tiny companion that won’t take up too much space or time. Maybe a larger dog’s exercise needs would be problematic for your schedule or physical abilities. Of course, it just might be that you love the idea of having a cute and loveable lap-sized friend you can take with you everywhere.
A dog is considered small if it weighs less than 22 pounds and is shorter than 16 inches. Some small dogs are small enough to carry in a purse while others like the West Highland White Terriers are large enough to fetch your handbag for you.
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Smaller breeds might seem easier to train since you certainly won’t find yourself being dragged down the street by a Yorkie, but there can be other issues. Behaviors like spinning madly around when placed on the leash or in a carrier are common in small dog breeds. Other ways the little fellows might show distress, frustration or fear is by snapping, growling or clawing. Despite these tendencies, all dogs from the tiniest to biggest of the smallest are trainable if you use patience and remain firm. Some breeds have reputations for being very trainable like the toy poodle and the Havanese or being resistant to training such as the Affenpinscher.
Another plus for the tiny guys is that some small dog breeds shed so little hair it’s not even noticeable. If vacuuming and running over clothing with a brush is not your thing a small short hair companion might be ideal. The Miniature Pinscher or a Toy Fox terrier would fit this bill. If shedding isn’t an issue for you and you like a fluffy cute little hairball then consider the Maltese or Pomeranian as new furry addition to your family. If you like sweet tempers and smooth manes of hair than the Silky Terrier is a wonderful pet. You will have the extra maintenance of keeping his hair combed, but don’t worry he actually doesn’t shed all that much.
It’s best to start getting your pet used to being groomed as a puppy so no matter what breed you’ve chosen his coat doesn’t become matted or messy. If you live in a warm climate, or if you are pressed for time, you might have a dog with a long hair coat clipped, but never try to shave a dog. No matter how warm the weather is you aren’t doing him any favors as dogs can have serious skin problems if you try this. If your small dog sheds heavily, you could try purchasing a handheld vacuum and going over his favorite places like the foot of the bed or the pillows of the couch once a day to prevent accumulation of hair building up.
Most people believe it is the dog’s hair that makes them sneeze when, in fact, it’s the dander or dead skin flakes that cause the watery eyes, runny nose and yes, sneezing associated with allergies. All dogs right down to the smallest breed produce dander. If you think it might be a problem for you or a family member than vacuum regularly, use a handheld vacuum for his bed and favorite hangouts and keep the dog brushed and groomed. A good small dog for owners with allergies is the Chinese Crested as this little fellow is not only a low shedding breed it produces very little body odor.
You might not think of such a small dog as being a watchdog, but no one tells these little guys, they can handle the job. Certain small breeds like the Brussels Griffon, the Chihuahua, and the Maltese will make it their life’s mission to keep their house, home, and owner safe. While their bite might not impress much, their bark will certainly raise the alarm and make any intruder rethink making an unauthorized entrance.
Small dog breeds and kids might sound like the perfect match, but you must be wary of certain problems. You don’t want a territorial dog snapping at youngsters who want to examine his toys and since children don’t always understand their own strength, a pet that’s easily injured isn’t a good choice either. Take the Affenpinscher, who doesn’t like to share at all and the gentle Italian Greyhound, who is prone to breaks and can’t stand commotion out of the running if you have young children.
If it is charm you want then you might want to check out the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Originally bred for the nobility of England this little fellow with the soulful eyes and sweet face is just as willing to be a member of your court. He is a true lap dog and will seek you out if you manage to get out of his sight. The only downside is he might have trouble being alone for long periods of time while his owner is working. If this is the case, he will need some form of companionship himself.
If you want a high energy friend for short walks and to share the outdoors with then the Toy Fox Terrier or the slightly larger Rat Terrier might make a great new friend. They have lots of energy and want more than anything to hang out with you. This is a dog who will fit in your lap but loves to play fetch the ball. The only negative might be a little dog with a big dog’s energy needs to be walked and exercised, or he could become destructive out of boredom.
Whichever member of the small dog breeds fits into your home and lifestyle, take some time to make sure there are no dangers to your new best friend. Get to know his personality and traits and be ready to protect him from his own nature. Owners of small dogs are often surprised at what a huge place in their hearts can be filled by these little furry pets.
When not writing about himself in the third person, Andy spends many an hour walking his dog Mr Wox, aka Soxy Woxy, a mischievous, mixed breed rescue. A leading authority on dog-related topics, Andy is highly respected, deeply appreciated and widely admired.