There was a time when it seemed like every 20 year old woman in the U.S. had a tiny furry face peeking out of a large tote bag. That has changed slightly, but with many being forced to move into smaller homes or apartments the small dog craze is still alive. Smaller dogs do better in apartments than larger dogs, and most apartment buildings have restrictions on the size of dog allowed. It’s also easy to use an automatic dog door for a small one.

One would think that larger dogs would be more labor intensive than a smaller dog, but just the opposite is true. Smaller dogs are full of energy and should be walked and played with throughout the day to keep that energy from building up. Smaller dogs have smaller bladders and so must be let outside or walked more often than larger breeds. There are health problems to consider such as tiny bones that can be easily broken, liver issues, heart problems, kneecaps that can pop out of place, and even problems with their teeth. If purchasing a small dog from a breeder it is best to check the breeders’ references to ensure there are no complaints. Some breeders can be unscrupulous and will sell small puppies before they are old enough to be out in the world. Before 12 weeks of age a small puppy must be fed several times a day and can die from malnutrition if not cared for properly. As with any breed of dog, it is best to do the research to determine which breed is best for the energy level of the family. A household with small children is not ideal for a small or toy breed puppies, as small children often do not understand how to be gentle with their tiny companions.

Health issues aside, small dogs can be a joy to own. They are very playful and because of their small stature look like puppies even when they are older. Smaller breeds make great watchdogs as they are very alert and will usually bark at the first sign of strangers in the area. Small dogs such as the Bulldog, Pomeranian, and the Corgi are very loyal to their family members. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the Chihuahua, and the Scottish Terrier are known for their courageousness. The Cairn Terrier, the Papillion, the Maltese, and the Beagle are known for their intelligence. No matter what qualities you require, there is a small breed dog that will fit the bill.

If there are children in the household a Maltese may be the pet for the family as they are known to be very affectionate and gentle. The Lhasa Apso is known for their cheerfulness, although they do have long coats that need constant grooming. Other small breeds that are good with children are the Bassett Hound and the Shih Tzu.

Small and toy breed dogs are fun to own and make wonderful family additions. A bit of extra care may be required for some of the very small breeds, but overall they make great companions and because of their size can be easy to travel with.

Published by Mary Charli