The little dog has stolen the hearts of pet lovers as their compact size and versatility makes them an ideal companion. The small dog tends to be any canine under 20 pounds, and is any purebred or mix of breeds within his heritage. Easy to travel with, personable and often times easily trained these dogs can fit into most household situations from an active lifestyle to being more of a couch potato with his owner. A large number of small dog breeds are available to pick from as canine companions as well as their mixed breed counterparts. Small dogs can be found from an assortment of places, including puppy mills, reputable breeders and shelters or rescues.
The Most Common
Some of the most common and popular small dog breeds are not surprising while others may open your mind to the wanders and possibilities of differences within dogs as a species. All small dogs can make wonderful pets and friends, but before you take a leap into ownership you should first research into the personality and specials needs that each individual breed requires.
Some of the most common small dog breeds and their special requirements include:
- Bichon Frise are a small, non-shedding breed typically white in color with an easy going personality. The Bichon requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep his coat healthy.
- Boston Terriers are smooth coated dogs that are highly intelligent and enthusiastic. Due to the facial structure, his face and eyes must be wiped clean with a damp cloth daily to prevent bacterial and fungal infections.
- Jack Russell Terriers are energetic little dogs with a large personality. Their energy and intelligence level makes them ideal flyball and agility dogs and they must be given abundant exercise or a job to do to prevent behavioral problems.
- Maltipoos are a popular designer breed, or mixed breed, with the non-shedding hair of both the Maltese and the Poodle. These small dogs have the intelligence of the poodle and the easy going personality of the Maltese.
- Pomeranians are extremely popular fluffy little dogs with a loyal and endearing temperament. These dogs are well known to develop small dog syndrome and must be given basic obedience training to prevent the common issues associated with it.
Small Dog Syndrome
With any small breed dog, you must always train them with basic obedience and any other mental and physical exercise they require to prevent the onset of small dog syndrome. This is a behavioral condition that brings about its own set of unwanted, and sometimes dangerous, problems such as resource guarding. Shelter dogs are especially in danger if they have small dog syndrome as the behaviors they display are often considered too dangerous for the public and are euthanized.
You can easily prevent this through adequate training and giving your dog boundaries to follow. These boundaries can include not being allowed on furniture unless invited, only allowed to play when the human instigates a play session, and not being forceful for attention, items, or meal times. Instead, the dog should learn, through obedience, to follow his human’s guidance and how to be polite.
If you decide to adopt or purchase a small breed, make sure the dog of your choosing will fit into your lifestyle first. Bringing home a puppy or adult with too much energy for your schedule or not enough energy for your active lifestyle will only set your new relationship up to fail, which could result in your returning of the dog to the breeder or shelter. Start smart and you’ll have a furry happy ending!
Remember that just because your dog is small that he can still walk on all four feet just like any other sized dog. He should be given exercise instead of being carried on your walks together. Your little one does not know that he is any smaller than the other dogs around him, and expects to be treated just the same. If you can respect your small breed dog as a true canine companion then you will not be disappointed in the love he returns to you!