Small dogs and everything in between

Everyone knows that small dogs are undeniably cute. If you think that’s all they have to offer, you’re wrong. Small dogs can have many diverse traits just like any large dogs can, but wrapped up into a tiny package. If you’re thinking about adopting a smaller pup, then keep reading to learn everything you need to know.


Small dogs are generally defined as dog breeds that weigh 21 pounds or under and can be found in almost every dog group. Usually, when thinking of small dogs, people automatically think of those belonging to the American Kennel Club Toy Group classification.  Dachshunds, for example, are actual members of the AKD Hound Group, despite their miniature size. Small dogs like Jack Russell terriers and Rat terriers belong to the Terrier Group.


When choosing a small dog, remember to research the breeds’ temperament and personality.  Many small dogs, especially toy dog breeds, are more suited for apartment and city life. Dachshund and other terrier breeds would feel quite at home on a farm or in the country where they can use their hunting instincts.  The main thing to remember is, just like large breeds, small dogs differ in temperament and physical needs. It’s important to research what breed you might consider adopting and make sure they fit your family’s lifestyle.


Small dogs come with a lot of benefits.  They, usually, don’t need a ton of space for living comfortably. If you live in a smaller home or apartment this makes it a tad easier to care for a dog.  However, just because they have a smaller space doesn’t mean they don’t need to exercise their legs. You may still need to take your small pup on a trip to the dog park or a small trail, especially if you don’t have a backyard.  Small dogs also don’t eat as much as large dogs do, so you’ll save some money of the food. They shed less because of their size and are easier to walk on a leash. According to PetMD, small dogs also generally tend to be hardier and live longer than their opposites.


With all the positives of having a small dog, there is always a negative. Although they tend to be hardy when it comes to the health side of things, their small bodies are more prone to injury, especially if they jump from furniture that’s too high or are played with too roughly.  For this reason, small dog breeds are not a good match for families with small children. While many small dogs are thought to be lap dogs that love to cuddle, most of them need more exercise than others. They also can be VERY hyper and full of energy. Believe it or not, according to a 2009 study in Applied Animal Behavior Science, the top three most aggressive breeds were all small dog breeds: the Dachshund, Jack Russell terrier, and Chihuahua.  A good lesson here is that proper socialization and obedience training is as necessary to raising a small dog just as it is for large dogs.  Also remember to let your small pup be a dog and not allow his small size and appearance persuade you into treating him like a human infant.


Although small dogs eat less than larger dogs, according to PetMD, small and toy breeds whose metabolisms are faster than larger dogs require 40 calories per pound per day. Larger breeds needs less than half of that. Puppies need to be fed more frequently to avoid developing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, which can result in weakness, seizures, or even death.  


Small dogs often have big personalities.  This not only makes them fun, but perfect breeds under the right circumstances.  Hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect of small dog breeds and be able to choose the perfect pup for you.




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