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Did You Ever Wonder Why Little Dogs Are So Popular as Pets?

February 25, 2010 1:41 pm

Small dogs, both purebreds and mixed breeds, are chosen as pets for many reasons. Their tiny bodies and sweet faces just seem to bring out the nurturing instinct and that ‘aww’ response in humans.

Expense of food and preventives is minimal for these dogs, they need little space, you can easily take them in your motorhome or on a trip, and can be fun to dress up. In spite of being adorable, these toy breeds often make good watch dogs and their barking alerts can deter an intruder as well as a big dog’s bark can.

On the other hand, small dogs can sometimes be yappy and, due to diminutive size, fragile and nippy in the hands of small children. The following profile guide of the most popular toy breeds can help you decide if one of these small dogs is for you.

Yorkshire Terrier

Weighing just 4 to 7 pounds, the Yorkie is America’s third most popular of America’s favorite dogs of 2009. They tend to be curious and a bit bossy but make an affectionate and beautiful pet for an owner committed to extensive grooming on the long, silky coat.


Poodles rank number nine on the list of America’s favorite dogs. Considered hypoallergenic and intelligent, Poodles do well in obedience and agility competition, but require a great deal of grooming.

Shih Tzu

This beautiful breed is number ten of America’s most popular dogs. Weighing 9 to 16 pounds, the Shih Tzu is large for a toy breed and can be quite brave. The Shih Tzu owner must be committed to extensive grooming of the long, flowing coat. These dogs are sweet and playful, yet content with minimal exercise.


The Chihuahua, at 3 to 6 pounds, is the smallest dog breed in the world and the twelfth most popular in America. Although affectionate, Chihuahuas tend to bond with and become very possessive of one person and may not be a good choice for a family with young children. Chis are sensitive to cold and love to tunnel under the covers. Both the long haired and smooth haired variety are easy to groom.


These lively little dogs from the spitz family make a good companion for long walks. Ranking number fourteen of America’s favorite dogs, they are affectionate and friendly and generally love kids, but their 3 to 7 pound size can be fragile. Their long, straight hair with fluffy undercoat requires daily brushing and regular trimming.


Pugs are America’s seventeenth most popular breed of 2009. At 14 to 18 pounds, they are bigger than other toy dogs. They generally love people and make good family pets requiring minimal grooming but, as a brachycephalic breed, they are at greater risk of heatstroke in hot weather and must not be exerted in warm temperatures.


This snowy white breed is generally quite affectionate, yet fearless. They rank twentieth on America’s list of most popular breeds. For the owner who has the time and inclination to maintain extensive grooming of the luxurious coat, the Maltese can be an intelligent and hardy pet that is usually good with children as long as they are mature enough to handle the tiny 4 to 6 pound size.

A Caution about Teacup Dogs

The American Kennel Club recognizes 21 breeds in the Toy group. Teacup dogs are not recognized by the AKC. The term, teacup, does not refer to a breed or group but to an undersized Toy breed dog. A teacup dog may be the runt of the litter, have dwarfism, or have been born prematurely. These dogs often have lifelong health problems, special medical needs, and a shorter lifespan.

The popularity of these cute little miniature pets pushes up their price and has created a market because few people realize that when teacup dogs are bred, they often pass on heartbreaking health issues to their puppies.

Toy Breeds as Pets

Toy breed dogs make wonderful pets and companions. Shelters, reputable breeders, and breed rescue groups that have all animals thoroughly checked by a veterinarian are the best places to find a good pet.