The small and miniature dog breeds are great companions to their owners and a great choice for people who are living in apartments. These pets are loyal to their pet-parents. Of course, they do require plenty of care in order to be happy and healthy. Their tiny size is what makes them so well suited for living in apartments. These dogs are usually no more than 15 inches high with weight no more than 15-16 pounds and some are even about 4-6 pounds. They might also be called Toy dogs or Miniature ones if under 10 inches.
What to consider before choosing the breed?
There are some things that every would-be dog owner should consider before deciding what future companion they want.
First, you have to think about whether you have enough time to spend with the puppy, can you afford to meet its need financially, does the place where you live allows dogs, etc.
Then it is time to decide what breed you want. Some small dogs are more energetic, others are better suited for families or for people who prefer decorative pets.
Here are some small dog breeds:
These are the smallest dogs in the whole world. Their lifespan can be as long as 18 years. They are small dogs, which are very protective of their loved ones and like playing and walking very much. Their coat might be either long or short but it is usually easy to be groomed.
The Miniature Poodles are intelligent and pretty, their coat color varies in the large range. These dogs would love to boss you around so you have to show them who is the boss. Still, their training is easy but the grooming requires much more work.
The Yorkshire terriers are awesome family pets and full of love towards their owners. These pups love adventure and they have the really well-developed instinct to hunt. The Yorkies possess a lot of energy and you should properly train them. They also need regular grooming. There are so many different Yorkie haircuts no matter if you prefer long or short hairstyle.
These lovely pets are really charming and loyal. Their temperament is calm and easygoing. They can easily live with people (including kids) and other pets. The Shih Thus enjoy playing and are very intelligent, quiet dogs, which rarely bark. However, you should spend more time on grooming and be checking the ears for infection to which they are vulnerable.
These confident dogs are awesome guard dogs, which are loyal, calm and intelligent. You can easily take care of their coat for it can be quickly cleaned without any hassles.
The French bulldogs are really muscular and loyal. They would be faithful companions, which don’t require long walks. The coat of this bread is short and will not be too hard to clean.
These pets are highly loyal to their owners and give them lots of affection. They can be too possessive but love to play with kids and act very relaxed around them.
The fox terriers are intelligent dogs, which are easy to train. However, they are not fit to live with other pets in the home. These dogs are energetic, loving and if you leave them alone, they can get bored very easily.
If you decide that you want to get a small dog for a companion, you had better first try to research the breed you have chosen. Each and every specific breed requires a special type of care, has different and unique characteristics, appearance and temperament. You can start by checking with the AKC (America Kennel Club) for they have information about the needs, care, temperament and grooming of every recognized by them breed.
Still, do remember that the dogs are living beings and as such, the personality of your pet might differ from the typical temperament of its breed.
The dogs need to be fed on regular schedule. This way they will establish a routine. The necessary amount of food in depends on the size of the dog, its age and how active is the pet. The nutrition plan of the small dogs should be different than that of the bigger dogs for the small dogs have super-fast metabolism and they should consume more calories per kg of body weight. If the dog is sensitive, it might be allergic to cereal-based carbohydrates – as wheat. Some of the best and the necessary foods for small dogs are food rich in proteins, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, potato, rice, etc. The best feeding schedule is three-four times a day with not too bigger portions.
If you wish, you can start training your dog while you are feeding it. To do so, you have to practice obedience commands with the pet before giving him/her the food.
Some brands, which manufacture dog food, produce goods exclusively for small dog breeds. Still, feeding the pet with specific kind of food is not necessary.
In order to figure out how much food to give to your dog, you might want to talk to the vet.
An important fact when it comes to feeding your dog is not to give it any human food. Yes, you might be tempted to let the pet taste some of your food but some specific things can cause your dog harm. Moreover, if you ignore this recommendation, then the pet might start bothering you or other people for food while they are easing.
Some of the human foods, which can be dangerous for the dogs, are caffeinated drinks and foods, grapes, salt, onions, alcohol, garlic, dairy, chocolate, etc.
Another necessity for the pet is fresh water. You should always keep a bowl of clean water in your dog’s reach. In addition, if you have decided you want a small dog, you should remember that because of its size, the pet might not be able to drink from standard bowls so you should buy an appropriate one.
For rewarding the dogs when they behave properly, many owners give their dog some kind of treats. Although this might be helpful, you should not overdo it for every treat has additional calories. The small dogs are too sensitive to weight gain and by this, we mean that they can very easily become overweight. If they gain too much weight, then their bones and joints will suffer and their overall health will be impaired. Healthy weight may increase the life expectancy of a dog by 2 years.
In addition, one thing, which is actually pretty obvious – the dog needs a place to sleep where they’ll feel safe. You can decide to let the pet sleep in your bed if you wish so but many dog trainers say that it is best for the dogs to have crates and special dog beds. As an additional note – the average amount of sleep for the small dogs is 12-14 hours.
Do not forget to frequently take your pet to the vet. The health risks for the small breeds are different from these for the larger breeds and you should do a research in advance to understand the specific health concerns with the breed you have chosen. The bones of the smaller dogs are, obviously, smaller and as such, they are at higher risk for concussions or fractures caused by rough play, being stepped on, etc.
It is recommended for any dog owner who has no intention of breeding their dog to spay or neuter it for this can not only improve the pet’s temperament but will also improve its health. This leads to less aggressive behavior, longer lifespan and lower risk of specific medical conditions.
Do not forget the vaccinations – the vet will tell you what they should be and when they have to be done, which depends on the age of the dog and your area of living.
Some owners consider the microchips very helpful for they contain your identification information and if your dog is stolen or gets lost, this information can be used to get the dog back. These implants are small. The vet can implant it on the neck of the dog’s scruff or behind its shoulders.
The small dogs might need more detailed grooming and the best option is to take them to a professional groomer. Usually, they need a bath every month but more regularly if they have gotten dirty. The nails of the pet should be clipped otherwise they may chip or break. You should brush the teeth of your dog about 2-3 times a week for this way the risk of gum or oral diseases will be reduced.
All dogs must exercise for this is important for their health. Still, some breeds are more energetic than others are but, in general, the needs of exercise are dependent not only on the breed but also on the age and the health of the dog. Usually, the small dogs require a minimum of 30 minutes exercising per day and most of them will love to play tug of war, fetch or related games for their prey drive is high. However, the stimulation of the mind is also important and, if not provided, the pet might start acting destructively. Good mental stimulation can be provided by hiding treats for the dog to find or purchasing special food puzzle games.
A huge part of the small dogs is independent and can be stubborn at times. Thus, training might turn out not to be so easy but you can still manage to do it. You should not ignore or excuse the bad behavior but correct it. Provide rewards for the training and be sure to discipline the dogs if necessary. You should start with the basic commands like ‘leave it’, ‘some here’, etc. A useful device is the ‘clicker training’ which is a technique combining a specific sound which can easily be recognized by your pet with a reward.
Since the small dogs were intended to be companions, they are highly likely to suffer from separation anxiety. In order to prevent this from happening, you should make separation exercises part of the training schedule.
Another very important factor for raising a happy dog is the proper socialization. If provided, it can learn your dog how to react towards other animals and people. If not, the pet might be anxious, fearful, and aggressive or stressed. In order to socialize your pet, you should take it to new places and use positive reinforcement.
The small dogs were specifically bred for companions and because of this they will be very attached to you as their owner. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with your pet, you should exercise and play with it. In addition, the small dogs love to be petted, cuddled, patted on the head and rubbed on the belly. Researchers have shown that if the owner and the dog have physical contact, this releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is responsible for making the pets feel happy and calm.
When you first start considering getting a pet, you should ask yourself a few questions. Some of them are “Will I have the time to take care of the dog and surround it with love and affection?”, “Am I able to meet all its necessities, like food, toys, grooming tools, paying for vet appointments, etc?”, “What dog do I want?” and “Which breed will be the best for me?”. After you have answered all of the questions above, it is time to do some research on the breed you would like to get. Familiarize yourself with the needs and the health concerns of the specific breed.
After you buy your small dog, take it to the vet for a check-up and vaccinations, if required. Do consult with the veterinarian about the proper size of the dog’s meals. Do not forget that the small dogs are affectionate and they do need a lot of attention and love. They also require enough training and you should socialize them properly in order for them to feel more comfortable with a new situation, new people and other animals.
The basic needs of the dogs are food, water and a safe place to sleep. However, in order to be happy they also have to be trained, socialized, exercised and surrounded with love and affection. They are awesome companions, which are loyal and enjoy playing and cuddling with their owners.
Again, do not forget that the personalities of the dogs are as different from one another as those of the humans. As such, your dog’s temperament will not necessarily be the same as the one described as typical for its breed. In addition, when it comes to small dogs, the health concerns are more raised of their size so you need to be extra careful.
Nevertheless, after all, these loving and loyal pets will fill your heart with love and affection, will be your best friends and companions who you can cuddle with in the cold dark nights.