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Small Dogs

Small dogs such as the Chihuahuas, Havaneses, Malteses and Dachshunds look cute and sweet. You can easily pick them up and they’re great for playing with. They only need a small bed and they are cheaper to keep than larger dogs. At the end of this article, we’ve listed all small child-friendly dog breeds along with pictures.

Small Dog Facts

Size: max. 16 in (40 cm)
Weight: 6.6-26 lb (3-12 kg)
Lifespan: 11-14 years

Pros for Small Dogs
• Space: small bed, more of the couch for you

It’s true that small dogs only need small beds and that they take up less of the couch. A lot of people believe that small dogs fit into small homes. But this depends on the dog’s temperament. Read about dogs that are suitable for your home.

• On the go and on trips: always with you

Small dogs come with a major pro: they can come with you almost anywhere, and don’t take up much space in the car. You can even take small dogs with you in the cabin when you fly.

• Weight: easy to carry

Small dogs don’t weigh a lot so you can easily pick them up and carry them. This is especially handy if they get sick and you need to take them to the vet. 

• Taking care of “business”: XS

A little dog needs less food, so less comes out the other end :) There are some small dog breeds that even use cat litter trays, e.g. Chihuahuas.

• Costs: cheaper

Food and equipment for small dogs is cheaper.

• Life’s mission: living doorbells

Small dogs are great burglar alarms and guard dogs. When strangers get close, they immediately sound the alarm. Uninvited guests are often scared off. However: little dogs can’t offer any actual protection. They don’t have enough muscle mass and are too delicate.

Chihuahua Chihuahua - Photo: padu_foto/Shutterstock

Cons for Small Dogs
• Character: argumentative and fearful

Okay, this doesn’t apply to every dog. After all, character isn’t just about breed, but also the dog’s personality. Still, small dogs tend to get worked up more quickly, bark more and are in general more fearful (apart from Jack Russells of course, there are always exceptions!).

• Training: lots of patience required

Compared to large dogs, you might say that small dogs aren’t quite as attentive and patient. They can be downright stubborn. 

• Handle with care!

Little dogs obviously have smaller and thinner bones than large dogs. This means that the risk of injuring them is greater, so you have to handle them with more care than large dogs.

• Awareness: out of sight, out of mind

Small dogs are often a “trip hazard”. People easily lose sight of them and can hurt them accidentally if they’re just trying to get close and we suddenly move.

• Family: not so good with small children

Small children are not as able to control their muscles, and sometimes pet harder than they mean to. This can lead to injuries in smaller dogs.

• Health: long lives but susceptible to illness

Small (and medium) dogs generally live longer than larger dogs. But small dogs are more susceptible to illness than larger dogs, as their size involves special breeding. Knee and hip problems are especially common in these pint-sized pooches.

- Effect: not always taken seriously

If you’re looking for a dog that looks protective and strong, a small dog may not be the right fit. Even if they’re very brave, they are likely to be petted and met with “oh, how cute!”.

Small dogs:

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