|Bichon Frise puppy|
By Linda Cole
Small dogs may come in small packages, but many have a confident and tenacious attitude. These dogs don't think of themselves as “small,” and some of the jobs they were bred to do required a dog with attitude. A small dog is defined as a breed under 22 pounds, and dog owners have made 10 the most popular.
No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but the Bichon Frise is a good choice for people with allergies. A smart, independent, courageous, affectionate, confident and playful cotton ball of a dog, the Bichon Frise weighs 7-16 pounds and has a life span of 12-16 years or longer. With an easy, sensitive and happy personality, this is a good family dog that gets along well with other pets.
The largest of this group, the Boston Terrier is an American made breed that weighs 10-25 pounds. This easy going, muscular, compact and well mannered canine is often referred to as the “American gentleman.” The Boston Terrier is smart, good with the entire family, easy to train and sensitive to our tone of voice. This breed is susceptible to heatstroke because of their pushed in nose, but can live 15 years or longer.
The smallest breed at 2-6 pounds, this dog definitely thinks he's a “big dog.” Intelligent, graceful, loyal, lovable, brave, adventurous, agile and strong willed, the Chihuahua makes a good family pet as long as he understands you are his leader. They can be short tempered with children and wary around strangers. This alert breed is a good watchdog, and can be extremely protective of his home and family. Many Chihuahuas are fond of cats, and can live up to 15 years or longer.
This breed was a cherished companion to kings and queens for centuries. Maltese have a life expectancy of 15-18 years and weigh 4-6 pounds. They are gentle, well mannered, obedient and very loving, with a playful side. They are likely to find a mud puddle and jump in it, just for fun. These dogs are good with children and other pets. This breed goes back almost 3,000 years when Roman poets honored them in verse, and special tombs were built for them in Greece.
Parson Russell Terrier
A Parson Russell is essentially a long legged Jack Russell Terrier, and weighs in at 13-17 pounds with a life span of 13-15 years. The Parson and Jack Russell are two different breeds, and the PRT is AKC registered. Bred to hunt fox, above and below ground, this is a tenacious breed with a fierce confidence in doing his job. Smart, strong, alert, athletic, feisty, outgoing, independent and bold with a high prey drive, the PRT is a happy and energetic dog that needs lots of exercise.
Sacred in China, their country of origin, these dogs belonged only to Chinese royalty. Anyone stealing a dog was put to death. Common people had to bow in the presence of a Pekingese. When an emperor passed on, his dog was sacrificed to provide protection for his master in the afterlife. This is a sensitive, independent, brave, very affectionate, alert, opinionated and happy breed. Their ideal weight is under 14 pounds, and their life span is 12-15 years.
These dogs were originally much larger, and used as herding and sledding dogs. England's Queen Victoria fell in love with the Pomeranian and began breeding the dog to the small size we know today. Weighing 3-7 pounds, with a life span up to 15 years, this is an intelligent, alert, loyal, happy, proud and active dog.
This hypoallergenic breed lives 9-16 years and weighs 9-16 pounds. In America, we pronounce Shih Tzu as sheet-sue, but the Chinese translation is sure-ds, with the ds sounding like the “ds” in words. The original translation is from Chinese Mandarin which means “lion,” hence the nickname of the lion dog. Playful, happy, alert, courageous, clever, spunky and affectionate, they're good watchdogs and good with kids and other pets.
West Highland White Terrier
Another hypoallergenic breed, the Westie was originally bred to hunt fox, otter, badger and rats. Weighing 15-22 pounds with a life span of 15+ years, this breed is a friendly, lively, strong willed, spunky, happy, assertive, determined, confident and loyal dog. Westie’s excel at agility, obedience and conformation. They are good with kids and other dogs, but will likely chase cats.
Bichon Frise photo by Jonathan Day
Miniature Dachshund photo by Howard Young
Shih Tzu photo by Sadie Shih Tzu
Read more articles by Linda Cole