A small dog is a delight to behold. So cute. So precious. But don't be fooled. So-called toy breeds are all dog, just as likely to bark and misbehave as their bigger brethren. While their tiny size does mean you have to protect them from injury (watch your step!), their brash personalities can fill up a room. Here's how we size up 9 popular diminutive dog breeds.
PapillonPapillon: A Petite Powerhouse of an Athlete (photo credit: Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
Named for his butterflylike ears (Papillon is French for butterfly), this dog is a member of the Spaniel family. He is highly intelligent and active, the perfect choice for someone who wants a small, smart and athletic dog to train for canine sports. Papillons stand just 8 to 11 inches tall and pack a lot of can-do attitude in their bodies that typically weigh 4 to 9 pounds.
Maltese: Charming and Courageous
Gentle, fearless and smart, the Maltese looks like royalty dressed in a long white cloak of silky hair. This is a playful dog who leaves legions of fans in his wake because he loves everyone and enchants all who meet him. With sufficient enticement - in other words, plenty of treats - he learns quickly. It is easy to take this fairylike dog with you wherever you go. After all, he weighs only 4 to 7 pounds.
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Japanese Chin: Loves To Entertain Family
This bright and affectionate dog is an entertainer of the highest order. He will put on shows for his family but doesn't like to strut his stuff in front of strangers. The Japanese Chin stands 8 to 11 inches tall and typically weighs 4 to 7 pounds, although some are larger. The Chin's silky coat requires brushing twice a week but is easy to care for.
Brussels GriffonBrussels Griffon: Small Body, Big Mischief (photo credit: Tetsu Yamakazi, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
Charming but naughty is an accurate description of the Brussels Griffon. His ancestors include Terriers, Pugs and English Toy Spaniels, which gives him a lot of spice tempered with a little bit of nice. He's playful indoors and enjoys going for walks. Whether you choose a smooth- or rough-coated Griffon, he will need grooming about twice a week. The Brussels Griffon is easy to tote, weighing 8 to 12 pounds.
English Toy Spaniel: A Big-Hearted Family Friend
The gentle and happy English Toy Spaniel, as he's nicknamed, is a friend to family members of all ages as long as he is handled carefully and treated respectfully. He'll nestle on the sofa with you or enjoy chasing birds outdoors. At 8 to 14 pounds, he is small enough to take places but sturdy enough to play with the kids, and he is well suited to any size home.
Kaninchen Dachshund: A Small But Attention-Getting Doxie
Most of us think of Dachshunds as coming in only two sizes - standard and miniature - but in Europe, there is a third size: kaninchen, which means "little rabbit." This smaller variety weighs only 8 to 10 pounds. The Mini Dachshund is not much bigger, weighing less than 11 pounds, but everyone notices his cute little strut when he comes into a room.
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Yorkshire TerrierYorkshire Terrier: Big Explorer in a Little Package (photo credit: Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography/vetstreet.com)
The Yorkie, as he's nicknamed, is a true Terrier, even though he's classified as a toy breed. The bold and curious Yorkie typically weighs no more than 7 pounds, but anyone who lives with him knows that there's a much bigger dog lurking inside that tiny package. He loves to explore inside and outdoors. He is a popular companion dog, prized for his long, beautiful coat of blue and gold.
Toy Poodle: An Itty-Bitty Clown
This is the smallest of the three Poodle varieties, but he is just as smart and active as the mini and the standard poodle. Once a circus performer, the Toy Poodle is now a popular companion and show dog, and he excels in many dog sports, especially agility and obedience trials. His curly coat comes in many solid colors. The Toy Poodle is 10 inches or smaller and usually weighs 4 to 8 pounds.
Pomeranian: The Baby of a Bold Family
This animated pompom of a dog is the smallest member of the Spitz family, making him a relation of the Keeshond, American Eskimo and Chow Chow. He is known for his foxlike expression, alert and outgoing personality, prick ears, curled tail and dense double coat, which comes in all colors and patterns. The Pom is a featherweight at 3 to 7 pounds, although some can grow to be bigger, especially if they become proficient at begging for table scraps.
We forget your favorite small dog breed? Tell us in the comments below.
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