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Small Dog Types
How small is a small dog? Small dogs weigh about 12 to 30 pounds. Small dog types are a terrific choice for someone in a smaller house or apartment, or who would have trouble physically caring for a larger dog. Small dog types may shed less and give off less allergens than larger dogs (simply because they have less hair and a smaller body).

Small dog breeds tend to live, on average, about 14 years. Some small dog types live much longer, and some Terrier breeds can easily live to be 20 years old.

Small dog types tend to have some health issues, but these are usually related to specific breed characteristics, rather than their smaller size. Dachshunds, for example, tend to have spinal problems that result from breeding for their long bodies, and Pugs often have breathing problems that come from breeding for their unusually short noses.

Some small dog types can have teeth and gum problems that result from owners feeding them canned food, other than kibble, which some owners feel is too large for small dog breeds. This can be prevented by buying kibble made for smaller breeds.

Small dog breeds also often suffer from small dog syndrome, seen when they aggressively bark or challenge people or other dogs. Protect your small dog from his own overambitious leanings by picking him up around other dogs.

Small dog breeds include:

[EXPAND Click to expand a list of Small Dog Breeds]

  • Australian Terrier
  • Beagle
  • Bichon Frise
  • Border Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • Havanese
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Lowchen
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Pug
  • Schipperke
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Skye Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
Small Dog Syndrome

I have to laugh whenever I talk about this. I keep imagining a tiny, conflicted, Chihuahua sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch somewhere, with the psychiatrist furiously scribbling notes.

Seriously though, we’ve all seen small dog breeds that suffer from Small Dog Syndrome. Small and tiny dog breeds are can notorious for overcompensating for their size. This small dog syndrome often leads to tiny and small dog breeds acting aggressively towards people or larger dogs. They bark, they yap, and are generally a pain in the butt.

Tiny dog breeds
Even the tiniest Poodle or Chihuahua is still a wolf at heart. Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Dogs: The Wolf Within

Tiny (miniature, or toy) dogs have gained popularity in recent years as young celebrities like Paris Hilton have taken to this type of dog. Many people simply can’t resist an adorable dog that is small enough to carry around in a purse or bag.

Tiny dog breeds also don’t require a lot of room in the house or yard, making them easy to live with. Tiny dogs are about 12 inches at the shoulders, and less than 12 pounds in weight. Tiny dog breeds tend to have about the same lifespan as small dogs (on average, about 14 years).


However, tiny dog breeds do have some disadvantages, mostly related to their size. Tiny dogs may not be good companions for people who want to take their dogs on longer, strenuous walks, as their tiny legs make it difficult to keep up with their owners.

Some tiny dog owners also worry about their dog’s safety when interacting with other dogs. After all, if a Doberman (or really, any other dog) decides to pick a fight, the tiny dog is clearly physically outmatched. Picking up a smaller dog when around larger dogs can go a long way towards keeping a small dog from getting hurt.

Tiny dog breeds are also more fragile, and their little bones can be more easily broken from large jumps, or even being stepped on. They also have a tendency to suffer from low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Tiny Dog Breeds and Health Problems 
In addition, many tiny dogs have health problems related to their small size. Many toy and miniature dogs can be susceptible to a collapsed trachea, which is often first detected when the dog has trouble breathing, is fatigued by exercise, or tries to vomit to clear her airway. Tiny dog breeds sometimes have gum and teeth issues that result from being fed canned food, rather than kibble, as kibble can be difficult for tiny dogs to chew. Owners can prevent gum and teeth issues by feeding tiny dogs kibble designed for very small breeds.

Tiny dog breeds include:

  • Affenpinscher
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Chinese Crested
  • Dachshund
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Papillon
  • Pekingese
  • Pomeranian
  • Silky Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Small and Tiny Dog Breeds
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