Dog Breeds

Best Small Family Dogs

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"Best Small Family Dogs"
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Small breed dogs have become highly sought after in these days of condominium living. While the American Kennel Club still recognizes a strict adherence to height and weight for the "Toy Breed" class, cross breeding has now become the norm. You can find almost any breed categorized as "toy" or "tiny" these days.

The reasons for wanting a small breed puppy are vast; "I want a dog, but have no space", "I want a dog I can carry around and dress up", " I want a puppy that won't knock down my children". You should remember that smaller dogs sometimes have big needs. For instance, small dogs tend to have very long life spans, fifteen to twenty years is not unheard of. Should your teenager fall in love with that Yorkshire Terrier at the pet shop, remember that the pup is probably only three or four months old. Your teen has college, career, family, and friends in his or her future; where does the older dog fit in? If you buy your fifteen a puppy now, where will it be when your child is thirty-five? You may need to be prepared to take the dog back to your home at some point. Also be prepared to pay for geriatric veterinary care.

Many small breed puppies are of the "fluffy" variety! Which means you will have to invest in grooming appointments, or in grooming tools and time. There are a few small breeds with short coats, including; Chihuahua, Rat Terrier, Miniature Dachshund, and Miniature Pinscher. Others are starting to show up, again with the aid of cross breeding.

All of the short coated breeds above fit nicely into the family unit, with the Rat Terrier being the "busiest" personality (of course, all puppy personalities are different and distinct.) The Mini Dachshund is a wonderful pup for older children; due to possible back problems, small children should be monitored around them. Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua puppies often get a bad rap. Usually owned by adults, and treated like children themselves, they are often not very social. How ever, they can be a wonderful addition when properly socialized, and guaranteed not to knock down the toddlers!

Most small breed puppies are going to require some professional grooming. Non-shedding breeds have become the most popular, allowing many people with allergies to now own dogs. The poodle is the "original" non-shedding breed, though there are many other purebred dogs that do not shed. Poodles are a wonderful dog that grow to literally every size, so be careful when picking a very young pup. If you want a "toy", wait until the puppies are at least 12 weeks old (this should be a minimum wait on pups in general). Keep in mind that there are grooming requirements for this poodles, it can become a health issue if not kept up. Professional grooming every 9 to 12 weeks is highly recommended.

The Bichon Frise, referred to as simply the Bichon, is another non-shedding small breed puppy; again professional grooming will be highly recommended. This is an adorable pure white puff ball with a personality to match. Hardier than the poodle and more stout through the body and legs, Bichons are full of bounce!

Two small breed puppies that have become quite popular recently are the Shih Tsu and the Lhasa Apso. Very similar in stature and nature, they have been popular in creating cross-breeds such as; Teddy Bear (Shih Tsu x Bichon), Shih-Poo (Shih Tsu x Poodle), Lhasa-Poo (Lhasa Apso x Poodle), LhasaTese (Lhasa Apso x Maltese). Cross-breeding is done in the hope of reducing shedding in other breeds. All of these pups generally stay under 15 pounds. Grooming will again be an issue, but "puppy cuts" are the norm for a lower price.

Longer haired small breeds dogs include; Pomeranian, Maltese, Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier, and Silky Terrier. Many owners prefer to groom these breeds with a puppy cut as well, otherwise daily grooming is required.

More about this author: Christine Cameron

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