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Small Dog Breeds Characteristics and Care Tips

February 5, 2021

Decided to have a small breed dog? Figure out how to care for them first, because it is not as easy as it seems and requires a significant budget. For instance, the nutrition of such dogs requires special attention. How are they different from big dogs?

A large study was conducted in Pennsylvania based on the questionnaires of owners of more than 8,000 dogs. In these questionnaires, the pet’s reaction to certain life situations was studied. As a result, it was revealed that the head’s weight, shape, and the pet’s height affect its behaviour. The smaller the dog was, the more problems were observed in its actions. Small breed dogs are very sensitive and often are afraid of other dogs.

The Most Popular Small-Breed Dogs

Chihuahuas – the most popular among small breeds

Being tiny, they have a kind character, love to have fun, while at the same time remaining real watchdogs in their souls. It is easy to offend them, so the owner should be careful with actions. It is better to raise this breed with kindness and care rather than discipline. 

Yorkshire Terrier – a little friend in the family

This breed has a great understanding of outward things. They remember new commands better than many others and are always ready to learn new ones. The apartment will become their home very quickly due to its adaptability.

Pomeranian – a cute little bear

Another incredibly popular breed is the Pomeranian Spitz. They left an imprint in history, as the favourite decorative dogs of the British Queen Victoria. They are adorable – looking at any photo of a Spitz, you see a lovely soft toy, not just an animal! Though they are not only cuddly but also intelligent.

Papillon – a small and playful breed

Continental Toy Spaniel (Papillon) is funny, playful and active all the time, having an iconic french name. One of his favourite pastimes is catching small creatures around the house. So this is not only a cute animal but also a rodent protection system. Papillons are ranked 8th among the smartest dog breeds, which will interest anyone who loves training dogs.

Maltese – the kindest dog

These Italian beauties are distinguished by a calm, restrained disposition, kind character and good learning ability. The Maltese breed has an exceptional love for cosmetic procedures of any kind. With all this, they are strong compared to other small species – their muscles are unexpectedly strongly developed.

The Rabbit Dachshund – a small dog with a character

The smallest representative of the Dachshund family is not inferior in strength and endurance to its larger relatives because of the hunting pedigree. They do not require special care – the owners can do all on their own, without spending money on a groom. Of all dog breeds, Dachshunds are perhaps the closest to owners and are very easy to train.

Pekingese – proud little friends

Coming to us from ancient China, this breed boasts a history spanning two thousand years. They are very loyal and adore their owners, but they are difficult to train – stubbornness is in their blood. However, it also means that they will never leave the owner. They also have no interest in physical activity, preferring a rest.

Care for your Small-Breed Dog Tips

Not all small dog breeds necessarily have a bad character. A lot depends on the owner of the pet, proper care, and education. Below you may find the main factors for correcting the small dog’s behavior, which can be influenced by the owner:

  • A dog that does not receive sufficient physical activity (rarely walks, moves a little) will eventually become hyperactive since the accumulated energy is not wasted during the day. Therefore, it is essential to find time for walking and training your pet and direct its irrepressible energy in the right direction;
  • If walking and an active lifestyle do not affect the pet and it is still too energetic, you can give it a particular sedative. They normalize the activity of the central nervous system, have a mild sedative effect. Consult a vet before use;
  • It is difficult not to pamper small cute dogs, but the main thing is not to overdo it. The owner who takes too much care of his small pet and always carries it in his arms runs the risk of raising a spoiled, selfish dog. It will often beg, be jealous of everyone, continuously demand attention to herself. Such behavior of the little tyrant suggests that it considers himself more important than the owner and has taken the position of the leader in your family;

Everything needs balance, not ever parting with the dog is wrong, but not showing interest in him, not playing, not talking is also impossible. With a lack of communication, he, like a child, will seek your attention in any possible way, or he will find a way out of his energy in the destruction of surrounding objects.

Advice on How To Feed Small Dog Breeds

Food for Small Dog Breeds

First of all, note that you can start feeding the dog from the age of three weeks. The first in the dog’s diet are cereals and cottage cheese. From 1 month, meat is gradually introduced into the dog’s diet. You can also look for more ideas of small breed puppy food on ThePets, and according to these tips, you need to know that a little dog’s diet should have enough protein and carbohydrates. Also, the number of wheat, soy, corn should be minimized. 

When choosing a diet, remember that a dog belongs to the wolf, no matter how big or small it is. Therefore, the basis of your pet’s diet should be protein food in an amount of at least 2/3 of the total amount of the menu. Protein foods include meat, offal, fish, poultry, cottage cheese, milk, eggs. Some veterinarians and experienced dog breeders recommend that all of these products should be given exclusively raw. Opponents claim that raw foods (meat, fish, poultry, offal) can contain helminths or their larvae, which causes significant harm to the animal’s body. So you and your dog choose what’s better.

  • Meat. It is undesirable to give minced meat to a small dog: it is poorly absorbed. For a little dog, the pieces of meat should be finely chopped. The use of fatty meat is unacceptable. As one of the options for diversifying the pet’s diet, meat broth can be. Simultaneously, it is not recommended to cook soup on the bones: widespread use of such broths leads to indigestion. How much meat should be in the diet? From 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 of the mass of the entire diet. It should be noted that a young growing body needs more meat than an old and sedentary dog.
  • By-products. The most useful by-products are the liver and heart. The liver contains many vitamins A and D. The by-products are thoroughly boiled and given no more than 1-2 times a week.
  • Fish. Small dogs are given only sea fish – cod, hake, pollock. Low in fat, they contain the necessary amount of beneficial fatty acids and the body’s essential iodine and phosphorus. Fish should be offered no more than 1-2 times a week.
  • Milk products. Should be presented in the dog’s diet in the form of kefir and cottage cheese. It is not recommended to offer milk to small dogs that are older than two months: upon reaching this age, milk begins to be poorly absorbed by the body and carries more harm than good. As for eggs, they are introduced into the diet raw and no more than 1-2 times a week.
  • Cereals. They contain fiber for bowel function. Rice, rolled oats, buckwheat is preferred in the diet. But millet and pearl barley are poorly absorbed, so it is better to avoid their use. Cereals should make up 1/3 of a small dog’s diet.
  • Vegetables and fruits. Compared to other products, they are less digestible. A small dog can consume carrots, which are an indispensable source of vitamin A. Carrots are given raw, carefully grated. The vitamins found in vegetables and fruits are best absorbed on an oil basis. 

The regularity of feeding

The regularity of feeding small breeds directly depends on the age of the dog. Veterinarians agree that it is best to feed a little dog puppy according to the following scheme:

  • 1-2 months – 6 times a day;
  • 2-3 months – 5 times a day;
  • 3-4 months – 4 times a day;
  • 4-10 months – 3 times a day;
  • 10-18 months – 2 times a day.

From one and a half years old, a small dog can be fed once a day. However, this should not be done if your pet has gastrointestinal or liver problems. An acceptable option is when the dog has two feedings per day.

The Volume of One Serving

The amount of food eaten by a small dog is selected strictly individually, depending on the dog’s body’s needs. It is considered unacceptable as the dog’s overfeeding, which leads to obesity and problems with the gastrointestinal tract, lungs and heart, and insufficient feeding, causing dystrophy and nervous system disorder.

Health Problems of Small Dog Breeds and Prevention

dog on stethoscope

Due to the peculiarities of the body structure, little four-legged friends are more likely than others to be susceptible to various diseases. The owner should regularly show the pet to the veterinarian. In the first months of life, the veterinarian will monitor the correct development of his teeth, the absence of signs of bone deformation, and other malformations. 

Be sure to give your pet all the necessary vaccinations in time. Small breeds are characterized by neurological problems and problems with the respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, and gastrointestinal tract. Often small dogs cannot give birth on their own. Knowing these features, carrying out diagnostic measures on time, you will save your pet from various diseases. A healthy, well-bred dog will bring you only positive emotions from communicating with it.


The smallest dogs, weighing no more than a kilogram in adulthood, are very fragile creatures. Particular attention should be paid to them because even a fall from the couch can result in severe injury and death. Miniature female dogs have big problems with pregnancy and childbirth, so it is better not to let them into breeding. Besides, they often have difficulty digesting food, changing teeth, and forming bones. The cost of veterinary services for such a dog may be more than its value, and the life span is significantly less than a larger representative of the breed. Therefore, before you take such a crumb into your house, calculate your financial and psychological strength.