Choosing small dogs and why?


Having a dog is such a life enhancing thing, but if you’re worried about having enough space, small dogs or toy dog is probably your best option. Having a Labrador whose tail swipes coffee cups off tables at every turn is just not going to work if you live in a flat.  However, there are many small dogs that have oodles of character and the heart and personality of a much larger animal!

The first rule is not to pick a dog, small or otherwise, based solely on looks; you  might end up with one that simply does not fit into your lifestyle.

Ask yourself the following questions; Are you willing to walk your dog every day?  Do you have somewhere your dog can run safely unsupervised – a garden or yard that is secure?  What type of grooming are you prepared to do:? Are you predominantly at home or out a lot?

Here is the PetsPyjama’s Top 10 Small Breeds and their main traits and characteristics;


Chihuahuas are normally around 6 to 10 inches high, and come in 2 flavours; short or long haired.  This is one breed where the temperament of the owner can effect that of the dog.  They are fiercely loyal  to one owner and can become overprotective.  Because of this, they are not ideally suited to households with young children as they can be snappy.  However, they are highly intelligent and easy to train and make delightful companions.  They are perfect for couch potatoes as they do not need masses of exercise and are very affectionate.  And being ‘pocket sized’ they are very portable.

Pugs are very intelligent, good natured and dignified little dogs.  They are quite strong willed and independent but make very good family pets, even with quite small children.  They do not need masses of exercise, and although they are short haired, they do require quite a lot of grooming, particularly the folds of their wrinkled coats.  They can be greedy and prone to over eating, so they are best avoided by over indulgent owners.

Jack Russell
Jack Russell Terriers are feisty little dogs originally bred for hunting.  They are highly energetic, and for a small dog, need a fair amount of exercise.  As they are primarily bred as working dogs, they do need to be kept occupied and stimulated or they will get bored and may become destructive!  They are the perfect pet for someone who ideally would like a large dog, but doesn’t have the space.

Yorkshire Terrier
It’s hard to believe that these pretty little dogs with their silky coats were originally bred to catch rats in 19th century clothing mills.  They are active, protective and love attention.  They are also very easy to train because of their own natural instinct to work without human assistance.  They can bark a lot which makes them ideal watchdogs, but this can be controlled with the correct training.

Norfolk/Norwich Terrier
Norfolks have drop ears and Norwich have ’pricked’ ears – think Norwich Cathedral spire to remember the difference.  They are fearless by nature and make extremely good family pets since they love people and children.  However, they are not a good choice if you are going to be out at work all day, as they do not like to be left alone and can become ‘diggers’ if bored.  They need a moderate amount of walking.

West Highland Terrier
Westies, as they are more commonly known are a very active breed and need plenty of exercise.  They are very sociable and can be good with children, although they won’t tolerate rough handling.  They can be prone to skin disorders, so need regular grooming. They are friendly and jolly and most are independent and self confident

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This is the breed so beloved by King Charles II – hence the name.  They are highly affectionate, playful and extremely patient and eager to please.  They are good both with other dogs and with children and are happy to socialize with other breeds much bigger than themselves, making them ideal for ‘multi’ dog households.  They have absolutely no traffic sense, and they are useless guard dogs as they greet everyone as a friend. They would be a great pet for anyone for whom getting a dog is a way of meeting new people.

Both the Cockerpoo and the Maltipoo is not strictly a breed,, but a cross breed.  As such, they are far less likely to be too ‘inbred’ and therefore less prone to health problems.  The Poodle element of their breed makes them intelligent, eager to please and quick to learn tricks.  Both need a reasonable  amount of exercise and grooming and make delightful pets.

‘Sausage dogs’ come in a range of sizes – standard and miniature and long and short haired.  The long haired need slightly more grooming and care than the short.  They are very game little dogs, originally bred to hunt badger.  They are sweet natured and affectionate but can be aggressive to strangers – both human and canine.  They can also be stubborn, making them a challenge to train.  They like constant company and can develop separation anxiety if left for too long.  They are probably not the best choice for novice dog owners, but they are rewarding and loyal pets for those that can handle them.

French Bulldog
This breed is apparently the result of laceworkers from Nottingham, displaced by the Industrial Revolution moving to Normandy and taking their bulldogs with them.  They are very sweet natured and like constant human contact.  Whilst needing a daily walk, they don’t require huge amounts of exercise.  This is one breed that cannot live outside because its flat nose can cause breathing problems and make it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature.

For obvious reasons, we at PetsPyjamas promote pet owning at every opportunity and none of us would be without our beloved animals. Having a dog makes you go out for a daily walk (good for both of you!) and provides companionship and love – a dog is always pleased to see you.  Even if you live in a flat or don’t have much space, there’s definitely the right breed for you out there.

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