Which Small Dog Breed Should You Choose?

While you may find a particular small dog breed cute, you should really do some research before choosing one. You don’t want to get a cute dog who has behaviors or characteristics you can’t tolerate. Below you’ll find some guidelines for choosing a small dog:

Child Friendly Dogs

If you’ve got children, particularly small children, then you should make sure to get a breed that is amenable to them. Some breeds cannot tolerate much teasing, poking, pulling or pranking done by small children. Oftentimes, they will respond with a bite. However, merely choosing a child-friendly breed is not sufficient. You should also properly supervise your child to make sure proper attitudes towards the dog are well-ingrained.

Hypoallergenic Dogs and Shedding

Even the cutest small dog can drive you crazy if he’s shedding hair all over your house. You may find hair on your furniture, clothes, carpet, floors, and just about any other horizontal surface. If your dog sheds a lot, you may even track dog hair on your clothes into parts and places of your house your dog doesn’t inhabit. Small dog breeds vary greatly in shedding. Some shed almost no hair, some shed medium amounts, and others shed like there’s no tomorrow.

While shedding is often connected in peoples minds with allergies, that’s not entirely the case. Most dog allergies arise from the dog’s saliva and dander. Dander is microscopic and floats around in the air landing in one’s eyes, mouth, or nose and causing allergic reactions. Dander isn’t something you can eliminate since it’s a function of every dog’s skin.

So you may be allergic to a dog that sheds very little or one that sheds a lot. Make sure to research the hypoallergenic qualities of any prospective dog if you have allergies. Even if a dog is considered hypoallergenic, it’s still a good idea to spend some time with one to make sure because some people can be allergic to hypoallergenic dogs. You won’t know for sure until you spend some time with the dog in question.


With small dog breeds, trainability isn’t as important as it is with larger dogs because they normally do less damage. However, even the tiniest dog can have a field day ripping apart your pillows. Some small dogs are easier to train than others. It’s generally easier to train smarter dogs. However, don’t fret if the dog you fancy isn’t particularly trainable. With persistence and proper training, most dogs can be suitably trained.

Watch Dogs

You’re probably wondering how can a small dog be a watch dog. If so, you’re probably confusing a watch dog for a guard dog. A watch dog is great for alerting you to strangers or visitors in the dog’s environment. However, they won’t be of much help fending off or biting an attacker. That’s what guard dogs are for.

Level of Maintenance

Small dogs range from low to high maintenance. Aside from periodic visits to the veterinarian, primary maintenance is brushing and vacuuming the dog’s hair. Normally, the longer the dog’s hair, the more frequent you need to brush it to prevent it from becoming tangled and matted. Dogs with long hair typically need to be brushed daily, so if that’s a problem for you choose a breed with shorter hair.

Vacuuming can become a hassle time and work-wise with a dog that sheds a lot. However, some people aren’t really bothered by the task. If you are, choose one that doesn’t shed much. Otherwise, your house and clothes will be covered with hair and any company you have over may not want to stay long.