Miniature dog breeds are dogs which are small - and stay small - forever! Miniature dog breeds are highly sought after for their adorable looks, but they have much more than that to offer. Let’s begin by taking a look at some of the advantages of choosing a miniature dog over a larger breed:
- They’re great travel companions as they’re easy to take on public transport or in the car.
- Depending on the breed, food costs can be low due to their small size.
- Great for the elderly or for a first dog as they’re very easy to manage.
- Loving, caring companions - some miniature breeds were bred solely to be companion dogs, so it comes naturally to them!
- Though they still need daily exercise, most miniature breeds only need a short stroll in comparison to bigger breeds.
- They suit pretty much any environment and some breeds can be kept in apartments.
- They often have a longer life expectancy.
What are miniature dogs like?
PetMD make a good point, that: “If you’re thinking of getting a small dog because they’re cute, cuddly and quiet, you probably should think again; what they lack in stature, they often make up for in arrogance.”
“Sure, small dogs are cute, and some of them look cuddly, but not all small dog breeds have meek personalities. Like people, small dog breeds come with different personalities, so before you pick up your small-framed dog, it’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re getting.”
And they’re right - it’s important to remember that just because a dog is small, it doesn’t mean they’re sweet, innocent and obedient. Some miniature dog breeds are well-known for their yappy and boisterous personalities. Miniature dogs will take time and effort to train, as any other breed will.
On the flip-side, some miniature dogs really are delicate and would struggle in a busy environment, such as a family with young children. However, these breeds would make the perfect companion for an elderly individual or couple.
People often assume that all miniature dog breeds act the same. But sometimes, the only similar thing about miniature dogs is their size! Therefore, it’s important to research into the individual breeds as much as possible before getting your own mini dog - as they can vary widely in friendliness, trainability and temperament.
However, the sheer variety of miniature dog breeds means there’s a perfect match for pretty much everyone!
Miniature dog breeds
There’s so much to think about when choosing the right miniature dog breed for you or your family member. Here are 10 of the most popular breeds, along with their characteristic pros and cons.
Remember to do your own research and understand that a lot of the ‘cons’ can be minimized when a miniature dog is well-trained and socialized.
Shih Tzu: Friendly and outgoing, but often stubborn.
Miniature poodle: Smart, easily trainable and great companions.
Chihuahua: Charming and outgoing. Yappy and ‘sassy’ if not socialized.
Maltese: Energetic and good-natured, but not great with children.
Pomeranian: Bold and enthusiastic, though often barks a little too much.
Dachshund: Fun, energetic and loyal, but can be yappy.
Papillon: Extremely intelligent and easy to train. Need a lot of mental stimulation.
Yorkshire terrier: Loyal and great companions. A little feisty!
Havanese: Gentle, happy, and loves to please but needs constant grooming.
Pekingese: Great companion and very loyal, but slightly sluggish and can be stubborn.
Miniature dog breed health problems
Being small, cute and tiny may look adorable - but it also leaves miniature dogs prone to health problems.
Small dogs often suffer from dental problems, caused by having so many teeth in such a small mouth. Miniature dogs are prone to a build-up of plaque and tartar, gum disease and tooth decay, as well as stinky breath.
Brachycephalic syndrome is also commonplace in smaller breeds of dogs. This happens when dogs are bred specifically for a flattened, squashed-looking muzzle, making them look cute. However, this leads to severe breathing difficulties for the dogs and can make things extremely uncomfortable for them.
Mini dogs are also prone to include intervertebral disk disease (IVDD), hypoglycemia, pancreatitis and tracheal collapse. However, don’t let the possibility of these conditions put you off getting a miniature dog. Truth be told, most breeds of dog are prone to a certain complication more than others! It’s all about understanding the breed, being aware of the symptoms and keeping a close eye on your dog's health.
Miniature dog training and socialisation
Don’t let the big puppy eyes and cute little legs win you over - miniature dogs can become a nightmare if they’re not trained well. It’s important to be consistent in your training and portray yourself as a leader, teaching your pup how to socialise with other dogs and people. If they're not socialized from a young age, little dogs can become a little yappy and feisty. Make sure you have the time to do this before you commit.
House-training will take some time, and should be started immediately. As always, positive reinforcement and patience are key. Miniature dogs may need to use puppy pads. This can be beneficial in the long-run, as you can create an established bathroom for them to use when you’re out of the house.
Miniature dog diet
As miniature dog breeds are prone to hypoglycemia, feeding them small but frequent meals is a good way of regulating their blood sugar. Three times a day with meat or fish based food is best.
There are certain brands of food which are specifically formulated for smaller breeds, which are rich in nutrients and calories to suit a fast metabolism and small stomach. It’s definitely worth opting for these brands if you can.
So, will you be adding a tiny, cute, and adorable miniature dog to your family? These pups make incredible pets as long as you know how to care for them appropriately and keep consistent in your training - good luck!