The term ‘miniature dogs’ is a somewhat subjective one. When looking into different breeds of dogs and their sizes, most of the smaller breeds are classified as small dogs. Some are called toy dogs, but you don’t often hear the term miniature dogs in the sense that people talk about miniature horses, which are specific breeds and who, relative to most horses, are indeed miniature.
Beagles, Wiener Dogs, and Stuffed Toy Dogs
You likely would hear a beagle being described as a small dog, though beagles are larger than a number of other small dog breeds. There are some breed-lines of beagles however that are about half the size of a standard beagle. These little beagles might qualify as miniatures. Dachshunds come in different sizes as well, some are small and some are miniature. The Chihuahua definitely belongs in the miniature category, and the Yorkshire Terrier would seem to as well. Another breed definitely on the smallish to miniature side is the Pomeranian. Some mixed dogs are also considered small like the Husky Pomeranian Mix. A breed that is not only small, but even looks like a small stuffed toy dog is the Bichon Frise. The Bichon probably comes as close being a miniature dog as any breed, with the exception of the Chihuahua.
Beware the Small Dog Syndrome
Some of these miniature dogs have loving temperaments. Others suffer from what might be called the ‘small dog syndrome.’ A few of these breeds are indeed fearless, which can be dangerous for a little dog that doesn’t realize it’s a little dog. Most are good with small children but a few, the Chihuahua being a prime example. don’t always get along with small children or toddlers. The same can be said for some Dachshunds.
The Pekingese is an example of a little dog that can be stubborn, opinionated, and sometimes aggressive. When properly trained however it can be a wonderful companion. Maybe it’s the head and face, but a Pug on the other hand looks like it could be a tough customer to be around as well, and perhaps as unpleasant to be around as a Pekingese can sometimes be. The bulldog is a breed that can deliver a powerful bite, and the Pug looks an awful lot like a miniature bulldog, and therefore capable of delivering a bite that wouldn’t feel particularly good. In fact, the Pug is one of the sweetest and gentlest of the smaller breeds. It is remarkably friendly towards other dogs. No small dog syndrome here. The Pug also has the reputation of being extremely friendly towards cats, and seems to enjoy being around small children.
Some Miniature Breeds are Very, Very Smart
If you go down a list of the smartest or most intelligent dog breeds you’ll find the Pug in that list as well, along with several other of the small to miniature dog breeds. The Yorkshire Terrier is high on the list, as are the Miniature Poodle, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Brussels Griffon. Not surprisingly, the Poodle, miniature or otherwise, ranks second among all dog breeds when it comes to intelligence.
Not to Forget the Maltese
The Maltese has yet to be mentioned, and it really should be. The Maltese is a very small dog. It is also noted for being a very intelligent dog, it is good-natured, and it is easily trained. The Maltese is a fairly popular breed among the smaller canines, but it does not rank as high on the popularity charts as one might think it should. The reason for this might be that the Maltese, although it is a very energetic little dog, is also somewhat fragile and can easily be injured. It’s mainly for this reason that more people don’t have this breed in their homes. This is especially true if there are younger children around who have not yet learned how to treat a small dog, especially a somewhat fragile little dog. As far as cuteness goes however, the Maltese ranks near the top of the charts.
Some Notes About Caring For a Smaller Dog
Small and miniature dogs often require a different kind of care than to the larger breeds. They don’t eat as much, and they are more suitable for apartment living or for taking long trips in the family car. One thing of note however has to do with their temperament. This doesn’t apply across the board, but some of these smaller breeds can become quite aggressive if not trained properly.
It’s easy to discipline a small dog that is barking too much by picking it up and taking it somewhere else. You don’t pick up a German Shepherd or any other large breed to discipline it in that manner. It’s an easy thing to do with smaller dogs, but they don’t always appreciate being picked up all of a sudden, and they may consequently tend to become aggressive. Another problem with small dogs being carried around is that some are uncomfortable suddenly finding themselves close to a stranger. Dogs like to approach strangers at their own pace. They don’t like to be thrust towards someone they don’t know, which can happen if they’re being carried around. This is another way in which miniature dogs that are otherwise good-natured could become aggressive. It’s always best to allow a dog to manage its own turf in the manner it sees fit rather than forcing it into situations it might be uncomfortable with.