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Small Dog Breeds: When Less is More

Ah, the little dogs.  Big dog lovers frequently refer to these pint sized pooches as "hamster dogs".  The AKC refers to them as them as "Toys"  The advantages toys have over other breeds are obvious:
  1. Any of the "problems" that are part of the dog owning experience are all pint sized with a toy.  Shedding, drooling, the cost of medications and boarding are all less with a toy breed.  Also, a toy breed isn't going to destroy the leg of your great grandmother's antique grand piano during his puppy chewing phase. 
       
  2. Toy breeds can be trained to "go in a litter box" just like a cat making them perfect for apartment dwellers.
       
  3. They are easy to clean up after to and to travel with.
      
  4. Neighbors are not afraid of them and they are often allowed by landlords (and when not allowed, easier to sneak in).
     
  5. You can often fudge on obedience training.  (Although, there is absolutely NOTHING more adorable than a miniature dog performing obedience exercises.)
       
  6. They come in a variety of coats and temperaments.

Sound perfect, don't they?  There's one serious drawback to the toy breeds if you have a young or growing family: toy breeds in general do not tolerate small children well.  The only exceptions seem to be the Pug, who has been characterized as one of the sturdiest and most stable of the toys, and the newly recognized Havanese.  

The problem with toy breeds and small children is that small children tend to view them as, well, toys. And while a few children are excruciatingly careful with their toys 100% of the time, most are not.  It's just the nature of most children. 

So if your family is not yet complete, or if you have frequent visitors under the age of eight, it's probably best if you remove the toy breeds from consideration, with the exception of the Pug and the Havanese.  

If you're willing to venture a little larger than the teacup crowd, here are some small dog breeds that are wonderful with children:

  1. Beagle
  2. Border Terrier
  3. Boston Terrier
  4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  5. Cesky Terrier
  6. Cocker Spaniel
  7. Glen of Imal Terrier
  8. Havanese
  9. Minature Poodle
  10. Petit Basset Giffon Vendeen
  11. Pug
  12. Shetland Sheepdog

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