Helpful Tips for Finding the Best Small Dog Breed for You

by Jean Marie Bauhaus Google
Be sure you're the right person to meet a small breed's needs.

Be sure you're the right person to meet a small breed's needs.

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When choosing the right small breed dog for you and your family, make sure that the breed is a good fit for your lifestyle. Although individual dogs each have unique personalities, do some research on your chosen breed and its temperament and grooming requirements before bringing your small dog home.

Family Makeup and Health

Consider how a dog will fit in with your current family makeup. Given their size, toy breeds -- those weighing 15 pounds and less -- may not do well in homes with rambunctious small children. Consider also whether any family members are allergic to pet dander. If so, there are several low-dander small breeds to choose from, including the miniature poodle, the miniature schnauzer, the Maltese and the bichon frise. While no dog is hypoallergenic, some breeds are better than others when it comes to leaving dander behind.

Personality and Temperament

Research the temperament of any breed you’re considering. For example, you might long for an adorable Jack Russell terrier, but you might not be prepared to deal with this breed’s energetic and assertive nature. Spend some time thinking about what you really want in a companion, whether it be an energetic playmate, an alert watchdog or a laid-back lapdog. Consider also whether a breed will require a lot of exercise and activity to keep from becoming anxious or bored, and whether your new dog should be able to cope well with being left alone for long hours each day.

Grooming and Medical Requirements

Some small breeds are cute to look at, but they require a lot of regular brushing and grooming. Decide whether you can afford either the expense of taking your dog to the groomer or the time involved in grooming her yourself. You might find that your lifestyle is better suited to a short-haired breed that requires less maintenance. You should be aware that many breeds are predisposed to certain medical conditions. Although a reputable breeder should screen for these problems, they can crop up later in life and some conditions can be chronic. You should decide whether you’re able to provide appropriate veterinary care, should the need arise.

The Affordability Factor

Purebred dogs can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars if purchased from a breeder. Depending on the size of your budget, this might significantly narrow down your options. On the other hand, animal shelters are full of both purebred and mixed breed dogs in need of good homes. The Humane Society estimated that as many as 2.7 million shelter dogs failed to be adopted in 2013. Although you might luck out and find the breed you were hoping for at a shelter, you might also discover that the right dog for you and your family is a mixed breed dog.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

After more than a decade of devoting her people-helping skills to the confines of one company, one department, one office at a time, Jean Bauhaus has decided that it's finally time to remove the boundaries and expand her availability to the far reaches of the Internet. She has worked in the corporate world, in various support roles, since 1997, all the while honing her skills in web design, blogging and desktop publishing, and refining her craft as a writer of both non-fiction and prose. She has also decided that the time has come to parlay years of experience copy editing and proofreading papers, articles, short stories and novels for friends and colleagues into a workable profession, having recently completed formal copy editor training at Mediabistro. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband Matt and their three pets. When she's not working for clients, she's usually working on her novel.