Little dogs have a reputation for big personalities best summed up by the Latin phrase "multum in parvo," or "much in little." Though they are pint-sized, little dogs prove just as challenging, if not more so, than their larger counterparts. There are a variety of small dogs, most of which are classified in size as "toy" or "teacup," owing to their portable nature and small stature.
First recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904, the chihuahua is a dog best described as saucy or sassy. Weighing no more than six pounds, chihuahuas are often seen carried in purses or lounging on laps. Chihuahuas come in a number of colors and are solid, spotted or splashed. They may have long or short coats. These dogs are well-muscled for their short stature and may present a problem to novice dog owners. The American Kennel Club's "Dog Breed Bible" describes chihuahuas as self-important and quick to disobey commands if they see no reason to obey.
Pugs weigh between 14 and 18 pounds. Characterized by a wrinkled face and dark, deep, soulful eyes, pugs are "people dogs" that enjoy the attention and affection of their human companions. Though they are stout and muscular, pugs require little exercise. They are typically fawn or black in color and have a fine, short coat. First recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, pugs are even-tempered and playful, according to the "Dog Breed Bible." They are ideal for apartment dwellers and adapt easily to almost all situations.
The name "Shih Tzu" means lion, according to the American Kennel Club. The name is fitting, as the appearance and temperament of these tiny canines are likened to that of a lion. Weighing between nine and 16 pounds, shih tzu dogs are lively and friendly, seeking out the company of people whenever possible. Shih tzus have a long, flowing double coat that requires grooming on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. Though not overly aggressive, shih tzus are more than willing to put up a fuss to protect their home or owners. Shih tzus normally come in colors of fawn and tan, but may be seen in other colors.
Often called Yorkies by their owners, Yorkshire Terriers were originally bred to hunt and catch rats. These pint-sized hunters range in size from four to seven pounds and have a long, silky, straight coat that requires daily grooming to maintain. The Yorkshire Terrier was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, and is characterized by an inquisitive, determined nature. Coat colors are typically blue and tan, though shades of black may be seen as well. Yorkies do best around people and thrive when given a job to accomplish.