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Top 10 Miniature Dogs

Christine O'Brien
Sept. 2, 2015

If you don't have a lot of living space or you want a pup that's the same size as your cat and fits in your handbag, consider miniature dogs.

Want a pooch that fits in your tote? Consider the idea of welcoming miniature dogs into your family! But what classifies a breed as "miniature"?

"There is not a standard height and weight set for a dog classified in the American Kennel Club (AKC) 'Toy' group or with the name 'miniature' in its breed name," explains Gina DiNardo, AKC spokesperson. The size and weight limitations for each breed are set by that breed's individual national breed club, she adds.

For the miniature breeds discussed here, DiNardo says the AKC "would classify many of these breeds as toy breeds, in the sense that their main purpose is companionship, but the toy varieties of breeds like Dachshund or Schnauzer still have the same temperaments as their larger counterparts."

If you're looking at a "teacup" variety, keep in mind the AKC's position on this type. "We do not use the term 'teacup,' and there is actually no such variety of breed," she explains. "Some breeders will breed the smallest of a breed to another very small dog in that breed and produce dogs that are too small and call them 'teacup' as part of a marketing strategy. But this type of breeding is not recommended as it produces its own set of health issues."

Do your research to determine whether the characteristics and temperaments of certain dog breeds are the right fit for you. To get you started.

Here are 10 popular miniature dogs, along with breed standards (marked in parentheses) courtesy of the AKC.

  1. Maltese

    This fearless cutie (under seven pounds) is active and a good watchdog, but be prepared because she's also a devoted hunter and doesn't always take kindly to guests visiting your home. She is a stand-out for her white coat, but it does require regular grooming.
  2. Pug

    With its scrunchy, adorable face, this fun-loving and gentle pup (14 to 18 pounds) loves children and gets along well with other animals. Because of his intolerance for heat, he needs to be kept indoors much of the time, and he snores loudly, so he might not be the best choice for light sleepers!
  3. Yorkshire Terrier

    Yorkies (under seven pounds) capture hearts with their loving spirits, and they are always up for an adventure! However, they do bark excessively, which may be helped with proper training, and they tend to be aggressive toward unfamiliar animals, including other dogs.
  4. Chihuahua

    This affectionate breed (six pounds and under) is big on personality and devoted to her people, but her temperament can range anywhere from reserved to friendly to aggressive. She's also an excessive barker -- something families with small children need to consider.
  5. Dachshund

    A member of the hound group, this breed (11 pounds and under at 12 months of age) has a loud, distinctive bark. He needs regular exercise and he's a digger, requiring an attentive owner. He's very protective of his owners and makes a great watchdog, plus he loves hanging out with his humans!
  6. Toy Poodle

    "The Toy Poodle (with a height at shoulders that's 10 inches or under) is actually smaller than the Miniature Poodle," notes DiNardo. She's an energetic and very intelligent dog, making her a great pet for families, but this sweetie has a tendency to bark, and she requires regular grooming to keep her fuzzy coat from becoming matted.
  7. Pekingese

    Despite its lion-like features, this breed (not to exceed 14 pounds) is gentle and happy-go-lucky. He's a great choice for small spaces because he's content being indoors. But he can be somewhat stubborn (he'll boss you around) and he's also a snorer.
  8. Pomeranian

    This puffy pooch delights people with her diminutive stature (weight between three and seven pounds) and playful personality. She's an ideal playmate for adults and children, though, she tends to bark frequently. Because of her zeal and energy, she requires plenty of playtime.
  9. Shih Tzu
    Shih Tzu

    An outgoing and loyal breed (between 9 to 16 pounds), this pup requires lots of attention, including regular grooming. He can be a bit stubborn, but is loving toward children, making him a great family companion.
  10. Miniature Pinscher
    Miniature Pinscher

    "Miniature Pinscher (height at shoulders between 10 to 12 inches) is an older and separate breed completely from Doberman Pinscher," says DiNardo. "Miniature in name does describe its size." A very energetic dog, she loves to play catch and may chase after small animals. Although she is rarely at rest (something to consider), she hates cold weather and consequently needs to be kept primarily indoors, especially in cold climates.

And check out Make Way for Lap Dogs!

Christine O'Brien is a writer, mother and animal lover who regularly thinks about adding more pets to her brood.

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