Dogs are a lot of fun. They are terrific companions for all ages and it has been scientifically proven that children who grow up around dogs have better social skills than those who do not. Taking care of a dog is a responsibility: it is inhuman and cruel to get a dog if you can’t be around to give it attention and love. A dog is worth every penny it takes to keep it fed, trained, groomed and healthy. Unfortunately, many of us city people live in little stacked boxes called apartments which are not spacious enough to keep popular dogs like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. Or we have elders in the family who are easily startled and so are not comfortable with having big boisterous breeds around. But for those of us who still want to have a canine friend: someone who is part of the family, who waits for us to get home, who sleeps at our feet on cold, rainy days and is loyal to the end: there are several options in the miniature breeds ! From poodles to shih tzus to different varieties of miniature terriers and “toy” versions of pomeranians, daschunds, etc. These smaller varieties pack in tremendous punch in small packages: they are almost always more mischeivious, more intelligent and playful than their bigger counterparts. The only trouble is that they tend to be less immune and have a shorter lifespan. While this may be considered convenient for some, it is rather heartbreaking and might really be the only deterrent from keeping a small dog.
10. Jack Russell Terrier.
For those of you who have watched the 2011 film The Artist, you would know the Jack Russell Terrier. If you have admired George Valentine’s Jack Russell terrier “Jack” who saves his master from many a disaster in the Oscar nominated film (Uggie the dog, who played Jack the dog won the Palm award for best performance at Cannes) and want a robust, active and energetic small to mid sized dog, the Jack Russell might be for you. Jack Russells were originally bred for fox hunting and are thus intelligent, highly trainable and also less prone to illness. A low maintenance, incredible ball of fun? That’s the Jack Russell.
The Pomeranian is a long haired specimen descended from the Spitz sled dogs in Iceland and Lapland. It has been bred down to the small size over the centuries and has been the favoured pet of famous figures such as Marie Antoinette, Mozart and Queen Victoria, whose preference for small Pomeranians made them famous. Pomeranians are known for their independence and stubbornness, and can live for up to 15 years. They require maintenance for their long, dense overcoats, which need to be brushed regularly to prevent tangling and matting. They are incredibly adorable with a mellow and gentle personality and are better introduced to little children as puppies.
The Maltese is one of the world’s oldest breeds, and has been around for over 3,000 years. They have been popular with the Greek and Roman royalty and are toy sized, very adorable pets. Loyal and trusting, polite, gentle and lively; they are not easily afraid of other dogs and make great companions for singles, retirees and families with older children. They are also very content with minimal attention at home: a daily walk is a must though.
There have been many an entertaining movie and great songs written about this breed, especially in the 1990s. It is believed to be descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec Civilization in Mexico. A ferocious, brave, alert and intelligent breed, the Chihuahua with its apple shaped head and sharp teeth gets on well with cats but are not ideal for children. They have a long life expectancy, but are immunologically very weak, they have a tendency to develop health problems like hypoglycemia, joint ailments, eye infections and bronchitis.
6. Shih Tzu.
The Shih Tzu was gifted to the Chinese court from the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. Shih Tzu were house pets during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 A.D.) It is known for its lusciously beautiful fur that can be styled in many different ways and give it a regal and elegant appearance. High maintenance dogs, but ideal for the devoted owner. Shih Tzus are adorable, dainty little creatures that love to be pampered. Best for mature families and elderly couples.
5. Miniature Schnauzer.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a high energy dog which requires a great amount of exercise and attention, without which, it can resort to destructive ways of expressing itself. It is an alert, highly intelligent and robust breed that is healthy. If only its appearance, with long, matty, fur was more suited to its love for adventure: this dog would be a great companion for active singles, families and almost any kind of person who can keep up with it. There is also a formidable guard dog in the Schnauzer, and it is an almost ideal pet.
4. Boston Terrier
Also known as Bull Terriers or Roundheads, Boston Terriers, like the Schnauzers are active and robust and come with an additional pro: short, easy to maintain fur. They are brilliant with children: and also one of the more well mannered breeds. They are easy to train, because of their keen minds, and have a cute little snout which makes them prone to snoring and snorting and drooling. They are protective and pleasant companions. They have short, compact, muscular frames with well-balanced and graceful postures. Sturdy pets, these are.
3. Miniature/ Toy Poodles.
Poodles are oodles of fun. Famous handbag accessories of rich and spoiled women, they have this unfortunate reputation from the movies. Poodles are generally more favoured among women, but the movies get them terribly wrong. A poodle that is forced to spend all day in a handbag will probably go crazy and destructive on its owner. Poodles are active, friendly and easy going dogs, though they can be slightly impatient and jealous sometimes. They make terrific watchdogs, small in size but formidable in persistence and volume. Consider getting a poodle, if you appreciate all of these traits!
Snoopy is a beagle! Long floppy ears and eager, affectionate expressions, this dog is an ideal family dog. Active, attractive, stubborn and high stamina all at once, the beagle makes an odd sound not common among dogs: their sounds consist of “baying,” which is a kind of loud, gurgling howl that will take a little getting used to. Beagles have a great sense of smell and are known to bark incessantly at strangers but their stubbornness can make them hard to train. Beagles live for up to 15 years and make terrific companions for any kind of family.
These are adorable dogs with an extremely comical appearance. They have rigid, muscular torsos balanced on four very short legs that do not match. they have sharp, pointed antenna tails, long snouts and floppy ears. They are the cutest, most unique and intelligent small dogs there are. They are extremely loyal to their owners, bark endlessly at strangers and take time to warm up to new people. They need and crave exercise, but the good part is they are so small (especially miniature dacshunds) that city apartments can sometimes be more than sufficient for them. One needs to be careful while handling or holding them, because of their long spines and disproportionate bodies; and also be careful not to feed them too much because being overweight can pose serious problems to a dacshund’s spinal health. They are very alert and smart too, which makes them a perfect package for any kind of owner.