Category Archives: small dogs

Are Small Breed Dogs Less Obedient?

By Langley Cornwell

One of the things I rally against is breed generalizations. Having shared my life with many different types of dogs, I have experienced first-hand how uniquely individual each animal is. That said, I also understand the nature versus nurture debate, and believe the truth is a combination of both.

Andrea Arden, Animal Planet expert and author of several books on animal behavior and training, notes that during the last 150 years the number of pure-bred dogs in the world has tripled. When you add mixed breed dogs into the mix, you can see how the range of dog behavior and physical characteristics within Canis lupus familiaris would be so diverse. I am of the opinion that if you want to know a dog, you should evaluate his behavioral tendencies and personality, and leave blanket generalizations on the doorstep.

Because of all that, I was surprised to learn of a recent study from the University of Sydney that reported a connection between a dog’s size and his obedience level. The study, based on 8,000 dogs and their human companions’ accounts of the pet’s conduct, concluded that smaller dogs have worse, less obedient behavior than larger breed dogs.

What did they mean by “worse, less obedient behavior?

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Which Dog Breeds Live The Longest?

By Langley Cornwell

Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and picking the right one is important. There are countless things to consider when finding a breed – such as size, temperament, intelligence and space available. It’s also a good idea to take your lifestyle and the dog breed’s activity requirements into consideration. All of these things are important, but one important factor often gets overlooked: how long will the dog live?

Dogs are pretty resilient. If you adopt a young dog, your pet will likely be a part of your life for many years. Still, the sad fact is that a dog will generally not live as long as we do. With that said, you might be interested in knowing that different breeds have different life expectancies.

What makes a particular breed live longer?

According to webMD, dogs that generally live longer are small dogs, and the smaller they are when fully grown, the longer they tend to live. The converse holds true as well; the bigger the breed, the shorter the lifespan. Giant breeds are the shortest lived. It appears that weight is the key factor and not height, however. Bigger, heavier dog breeds tend to die at about the eight year mark. Smaller dogs can live in excess of fifteen years.

Bear in mind that particular breeds sometimes have breed-specific health issues. For example, Cocker Spaniels often have eye and ear infections, while Labrador Retrievers are known for having a high cancer incidence. In fact, my Lab did have a cancerous lump when she was young but they removed it with plenty of healthy margin and it never came back.

There are countless other instances of breed-specific health problems but still, the number one thing to look out for is weight. Larger dogs, ones weighing over a hundred pounds, will be considered quite elderly at about seven or eight years.

Female dogs typically tend to live longer than male dogs, but the difference is negligible. Mixed breeds are usually longer living than pure bred dogs, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing what kind of dog to get.

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Eight Easy-to-Train Small Dog Breeds


By Linda Cole

Training any dog can be hard if you aren’t consistent and dedicated. Small dogs, which include terriers, come with big attitudes and aren’t afraid to take on big jobs. These dogs are intelligent, agile and tenacious. Dogs under 22 pounds or standing under 16 inches are considered small, although there are some small breeds that weigh a little more and are taller. If you want a small dog that’s easy to train, there’s a nice variety to pick from, including the breeds listed below. Carry a pocketful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats, and these dogs will practically train themselves! LOL.

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed has been in the top ten most popular dogs for the last decade. The Yorkie may be small, but he’s all terrier, with an expertise in rooting out and catching rats and other small rodents. The breed was developed in northern England’s Yorkshire County to control rodents in coal mines and textile factories. Earlier dogs were larger than the breed we know today, and fearless when it came to doing their job. It wasn’t long before high society adopted the Yorkie as a companion pet, and that’s when the breed was bred down to the size we know today.


The smallest of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian is descended from Northern breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed and Schipperke. Before this breed was bred down to their 3-7 pound size, Poms weighed up to 30-35 pounds. The dog was developed in Pomerania, a small province in today’s eastern Germany. This compact little dog can excel at agility and obedience, or be happy hanging out in the lap of the one he loves.

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Why Do Small Dogs Pick Fights with Big Dogs?

By Linda Cole

I wasn’t expecting to adopt another dog until one day my neighbor came over with a tiny puppy tucked under her arm. As she explained why she was there, the pup stared at me, her bright eyes sparkling with personality that would have melted any dog lover’s heart. Before I knew it, the pup was nestled in my arms, giving me kisses. Riley is a Rat Terrier/Chihuahua mix, and she’s the smallest one in my pack of much larger dogs, but her attitude is definitely “Don’t mess with me.” One would think a small dog would show a little respect to a dog towering over her, but that would be ignoring the tenacity of most little dogs. So why do some small dogs pick fights with larger dogs?

One theory posed by vets is that a lot of small dogs tend to spend more time in their owners arms, giving them a higher position where they can view a larger dog from above. We have a tendency to be more protective of a small dog, especially if there are larger dogs in the family. To prevent small dog syndrome, I treat Riley just like my other dogs, and I don’t let her get away with doing things I wouldn’t allow the bigger dogs to do. We don’t pick her up and carry her around, and we let the dogs resolve minor disagreements themselves. The alpha dog in a pack isn’t always the biggest dog; sometimes it is the smallest one.

Like larger dog breeds, small breeds were bred to do a specific job. Some were developed to be companion dogs, happy to lounge away their days in the lap of the one they love. But most small breeds were created to hunt vermin or prey. These little canines had to be feisty, tenacious, brave and independent. They needed a fierce attitude to stand up to sometimes larger prey, with an equal amount of attitude. As far as the little dog goes, his size has nothing to do with it. It’s his super sized willingness to fight that’s important.

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The 10 Most Popular Small Breed Dogs

Bichon Frise puppy

By Linda Cole

Small dogs may come in small packages, but many have a confident and tenacious attitude. These dogs don’t think of themselves as “small,” and some of the jobs they were bred to do required a dog with attitude. A small dog is defined as a breed under 22 pounds, and dog owners have made 10 the most popular.

Bichon Frise

No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but the Bichon Frise is a good choice for people with allergies. A smart, independent, courageous, affectionate, confident and playful cotton ball of a dog, the Bichon Frise weighs 7-16 pounds and has a life span of 12-16 years or longer. With an easy, sensitive and happy personality, this is a good family dog that gets along well with other pets.

Boston Terrier

The largest of this group, the Boston Terrier is an American made breed that weighs 10-25 pounds. This easy going, muscular, compact and well mannered canine is often referred to as the “American gentleman.” The Boston Terrier is smart, good with the entire family, easy to train and sensitive to our tone of voice. This breed is susceptible to heatstroke because of their pushed in nose, but can live 15 years or longer.


The smallest breed at 2-6 pounds, this dog definitely thinks he’s a “big dog.” Intelligent, graceful, loyal, lovable, brave, adventurous, agile and strong willed, the Chihuahua makes a good family pet as long as he understands you are his leader. They can be short tempered with children and wary around strangers. This alert breed is a good watchdog, and can be extremely protective of his home and family. Many Chihuahuas are fond of cats, and can live up to 15 years or longer.

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Original Jobs Small Dogs Were Bred to Do

By Linda Cole

Over the centuries, humans and dogs have traveled down the same road, side by side. When you think about it, our relationship with canines is a unique and mutual one that serves us both. Today, small dogs are more likely to be just a household pet instead of doing the jobs they were originally bred to do. Like our ancestors, we appreciate the warmth of a snuggling dog curled up next to us on a cold winter night. Some breeds were bred only for companionship, and some are mighty hunters, in a small body.


Even small dogs can hit the trail as a scenthound or sighthound. A newly recognized AKC breed, the Russell Terrier, was originally left behind on hunts because his small size wasn’t thought to be useful for hunters. His first role was as a companion dog around the home, and as a ratter to keep vermin at bay around sheds and barns. That was, until it was discovered the Russell’s smaller size made him ideal for hunting prey that went underground. The dog was easy to carry over rough terrain in a “terrier” bag or across the saddle of a horse, and he had the desired temperament and drive to handle himself against a red fox and other small prey.

Small dogs were often used to seek out, track, follow and find small prey as a pack. Dachshunds were used to hunt badgers, while Yorkshire Terriers were used by miners to help get rid of rat infestations in the mines. They were also used to hunt fox, badgers and other small prey, and follow them into their holes. Italian Greyhounds chased down rabbits. Dogs bred to work as a pack generally get along well with other canines in the home.


Small dogs are not good guard dogs, but they make great watchdogs. If they see someone who isn’t suppose to be in their territory, these alert little dogs will let you know in no uncertain terms. In the old days, small dogs were put up on the top of walls where they would patrol during the night and warn their owners if someone was around. Small breeds like the Brussels Griffon, Pomeranian, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso were used as watchdogs to guard the palace chamber of the lady, or guard their owner when they traveled.

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