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Smallest Dog Breeds

In recent years there has been a growing trend for small dogs to be associated with a pampered lifestyle. The term 'handbag dog' has been coined because some women have taken to carrying tiny dogs in their handbags.

It's a big mistake to think of a dog as a fashion accessory. It's a living, feeling creature which has needs for socialisation and the boundaries of kind and appropriate training in order for it enjoy a fulfilling life.

Some of the most gorgeous dogs are from a smaller breed and can still be just as protective as bigger breeds of dogs. Here are a few of some of the smaller breeds of dogs:

Pomeranians

Often known as 'Poms', these dogs originate from Germany and are thought to be part of the Spitz-type dogs. Their name comes from a region of Central Europe.

Many people call Poms 'toy' dogs due to their tiny build. They weigh between 4lbs and 7lbs on average. Poms are instantly recognisable by a gorgeous, fluffy double coat. Pom females tend to be slightly bigger than Pom males. They are most commonly an orange/tan colour but some also have a white or brown coat.   

Poms are a very friendly and active breed and love playing with their owner. They are happiest when they spend most of thier time with their human family. They are also a breed that is very easy to train. Poms are a fearless dog - despite their small stature - and aren’t afraid to stand up to much larger dogs. They can be quite active barkers, but are generally an easy-going dog. They can adapt to various environments but tend to enjoy lying in cooler places because of their thick coats.

Famous Pomeranians have included Minnie Osbourne, owned by Sharon Osbourne. Minnie became famous through the reality TV show The Osbournes and appeared alongside her owner on shows like The X Factor and Sharon’s own chat show. Minnie was also snapped with famous faces including Justin Timberlake, Patrick Swayze and Simon Cowell. Sadly Minnie died in 2007 after contracting pneumonia. Sharon was extremely upset at the loss of her best friend. Even her co-host on America’s Got Talent, Piers Morgan, said that even though all she did was growl and attempt to bite him, he would miss Minnie, who he said ‘was no ordinary dog’.

Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas are probably one of the smallest breeds of dogs in the world and are named after the state of the same name in Mexico. It’s thought that Chihuahuas are the ancestors of Techichi dogs who date back to the 9th century. The people who bred them were known as The Toltecs and they believed that the Techichi dogs had mystical powers. Chihuahuas are a lot smaller than their ancestors.

Chihuahuas can vary in height, with some growing as tall as 15 inches. Their weight tends to average between 3.3 lbs to 6.6 lbs. Chihuahuas who are kept only as pets, and not as show dogs, can reach a weight of around 10lbs depending on their bone structure.

There are two types of Chihuahua coats - long-haired or short-haired. The long-haired Chihuahuas tend to have a softer coat than the short-haired Chihuahuas. They also shed less than the short-haired Chihuahuas. Unlike other long-haired breeds, a long-haired Chihuahua requires a lot less trimming and grooming. Their coat takes around two years or more to fully develop. Chihuahuas can come in a variety of colours from black, white, fawn and brown and their coat can also have splashes or freckles of another colour.

Chihuahuas are known for their attention-seeking behaviour. They love to be the centre of attention and affection. They are naturally protective and territorial and can get very attached to their owner. This can make them prone to aggressive behaviour if they think their owner is under threat. A powerful example was when three Chihuahuas protected their three-year-old owner from a mountain lion in Southern California in 2009.

They are a very playful and energetic breed and tend to prefer to socialise with other Chihuahuas rather than any other breed of dog. Long-haired Chihuahuas tend to have a more mellow temperament than short-haired Chihuahuas.

A number of celebrities are often spotted out with their pet Chihuahuas, including Paris Hilton, Hillary Duff and Reese Witherspoon.

Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers were first bred in the 1800s in Yorkshire and are classed as toy terriers. They are well-known for their small size. Other breeds, such as the Australian Silky Terrier, have been bred from Yorkshire Terriers.

Yorkies, as they are nicknamed, are known for a gorgeous coat which is usually glossy and silky. Their fur also tends to be long and have a parting down the middle of their back. Yorkies are known for having patches of tan-coloured fur on their chest, head and legs while the rest of their coat is generally a darker colour - grey or a dark blue. Silky-coated Yorkshire Terriers are the ones frequently seen as show dogs and they require a lot of grooming. The soft-coated Yorkshire Terriers need less grooming.

Even though they are a very small breed, Yorkies aren’t at all afraid of larger dogs and can in fact be quite hostile towards them. They are a very bold and active breed and are known for their intelligence and strong-willed personality. Yorkies are also very loving and caring, particular during their younger years, and they love attention.

Yorkies are another small breed which has proved to be extremely popular with the rich and famous. Celebrities who have owned Yorkshire Terriers include Paris Hilton, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Donny Osmond, Orlando Bloom and Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1997, Champion Ozmilion Mystification became the first Yorkie to win Best in Show at Crufts.

Sylvia, a tiny Yorkshire Terrier from Blackburn, is often said to have been the smallest dog who ever lived. When she died in 1945 she was 2.5 inches tall at the shoulder, measured 3.5 inches from nose to tail, and weighed just four ounces.

Unusually small Yorkshire Terriers – weighing 3lbs or less - are referred to as “teacups”.

Pugs

Pugs are tiny dogs which are instantly recognised by their short, wrinkly, flat faces. The name pug is believed to have come from an old English work 'pugg', which was an affectionate way of saying a 'playful little monkey'. 

Pugs have a square body with noticeably strong, muscular legs. They have a very glossy coat that tends to be quite fine and is normally fawn, silver, black or apricot coloured. The silver pug usually has a dark-coloured head and dark front legs. Pugs also have a distinctively small, tightly-curled tail. Pugs of all colours shed their hair, but fawn-coloured Pugs have a double coat and therefore are known for shredding a lot more.

Fans of the breed say they have one of the most gorgeous personalities of the entire dog world. They are loving and full of fun. They are very rarely stubborn but they are playful and clever and easy to train. They get along with other breeds of dog breeds and other animals in general. They do require a lot of attention from their owner and love the company of people.

It’s not surprising that a number of famous faces have been seen out with their own pet Pugs. Famous Pug owners include Billy Joel, Denise Richards, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Kelly Osbourne, Gerard Butler and Paula Abdul.

Welsh Corgis

Obviously from its name, these Corgis were first bred in Wales and were traditionally used for herding dog. There are two types of Corgis - the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Both types are known for being healthy and hardy and tend to live into their mid-teens.

Even though they are small dogs, Corgis were, and still sometimes are, used for herding. Their size enabled them to be nimble and avoid getting kicked by livestock. Their technique was to nip at the animals' heels. Unlike a number of other herding dogs, Corgis herded from behind the cattle, nipping at their feet in semi-circles. 

Cardigan Corgis are one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the UK and are the larger type of Corgi. They have a double coat. The outside layer has a slightly rougher texture and there is a soft and thick undercoat.  Cardigans can grow to around 12 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh in at around 30 pounds.

Pembroke Corgis have pointed ears and are smaller than Cardigan Corgis. The head of a Pembroke is very similar to a fox. They have a very short tail which tends to be curly. In the past, owners of Pembrokes, who have naturally longer tails, often had them docked to make them shorter. This activity is now frowned upon, or banned, in most countries. Pembrokes tend to stand between 10 and 12 inches tall at the shoulder and again weigh around 30 pounds.

Corgis are known for being one of the healthiest breeds of dogs. Like all dogs they can suffer from hereditary health problems but on the whole are very healthy. Corgis are known as a very alert, active, intelligent and tough breed. They are very loveable and caring which is why they are a popular family dog.

The most famous Corgis are probably those belonging to Queen Elizabeth II. Her love for the breed has always been well documented and she have often had portraits done of her with her Corgis. The Queen has also owned 'Dorgis' - a cross between Corgis and Dachshunds. The Queen has owned Corgis ever since her parents gave her one in 1944. Another famous face who has owned a Corgi is the actress Jennifer Aniston.