6 Small Breeds Of Dogs You Need To Know Before Choosing Your Puppy

If you are choosing a small puppy breed for your next pet, you should check this 6 breeds listed below. They are all cute and great options as a new family member.

#1 – Toy Fox Terrier (Aka American Fox Terrier Or “Amertoy”)

The Amertoy loves to play. They love to investigate and snoop in far corners, cabinets and under beds. They have a lot of energy and a big curiosity. The little TFT does well with older, careful, obedient children that know how to treat a delicate little dog. This breed will entertain and then curl up on your lap. The Toy Fox Terrier is not keen about strangers and is a one-family dog. It is an intelligent dog, alert and learns tricks quickly after which it tends to “show off” with its’ entertainment sessions. This dog needs toys, human companionship and an audience. Good with training, the Toy Fox learns pretty fast.

Toy Fox Terrier History: This breed goes back to the 1800’s when it descended from the Smooth Fox Terrier. Toy Terriers were popular with American farmers by the early 1900’s who kept them for controlling the rodent population on the farm. Fans of the breed crossed it with three other breeds, the Chihuahua, the Toy Manchester Terrier and Italian Greyhound. This reduced the size of the dog to the “toy”: class. This is a particularly energetic, lively and entertaining little dog that loved an audience. The Toy Fox was shown in the AKC ring in 2003 for the first time.

#2 – The “Barkless” Basenji

The first signs of the “Congo Dog” go as far back as the ancient tombs of the pharaohs, some five thousand years ago where they showed up on Egyptian carvings. The dogs were possibly gifts to the pharaohs of the time from Africa. The name “Basenji” means “bush-thing.” This is basically a hunting dog and helped the native tribesmen find and retrieve game. In the 1930’s, dogs were brought to England. This caused a lot of commotion and soon after these dogs came to America. By the 1950’s, an increase in popularity occurred due to a book and movie which featured a dog of this breed. In the 1980’s the breed was registered and has gained some popularity.

The Basenji is a clever, alert and sometimes stubborn creature. The breed tends to be independent yet doesn’t do well if left alone. As a hunting dog, it lovers to chase small animals. It is perky and energetic, always ready to play or hunt and explore. They don’t enjoy wet weather and are fastidious about keeping themselves clean. This is a quiet, “bark less” breed, able only to make kind of gurgling sound. More like a vocal “shriek.” They are a quick and playful breed and can scamper over a chain link fence with ease. The Basenji can be aloof and reserved with strangers and is not a dog for the family that works and is gone all day.

Good jogging partner. Two good walks daily and plenty of play time are needed. The dog must have adequate exercise to keep it from becoming destructive.

#3 – Border Terrier

The Border Terrier is one of the more friendly of the terriers. He is an inquisitive, friendly and busy little dog he loved to hunt and can be quite independent. The B.T. is somewhat of an escape artist and if given the chance, likes to roam and investigate new places. However, he’s a loyal family dog. This breed is good with other dogs and cats as well as children. This is a good companion dog for folks of just about any age. As with any terrier, he likes to dig and may bark a tad too much at times. Otherwise, this dog makes a great house pet.

The Border Terrier is a spunky little fellow who needs reasonable exercise such as a good walk on leash and some vigorous fetch in the yard plus some obedience training sessions. The Border Terrier is active and must be kept busy with plenty of chew toys and other activities.

Breed origin: The breed originated around the Cheviot Hill’s following the border between Scotland and England. It originated to chase the fox that were considered a problem for local farmers. The name Border Terrier, taken from the Border Hunt, was adopted in 1870. By this time the breed had risen from it’s utilitarian roots to take a high value place beside the Foxhounds in the foxhunts. Over time, the Terrier has become more of a personal companion dog while still retaining it’s hunting value for a few folks. After all, the Border Hunt did have a long association with these friendly little terriers. The Terrier was registered by the AKC in 1930 and has become a companion and family dog.

#4 – Welsh Terrier

This is an active, intelligent and playful, well-mannered dog that resembles the Airedale Terrier, only smaller. The Welsh Terrier is friendly and is a good house pet, does well with children and is a great watchdog at the same time. It’s quite tolerant with the kids and likes games where she can run, romp, jump, display her silly antics and especially swim. The breed is entertaining in their own way and yet she can be very calm and quiet. As with most terriers, she can dig holes and bark if bored. The Welsh Terrier can be nippy and testy as well as showing a degree of separation anxiety if not well socialized starting at a young age. If getting one, make sure the breeder gave your dog plenty of social time starting at around 3 to 4 weeks. If properly socialized, she’ll be a great addition to your busy household. Be sure to make plenty of time for her, though!

This breed has a wiry coat. Comb or brush three times a week to prevent matting Clip her quarterly to keep her looking good. Clipping keeps her coat nice and soft. Overall, the grooming takes quite a bit of time. Get a stiff bristle brush at the pet store.

Breed origin: In the 1700’s, a breed known as Ynysfor was running with Otterhounds in the North of Wales. At the same time, a similar dog, the Old English Broken Haired Terrier was coming along in England. The two dogs were so much alike that they could interchange in competitions and no one knew the difference. In time, both became known as Welsh Terriers. The Welsh was used to force prey out of holes and burrows so the hunter could come up and kill it, something I totally disapprove of. It was a good killer of small animals such as various vermin though. The breed was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1886 and on 1888 the AKC recognized the breed in America. As good and sweet as this breed is, it has never taken off very well in the States and is currently #97 in popularity in the USA.

#5 – Cairn Terrier

This was the spry, adorable little dog that went with Dorothy to the Land of Oz. The Cairn is lively, perky and intelligent. It’s a great family dog.

The Cairn was used at one time to hunt fox, otter and badger. The dogs came in a variety of colors, ranging from white to shades of grey to red, black. In 1873 they were divided into the Dandie Dinmont and Skye Terriers. Cairns were in the Skye group. By 1912 it was known as the Cairn Terrier and in 1913 was registered by the AKC.

The Cairn Terrier has been documented to mix well with other breeds, especially other terriers. A Cairn MIX tends to live longer and be healthier overall than a purebred Cairn. They are extremely smart, obedient, quiet most of the time, polite, and very playful. I certainly found that true with my dog. So, if you have the chance to get a Cairn mix, I’d say go for it.

If well socialized as a puppy, this is basically a sweet little dog. It is spirited, bold, inquisitive and hardy. They are stubborn and a kind of scrappy at times. The Cairn is a bit sensitive but tries to please its people. This dog can be a great house pet as long as he is given his daily physical and mental exercise. The Cairn likes walks, play, training and to explore new turf. It’s a devoted little family dog.

#6 – Havanese

The Bichon Havanais is part of the extended Bichon family, a breed of small dogs dating back to the Mediterranean in Ancient Times. Spanish traders brought some of these cute little dogs with them as gifts for Cuban women. A few of these dogs remained in Cuba. Some such families brought their dogs with them to the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Present day dogs are decedents of those brought over back then. This has gradually aroused attention from dog owners. The breed was registered by the AKC in early 1999.

The Havanese is most happy when she is the center of attention. She likes to play and clown around and is very affectionate. She gets along well with kids, other dogs, pets and strangers.— essentially everything. The dog is eager to learn but tends to be bark a lot.

Small dogs like the Havanese have a natural problem in that they often want to dominate the house and everyone in it. Small dogs must be heavily socialized starting very young and continued on. They need an owner and family that understands dogs and how to exert a firm but kind “pack leader” (alpha dog) dominance role over them. It is very important not to let the dog think he’s “boss!”

Updated: January 6, 2020

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