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What is important to know about raising and caring for dogs of small or dwarf breeds?

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What factors influence the character and behavior of your small dog?

Dogs of miniature and dwarf breeds have several very similar and even identical character traits and physiological characteristics. If you are going to get such a dog, you need to consider its distinctive features.

Origin of the breed

dwarf breeds

Many small and dwarf breeds have been bred as a guard or hunting dogs. That is why they have not only physical features (for example, short legs and a long body in a dachshund) but also genetically embedded habits and character traits.

Knowing the origin of the breed you want to have a puppy will help you understand what kind of lifestyle the representatives of this breed lead. Let’s say the purpose of terriers was originally to catch rabbits and rats, so they love to dig the ground. So, when getting a terrier, think carefully: will he be able to sometimes do his favorite thing in your yard or garden?

Prone to hyperactivity

dwarf breeds

Remember that puppies of small and toy breeds grow up very quickly and reach adulthood much earlier than their medium and large counterparts. Also, small dogs expend much more energy compared to large breed dogs. At the same time, many of them, for example, French bulldogs, are prone to gaining excess weight. It follows that for nutrition, they need exceptional balanced food, and its portions must be strictly verified, as well as the feeding regimen.

The idea that they only need to sit in the hands of the owner is just a myth: all dogs of small and dwarf breeds are not opposed to having fun at home and trampling the paths of the nearest park. The owner of a small dog should have enough free time to devote to regular walks and games with his pet.

What kind of care is required for small and toy breed dogs?

Caring for dogs of small and dwarf breeds requires an expert approach due to their physiological and psychological characteristics.

Your home security

dwarf breeds

Check if your apartment or house is suitable for keeping an animal with a fragile structure and miniature size. If there are any attractive elevations for the dog that he wants to climb and from which he naturally wants to jump, they make access impossible. Remove any objects from the floor that the puppy can chew on or swallow. This also applies to children’s toys – if your child has his room, limit access to it for a pet. So that the dog always has something to do with himself and something to sharpen his teeth, buy unique toys that are safe for the pet.

If you live in a private house, make sure that your garden is also safe for a small animal: it should not contain places where a four-legged friend risks getting lost, as well as plants dangerous to the health and life of a pet.

Careful handline

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Always grab the puppy firmly with both hands, clasping his chest, and in no case let him jump off your hands or knees – instead, gently place the dog on the floor yourself. Also, ensure that your little friend does not climb on high pieces of furniture or window sills and does not jump off them on his own – such exercises can result in serious injuries.

Closing doors are hazardous for small dogs: use restraints to prevent your pet from getting hurt. It will not be superfluous to use special nozzles in the house for sharp corners of furniture, at least in the first months of a pet’s life: hyperactive small dogs run and jump quickly while not noticing the dangerous obstacles around.

Dogs of miniature and dwarf breeds, although they have developed muscles, have a fragile skeletal structure and often suffer from congenital diseases of the spine. Therefore, you should handle them carefully and follow the simple rules for caring for hair, teeth, and ears.

Mandatory care kit

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For the puppy’s first days and later in life, you will need a leash and harness (for many “compact” breeds, it is better and safer than a collar), a toothbrush (dogs of small and dwarf breeds need special oral care), utensils for food and dishes for water, a comfortable dog bed that can be washed in a washing machine. The mattress should be of such a size that it does not have to be changed throughout the entire period of growth of the dog. Since the difference in size between a puppy and an adult dog of a miniature or toy breed is not so great, this is easy to provide.

The coat of some representatives of these breeds requires special care: the hair of the Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, and other long-haired small dogs is so long and thick that the obligatory components of grooming are trips to a dog hairdresser or an independent haircut at home, frequent washing, daily combing and even wrapping on hairpins (for some show dogs). Therefore, you should immediately purchase unique products for washing and care, several types of combs, and brushes (depending on the breed).

Dental care

Dogs of miniature and dwarf breeds are prone to diseases of the teeth and gums. To prevent such troubles, examining the oral cavity and brushing the pet’s teeth should be an integral part of daily care.

Use only special dog paste that is safe for the animal to swallow. And remember that proper nutrition also helps to avoid many dental problems.

Ear care

Check and clean your dog’s ears several times a week. But only the outer, visible part of the ear should be treated, and in no case should you climb into the auditory canal so as not to injure the pet. Long-haired dogs, as a rule, also have hair on their ears, which also needs to be sheared or shaved from time to time since sulfur and various contaminants can accumulate in it, in which bacteria actively multiply.

Hair care

Some small dogs have a very thick and long coat that requires professional care: trips to the dog hairdresser will become a habitual and regular activity for you, but between such visits, the animal’s hair needs grooming – daily combing with a soft brush and removing tangles, if they still appear. Short-haired dogs also need constant hair care, but more straightforward and without visiting dog hairdressers: it is enough to comb them out once or twice a week to remove dead hairs in time.

Grooming training

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You can start with short brushing:

  • Run the brush over the puppy’s back a couple of times.
  • Praise the puppy for patience.
  • Treat him to a dog treat and let him run around a bit.
  • Repeat the procedure.

And if fear causes a hair dryer, first let the dog sniff it, touch it with its paw, then turn it on at low power and point it at a piece of paper or a feather: the puppy will be interested in watching the process, he will see that there is nothing to be afraid of, and will allow him to blow on himself. In grooming, take your pet in your arms, talk to him in an affectionate voice, stroke, be prudent, and do not overdo it with petting so as not to provoke stress. And if you manage to turn these procedures into an exciting game, your pet will look forward to them.


Dogs of miniature and dwarf breeds are real lovers of hiding and seek, but at an early age, they are poorly oriented and can easily get lost when they run away from home or while walking. To be on the safe side, be sure to purchase a collar for your puppy with a key fob that will contain the pet’s name and your address and phone number, or have your pet microchipped at the veterinarian.

Temperature regimen

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Small dogs also need periodic bathing, especially since they are active on walks and do not miss the opportunity to lie on the ground properly. They should be washed gently with warm water, using a special shampoo, and after washing, be sure to dry thoroughly with a towel.

Since many small and toy breed dogs are susceptible to cold and catch a cold easily, immediately after bathing, place your pet in a warm place away from drafts. Remember that small dogs should only be kept in a warm room, their bed should be away from windows and doors, and warm clothes should be worn on a four-legged friend for a walk in cold weather: dog overalls, jacket, or vest.

But overheating is no less harmful, especially for pugs, Pekingese, and other dogs with flattened muzzles. Keep an eye on the temperature at home, do not put the bed near the heaters and in the sun, do not walk for a long time in the summer heat, and in the heat, take water with you for a walk so that the dog can always drink and cool off. And never leave your pet alone in the car, especially in intense and hot weather: a heated vehicle can become a death trap for such a dog or at least painful imprisonment.

How do you avoid stress and deal with small dog hyperactivity?

Raising small pets has several features due to their hyperactivity and hypersensitivity, so the process should begin at 2-3 months, immediately after moving from the nursery to a new home.

Eliminate stress

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Only having appeared in a new house, the puppy will undoubtedly be surrounded by increased attention, which is fraught with stress for him. Therefore, try to protect your pet from loud noise and excessive activity, and make his first days in the house as calm as possible. Provide a secluded place where he could retire if necessary, hiding from the excessive attention of the household. This can also be a carrier cage for dogs of small and dwarf breeds: it will serve as a shelter and will soon come in handy for trips to the veterinarian or traveling by car.

As a rule, small and dwarf dogs get along well with children and often become their best friends. But keep in mind that they, due to their size and fragility, need careful handling. When getting a “compact” pet, teach your child to be cautious with the animal and make sure that their communication takes place under the supervision of one of the adults.

For the same reason, you need to limit the space in which small pets can play. Shut off rooms where something could be dangerous for them, and do not let the animal run far in the garden or the yard of your house.

Taming hyperactivity

One of the main problems in raising dogs of small and dwarf breeds is their hyperactivity and tendency to show aggression towards other dogs and cats. It is not so difficult to deal with this: if the pet starts to “rage,” keep him busy: for example, with educational games, logic puzzles, and nose work. On walks, hide a ball or favorite toy in the grass or snow – so the dog is distracted by searching for it.

For feeding adult dogs of small or dwarf breeds, you should choose specialized foods, strictly following the instructions on the number of servings placed on the package.

dwarf breeds

Do not focus on other dogs or cats: and if the dog becomes too excited before the walk, runs down the corridor, barks, jumps – sit down, holding her by the leash, and wait until she calms down.

The upbringing and training of the dog should be carried out gradually, with patience and using the method of encouragement, but in no case punishing – you should not use force or raise your voice. Many small and toy breeds are susceptible to such treatment and can hold a grudge for a long time, like Chihuahuas, who have increased self-esteem.

Praise your pet for good deeds, encourage correct behavior, and calmly reprimand him for hooliganism. But remember that many of these dogs need a rather strict approach to education: the owner must clearly show the seriousness of his intentions, not indulge in whims, especially when the pet begs for food from the table, which, by the way, is typical for dogs of small and dwarf breeds.

Read: Choosing a dog according to its character