10 Best Small Dog Breeds for Indoor Pets
How to Choose a Small Dog
Are you thinking of getting a small dog to be your faithful companion for the next few years? Small dogs make great companions, are often easier to manage than large dogs, and each breed has its own personality and special traits. Before you decide to get a small dog, it is a good idea to consider your needs, research breeds and decide if you would rather adopt your new companion or purchase one from a reputable breeder. Since getting a dog is a serious, long-term commitment, it is important to take your time and fully consider your lifestyle and what you want out of a dog.
Considering Size and Breed
Determine if a small dog is right for you.A small dog might be best if you have a small living space or if you do not feel capable of handling a large or medium size dog. Still, it is a good idea to think about your reasons for wanting a small dog before you make your decision. Are you looking for a dog that will sit on your lap and keep you company at night? Or are you looking for a guard dog that will bark to alert you if there are potential intruders nearby? Take some time to identify the reasons why you think a small dog is the best choice for you and your lifestyle.
Think about what you want in a canine companion.In addition to considering your reasons for wanting a small dog, you should also think about the type of personality you want your small dog to have. Small dog personalities vary greatly by breed, so it is important to identify the traits that you want your dog to have before you start considering breeds.
Research small dog breeds.Once you have considered the personality that you want your small dog to have, start researching small dog breeds to find one that is compatible with what you want. There are many small dog breeds and they all have different personalities, temperaments, and traits because of their breeding history.
- Any small dog breed with “terrier” attached to the name has been breed to hunt or work, so they can be feisty and do best as an only pet. This is why your research is so valuable, because certain types of terrier are not so good with small children. Terriers as a whole have a strong instinct to chase cats and may not be the best choice if you have other pets.
- Talk to a veterinarian about to get a recommendation on a small dog breed that would be compatible with your lifestyle.
Be aware of potential health issues.Some small breed dogs are more prone to health problems than others. For example, dachshunds are more prone to intervertebral disc disease, pugs are more prone to respiratory issues, and miniature poodles are more prone to pancreatitis.Keep common health problems in mind as you consider breeds. Since owning a pet is a lifelong commitment, you should be sure that you are willing and able to deal with any health problems that your pet may encounter over the course of its life.
- Consider whether you will be able to handle the veterinary bills if your pet is afflicted by a disease or other condition that is common to its breed. If not, you should consider a breed or a mix that is less likely to encounter major health problems.
Adopting a Small Dog
Consider adoption before looking into breeders.Many people surrender their dogs to local animal shelters simply because they cannot afford to keep them, not because they are bad dogs. Before you look into purchasing a dog from a breeder, check your local animal shelter to see what types of small dogs they have available. If you choose to adopt, you can take pride in the fact that you are providing a loving home to a deserving little dog and helping your local animal shelter in the process.
- Adoption is cheaper than buying from a breeder, since some breeders may charge upwards of a 00 for one of their dogs. Adoption costs are kept low to encourage people to adopt. The cost of adopting a dog is usually between -0.
- Another advantage of adopting from a shelter is that the dog will already be up to date on his or her shots, spayed or neutered, and possibly even house trained.
- You can even learn about the dog’s personality from the shelter employees or the people who are currently fostering the dog.
- Adopting a dog from your local shelter may even save its life, since shelters are so overcrowded and many shelter have to euthanize perfectly good animals to conserve space.
Visit your local shelter.If you have decided to look at small dogs at your local shelter, find out when their visiting hours are and then go for a visit. When you go, ask to walk through the shelter and meet some of the available dogs. Some dog shelters have pictures of dogs available for adoption on their websites, which may help you to identify the dogs that appeal to you before you go for a visit.
Pay attention to body language.As you walk through the shelter, pay attention to how the dogs that you are interested in react to you. Do they seem playful, shy, aggressive, or fearful? Watch for positive body language such as wagging tails, pressing against the cage to sniff you, and relaxed open mouths. If a dog seems aggressive (barking, growling, etc.), you should probably steer clear of that dog.
Spend some quiet time with your top choice.Once you have identified a dog that seems like it will make a good companion, ask to spend some time with the dog. You should allow the dog to come and investigate you. Allow him to sniff you and approach you in his own time. Pet the dog and see how he responds to your attention.
Ask shelter employees and volunteers about the dog’s demeanor and behavior.Once you have had a chance to spend time with a dog, you should ask some questions about the dog to decide if he is right for you. The shelter employees and volunteers have spent lots of time with the dogs in the shelter, so they should be able to answer any questions that you have about the dog’s energy level, personality, and so on. Make sure to tell them what you are looking for in a canine companion as well.
Visit again before making your final decision.If possible, it is a good idea to pay another visit before you take your dog home with you. If you have a partner, children, or another dog who could not come with you on this first visit, make sure that you bring them along for the second visit. It is important to make sure that your new dog gets along well with everyone that is living in your home.
Finding a Breeder
Research breeders.If you decide that you want to purchase a dog from a local breeder, do your homework before you select one. Ask around to find a reputable breeder in your area. Talk to friends, a local veterinarian, local pet shops, and doggy day care centers to find out who the most reputable breeders are in your area. You should also pay a visit to the breeder to see where the dogs are kept and how they are treated before you consider one of their dogs.Reputable breeders will do certain things to make sure that their dogs are healthy and happy, which affects the health and temperament of the dog when you take it home.
Schedule a visit to a breeder’s home.Reputable breeders will be happy to have you come to their home, meet their dogs, and show you around. If you contact a breeder and they seem unwilling to have you over to see their dogs and where they are kept, that is a red flag. You may want to avoid this breeder because he or she may not be taking good care of the dogs, which can mean that the dog will have health and/or behavioral problems.
Consider the living conditions of the breeder’s dogs.When you go to visit a breeder, he or she should show you where the dogs are kept. If not, make sure that you ask to see where they eat, sleep, play, etc. As a general rule, small dog breeders should keep their dogs in their home rather than in an outdoor run. Consider some of the following questions as well:
- Are the dogs’ living spaces clean and well-maintained?
- Do the dogs have ample space to run and play or are they confined to small cages?
- Do the living conditions seem overcrowded? (too many dogs for the space they are provided)
Observe the behavior of the dogs.The way that a breeder’s dogs react to you and to the breeder may also be a sign that this person is or is not a reputable breeder. Pay special attention to how the dogs react to you when you approach them or when the breeder approaches them. The dogs should not do things that indicate that they are fearful, such as cowering or hiding. The dogs should seem healthy, energetic, and playful.
Pay attention to the breeder’s behavior and knowledge.The breeder should seem like someone who loves dogs and also knows a lot about them. If the breeder seems to lack knowledge or seems uninterested in the well-being of dogs that she has now or has sold to other people, this may be a red flag that the breeder does not have her dogs’ best interests in mind. A reputable breeder should:
- be knowledgeable about the dogs he or she breeds. The breeder should also encourage multiple visits by you and your family members
- show you documentation on the dogs used to breed her puppies
- provide references from other families who have purchased dogs from her stock
- be involved with local breeding clubs specific to the types of dogs she breeds
- provide information on training and care
- not always have puppies available, but be willing to put you on a waiting list for one of her puppies in the future
Find out about the breeder’s requirements.Reputable breeders will not just sell their dogs to anyone with money. They will have certain requirements for the people that want to purchase one of their dogs. Consider the questions that the breeder asks you to determine if he or she is reputable. If the breeder is reputable, you should be able to answer yes to all of the following questions:
- Does the breeder require you to explain why you want a dog?
- Does the breeder ask you to explain who will provide the dog’s needs such as walking, feeding, and training?
- Does the breeder ask you to sign a contract saying you will spay or neuter the dog unless you plan to breed it?
- If you rent, does the breeder ask you to provide proof that dogs are allowed in your apartment?
- Does the breeder ask you to provide references?
- Does the breeder provide you with a health contract and give you plenty of time to look it over before signing?
- Does the breeder ask you to sign a contract saying that you will return the dog to him or her if you are no longer able to care for the dog?
QuestionI've had my dog since birth, and she's 10 years old and I'm worried she'll die soon. How do I cope?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEnjoy being with your dog while she's still here. Take lots of pictures of your dog and write down some things you'll want to remember about her. When the time comes and she does pass away, you will be sad, but try and focus on the happy years you had together. Allow yourself time to grieve before bringing home another animal.Thanks!
- Never buy a dog from a pet store or from someone without good references. Buying dogs from these channels supports puppy mills, which are known to subject dogs to poor living conditions.
Video: How to Choose the Perfect Dog Breed Just for You
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