Small dogs are often bred-down, smaller versions of the larger dogs with which we are all familiar. Some of these small dogs once had jobs but they have become lap dogs or small house dogs now. Here’s a look at some of the different types of small house dogs you may encounter.
There are a number of small house dogs that have terrier-like traits or which are related to the terrier breeds. “Pinscher” means terrier in German and the Affenpinscher and Miniature Pinscher were created from larger terrier breeds. The Brussels Griffon was also created from terrier breeds. The Manchester Terrier, the Silky Terrier, the Toy Fox Terrier, and the Yorkshire Terrier all have the terrier spirit and were bred from terriers. So, if you like terriers you will have no trouble finding a small house dog with terrier traits. Many of these dogs are brave and have lots of personality.
There is a hint of the sporting dog in some small dogs, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Dogs that resembled the Cavalier can be seen in paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries in England. Like sporting dogs, the Cavalier is a gentle dog who loves to be with his owner. They make excellent family dogs. There are several Toy dogs and Non-Sporting dogs with the name “Spaniel” such as the English Toy Spaniel but these dogs are not actually spaniels. It’s possible that there was some spaniel mixed in with these breeds at some point long ago, but they are Toy dogs and should not be considered spaniel in type or personality.
The Pomeranian and the American Eskimo Dog in the Non-Sporting group are reminiscent of the northern dogs that once pulled sleds. They look like Spitz-type dogs. The Pomeranian was at one time much larger and used to be a sled dog in northern areas. The American Eskimo Dog is the descendant of several different white breeds such as the white German Spitz, the white Keeshond, and white Pomeranian dogs, among others. They were exceptionally smart dogs and were used as circus dogs because they were so easy to train.
You can even find a member of the Hound group among the small house dogs. The Italian Greyhound, which stands only 15 inches tall at the shoulder, is a smaller version of the Greyhound and the Whippet. These gentle, playful dogs are quite laid back and relaxed and make wonderful companions for the home.
You can find a number of small house dogs who were once kept as watchdogs. For example, the Lhasa Apso, the Tibetan Spaniel (who is not really a spaniel), and the Tibetan Terrier (who is not really a terrier) were all kept in Tibet as watchdogs for Buddhist monks and for the nobility. The Tibetan Terrier was even used as a small herding dog at times. These little dogs will still watch over you in your home.
Finally, there are many small dogs which have always been companions and lapdogs. The Pekingese, the Chinese Crested, the Japanese Chin, the Maltese, the Papillon, and the Pug have always been valued as pets. They still fulfill that important role today as small house dogs.
Small house dogs have interesting and varied backgrounds. Many of these breeds were originally kept for other purposes. They come from terrier, sporting, spitz, and the hound group, for example. Some small dogs, however, have always been kept as companions. Whichever small dog you choose, they are all loving and make good pets.