Toy breed dogs may be the smallest of canine companions, but they’re still a huge commitment. As with any dog, they require lots of love and attention from their owners, with some specific needs thanks to their miniature size. So, being small doesn’t necessarily mean being easier to look after!
When it comes to what counts as a toy breed, their size is the most obvious marker. They have also commonly been bred to be companion or lap dogs. For this reason, they make some of the most loyal, friendly pooches, making it no surprise they’re a popular choice of pet.
Choosing the right toy breed for you
They might have size in common, but every toy breed has a unique personality. Make sure you pick your paw-fect pooch partner by doing a lot of research.
For instance, if you plan to leave your dog at home alone often, a Pomeranian may not be for you as they can suffer with separation anxiety. Chihuahuas on the other hand are usually happy to be left alone for a while.
Some other factors to consider are energy levels, whether they shed a lot of hair, health problems (which we come to later), and how they’ll get on with the rest of your human and fur family.
What's the best food for toy breed dogs?
A little Yorkie is never going to need to follow the same diet as a gigantic Great Dane. We have a special Tiny Paws range, with balanced recipes that have been created to give your pint-sized pooch all the nutrients they need without overpowering their digestive system.
Another way to prevent digestive problems is stick to two or three little meals a day, rather than giving them their food all in one go. Stick to the same routine too, dishing up dinners at the same time each day.
Monitor your four-legged friend’s appetite, weight and eating habits to ensure you aren’t feeding them too much or too little. We provide feeding guidelines on our products but each pet is an individual and may differ slightly to our suggestions - a chat with your vet can help you decide if you need to up or decrease portion sizes.
Training toy breed dogs
There is little difference between training small breeds and larger ones; the same lessons need to be learnt and the same training techniques can be applied. What does make a difference is our tendency to spoil toy breeds in comparison with their larger counterparts.
Smaller size can mean smaller consequences for bad behaviour, and so owners let rule-breaking slide more often. We can also be guilty of babying toy breeds - carrying them instead of letting them walk is one common example of this. This can all quickly add up to bad habits that are hard to break.
Hard as it may be to resist their puppy dog eyes, as a toy breed owner you will need to take responsibility for consistent training. Otherwise you had better prepare for some diva-like behaviour from your pooch!
Common health problems
There are some health problems that are more common in toy breeds. Small amounts of fat mean hypothermia is more likely to affect our littlest canines. They don’t deal with sudden temperature changes well, so it is especially important to keep an eye on them during hot or cold spells.
Hypoglycemia is also a risk for toy breed puppies and can be fatal; feeding them three to four times a day will help prevent their blood sugar dipping.
Certain breeds come with their own potential health complications. For example, Dachshunds are prone to Intervertebral Disk Disease, while heart murmurs are more common in Bichon Frises than other breeds.
Again, it’s your responsibility as a toy breed owner to get clued up on your dog’s health and keeping an eye out for any problems. Lots of research and chats with your vet are the best way of doing so!
Which breed are you thinking of adding to the family? Let us know how you’re preparing for your new toy breed dog on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.