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10 Myths about Small Dogs

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When it comes to small dog breeds there are a number of misconceptions, many of which are completely untrue. Here we take a look at 10 common myths and examine the facts.

10 Myths about Small Dogs

  1. Small dogs are “yappy”

All dogs can be noisy without the proper training and that includes some of the small breeds but there are also some breeds which are quiet and don’t bark much at all.

Some of these are the Japanese Chin, Italian Greyhound, Chinese Crested and Boston Terrier.

It is important to remember that incessant barking can be caused by a number of factors, including boredom, lack of exercise and training.

Check out our main post that showcases all our chihuahua facts articles!

Teaching the word “quiet” to your pooch from an early age will help prevent excess barking.
10 myths about small dogs

  1. Small dogs don’t need as much exercise

It is often thought that because small dogs are seen carried around that they do not require much exercise. Wrong!

While some smaller breeds like the Pekingese and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are happy living as a couch potato, all dogs need regular walks to keep them healthy and happy.

Some small breeds are quite high-energy, loving activities such as agility. These include terrier breeds like the Border Terrier, Jack Russell, and Cairn Terrier along with the Affenpinscher, Dachshund and Toy Poodle.

Making sure your four-legged friend gets sufficient activity also has the benefit of preventing bad behavior because of boredom such as excessive barking and destructiveness.

  1. Small dogs are for girls

While many small dogs are used as fashion accessories for female celebrities it is not an indication that little dogs are frou-frou and just for the ladies to carry around in bags.

Many smaller breeds have huge personalities and lots of attitude so don’t judge a dog by its size or haircut. Terriers especially are fearless, loyal and confident making great pets for both women and men.

  1. Small dogs are easier to care for than larger dogs

Little dogs may cost less to feed than other dogs and when they decide to chew something it won’t be on the same scale as a German Shepherd but they can still destroy your favorite Jimmy Choos.

You may have the cutest puppy in the world but they will be just as much of a challenge as larger breeds.

Many small breeds need more walks because they have small bladders and in general are harder to house-train than big dogs. You will also have to spend more time and maybe more money training.

Other people tend to accept a small dog’s bad habits like jumping up more easily undoing all your hard work time and time again. Many small dogs have a high prey drive and can be prone to wander.

  1. Small dogs don’t make good watchdogs

While a Chihuahua may not be able to tackle an intruder like a Doberman, he is not usually welcoming of strangers and has the tenacity of dogs ten times larger.

He will enthusiastically let his pack know if anything, human or animal invades his territory.

Besides the Chihuahua, little dogs that can be extremely protective of their families are the Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer and Jack Russell Terrier all of which make excellent watchdogs.

  1. Small dogs are not good with children

Size is irrelevant when it comes down to your dog being good with children. It all depends on the proper training, the children respecting the animal and the inherent temperament of the pooch.

Any size of dog can inflict serious damage on a child and must be supervised at all times.

Of course, there are breeds which have less patience than others and will not tolerate being man-handled.

Some little dogs that are especially good with kids include, pugs, Cockapoos, Cocker Spaniels, Bichon Frises and French Bulldogs.

  1. Small dogs are lap dogs

Contrary to popular belief, not all small dogs want to sit on your lap and be cuddled the whole time.

Many are very energetic and are on the go much of the time and while breeds such as the Japanese Chin and Bichon Frise will happily never leave your side or laps.

Others such as the Cairn Terrier, Westie, and Miniature Pinscher have tons of energy and will want to play.

  1. Small dogs are snappy

The small dog often has the reputation of being snappy, but this is down to the owner, not the dog.

Puppies that are socialized, trained correctly and given enough mental and physical stimulation will grow to be well-adjusted adults no matter what size they are.

Unfortunately, many tiny canines are allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviors as their size makes these behaviors seem cute. It isn’t!

Dogs have no concept of size and neither should their owner when it comes to respect.

  1. Small dogs do not welcome strangers

This can be true with some small breeds but is mainly to do with what the dog was originally bred for and training.

For example, although they may look similar the Lhasa Apso was bred to guard ancient temples while the Shi Tzu was bred as a companion dog so the former is more likely to be suspicious of strangers.

Small dogs have the reputation for being jealous and protective of their families but this is due to the owner letting them get away with behavior which wouldn’t be tolerated in a much larger dog.

  1. Small dogs get on better with other animals

This is perhaps the most common misconception of them all, while some like the Pug and Toy Poodle get on well with small furries, most of the terrier group are small and have an extremely high prey drive.

There may be exceptions to the rule, but it is unlikely a Jack Russell or Cairn Terrier will get on well with your pet gerbil.

Small dogs are cute, of that there is no doubt and make fantastic family pets but with all dogs, it is essential to research the breed before bringing one into your home to see which best fits your lifestyle.

It is important to remember that consistent training and socialization is essential for any size of dog to ensure it grows into a confident and well-adjusted adult.

Author Bio

John Devlin

Owner –

Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now ad then would be nice!

10 Myths about Small Dogs


Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

does anyone have problems with their Chi not wanting to go outside? we try to get ours to go out and she will go hide under the bed. then in about 10 minutes she wants out. or she will go outside and come in and potty in the house. how do we get her to go potty right?


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

My sympathies to Cindy William.

I also have a puppy farm rescue chi.....though I dont believe she is 100% chihuahua! But she is the light of my life! Little "Honey". Even more so during these covid times.

Take care and perhaps you will get another rescue?

Eleanor Paton

Tuesday 2nd of August 2022

@Rose, I have a granddoggie, chi and have had one of my own. I have a rescue part Dashhound and chihuahua she/I want to rescue a chihuahua. Do you live in Ontario?

Zoeanne Daniel

Saturday 11th of September 2021

I'm a Chihuahua fan and have had four altogether and one that was one half i c an say they were all good with children my aunt was a breeder and will tell you they are just like other dogs some are good with children and are not. Zoeanne Daniel


Saturday 11th of September 2021

That hasn't been my experience nor the experience of many readers. A few chis do well with kids but the majority of them don't,

Cathy Mayfield

Friday 11th of September 2020

Enjoyed! I have a 4 lb 5 oz little girl that will dare a Great Dane to come near her! She won’t play anymore. I try to get her to but she won’t. Any ideas?


Tuesday 15th of September 2020

Do you have another dog around that will play? My Lucy stopped playing but whenever she sees Ziggy playing, she wants to play again. Sometimes they do seem to outgrow it.


Saturday 7th of September 2019

Most American cocker spaniels are not good with kids, because of indiscriminate and over breeding of them that has caused a chemical imbalance in their brains, which resulted in a lot of children getting bitten. They are fine around respectful adults. English cocker spaniels have not been bred like the American cocker has been, so they are still good around children.


Saturday 7th of September 2019

Yeah I remember as a kid, we had a cocker named Penny who would be fine one second and then just bite you out of the blue for no reason. Turned out he had a brain tumor that caused the crazy mood swings. I don't think I'd have them around kids.