The American Kennel Club (AKC) description of Toy dog breeds says it all: “The diminutive size and winsome expressions of Toy dogs illustrate the main function of this Group: to embody sheer delight. Don’t let their tiny stature fool you, though – many Toys are tough as nails.”
Toy breeds listed by the AKC include: the Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, Havanese, Italian Greyhound, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, and Yorkshire Terrier.
Preparing your home for a toy breed puppy is similar in many ways to bringing home any puppy. For more information on puppy-proofing your home in general, see Puppy-Proofing Your Home.
Toy Dogs: Feisty But Fragile
But because toy puppies are so little, it’s especially important to ensure their safety around children. Toy breeds can be quite tough but they are still physically fragile compared to their larger counterparts.
Toy dogs are usually less than 15 inches tall and weigh less than 15 pounds, according to Animal-World.com, with some of the smallest dogs weighing less than 6 pounds. Teacup dogs are even smaller than Toy dogs. Smaller versions of certain breeds include the Teacup Chihuahua, Teacup Maltese, Teacup Pomeranian, and Teacup Poodle, although Teacups are not officially recognized as separate breeds, notes the website Animal-World.com.
So with a tiny puppy potentially underfoot, it’s very important to supervise interactions between the new addition and small children, and teach children how to handle the little dogs. Carlene Snyder, chairman of the health and research committee for the American Shih Tzu Club, notes that young children can get very excited around a new puppy and can easily frighten or injury it inadvertently. For example, children love to pick up puppies for a cuddle, but a dog that isn’t used to its new surroundings and people may jump out of the child’s arms and get hurt falling on the floor, Snyder explains.
Here are three tips to help build a good relationship between puppy and child:
Always supervise. Nipping and snapping are not out of the question with any young, untrained dog. So never let children play with a toy breed puppy, or any puppy for that matter, unattended. All interactions should be monitored by an adult, says Snyder.
Show and tell. Be sure to teach your child or the children of friends, how to quietly approach the puppy and play gently with it. Set an example by showing children how to let the puppy approach you and how to play with the toys it likes best. Let the child give the puppy treats at appropriate times.
Provide a safe place. It’s important to make sure the puppy has access to safe place, like a dog crate, when he or she has had enough play time. Make sure children know not to disturb the puppy when he is sleeping, eating, or in its safe place.
Finally, do your homework. Not every toy breed is good with very young children. Get all the information you can to choose the right dog for your family and lifestyle.
Image: -po / via Flickr