We see so many celebrities these days with an adorable small dog tucked under one arm… it’s never a bad thing to take a moment to remember that the fluffy Fido is not a fashion accessory to be chosen for his looks alone.

Dogs do need a considerable amount of human care and attention, to begin with — even the adorable pocket-sized Pomeranium pups. But the second most important factor to consider, after the question of whether your lifestyle is really suited to dog ownership, is what breed of dog you should choose.

I’ve just been re-reading Stanley Coren’s brilliant book Why We Love the Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality(highly recommended) which matches human personality types, based on four different characteristics, with the personalities of different dog breed groups. It’s an excellent first step to figuring out what pooch will find a place in your heart — because not every breed of dog is the right dog for every individual or family.

Each kind of dog is quite different, even when their sizes are similar, as Pat Schraier explains below… 

Small Dogs – Different Breeds, Different Personalities

by Pat Schraier

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Small dog breeds are great pets, but since their personalities are all different, it’s a good idea to look at their individual characteristics to see if they fit with your lifestyle.


Pomeranians developed from a much larger dog breed and seem to have retained the mellow character. They are good with children if they have been raised with them from puppyhood. They are playful and active. They tend to bark and require daily grooming.


Chihuahuas are an interesting small breed. I have raised several herds – and that is a good word for a group of chihuahuas – and their temperment is a bit different from other small dogs. They can be very aggressive towards other dog breeds. I adopted one chihuahua who kept attacking a German Shepherd who finally bit her. After she got out of the hospital she went after him again. I ended up with her because she wasn’t going to quit attacking bigger dogs. Some chihuahuas will growl and nip at small children. Good points – chihuahuas are very loyal and affectionate. They don’t require as much exercise as other small breeds so they make ideal pets for apartment dwellers or older people. They are good with cats.

Boston Terrier

Good with children and other animals, the Boston terrier is a good small dog for families. They are suitable for any lifestyle. They can be aggressive chewers. Their short coat is easy to keep clean.


This small dog breed can be very protective of its owner. It is not suitable for families with children because they are very fragile.

Jack Russell Terrier

This dog breed is only for the most active owners. They love to chase balls, can hop onto a table with ease and can be aggressive if not trained properly. Very intelligent and lively, they require a lot of attention and discipline.

This small dog breed can be very protective of its owner. It is not suitable for families with children because they are very fragile.

Shitzu or Shih tzu

Good natured and non-aggressive, these friendly little dogs make great family pets. They require daily brushing but their hair is non-shedding. Good with other animals.

Bichon Frise

These little dogs make good family pets. They are good with children as well as other animals. Very intelligent, easy to train and lively. Their coat doesn’t shred.


Not a hound but a terrier bred to go after vermin, the breed is lively and affectionate. Good with family members but will become aggressive to children outside the family. They make good watchdogs and will bark frequently to alert their owners.


Very fierce and loyal, these little dogs are not good around children or other animals. These are good dogs for the elderly. Their coats require a good deal of grooming.

Skye Terrier

Great with children, okay with other dogs but not tolerant of cats. This unique breed makes a fine pet. Distrustful of strangers.

The next step after selecting a breed is to find a reputable breeder. To get more information, visit us at www.dog-match.com/small-dog-breeds.

About the author: Pat Schraier has not only owned chihuahuas but a cocker spaniel, a dachshund,a black lab,a boxer and a terrier mix. Visit the website www.dog-match.com for breed information, health care and other resources.

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