Some say the world is divided into dog people and non-dog people. While that may be true, it is further divided into big dog people and small dog people. Big dog folks are the ones who say things like “I prefer real dogs” when you introduce them to your little shih tzu, or who smile condescendingly when you parade through the park with your Italian greyhound in its snowsuit.
It all boils down to stereotyping, but those of us who cherish pint-size pets can be as guilty of it as the next person. Of course we know that a dog is a dog regardless of its size. But let's admit it — we secretly delight in babying our diminutive dandies. It's all about love and nurturing, part of the reason we wanted a little dog in the first place, but we know in our heart of hearts that small dogs are every bit as courageous, loyal, and protective of their loved ones as the big boys are. All dogs need our companionship, proper nutrition, a warm place to sleep, a safe home, and lots of love and attention.
Small dogs have the same needs as large dogs. The tiny miniature pinscher must be trained and socialized, just like its big Doberman cousin. The perky Pomeranian needs its bouffant coat brushed as much as the chow chow. Although your Boston terrier may not need as much room to let off steam as the lanky Dalmatian, it still benefits greatly from a daily walk around the block.
As a professional dog groomer for three decades and a lifelong dog owner, I have come to love and appreciate the small dogs who have graced my home and my grooming table, bringing a smile to my face and teaching me what wonderful companions they can be. Each one has its own beauty, whether it be the perfectly sculpted bichon frise or the comical pug, who would rather stand on its head than get its nails trimmed.
I hope this book will help you find out if you really are a small dog person. It will debunk the myths about small dogs, detail their special needs, and help you decide if you have room for one in your home as well as in your heart.
If you do decide to join this select fraternity, I hope this book will help you select the right small dog for you and your family, steering you through introductory research on breeds and their history and instructing you on how and where to find your own small dog. It will also help you find the support systems that you will need: veterinary care, grooming, trainers, and caretakers.
If this book lights a spark in your heart, and you are successful in your quest, I wish you all the joy and love I have derived from the small dogs in my life. Like Dorothy and Toto, may you and your little dog skip down the Yellow Brick Road, sharing a long and happy life together.