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The Most Popular Small Dog Breeds (and Why We Love Them)

most popular dog breeds and why we love them

Small dog breeds are among the most popular breeds because they do well in smaller spaces, they tend to shed less, and they’re very portable! We present our list of the most popular small dog breeds, along with tips for training, grooming and loving small dogs.

What are the Smallest Dog Breeds?

While larger breeds are often noted for their bravery and obedience, smaller canines carry the stereotype of being high-strung, anxious, and fearful. Oh yeah, and yappy! Yes, smaller dogs can seem hyper-sensitive to other animals, sounds, and people in their environment. However, we must understand their size puts them at a significant disadvantage in terms of self-preservation over their larger counterparts. 

For these reasons, research the breeds you’re interested in bringing into your home, especially if you want to avoid a breed that has a rowdy reputation or doesn’t do well with young children. Some small breeds may be too fragile and require a calmer, quieter environment. Here are some of the most popular small dog breeds starting with the shortest (height range, weight range):

  • Dachshund – 5-6 inches (miniature), 8-9 inches (standard), up to 11 pounds (miniature), 16-32 pounds (standard)
  • Cairn terrier – 9.5-10.5 inches, 13-14 pounds
  • Bichon frise – 9.5-11.5 inches, 12-18 pounds
  • Australian terrier – 10-11 inches, 15-20 pounds
  • Pembroke Welsh corgi – 10-12 inches, 28-20 pounds
  • Cardigan Welsh corgi – 10.5-12.5 inches, 25-38 pounds
  • Poodle (miniature) – 10-15 inches, 10-15 pounds
  • Miniature schnauzer – 12-14 inches, 11-20 pounds
  • German Spitz – 12-15 inches, 24-26 pounds
  • Beagle – 13-15 inches (can be under 13 inches), under 20 pounds (13 inches & under), 20-30 pounds (13-15 inches)
  • Cocker spaniel – 13.5-15.5 inches, 20-30 pounds
  • Basenji – 15-17 inches, 22-24 pounds
  • Boston Terrier – 15-17 inches, 12-25 pounds

What are Toy Breeds?

Known as toy breeds due to their stature, the small dog breeds’ tiniest come with huge personalities. The AKC recognizes the following little guys and gals as toy breeds (height range, weight range):

  • Chihuahua – 5-8 inches, less than 6 pounds
  • Pomeranian – 6-7 inches, 3-7 pounds
  • Yorkshire terrier – 7-8 inches, 7 pounds
  • Maltese – 7-9 inches, under 7 pounds
  • Havanese – 8.5-11.5 inches, 7-13 pounds
  • Shih-tzu – 9-10.5 inches, 9-16 pounds
  • Poodle (toy) – no more than 10 inches, 4-6 pounds
  • Pug – 10-13 inches, 14-18 pounds 
  • Chinese crested – 11-13 inches, 8-12 pounds
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel – 12-13 inches, 13-18 pounds

Facts About Small Dogs

Do small dogs bark a lot? 

Yes and no. Although all dogs bark as a way to communicate, very vocal breeds like the Chihuahua, miniature schnauzer, and dachshund don’t need a special occasion to break out into a barking session. Several small breeds like the Shih-tzu and Basenji are among the quietest of all dogs. 

Smaller canines that bark a lot do so for many reasons, such as stressful situations (noisy environments), separation anxiety, and attention-seeking. An anti-bark collar could be a compelling way to help reduce or eliminate your dog’s constant barking. Before you shop, check out the BarxBuddy Guide to anti-bark collars.

Are small dogs hard to train?

Incessant barking isn’t the only issue you may have with a small dog breed. Their diminutive size and larger-than-life personalities can make training a challenge. However, with time, patience, and consistency, you can train your small pet to stop barking or other negative behaviors. To help ensure your training works, you must make some adjustments to how you approach your tiny companion. You’ll need to follow these few tips as well:

  • Never yell at your dog as this could cause him to become aggressive, stressed, fearful, and increase his barking.
  • Use positive reinforcement with lots of praise and tiny treats. 
  • Be sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

Use a firm voice and the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training tool to safely get your dog’s attention when he’s displaying negative behavior like nuisance barking. The device never comes in contact with your pet, unlike no-bark collars, and emits a high-frequency sound that is audible to dogs, not humans.

Are small dogs hard to groom?

Even though small dogs can be difficult to groom, it’s essential for their health and well-being. All dogs need some level of grooming that includes their coat brushed (unless they’re hairless), bathed, teeth brushed, ears cleaned, and nails trimmed with the proper tools. Breeds like the Bishcon frise require enough grooming that you might want to find a professional groomer; however, the French bulldog benefits from a weekly brushing. If you’re interested in grooming your small breed at home, BarxBuddy has ten grooming tips to make the process easier.

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Tips for Training, Raising, and Grooming Big Dog Breeds

Four large dogs in a field

While many dog owners favor teacup and small dog breeds, it’s time to give some love to the most popular large dog breeds. If you’re interested in adopting a larger dog like an Akita or Saint Bernard, or you already own a large sized dog breed, you may have some training, raising, and grooming questions. Are big dogs harder to train than smaller dogs? How expensive is it to raise a large or giant dog? What kind of grooming needs do larger breeds have? Wonder no more. We’ve got tips for raising large, big, and giant dog breeds.

Are Large or Giant Dog Breeds Harder to Train?

Large dogs present a few issues that their diminutive counterparts don’t. The sheer size and weight of larger breeds can make for some precarious situations if your pet isn’t properly trained. Imagine, a 100 pound (or more) dog that doesn’t know he shouldn’t jump on visitors; his sheer weight can throw your guest to the ground. Add the physical characteristics of a larger breed with a stubborn or independent personality and you can find training a larger dog like the dalmatian or Great Dane frustrating.

Here are a few tips that can help make training large dogs a bit easier:

  • As with any dog, especially large breeds, start training and socialization early! This initial experience with your commands and exposure to sights, smells, sounds, and sensations of the environment can help a puppy become a friendly, disciplined, confident adult dog. 
  • Although many large dog breeds, including the German shepherd and Doberman pinscher, grace the AKC “most trainable” list, training any dog requires time, patience, and consistent corrections.
  • Use a firm tone when training. Never yell or scold your dog as this may cause him to become confused, fearful, and may even encourage bad behavior (aggression) on his part.
  • Use positive reinforcement with high-quality treats and praise immediately upon your dog successfully performing a task. 
  • Since larger breeds can come up to an adult’s waist or chest area, be sure to place treats in a pouch or one hand behind your back as they may distract your dog if you hold them in front. 
  • Make the training sessions fun, interesting, and short for larger breeds like the Mastiff, which doesn’t require a significant amount of daily exercise. According to the AKC, this breed can become bored so fast with repetition, that you may find him snoring mid-training.
  • The best bark control for large dogs is the BarxBuddy Ultrasonic training device with a “quiet” command and plenty of praise and treats. 

How Expensive Is Raising a Large Dog?

The cost of raising a large dog is not quite as expensive as raising a child; however, you go through enough 50-pound bags of dog food to make you feel like you’re raising a few teenagers. There are a plethora of expenses to consider when buying or adopting a dog of any size such as:

  • Toys
  • Collars and leashes
  • Beds
  • Food and treats
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Veterinary care
  • Medications and supplements

Because everything is amplified with larger breeds, it’s essential you’re prepared for the cost of raising a big dog. According to Forbes you can expect to spend about $22,000 over a 12-year lifespan. Even though you should expect the unexpected when raising a dog, there are a few things you can do to make the expenses of owning a large breed a little less painful:

  • Look for durable products like fetch or tug toys, dog beds, and grooming supplies
  • Buy or price compare your pet’s meds online
  • Brush your dog’s teeth regularly to prevent expensive dental care
  • Use vet-recommended flea and tick treatments to prevent your dog from becoming ill
  • Spay or neuter your dog (which can ensure you don’t have to care for a litter of dogs)* 
  • Buy food and treats in bulk
  • Better yet, make your dog’s treats
  • Don’t overfeed your dog. Many larger breeds don’t require a lot of exercise, and as such don’t require as much food as you think they do. Talk to your vet about an appropriate diet for your pet. If you’re a math wizard The Ohio State University has a Pet’s Calorie Calculator that can help determine your dog’s calorie needs.
  • Groom your pet at home. You can bathe, brush, and trim your dog’s nails with the proper tools like the BarxBuddy self-cleaning dog brush and BarxBuddy dog nail clippers.

*According to Brown University, spaying reduces the occurrence of breast cancer and eliminates the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer in female dogs, while neutering male dogs reduces the prevalence of prostate cancer).

What Grooming Needs Do Larger Dog Breeds Have? 

Large dogs have the same grooming needs as smaller canines, except larger breeds have more hair to brush, bigger teeth to clean, and larger nails to trim. And, even though dogs don’t all shed like crazy, it’s best to regularly brush your big dog to ensure he doesn’t leave behind big piles of dog hair. Not sure if your pet is a shedder? Check out the BarxBuddy Guide to Shedding Breeds and look for deshedding tools for large dogs. Maintaining your dog’s oral health is essential as it can prevent other issues such as heart and kidney disease. Here are a few tips to make grooming your large or giant breed at home doable:

  • Get an assistant. You never know when you might need someone to help hold onto your dog or hand you supplies.
  • Use a kiddie pool as a makeshift outdoor tub.
  • Keep your pet on a leash if you bathe him outside. This will help keep him from running too far with shampoo in his hair.
  • If you want to bathe your dog inside, use a walk-in shower so you don’t have to lift him into a tub.
  • Use the hairdryer (on a cool setting) to speed up drying your dog’s coat. 
  • Have extra towels around for drying your extra-large dog breed and to keep your grooming area safe and dry.
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How to Control Dog Shedding (Yes! You Can!)

How to control dog shedding

How to Control Dog Shedding

Shed much? If your dog loses a sweater’s worth of hair every time you turn around, you have two options, either take up knitting or focus on how you can control his shedding. Even if your pet sheds a smaller amount but still leaves a trail of fur, regular grooming could reduce or eliminate this mess.

Of course, how often and the amount your dog sheds is dependent on many factors including his breed, water intake, and diet. However, if he routinely sees the vet, drinks at least an ounce of water per pound of his body weight a day and eats a healthy, well-balanced diet, your dog’s shedding is a natural process that can be controlled with a bit of attention. 

Here’s how you can clean up this hairy situation.

Best Deshedding Tools for Long-Haired Dogs

For long-haired, double-coated dogs, especially breeds that are more likely to shed, such as Labrador retriever, Siberian husky, and Pomeranian, use a tool such as a slicker brush that can reach under the outer coat and remove dead hairs. Taken across the outer coat a few times in both directions, a self-cleaning slicker brush is effective at removing tangles and mats.

For periods of increased shedding be sure to use a coat rake. This tool is useful at helping you de-shed or thin out hairs. Pull the rake in the direction of the hair growth, then pull the tool up and away.

Other deshedding tools that are good to use on long-haired dogs include a bristle brush and a wire-pin brush. The bristle brush, which is acceptable for use on all coat types, is best for long-hair dogs because the brush bristles are long and widely spaced. For curly or wooly medium to long length hair a wire-pin brush is ideal.

Best Deshedding Tools for Short-Hair Dogs

Although short-hair dogs don’t have much issue with tangles or matting, they still require regular grooming if you want to rid your home of your dog’s shedded hairs. Because the length of the hair is considerably shorter, the recommended types of deshedding tools vary. 

When looking for a proper deshedding tool, select one that is soft and won’t cause irritation like a slicker brush or coat rake. You can use the BarxBuddy self-cleaning dog brush on all types of coats including short hair. Its soft wire bristles gently collect the hair while distributing your dog’s natural oils, producing a shiner and healthier coat.

Another option for deshedding your short-hair dog is a pet grooming glove. This hair remover mitt is made from soft rubber that helps prevent scratching of the skin and gently massages as the loose hair is removed. This tool is often used when shampooing dogs. 

Deshedding Shampoo vs Brush

When your dog leaves hair all over your floor, furniture, and favorite outfit you’ll try anything to stop the shedding. Some pet owners look to deshedding shampoo as a possible solution instead of a brush. Is one better than the other? Do they work well together?

Deshedding shampoo uses natural ingredients and omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids (which can help reduce shedding in canines) that provide a certain degree of relief. However, even with regular treatment, your dog will still shed. Maybe not as much, but he will continue to lose hair.

The use of deshedding shampoo and regular brushing can improve the situation. You might find over time the price of a good deshedding shampoo too expensive. A cheaper and equally effective alternative is to serve your dog high-quality foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and continue deshedding your pet with the proper tool. 

If you choose to use the deshedding shampoo, watch for skin irritation or allergic reaction. You may want to discuss the best brands with your veterinarian. You should talk with your vet and address your concerns with your dog’s shedding before making any changes to his diet.

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Help! My Dog Hates to be Brushed

My dog hates to be brushed

Are your dog grooming sessions more like a battle of wills? You, the responsible pet owner, have brush in hand ready to work the gnarly tangles out of her coat, while your dog stands defiant and would just assume to bite your face off than endure a grooming session? Or, maybe she sees the brush as an invitation to play which leads to her biting at the brush and acting all kinds of crazy. Either scenario leads to nothing but you both being frustrated.

Before you throw in the brush (see what we did there?), there are a few things you can do to ensure your dog’s grooming sessions don’t play out like an epic fight scene from the big screen. You can take her to the groomer’s regularly, or you can take a few steps and groom your dog yourself, which is the perfect opportunity to save money and build a stronger bond between you both. 

Here’s how you can win the brush battle.

Dog Snaps When Brushed? Be Patient

If your dog snaps or bites when you brush her, you have to let her know immediately that this is a no-no. Be patient. You never know what triggered the aggression. It could be that she had a bad grooming experience before she came to live with you. 

As with everything else about caring for dogs, to successfully teach your dog to like or at least tolerate brushing her coat requires patience and time. Taking the process one step at a time will teach her some self-control and reassure her that the brush is not something to fear.

  • Don’t yell at her. Walk away, take a few deep breaths and try again when you both are calm.
  • Let her sniff the brush. Offer a distraction, such as a treat or toy or treat-toy combination.
  • Give her short breaks. During that time, pet her, scratch her favorite spot, and tell her she’s a good dog.

Ensure You Are Using the Right Brush for Your Dog’s Coat

It’s essential that your dog is groomed regularly. No matter the length of her coat, brushing will keep her coat looking its best by increasing blood circulation and distributing her skin’s natural oils throughout. Plus, the more you do it, the more she’ll get used to it, and the less you’ll battle.

However, there’s a big difference between grooming tools designed for long-hair versus those for short-hair dogs. Using the improper brush could cause injury to your pet so you must understand which is best for her coat. Look for a brush specific to your dog’s length of hair or one like the BarxBuddy self-cleaning brush that works well for all coats.

Introduce the Brush in Short Grooming Sessions

To reduce hesitations from your dog, it’s best to start with short grooming sessions in an area with no distractions. With one hand offer treats or a toy to keep her attention off the brush as you gently touch and brush her coat with the other. 

Although it’s typical to start at the head and brush toward the tail, brushing her tail first may help calm your pet if she’s a nervous dog. No matter how short the session, praise her for allowing you to brush her, using a soft, positive tone.

Sessions in the beginning may only last a minute, and that’s okay, because the more you practice this process the more it will become routine and your pet will grow to understand that brushing isn’t a danger or playtime. Over time, you’ll want to increase the length of the grooming sessions. Note that if your dog has had any bad experiences with grooming, it can take longer for her to trust you and enjoy being groomed.

How to Improve Your Dog’s Coat

Once your dog allows you to brush her entire coat without issue, you must maintain it so she doesn’t experience any tangles or matting (especially for long-haired breeds) as these can be painful to remove and cause her to once again fear the brush, putting you back to square one.

If your dog is short or medium-haired, expect to brush her once a week, if she’s long-haired she will need brushed daily. Start at your dog’s head and work your way down to the tail. For short-haired dogs, use firm, gentle strokes to brush the coat in the direction the hair grows. Use firm, gentle long brush strokes, for wiry or long-haired dogs use long strokes. If your pet has a thick coat, start brushing from the skin outward, then start over by brushing the coat in the same direction as the hair growth.Brush her coat the same way every time to make your pet comfortable. 

Spray with a coat conditioner or a pet- and environmentally friendly detangler if your dog has trouble with tangles or her hair is prone to matting. This spray will help loosen the tangles and any knots, making it easier to brush and less painful for your dog.

Don’t forget to brush your dog’s entire coat including underbelly, legs, feet, and ears!

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10 Tips for Grooming Your Own Dog … So She Doesn’t Hate You

Woman washes her large dog outside

Outside of licking themselves, your dog pretty much relies on you for her hygienic needs. Luckily there are plenty of grooming services available, whether at your vet’s office, pet supply store or your local doggie spa-salon. Even so, sometimes you need to perform a dog grooming session at home. While grooming requires some patience and caution on your part, you can transform your dog from Tramp back to Lady, at least until she gets back outside to play.

1. Choose the Right Tools for Grooming Your Dog

What tools may be right for human use may not be so good for your dog. If you intend on trimming your pet’s nails, you should have the proper dog nail clippers or nail grinder, and styptic powder (for accidental nail bleeding). If you’ve never trimmed a dog’s nails before, we recommend having your vet or groomer show you how to make sure you don’t cut them too short into the “quick,” which is the fleshy part of your dog’s nail.   

For bath time, grab the dog shampoo, towels, a hairbrush, comb, and toothbrush.

2. Grab Treats to Reinforce Good Behavior While Grooming

Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand for encouragement, and in the case of a freakout moment, you can redirect your dog. 

3. Ask for Help: Two DIY Groomers Are Better Than One

If you have experience grooming your dog and she’s not a big fan and puts up a fuss, ask for some help from someone. That person could help keep the dog’s attention while you are bathing or grooming her.

4. How Prep Your Dog Grooming Workspace

Whether you intend to trim nails in the living room or bathe your dog in the bathroom, the standing space for your dog should be non-slip and free of all obstacles. You can invest in a slip-proof mat to lay down when it’s nail or bath time to prevent both of you from injuries. For bathing, a mat or towel on the bottom of the tub might help keep your dog from slipping. 

5. Brush Your Dog Often 

Brushing your dog regularly with the right brush can go a long way to keeping her clean. Check with your groomer or vet on which type of brush or deshedding tool is appropriate for your dog’s coat. Brushing your dog several times a week, even before bath time can help to remove dirt and debris, control shedding, prevent matting, and it allows you to check for fleas or ticks and gives your dog a shiny coat.

6.  Sprinkle Baby Powder on Tangles

If your dog is long-haired, you may find some places in her coat that are tangled. Don’t bother pulling and tugging on tangled hair with a dog brush or comb. Instead, sprinkle some talcum powder on the tangles to loosen the strands and make brushing easier. 

7.  Shampooing and Rinsing Your Dog’s Hair

After bathing your dog, you must rinse off all the shampoo from your dog’s fur. Shampoo residue can cause skin irritation and itching.

8. Give Grooming Wipes a Try

If you’re unable to fully groom your dog, give grooming wipes a try. They can work in a pinch and keep her clean between baths. Although it’s tempting to use baby wipes, there is a difference between those and wipes formulated specifically for dogs.

You might find two kinds of dog wipe: antibacterial and grooming. Both are great to have on hand, as they both can soothe your dog’s skin and address her odors. Antibacterial wipes are best for situations where your dog needs a bit of disinfecting like potty-related issues. Grooming wipes, on the other hand, are ideal for a quick clean. Be sure to buy wipes that are alcohol and propylene glycol free.

9. Pamper Your Dog’s Paws

Consider any grooming session a great bonding moment and the ideal time to apply some paw balm. Harsh weather, tough walking surfaces, and a ton of running and playing around the house and yard can take its toll on your dog’s paws. A quick massage with some paw balm will protect pads from becoming dry and cracking. 

10. Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums is essential to her hygiene, health, and well-being. To help prevent gum disease, tooth loss,  or chronic pain, take care of her chompers. The best time to do teeth cleaning is during a grooming session. 

If you’ve never cleaned a dog’s teeth, ask your vet for best practices. If your dog won’t tolerate a doggie toothbrush, try quickly wiping her gums once a day with a clean towel; even this minor tooth cleaning done on a regular basis can reduce buildup.