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Sit, Stay, Blog!
Make Your Dog a Christmas Tree or Chanukah Bush

You will need:

A box of dog cookies, choose your pups favorite brand or make your own.

Narrow ribbon about 1/8 inch wide in rich shades of dark green, red, purple, royal blue, maroon.

Something to make holes in the cookies. I like to use my drill.

A small, potted, evergreen tree. I get mine at Home Depot. Cover the pot it comes in with fabric or holiday wrapping paper or replant the tree in a pot or bucket. I like to cover the dirt with green moss, the moss gives a nice finished look.

Drill holes in the cookies and tie with loops of ribbon in assorted colors and hang on the tree.

This tree looks so cute and it is fun to see the little furry ones help themselves to cookies! But make sure you remove the ribbon before your dog eats it. And placed next to your tree, this one will look great.

Don’t forget to decorate the pot with a big bow.

Since this is a living evergreen, you can place it outside after the holidays and use it again next year, and the year after that!

Picking a Small Dog

The Variety is Great
Small dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes (within the small category), personality, coat type and activity level. There is a breed for anyone who thinks they would like a little dog. Small dogs are not just lapdogs and some are tougher than others.

If You Live in the City
Small dogs are ideal for apartment living because they don’t necessarily need to work off loads of energy. But not all small dogs were born to the lap, breeds like Dachshunds and terriers would be just as happy in the country running around a farm.

Got Kids?
If your family members include young to very young children, please make sure your small dog has a kid free zone, a place to get away from them. Even better, do your research and carefully choose a breed that will fit your family dynamic.

Remember, the Toy breeds are too delicate to hold their own in a rambunctious family of young kids — they need a gentle touch, along with a calm and quiet environment.

Rescue, Rescue, Rescue
And I would be terribly remiss if I did not urge anyone who is thinking of getting a small dog companion that you look to rescue as your first option. There are millions of wonderful, deserving dogs looking for a forever home. And if you are looking for a male who isn't afraid to commit, well, your local shelter is just overflowing with them.

There are breed specific rescue organizations from sea to shining sea and all the rescue groups have websites.

When I was ready to get another dog, I went to Petfinder.com — Petfinder is a web site that will hook you up with rescue organizations in your part of the country. I found Cash (see his mug shot below) thru Petfinders on the Bill Foundation site. Turns out Cash was in Santa Monica, which is right next door to Venice, CA where we live.



Cash is a Chihuahua mix

My List of Small Dogs
According the AKC (American Kennel Club), the following list represents the 25 smallest dog breeds. I have included a brief, and not necessarily complete, description of some of their qualities. They are listed in alphabetical order, not size:

Brussels Griffon - affectionate, charming, curious.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - affectionate, friendly, easy-going, graceful, gentle, the perfect family dog. Extra special bonus is they are excellent with children and the elderly.

Chihuahua - graceful, charming yet sassy, master of their universe, fears nothing.

Chinese Crested - loyal, intelligent, friendly, and for all of you allergy sufferers out there, has a hairless body.

Dachshund - spunky, playful, stubborn.

English Toy Spaniel - a true spaniel, gentle, happy, playful, loving.

Havanese - the national dog of Cuba, spirited and curious.

Italian Greyhound - gentle and loving, they form very strong bonds with their human companions.

Japanese Chin - a true aristocrat, charming and loving with those they favor, not a high energy dog.

Maltese - a true companion, gentle, playful, affectionate.

Miniature Pinscher - proud, fearless, fun-loving, Min Pins have lots of personality.

Norfolk Terrier - alert, fun-loving, self-confident, spirited, lovable, happy, fearless.

Norwich Terrier - outgoing, plucky, loyal, affectionate. My hairy niece Birdie is a Norwich.

Papillon - happy, alert, friendly, quiet.

Pekingese - dignified, supremely confident, independent, affectionate, loyal, and get ready to curtsy because they have a regal manner.

Pomeranian - extroverted, intelligent, lively and bold, inquisitive, great companions — being a bit of a clown, they are another personality breed.

Pug - even-tempered, charming, mischievous, very loving.

Schipperke - alert, curious, confident, intense, but with a dash of mischief.

Shih Tzu - outgoing, affectionate, playful, charming.

Silky Terrier - friendly, vivacious, cheeky, they form strong bonds, in all ways a true terrier.

Toy Fox Terrier - outgoing and friendly, yet fiercely loyal to their families, the Fox Terriers I have known LOVE children.

Manchester Terrier - spirited, bright, keenly observant, loyal, independent.

Poodle - proud, active, super smart and super sensitive.

Yorkshire Terrier - full of joie de vivre, cautiously courageous, spunky, affectionate.

Do Your Research
The list of breed characteristics above is not necessarily complete and some are based on my own observations and experience with the breed. I urge you to investigate thoroughly the breed you think might be a good match for you and your family before you get your dog.

If you are on the fence about a small dog, read my blog In Praise of the Little Dog.

In Praise of the Little Dog

I was always a big dog person, never really thinking about the small ones. Then one day this little black, 6.5 lb boy (who eventually I named Little Doug*), picked me out of a crowd… and my life literally changed forever in all the best, and I have to say, unexpected ways.


Little Doug

While I am about to sing the praises of little dogs, let it be known I LOVE ALL DOGS and I am not particular about their size — big or small, all are welcome in my heart. And yes, I own a business called Small Dog Mall (smalldogmall.com) and I sell things just for little dogs. So, having catered to the pee wee pups for over a decade, I think we can safely assume I know a thing or two about them.

Among the many things I learned from Little Doug, this is what he taught me about size:

Love comes in all shapes and sizes
Doesn’t matter what the packaging is because love is love, and love doesn’t know a size or a shape, it just is. It took a little dog to teach me this big lesson and it is one of the things I know for sure.


Small dogs are portable
Mae West said "good girls go to heaven but bad girls go everywhere”.

Well I have news for you, so do little dogs!

The smaller the dog, the more places they get to go. Depending on how bold you are, will determine your pup’s life experience. For example, my little dogs have had no problem settling in the bottom of a shopping bag (or curling up in the arm of an oversized jacket I have) and going to the mall to do a little shopping and then take in dinner and a movie.

And if you don’t know this, you can bring them in the cabin of a commercial airplane, just by getting the OK from the Captain and purchasing a ticket for your dog. Just think of the places you can go together!

Little dogs live a long time
We all know our furry kids are "short timers". I personally have had to deal with the heartbreak of saying goodbye several times. None of us know how long we will have with our pets. But knowing, statistically, that little dogs live for a long time, makes me happy that I may have more years with my little dog.

And here is an amazing fact: I just met a woman who had two Poms (father and son). The dad lived to be an incredible 23 years and the son lived to be 20!

Little Poopers = little poops
I’m not going to get all preachy here about how important it is to pick up after your dog. Let me just say it is so easy to be responsible when you have a teeny weeny poop to scoop. I am assuming no one really loves picking up poop, me included, but it is the right thing to do (and the law in most places), and teeny poops make it almost effortless to do the right thing.

You will make lots of new friends
There is not one place I have gone with my little dog that someone has not come up to me wanting to say hello to us. I think dogs make most people happy.

Loving a little dog will change you. It just will.
First, you are needed. And you are needed in ways you never thought you would be.

Being vertically challenged, a small dog needs help with just about everything. They need assistance getting on things like the sofa or bed (and getting down). And then there is the quintessential doggy favorite thing --- hanging your head out of the car window. Cash, my present little buddy, would not be able to do this if I weren’t there to help him. They are dependent in ways a big dog isn’t.


Cash

A little dog will make you soft where you were hard, you will find yourself becoming more patient where you were not and, if you let them, any dog will open a space in your heart you did not know you had. While I won’t make any guarantees for you, thats what happened to me.

*Learn more about Little Doug (the reason Small Dog Mall came into being!), Robin and Cash on the About page at SmallDogMall.com.