Compact and cuddly, miniature dogs were sometimes bred to be hunters or herders. They also commonly sat in the lap of luxury. Different breeds vary in size (although they’re all relatively small) and shape. These little breeds originally came from various places around the world. Several types, often lovingly referred to as “toy breeds,” have become popular pets.
Basenjis started out in Africa, where they kept rodent pests out of living quarters and scared prey into the grasp of human hunters. They make independent and smart pets that need exercise. An attractive quality for some owners is that they don’t bark.
Miniature American shepherds, cousins to the slightly-larger Australian shepherds, would be at home on ranches among horses and cattle. A toy Australian shepherd breeder appreciates the good nature of this devoted family pet.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels were the beloved lapdogs of British monarchs. A type of English toy spaniel, they make loyal and affectionate pets with the spirit of a breed descended from sporting dogs.
Havanese are the only dog breed to originate in Cuba. They please owners with good-natured, playful personalities. As loyal friends, they happily warm human laps in cities anywhere.
Chinese crested have a history of working aboard ships where they calmed the crew by controlling rat populations. Two varieties, hairless and coated, share a distinct look that includes furry ears and tail.
Chihuahuas have been known on the American continent for generations. With ancient roots in northern Mexico, experts aren’t sure if they had specific jobs before morphing into roles as tiny companions for people. Chihuahuas are spunky and surprisingly bold for their size.
From far-fetched roots to homegrown litters, the diversity of dog breeds is amazing. Even among the smallest breeds, pet owners can find combinations of traits to suit the needs and desires of any family.