There are a lot of things you probably already know about the most popular small dog breeds: Obviously they are incredibly cute, most of them are in the Toy Group and many of them are specifically bred to be companions. But do you know the origin of the Shih Tzu? Can you name the dog breeds that the Havanese descended from? If you don’t know the answers, you’re in luck: We have rounded up little-known facts about the 10 most popular small dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club.
Famous royals and rulers have long been fans of the Pug. Admirers include King Louis XIV; Joséphine de Beauharnais, empress to
Napoleon; Queen Victoria; and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
It may seem unthinkable nowadays, but
back in ancient Greece and Rome, Maltese dogs were popular as trade goods. Can you
imagine swapping this little white pup for a few clay pots?
Revered as the national dog of Cuba,
the Havanese descended from the now-extinct "Blanquito de la Habana" (which means “little white
dog of Havana”). The Blanquito descended from the Bichon Tenerife, a breed that also no longer exists.
The Boston Terrier is famous for his
dashing black-and-white tuxedo coat, but it also comes in brindle or seal
with white markings.
The original Pomeranian weighed 20 to
30 pounds — much larger than the three to seven pounds he typically weighs today.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Long revered by nobility, the
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was especially popular with the Stuart royal
family. In fact, it was England’s King Charles I and his son, Charles II (both
Stuarts), who lent their names to the little dogs.
It’s believed that Tibetan monks bred
the Shih Tzu to be a tiny replica of a lion, which is associated with Buddhist
Thanks to his wiry coat, the Miniature
Schnauzer usually doesn’t shed very much, which may make him more tolerable to
people who are allergic to dogs. But it’s important to keep in mind that dog
dander and saliva — not fur — is what usually triggers allergies. So be wary if breeders try to guarantee that their dogs are hypoallergenic.
Did you know that Yorkies aren’t born
with their signature blue-and-tan coats? Puppies are born with black coats,
which develop into the breed's classic coloring as they grow.