Surely you have seen them and have fallen in love with some of them. They are adorable looking dogs, but very small in size, and they are known as "toy". But, what is a toy dog in reality? We invite you to know all the details about these small furry dogs.
What is a toy breed dog?
A toy dog is a dog that belongs to a breed that is already small in itself. The name "toy" is given to them because, due to their miniature appearance, they look like toys, like stuffed dogs. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Toy dogs are not toys, they are living beings that require the same care as any other animal. Moreover, as we will see later, due to their nature and characteristics, they are more sensitive than the same dogs of natural size. That is to say, they need more attention.
Having defined what a toy dog is, let's see its general characteristics.
Characteristics of the toy breed dog
To be even clearer about what a toy dog is, let's see what the qualities that define this animal in general.
A dog is usually considered a toy or miniature dog when it weighs less than 7 pounds and has a size of less than 16 inches. For these reasons, it is very common to confuse them with small dogs. However, it should be clarified that they are completely different canine genres.
When breeding toy dogs, a selection of specimens is carried out looking for standardization criteria. These criteria usually focus on a correct physiognomy, which tends to be similar to that of human babies: round faces, big eyes, flat noses... This is what makes us fall in love with their appearance.
How to take care of a toy dog
Knowing the health details of this animal is an essential step before adopting any of them.
It is true that their small size makes them comfortable to live with: they are perfect for living in small spaces. But the fact that they are miniature pets does not imply that they require little care.
On the contrary: they tend to be very delicate animals since, due to their constitution, they are more likely to get sick than other large dogs.
Among the most important aspects to take into account:
- Since their immune systems can be somewhat more fragile than those of large dogs, complying with the vaccination schedule becomes more relevant.
- In the same way, it will be necessary to be very cautious and not to expose the small ones to walks or other animals until they have all their vaccinations.
- The feeding should be balanced and the daily doses should be strictly complied with so that the toy dog does not tend to become overweight.
- In addition, it is necessary to control the time between doses. If they go many hours without eating, they could suffer a drop in glucose.
- As they have less fat in their bodies, these small dogs are more vulnerable to temperature changes. A dog coat will be essential in winter and they should be kept away from drafts.
- These dogs should be prevented from making sudden movements or jumping from heights too high for them. Their bones are usually more fragile than those of larger dogs. For the same reason, they should also be careful when playing.
Most popular toy dog breeds
Knowing what a toy dog is, its general characteristics and care, you may wonder what breeds you could find miniature specimens.
Well, the most common are the following:
- Chihuahua. It is undoubtedly one of the best known toy breeds all over the world. The Chihuahua is a dog of Mexican origin, with a lively and somewhat nervous temperament.
- Some terriers. They are breeds that are characterized by being affectionate, intelligent, and territorial. Among the most common toy terrier dogs, we usually find the Yorkshire terrier and the Australian Silky terrier.
- Pomeranian. The Pomeranian breed stands out for its abundant coat, which makes them look like bigger dogs than they really are. They are very attached to their owners.
- Pinscher. The miniature pinscher reaches in its adult life no more than 12 inches and the weight is usually not much more than 5 pounds. They are very energetic and have strong character.
- Prague Mouse. It is another of the best known toy dogs. It is an affectionate and intelligent dog, with a weight that can vary between 3.5 and 8 pounds.
- Pekingese. The Pekingese is an ideal pet if it is given the proper education from puppyhood, because, in spite of its small size, it is an animal with little patience and a lot of character. The same happens with its toy version.
- Poodle. It is one of the most adorable looking dogs you will ever see. Besides, it is affectionate and very attached to its owners.
Why is the breeding of toy dogs so much criticized?
Considering that their appearance could melt even the coldest of hearts, it may be hard for many to think that anyone would oppose the existence of these little animals. But the truth is that many people are against the breeding of toy dogs, and for good reason.
As it has been mentioned, toy dogs are born from the intentional selection of specimens. That is, they are not small like this by chance, but are the result of a series of activities carried out by breeders that put their health at risk, to the point of being lethal.
The Kennel Club, a UK organization dedicated to monitoring and improving the welfare of animals, is one of the main organizations taking a stand against the breeding and sale of these animals.
In a statement they stated that, although it may happen that these animals are small due to a casual congenital defect, this reality is usually due to unethical practices of breeders, such as, for example:
- Prematurely weaning and separating them from their mother. Mother's milk in puppies is fundamental for their growth.
- Feeding them with nutrient-poor diets so that they do not grow too much.
- Playing with the estrus cycles of the mothers to favor premature birth of the pups.
- Selecting the smallest and weakest females to breed, as they are more likely to give birth to smaller pups.
All of this poses risks to the mother and to the pups, which can develop diseases such as patellar luxations, tracheal collapse (causing difficulty breathing), dental problems, and syringomyelia. The latter is a very painful brain disorder that occurs when the brain does not fit into the abnormally small skull.
Read also: Are teacup dogs good pets?
Is it really worth all that to have a toy dog?