Monday, July 29, 2013

Eight Easy-to-Train Small Dog Breeds

By Linda Cole

Training any dog can be hard if you aren't consistent and dedicated. Small dogs, which include terriers, come with big attitudes and aren't afraid to take on big jobs. These dogs are intelligent, agile and tenacious. Dogs under 22 pounds or standing under 16 inches are considered small, although there are some small breeds that weigh a little more and are taller. If you want a small dog that's easy to train, there's a nice variety to pick from, including the breeds listed below. Carry a pocketful of CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats, and these dogs will practically train themselves! LOL.

Yorkshire Terrier

This breed has been in the top ten most popular dogs for the last decade. The Yorkie may be small, but he's all terrier, with an expertise in rooting out and catching rats and other small rodents. The breed was developed in northern England's Yorkshire County to control rodents in coal mines and textile factories. Earlier dogs were larger than the breed we know today, and fearless when it came to doing their job. It wasn't long before high society adopted the Yorkie as a companion pet, and that's when the breed was bred down to the size we know today.


The smallest of the Spitz family of dogs, the Pomeranian is descended from Northern breeds like the Norwegian Elkhound, American Eskimo Dog, Samoyed and Schipperke. Before this breed was bred down to their 3-7 pound size, Poms weighed up to 30-35 pounds. The dog was developed in Pomerania, a small province in today's eastern Germany. This compact little dog can excel at agility and obedience, or be happy hanging out in the lap of the one he loves.


This breed was developed in Belgium to get around a law passed in the 14th century by the ruling French elites that wanted to assure only aristocrats could own large dogs. Commoners needed a dog to work livestock and protect homes, so the smaller Schipperke was created as a herding dog for smaller livestock and as a ratter. The Schipperke is described as “the smallest shepherd in the world, black with a docked tail.” This dog has a fondness for agility, obedience and herding ducks and chickens.

Norwich Terrier/Norfolk Terrier 

Both originated north of London in the east central region of England in a place called East Anglia. At one time, the Norwich and Norfolk were considered the same breed. It wasn't until 1964 when the Kennel Club officially separated the two dogs, giving them their own distinct breed names. The main difference between the two dogs is that the Norwich has pricked ears and the Norfolk has drop-ears. During the 1880s, Cambridge University students decided it was fashionable to own a small dog adept at catching rats. The dogs were so good, the breed ended up being named as an unofficial school mascot. These little terriers are also capable fox hunters, running with foxhounds, ready to go to ground when needed and flush a fox from his den. Both breeds love to work and do well in agility, obedience, rally and Earthdog trials.

Silky Terrier 

Often mistaken for a Yorkshire Terrier, the Silky originated in Australia in the states of Victoria and New South Wales during the 1890s. After Yorkshire Terriers arrived in Australia, they were crossed with native Australian Terriers to produce the Silky Terrier. The original job of the Silky was hunting rodents and small game. This is a daring and tough little dog, true to his terrier ways. He is an excellent watchdog. The Silky Terrier is a little bigger than the Yorkie.

Miniature Pinscher 

This dog is not related to the Miniature Doberman Pinscher or Doberman Pinscher. The Min Pin is an older and distinctive breed from the Doberman, known as the “King of Toys” because of his elegant and confident demeanor. The dog was bred in Germany to control rats and other vermin in homes and stables, and as a watchdog. In the show ring, the Min Pin delights fans with his high-stepping, self assuring gait.


This dog originated in Germany and today is considered a rare breed, but at one time, was very popular in his native country. The Affenpinscher has a unique looking face, and has the nickname “Monkey Dog” which comes from his name (the German meaning of “affen” is ape or monkey). His job in the early days was rodent control where his talents were used in kitchens, granaries and stables, and by shopkeepers. The Affenpinscher was eventually bred down in size while retaining the ability and desire to catch mice and rats.

American Eskimo Dog 

This  member of the Spitz family comes in three sizes: standard, miniature and toy. This is a very smart breed that can think for himself and problem solve. During the mid 1800s, German immigrants brought this beautiful white dog with them to America and the breed was very common in German communities. American Eskimo dogs traveled with circuses, performing tricks and delighting audiences with their agility and intelligence.

Top photo by SKimchee
Middle photo by Douglas Brown
Bottom photo by Ingunn Axelsen

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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