Need advice on what kind of little dog to buy

phish_gwSeptember 24, 2012

My mother wants to get a dog. She likes little dogs that she thinks are lap dogs (I find them instead to be overbreeded, yappy and high-strung). And she is getting older so I don't think she'll have the energy to deal with a high-maintenance dog.

One breed she is considering is a yorkshire terrier. Does anyone have opinions on whether those are overall good dogs are not?

Are there any other dog breeds you recommend that are small and cute, but are still relatively mellow and easy to deal with?

Obviously I'm generalizing and you can probably find good and bad dogs within any breed, but I am looking for general opinions as a place to start my research.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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petra_gw

Would she consider a rescue dog? You could contact a yorkie (or other small breed) rescue and explain the situation. They often have older dogs who were surrendered because their owners had to go to a nursing home, or worse. And they know which dogs have mellow personalities and are easy-going, plus they are usually already house-trained and out of the annoying, difficult puppy stage. Since smaller dogs generally have longer life expectancies, even if she gets a dog who is a few years old, s/he should have plenty of years left. If you google spedific breed rescues, you will find lots of info.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:22PM
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brownthumbia

I have always had small dogs and I do like them. I will tell you this...they ARE yappy little things, but it is their way of telling you something and I think THEY think that if they bark loud enough it will make them look bigger. Ha Ha. I have had a poodle, now I have bichons, have had a dachsaund,(sp) & a Lhasa apso. Poodles and bichons are exceptionally smart little sweeties. But get what you want..large or small. No matter what, it will love you with all its' heart. I like the idea of the rescue dog. And they will be forever grateful to you, I'm sure. Good luck to you and have fun!!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:51PM
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quasifish

I don't know a tremendous amount about the breed, but have often heard good things about shih tzus. A few people have told me that they tend to be more mellow and laid back than other smaller dogs- I can't vouch for that first hand, but I've have a few friends who've had these dogs and they've always seemed pretty mellow and well behaved.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:06PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I would second what quasifish said, in that the shih tzus I've seen (only a few) seem to be less hyper than other toy dogs.

Another suggestion would be cavalier king charles spaniels which are very cute, gentle, and mild mannered. The breed has some genetic health problems which is why I do not own one, but they have much to recommend them in all other areas.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 4:56PM
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mountain_lady

ok cause i have small dogs. there are some things that you all need to think about before you get one. Some small dogs need alot of grooming. from hair to ects. when looking for something that is nice and wants to hang out in your lap but also smart . I would say find something that isnt so yippy like a pekapoo mix. or poodle ... they are very smart and not that yippy if u train them right. Stay away from jack russells . they need someone that is ready to run with them. shiz are good dogs too but I dont like them. (Personally ) U can find many small dogs that can be lap dogs. but anything u get can be a lap dog. Heck my friend has a great dane and he thinks he is a lap dog.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 5:33PM
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annzgw

I would say to start visiting the rescue groups instead of focusing on a breed. I've recently seen 2 small dogs up for adoption that I know would make perfect, calm pets.......and they were both mixed breeds.
As for Yorkies, my experience is they need a lot of grooming and come with a lot of genetic problems, which includes dental problems.

Are you considering a puppy? Kinda hope not! :)
There are many mature, small dogs that need a home and they will be much easier for your mother to deal with. Also, try to find a rescue that have their dogs in foster homes. The foster parent will be able to give you more info on the dog's personality.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Elly_NJ

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are like goldens in a little dog body.

However, this breed has a history of congenital eye problems. Don't just look into a breed; look into the history of problems (which you won't get on a web site selling dogs).

Actually, poodles are really nice and smart.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:43PM
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schoolhouse_gw

I like Yorkies but I've read they are hard to housebreak. My Aunt's is 10yrs.old and still pees in the house no matter what she tries. I realize this is my only experience with the breed, but like I say I have read about this problem.

elly, my mom has a King Charles. She and my stepfather bought him as a pup almost two years ago. I thought they shouldn't have gotten a puppy at their age - 82 and 84. Mom has lymphoma and goes through chemo every so many years to knock it back. Well, she ended up being the one to housebreak Charlie and it was all a little too much I thought. BUT - they absolutely fell in love with this dog. My stepfather died this past June, and Mom is so thankful she has Charlie for company and love. He is a great dog. Goes to bed whenever and however early Mom does, sleeps all night, only barks when he hears something outside. Very quiet the rest of the time. They installed an invisible fence for him, so he can go out by himself now. The only thing was he would eat and chew anything up until a few months ago. She still has to watch what she leaves laying about. I'm not sure this is a KC trait. They were bred as hunting dogs.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:35PM
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calliope

Just curious, when you said your mother was getting older. How old?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:22AM
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deb18

I dearly love my toy fox terrier. They are so playful and loving and small enough to exercise in the house. All you have to do is be willing to throw a ball over and over and over again. I always say they're a terrier on the ground and a toy in your lap because they are truly a mix of the two types. Their small size makes their terrier part much easier to handle than most other terriers and they are just as happy cuddling in your lap as they are playing.

They can be yappy as most small dogs are, but they are very trainable and smart. They are also a healthy breed in general because they haven't been over bred. They do shed, but this can be helped by brushing them often.

I also have a papillon/maltese mix and would recommend either of those breeds. Mine is very sweet and playful and the maltese doesn't shed, although they do have a few health issues you need to be aware of. The Italian greyhound would be a good choice for your mom, too. None of the breeds I mentioned tend to be snappy.

The toys are my favorite group, but there are a few drawbacks to them. They can be difficult to housebreak, their teeth need very diligent care, and they need more protection from most everything than a bigger dog. You especially have to be careful of them slipping out of a small hole in the fence and of predators. Coyotes, raccoons, hawks, large owls, and other dogs all pose a danger to small dogs, so they should always be under supervision outside.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:09PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Calliope, it's not so much about age as it is "What can mom handle?"
All dogs need a responsible adult of any age to care for their needs so that is the main question.
Is mom able to provide real care for this dog for it's entire life?

Btw, my Dad is 78 and has lived with me for the past 12 years. He has needed heavy assisted living care the whole time and at times, heavy nursing home care, from me.
While we are on vacation, a couple Older than my Dad, will stay here and take care of him and the two dogs. They are energetic and full of good health in all ways. They still cater weddings and clean houses (sad) but to be so full of vitality is wonderful!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

IMO, there are many sweet, easy to train small cross breeds in need of a lap to keep warm and rescue is usually a good choice. Especially an older rescue that is past the puppy stage and is housebroken and 'family' trained.One of my favorite crosses is a shih tzu x maltese. If you are looking for a purebred, my suggestions would be shih tzu, or toy or miniature poodle. Both of these breeds are well established, have excellent temperaments, are easy to train, and have few breed health problems from a reputable breeder. They do, however, require regular grooming and/or clipping to keep their coats in a clean and manageable state.

Pretty much all small breeds are yappy as this is their job in life. Unless you get a basenji, barking is just something you learn to live with. They can be trained to be less yappy but it will always be a small dog characteristic, IMO.

Ditto what everyone above has posted. :) Good luck in adopting a wonderful companion for your mom. Being adored by a dog is one of the most precious of life's gifts. :)

Ginny

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 3:43AM
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cindyandmocha

Well first of all, you had me at "I find them instead to be overbreeded, yappy and high-strung". I expected to open this post and find yet another person who wants a chihuahua or yorkie for their 3 year old. LOL

Not only because I do love a rescue dog, but primarily because of what you said - a mix may be less high strung because they aren't as overbred. I'll also vote for a rescue. You can still find very small mix rescues.

One thing to bear in mind though (as another poster mentioned) is your mother's age. I'm going to bet she'd prefer an adult rather than the higher maintenance of a puppy. In addition, age is a consideration due to the possibility of the dog outliving the owner.

I bring this up because its difficult when someone adopts a baby toy breed that will live to be 18 years old, and the adoptor is already in their 70's. When the owner passes, unfortunately this can leave a situation of trying to house a now-geriatric pet. Tiny dogs have better prospects in those situations, but its good to at least try to match up the life expectancies. (Sorry if this is anyway harsh sounding, I'm only trying to be practical and helpful).

In addition, with age comes energy-level. That should be a consideration too.

There are small breeds and toy breeds that aren't long haired which would be a little less grooming. However, all dogs do have vet bills. For small dogs with short hair, I'm thinking dachschund and pugs. But there are others out there of course and plenty of mixes in between.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:18AM
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