top of page
Mary Puppins Small Dog Breeds UK Expert Blog
mary puppins small dog blog.jpg

Welcome to Mary Puppins - the best blog for pet parents and dog lovers of small dogs


I'm Kate, a professional Dog Nanny and experienced dog mummy to my two small breed dogs Missy and Winnie. We're based in Cheshire, UK. 

With over 30 years of doggy expertise, our team at Mary Puppins know, understand and love small dogs. We're here to help you be the BEST dog mummy to your small breed dogs UK!

The Comprehensive Guide to Small Dog Breeds UK Small dog breeds UK hold a special place in the hearts of many dog lovers across the United Kingdom. From their adorable personalities to their manageable size, these pint-sized pups make delightful companions for individuals and families alike. These comprehensive blog guides delve into the world of small dog breeds UK, exploring their unique characteristics, temperaments, care needs, and more. Whether you're considering adding a small dog to your family or simply curious about these charming breeds, this guide is your go-to resource. Join us as we celebrate the diversity and charm of small dog breeds UK, shedding light on why they are cherished by so many. Health of Dogs While adorable and affectionate, small dog breeds uk often face specific health concerns that owners should be aware of. One common issue is dental problems, as small mouths can be overcrowded, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Getting regular dental care is crucial. This includes brushing and examinations to maintain oral health. Additionally, due to their delicate bone structure, small dogs may be predisposed to orthopaedic issues such as luxating patellas and intervertebral disc disease. Proper exercise, weight management, and avoiding activities that strain their joints can help prevent these issues from arising or worsening. Furthermore, some small breeds are prone to respiratory problems, including brachycephalic breeds like the Pug and French Bulldog, which have shortened airways. Owners of these breeds should be vigilant for signs of respiratory distress and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or excessive exercise. Regular vet check-ups are essential for all dog breeds, especially small dogs, due to their susceptibility to specific health issues. These check-ups allow veterinarians to monitor their overall health, detect potential problems early on, and provide necessary vaccinations and preventative care. Along with preventive maintenance, tiny dog owners should provide their dogs with mental stimulation, frequent exercise, and a balanced diet. Proper nutrition is particularly vital for small breeds, as obesity can exacerbate many health issues they are prone to. In conclusion, even though small dog breeds uk are a source of happiness and companionship for many UK homes, it's important to consider their specific health requirements. Regular vet check-ups, proper dental care, weight management, and awareness of breed-specific health concerns are vital for assuring these cherished animals' lifespan and well-being. Accessories for Small Dog Breeds uk When caring for small dog breeds UK, having the right accessories can make all the difference in ensuring their comfort, safety, and happiness. Here are various accessories suitable for small dogs: 1. Harnesses and Leashes: Harnesses that more equally redistribute pressure over the tender bodies of small breeds can help lower the chance of harm throughout walks. Look for adjustable harnesses with padding for extra comfort. Retractable leashes are also convenient for allowing small dogs some freedom while maintaining control. 2. Cosy Beds: Small dogs often enjoy snuggling in warm, cosy beds. Opt for beds that provide adequate support for their joints and are easy to clean. Consider elevated beds to keep them off cold floors and provide additional comfort. 3. Grooming Tools: Regular grooming may be necessary to maintain the best possible coat quality in small dog breeds. Invest in a gentle brush suitable for their fur type to prevent matting and tangles. Nail clippers or grinders designed for small dogs can help maintain their paw health. 4. Interactive Toys: Small dogs are intelligent and benefit from mental stimulation. Give them engaging items that will stimulate their thoughts and keep them occupied. Treat-dispensing toys or puzzle games are excellent choices for small breeds. 5. Dog Clothing: Small dogs may need extra protection from the elements in colder climates. Consider investing in dog sweaters, coats, or waterproof jackets to keep them warm and dry during walks. 6. Travel Carriers: For trips to the vet or travels around town, a secure and comfortable travel carrier is essential for small dogs. Look for carriers with plenty of ventilation, sturdy construction, and a soft, cosy interior. 7. ID Tags and Microchips: Small dogs can easily slip through fences or get lost during walks. Ensure their safety by outfitting them with ID tags containing your contact information, and consider microchipping a permanent form of identification. Providing your small dog with the right accessories tailored to their needs may improve your animal friend's quality of life and strengthen your relationship. Small Dog Walks and Enrichment Dogs who get enrichment are allowed to explore and follow their instincts. Engaging in enrichment activities may help avoid boredom, boost self-esteem, and impart a range of abilities, including agility, searching, and problem-solving. It enables them to chew and smell in the right places. It's also the best way to control their energy, promote more composed conduct, and teach children positive habits. Every day, enrichment should be available for usage at all times. You may take away the snuffle mat if your dog becomes overly enthusiastic. Give your dog an enrichment toy that contains some of their meal if you want to keep them busy while you prepare dinner. This will shield them from harm and stop them from chewing on anything that shouldn't be eaten, like your fave slipper set! Additionally, enrichment works to stop mouthing. Although this is typical behaviour for pups, you must teach them suitable chewing materials. Enrichment Activities for Dogs Understanding what your dog enjoys is crucial when selecting the best enrichment activities. Here are some ideas that you might want to try. Remember, variety is key to keeping your dog engaged. Food-Based Enrichment Meal times are often the highlight of your dog's day, which is why food games with enrichment toys can be so enjoyable for them. There are numerous options available. For instance, you could smear food on a 'lick mat' for your dog to savour at their leisure. Alternatively, consider a puzzle feeder or a rubber toy that you can fill and refrigerate to prolong the fun. You don't necessarily need to purchase these items. You can get inventive and create your own if you have safe recyclables. A 'dig box' made from a cardboard box and scrunched-up newspaper, with kibble hidden inside, can be a simple yet effective enrichment activity. You could also hide kibble inside a toilet roll tube. Consider making a 'snuffle mat' or use a yoga mat that they can unroll to find hidden kibble. If crafting isn't your thing, scatter food indoors or in the garden and let your dog search for it. You could also create a treat trail for your dog to follow with their nose. Top Tip: Always supervise your dog during homemade food enrichment activities. Be mindful of your dog's weight and adjust their meals accordingly if they regularly participate in food-based enrichment. While eating is enjoyable for dogs, so is the smell of food. They'll love using their nose to sniff out that delicious treat. Scent-Based Enrichment Smell plays a significant role in a dog's life. Sniffing is a natural behaviour and a primary way dogs gather information about their surroundings. During walks, give your dog ample time and opportunities to sniff. Vary your routes and locations to provide new experiences and smells. At home, consider purchasing dog-safe plants and herbs for them to sniff. Be cautious to avoid any plants that are toxic to dogs. You could also replace treats with toys and hide their favourite ones for them to sniff out. Games with Toys Playing games with toys can physically and mentally benefit your pup. It can also help to build their confidence and strengthen your bond. Here are some tips when playing games with toys: Tip One: Rotate your dog's toys weekly to maintain their interest. Tip Two: Allow your pup to win games. They'll enjoy it if you alternate wins. Tip Three: Your dog may tear soft toys – this is natural behaviour. Always supervise them when they're playing with these toys to prevent them from swallowing any small parts. If you need to remove a part of the toy, exchange it for a treat or two. Tip Four: Dogs will naturally grip, tug, and shake toys with their mouths. To stop the game, be silent, steady, and composed if you feel their teeth on you. Then, if needed, gently back away. Take a little pause and continue playing to teach them that the enjoyment will never end as long as their teeth are on the toy. Environmental Enrichment Ensure your dog gets to explore new environments. Most dogs enjoy experiencing various environments, which is highly beneficial as the diverse sights, sounds and smells stimulate their senses. Allow them to walk on different surfaces and experience new smells and tastes (provided they are safe and dog-friendly). Think about the places your dog seems to enjoy the most. It could be the forest or a dog-friendly beach. Top tip: Always provide access to fresh water. Additionally, keep your dog away from ingesting salt water since this may occasionally be lethal and cause serious disease. Water can be a source of great fun for your dog – as long as it is safe and suitable for your dog, and they are comfortable in it. You could start with a shallow paddling pool in the garden. This provides a new experience and is excellent for playtime. Plus, it's the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer's day. Need to know: Ensure they're always having fun. Lead them quietly away if they exhibit indications of concern due to what they hear, see, or smell. Before setting off on an expedition in a new location, ensure your dog is at ease in the car. While it's essential to take your dog on new routes and to experience different places, you can enhance their regular walks by making them interactive. Apart from straightening their legs and taking a sniff, you may incorporate exercises like: Using toys for play Throwing or scattering their food/treats for them to search for Practising tricks in the park Laying a treat trail for them to follow Encouraging them to touch items with their paws (as long as it's safe for them to do so) Getting them to walk along fallen trees (ensure they don't fall or lose balance) These are all exciting ways to make a walk more interesting and will leave you and your dog feeling happily tired subsequently. The best advice is to ensure your dog is up to date on lungworm, worm, tick, and flea protection. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's activity needs as well. Recall that this is subject to change as they age and in the case of an accident or sickness. Don't worry. You can still make a little stroll enjoyable for them even if they cannot go on lengthy excursions. Enhancement by Selection Giving your dog options for where they live may help enrich their environment. If your dog has a big, cosy bed but chooses to sleep on the rug, let them. Making these choices for themselves will enrich their lives and help them build confidence. Top tip: Ensure you only give your dog choices when it is safe and appropriate. Training For dogs, training may be just as mentally taxing as physical activity. So, use reward-based training to teach your dog new behaviours. They will gain new abilities, enhancing your bond and giving them more self-assurance. You could teach your dog to: Give you their paw, one at a time (or high five) Do a figure of eight Tidy up their toys Put their paws up Run through a tunnel You may perform other fundamental training exercises with your dog, such as teaching them important life skills and tricks. Leash walks with pups before they are old enough to go outdoors might be enjoyable. They can also be trained to relax and do recall exercises. This will not only enhance the student but also be helpful in future scenarios. Remember that giving your dog enrichment is important, but so is making time for them to relax during the day, particularly if they are still a puppy. Luxury Dog Home Boarding In the UK, luxury dog home boarding services offer a premium alternative to traditional kennels, providing small dog breeds with a comfortable and personalised experience while their owners are away. These services cater to pet owners seeking the highest care and accommodation standards for their beloved furry companions. Luxury dog home boarding options in the UK often include: 1. Private Home Settings: Unlike commercial kennels, luxury dog home boarding services typically operate from private homes, where small dogs can enjoy a homely environment with individual attention from experienced pet sitters. 2. Tailored Care: Small dog breeds often have specific needs and preferences, which luxury boarding providers are well-equipped to accommodate. From dietary requirements to exercise routines and medication schedules, these services tailor their care to meet the unique needs of each small dog. 3. Comfortable Accommodations: Luxury dog home boarding facilities offer comfortable and cosy accommodations that resemble a home environment rather than a traditional kennel. Small dogs may have access to plush bedding, temperature-controlled rooms, and secure outdoor areas for exercise and relaxation. 4. Personalised Attention: With fewer dogs in their care compared to commercial kennels, luxury boarding providers can offer more personalised attention to each small dog. This may include one-on-one playtime, grooming sessions, and cuddle time to ensure every dog feels loved and cared for during their stay. 5. Regular Updates: Many luxury dog home boarding services provide regular updates to owners, including photos, videos, and written reports on their pet's activities, behaviour, and well-being. This level of communication offers peace of mind to owners while they are away from their furry companions. 6. Additional Services: Certain upscale dog home boarding establishments could include extra services, including training, grooming, and activities designed to improve the livelihood of small dog breeds. These services enhance the overall experience for both pets and owners. For small dog breeds, luxury home boarding offers numerous benefits compared to traditional kennel environments. The personalised care, comfortable accommodations, and individual attention provided by luxury boarding services help alleviate stress and anxiety, ensuring that small dogs feel safe, happy and well-cared for during their time away from home. By opting for luxury dog home boarding, pet owners can enjoy their time away knowing that their small dogs are in the hands of experienced professionals who prioritise their comfort, well-being, and happiness. Training, Behavior, and Grooming Training is crucial for small dog breeds in the UK to ensure they are well-behaved, obedient, and sociable companions. Proper training helps small dog breeds understand boundaries, follow commands, and develop good manners, making them pleasant to be around in various situations. Small dog breeds, like their larger counterparts, benefit greatly from obedience training. This training teaches them basic commands such as sit, stay, and come, which are essential for their safety and the safety of others. Additionally, training helps small dog breeds learn proper leash manners, preventing them from pulling or lunging during walks. Despite their small size, some small dog breeds may exhibit behavioural traits commonly associated with larger breeds. For example, small dogs can be prone to "small dog syndrome," where they display overly assertive or aggressive behaviours due to a lack of proper training and socialisation. Owners must address these behaviours early on through training and positive reinforcement techniques to prevent them from becoming problematic. Grooming needs for small dog breeds in the UK vary depending on their coat type. Still, regular grooming is essential for maintaining their health and appearance. Breeds with long or double coats, such as the Shih Tzu or Maltese, require daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Trimming around the eyes and ears may also be necessary to prevent irritation and infections. Even short-haired small dog breeds, like the French Bulldog or Boston Terrier, benefit from regular grooming to remove loose hair and minimise shedding. Bathing should be done as needed, using a mild dog shampoo to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils. In addition to brushing and bathing, small dog breeds often require regular nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning to prevent issues such as overgrown nails, dental problems, and ear infections. Establishing a grooming routine from an early age helps small dog breeds become accustomed to handling and grooming procedures, making the experience more pleasant for both the dog and the owner. Training, behaviour management, and grooming are essential aspects of caring for small dog breeds in the UK. By investing time and effort into these areas, owners can ensure their small companions are well-behaved, happy, and healthy family members. Small Dog Food and Nutrition Small dog breeds in the UK have specific dietary needs that differ from larger breeds. They need meals high in calories and nutrients to sustain their energy levels and general health because of their small stature and quick metabolism. A balanced diet for small dogs should include high-quality protein sources, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Appropriate portions should be fed to small dog breeds to prevent obesity, which may cause various health concerns, including diabetes and joint difficulties. Additionally, small dogs may benefit from smaller kibble sizes or wet food options to make chewing and digestion easier. A balanced diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and longevity of small dog breeds, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients to thrive and enjoy a happy, active lifestyle in the UK. Small breed puppies, young dogs, and older dogs. Puppies require special attention to their development, including proper nutrition for growth, socialisation to build confidence, and training to establish good behaviour habits. They also need regular veterinary check-ups for vaccinations and deworming. Young dogs, typically between 1 and 3 years old, are full of energy and require regular exercise, mental stimulation, and continued training to channel their enthusiasm positively. Nutrition remains important during this stage to support their active lifestyle and maintain optimal health. As small breed dogs enter their senior years, usually around 7 or 8, their care needs change. They might become less active and prone to health issues like arthritis, dental problems, and cognitive decline. Adjustments to diet may be necessary to accommodate changes in metabolism and prevent weight gain or loss. Senior dogs may also benefit from supplements for joint health and cognitive function. Regular vet check-ups become even more critical for older dogs to monitor their health and detect any age-related issues early on. Additionally, providing a comfortable and safe environment becomes increasingly important for senior dogs, including soft bedding, easy access to food and water, and minimising stressors. As small breed dogs age, their care should focus on maintaining their quality of life and ensuring they remain comfortable and happy. This may involve adapting their diet, exercise routine, and living environment to fit their changing needs. With proper care and attention, small breed dogs can enjoy a long and fulfilling life at every stage of their journey. Small Rescue Dogs UK In 2020, it was estimated that there were approximately 9.9 million dogs in the UK. While most of these dogs are cherished family members, it's a stark reality that thousands of dogs end up in pounds and rescue centres each year. If you're contemplating rehoming a rescue dog, this comprehensive guide on their care and ownership is for you. The Dog's Trust estimates that there are around 110,000 dogs in need of rehoming at any given time. With nationwide rescue centres consistently operating at or beyond capacity, it's worth considering adopting a rescue dog if you plan to welcome a dog. We've all heard the saying, 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas'. This phrase underscores the unfortunate truth that many underestimate the commitment required to bring a new dog home. The challenges can be even greater for those adopting a rescue dog, making it crucial for new owners to do everything possible to help their rescue dog adjust to its new, loving home as quickly as possible. By choosing to adopt a rescue dog, you're saving a life. You're providing a second chance and a new home to a creature that relies on humans for care and shelter. In return, you'll receive unconditional love. Following the simple steps in this guide ensures that rehoming your dog is as smooth and stress-free as possible for both of you. Essential Factors to Consider Before Rehoming a Dog Before rehoming a rescue dog, one of the most fundamental considerations is whether the timing is right for you. Suppose you have significant life events on the horizon, such as a holiday, moving house, expecting a new baby, or starting a new job. In that case, it might be wise to delay your adoption until your schedule is less hectic. When a new dog, rescue or otherwise, enters your life, you must be able to devote your full attention to them at all times. Rescue dogs can be particularly anxious in their new surroundings, and a bustling household with no routine can be overwhelming for some dogs. If you have the time to dedicate to a rescue dog, the next factor to consider is the dog that best fits you. Consider how much exercise you can provide your new dog, your experience handling dogs, and whether you need a dog that gets along with other pets or small children. For instance, if you reside in a bustling city with small children and various pets, adopting a Border Collie who has only ever lived outdoors on a farm is likely not the best choice! A rescue centre can discuss your requirements and match their available dogs to your needs. Take your time choosing a rescue dog, and if you don't find any suitable dogs during your visit to the rescue centre, resist the urge to settle for an unsuitable match in the hope that you can 'fix' any issues. It's far more compassionate for both the dog and your family to hold out for the right dog for you. Conclusion In this comprehensive guide, we've explored various aspects of caring for small dog breeds in the UK, covering health, accessories, home boarding, training, nutrition, and adoption. We've highlighted the importance of understanding small dog breeds' unique needs and characteristics and provided valuable insights into providing them with the best possible care and companionship. From the importance of regular vet check-ups and tailored nutrition to the benefits of luxury home boarding and the rewards of adopting rescue dogs, it's clear that small dog breeds require special attention and consideration. Whether you're a seasoned small dog owner or considering adding one to your family, prioritising their health, well-being, and happiness is essential. As you navigate the world of small dog ownership in the UK, we encourage you to consider the needs of these pint-sized companions. Whether providing them with a balanced diet, engaging them in regular exercise and mental stimulation, or offering them a loving forever home through adoption, your dedication to their care will ensure a lifetime of joyous companionship for you and your small furry friend.


Find the best 'How To...' guides, FAQs and product reviews for pet parents of small breed dogs here in our amazing collection of easy to follow articles. The Mary Puppins blog is filled with everything you need to elevate your pet parent experience. Whether you're a beginner dog owner or an experienced dog mummy, you'll find helpful content to make your pet parent life easier.

Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

Join the Mary Puppins Pack

Subscribe to Mary Puppins for FREE and get access to all our latest content. Zero spam.

Thanks for submitting!

It's FREE! Your information is 100% secure

bottom of page