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How To Choose The Pawfect Small Breed Dog For Your Family

Updated: Feb 22

Small breed dog Yorkshire Terrier with cute coat on

Selecting the ideal four-legged family member is a joyful yet significant endeavour, much like finding a hidden gem in the rolling landscapes of Cheshire.

At Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding, we understand the importance of harmonising temperament and lifestyle when adding a new furry friend to your family.

With our guidance sprinkled with a dash of British charm and a hint of humour, let's embark on this exciting journey to choose the perfect dog for your family.

Understand Your Dog-Friendly Lifestyle

Every family has a unique lifestyle, and choosing a dog that aligns with it is essential.

Suppose you're an active, outdoorsy bunch who relishes exploring the lush countryside of Cheshire.

In that case, you might find companionship with small dog breeds, for example, the Jack Russell Terrier.

Their high energy levels and adventurous spirit make them an ideal match for hiking and outdoor escapades.

On the other hand, if cosy evenings at home and leisurely walks are your style, small dog breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels could provide the snug and affectionate companionship you desire.

Consider Family Members and Dogs

The composition of your family is a crucial factor in selecting the right dog.

Consider the age and needs of each family member.

For families with young children, a dog with a gentle disposition, such as a Maltese or a Bichon Frise, is the ideal choice.

These breeds are known for their patience and friendly nature, making them excellent playmates for children.

In contrast, families with older members who appreciate a quieter lifestyle may lean towards a more laid-back breed like a Basset Hound, known for its gentle and easy-going temperament.

Evaluate Your Living Space For A Dog

Your living situation plays a significant role in choosing the right dog.

Whether you reside in a cosy flat in the heart of Cheshire or enjoy the luxury of a spacious country residence, your dog's living environment should be a comfortable and practical fit.

Smaller breed dogs are often more adaptable to compact living spaces.

In contrast, larger breeds like the Golden Retriever thrive in larger homes with ample room to roam and play.

Dog Allergies and Shedding

For families with members who have allergies, it's essential to consider hypoallergenic breeds.

Breeds like the Toy Poodle, Shih Tzu, and Maltese are known for their minimal shedding.

They are often more compatible with allergy-prone individuals.

These hypoallergenic breeds can bring the joy of having a furry companion without the discomfort of allergies.

Dog Training and Exercise Commitment

Be honest with yourself about your commitment to training and exercise.

Some breeds, like Yorkshire Terriers, are highly intelligent and need mental and physical stimulation to thrive.

They enjoy challenges and excel in activities like agility and obedience.

On the other hand, breeds like the French Bulldog have a more relaxed approach to life and are content with moderate exercise.

Being realistic about the time and effort you can devote to training and exercise is essential in selecting the right dog.

Dog Temperament Testing

Before making a final decision, spending time with potential furry friends to assess their temperament is wise.

Look for opportunities to interact with a variety of small breed dogs.

This hands-on experience allows you to gauge which dog's temperament aligns best with your family's needs and preferences.

It's a fun and informative way to ensure a harmonious match.

Long-term Commitment To A Dog

Remember that choosing a dog is a long-term commitment with over a decade or more lifespan.

Selecting a small breed dog that aligns with your long-term plans, including significant life changes, such as moving to a new home, expanding your family, or retiring, is essential.

Specialised Dog Breeds for Special Needs

In some cases, families have unique requirements that call for specialised breeds.

For instance, if you have a family member with disabilities, a service dog may be the ideal choice.

These dogs are trained to assist with specific tasks, enhancing the quality of life for individuals with mobility issues, visual impairment, or other disabilities.

These canine companions bring not only practical help but also emotional support.

Mixed Breed Dogs: A World of Surprises

While purebred dogs are often the first choice for many families, pay attention to the charm of mixed-breed dogs.

Mixed breeds can bring a delightful element of surprise, both in terms of appearance and temperament.

These dogs are often more accessible through local dog rescues, offering an opportunity to give a loving home to a dog in need.

Their uniqueness and unpredictability can lead to a rewarding experience.

Rescue Dogs: A Heart-warming Choice

Adopting a rescue dog is a choice that touches the hearts of many families.

These dogs have often faced challenges and hardships, and offering them a loving home can be a truly heart-warming experience.

The bond that forms between a rescue dog and their new family is remarkable, as they appreciate the second chance at a happy life.

Therapy Dogs: Healing with Love

Therapy dogs can be an excellent addition to families with specific medical or emotional needs.

Therapy dogs are there to comfort and give emotional support towards people in hospitals, nursing homes, and those dealing with trauma or anxiety.

A therapy dog has a profound impact on mental well-being and recovery.

Dog Sports and Activities: A Lifestyle Enhancement

If your family enjoys an active lifestyle, consider breeds that excel in dog sports and activities.

Participating in dog sports can enhance your bond with your furry companion and provide opportunities for socialising with other dog-loving families.

Dog Foster Care and Temporary Companions

For those who are not ready for a long-term commitment, fostering dogs can be a meaningful choice.

Fostering allows you to provide temporary care for a dog in need and can be a rewarding experience, especially for families with changing schedules or those looking to test the waters of dog ownership.

Dog Educational Programs for Kids

When choosing a family dog, consider involving your children in the decision-making process.

Educational programs and workshops for kids, such as "doggy day camps" or classes on responsible pet ownership, can provide valuable insights into caring for a dog.

These programs offer a hands-on learning approach and can be fun and informative for young family members.

In essence, selecting the perfect dog for your family is an intricate journey that involves evaluating not only your lifestyle but also the unique needs of your family members.

Whether you opt for specialised or mixed breeds or adopt a rescue dog, the decision reflects your values, compassion, and commitment to welcoming a beloved canine companion into your home.

Remember that the right dog, chosen with care and consideration, can enrich your family's life in countless ways, creating cherished memories against the backdrop of Cheshire's captivating landscapes.


What are the best small dog breeds for families? 

Among the top little dog breeds suitable for households are Spaniels, Cairn Terriers, Maltese, and many more.

Each breed has its own unique characteristics that make them a great fit for different types of families.

What are the advantages of having a small dog breed in a family? 

Small dog breeds are lower maintenance than larger breeds.

They require less food, their daily exercise can often be met by playing inside the home, and they are easier to handle, especially for children.

Are small dog breeds good with children? 

Many small dog breeds are known to be good with children.

But it's crucial to keep in mind that each dog is unique, and a variety of circumstances, such as their upbringing and socialisation, can affect their behaviour.

How to choose the right small breed dog for your family? 

Choosing the right small breed dog for your family depends on various factors including your living situation, the age of your children, and how much time you have available to take care of your pet.

To make sure a dog is a suitable fit for your family, it's usually a good idea to spend some time with them before bringing them into your house.

What is the top small breed dog for a family setting? 

The best small family dog is one that fits seamlessly into family life, offering companionship, affection, and compatibility with children and other pets.

What are some of the best small family dog breeds? 

The best small dog breeds for families are those known for their gentle temperament, adaptability, and suitability for households with children.

Which small dog breeds make good family pets? 

Small dog breeds that make excellent family pets are those with friendly dispositions, moderate energy levels, and a propensity for forming strong bonds with their human companions.

What are the top-rated small family dogs that do not shed? 

The best small family dogs that do not shed excessively are breeds known for their hypoallergenic qualities and minimal shedding tendencies.

Final Thoughts

Finding the perfect dog for your family is a thoughtful and rewarding process.

By carefully considering your lifestyle, family members, living space, allergies, training commitment, and conducting temperament testing, you can make a calculated decision that brings joy and harmony to your household.

At Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding, we're here to support you in this journey.

So, with enthusiasm and careful consideration, embark on this journey, and you'll soon welcome a furry family member who seamlessly complements your unique life in the UK.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider.

At Mary Puppins, we prioritise your cherished pets' well-being, offering a haven of comfort and care during their stay.

Our commitment is to ensure your small breed dogs are treated like family, receiving top-notch attention and care.

BOOK NOW via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

Mary Puppins Cheshire

Mary Puppins perfect small breed dog your family

mary puppins expert small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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We provide free, useful information for pet parents of small dog breeds UK. 

Please be aware that our opinions may differ to yours and that's ok. We encourage healthy, positive discussion. 


We all love our small dogs! And want them to live a long and happy life. 

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