Small Dog Puppies:  Your Guide

by Janice Jones     |Last updated 04-25-2024

Who can resist small dog puppies?  Let’s face it, all puppies are adorable, lovable, and delightful.

We are, after all a little biased when it comes to that cute little puppy that is going to stay small forever. 

Once we get over the too cute phase, we realize we have a living being that is entirely dependent on our care, our love, and our protection. 

It is not a human child, but it comes close, so we must learn all we can to assure that our puppy grows up to be a well mannered, well balanced, happy, healthy adult.  Where do we start?

A shih tzu puppy looking at the camera

Choosing Small Dog Puppies

Have you chosen your new puppy?  If not, you might want to examine some of the resources on this site: 

Group of small dogs asking questionsSmall Dog Puppies

If you are still unsure about the breed of your dreams, our A to Z Small Dog List is a good place to begin.  It has links to many small dog breed pages.  If you are more interested in a hybrid/designer dog, there are so many to choose from.

Pick the Right Puppy For You

A young pomeranian puppy

If you have narrowed down your search, now you want to assure that you have chosen a healthy puppy that is also psychologically sound.

No puppy is going to be utterly perfect, but there are simple methods you can use to pick out the perfect puppy—the pick of the litter so to speak. 

After you have read about how to evaluate that perfect puppy for health, it’s time to look at his behavior.  Simple puppy temperament testing can tell you plenty about his personality and if that particular personality will fit your life style.

Puppy Dog Psychology

A red toy poodle puppy is sitting in a forested area

Many people are interested in puppy development.  Do they go through predictable stages similar to human babies?  Yes, they do.  Much research has been done in this area, and if you are interested in how a puppy develops from birth to maturity, you will want to browse the stages of puppy development.

While you become an expert on puppy development, you might also be interested in puppy behavior  and the language of small dog puppies.  There barks, yelps, and howls are just one way they communicate.  The more common way that they “talk” to you is through their body language.

For the studious puppy parent, you might want to discover your puppy’s senses.  What does the dog seeWhat does he taste?  Just how acute is his sense of smell?  The more you know about dogs, the better puppy parent you will be.

While we’re on the subject of puppy psychology, everyone agrees that a certain amount and type of socialization is critical in the early weeks for a well-adjusted puppy. 

If you are still in the decision making phase, be sure to choose a breeder who will socialize your puppy properly from the day he is born. 

Oh, and just in case you have some puppy behavior problems, you'll want to check out this page.  No dog is perfect, but you can achieve some amazing things if you work at it.

Safety First


The puppy stage is unbelievably cute, but it is also considerable work.  To make your job just a tiny bit easier, you will want to puppy proof your house because these little guys are… well… Curious beyond words. 

Everything in your home from a foot off the floor could be subjected to the greatest scrutiny, and possible destruction by that cute little puppy.

While you are inspecting your home for possible hazards, you might also want to start a puppy first aid kit. Things happen when you least expect it, so a little advanced preparation never hurts.

How Big Will My Puppy Get?


If you are purchasing a dog from a breeder, you should be able to see the parents, or at least the mother.  Ask the breeder how big the parents and grandparents are.  Sometimes size skips a generation and it is helpful to know what to expect.

If you are adopting a puppy and don't know the background, it is also helpful to look at breed standards.  If you think your puppy is a hybrid of two or more breeds, read the standards for each breed.  These standards are available on the American Kennel Club Site.

Another way to get an estimate of the adult size of your puppy is with an online app such as the one at The Goody Pet.  Enter your dog's breed, age or date of birth and choose pounds or kilograms and get a rough estimate of the adult size.

Shopping and Naming

The fun and anticipation escalate when you do that first haul at the neighborhood pet supply store.  You will want to prepare, and a few chosen items will make those first few days much easier on you.  What puppy supplies will you need?  Be sure to check our our recommendations and go easy at first.  There will always be time to return and shop with your puppy in tow.

Do you have a name picked out?  If not, we have page after page of puppy names from which to choose.  One name might spark the imagination, and perhaps you will come up with a truly unique and different name for your little one.  We hope you will share it with the other readers on this site.

If this is your first puppy, or if you have not had a puppy in awhile, you will want to brush up on health concernsgroomingtraining and safety issues.

Keeping, Loving, and Caring for Your Small Dog Puppy

Do you know what to feed your puppy, and how often?

Do you know what vaccinations and worming he will need?

How about Puppy Teething Symptoms?  Can You identify?

Do you know how to bathe  or groom him?

How about dental care?  Know how to brush his teeth?

Do you know what to do if your puppy has diarrhea or is vomiting

Worried about fleas?  Ticks?

Are you worried about weird behaviors such as a puppy eating his own feces?

What is the best way to housebreak your puppy?

Where do you start with training? 

Curious why your puppy is sneezing?

When do Puppies Loose their Baby Teeth?

We have answers right here at Small Dog Place!

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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