From Rachel Jones. Email her at rjones[AT]borderstan.com.
Many city dwellers choose to get small breed dogs because they think a small dog will be better suited to apartment living. This is not always true. In addition, small dogs tend to get treated like babies instead of dogs. Small breed dogs are real dogs! Many small breeds are quite feisty and require a great deal of exercise and intellectual stimulation.
Some small breeds, like Chihuahuas and Lhasa Apsos, have been bred for thousands of years to serve as burglar alarms. This means they will bark furiously at the slightest noise, which is not a good trait for an apartment dog. Many other small breeds, like terriers, are bred to kill rodents, which makes them quite ferocious. These dogs were bred to work, so they need structure and physical activity in order to stay sane. When they don’t get it, they develop strange behaviors like spinning in circles and incessant barking.
It is important to give all breeds, even small dogs, training, discipline and exercise so that they can lead happy well-adjusted lives. This means letting them walk on their own as opposed to carrying them everywhere. In addition, they shouldn’t be allowed to jump on people or be constantly sitting in laps. They need basic obedience training and exposure to lots of dogs and people. If they are treated like “real dogs,” they will be much happier and calmer, and much less likely to cause problems in an apartment setting.