Toy Stories: Small Dogs Are a Big Gift

    Woman holding a toy dog: pomeranian

    Toy Stories: Small Dogs Are a Big Gift

    Who doesn’t like toys?

    Children love to receive birthday presents, and most adults enjoy sincere and thoughtful gifts from that special someone. Gift giving is a time-honored tradition that makes every recipient feel special. (And who doesn’t want to feel special?) Maybe this is why Toy dogs have been given as gifts for so long. Ever since the first dog snuggled onto a human lap, pint-sized pooches have been on many people’s wish list. From China’s Imperial Palace to the brothels of Belgium, Toy dogs have always managed to surprise and delight. For many, there is no greater gift.

    Toy dogs fascinate us largely (pun intended) because they are just like any other dog—except for their diminutive size. Pound for pound, Toy dogs can be just as fearless and formidable (and perhaps just as fickle) as their larger counterparts. A Pomeranian, for example, may very well believe he can pull a sled, and no amount of reasoning will get him to think otherwise.

    The visual appeal of the Toy breeds is undeniable. Their faces (it seems an affront to refer to their noggins as “heads”) are as captivating as the Gerber baby’s, and their make and shape can take many delightful forms—each a unique treasure to behold. There’s the aristocratic Japanese Chin, the cobby English Toy Spaniel, and the terrier-like Affenpinscher, to name a few. When it comes to the tiniest of tail-waggers, the variety to be experienced is every bit as distinctive as the rather dissimilar collection of breeds consigned to the Non-Sporting Group.

    The personalities of the Toy breeds are just as varied as their individual forms. The Chinese Crested, for example, is “playful and entertaining.” The Miniature Pinscher possesses a “spirited presence.” The Yorkshire Terrier believes entirely in its own “self-importance.” There’s no shortage of ego in these wee characters and there’s no scarcity of charm either. Perhaps it would even be fair to say that every Toy breed possesses the “great charm” of the Pug. On this point, there’s no reason to disagree.

    Some people, however, do claim to be a “big dog person” and will argue that there’s no real “purpose” for Toy dogs. Though this belief may seem valid at first (it is hard to imagine a police department whose K-9 officers are Chihuahuas), the breeds of the Toy Group can and do perform an all-important role in society. As constant companions and consistent caretakers, Toy dogs provide so much without asking for much in return. All they require is a warm lap, a soft voice, and a light lunch. In return, they provide the greatest gift of all—their small-scale little selves.

    • Dan Sayers covers the sport of dogs with a particular interest in purebred dog history and breed preservation. His articles feature notable icons of the past as well as individuals who work tirelessly to promote purebred dogs today. A self-taught artist, Dan’s work is represented in collections worldwide and his illustrations appear in the award-winning Encyclopedia of K-9 Terminology by Ed and Pat Gilbert. Since 1981, Dan has been an exhibitor of several Sporting and Hound breeds. He’s bred Irish Water Spaniels under the Quiet Storm prefix and judged Sweepstakes at the parent club’s National Specialty twice. Dan is a member of the Irish Water Spaniel Club of America and the Morris and Essex Kennel Club.

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