How Do I Choose the Best Purse Dog?

B. Miller

The considerations for choosing a toy dog, or just a smaller dog, sometimes known as a "purse dog," are the same for any other type of pet. It is important to keep in mind how much time you have to devote to the animal, as well as if you are able to give the pet the exercise it requires. It is also important to consider the dog's temperament, such as how he behaves around children or other animals. Most people adopt a purse dog because they want a pet to carry around with them, so it is of utmost importance to choose a friendly, social animal.

Purse dogs are usually small enough to fit in a purse.
Purse dogs are usually small enough to fit in a purse.

Though many people automatically want to adopt or purchase a young dog or a puppy when they are choosing a purse dog, there are plenty of adult and senior animals that need homes as well. It is always a good idea to adopt and give a home to an animal that needs one, rather than purchasing an expensive puppy from a breeder. When you are selecting a breed, you will want to make sure it is one that will not get heavier than about 20 pounds (about 9 kg), because then it will really no longer qualify as a purse dog.

Pet carrier purses are typically designed for dogs that weigh 10 pounds or less.
Pet carrier purses are typically designed for dogs that weigh 10 pounds or less.

There are other considerations to keep in mind when selecting a purse dog as well. Just because you want to carry the dog around with you all day does not mean it doesn't need any exercise, so be sure you have the time to give it a walk every day. If you have other concerns, such as pet allergies or shedding, you may want to choose a breed that is less prone to shedding. Certain breeds, such as toy poodles, also might not bother people who have allergies.

Temperament is also a huge factor to keep in mind when choosing a purse dog. You will want a dog that is friendly, social, and enjoys being around people -- and most importantly, enjoys being carried around in a bag. Because this pet will likely encounter people of all ages, as well as other pets, it is important that he is gentle and not prone to biting or snapping. By keeping these important aspects in mind, you will be much more likely to choose a pet that will be a positive addition to your life for many years to come, and will help give a happy home to an animal in need.

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Discussion Comments


@Fa5t3r - I'm sure that happens sometimes, but most people who get a dog want that dog to be happy. And I think the rise in popularity for small dogs has got more to do with the fact that so many people live in tiny apartments or areas where big dogs won't be able to get enough exercise.

If you are the kind of person who can afford to get a designer dog carrier, then I actually think you'll probably be happy to have a companion that you know really adores you for yourself rather than your money.


@bythewell - Unfortunately, I think that most people looking for a tiny dog are looking for an accessory rather than a companion and aren't going to care much either way if it gets sick, or is very snappish or nervous.

They just want something cute so they can buy dog carrier purses that match their rhinestone collars.


Very small dogs are often purebred, so you really need to do your research before you buy one. I think people assume that purebred dogs will have fewer problems with temperament and health than mixed breed dogs might, but that is definitely not the case.

And for smaller dogs, it can be even worse as they've obviously been bred extensively to be as tiny as possible without any concern for other factors.

That doesn't mean that every single one of them is going to be unhealthy or bad tempered, but it doesn't give them the best chance to be otherwise.

So make sure you do your research. Often breeders will test for genes that are linked to known medical conditions in purebred dogs, but they aren't exactly going to warn you if they haven't.

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