Miniature Poodles? Boston Terriers? Schipperkes? Small dog people!

Toller_08

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#1
As I've mentioned previous, no dogs will be added to my home for a while yet, but I'm trying to research and get a feel for different breeds that I might want. Specifically a smaller dog, as I'm at a point in my life where small and medium sized dogs just make more sense than a large dog.

Over the weekend I was at the Agility Nationals, and there were a few small breeds that really piqued my interest. I've seen all of these breeds before, but usually just at dog shows where they aren't acting as they normally would in a more relaxed environment as they're busy getting ready to show. This weekend though I got to see different dogs and breeds in an entirely different situation, and I am so glad. Plus, now that I've opened my mind to the possiblity of a smaller dog, I'm noticing different things about smaller breeds that I never really paid attention to before. I never thought I'd say it, but I've totally fallen for Miniature Poodles. The ones I met this weekend were super sweet and just seemed so biddable and into their owners. A couple of Boston Terriers also caught my attention surprisingly. They were just so fun and spunky. Don't know much about them, and I normally am not one for squishy faces, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons, haha. Schipperkes also really caught my eye. I'm still very interested in JRTs, as well as Papillons, but I'd love to know more about the above mentioned breeds as well if any of you know anything about them. Or if you own another breed, or have experience with another breed and think they might be good for me, I'd love to hear about them as well!

What I'm looking for is:

- Something between 10-25lbs
- Something versatile in which I can train and compete in different venues (Agility, Rally and Obedience specifically)
- An active dog that enjoys exercise and activity, but not something energetic to the extreme
- Something that is not overly barky, but will alert me when warranted. Vocal is ok as long as it's "talking" sort of vocal, in a playful way... if that makes sense!
- Something that is pretty trainable. I need a quick learning dog.
- Something that will be able to live peacefully with another dog.
- Something biddable and pleasing, but can be a bit challenging. In other words, I don't want a totally independent dog, but I don't want a dog who mindlessly obeys and does just because I said so. I like a dog who thinks.

There's probably more I could add, but those are the key points I can think of right now.

I'll be doing other reading and research as well, but I love gathering input from owners of different breeds as far as activity levels go, what they're in general like to live with, trainability levels, what they're like with other dogs and people, how vocal they are, etc. Basically anything you can tell me about your own experience with a breed would be appreciated!

My biggest issue with small dogs is that they seem so difficult to housebreak. I don't want to stereotype though, and I am unsure as to whether this is specifically a small dog trait, or just a case of people not knowing how to properly housebreak, or what. So small dog owners in general, do you find your dogs difficult to 100% trust when it comes to housebreaking? That's kind of a deal breaker for me... I need to be able to trust that my dog will not have accidents ever, unless they're not feeling good and I'm not around to let them out.

I'm kind of all over the place as far as breeds go right now, I know. But I never really had much of an interest in owning a smaller breed until now, so I'm keeping my options open and trying research and learn as much as possible. And input would be great!
 

Kat09Tails

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#2
My biggest issue with small dogs is that they seem so difficult to housebreak. I don't want to stereotype though, and I am unsure as to whether this is specifically a small dog trait, or just a case of people not knowing how to properly housebreak, or what. So small dog owners in general, do you find your dogs difficult to 100% trust when it comes to housebreaking? That's kind of a deal breaker for me... I need to be able to trust that my dog will not have accidents ever, unless they're not feeling good and I'm not around to let them out.
I have a few papillons and a spaniel. In my experience papillons are really not that hard to housebreak BUT.... people have a hard time being consistent enough in the beginning to housebreak. The smaller the dog the greater the frequency they need to be taken out more so than a normal size 12 week old puppy. Many papillons don't get good bowel control until over 8 months old, so people just need to be committed to it and committed to a schedule. I also don't let my papillons wander freely in my home until they're over 2 years old and well versed in the rules of where we potty, where we eat, and that you don't get to shred every cardboard box you see.

As a comment though about papillons, some lines are YAPPERS and nerve bags. I'm fortunate that I only have one who suffers from diarrhea of the mouth. Two are infrequent barkers (like when someone pulls in the driveway), and the one is nearly silent. Personally I treat yapping as a temperament flaw and choose not to buy into those lines but many other people routinely debark their papillons instead. My normal advice for people is to visit their breeder and see how their lines behave and what steps the breeder has taken to live with their companion breed.
 

JacksonsMom

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#3
What I'm looking for is:

- Something between 10-25lbs
- Something versatile in which I can train and compete in different venues (Agility, Rally and Obedience specifically)
- An active dog that enjoys exercise and activity, but not something energetic to the extreme
- Something that is not overly barky, but will alert me when warranted. Vocal is ok as long as it's "talking" sort of vocal, in a playful way... if that makes sense!
- Something that is pretty trainable. I need a quick learning dog.
- Something that will be able to live peacefully with another dog.
- Something biddable and pleasing, but can be a bit challenging. In other words, I don't want a totally independent dog, but I don't want a dog who mindlessly obeys and does just because I said so. I like a dog who thinks.
Honestly, you just described Jackson to a tee! Every one of those requirements is Jackson, lol. He's either an oversized Yorkie at 15lbs, or a Silky Terrier, don't entirely know. I'm sure he doesn't fit the standard of most Yorkie's but I've always let him be a dog, and never over protected him, etc. I know Yorkies aren't on everyones top list for agility, or obedience dog, but they really make great ones when trained right. Alot of breeders also get bigger pups.

Here's a great example of a well trained, allowed to be a dog Yorkie :D:D
YouTube - ‪Eddie the Smart Yorkie‬‎
He does agility, obedience, therapy dog work, etc.

Of course, I can't leave my Jackson out:
YouTube - ‪Jackson's Tricks - April 2010‬‎

Of course I'm totally biased. :D

But a Papillon definitely comes to mind also. I'm really looking into them as my second breed.

As for the housetraining... hmm... I wouldn't say it was "hard" but I was really diligent for the first 4-5 weeks of having him. I think that's what helped Jackson so much, me setting him up for success. I was home from break in college so I would take him out every hour and just let him have a chance to go if he needed to, so he didn't go in the house.

I call him 99.9% potty trained. When I leave the house for example, he's had free roam of the house since he was 5 months old. Never a problem. Never went in the house while I was gone, or chewed things, etc. I never trained him to do this though, he just did. He was always trustworthy. However, when I WAS home, was always a bigger problem. I remember when he was younger (probably up until 6 months old) I would be sure he went outside first, and if he did not go poop, I'd have to watch him like a hawk because he would go off into the dining room and crap. If he had just pooped outside, I knew I was safe for a while. He will occasionally have a poop accident in the house (I would say once every 2 months). but it's typically on a really stormy day, or if I was being lazy and not paying attention to his signals. But yeah, 99% potty trained. ;)
 

MericoX

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#4
What I'm looking for is:

- Something between 10-25lbs
- Something versatile in which I can train and compete in different venues (Agility, Rally and Obedience specifically)
- An active dog that enjoys exercise and activity, but not something energetic to the extreme
- Something that is not overly barky, but will alert me when warranted. Vocal is ok as long as it's "talking" sort of vocal, in a playful way... if that makes sense!
- Something that is pretty trainable. I need a quick learning dog.
- Something that will be able to live peacefully with another dog.
- Something biddable and pleasing, but can be a bit challenging. In other words, I don't want a totally independent dog, but I don't want a dog who mindlessly obeys and does just because I said so. I like a dog who thinks
You just basically described a Miniature Poodle (well, at least Lincoln). He picks up stuff in one sitting, though you have to watch him as the next time he tries to get away with being silly - like shake he tries to rear up like a horse and shake that way LOL - he's very fast, very smart. We did our first agility class this past Saturday and tried out the A-frame, Tire, and a Tunnel all in the same day and he was totally cool with out after the first time.

Tsuki (my toy poodle) is alot the same way, but she's about half his size, although fearless, but sometimes does alert bark at scary stuff, but other than that she's quite (and I'm used to schnauzers!). Poodles in general are just really cool, and funny little dogs. That being said, I've looked at the Bostons some as they seem to have the same "fun" personality.

EDIT: Oh, as for housebreaking, both the dogs were a breeze to housebreak. Though I think mainly in part when they started out they were in Texas and the door was open all day for them to go in/out as they pleased, and after a time or too got the jist of where to go. The only problem-pottier I have is Tsuki going in her crate, but she's also from a puppymill, but otherwise is housebroken (loose in the house) and asks to go out.
 

MandyPug

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#5
- Something between 10-25lbs
- Something versatile in which I can train and compete in different venues (Agility, Rally and Obedience specifically)
- An active dog that enjoys exercise and activity, but not something energetic to the extreme
- Something that is not overly barky, but will alert me when warranted. Vocal is ok as long as it's "talking" sort of vocal, in a playful way... if that makes sense!
- Something that is pretty trainable. I need a quick learning dog.
- Something that will be able to live peacefully with another dog.
- Something biddable and pleasing, but can be a bit challenging. In other words, I don't want a totally independent dog, but I don't want a dog who mindlessly obeys and does just because I said so. I like a dog who thinks
You've described Izzie right there... And Brutus, Biff and Nacho who are all Pugs that competed this past weekend at nationals! Pugs learn VERY quickly. In fact yesterday it only took me 15 minutes to shape a behaviour with Izzie while i was waiting for something to start at nationals. They're also a thinking breed though and if they don't want to do something you're telling them you, you'll know it. I like that in my dogs, but not everyone does Lol! They are also VERY motivated by food and most of them are pretty motivated by toys as well (Izzie loves fetch and she's catching on to tug pretty good). They're dogs that love to go for long walks, runs, hikes, adventures and rollerblading; but they're also perfectly happy to chill on the couch. They don't tend to get hyper if they haven't gone out for enough exercise, they're pretty chill like that.

My biggest issue with small dogs is that they seem so difficult to housebreak. I don't want to stereotype though, and I am unsure as to whether this is specifically a small dog trait, or just a case of people not knowing how to properly housebreak, or what. So small dog owners in general, do you find your dogs difficult to 100% trust when it comes to housebreaking? That's kind of a deal breaker for me... I need to be able to trust that my dog will not have accidents ever, unless they're not feeling good and I'm not around to let them out.
Izzie has been 100% since 6 months old, she was reliably going outside only since about 12-14 weeks old. Like i said, they learn VERY quickly. Most of the time folks that have small dogs aren't consistent enough. It's just the kind of people that typically own toy breeds, they treat dogs like babies or stuffed toys.


ETA: I know you didn't ask about Pugs but i thought I'd just throw them in there ;)
 

milos_mommy

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#6
JRT probably fits all of that criteria. They ARE energetic to the extreme, but if they get enough exercise (which honestly isn't that ridiculous, especially after puppyhood is over) they're calm and well behaved in the house. Milo was housebroken in two weeks, and two days after I got him I was hospitalized. I think if I was home it would have taken a few days. Obviously he was still crated and everything but he asked to go out, and maybe had a few accidents if I wasn't paying attention or whatever. They're tough little dogs and aren't going to put up with any crap, but I think if you go to a breeder that has dogs with sound temperaments and socialize the dog properly, you shouldn't have any problems, especially with your dogs. They usually aren't the kind of dog that wants some big strange dog going and getting in their face, and if they have a bad experience, they're going to protect themselves next time.

I used to like Boston Terriers in theory, but recently I've met three who just weren't very nice. It could be their environment/breeding/etc.

Poodles are really great, too, but I think if you want a dog to seriously compete in agility, they're not going to be the best choice. The ones I've seen have been slow. They're smart, though, really smart. Most are very friendly.
 

YodelDogs

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#7
What I'm looking for is:

- Something between 10-25lbs
- Something versatile in which I can train and compete in different venues (Agility, Rally and Obedience specifically)
- An active dog that enjoys exercise and activity, but not something energetic to the extreme
- Something that is not overly barky, but will alert me when warranted. Vocal is ok as long as it's "talking" sort of vocal, in a playful way... if that makes sense!
- Something that is pretty trainable. I need a quick learning dog.
- Something that will be able to live peacefully with another dog.
- Something biddable and pleasing, but can be a bit challenging. In other words, I don't want a totally independent dog, but I don't want a dog who mindlessly obeys and does just because I said so. I like a dog who thinks.
If you start with a puppy with the right personality and use the right training methods a Basenji might be just what you are looking for. I have lived with the breed for 19 years (I'm a breeder) and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about them. :)
 

Laurelin

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#8
Poodles are really great, too, but I think if you want a dog to seriously compete in agility, they're not going to be the best choice. The ones I've seen have been slow. They're smart, though, really smart. Most are very friendly.
My first agility instructor had a mini poodle and a border collie. The mini poodle kicked her BC's a$$ around in agility. Also, agility isn't all about a fast dog, it's probably even more about reliability. She wasn't BC fast but she was much more reliable and steady nerved.

Anyways other than that mini poodle, I don't know any others. My grandad always kept several Bostons around when I was younger. I remember they were all completely goofballs and very into that rougher style of body-slamming play. They remind me a lot of boxers in a way. Oh and they can JUMP! They jump higher from a standstill than just about any breed I've ever seen. I don't think I could own one though I really did like them.

If you do look into paps, you'll want one that is big or even oversized. You can find them though, but it might take more time to look. Mia's brother is 12 inches and a big boy (she's a shrimp). Summer's a good size at 8 lbs. As far as how vocal they are, mine vary. It's not near as bad as my past shelties so it doesn't bother me at all. I've never known a debarked papillon either- I didn't know it was common. I've heard Rose bark maybe 5 times in the 3 years we've had her. Mia on the other hand is MUCH more vocal and so is Summer. They're also much more drivey than the others so I'm not sure if there is a connection. Mia does a mini almost toller-like scream when she gets very excited. Nard bays like a hound lol. But overall they're all quiet in the house unless they hear something outside and they do sound the alarm.
 

JennSLK

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#9
Have you thought of a beagle?

They would be a challenge in the training department. They are super smart, just stubborn and need the proper motivation.

With proper training they dont howl a whole lot, and Emma allways barked at the door. Mind you it was in a OMG someone is here to play with me way, but to a stranger her big dog bark didnt sound like that.
 

milos_mommy

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#10
I agree reliability and accuracy is just as, if not more, important than speed, the poodles I've seen do dog sports (and it's only been a few) have been downright SLOW. Not slow compared to other breeds, really sort of meandering around the course SLOW. Excited about it, but just not interested in going much faster than walking or a casual trot.
 

MandyPug

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#11
I agree reliability and accuracy is just as, if not more, important than speed, the poodles I've seen do dog sports (and it's only been a few) have been downright SLOW. Not slow compared to other breeds, really sort of meandering around the course SLOW. Excited about it, but just not interested in going much faster than walking or a casual trot.
I wish i filmed AAC Nationals this weekend for you then. The poodles there were accurate AND fast. It's all about the individual dog and the training methods used.
 

Kmh1

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#12
You also might want to consider Manchester Terriers. The Toy variety are 12lbs or under and the Standards variety are not supposed to top 22lbs. They are sleek, quick, very intelligent and a some are really making their mark in agility. Some are barkers--it varies a lot in the breed. House training Zippy was a bit of a challenge, but with dilligence, he is pretty consistent now. They are also one of the foundation breeds of the Dobe :)
 

elegy

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#13
pyr sheps come to mind, too, but they can be really barky.

i'm a big mini poodle fan, personally. smart little dogs, lots of fun. plenty athletic, versatile, and usually pretty long-lived.
 

HayleyMarie

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#14
how about a Westie. And yes I am biased :)

They are a big dog in a little package so much attitude and personality and they are a hoot. Teagan likes to talk, she only does get barky when my dad amps her up and acts like world is on fire:rolleyes: Were trying to put a stop to that.

They are very very smart, only took Teagan about 10 minutes to learn a new trick. Potty training was pretty easy too since we had her on a consistant schedual.

Westies are very agile as well and they love to GO!! Teagan would always be on the go if you let her, but if you wanted to stay in during the day to relax or if it is raining she is ok just to play some tug-a-war or fetch.

Downside. Teagan likes to dig alot, which is ok for us since we live on a farm and have lots of dirt to spare, but if she finds a mole hill with a mole hiding thats where she will be trying to destroy the moles life.
 
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#15
I think a boston could fit your requirements. That's their size range 10-25 lbs. They are goofy, very playful, love to be with their people and usually good with other dogs when socialized properly. Joey is 100% potty trained and has been since he was six months old. I made the mistake of using puppy pads with Lucy at first and she's having trouble transitioning outside. Joey was very easy to train, and very forgiving of my training inexperience. Lucy is a bit more difficult. She's very easily distracted so a bit of a challenge.

One thing I will say, don't get a boston if you can't tolerate snorting, snoring and flatulence.

As for exercise, bostons are VERY playful, so if you want a mellow dog don't get a boston. My two love to walk. They keep up just fine with my parent's beagle and pointer. But they don't mind chilling out if the weather is bad.

If you have any specific questions about bostons let me know.
 

Toller_08

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#17
Thanks for all of the information everyone! I've enjoyed reading each and every post and taking it all in so far. :)

You just basically described a Miniature Poodle (well, at least Lincoln). He picks up stuff in one sitting, though you have to watch him as the next time he tries to get away with being silly - like shake he tries to rear up like a horse and shake that way LOL - he's very fast, very smart. We did our first agility class this past Saturday and tried out the A-frame, Tire, and a Tunnel all in the same day and he was totally cool with out after the first time....
They sound like great dogs, and definitely have me extremely interested. I loved the ones I met over the weekend, and I will definitely be doing more research on them and would like to meet some more minis. They seem to be exactly what I'd love to have in a dog.

ETA: I know you didn't ask about Pugs but i thought I'd just throw them in there ;)
I've always been a huge Izzie fan, but never really gave much thought to the breed as a whole. Pugs don't in general grab my attention the way some other breeds do, but I like everything you've said about them. Something to think about, anyway. :)

JRT probably fits all of that criteria. They ARE energetic to the extreme, but if they get enough exercise (which honestly isn't that ridiculous, especially after puppyhood is over) they're calm and well behaved in the house. Milo was housebroken in two weeks, and two days after I got him I was hospitalized. I think if I was home it would have taken a few days. Obviously he was still crated and everything but he asked to go out, and maybe had a few accidents if I wasn't paying attention or whatever. They're tough little dogs and aren't going to put up with any crap, but I think if you go to a breeder that has dogs with sound temperaments and socialize the dog properly, you shouldn't have any problems, especially with your dogs. They usually aren't the kind of dog that wants some big strange dog going and getting in their face, and if they have a bad experience, they're going to protect themselves next time....

...Poodles are really great, too, but I think if you want a dog to seriously compete in agility, they're not going to be the best choice. The ones I've seen have been slow. They're smart, though, really smart. Most are very friendly.
I meant energetic to the extreme as in, I've already exercised a dog for an hour or more and it still comes home bouncing off the walls like I didn't do anything with it. Based upon what I've learned so far of JRTs, as long as they recieve adequate exercise, they're pretty happy to relax the rest of the day or keep themselves occupied in other appropriate ways their owner provides around the home. That's what I've gathered so far anyway... I could be wrong.

And I don't really mind if a dog is a little slow in Agility. I have big goals for Dance in Agility, based upon her drive and enthusiasm and overall love for the sport, but that doesn't mean I'll hold another dog to the same expectation. As long as the dog is having a good time and we're enjoying working together, then great! I don't mind if it's a little slow. Based upon this past weekend though and other Agility trials I've been to, Poodles don't seem that slow to me. Maybe not Border Collie or Malinois fast, but the ones I've seen keep a pretty steady pace.

If you start with a puppy with the right personality and use the right training methods a Basenji might be just what you are looking for. I have lived with the breed for 19 years (I'm a breeder) and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about them. :)
Basenjis have intrigued me for a long time. I used to think I'd want one, actually. There are many things I love about them, but I don't know that I'm cut out to own a sighthound unfortunately.

If you do look into paps, you'll want one that is big or even oversized. You can find them though, but it might take more time to look. Mia's brother is 12 inches and a big boy (she's a shrimp). Summer's a good size at 8 lbs. As far as how vocal they are, mine vary. It's not near as bad as my past shelties so it doesn't bother me at all. I've never known a debarked papillon either- I didn't know it was common. I've heard Rose bark maybe 5 times in the 3 years we've had her. Mia on the other hand is MUCH more vocal and so is Summer. They're also much more drivey than the others so I'm not sure if there is a connection. Mia does a mini almost toller-like scream when she gets very excited. Nard bays like a hound lol. But overall they're all quiet in the house unless they hear something outside and they do sound the alarm.
I've never really looked into what size Papillons are supposed to be, but I think even the smaller sized Paps I'd be good with. The ones I've seen don't look all that small to me, compared to some other toy breeds. 10-25lbs was just an approximation. :)

Have you thought of a beagle?

They would be a challenge in the training department. They are super smart, just stubborn and need the proper motivation.

With proper training they dont howl a whole lot, and Emma allways barked at the door. Mind you it was in a OMG someone is here to play with me way, but to a stranger her big dog bark didnt sound like that.
Beagles are really cute and super sweet, but I really don't think I'm a hound person. I loved the Dachshunds I had growing up, but the more I've been around and gotten to know different breeds, the more I've come to the conclusion that my personality just wouldn't mesh well with a hound.

You also might want to consider Manchester Terriers. The Toy variety are 12lbs or under and the Standards variety are not supposed to top 22lbs. They are sleek, quick, very intelligent and a some are really making their mark in agility. Some are barkers--it varies a lot in the breed. House training Zippy was a bit of a challenge, but with dilligence, he is pretty consistent now. They are also one of the foundation breeds of the Dobe :)
I hadn't thought of Manchesters at all. Thanks for that! I'll look into them some and see what I think.

pyr sheps come to mind, too, but they can be really barky.

i'm a big mini poodle fan, personally. smart little dogs, lots of fun. plenty athletic, versatile, and usually pretty long-lived.
The pyr sheps I've been around have been pretty nervy dogs. Not sure if that's the norm, and I'll admit I've not been around that many (4 of them, and all with the same person), but they kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

how about a Westie...
I've given some thought to Cairns and Westies actually. They sound great on paper, but I've never really met any.

I think a boston could fit your requirements. That's their size range 10-25 lbs. They are goofy, very playful, love to be with their people and usually good with other dogs when socialized properly. Joey is 100% potty trained and has been since he was six months old. I made the mistake of using puppy pads with Lucy at first and she's having trouble transitioning outside. Joey was very easy to train, and very forgiving of my training inexperience. Lucy is a bit more difficult. She's very easily distracted so a bit of a challenge.

One thing I will say, don't get a boston if you can't tolerate snorting, snoring and flatulence.

As for exercise, bostons are VERY playful, so if you want a mellow dog don't get a boston. My two love to walk. They keep up just fine with my parent's beagle and pointer. But they don't mind chilling out if the weather is bad.

If you have any specific questions about bostons let me know.
Thanks for the info! I definitely don't want a mellow dog... just not one that is hyper and bouncing off the walls constantly. That's what caught my attention about Bostons actually, is just how playful and outgoing they are. They seem like such characters and loads of fun. And I like the fact that although they're brachycephalic, it doesn't seem to be to an extreme like some breeds.

What about a bichon? Similar to a toy poodle, but a little bigger (and sturdier-looking, IMO).
I've had Bichons mentioned to me a couple of times rather than a Poodle based on sturdiness, but they just don't do it for me for some reason. I love the athletic, sleek build of a Poodle... and Poodles just seem more personable and outgoing than the Bichons I know (my neighbour has two Bichons that I've gotten to know, my grandma has one, and my family used to have one a long time ago).
 

MericoX

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#18
If you're thinking about a terrier, what about Miniature Schnauzers? They're not as bouncy as Lincoln, but they are sturdy little dogs. They are pretty mouthy, and can bark alot, but with training I don't think it'd be a problem. I let my slip up as puppies, and still training them now that one or two barks is okay, but after that STFO. But they have picked up the "quiet" command quickly over the last month or so. They are very much one-person dogs, they have such a strong bond with you. They can be a little independent, but will always come and work with you (Especially if you have food). Both mine are pretty drivey and can do a 3 mile walk just fine and come home and crash. And they are happy just playing in the backyard since we don't walk everyday.

Lemme know if you have any poodle OR schnauzer questions. :)
 

Laurelin

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#19
Just wanted to make sure you knew papillons don't get up to 25 lbs. :) They seem bigger than a lot of toys to me and it's because of the height I think. Summer's 8 lbs is a pretty good size for a small dog imo.
 

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