Bright, bold, and vivacious, I’m one of the country’s favorite breeds. Though tiny in size, I’ve got a huge personality and nonstop energy. I’m more playful than cuddly, though I’m affectionate with family. Children can make me nervous and might mistakenly hurt me, but I won’t back down from bigger dogs; I’ll sometimes even pester them, so be watchful. I’m a good fit for even the smallest apartment, but don’t leave me alone for too long.

I can get enough exercise just chasing a ball or bounding about the house every day, though I do like outdoor walks to satisfy my curious nature and meet new friends. I have a stubborn, independent streak and can bark—and bark and bark—so early, firm, and consistent training is critical.

My long, somewhat dense double coat does shed and requires brushing a couple times a week. Frequent baths are fine, or a little talcum powder now and then will tackle any doggy odor. Beneath all that fur I’m about as small as they come, standing 8 to 11 inches tall at a mere 3 to 7 pounds. My coat can be virtually any color or pattern you can imagine on a dog, though I’ll never look like a Dalmatian!

Loving care and attention will keep me an energetic star of the family for 12 to 16 years, though I do face some health issues. Kneecap luxation is a primary concern. Less serious issues include open fontanel (skull soft spot), hypoglycemia, shoulder luxation, and eye problems.