Virtual puppy shopping

Looking for some ideas for a future puppy breed. I lost my last Cavalier last summer (and her brother the year before) Wonderful dogs! But I probably wont get another since I generally like to change so as not to compare. While my last dog’s back issues and autoimmune condition weren’t peculiar to the breed, I would worry more with another.

So here is what I want. Puppy. Probably female (to be spayed). Must be small. I have back problems myself and found with my 65# dog that it was difficult to bathe and care for him when he got old. Also my house is now set up for littles! I have a through-the-wall doggie door that is 16" tall.

Loved, loved loved the Cavalier temperament. So would like something similar in that regard. Prefer not excessive hair, but I can deal if needed. Not hyper or nervous. And no (hopefully) major health problems that breeders cant reliably test for.


I have a friend that breeds fabulous long hair chihuahuas. These are “old school” type. Sturdy, great temperament.
Not the bug eyed, nervous nellies you so often see.
I’m not sure when/if she’ll have puppies available.
If you’re not set on a puppy. She may have a younger adult available.

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Japanese Chin - somewhat similar to a CKCS.
Schipperke - very different temperament, but also a toy breed
Papillon - different temperament, but a toy breed

My friend got an oops litter field cocker x show bred english cocker spaniel pup several months ago at 8-9 months of age. He’s such a doll! I’m in love with this pup and I don’t even “like” cockers after some bad experiences with their poorly bred american cousins or have any prior special affinity for spaniels in general. This little guy is a tiny 21lbs of happy good natured little dog 24/7 and is just a joy to be around.

He’s a busy pup but not destructive or anxious at all. Loves his toys/balls. He has excellent doggie social skills and plays well with others. He plays gentle bitey face/chase/slow mo wrestling with one brother and happily gives and takes a full body slam from the other one. He’s young and has no special training yet but you can see in naturally work the ground and flush birds every time he’s off leash. It’s just natural for him and a fun to watch even in a pet that will never actually hunt. He’s not high drive in such a way that is too burdensome for a laid back 100% pet home, if that makes sense. Also, thanks to his field cocker half, he has much, much less coat than a typical English show type cocker spaniel. Those have ridiculously excessive coats the that make zero sense for the field and and are constant grooming burden in pet homes. This little guy has a silky smooth single coat with some very moderate fringe.

This little dude is special but hard to replicate. Proper english cockers aren’t common anyway and field cockers are even more rare to the point that they basically don’t exist outside of the small circle of specialty spaniel hunter/breeder folks that don’t cross over to the pet or any other trade. And the cross itself unusual and undesirable for both the show and field types and won’t ever be purposely bred, hence the “oops” litter origins for this one. Too bad in some ways bc while I know that he’s probably just an exceptional little dog himself, I also want one for myself now!

I don’t tend to be very fond of many of the smaller breeds, but I think that’s an issue stemming from the owners.

Saying that, I met an American Water Spaniel recently who was lovely. Friendly and well behaved.
I’m told the Boykin spaniels are very similar.
Neither breed is that common though, I’m not sure how long the waitlist for a litter would be.

Any sporting or working breed will still need lots of exercise, even though they’re small.

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My sister has two Bichon Frise. The first arrived due to a major misunderstanding by her DH, the second very much by choice. They are both the happiest, most cheerful little dogs, good with everyone, human or canine, quiet as they don’t bark much, happy to play and very affectionate but not especially demanding, non-shedding and they like to be clean. What are the down sides? They are WHITE and have an awful lot of hair. My sister lives on a working farm so the dogs are generally mud grey. To manage their hair, as they are definitely not for showing and she isn’t into dog grooming, they are clipped close except for topknot and tail so they look more like a terrier than a lapdog. Given their fondness for ratting, they often behave like terriers too. Being close to the ground, they do feel the heat in the summer. They can be as stubborn as hell if they put their mind to something. But definitely 100% nice people.

I had a Miniature Schnauzer that was a fantastic little dog. She rarely barked (some do of course), they don’t really shed and I’d just groom at home with an Oster and a pair of scissors. Show dogs get hand stripped to keep the proper wiry coat, but not necessary for pets. Great little girl who didn’t know she was little.

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Not a breed I ever was drawn to, then my son got one, ohh what a nice dog. I was very tempted when we were looking for a second dog to go with one, even reached out to the breeder. He is a no nonsense sort of dog, smart, alive, friendly, they keep him clipped so farm life is easy. Definitely a candidate.

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You could look at the terrier group and see if anything there catches your eye.

My neighbor has a bichon and she’s the sweetest, happiest and friendliest dog I’ve ever seen. Poodles are great and come in several sizes if you don’t mind grooming.

I’m quite smitten by toy fox terriers right now and although I’ve always rescued mutts, it’s what I would choose if I get a purebred.

Why not choose a few breeds and look for a mix that needs a home?

It wasn’t a breed I had considered either, this was back in the day when you looked in the newspaper for puppies and there was a litter close enough to us.

We went and looked, it was a little farm about 30-40 minutes away where the owner had a few horses (appendix QH) that were really nice too. I was 12 or 13 at the time and she let me hop right on her stallion with a lead rope attached to each side of the halter, bareback and do a few laps around the paddock.

We then went inside and met the dogs. I’d never met a Schnauzer before, but they immediately won me over. They were friendly, confident, as you said “no nonsense” type of dogs. Although they are certainly playful. We left with a “maybe we’ll look at next year’s litter if there is one” but my parents surprised me with one of those puppies a few weeks later. She was easy to train, wanted to be with me as much as possible but OK being left alone for a few hours too. Just the best little dog. She lived 15 1/2 years and was a joy.

If I ever own another little dog, I would go right back to a Mini Schnauzer.


Thanks for some ideas. Bichons are a possibility. I want a mellower spaniel-ish personality, so most terriers are out. Mini Schnauzers sound interesting and my cousin has had a string of Westies. I once worked at a show kennel with mostly poodles. Loved most Standards but there were fewer nice temperaments the smaller they got! But maybe. Kennel had some nice English Cockers, but too big for what I want right now.

My last mix was a 3/4 Cocker 1/4 Poodle. Fabulous little dog. But I knew the dog’s mother and had an idea of the temperament I might get. In my area small breed rescue dogs without health problems are rare, and small breed puppies are vanishingly rare. I dont think I could bring myself to get one shipped from out of state just from a picture. Not to mention the difficulty in dealing with some “rescues” and the chances of health issues.

Another shout out for miniature schnauzer. I showed them very intensely for a few years and saw a broad range of dispositions. I think it is really important to meet the dam and watch the puppies at liberty to see how they interact with their worlds. Kidney and GI issues are not unheard of so I’d look into breed specific testing and ask some careful questions around diet, GI issues with parents, etc.

My first was very quiet and a bit clingy but no separation anxiety, great with everyone, etc. just a mamas boy. My current guy would go home with anyone, phenomenal with other animals, great with kids, etc. but he is LOUD. He doesn’t yip or talk for no reason but excitement, alerting to the door, playing, etc. is all punctuated with talking. They tend to be very trainable so if loud is something that bothers you and you go with the breed, I’d prioritize making barking a cue that you can shape to create nice boundaries. I let mine be an absolute hellion and talk all the time because it brings me joy but DH would prefer a quieter dog.

Well, I think a lot of that is breeding, and also management. Dogs don’t like being kenneled, and most don’t thrive in a kennel environment, especially those with softer temperaments.

The people I know who own miniature poodles as pets describe them as extremely loveable and snuggly. They are smart and sturdy, so not the same as some toy breeds, but one I’d be drawn to for those reasons.