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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16544
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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Im not sure which this question should go to. I am trying

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Im not sure which this question should go to. I am trying to find the best fit breed for my family. I need a laid back, intelligent, playful at times but mellow gal to spend time with me and my husband and a terrier (7lb). Also the BIGGEST concern is health issue predisposement. I need something that is under around 5-15 lbs. I don't want a large dog, But I don't want a 3 lb one as I don't want smaller than my terrier. She is small and I want her playmate to be larger than her (That's what she is used to). I looked into certain breeds and one would say it was a yappie, high strung breed, and the next would be full of health problems, and I just cant seem to get it right? Any suggestions?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

From your description of the kind of dog you're looking for, I think I've come up with a good possibility:

The Boston Terrier.

I think that a good dog for your family would be a Boston Terrier. These little black and white dogs are called the All American Dog for a good reason. They have a really incredibly great disposition, they don't have as many health issues as their similar sized counterparts and they adapt to pretty much any kind of living.


On a personal note...In all the time I've been in the vet field, I have only met 1 "bad" Boston. These little dudes are just super happy-go-lucky.


There's a ton of information on them here:


And there's a video about Bostons from when they were featured on Dogs 101 on Animal Planet:


They're also really playful and get along with other dogs and even cats!


I hope this helps.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
There are a few things that scare men about furbabies with protruded eyes in that the popping out of socket or eye infections. Let me give you the list I came up with and you can tell me if they will fit I will check out your info on the terrier in the meantime, so here's what I e came up with and don't get me wrong I could be totally off so feel free to say no way or whatever :) 1. Maltese. I think they are really cute, don't know much about the health issues but groomers say they are yappy or mean and nervous dogs, my worries is just (I hope no one gets offended but I have never owned a long haired dog and may as some really silly questions but...I worry about it going to the bathroom with all that hair? And would I have to shave that area, can't believe I'm asking this. I worry about skin infections if long haired dogs get skin infections, or like staph or mrsa ect. 2. Havanese new to this breed as well ...I saw some health issues and not sure if they are horrible or not. 3. Poodle 4. Shihtzu I was around only one and it had a great temperament but groomers say they are mean and when they get older get mean. Also worry about eyes popping out and eye infections, Another groomer told me she saw a lot with missing eyes and she was a very very reputable breeder and hers had infections all the time, while another breeder said her never not infections. -also heard they were hard to train and potty train. 5. Yorkie. Was told nervous dog and could be mean and timid.

I can totally understand your concern....the Maltese/Shih Tzu/Poodle are great dogs...however, they are high allergy dogs. I actually have a Maltipoo (a Maltese/poodle mix) and he's one of the worst allergy dogs I've ever met. I have literally spent thousands of dollars on allergy testing for my guy. Of course, not all of these breeds are going to have allergies, but because they're such high demand dog, the breeders don't have the time to breed these bad traits out of them.

Also, all of the dogs you've named have to be groomed at least once a month or once every 6 weeks. Otherwise the hair gets long and matted...and yes, you were right on the bathroom habits. These dogs have to have their rears trimmed short or you end up with little dingleballs back there...matted hair with balls of feces in it.

I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other...if you're leary about the about a Bichon? They're gonna need to be groomed, but otherwise, they're a bit healther than some of the others.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No great to hear your perspective! When I was researching and calling some of the designer breeds like the maltipoo they said they were hybrid vigor so that they were less likely to have denetic defects of the purebreds? What's your perspective on that? Are straight poodles allergic to a lot? What do you think of the havanese? The reason I hadn't considered the bishon is that I heard they barked a lot.
I totally disagree that the 'designer dogs' have less genetic flaws...they're so very overbred that those genes that carry things like allergies haven't been bred out.

In my experience...toy or teacup poodles are alot more allergy dogs than the standard poodles...however, the standards can be around 50 pounds, so that's a bit more than you're looking for.

As for Bichons barking...any dog can be a just have to be willing to put in the work to nip it in the bud if it stops...most people dont becuase it's cute when they're puppies, but irritating when they're adults.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What about a strait maltipoo or havanese? My aunt has a shihtzu but it scares me about the stories I hear of thier eyes ect. One person tells me they are laid back the next one says the maltese is laid back, one says the shihtzu is mean when older and another says maltese are entitled lil gals. Havanese no one has. I don't want anything that sheds because of allergies, the hair for my family that is, I even thought about a long haired dauchhound but forgot about the shedding, I just loved cuddlling with the shihtzu that I was around and found it to be so sweet but bought a book I forgot the author but it starts with a W the last name and it said shiatzus were bred and were deformed. That's why they had so many problems and it said liver shunts and It said chronic hepatitis then I thought what if you could catch hepatitis?
How about a short haired Dachshund? They're just like the long haired ones, but shorthaired.

The strain of hepatitis that dogs get isn't the same as the human strain..and as long as the puppy gets all it's vaccines, then you don't have to owrry about things.

I deal with lots of Shih Tzu...they're nice enough dogs....and their eyes don't pop out like people can happen...but it's very rare.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I don't know what's got me on this long haired dog, my husband and I both have really bad allergies, So for me, I want a lil gal that is playful, laid back, great with kids, I want to be able to put bows in its hair yet let it "be" a dog, actually my lil gal acts like a person so I'm not sure that statement is true, intelligent, I just had held the shihtzu and it was just so cuddly like a teddy bear, I loved how its hair felt, it was such a sweet girl but I'm a lil worried about my germaphobia with the grooming. (The #2 part) and getting it to the groomer, see I like to do things myself so if I let their hair grow out would they still have to go to the groomer? Can I just shave its rear? And when you say shots what kinds of things do dogs have that humans can catch?
You can totally do the grooming at home and cut the rear with problem!!

Dogs need a rabies vaccine (people can get rabies if they get bitten) and a vaccine called a 5-way...which contained distemper and parvo (both of which are very contagious to other dogs and fatal if left untreated). Other than Rabies, none of the shots are for thing that are contagious to people.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX alpso going out of business so to speak? I never hear of them anymore? I don't want a gal that has a lot of skin allergies (is that the kind of allergies you were referring to with your maltipoo?) How about straight maltipoo? Gosh I cant cant seem to find the right fit for my family lol. I research A LOT before I add an addition. I really like the Shihtzus the white ones, but ok i'll try to make a pro con and maybe you can weigh in

1. Maltese- don't know much about, only thing I can imagine without seeing is the poopy issue and eye problems and worrying if I can groom myself. (I sheered my basset hound for medical reasons and didn't mind but the hair would choke me as it bothered my allergies and would gather etc). Very hard to find, I would want the stalky kind not the skinny kind the skinny kind look out of proportion and fragile.

2. Maltipoo, you have me scared lol, I wanted it for the reason of the hybrid vigor and getting a maltese with the intelligence of the poodle.

3. shihtzu, loved cudding with the one I spent time with just on a couple occasions, it was so happy to see strangers, and its long hair was almost comforting to pet on, it looked so calm and would fall over asleep playing course it was only a year old or 2, but MY worries are that their eyes pop out, liver shunts, whatever that is, and a book I read said they were bred with that deformity, that's what caused their problems in health. also some groomers told me they were mean, or they had two coats and I might not be able to sheer them (id do the puppy cut prolly, and I wonder about their intelligence and hard time with potty training.

4. havanese- rare, don't know much about so not sure about problems? they seem good on paper but they look kind of masculine like a sheep dog but smaller unless im wrong?

5. poodle, smart, but the grooming issue and probably allergies?


what do you think of this breakdown? or am I going in circles lol

I think you're absolutely going in circles!! But you also get a gold star for doing the research and figuring out what's best for you and what your personal limitations are.

I wonder about going to your local shelter and talking to them...asking if you can test drive (for lack of a better word) a couple of the breeds you're interested in. That way you can try things out without committing to any one dog...
Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I hope you don't mind I went ahead and rated you as I didn't want you to think my going in circles would affect YOU l:). The problem with our local shelter is that they are shut down all the type do to parvo and other diseases and it doesn't feel safe. I once picked one out, spent time with it and came to pick it up to find out it had parvo, I was devastated. Since the loss of my other girl I've been hyper vigilant about health issues though she lived way past her span. Did I see you deal in behavior? Would I be able to tell if my lil gal (almost 14) wants to remain alone or get another companion?
I can completely's hard to be attached to a dog and then have it get sick.

I think the only way you'd know if your current gal wants a housemate would be to bring a dog home for a few days and see how she does. If you've got friends with the breeds you're interested...I'm sure that they're up to date with vaccines so you don't have to worry about your old girl getting sick...and then you'd have an idea of how she's going to deal. If she gets upset or aggressive with the rental dog, then you'll know that she'd rather be an only child.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What do you usually see in spans for lil 7-9 lb rat terriers? Do maltese have allergies? Or shihtzu or havanese? I know of one I can rent its up to date on shots but her vet neglected to inform her it needs wormer every month. It hasn't had wormer since it was a few months old. She did not know she was to worm it! I found out the other day, so I hate to bring worms in
Rat Terriers usually make it to double digits at all...somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-16 years.

Any dog can have allergies...Maltipoos, Shih tzus and seems like the smaller breed dogs are more prone to them...probably because of the over breeding.

If the other dog has been wormed, then I wouldn't worry about it bringing worms into the house. If you're worried, ask your friend to have a fecal test...if the still has worms, the eggs will be in the feces, so that's one way to know for sure wheter the other dog has worms.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do you think one of those breeds are more laid back than the other or more trainable as I really like to train them with commands and tricks. I want playful, not grouchy and laid back affectionate and loves socialization.