Some small dogs are content to do nothing but lie in their owners’ laps. In contrast, others are much more active creatures. Corgis are a great example of the latter. That makes sense because they originated as herding dogs before making a smooth transition to being pet dogs. Still, different people have different preferences. Interested individuals should know they can choose from a wide range of small to medium-sized dogs similar to Corgis in one way or another.
Hunting isn’t very popular in modern times. Indeed, The Washington Post and other publications report it is becoming less and less popular, so much so that it is creating some very unexpected issues. As a result, it is a bit unintuitive for modern people to imagine our not-so-distant predecessors creating dozens and dozens of hunting dog breeds, each of which had its particular hunting niche. Still, they did, as shown by the existence of the Beagle.
Generally speaking, Beagles look like miniature versions of foxhounds. That means they aren’t fox-hunting specialists. Instead, Beagles received their name because beagling is the hunting of hares and rabbits. Said activity was thought suitable for people who either couldn’t hunt foxes or were still working their way up to hunting foxes. There were more kinds of Beagles in historical times. One example would be the so-called Pocket Beagles, which were small enough to ride in saddlebags. Sadly, Beagles were one of the dog breeds that got hammered during the 20th century, thus resulting in the loss of much of their one-time diversity.
Regardless, modern Beagles are delightful animals. These dogs are gentle and good-natured. However, Beagles are smart but stubborn, meaning they aren’t as easy to train as some of the more biddable dog breeds out there. Interested individuals should expect to spend a lot of time with these dogs. Partly, that is because Beagles need regular exercise, though that is more to maintain a healthy weight than to work off excess energy. A second issue is that Beagles are pack animals, which is why they often suffer from separation anxiety when people leave them on their own.
2. Border Terrier
Unsurprisingly, the Border Terrier came into existence on the Anglo-Scottish border. Historically speaking, that was a rough region. England was the stronger of the two kingdoms, so it often tried to exercise control over its northern neighbor. Meanwhile, Scotland was well-aware of the two kingdoms’ relative positions, which is why it sought a counter-balance in the form of what Historic UK and other sources call the Auld Alliance with France. In practice, that didn’t necessarily work out very well. Scotland remained the weaker of the two kingdoms, while France found the English Channel too great of an inconvenience.
Curiously, the Anglo-Scottish border is as rough as one would expect based on its historical role. The Border Terrier came into existence in this environment as a partner to foxhounds. Essentially, these dogs would head into fox burrows to flush out their occupants, thus exposing the latter to the waiting foxhounds. As a result, it makes sense that the Border Terrier isn’t the most sedate of dogs. For example, if it isn’t securely fenced-in, it will make its way out either over or under the fence. Likewise, if it isn’t securely leashed when it sees something it wants to chase, well, suffice it to say it is likelier to die from an accident than from old age. Still, if people want an energetic dog, they could do much worse than the clever, loving, and extremely determined Border Terrier.
Dachshunds are another dog breed expected to engage their targets inside the latter’s burrows. In their case, that meant challenging everything from rabbits to foxes and badgers. Supposedly, people even used entire packs of Dachshunds to hunt boars, which makes more sense when one remembers that the older versions of the dogs had longer legs.
Many of the Dachshunds’ characteristics make them better suited for their mission. These dogs stand on shorter legs, but those shorter legs make it much easier for them to move through burrows. Similarly, their skin is loose to prevent tearing while working their way through such environments. Even some of the Dachshunds’ personality traits are reflective of this background. For instance, animals tend to dislike getting into serious fights. That is true even for predators because if predators get hurt during the process, their chances of survival plummet with every injury making them less capable in the hunt. Dachshunds are famously stubborn animals because that enables them to go the distance against prey such as badgers, which are also famously stubborn animals.
Despite these issues, there are very good reasons why so many people love their sausage dogs. Dachshunds might be less than enthused about strangers, but they are much more affectionate towards their human family members. On the whole, they are somewhat difficult dogs, but they are nonetheless worthwhile dogs.
4. Jack Russell Terrier
The enthusiasm of lone individuals can have a huge impact on the development of dog breeds. For instance, the Jack Russell Terrier received its name from its creator of the same name. Britannica says said individual was a reverend with a great fondness for hunting. Thanks to that, he embarked on the creation of a better fox terrier. It isn’t 100 percent unclear which dogs the man used for his dog breeding project. Even so, he contributed a great deal to the smart, versatile animal of modern times. Those characteristics served the Jack Russell Terrier very well when it made its transition to being more of a pet dog than a hunting dog. A necessary process because the demand for these dogs as hunting dogs declined in close correspondence with the demand for fox hunting.
5. Lancashire Heeler
Lancashire Heelers hail from the English county of the same name. Like a lot of working dogs, its exact origins are unclear because the people who owned their ancestors weren’t exactly the most concerned with documenting their family lineages for posterity. Still, there is speculation that Lancashire Heelers descend from Corgis on one side and Black and Tan Terriers on the other. Unsurprisingly, that means they are similar to their Corgi cousins in a lot of respects. That is particularly true because people also used these dogs as cattle-herding dogs to a great extent, thus accentuating those similarities.
Interested individuals should know that Lancashire Heelers are one of the rarer dog breeds on this list. There isn’t a great deal of interest, which in turn, means that there aren’t a lot of parties ready to meet that nonexistent interest. Due to that, if they want to get a Lancashire Heeler, they might have to jump through more hoops than if they were going for something more common. Still, going for a rare English dog breed should be much easier for English speakers than going for a rare dog breed from a different country that speaks a different language for the most part.
Samoyeds hail from Siberia. Unsurprisingly, that means they served as sled dogs for the most part because sleds were the primary means of long-distance transportation in snow-covered regions before the advent of modern roads and modern vehicles. Of course, Samoyeds were also like other dogs that lived with common people in that they were often multi-purpose. Besides pulling sleds, they also protected their families, herded their livestock, and helped out with hunting.
It seems safe to say that most interested individuals aren’t too concerned with the working ability of Samoyeds in modern times. These dogs still serve as working dogs, but they are also valued because they are one of the cutest dog breeds in existence. Partly, that is because Samoyeds are spitzes with fluffy white coats. It helps that these dogs default to a smiling expression. Technically speaking, Dog Discoveries points out that the smile isn’t a smile. Instead, the mouth of the Samoyed has upturned corners because that prevents the dog from drooling. In milder climates, that would be a non-concern; in Siberia, drooling is a huge inconvenience because it can freeze on the dog’s face.
With that said, Samoyeds live up to the impressions set by their smiles surprisingly well. They are playful dogs that remain so into old age. Moreover, while people used them for protection, they were better watchdogs than guard dogs because they are too friendly for the latter role. The one issue with the Samoyed is that it can become destructive when it isn’t getting enough activity, which tends to be much less of a concern for people who specifically want a more energetic dog.
7. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Islands are a real place in Scotland. Generally speaking, people don’t consider them to be very hospitable. After all, the Shetland Islands are in the subarctic region, which is pretty much what one would expect from the name. Still, life finds a way. Thanks to that, the Shetland Islands are the source of several varieties of domesticated animals that have sacrificed size in exchange for increased hardiness. The Shetland Sheepdog is one of them.
Originally, the Shetland Sheepdog was the Shetland Collie. Unfortunately, the complaints of Collie owners prompted a name change. Despite this, the Shetland Sheepdog continues to look like Collies, though it is very easy to distinguish because it is so much smaller. Otherwise, these dogs have the characteristics one would expect from herding dogs that sometimes serve as pets and vice versa. They do stand out by being one of the most intelligent dog breeds though.
8. Shiba Inu
Japan is home to several spitz-like dog breeds. The Shiba Inu is the smallest of the lot. Even so, people often mistake it for one of the other spitz-like dog breeds because of their strong resemblance. With that said, the Shiba Inu is a distinct dog breed with the distinct role of flushing out birds and other small game. In contrast, people often used the Shiba Inu’s bigger counterparts to hunt bigger prey. These dogs came close to extinction during the Second World War for a couple of reasons. One, the National WWII Museum points out that the United States was very successful at reducing the Japanese food supply, so these dogs weren’t exactly high on the list of priorities. Two, these dogs got hammered by an outbreak of distemper right after the war.
Luckily, the Shiba Inu survived. Thanks to that, we now have a bold, independent dog that is much beloved by the perpetually online. Conveniently, the Shiba Inu is a very fastidious animal, which should come as welcome news to those concerned about housebreaking their pets.
9. Toy Poodle
Poodles are some of the most popular dogs on the planet. For proof, look no further than the fact that they come in not one, not two, but three sizes. Indeed, Dog Breed Info says some places even recognize a fourth kind of Poodle, though more widespread recognition will have to wait. In any case, Toy Poodles are the smallest of the lot, thus making them a good choice for people who want a bright, loving house pet with plenty of energy for whatever they have in mind.
Vallhund means “herding dog” in Swedish. Given that, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that these dogs originated as working dogs that did herding and other helpful work for their human masters. People often compare the Vallhund to Corgis. The issue is that it isn’t clear whether the Vallhund contributed to Corgis or Corgis contributed to Vallhund. For that matter, both theories can be true to some extent because Great Britain and Scandinavia have been in contact for a very long time. Regardless, the Vallhund is a sociable dog with a fair amount of energy, thus enabling them to get along well with humans and animals.