When looking at breeds like the Siberian husky or Samoyed, it is no wonder that dogs originated from the domestication of the gray wolf. But what about all those teeny, tiny breeds?
It’s hard to imagine your grandmother’s little teacup Yorkie hunting down an elk however many generations ago. A new study was done by researchers at UCLA actually found that by comparing DNA, the gene for small body size found in tinier breeds actually better matches the gray wolf population in the Middle East and the surrounding area.
This suggests that small domestic dogs arose there several thousand years ago, after the first wild wolves were being tamed. Whether you share your home with the cousin of a wolf or a feisty pocket dog, you won’t want to miss this list of 25 of the world’s tiniest dog breeds.
A sighthound breed, meaning they hunt primarily using their keen eyesight and speed, the Whippet originated in England and are descended from greyhounds.
The original Whippets were thought to be English Greyhounds that were too small for hunting. They were returned to their owners and later bred to make a smaller hunting dog to chase rats.
Also known as the Sheltie, they are a herding dog originating from the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
Like the Shetland pony and Shetland sheep, this breed is diminutive but hardy, made to thrive in the rough environment of its native island. The original Shetland sheepdog was a spitz dog, and was eventually refined into its smaller size through a cross with spaniels and terriers.
Though it is considered a hairless dog breed, there are actually two kinds of Chinese Crested Dogs, one with fur, aptly named the Powderpuff, and the Hairless.
Though the current name likely stems from their use as ratters on Chinese ships, it is believed that the breed actually shares origins with the Mexican Hairless Dog the Xolo. One famous Chinese Crested Dog, Sam, was the winner of the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest from 2003 to 2005.
The Italian Greyhound’s name is a reference to its popularity during the Renaissance in Italy. Illustrations of small greyhounds have been found around Pompeii, and they have even been recorded being seen around Emperor Nero’s court in Rome in the first century AD.