Many dog lovers will argue that any dog is a good companion. Indeed, dogs, by their friendly nature, are good companion dogs. In the strict sense, though, dogs that do not work and excel at any task other than companionship are “companion dogs.”
How Did Companion Dogs Come to Be?
This tradition of having small dogs for decoration dates back thousands of years to Chinese nobility, where the Pug and the Pekingese were favorites. In Europe, lap dogs were also popular with royalties and the wealthy and are still used as gifts today. Because of their generally small breed, companion dogs love to sit on their owner’s lap – which earned them the “lap dog” label.
Several companion dogs like the Maltese, terriers, and spaniels were bred to serve a good company for refined ladies and gentlemen during the 19th century. In the 20th century, middle and lower classes began having companion dogs chum up with their children. In fact, the parameter by which we measure a good dog breed is in the dogs being a good family pet – an occurrence that still happens today.
How Do They Compare to Other Breeds?
Companion dogs have a life expectancy of up to 16 years. Depending on the breed, they weigh from 4 to 16 pounds and prone to ailments related to their size. Before adopting a dog for companionship, it would be well to research their health ailments and other related issues.
Being generally small dogs, companions are energetic and rambunctious. While they are not ideal around children (they move very fast!), they are a good company to older people who could use extra cheer around the house. The main downside to having a companion dog is that they are vulnerable to larger animals. When you are located in areas where winters could be frigid, you would want to consider dog breeds that are fluffy or are longhaired.
The benefits far outweigh the risk, though, as these dogs are content to follow wherever their owners go. Companion dogs are very easygoing and are happy to sit with their owners for long periods. They are excellent pets for people living in small apartments, and it’s less costly to maintain them.
Some of the most popular companion breed dogs are the Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terriers, Pugs, Dachshunds, and Shih-Tzus.