This section is from the book "A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear, And Feed Them", by Leslie Williams. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Toy Dogs: How To Breed, Rear And Feed Them.
The choice of a breed to take up is generally dictated by personal preference, and fashion has a large spoke in the wheel. Just at present, the fashionable breeds among toys are certainly Pomeranians, or Spitz toys - commonly known as "Poms," Japanese spaniels, Pekingese or Chinese spaniels - sometimes called Chinese pugs, toy bulldogs, and Griffons Bruxellois. Of the choice of a breed for profit I have spoken before, and will now consider the question from the point of view of a lonely dame seeking a pet, or pets, and having no preconceived prejudices.
The Pom, then, is a little dog, hard to get good, but really valuable when so secured. A good toy Pom means one as small as possible, certainly under 8 lbs., and preferably under 6 lbs., not long-legged and weedy, but short-backed and compact; with tiny erect ears, a fine-pointed muzzle, small dark eyes, tail - or plume, as it should be called - well over the exact median line of the back; small, fine, and delicate legs and feet, covered with short hair; and last, but far from least, a profuse coat standing out well all over the body, and amplified about the neck with the characteristic frill, and at the backs of the hind legs with the criniere. Bright brown and chocolate are very much more common than they were a year or two ago, when either was scarce and much desired, but blacks are always favourites. Black-pointed sables (wolf-coloured Poms) seldom have good stiff coats, and, like the beautiful orange sables, are apt to be flat-coated, thus are not so popular; while parti-coloured dogs depend for attraction upon their quality otherwise. Blues, which, unless large, generally have hairless ears, are very charming, and carry excellent coats, but are comparatively seldom seen.
The usual faults of toy Poms are "apple-headedness" - a term which explains itself - scarcity of coat, coarseness in head or leg, tails badly carried, big ears, or protuberant eyes, legginess and weediness, or curliness. A wave in the coat spoils some from a show point of view, and though washing with borax and water, and combing out with a comb dipped in a weak solution of gelatine, will temporarily remedy the defect, it spoils the desirable bushy look of a Pom to a great extent.
Poms are capital little companions, faithful, exceedingly sharp and intelligent, and generally devoted to one person; they are good with children if brought up with them; but they are fussy and excitable little things, bark a great deal, and have nerves. I do not consider the character some people give them of snappishness at all justified by facts; but here and there a sharp-tempered Pom may be found. Their quality of disdain towards strangers is one which ought to be considered a virtue in all pet dogs. They are not of the easiest dogs to train to the house, especially when kept in numbers, and are not always reliable in this way, mainly on account of their quick, nervous disposition; but for cleverness, affection, and beauty, they have few, if any, equals among toy dogs, and they are never likely to lose their popularity; a really good toy Pom is always immensely admired and courted wherever it is taken. Puppies are not now so easily saleable at high prices as was formerly the case, as so many people took them up that they have become plentiful : and it is not worth while to breed second-raters; but a good Pom will still sell.
Next to toy Poms I will mention toy Schipperkes, because, though they are not as yet so fashionable, and probably never will be, they resemble Poms in many ways. As house dogs they are eminently desirable, wonderfully clean and well-mannered, and like the Pom in cleverness and fidelity to one person, while they are much hardier and easier to rear and keep in good condition. They are not at all nervous dogs; but wildly full of life and greedy for exercise; their incessant activity vying with that of the merry little Spitz. They are decidedly "barky" and exceedingly inquisitive, good travellers, and dogs which settle themselves down anywhere, and are content so long as they are with the favourite "human" they specially possess. Schipperkes are extremely heavy dogs for their size, and quite a wee one will weigh four times as much as a Pom which hardly looks smaller. Both breeds require a meat diet and plenty of good food, which they work off by their active ways; but the bulk of the Schip's meals should be larger. As a rule, Schips are very good-tempered dogs, and, like Poms, sharp followers at heel.
They are, however, pugnacious little things, and have only the grand forbearance of bigger dogs to thank for the prevention of many a tragedy due to uppish self-assertion. Black is their colour, and taillessness their most intimate quality; sone, we are told, are born tailless, most - are not! Brown and fawn Schips are common enough in Belgium, the home of the race; and we have now not infrequently classes for them over here; while whites, which arc really fawns, exist, occurring in litters now and then from a throwing back to some distant ancestor, and are really pretty dogs, though I confess the piquancy and charm of the blacks, with their sharply-pricked, thin ears, their rounded-off flank, hard, shiny coats, and dense masses of mane and culotte, the Schip's distinctive points, are to me lost in an "off-coloured" dog. Their faults, as toys, are soft, silky coats, toyish or apple or badly-shaped heads (that universal stumbling block), "Pommy," quality of coat (there is no blemish on a Schip's escutcheon greater than a putative cross with a Pom), white hairs or markings, ears which are rounded at the tip instead of pointed, too big, or badly carried, short faces, unlevel jaws, spread feet, crooked or distorted legs, and long backs.
The whole appearance of the dog should be very smart and cobby, intensely alert, and altogether clean and well put together, qualities difficult to describe, but which " sautent aux yeux."