It's no wonder, then, that the Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Poodle breeds are among the most popular in South Korea. Japan is pretty similar: the number of small and ultra-small dogs is estimated to account for over 40 per cent of the overall canine population. Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Miniature Poodles occupy the top spots on ranking lists of the most popular dog breeds. Dogs weighing 10 kg or less account for about 70 per cent of Japan's total domestic dog population. Most dogs in Asia are kept indoors, and dog walking is not a widespread pastime. In consequence, nappies are among the most commonly purchased pet products in many Asian countries.
Small dogs have now become a firm feature of daily urban life in major American and European cities too. Living space is at a premium there also and green spaces on which pets can be exercised tend to be few and far between. Since many city-dwellers have little time to take their dogs for regular long walks, large pedigree breeds such as German Shepherd dogs and Dalmatians have been exchanged for toy and mini dogs. One desirable side effect is that expenditure on food, care products and accessories for a Chihuahua or a Dachshund is considerably less than for large-breed dogs.
The industry has reacted to the trend towards small dog breeds and is bringing a steady stream of new products especially for these pets onto the market. The most noticeable change engineered by the boom in small breeds has been in the treat market; dogs were fed predominantly in the past on dry and/or moist food, but the treat market has now exploded in many countries. The sales yielded by treats, which were once regarded as reward items, now exceed those of dry and moist food. There are even more than a few dogs that are fed only on treats. For owners, treats offer a good option to offer their pets plenty of variety in the food bowl. The quality of treat products has also increased hugely in the last few years and the assortment encompasses many products that are recommended for effective preventive health care.