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Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2003

Celebrities create fixation on small dogs

June 15, 2003

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What's tiny, sweet and fits in your purse? No, not TicTacs. We're talking teensy terriers, wee wieners, pocket-size pups.

Small dogs -- or toy breeds, as the American Kennel Club calls them -- are making big paw prints in the pet world. Thanks to celebrities who tote them around like fashion accessories (often outfitted in their own designer threads and baubles), toys are one of today's hot new playthings.

Bruiser, the pint-size Chihuahua, will return to take a stand in the nation's capitol when Reese Witherspoon's "Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde" opens July 2. Look for plenty of designer outfits (many matching Elle Woods' own glam garb) for the fashionable four-legged friend.

Bruiser is only one of several small dogs making the glossies and gossip pages of late. Anna Nicole Smith's eponymous "reality" show on E! Entertainment features the randy hijinks of Sugar Pie, a flatulent, Prozac-popping poodle. MTV's hit "The Osbournes" could be renamed "Animal House" for all the dogs in the Ozzy family (including Maggie, a Japanese Chin; Lulu, a Chihuahua; and Minnie and Pipi, both Pomeranians). Socialite Paris Hilton will star in a Fox reality show called "The Simple Life" toting her Chihuahua Tinkerbell (whom Paris dolls up in matching Chanel outfits, including tiny Chanel shoes). "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul travels everywhere with Thumbelina, her longhaired Chihuahua. Natalie Portman has been known to take her poodle-schnauzer mix, Noodles, to the fashion shows of designer pal Zac Posen. And Drew Barrymore brought her dog Vivian along for her photo shoot for the May issue of Harper's Bazaar.

"Yes, it seems like smaller dogs are becoming more popular," said Daisy Okas, spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club. "It could be influenced by the trends on TV or the movies, as we saw with the pug in 'Men in Black.' But it also happens with bigger dogs: '101 Dalmatians' sparked an interest in Dalmatians.'

According to AKC registration statistics, the small dog is making gains. The Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua and Shih Tzu are numbers six, nine and 10 on the Top 10 most popular dogs, according to 2002 AKC registrations. In the 1990 registration, none of the toy breeds was in the Top 10.

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