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8 Common Dog Breeds in Singapore and What Personality You Can Expect

Singaporeans have a long-standing love affair with dogs, and it's easy to see why. Dogs not only make loyal companions, but they are also loving family members that provide so much joy in life. But not all dogs are created equal. In this blog post, we'll explore eight of the most common dog breeds in Singapore and what personality traits you can expect from each of them.

1. Maltese

One of the most lovable dog breeds, Maltese is known for its charming disposition, playful nature, and luxurious coat. Originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta, it has been a popular lapdog for centuries and was even a favorite of royalty, including Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria.

Despite their small size, Maltese dogs have big personalities. They are affectionate and always eager to please their humans. They make great pets especially if you have children, are a senior, or have elders looking for a loyal and loving companion.

In terms of grooming and health, Maltese dogs have a silky, white coat that requires regular grooming to keep it shiny and tangle-free. They’re considered generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 12-15 years.  They don't require a lot of exercises but they do need regular playtime and socialization to prevent boredom and anxiety. They can also be prone to dental issues and eye problems, so regular veterinary check-ups are essential.

Breed Overview

Height: 18 – 23 cm

Weight: under 3 kg

Personality: Playful, charming, and gentle

Energy level: Moderate

Grooming: Low to no shedding; requires regular brushing of fur

Life expectancy: 12 -15 years

HDB-approved: Yes

2. Pug

Pugs are sure to steal your heart as they’re the most loyal and affectionate dog breeds. They’re well-known for their cute wrinkly face and warm personality.

Originally bred in China over 2,000 years ago, pugs, just like the Maltese, were prized as lapdogs for royalty and nobility. Today, they remain a popular breed and are beloved by pet parents all over the world.

Pugs stand 10-14 inches tall and weigh 14-18 pounds, but they are surprisingly athletic and love to play.  They are social dogs that love to be around people and other pets. They have a great sense of humor and are always up for a good laugh.

One potential health issue to be aware of with pugs is their tendency towards obesity. They love to eat and can easily become overweight if their diet is not monitored. So regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for keeping your pug in good shape.

Breed Overview

Height: 25 – 33 cm

Weight: 6 - 8 kg

Personality: Charming, loving, and mischievous

Energy level: Moderate

Grooming: Moderate to heavy shedding; requires regular brushing of fur

Life expectancy: 13 – 15 years

HDB-approved: Yes

3. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas may be small, but they pack a mighty punch in terms of personality and charm. These adorable little dogs have captured the hearts of many Singaporeans with their spunky attitudes. 

But don’t be fooled by their small size! Chihuahuas are protective dog breeds known for being confident, feisty, and bold. They are fiercely loyal to their owners and make excellent watchdogs, always ready to alert you of any potential danger. 

Another unique characteristic of chihuahuas is their intelligence. They are highly trainable and can easily learn a variety of tricks and commands, making them great for obedience competitions.

Chihuahuas are also very affectionate and love to cuddle with their owners. They’ll happily curl up on your lap for hours on end. This makes them excellent pets for those who want a constant companion by their side. 

In terms of grooming, Chihuahuas are relatively low-maintenance dog breeds. They have short, smooth coats that require minimal brushing and bathing. They are also known for being relatively healthy, with few major health concerns to worry about.

Breed Overview

Height: 13 – 20 cm

Weight: Not exceeding 3 kg

Personality: Charming, graceful, and sassy

Energy level: High

Grooming: Low to moderate shedding; requires occasional brushing of their fur

Life expectancy: 14 – 16 years

HDB-approved: Yes

4. Shih Tzu

Another popular and HDB-approved dog breed in Singapore is the Shi Tzu. These little lion dogs are known for their sweet and charming personality. 

One of the most striking features of the Shih Tzu is their unique face. They have short, flat muzzles and large, round eyes that give them an endearing expression. Their coat comes in a variety of colors and patterns, making them a beautiful and unique addition to any household.

Shi Tzus are even-tempered and do not bark excessively, making them the best dogs for first-time owners and children. While some dogs enjoy digging holes and chasing cats, a Shih Tzu's idea of fun is sitting in your lap or being carried out like royalty.

In terms of health, Shih Tzus are generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 10-16 years. They can be prone to dental issues and eye problems, so regular veterinary check-ups are essential.

Breed Overview

Height: 23 – 27 cm

Weight: 4 – 7 kg

Personality: Playful, affectionate, and outgoing

Energy level: Moderate

Grooming: Low to no shedding; requires regular brushing of their coat

Life expectancy: 10-16 years

HDB-approved: Yes

5. Poodle

Poodles are considered a dog breed of grace and intelligence. They come in 3 sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Each size has its own unique traits, but all Poodles share the same level of intelligence, loyalty, and elegance.

With a hypoallergenic coat that doesn't shed, this lovable breed makes a great option if you or your family have allergies. Their coat is also versatile and can be groomed into a variety of styles, from the iconic "pom-pom" look to a more practical, short cut.

Despite their elegant appearance, Poodles are actually very active dogs and require regular exercise. They enjoy going on walks, playing fetch, and swimming. They also love to hike and explore new environments.

In addition to their athleticism, Poodles are also known for their longevity. They belong to the healthiest of dog breeds, with a lifespan of 12-15 years. But just like other breeds, they can also be prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin allergies. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet can help ensure that your Poodle lives a long and healthy.

Breed Overview

Height: Over 38 cm

Weight: 27 – 32 kg (male standard), 18 – 23 kg (female standard)

Personality: Active, proud, and very smart

Energy level: High to moderate

Grooming: Non-shedding; requires daily brushing of the coat

Life expectancy: 10 – 18 years

HDB-approved: Yes

6. Pomeranian

Known for their cute, fluffy appearance and lively temperament, Pomeranians are a popular choice for many dog lovers. They have a thick, double coat that requires regular grooming to keep them healthy and shiny. Their fur comes in a wide range of colors, including black, orange, cream, and red.

Pomeranians are energetic toy breeds that love to interact with their owners. They’re one of the friendliest dog breeds, making them great family or therapy dogs.

Small but mighty, Pomeranians are confident and outgoing dogs that aren't afraid to stand up for themselves, even when facing larger dogs. They can also be quite vocal, barking at strangers or unfamiliar sounds. However, with proper socialization and training, Pomeranians can learn to control their barking and become well-behaved companions.

Some common health problems you can expect in Pomeranians include dental issues, patellar luxation, and eye problems. But many of these issues can be prevented or managed with regular vet check-ups and a healthy diet.

Breed Overview

Height: 15 – 18 cm

Weight: 1 – 3 kg

Personality: Inquisitive, lively, and bold

Energy level: Moderate

Grooming: Moderate to heavy shedding; requires frequent brushing of coat

Life expectancy: 12 – 16 years

HDB-approved: Yes

7. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers have become increasingly popular as family pets in recent years. Originally bred for fox hunting,  they are quick and agile with a high prey drive. They love to be challenged mentally and physically. Their outgoing personalities make them great buddies for outdoor activities that are sure to keep you on your toes.

They are also relatively low-maintenance dog breeds when it comes to grooming.  Although their rough, wiry coat may appear difficult to maintain, it’s actually quite easy to care for. 

It's important to note that Jack Russell Terriers require plenty of exercises and mental stimulation to avoid destructive behavior. Without proper exercise and training, they can develop behavior problems. But with dedication and effort, they make loyal and loving companions that are always up for a good adventure. 

Breed Overview

Height: 25 – 30 cm

Weight: 4 – 7 kg

Personality: Alert, inquisitive, and lively

Energy level: High

Grooming: Moderate to high shedding; requires regular brushing of their fur

Life expectancy: 12 – 14 years

HDB-approved: Yes

8. Singapore Special

Singapore Specials are a unique and special breed of dogs that are native to Singapore. These highly resilient dogs once roam the streets. But thanks to Project ADORE, they can now be accepted in any HDB home.

Unlike purebred dogs, Singapore Specials have a wide variety of physical characteristics, as they come from a mix of different breeds. Some have short fur, while others have long fur, and their colors and patterns can vary greatly. However, what they all have in common are their unique personalities and charming dispositions.

Another great thing about Singapore Specials is their loyalty to their owners. They are known for their affectionate nature and will often form a strong bond with their owners. This makes them great companions for people of all ages.

When it comes to health, Singapore Specials are not associated with any particular breed-specific health issues. However, it is still important to be aware of potentially genetic health concerns that may arise. It‘s recommended that Singapore Specials undergo regular check-ups and tests to ensure that they remain healthy.

Breed Overview

Height: Up to 50 cm

Weight: 15 – 20 kg

Personality: Cheerful and curious

Energy level: Moderate

Grooming: Low to no shedding; requires frequent brushing of their fur

Life expectancy: 15 years or more

HDB-approved: Yes

Final thoughts

Owning a dog is truly a rewarding and fulfilling experience. And by understanding their breed's characteristics, temperament, and health concerns, you can provide the best possible care for their health and happiness.

For more pet care tips and guides, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Pawkit connects Singapore pet owners to a variety of pet-related resources and services. Get everything you need in one place, from the latest pet care tips to your pet’s details and medical history, as well as a directory of on-demand pet services in your area, such as veterinarians, groomers, and daycare.


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