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For you, the sofa may be a wonderful sanctuary, a place to let your body melt. That’s how your lap looks to a lapdog, a canine who, somehow and somewhere, figured out that cats have the right idea – the lap is the ONLY place to be.
This isn’t to endorse sitting around all the time. You and your dog do need to exercise. But afterwards, you can let him or her curl up on your lap, petting and pampering him or her, while you lazily flip through the channels. If this is the sort of lifestyle you enjoy, consider some of the following breeds that are natural lapdogs. We’ve included a handy guide to how much each dog generally weighs (an important but often overlooked factor, since a good lapdog can spend hours sitting on you).
Bichon frise. The bichon frise, winner of the 2001 Westminster Dog Show, is not only a great lapdog, but the curly-coated white breed is recommended for people with allergies. The bichon frise loves attention and is very affectionate. Lap weight: 10 to 18 pounds.
Cavalier King Charles spaniel. King Charles II was almost never without two or three spaniels. He once ordered that the dogs were to be admitted to all public places – even courtrooms. (This decree is still legal in Great Britain, by the way.) With large eyes and a slightly rounded head, the Cavalier is adorable. Their hair coat is moderate in length and is most often white & chestnut. The breed gets along with pretty much anyone in the household, including cats – although your lap may get a little crowded with both. Lap weight: 10 to 18 pounds.
English toy spaniel. This is a cousin of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The toy spaniel has a pushed-in nose compared to the Cavalier. The hair coat is moderately long and wavy and is most often red and white. The breed has a merry disposition, like his cousin, but they are a little more shy with strange people or situations. Lap weight: 9 to 12 pounds.
Japanese chin. Described as elegant yet comical, the chin is not well known in the United States. The dog is considered part of royalty in Japan, but in this country has been referred to as the Japanese terrier. The dog has a distinct Oriental expression and an amazingly luxuriant coat. The head is big for his size and the eyes are set far apart, giving the chin a characteristic appearance. The most common colors are black and white. This is a dog whose function is strictly that of a companion. On your lap, a chin serves as an excellent way to keep your lower extremities warm. Lap weight: about 7 pounds.
Lhasa apso. The lhasa apso hails from Tibet, where the dog is called apso seng kye (bark lion sentinel dog). In fact, the lovable lhasa’s keen hearing and intelligence make him a good watch dog. However, the small furry breed is even more exceptional as a lapdog. The long hair coat of the lhasa is most often tan in color and needs daily brushing. The lhasa is easily trained and very friendly, and makes an ideal companion pet. Lap weight: 13 to 15 pounds.
Maltese. As the name suggests, the small Maltese originated on the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. The breed is believed to be more than 2,800 years old, and has been depicted in Greek ceramic art and in Roman poems. This diminutive breed looks fragile but is quite resilient. The long flowing white coat needs daily care. These dogs are smart and extremely affectionate. Lap weight: about 3 to 7 pounds.
Pomeranian. If you are looking for a spunky, perky little dog, look no further. Believed to originate in Pomerania, Germany, the Pomeranian is an alert, docile but lively companion. This compact little breed has quite a fuzzy hair coat and resembles a cuddly teddy bear. Lap weight: about 3 to 7 pounds.
Toy poodle. The poodle is an ancient breed with paintings representing the breed dating as far back as the 13th century. They hate to be alone and prefer the company of people instead of other dogs. The breed also hates to be ignored and does not like being thought of or treated as “just a dog.” The toy poodle is the smallest member of the poodle family and, like their cousins, needs daily grooming to keep their curly coat tangle free.Lap weight: under 10 pounds.
Pug. For such a small dog, there’s a lot of love stuffed into the pug’s body. A clown by nature, the pug demands attention and adoration, but returns both in greater measure. The face is pushed in, forehead wrinkled and the eyes are large. The pug has a short hair coat with a curled tail that needs little care. They love to play, but the pug also enjoys a good lap session as much as the next dog. Lap weight: 14 to 18 pounds.
Shih tzu. Proud and intelligent, the shih tzu is from Tibet and China, where the name means “lion dog” because of the breed’s appearance. The dog is also called “chrysanthemum-faced dog” because the hair around the face grows in all directions. The breed is alert, curious and gentle. Show dogs typically have a long flowing multicolored coat. Companion shih tzu’s are usually trimmed, which means periodic trips to the groomer to keep him in tip top shape. Lap weight: 8 to 10 pounds.