More 'handbag' dogs being abandoned
An animal welfare group has reported a huge rise in the number of miniature dogs being abandoned at its centres.
Experts believe the assumption that toy breeds are less demanding than larger dogs has led to owners discarding their pets.
The Blue Cross charity has seen the number of so-called handbag dogs given up rise from 53 in 2006 to 177 in the past 12 months.
Their animal behaviour expert Ryan Neile said: "People assume that just because dogs are small they require less exercise and mental stimulation, but this is often not true.
"All dogs need appropriate outlets for their behaviour, otherwise they may become bored, frustrated or stressed, which could result in behaviour problems, such as being destructive in the home."
Mr Neile said that despite dogs being small enough to be carried around they should be left to walk on the ground.
"Due to their size, people forget they are still dogs and they need to be treated and respected as such. People pick them up and kiss and cuddle them and they go along with it because they have no choice.
"Despite their size, they are still dogs and should not be denied the opportunity to engage in normal dog behaviour on the ground."