Small dog owners know that good things come in small packages. But have you ever wondered from which animal your tiny canines originated from?
Experts believe that the pets' tiny size could be attributed to a genetic mutation in the Middle Eastern gray wolves from which they likely descended.
A study published in the journal BioMed Central found that small dogs may have originated in the Middle East around 12,000 years ago, the BBC reports.
The researchers hypothesize that tiny dogs may have become popular among farmers because household space was limited, and the smaller dogs took up less room.
It is also possible that the dogs may have become smaller over the centuries as they were domesticated.
"Because all small dogs possess this variant of IGF1, it probably arose early in their history," Dr Melissa Gray from the University of California, Los Angeles, told the news source.
Small dog owners may use this knowledge to selectively breed for small body size in their pets.
If you are planning to add a small dog to your family, head to your local animal rescue
shelter to seek out a teeny friend who needs a home.