Once loved by royalty, it is said that noble ladies carried these little dogs around in their sleeves.
They are a small, sturdy dog with long, silky white or off-white hair which sets off their black eyes and black nose. For ease of grooming the coat is often trimmed into a "puppy" cut.
They originate in Italy where they were a popular lap dog owned by nobility all over the world. Bred to be a companion, they are lovable and loving, lively and playful. They are a good watch dog and will not hesitate to warn of intruders. They are highly intelligent and good at learning tricks and they are normally sociable with people and other animals. They are an active breed indoors but enjoy a daily walk too. They love to play outdoors and may enjoy jumping in puddles.
The very soft coat needs a lot of care with daily brushing and combing. They find very cold or very hot conditions difficult, are prone to chills and sunburn. They may have digestive problems, teeth problems, skin, eye and breathing problems and slipped stifle.