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Eighteen-ounce, four-inches-to-shoulder longhair chihuahua Tiny Dancer (named from a Garth Brooks song) stood in the running for the world's smallest dog, displacing the previous record-holder (Danka Kordak of Slovakia) from the Guinness Book of Records.

An outgoing little guy, he was not as yappy as tiny dogs are famous for being, but instead greeted even strangers lovingly. He was not permitted unsupervised run of the house like other dogs because he was so fragile he's at risk of injury even from other pets, might break a leg jumping from a relatively small height, and if underfoot could well be doomed.

Tiny DancerWhen unsupervised he had his own playpen, but being so cute was never at risk of being left along too long at a time, plus he had his mother for immediate companion, as she is very protective of him and not apt to accidentally harm him.

His mother was an abandoned chihuahua who when recued was pregnant, emaciated, and near death, which probably impacted the health of her litter.

When born, Tiny Dancer was about as big as a thumb, one-fourth the size of the normal pup in the litter of two. The sister was adopted out, but the Gome family kept Tiny Dancer and his mother.

Such chis really are the runts of litters and valuable because they are such oddities, and cuter than the dickens.

But this is not really what healthy chihuahuas are like, and in the last photo blow you can tell Dancer isn't the healthiest chihuahua imaginable, although he seemed to be in better health than most super-runts go, needing treatment only for low blood sugar.

Owner Jenny Gomes (of Okahumpka, Florida) was waiting (in 2007) for the final verdict on her eency chi. Alas for Dancer he didn't score the Record, as Ducky from Massachusetts and BooBoo from Kentucky both turned out to be smaller chihuahuas.

Having missed the world record for size, Dancer's owner set out to try for another record, to have Dancer accredited as the world's smallest therapy dog, training him to interact marvelously with hospital patients. The first couple certification agencies turned Dancer down as too small to be any kind of service animal, but he kept trying and eventually got his certification. But the Guinness book didn't have a category for smallest therapy dog, meaning Dancer only unofficially held that record

Most tragically, the poor health of such undersized runts caught up with Dancer and he died in 2008, only a bit over two years old. The loss was massively heartbreaking to his family. But during his short life he enriched the lives not only of the Gomes, but of many children in hospitals and schools. He had also had a line of products during his lifetime, the proceeds from which went to help other rescue animals. So Dancer lived a life of love from the world, and for the world, helping many.

Tiny Dancer's Website

Dancer's Dogster Page

Tiny Dancer

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