Is your bedsit too small for a donkey? Worried your landlord won’t let you hide a pack of Alsatians in your maisonette? Help is at hand for the space-starved animal lover, as the pet experts at Gallery have compiled this pocket guide to pint-sized friends.
There’s wee beasts for all manner of homes, from dinky dogs to a petite pig you can stash in a sock. Take that money you were planning to spend on an imported Chinese shrink-ray, and spend it on a miniature hippo and a paddling pool it can live in. If your downstairs neighbours ask about the banging, tell them your baby was born with a rare condition that makes him eat marbles, and then start weeping uncontrollably. They’ll never mention the noise again.
Mini dogs: Some people like big dogs because they eat burglars, make a noise like the devil or just run around humping everything when they get excited. If I’m going to own a pet that eats its own poo, I’d like it to be so small I can hide it in my handbag, where its shrill bark will be mistaken for a super annoying ringtone. I’d like to see you run off with my purse with the rabid jaws of a chihuahua clamped round one of your fingers. They really are the best dogs ever!
Little pig: Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are adorable, mischievous bundles of pork. They will hop, skip and snuffle their way into your heart for a few tiny years, by which point you’ve stopped thinking of them as embryo bacon and they suddenly expand to a size that is only miniature compared to real pigs. If you want a genuinely tiny pig, get a Royal Dandie Extreme – a cute porky pal that will only weigh 30lbs at its largest. Just don’t name him ‘sausage’, as that would be cruel.
Titchy llama: Bred in the Shakira mountains of Peru, “la llama diminuta misteriosa” or “tiny dancer” was for many years so rare that only Inca nobles and the wealthiest Colombian drug lords could afford to own one. Famed for its even temperament and love of paddling, this adorable bundle of wool has been introduced to the Island in limited numbers by specialist breeder Enrique Quesadilla. The tiny llama stands only twelve inches high, feeds on sweetcorn and will aggressively defend its owner from harm.
Mini rodent: Quite a lot to chose from here, as rodents generally tend towards the small side. Maybe you could create the illusion of an extra-small bunny (the best kind) by purchasing an enormous longer bunny and placing them side by side for comparison. An alternative would be a family of those hamsters that are so little that you could mistake them for a pom-pom on one of Prince’s mittens. That really is very, very, very small.
Pint-sized pony: Shetland ponies are so over! Today’s microscopic horse enthusiast is stuffing their broom cupboard with falabellas, a breed of nag that stands less than three feet and really is My Little Pony. Falabellas can be used for riding (providing you are a spoiled toddler) and make poopies so small that you can discretely toss them over the fence and onto your neighbour’s washing. Note to competitive Jersey pony mums: please don’t try and drug a falabella with valium, it will probably die.
Small walrus: If you’re looking for a really tiny garden pet, consider stocking your garden pond with the miniature Scandinavian walrus. Adapted to thrive in the cold climate of Sjellengrellensbard, this tiny-tusked little darling will provide years of companionship if you feed him on pilchards and bring him indoors for the occasional sauna. They aren’t very bright, but can be trained to blow a saxophone and bite seagulls.