What’s the Obsession with Dogs in Handbags?

Posted on: Jun 22

Lipstick? ... Check. Cell phone? ... Check. Chihuahua? ... ummm Check!

Did you ever think that one day we would be considering our pets a fashion accessory? Turns out that it has become normal in some circles to take your dog for a walk and the animal does no walking at all.

You don't have to be strolling the red carpet to purse your miniature K-9 anymore. Apparently it's now socially acceptable to walk just about anywhere and have glazed eyes, a long tounge and a fur covered head bobbing out of your handbag.

It may seem silly, but you are clearly making a statement when something that you are wearing happens to be a living breathing animal.

But what exactly is that statement? A bit of history can clue us in...

An Historic Pastime!

Oddly enough the practice of carrying your dog in a handbag goes back to Ancient Rome. Elite women would put their tiny Maltese's in a sleeve when walking throughout the streets. Another name for the Maltese dog in Rome was 'the Roman Ladies' Dog' and the breed became a physical symbol of loyalty.

Today the Maltese (that's the small white fluffy one pictured right for those less aquainted with dog breeds) is still a popular 'carry dog' with women. Now you can see a Maltese hung round a hot girl's waist while she goes for a power walk on the beach.

Another early 'carry-dog' was the Pekingese lapdog, bred in ancient China to fit inside the sleeves of a man's robe. So it hasn't always just been women that have an obsession with carrying around small dogs.

Through recent centuries a wider variety of 'lap dogs' became popular among royalty and the rich. Nowadays there is a diverse range of small pooches that have become fashionable 'handbag dogs'.

Today a dog in a bag still screams out loud that you have a financial status that compares to few. Who else could afford to risk destroying their handbag and all it's contents with Poodle piddle, not to mentions the high costs to buy and maintain these animals?

Who would have thought that millions of years of evolution would see certain breeds of dogs in some weird symbiotic class-status relationship with humans. The fad of carrying a bow-wow under your arm has been here for centuries and isn't going anywhere soon!

But is lugging a turd producing mutt around town really worth it? Let's weigh up the options...

Dog in a Bag Pros

  1. No need to pick up your dog's crap in the street, it goes straight in the bag.
  2. You can wear animal fur and animal rights activists can't say a thing.
  3. People know you're a lady with money to burn.
  4. It's harder to lose a handbag that barks.
  5. It's a good conversation starter.
  6. Your bag has a deterrent with teeth for curious theiving fingers.
  7. If you bump into Paris Hilton in the street she might comment on your dog-handbag-coolness and become your best friend.
  8. If you talk to yourself in the street you won't look so crazy, people will just think you are talking to your dog.
  9. You can get away with taking your dog into a shop, how cool is that!
  10. Carrying that extra lump in your bag will help you burm more calories and lose weight.

Dog in a Bag Cons

  1. You look like a dick!
  2. Other dog-obsessed idiots will want to talk to you, or if you're lucky they'll just smile and stare.
  3. Dog suffocation risk.
  4. You're out of luck if you have a cat / ferret / fish / lobster etc. (actually, maybe you could keep a lobster in a handbag... but what if it snips the strap?!?)
  5. An expensive mutt may make your handbag more of a target to thieves and there's a shortage of pet detectives.
  6. You might not do so well in that job interview.
  7. Paris Hilton might become your best friend.
  8. The dog will think it's the pack leader and your it's bitch. Just ask the Dog Whisperer.
  9. Your dog might chew your expensive designer handbag. If you're really unlucky it might try to make sweet doggie love to it.
  10. You'll need a big bag for that German Shepherd.

Still undecided? These pictures and facts might help...

Chihuahuas crave attention, affection and petting
but can be easily provoked to attack

Kissing your dog in public is not sexy

Chihuahuas rank #67 out of 79 dog breeds on intelligence

Carrying a dog in a rucksack is a more urban
alternative to a handbag but check this:
A greiving woman carried her dead dog in a
rucksack thinking it would come back to
life in 13 days.

It is not uncommon for a 'handbag puppy' to
cost more than $1500. Chihuahua's are the most
expensive breed to keep with lifetime costs
estimated at around £90,000 ($145,000).

While lap dogs look pampered many start their
life in terrible conditions as they are bred in
intensive illegal farms to keep up with the high
demand and sell for high profits.

Airport officials wish to build and manage
a "pet-boarding hotel and resort"
near Louisville International Airport.

In Ancient Rome the Pekingese lapdog was bred
to fit inside the sleeves of a man's robe

You can skip the bag and just hang
your dog over your shoulder.

Dogs primary role with humans used to be as work dogs, but
now most dogs are kept as 'companion dogs', often pampered
religiously by their owners.

6 Responses

  1. Girls and their dogs — thrive Says:

    [...] women drive me crazy with some of the ridiculous stuff they decide to do. For example: Girls carrying tiny dogs around in their handbags. What’s up with that? Two things I hate: small dogs and handbags. Really, the only way I can [...]

  2. Terra Says:

    This was very ignorantly written and a little bit offensive.

    When you live in areas with cold climate and heavy rain, walking smaller dogs can be risky. Using a dog carrier will ensure that your dog will be able to go outside and help socialize the small dog to improve it’s temperament. Small dogs don’t like to be home alone too long and need constant affection!

    My tri-colour Chihuahua loves being taken for strolls in his dog carrier. We go for walks around the city in the mornings on his leash then during the evenings when it tends to cool down he can relax in the dog carrier and enjoy constant attention from strangers. By then he has barely any energy so doesn’t mind me doing all the work.

    Dog carriers/purses are specially made for little dogs in mind. If your dog does happen to make an accident (mine will usually start whining and that’s when I get the cue) they are designed for accidents and won’t ruin the ‘handbag’.

    The author should have researched more into this rather than blatantly assuming that every women walking around their small dog in a gorgeous dog carrier is using them as accessories. That’s an ignorant statement.

    I’ll continue to carry my Chihuahua in his dog carrier when it gets rainy or chilly regardless of the stereotype. If anyone is intelligent enough to inquire why I use a dog carrier, I’ll be more than happy to indulge.

  3. Douchebag Says:

    Terra, shut up you twat.

  4. Melissa Says:

    This is a stupid article – the author is clearly misinformed, biased, and most importantly has no real facts to back up these stereotypes.

    First of all, not all women who carry dogs around in some sort of carrier are doing it for a fashion statement. Where did you make the connection? Just because Paris Hilton does it, and you got wind of the fact that some women a century ago did it, how does that mean every other woman that carries her dog means she is a rude, overly-indulged tramp who has “money to burn.” Are all black people criminals? Are all women who wear bikinis dressed like “prostitutes” – get serious. I got my 5 lb yorkie while I was a student with a hefty tuition – for $300 (not the outrageous prices you’re claiming). You can get a VAST array of dogs for that price. I chose a small one because I live in an apartment. I am a doctor, so with the odd hours I work, it’s great to be able to take the dog (in a carrier, NOT a handbag) if I have to take her in the car, or run a couple of errands. Oh, and how does me being a doctor jive with your “all women who carry small dogs in handbags are idiots” stereotype. Also, I am happily married with 3 children – so I’m not “lonely”. What a bunch of crock. Also, my dog is WALKED by MYSELF twice daily for 30 mins each time (NOT CARRIED). I take care of her, I am a very responsible and loving pet owner. I’m sure if dogs were allowed in shopping malls on leashes we’d have a LOT of people having their 50 lb dogs on leashes. The only reason you see the small dogs being transported around all the time is because they CAN be. Not everyone has a large farm for their dog to run around and be free – some of us have to choose smaller dogs. Loving your pet, caring for its health and spending as much time as possible with it is what matters most. I am Harvard-educated, went to school for 10 years, and I am a physician. Saying a woman who carries a dog with her is an airhead who is cruel to her pet is hurtful to those of us who are responsible people and pet owners. It’s like saying all blonde women are stupid – just a severely ignorant article. Anyways, just wanted to shoot down all your points that were backed up with fluff, and break down your argument – because I’m nowhere near the insulting stereotype you painted – in fact, I am the exact and polar opposite. Oh, and I also don’t want to be Paris Hilton’s best friend, but if her heart is kind to animals and she treats them well stop being a negative nelly and focus your attention on hating on something that matters, like abuse against animals – instead of getting angry that women are LOVING their pets and caring for them. Pathetic.

  5. Steve Says:

    Lame article. Let me disprove you point by point. # 1 – You said chihuahuas crave attention but can be easily provoked to attack. You forgot about the 100 breeds more dangerous than a chihuahua, some that for example that are now illegal in some Canadian provinces because they are so dangerous (pitbulls in Ontario, Canada). Stupid point # 2 – Kissing your dog in public isn’t sexy. Neither are people kissing each other in public passionately, but they still do it and are entitled to their Public Displays of Affection. # 3 – Chihuahuas rank # 67 out of 79 in dog intelligence. Hey idiot, poodles rank # 2 on the intelligence scale and there are tiny poodles out there. Miniature schnauzers are # 12. Yorkshire terriers? # 27. Oh and below the chihuahua are many BIG dogs like the chow-chow and basset hound and bulldog. So are you going to put down the owners of basset hounds and bull dogs? Dumb. # 4 – a woman carrying a dead dog around in a backpack for almost two weeks has some serious issues and that’s sad, but not all women carrying dogs around would carry a dead carcass around as well. Not all people who carry dogs in handbags support the disgusting puppy mills and so called “breeders” that churn out tiny dogs and charge thousands of dollars. Would it blow your mind that some women purchase their dogs from REPUTABLE breeders?! Whoa, take your time now, think about that one. Oh, and your other point about airport officials – did you know that a lot of the time irresponsible pet owners try to cross the border with a pet who isn’t vaccinated? Therefore they need to be kept behind. Maybe a proper place to board your pet isn’t a bad idea – hmm I think we call that HUMANE not cruel. Your next two points are so stupid that I won’t bother to comment. Ah hell actually I will – Pekingese were bred to fit inside a sleeve? Well yorkies were bred to be ratters in England and get into the pipes underground to kill the rats infesting the underground, so they had to be small. What’s your point? Lastly, why does it anger you so much that people keep dogs for companionship? We’re not all living in Alaska in need of malamutes and huskies and wolves to pull our sleds around. The reason we HAVE DOGS today is BECAUSE of companionship, dummy – that’s why they were BRED in the first place – over THOUSANDS of years they’ve become domesticated – without the domestication of dogs we’d never have “seeing eye dogs” for the blind – tame and intelligent enough to help a human being out. Just read the research some Hungarian scientists did on wolves trying to see if they could domesticate them treating them exactly as they did domesticated dogs – and see what happened (Hint: It was a disaster). Face it, if you own a dog or ever have, whether it weighed 3 pounds or 100 lbs, DOMESTICATION of the wolf over thousands of years (FOR COMPANIONSHIP) is what gave you your dog today (if you are lucky enough to have one).

    If you’re wondering what my source is, I have been a vet for 30 years – with patients ranging from 1 pound to 150 lbs, and ALL of my owners are TERRIFIC people who care so deeply for their pets you’d think they were taking their own children in for a procedure.

    I think I’ve proven my point.

  6. Allissa Says:

    Wow, Steve, Melissa, Terra, you are taking this way too seriously.

    This post is clearly just a joke and is pretty funny.

    If you carry a little dog around in a handbag some people will find it funny. I do, and so do a lot of people.

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