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The world's shortest dog is Pearl, a dollar-sized diva who loves dressing up

Pearl the dog measures exactly 3.59 inches tall and 5 inches long.
Guinness World Records
Pearl the dog measures exactly 3.59 inches tall and 5 inches long.

Pearl the pint-sized chihuahua got big news this week when Guinness World Records (GWR) officially certified her as the world's shortest dog.

The two-year-old measures exactly 3.59 inches tall and 5 inches long, according to her vet, Dr. Giovanni Vergel of Crystal Creek Animal Hospital in Orlando, Fla. Put another way, she's shorter than a Popsicle stick, barely the height of a credit card and about as tall as a toilet paper roll.

Pearl is "small like a ball" and "a child at heart," says her owner, Vanesa Semler.

She's also the niece of the previous record holder, Miracle Milly, who measured 3.8 inches tall and was known for her big personality, including sticking her tongue out in photos. Milly, who also belonged to Semler, died before Pearl was born in Sept. 2020.

Pearl and Milly both weighed less than an ounce at birth, GWR says. Pearl has since bulked up to 1.22 pounds.

Semler says Pearl is "a bit of a diva," who counts chicken and salmon among her favorite foods and loves "dressing up nice."

A three-minute video posted to GWR's Twitter account features a montage of Pearl going about her daily routine — taking walks, getting groomed, playing with teeny toys — in a series of fashionable outfits, including embroidered sweaters, a ballerina tutu and a heavy-looking bejeweled collar.

The pair enjoyed a shopping spree during a recent trip to Milan, where Pearl made her big-screen debut on GWR's Italian TV program Lo Show dei Record. She was carried onstage in an Easter egg-shaped basket and stayed remarkably calm in front of the live studio audience, GWR reports.

Semler says Pearl is "a bit of a diva," who counts chicken and salmon among her favorite foods and loves "dressing up nice."
/ Guinness World Records
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Guinness World Records
Semler says Pearl is "a bit of a diva," who counts chicken and salmon among her favorite foods and loves "dressing up nice."

"We're blessed to have her," Semler told the record keeper, "and to have this unique opportunity to break our own record and share with the world this amazing news."

How Pearl measures up (literally)

Vergel, the vet, says he took Pearl's measurements three consecutive times with short breaks in between, which she spent "walking on the wee wee pad."

"In compliance with the rules of the record, each measurement was taken from the base of the front leg foot up to the top of the withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades) in a straight vertical line," GWR explains.

Pearl now takes her place in a long line of short dogs.

The title-holder before Milly was Boo Boo, a long-haired chihuahua who measured 4 inches tall. In 2007 Boo Boo had a made-for-TV meetup with the world's tallest dog, a harlequin Great Dane named Gibson who had a whopping 40 inches on her.

At her measurements, Pearl is <a href="https://measuringstuff.com/9-common-things-that-are-4-inches-long/" data-key="475">shorter than a Popsicle stick</a>, barely the height of a credit card and about as tall as a toilet paper roll.
/ Guinness World Records
/
Guinness World Records
At her measurements, Pearl is shorter than a Popsicle stick, barely the height of a credit card and about as tall as a toilet paper roll.

Boo Boo came after two tiny chihuahuas, Ducky (4.9 inches tall) and Danka (5.4 inches). But other breeds have held the title too.

Before them, in the early aughts, the world's shortest dog was a Yorkie named Big Boss who measured 4.7 inches tall and weighed 1 lb 1 oz.

GWR says the shortest dog ever recorded was a dwarf Yorkshire terrier owned by Arthur Marples, the United Kingdom-based former editor of Our Dogs weekly newspaper. Her name was Sylvia, according to Yorkie experts.

"The fist-sized dog stood at ... 2.8 in. in height and measured ... 3.75 in. from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail," GWR adds. "It died in 1945, just before its second birthday."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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