The Horniman Museum possesses similar examples of miniature dogs.
In the Victorian era, many of the dog breeds that we know today were developed or refined through selective breeding.
The largest, the smallest, and dogs with unusual attributes were of considerable interest to the Victorian collectors of taxidermy. Miniature or dwarf dogs, highly popular with collectors (also sometimes referred to as ‘Roman’ dogs) purporting to be adults, were usually stillborn puppies given a more adult stance by the taxidermist.
X-rays of these dogs reveal that no bones are present, only the mounting wires. This is a good indication that miniature dogs were often the result of the taxidermist's skill. After removing the body, bones and all, a skilful taxidermist could cut and stretch the skin over a carefully modelled manikin to make what looks like a tiny adult dog.