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50 tiniest dog breeds

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Ron Clausen // Wikimedia Commons

50 tiniest dog breeds

As many dog owners can attest, small dogs are hard to resist. The tiny faces of lap-sized breeds can win over nearly any dog lover’s heart—and they certainly know how to captivate social media. The undeniable cuteness of pugs and Yorkies have made them the internet’s sweethearts. However, underestimating what a breed is capable of because of their size is a big mistake. Small dogs are so much more than adorable snugglers.

Stacker has analyzed the data on 190 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club to narrow down the 50 tiniest dog breeds. The list was compiled using a size index based on the typical maximum height and weight for each dog breed, and the end result is an eclectic group of pooches that truly only share one thing in common—their status as the smallest pups around. Each one of these small breeds is unique in their own way, whether their claim to fame is being raised in the lap of luxury alongside kings and queens, or working long hours on farms keeping the mice away. Though they are small in stature, there’s nothing diminutive about the personalities of these 50 unique little dog breeds.

You also may like: Most popular dog breeds that are good for families

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Claude Valroff // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Beagle

Size index: 28.7
Typical max height: 15 inches
Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Beagles are known for their hunting skills, but there’s so much more to this lovable pup. The breed is believed to date back to fifth-century Greece, and they've been used for all kinds of unusual jobs in their long history. In addition to being used by Homeland Security to find food and other contraband tucked away in your luggage, they also make terrific bed bug detectors.

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Nyaah // Wikimedia Commons

#49. American hairless terrier

Size index: 28.4
Typical max height: 16 inches
Typical max weight: 16 pounds

The American Hairless Terrier is the first hairless breed to originate in the United States. These hypoallergenic dogs make great family pets, but they require a few things most breeds don’t—namely sunscreen in the summer and a cozy sweater in the winter to keep them warm.

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Max Pixel

#48. Cardigan Welsh corgi

Size index: 28.1
Typical max height: 12.5 inches
Typical max weight: 38 pounds

Despite not being Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred breed of corgi, the Cardigan Welshes have been around longer than their Pembroke cousins. These reliable little animals are farm dogs at heart, and they’re right at home working with livestock and keeping mice out of the barn.

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Molenaar // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Miniature bull terrier

Size index: 28.1
Typical max height: 14 inches
Typical max weight: 28 pounds

Thanks to their distinctive looks, miniature bull terriers have a history of being spokesdogs for famous brands. Notable members of the breed include Target’s Bullseye, and Bud Light’s Spuds MacKenzie—who, despite being a ladies’ man in the commercials, was actually a female named Honey.

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Shleiderbmx // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Welsh terrier

Size index: 27.8
Typical max height: 15 inches
Typical max weight: 20 pounds

The Welsh terrier is inseparable from the history of Wales. The breed was first mentioned roughly 1,000 years ago in the country’s history, but the pups didn’t receive their name until 1855. Originally bred to hunt fox and rodents, these days the Welsh terrier is more likely to be found working a dog show crowd than sniffing out prey.

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ivkatefoto // Shutterstock

#45. Lakeland terrier

Size index: 27.1
Typical max height: 15 inches
Typical max weight: 17 pounds

Lakeland terriers are becoming increasingly rare. These furry dogs once worked the lake districts in England, and they are notorious burrowers. The first president of the Lakeland Terrier Association claimed that he had a Lakeland Terrier that once chased an otter into a 23-foot burrow, and had to be rescued as a result.

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Chadwest // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Border terrier

Size index: 26.7
Typical max height: 15 inches
Typical max weight: 15.5 pounds

Border Terriers were bred to hunt small game, and for that reason, they don’t make good pets for households where hamsters or gerbils reside. However, if you’re looking for a competitive breed, then you can’t do better than these wiry dogs. Border terriers have been known to annihilate the competition in Earthdog trials.

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Frosya a // Wikimedia Commons

#43. French bulldog

Size index: 26.6
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 28 pounds

Frenchies, as they’re known to their loyal owners, are a true companion breed. In fact, these pampered pups hate being chastised, rarely bark, and can’t swim. However, they are extremely caring—a Frenchie in England even stepped in to care for a baby orangutan after it was abandoned by its mother. 

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tanakawho // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Italian greyhound

Size index: 26.4
Typical max height: 15 inches
Typical max weight: 14 pounds

In the past, Italian greyhounds were a favorite of aristocrats. When you take into account their sleek look and love to be held in their owner’s lap, it’s easy to see why so many people fall for this breed. Italian greyhounds aren’t just terrific snugglers, they’re also extremely fast. According to Animal Planet, they can run up to 25 miles per hour.

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Hervé Herbillon // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Miniature schnauzer

Size index: 26.2
Typical max height: 14 inches
Typical max weight: 20 pounds

These small dogs were originally used as guard dogs in Germany. They were also in charge of keeping vermin away from farms. This job was made easier thanks to their thick whiskers, which made it much harder for their prey to bite them during a hunt.

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Pleple2000 // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Skye terrier

Size index: 25.9
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 45 pounds

Skye terriers love their owners, but they can be ambivalent about everyone else. These regal animals were a favorite of Queen Victoria’s, but they have working dog roots.

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Jappitoo // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Löwchen

Size index: 25.8
Typical max height: 14 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

Löwchen literally translates to “little lion dog.” It’s an appropriate name for a breed that often sports an impressive mane. Löwchens are primarily companion dogs, and their gentle natures make them ideal for work as therapy dogs as well.

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Ceskyfreund36 // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Cesky terrier

Size index: 25.6
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 24 pounds

According to the American Kennel Club, there are only around 600 Cesky terriers in the United States. This calm terrier breed may be rare stateside, but those who have the privilege of being a Cesky owner likely know that these sturdy dogs are keen hunters and eager competitors in agility sports.

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Seebeer // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Parson Russell terrier

Size index: 25.5
Typical max height: 14 inches
Typical max weight: 17 pounds

In 2003, the Parson Russell terrier was acknowledged as a separate breed from the Jack Russell, but the two types of terriers are intrinsically linked. Both breeds are known for their energy and stamina, and they share a creator in the English priest John Russell.

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Pmuths1956 // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Pembroke Welsh corgi

Size index: 25.5
Typical max height: 12 inches
Typical max weight: 30 pounds

According to Welsh legend, Corgis were a favorite of fairies who would use the adorable dogs for transportation and to work in their tiny cattle. While that bit of fantastical history is hard to prove, Queen Elizabeth II’s adoration of the breed is common knowledge.

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tml_fan_1313 // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Size index: 24.2
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

King Charles was absolutely mad about this breed, so much so that he issued a decree that they were allowed entrance into any building, no matter how high the security it was. During King Charles’ reign, these spaniels had a noble, but sad job to do as well. They attracted fleas, saving their owners from bites and, reportedly, the plague.

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DodosD // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Pug

Size index: 24.2
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

Pugs are perhaps the internet’s favorite dogs, but they’re more than just a cute face. It’s believed that pugs may be the oldest breed of dog with their origins dating back to 400 B.C. Their long heritage comes with some major pampering—some Chinese emperors were known to have given their pugs a royal guard.
 

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鏑木對馬守 // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Schipperke

Size index: 23.7
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 16 pounds

Schipperke means “little captain” in Flemish. It’s an appropriate name for a breed that loves the water. Historically, these pups were barge dogs that spent most of their time on the water with their owners.

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Томасина // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Chinese crested

Size index: 22.8
Typical max height: 13 inches
Typical max weight: 12 pounds

These little dogs are neither fully hairless or of Chinese origin. The Chinese Crested actually originated in Africa, but they came to be as popular as ratters on Chinese ships, which earned them their name. They are also notably fluffy for a supposedly hairless breed, and require a bit of routine grooming to keep their unique look tidy.

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Timothy A. Clary/AFP // Getty Images

#31. Dandie Dinmont terrier

Size index: 22.5
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 24 pounds

Dandie Dinmont terriers have a literary origin to their name. The breed’s name comes from Sir Walter Scott's novel "Guy Mannering." The diminutive dogs are known for their prominent poofs of hair atop their heads and their relatively mild-mannered temperaments.

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Emery Way // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Russell terrier

Size index: 22.0
Typical max height: 12 inches
Typical max weight: 15 pounds

Russell terriers, Jack Russell terriers, and Parson terriers all originated from the same dedicated breeder—Rev. John “Jack” Russell. As a result, they’re extremely similar, but what makes the Russell terrier a bit different is its shorter legs. They were bred this way to make them easier to carry on hunts.

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mrRobot // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Bichon frise

Size index: 21.9
Typical max height: 11.5 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The bichon frise was treated so extravagantly by their owners that they inspired a new word: "bichonner," or “to pamper” in French. It’s hard not to dote on these fluffy dogs though; after all, they do look like little white clouds with paws when they’re properly groomed.

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Ionwind // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Sealyham terrier

Size index: 21.8
Typical max height: 10.5 inches
Typical max weight: 24 pounds

These white terriers were bred specifically to hunt small game like badgers, otters, and pheasants. Even their white coats played a role in their job as excellent hunting companions, because it made them stand out in landscapes full of brown and gray hues. Just because these dogs were bred to hunt, that doesn’t mean they can’t become accustomed to a glamorous lifestyle—Sealyham terriers have won best in show from the Westminster Kennel Club four times.

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Antonio Villascusa // Wikimedia Commons

#27. West Highland white terrier

Size index: 21.6
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 20 pounds

Westies, as they’re affectionately nicknamed, are bold dogs who were bred to chase prey down burrows. This is a skill they’ve retained in modern times that can occasionally get them into trouble when they overestimate their ability to fit into a small space.

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Sebastian Wallin // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Miniature pinscher

Size index: 21.6
Typical max height: 12.5 inches
Typical max weight: 10 pounds

Contrary to popular belief, the miniature pinscher is not a miniature Doberman pinscher. In fact, they’re far more closely related to the Italian greyhound and terrier breeds. These little dogs are known for being a tad bit stubborn, but they’re perfect for people who love active pups.

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Pleple2000 // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Portuguese Podengo pequeno

Size index: 21.5
Typical max height: 12 inches
Typical max weight: 13 pounds

The official dog of Portugal, the Portuguese Podengo pequeno was once commonly found on the ships of Medieval Portuguese explorers. These days, these small dogs can still be keen hunters, but they’re happy being their owner’s best friend as well.

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Mateusz210 // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Dachshund

Size index: 21.3
Typical max height: 9 inches
Typical max weight: 32 pounds

Dachshunds have stolen quite a few hearts, but one of the most famous advocates for the breed was none other than Queen Victoria. The monarch helped make the breed popular in England, and they’ve remained a favorite ever since. In 1972, one lucky dachshund named Waldi became the first official mascot for the Olympic Games.

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kizzzbeth // Flickr

#23. Manchester terrier (toy)

Size index: 21.3
Typical max height: 12 inches
Typical max weight: 12 pounds

In Victorian England, these spry dogs were known as the gentleman’s terrier. While he may have earned the name due to his popularity among the upper class, this is one breed with manners to spare. With proper training, the Manchester terrier is eager to learn and be a lifelong companion for their lucky owner.

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Lilly M // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Australian terrier

Size index: 21.1
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The Australian terrier has been called the clown of the dog world, and for good reason. These sweet dogs want nothing more than play and keep their owners happy. Despite their good nature, this is a scrappy breed with a history of working on farms.
 

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lisaschaos // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Lhasa apso

Size index: 21.1
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 18 pounds

The Lhasa apso is considered sacred in Tibet, their country of origin. Many Tibetan people believe that the dogs play a crucial step in the reincarnation process, and that before a priest can be reborn as a human, they will first be reincarnated as a Lhasa apso.

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Brent Soderberg // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Havanese

Size index: 20.7
Typical max height: 11.5 inches
Typical max weight: 13 pounds

They may be small, but Havanese dogs are mighty. These pups are often trained as service dogs, even helping the hearing impaired. They can also be trained to sniff out mold, and make terrific circus performers.
 

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Patricia Vicente // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Shih tzu

Size index: 20.7
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 16 pounds

In Mandarin, shih tzu translates to “little lion.” At one point, the dogs were given to Chinese royalty as gifts, and they remain quite regal today. Thanks to their gorgeous coats and agile nature, shih tzus make wonderful show dogs.

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Cheryl Brind // Flickr

#18. Scottish terrier

Size index: 20.5
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 22 pounds

Scottish terriers were all the rage in the United States during the 1930s. They even charmed Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose Scottie, Fala, was called the “most photographed dog in the world.”

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Timothy A. Clary/AFP // Getty Images

#17. Coton de Tuléar

Size index: 20.4
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 15 pounds

The Coton de Tuléar was once the official dog of Madagascar, and only royals were allowed to own the breed. Thanks to their affable personalities, the breed has grown in popularity, ranking as the 80th most popular dog breed in 2016.

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Stan Honda/AFP // Getty Images

#16. Affenpinscher

Size index: 20.0
Typical max height: 11.5 inches
Typical max weight: 10 pounds

The French describe the affenpinscher as “diablotin moustachu”—mustached little devil. Don’t worry, their nickname is an affectionate one that has more to do with their coats than their personalities.

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LostinTexas (Alex Archambault) // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Japanese Chin

Size index: 19.5
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 11 pounds

In the past, Japanese Chins were found in the palaces of Japan and China, where they even occasionally had servants of their own. Their pampered natures persist to this day, making them the perfect breed for someone looking for a companion dog with an appetite for being spoiled.

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Terry Best // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Toy fox terrier

Size index: 19.3
Typical max height: 11.5 inches
Typical max weight: 7 pounds

Like most terriers, this tiny breed was originally used as a ratter. However, their eagerness to learn and trainability has led to the toy fox terrier being suitable for another profession—clown assistant. Their boundless energy and jumping skills have made them a circus favorite.

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Huggorm // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Papillon

Size index: 19.3
Typical max height: 11 inches
Typical max weight: 10 pounds

Called papillon thanks to their butterfly-like ears, this toy breed isn’t big on lounging. Papillon owners should be prepared to spend a great deal of time playing with and exercising their energetic pup.

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Ladykransteer // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Tibetan spaniel

Size index: 18.9
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 15 pounds

A favorite among Tibetan monks, the Tibetan spaniel was sometimes used as a guard dog for monasteries. This instinct hasn’t gone away over the years. Tibetan spaniels still alert their owners when someone is approaching their territory.

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Ronald Müller-Hagen // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Cairn terrier

Size index: 18.7
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 14 pounds

The Cairn terrier holds a special place in pop culture history. One little pup named Terry took on the role of Toto in the "Wizard of Oz," ensuring that the breed was forever immortalized on the big screen. Terry lived to be the ripe old age of 11.

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SylwiaAptacy // Pixabay

#10. English toy spaniel

Size index: 18.7
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 14 pounds

The history of the English toy spaniel is linked to English nobility. Queen Elizabeth I had an English toy spaniel, and her doctor reportedly called it “the comforter.” Their early popularity may have led to them becoming one of the first toy breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

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Onni // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Norfolk terrier

Size index: 18.2
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 12 pounds

The Norfolk terrier is one of the smallest dogs around, but they don’t let their size stop them from being fierce hunters. Not only were these dogs bred to be ratters, they were also known to run in packs for fox hunts.
 

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Helene Gisin Hgisin // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Norwich terrier

Size index: 18.2
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 12 pounds

While the Norwich terrier’s love of roaming makes it a bad idea to let them off the leash in a wide open space, it would be a shame not to nurture their love of the outdoors. Norwich terriers tend to excel in both Earthdog competitions and agility training.

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Dan9186 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Brussels griffon

Size index: 17.7
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 10 pounds

This uncommon little breed is often confused with Yorkies, but the Brussels griffon is very much its own dog. Perhaps best known to Americans from the movie "As Good As It Gets," the Brussels griffon loves snuggling, and—believe it or not—climbing, cat style.

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island silks // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Silky terrier

Size index: 17.7
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 10 pounds

These tiny champions are often found in show dog competitions, but they’re not just there because of their shiny coats. The silky terrier is an accomplished herder, tracker, and flyball competitor.

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SheltieBoy // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Maltese

Size index: 17.3
Typical max height: 10 inches
Typical max weight: 8 pounds

Why is the Maltese white? You can thank the Roman Emperors for that. The Maltese were bred to have pure white fur because ancient Romans considered white to be a sacred color.

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ūsų darbas // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Pekingese

Size index: 17.1
Typical max height: 9 inches
Typical max weight: 14 pounds

Imperial China took their love for Pekingeses seriously. In fact, if you were caught stealing one, it was an offense punishable by death. While that part of their history is intense, their time in the palaces of China made them the lovable lap dogs they are today.

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Jeremy Noble // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Chihuahua

Size index: 15.3
Typical max height: 9 inches
Typical max weight: 6 pounds

Those tiny Chihuahua heads are hiding some serious brain power. Based on their head size, Chihuahuas technically have the biggest brains in the dog world, and make no mistake, they will attempt to use all of that knowledge to try and outsmart their owners.

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Pelz // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Yorkshire terrier

Size index: 13.9
Typical max height: 8 inches
Typical max weight: 7 pounds

Yorkies are a toy breed, but they’re one that likes to keep busy. Yorkshire terriers can make terrific therapy dogs, and despite their small size, they’re keen competitors that are especially gifted when it comes to agility training.

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G.Goodwin Jr. and Snark // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Pomeranian

Size index: 12.4
Typical max height: 7 inches
Typical max weight: 7 pounds

At one point in their history, these small dogs were actually quite large. Their ancestors pulled sleds and were used to herd other animals. These days, they’re the smallest breed around, but Pomeranians are proof that size doesn’t matter when it comes to inspiring artists or wooing royalty like Queen Victoria.
 

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