Renee Zellweger is asking Santa Claus for a new companion this Christmas (05) - a little dog.

The actress, who wed and split from country star Kenny Chesney this year, is planning a "simple family Christmas" at home in Texas and she's hoping for a new pet.

She explains, "What I'd really love is to have a dog - a tiny teacup, maybe a Yorkie (Yorkshire terrier)."

But she admits she might actually have to wait until the New Year before she can give the pup a home because, first, she needs to get settled.

She adds, "I've been out travelling, going so much that even my cat's become a latchkey kitty... She's well cared for and loved, but the fact is I'm always gone."