Although they are compact in size, toy dog breeds have huge personalities! This group consists of many small dog breeds known to be affectionate, friendly, and playful. With their small size, they still hold incredible wisdom and plenty of wits. And even though these toy breeds have smaller statures, they have plenty of bark to compete with even the largest breeds.
From Yorkshire Terriers to the Pekingese, toy dogs have a wide range of personalities and vary in physical appearance. But one thing that they all hold in common is that they make for excellent lap dogs. Let's take a closer look at toy dog breeds, how to care for these small dog breeds, and much more information about the toy group!
What is a Toy Dog Breed?
Toy dog breeds are not lifeless and made of plastic as one may expect, but toy dogs are a group of small dog breeds ranging from the toy poodle, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire terriers. These small dog breeds tend to be portable sized and make for excellent family dogs. They are perfect for young children because they cannot overpower them compared to much larger dogs.
Throughout history, toy breeds were seen as high-class by aristocracy around the world. Many royal members had small dog breeds as a companion such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Other popular toy dog breeds include the Pekingese and the Shih Tzu, particularly in Asian cultures.
Why Are Some Canines Called Toy Dogs?
Certain small dog breeds are known as toy dogs because they are small and rather playful dog breeds. There is a range for how small these dogs can be. Many people may imagine toy dogs being tiny, weighing less than ten pounds, but toy breeds can include any dog breed under 21 pounds.
There are several toy versions of larger dogs, such as the Toy Poodle, Toy Fox Terrier, and the Toy Manchester Terrier. These smaller dogs have the same physical characteristics as their larger counterparts; they're just smaller in size.
Are Toy Dog Breeds Rare?
Since toy dogs are not a single small dog breed, certain breeds may be rarer than others. One of the rarest small dog breeds is the Affenpinscher. Affenpinscher dogs are fun, spunky, and curious little animals. They are rather intelligent and have plenty of attitude. They will try to protect anyone from messing with their owners despite how small they are. In 2019, the Affenpinscher was number 149 in popularity among the American Kennel Club breeds, making it one of the rarest small dog breeds.
Are Toy Dog Breeds Hard to Care For?
When compared to larger dog breeds, toy dog breeds are much easier to care for. Since they are much smaller, they can live in almost any environment and get enough space to roam around. Whether you live in a small apartment or a large home with a big yard, a toy dog will thrive in any living situation.
Smaller dog breeds also tend to eat less food, so you can make that large bag of food last a bit longer. They also require less of a workout since they only have so much energy. Granted, each dog has their own personality and may differ in energy levels, but most small dog breeds only have a limited amount of energy.
Another one of the benefits of having such a tiny dog is that they are much easier to care for and pick up after. There is far less fur to pick up after shedding, and there is less poop to clean up. They also need far less living space than a much larger dog to be comfortable. So even if you live in a small apartment, a toy dog breed will have plenty of room to run around and play.
Small dogs also tend to be easier family pets because of their size. They are less stressful to keep around young children because they will not do any extensive harm and, for the most part, are playful breeds. And finally, one great part about small dog breeds is that they typically have longer lifespans than larger dogs, so there are more years to love your little pup.
Toy Dog Breed List
According to the American Kennel Club, there are 22 toy dog breeds with various physical characteristics and personalities. Here is a quick list of some of the most popular toy dog breeds:
- English Toy Spaniel: These pups are about 8 to 14 pounds and provide for plenty of love. They are true lap dogs and have a history of being companions to royalty. This breed makes for a perfect family dog because they are affectionate and love to play.
- Maltese: Maltese are incredibly tiny, typically weighing less than 7 pounds. However, they provide plenty of charm with their luxurious coat of hair and attitude. They have a cute little face with irresistible big eyes that will make your heart melt.
- Pekingese: The Pekingese is a loyal and delightful dog that once originated from the ruling classes of ancient China. They can grow up to 14 pounds with a coat that almost looks like a lion's mane. This small dog can be a pleasure to have, but they may snap at little kids, so always keep an eye on them.
- Pomeranian: Pomeranians are one of the smallest toy dog breeds, weighing in at only 3-7 pounds. They make for wonderful companions because they are loyal and have naturally smiling faces. They are one of the most popular toy breeds, and rightfully so. Pomeranians love to play and provide plenty of laughs for their owners.
- Poodle (Toy): An elegant and graceful breed, the Toy Poodle is the miniature version of the much larger breed. They're known for their athleticism and wit. Toy Poodles are popular contestants at dog show competitions and love being the center of attention.
- Pug: The Pug has a long history of being a mischievous companion of Chinese emperors. Over time, they have become a symbol to adore by millions all around the world. Pugs are very curious and delightful dogs to have.
- Shih Tzu: Shih Tzu's are known as the "Lion Dog" and come from the Tibetan culture. They have the sweetest expression and are always charming. This breed can sometimes be a handful, whether digging holes in the backyard or chasing animals. However, at the end of the day, they love to cuddle up next to you on the couch.
Other Toy Breeds:
Here are the other wonderful small dog breeds in the toy group:
- Biewer Terrier
- Brussels Griffon
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Chinese Crested
- Italian Greyhound
- Japanese Chin
- Manchester Terrier (Toy)
- Miniature Pinscher
- Poodle (Toy)
- Silky Terrier
- Toy Fox Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
What is the Smallest Toy Dog Breed?
Known for being feisty and sassy, Chihuahuas are one of the smallest dog breeds of the bunch, rarely exceeding six pounds and ranging from 5 to 8 inches in height. They are the national dog of Mexico and make for excellent "purse" dogs. Chihuahuas generally make for excellent lap dogs, and they can be somewhat territorial with their owners.
Chihuahuas are known to live long lives between 14 to 16 years. They are very loyal dogs but have a big bite when confronted with danger. Chihuahuas are perfect family dogs living in any environment, so whether you live in a small apartment or a home with a large yard, a Chihuahua will be content no matter where they are.
What is the Biggest Toy Dog Breed?
Like its larger counterpart, the Italian Greyhound is among the larger toy dog breeds. This breed is not much a purse dog like a Chihuahua but still falls into the category of small dog breeds weighing about 7 to 14 pounds with a height of 13 to 15 inches. The Italian Greyhound is known to be sensitive and always alert, making them excellent guard dogs.
Italian Greyhounds are just as elegant and graceful as full-sized Greyhounds. They are amazing athletes, extremely quick, and very smart. They also love being affectionate and will never turn down an opportunity to snuggle up on the bed with you. Italian Greyhounds have short coats, making grooming easy and less stressful.
This breed can thrive in most living situations because they are not as large as a full-sized Greyhound. Although having a large yard would be beneficial, Italian Greyhounds are perfectly happy living in an apartment setting, granted that you take them outside daily.
Final Thoughts - Toy Dog Breeds
As the name suggests, toy dog breeds can add plenty of fun and excitement to your life. Whether you want a small lap dog like a Yorkshire Terrier or a playful pup such as Toy Fox Terrier, small dog breeds have large personalities in a compact package.
Toy dog breeds are known to live longer than larger dog breeds, allowing you to have more time to cherish with your pup. And because of their size, they are easily adaptable to any environment, making them the perfect companion for any owner.