Last Updated: May 10, 2021
There are many interesting dog breeds in the world today, and they come in a wide variety of different sizes. The smallest breeds are considered toy dogs, many of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Some toy breeds come from ancient bloodlines and were originally developed to be small. Other toy breeds are recreations of larger breeds, especially working and hunting breeds.
Toy dogs are smart and sociable and can adapt to a variety of different living situations, which makes them popular among those who live in apartments. Also, toy breeds are cuddly and can fit right in a child or adult’s lap, which makes them great warming companions on cold winter days. The AKC lists 22 dogs in their toy group class. Let’s take a quick look at each one.
These are small dogs with big personalities. They never seem to lose confidence, yet they have no problem being loving and affectionate when spending time with their human family members. The Affenpinscher has thick, coarse fur and while smart, does not take too well to training.
2. Biewer Terrier
This is an extremely friendly dog breed that makes friends with everyone they meet. The Biewer Terrier is talkative and makes for a great watchdog because they will alert family members any time someone arrives at the property. They have thick, dense fur that is generally easy to care for throughout the year.
3. Brussels Griffon
The Brussels Griffon is bright, alert, and adorable. This little dog weighs no more than 12 pounds when fully grown, and they love to travel with their human companions. They may have either smooth or coarse fur depending on their lineage. With large, alert eyes and perky ears, these dogs always seem to look happy and ready for adventure.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These gorgeous dogs are bright, bubbly, and loyal. They have long, wavy fur that must be groomed regularly to keep it from matting, but the work is well worth the silky-smooth texture that makes cuddle time so cozy. They like to play, but they are not too active, so they can do well with both outdoorsy owners and homebodies.
Those looking for a tiny dog that can easily fit in a carrying bag or be held with one arm should look no further than the Chihuahua. Most of these dogs weigh less than 8 pounds and stand at only about 8 inches as adults. They are fun-loving and tend to portray “big dog” attitudes, which can get them into trouble sometimes.
6. Chinese Crested
This unique toy dog breed may either be hairless except on the head, near the paws, and on the tail or have a soft, silky coat of fur all over their bodies. Both types of Chinese Crested walk with elegance and tend to be reserved when meeting new people for the first time. When they are comfortable with their surroundings, they are playful and interactive.
7. English Toy Spaniel
These dogs were originally bred to be companions for kings, but today, they are popular companions among households of all kinds throughout the world. These are Spaniels through and through, which means that they need plenty of exercise and interaction to lead a happy and healthy life. They are smart and eager to please, which makes them easy to train.
The Havanese is a funny, cheerful dog that comes from Cuba. Their big, alert eyes give them a human-like quality that is hard to overlook. They have soft, silky coats of fur and proud tails that stand above their back ends. They also have sturdy, athletic bodies that make them efficient on the agility course.
9. Italian Greyhound
This toy breed is an example of one that was developed from a larger working breed: the traditional Greyhound. These little dogs stand 15 inches tall when fully grown and have sleek, athletic bodies that allow them to move swiftly. They make great show dogs and family pets.
10. Japanese Chin
This Japanese toy dog breed has a short muzzle, round eyes, and puffy fur on the shoulders, neck, and tail. The Japanese Chin is a royal dog that was developed to live indoors, so they can adapt to small apartment living and do not need much outdoor time to maintain happiness and health.
The Maltese weighs less than 7 pounds and has cute facial features, including rounded, dewy eyes and button noses. They may be small, but they are great watchdogs that always seem to know what is happening on their property. They can be stubborn and strong-willed, so treats are typically necessary during training time.
12. Manchester Terrier
These dogs were named after the city in England where they were originally created. This breed is a quick-moving dog that carries the rat-hunting instincts that the bigger Terrier breeds tend to possess. Their athletic build and sleek coats give them an elegant and graceful appearance. The Manchester Terrier comes in two sizes: the standard, which weighs up to 20 pounds, and the toy, which weighs up to 12 pounds.
13. Miniature Pinscher
Looking just like their standard-sized counterparts, the Miniature Pinscher is independent, proud, and full of self-confidence. They are active, playful, and affectionate with children and adults alike. These dogs have a high-stepped gait and can really move on the agility course. They are also popular in the show ring.
With long ears shaped like wings and super-fluffy tails, a Papillon can be spotted from yards away. The Papillon is considered a dainty dog that likes living in luxury and prefers being carried rather than walking from one place to another. They can handle both cold and warm environments and serve well as sporting dogs.
This toy dog breed was originally developed to serve as companions for the ruling class in China. They have compact bodies and fur that gathers around their heads like the mane of a lion. Their wide heads and bright eyes give them an endearing look. These confident dogs tend to develop strong bonds with their human companions and do not like being left at home alone for hours on end.
These fluffy dogs come with coats in a variety of different colors and patterns. They get along with kids, enjoy playful interactions, and love to please their companions. Their intelligence makes them easy to train, and their perkiness makes them a joy for children to spend time with.
Pugs have earned a reputation for being mischievous, which many owners consider as part of the fun of owning them. They were the official mascot of Holland’s Royal House of Orange and have become mascots in households worldwide. They have small, muscular bodies that are always ready for action, whether indoors or outside.
18. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu has arguably one of the most beautiful coats of fur in the dog world. Their long, straight fur requires regular grooming and trimming, but the work is well worth it for most owners. These dogs have personalities to match their pleasant looks and bodies to match their athletic inclinations.
19. Silky Terrier
Energetic and lively, the Silky Terrier is an effective hunter and sporting dog. This breed is known for their extraordinarily silky hair that is so glossy, it shines like glass under the sun. They have erect ears that give the impression that they are always standing at attention. Their laid-back personalities and tendency to cuddle make them popular among families with younger children.
20. Toy Fox Terrier
Toy Fox Terriers are comedic by nature and let their Terrier lineage shine through their bubbly personalities. They have a satiny coat of fur that is soft to the touch and large alert eyes that show off their intelligence. They stand at under a foot tall, but they don’t seem to notice how small they are when interacting with humans and other dogs.
21. Toy Poodle
The toy Poodle is a replica of the standard-sized version. They stand less than 15 inches tall, yet they require as much grooming as larger Poodles. This is a sporting breed that does well in both agility and show competitions. They are smart, versatile, and adaptable dogs that can get along well with other animals in the household.
22. Yorkshire Terrier
This breed is the ultimate show star. Their coats of hair grow to ground level, their dainty movements make them look like they are prancing, and their soft, gentle eyes make up a perfect package that nobody can seem to resist. Yorkshire Terriers are often recognized as the most popular toy dog breed by various organizations throughout the United States.
Our Final Comments
We think that all the toy breeds on this list are worthy human companions that deserve just as much recognition as standard-size dog breeds. Each has their own unique features and personalities to discover, and they all make awesome pets that any family looking to adopt should consider. Which toy dog breed is your favorite and why? Share your vote with our community in our comments section!
Featured Image Credit: rubanlena, Shutterstock
An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.
- 1. Affenpinscher
- 2. Biewer Terrier
- 3. Brussels Griffon
- 4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 5. Chihuahua
- 6. Chinese Crested
- 7. English Toy Spaniel
- 8. Havanese
- 9. Italian Greyhound
- 10. Japanese Chin
- 11. Maltese
- 12. Manchester Terrier
- 13. Miniature Pinscher
- 14. Papillon
- 15. Pekingese
- 16. Pomeranian
- 17. Pug
- 18. Shih Tzu
- 19. Silky Terrier
- 20. Toy Fox Terrier
- 21. Toy Poodle
- 22. Yorkshire Terrier
- Our Final Comments