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Toy Dog Breeds in brief

Updated on August 8, 2016
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

There's a toy dog breed to fit every dog-loving home!

Small dogs are popular because they're versatile, wonderful pets who fit beautifully into your life. Whatever your lifestyle may be, there's a dog who will relish it and your company. If you want a dog, you can find your perfect pup!

The breeds included here are the members of the American Kennel Club's Toy Group - a diverse group with something for everyone! The descriptions are from the AKC Standard for each breed - written by those who love the breed.


The "monkey dog"

The Affenpinscher is a balanced, wiry-haired terrier-like toy dog whose intelligence and demeanor make it a good house pet. Originating in Germany, the name Affenpinscher means, "monkey-like terrier." The breed was developed to rid the kitchens, granaries, and stables of rodents. In France the breed is described as the "Diablotin Moustachu" or moustached little devil. Both describe the appearance and attitude of this delightful breed. The total overall appearance of the Affenpinscher is more important than any individual characteristic. He is described as having a neat but shaggy appearance.

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a toy dog, intelligent, alert, sturdy, with a thickset, short body, a smart carriage and set-up, attracting attention by an almost human expression.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an active, graceful, well-balanced toy spaniel, very gay and free in action; fearless and sporting in character, yet at the same time gentle and affectionate. It is this typical gay temperament, combined with true elegance and royal appearance which are of paramount importance in the breed. Natural appearance with no trimming, sculpting or artificial alteration is essential to breed type.


The Chihuahua is a graceful, alert, swift-moving little dog with saucy expression, compact, and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a toy dog, fine-boned, elegant and graceful. The distinct varieties are born in the same litter. The Hairless with hair only on the head, tail and feet and the Powderpuff, completely covered with hair. The breed serves as a loving companion, playful and entertaining.

English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel is a compact, cobby and essentially square toy dog possessed of a short-nosed, domed head, a merry and affectionate demeanor and a silky, flowing coat. His compact, sturdy body and charming temperament, together with his rounded head, lustrous dark eye, and well cushioned face, proclaim him a dog of distinction and character.


The Havanese is a small sturdy dog of immense charm. He is slightly longer than tall, and covered with a profuse mantle of untrimmed long, silky, wavy hair. His plumed tail is carried loosely curled over his rump. A native of Cuba, he has evolved over the centuries from the pampered lap-dog of the aristocracy into what he is today - the quintessential family pet of a people living on a small tropical island. His duties traditionally have been those of companion, watchdog, child's playmate and herder of the family poultry flock. His presentation in the show ring should reflect his function - always in excellent condition but never so elaborately coifed as to preclude an impromptu romp in the leaves, as his character is essentially playful rather than decorative.

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is very similar to the Greyhound, but much smaller and more slender in all proportions and of ideal elegance and grace.

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. It is light and stylish in action. The plumed tail is carried over the back, curving to either side. The coat is profuse, silky, soft and straight. The dog's outline presents a square appearance.


The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion.

Manchester Terrier

The Manchester Terrier is a small, black, short-coated dog with distinctive rich mahogany markings and a taper style tail. In structure the Manchester presents a sleek, sturdy, yet elegant look, and has a wedge-shaped, long and clean head with a keen, bright, alert expression. The smooth, compact, muscular body expresses great power and agility, enabling the Manchester to kill vermin and course small game

Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is structurally a well balanced, sturdy, compact, short-coupled, smooth-coated dog. He naturally is well groomed, proud, vigorous and alert. Characteristic traits are his hackney-like action, fearless animation, complete self-possession, and his spirited presence


The Papillon is a small, friendly, elegant toy dog of fine-boned structure, light, dainty and of lively action; distinguished from other breeds by its beautiful butterfly-like ears.


The Pekingese is a well-balanced, compact dog of Chinese origin with a heavy front and lighter hindquarters. Its temperament is one of directness, independence and individuality. Its image is lionlike, implying courage, dignity, boldness and self-esteem rather than daintiness or delicacy.


The Pomeranian is a compact, short-backed, active toy dog. He has a soft, dense undercoat with a profuse harsh-textured outer coat. His heavily plumed tail is set high and lies flat on his back. He is alert in character, exhibits intelligence in expression, is buoyant in deportment, and is inquisitive by nature. The Pomeranian is cocky, commanding, and animated as he gaits. He is sound in composition and action.


The Poodle (Toy variety) is a very active, intelligent and elegant-appearing dog, squarely built, well proportioned, moving soundly and carrying himself proudly. Properly clipped in the traditional fashion and carefully groomed, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.


The Pug is decidedly square and cobby. A lean, leggy Pug and a dog with short legs and a long body are equally objectionable. The Pug should be multum in parvo, and this condensation (if the word may be used) is shown by compactness of form, well knit proportions, and hardness of developed muscle. Weight from 14 to 18 pounds (dog or bitch) desirable. Proportion square.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a sturdy, lively, alert toy dog with long flowing double coat. Befitting his noble Chinese ancestry as a highly valued, prized companion and palace pet, the Shih Tzu is proud of bearing, has a distinctively arrogant carriage with head well up and tail curved over the back. Although there has always been considerable size variation, the Shih Tzu must be compact, solid, carrying good weight and substance.

Even though a toy dog, the Shih Tzu must be subject to the same requirements of soundness and structure prescribed for all breeds, and any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Structural faults common to all breeds are as undesirable in the Shih Tzu as in any other breed, regardless of whether or not such faults are specifically mentioned in the standard.

Silky Terrier

The Silky Terrier is a true "toy terrier". He is moderately low set, slightly longer than tall, of refined bone structure, but of sufficient substance to suggest the ability to hunt and kill domestic rodents. His coat is silky in texture, parted from the stop to the tail and presents a well groomed but not sculptured appearance. His inquisitive nature and joy of life make him an ideal companion.

Toy Fox Terrier

The Toy Fox Terrier is truly a toy and a terrier and both have influenced his personality and character. As a terrier, the Toy Fox Terrier possesses keen intelligence, courage, and animation. As a toy his is diminutive, and devoted with an endless abiding love for his master. The Toy Fox Terrier is a well-balanced Toy dog of athletic appearance displaying grace and agility in equal measure with strength and stamina. His lithe muscular body has a smooth elegant outline which conveys the impression of effortless movement and endless endurance. He is naturally well groomed, proud, animated, and alert. Characteristic traits are his elegant head, his short glossy and predominantly white coat, coupled with a predominantly solid head, and his short high-set tail.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier's appearance is that of a long-haired toy terrier whose blue and tan coat is parted on the face and from the base of the skull to the end of the tail and hangs evenly and quite straight down each side of body. The body is neat, compact and well proportioned. The dog's high head carriage and confident manner should give the appearance of vigor and self-importance.

Toy Dogs


© 2006 Hope

They're all so adorable - can you choose? - What's your favorite toy breed?

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    • profile image

      tcaldy 4 years ago

      Having grown up with large dogs, it was difficult to grasp the idea of a small breed. We had a wonderful toy poodle for 13 years and now have a middle age chihuahua. He isn't as quiet as the poodle but neither is he yappy, unfriendly or too fragile. My vote would be for another poodle, but our experience is that well socialized is the most important factor.

    • Rock Artist profile image

      Rock Artist 4 years ago

      Cockapoos! They are intelligent, funny, sweet and adorable. I wrote a lens about my Cockapoo, Tucker if you'd like to read it. This is an amazing and thorough lens, thank you for all the information.

    • csk305 profile image

      csk305 4 years ago

      It is so hard to choose. I love the: Maltese, Silky Terrier, West Highland Terrier and of course the Silkese (hybrid - Maltese Silky Terrier mix).

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      What a great collection of little dog breed information -- and the pictures really help. They are all so cute, especially when they are pups! Thank you.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

      I think the pomeranians are just the cutest little things ever! Loved this lens! Squid blessed :)

    • AlphaChic profile image

      AlphaChic 6 years ago

      Your lens makes me want more dogs! I have Min Pins, but now I want some Cresteds and Iggies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My miniature pinscher died on christmas day 2010. We still miss him. We also have a maltese and toypom and just love small breed dogs. Thanks for the lens.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 6 years ago from Michigan

      My next dog is going to be a Shih Tzu or a small beagel. I just can't resist those eyes. Plus I am getting older and big dogs are a lot more work. You can exercise these small dogs inside the house..

    • markettrol profile image

      markettrol 6 years ago

      My Milo...IG

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 6 years ago from Florida

      Pugs are in my heart

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I have a cross between a Pekingese and a Lhasa Apso. He is a Peekasso, an abstract dog.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      lens is good

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 8 years ago

      Cavaliers rock my world. How can you not love 'em? Great lens! 5*'s

    • divacratus 2 profile image

      divacratus 2 8 years ago

      Toy Dogs are an absolute favorite of mine! I love them. My pick of the lot? It would have to be the King Charles Spaniel. I have lensrolled this lens to myDifferent Dog Breeds lens. Do give it a look when you get the time!

    • Pryzym profile image

      Pryzym 8 years ago

      (sorry) My post was incomplete.

      I wanted to tell you that there's a really cute Papillon video on that page [] that you might wanna add to your Papillon videos! It's a Papillon doing dog tricks.

    • Pryzym profile image

      Pryzym 8 years ago

    • AshleyBretting-MS profile image

      AshleyBretting-MS 9 years ago

      Love this lens and so does my Maltese :)

      If you'd like to be a "featured lens" at my place let me know and say hello while you're there :)


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      You forgot a very important toy dog forum! Please consider adding the Mighty Mite Small Dog Sports Forum. Anyone who is interested in obedience, conformation, dog agility, flyball, canine frisbee, dock jumping, rally-o, freestyle, trick training, delta society, etc. with a toy dog should know about this forum! here's the link: Thanks!

    • michelledurakis profile image

      michelledurakis 9 years ago

      Great lens I also have a lens dedocated to toy dog breeds.

    • profile image

      melinda_combs2003 9 years ago

      Great job! Lots of breeds! One of my favorites is the pomeranian!

    • awundrin lm profile image

      awundrin lm 9 years ago

      Aw--love those Griffies! I have a mixed dog-come to my lens and have a look and please do leave a comment!

    • JustAls profile image

      JustAls 9 years ago

      Great lens!! So cute!!!! I gave you 5*s

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I like shih-tzu's they're playful and funny i have 2 shih-tzu they look like a stuff toy.

      I gave you 5*

    • profile image

      Pamela2Heaven 9 years ago

      so cute~

    • profile image

      dogswish 9 years ago

      Woof yip yip arrrffff...

      ...ok Ronnie can't talk, or type for that matter, so I'll do it for him! He loves this lens and being part Yorkie himeslf he likes getting a mention! He also has other places for dogs where he can be talked about and show off his photos, but he'll come back here often to see what's new. 5 stars by the way!

    • profile image

      WhippetTalk 9 years ago

      Don't forget to add the Italian Greyhound! Love your lens. 5 stars!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I can't see Dachshund from here...are they also toy dogs? Well, I guess so 'coz they're small, right? I'm a proud owner of Bologna and he's a Dachshund (that's why, it's bologna! lol!). don't want to call him Hotdog, he gets angry! hehehe...anyway, I'm fascinated by your lens and as a lover of toy dogs, I may be able to get another one, different breed and I will love it the way I love Bologna! I love buying things about dog and for dogs! I even got so many dog merchandise and accessories, from dog plates, specialized dachshund collars and chewing bone! I even have my own personalized Dachshund checks which I bought online and I even have Bologna's picture on it! Nice, huh? Anyway, thanks for the informative site & I'm ready to tackle another toy dog! Come to Papa, little darlings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Toy Dogs! My favorite. Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I have a Kyi-Leo, not recognized by the AKC, but is a rare breed recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). There are a lot of neat little dogs out there!

    • profile image

      MayQueen 9 years ago

      I'm a proud owner of several toy dogs (take note, several)! I have Toni, my chihuahua, Jasper (Yorkshire Terrier), Gladys, my Miniature Pinscher & Marky, my JRT! I also love toy dogs as much as you do! they're so cute and the all fit right in my little home! I truly adored them that I have some of their pictures which I put on my Chihuahua Checks , Jack Terrier checks & Terrier checks! You should check this one out! Thanks for the great lens!

    • profile image

      Tara2 9 years ago

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      anonymous 10 years ago

      Shih Tzu and Japanese Chins are my favorite breeds but I like all small dogs, especially the snub nosed breeds.

    • KarenC LM profile image

      KarenC LM 10 years ago

      Love this lens. I love small dogs. Thanks for visiting my lens.