Small but with a big personality, it’s hard not to love the precious toy breeds that are popular companions to people all over the world. Toy breeds are the smallest dog breeds, and the group encompasses a wide variety of breeds that serve mainly as companion dogs, though not all.
Toy breeds are beloved by many for their small, convenient size and their affectionate, devoted temperaments. Here, we will go over the list of the most popular toy breed dogs and learn a bit more about each of these precious pups and what makes them so popular among so many.
The 15 Most Popular Types of Toy Breed Dogs
|Size:||Height: 10-14 inches
Weight: 14-18 pounds
The Pug is one of the most easily recognizable and popular toy breeds of all time. Dating as far back as 400 B.C, these flat-faced, wrinkly, curly-tailed cuties hail from China where they were bred as companion dogs for the wealthy.
Pugs are very loving and affectionate dogs that exude charm. They are very sociable, outgoing, friendly, and eager to please. They tend to be easier to train than other toy breeds, but they can have a bit of a stubborn streak.
Pugs do suffer from some health conditions, especially because they are a brachycephalic breed. They are meant to be indoor-only pets and you truly couldn’t find a better lap buddy, if you can handle the snoring.
|Size:||Height: Up to11 inches (Standard) Up to 6 inches (Miniature)
Weight: 16-32 pounds (Standard) Under 11 pounds (Miniature)
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting badgers and other small game|
The Dachshund comes from Germany where they were originally bred for hunting badgers and other small game. Commonly referred to as wiener dogs due to their hotdog-like appearance, the Dachshund is a bold and courageous little breed that is loyal and loving to its owners but quite wary of strangers.
The Dachshund is lively and playful but will certainly possess an independent and stubborn streak that can go unmatched. There is a standard version and a miniature version of the breed, and they come in a variety of coat colors, patterns, and lengths.
The breed is prone to some genetic health conditions that are a result of their short-legged stature puts stress on their spine and limbs. They are still sometimes used for hunting purposes but have paved their way to becoming one of the most popular toy breeds used for companionship.
3. Toy Poodle
|Size:||Height: Up to 10 inches
Weight: 6-9 pounds
The Toy Poodle was bred specifically to be a companion dog and was created by breeding the smallest version of their larger Poodle counterparts including the Standard, which were initially used as water retrievers, and the Miniature, which was also bred to be a companion.
Toy Poodles are a much more manageable, lap-friendly version that possesses a more mischievous, but beloved attitude. They are highly alert and intelligent with the typical grace and agility seen in Poodle varieties.
The Toy Poodle tends to train easily and make faithful, loving companions to their owners, who can expect to have to shower them with attention. They do have some genetic health disorders but are overall long-lived dogs like many of the toy breeds.
4. Shih Tzu
|Size:||Height: 8-11 inches
Weight: 9-16 pounds
Originating from Tibet, the ever-so-popular Shih-Tzu was developed by breeding the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso. They are well-known for their short snout, large round eyes, and long, flowing coat that is more similar to human hair than your average dog’s coat. Popular among Tibetan monks, the Shih-Tzu was also referred to as the Lion Dog and was revered in Buddhist culture.
The Shih Tzu is a lively and friendly breed that forms close attachments to their people and loves nothing more than to cuddle up onto the laps of their beloved family members and shower them with affection. They are certainly a more family-friendly toy breed, compared to some of the others, and typically respond well to children and other animals.
As with most purebred dogs and other toy varieties, the Shih-Tzu has some genetic health conditions to be on the lookout for but overall, they tend to live long, happy lives as the companions they were bred to be with proper breeding practices and care.
5. Yorkshire Terrier
|Size:||Height: 6-7 inches
Weight: 4-7 pounds
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting rodents and small game|
The Yorkshire Terrier or Yorkie for short is undoubtedly one of the most popular toy breeds and has been for quite some time. First bred in England to help control pesky rodents, this tiny silky breed eventually made its way onto the laps of royalty and grew to be one of the most popular dog breeds of modern times.
The Yorkshire Terrier is small and works well as a house pet for any size home. They are very affectionate and attached to their owners but may not take too well to strangers. They are a feisty breed with the well-known “small dog syndrome,” leaving them with a large attitude in a very small body.
They can be very difficult to potty train, so it’s best to stay up on training and positive reinforcement techniques. Overall, these precious little pups make the list for good reason. With their gorgeous, silky coat and their lively personalities, many dog owners choose to keep this breed as their built-in snuggle buddies.
|Size:||Height: 6-9 inches
Weight: 2-6 pounds
Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, this toy breed is one of the smallest and longest-lived dog breeds in the world. In addition to their tiny stature, erect ears, and their protruding eyes, they also have coats that come in different patterns, colors, and lengths.
The Chihuahua is a companion toy breed that soared in popularity during the early 2000s when they were carted around in purses by big-name celebrities. These pups have maintained their fame and consistently stay on the list of most popular dog breeds overall. Chihuahuas are known for having a really big attitude in a very small body.
Their temperament can range from timid and nervous to more active, outgoing, feisty, and domineering. While they tend to attach heavily to their owner, they typically don’t take well to strangers. They are a breed that likes to bark and show their stuff and can be difficult to train. They are meant as indoor dogs and have extreme sensitivity to the cold.
|Size:||Height: 7-12 inches
Weight: 4-8 pounds
The Maltese has more of a mysterious origin but is thought to have come from the Isle of Malta located between the North African Coast and Sicily, Italy. The breed is known for being gentle and affectionate. They are one of the more popular choices among allergy sufferers since they tend to produce fewer allergens because of their coat type and low shedding.
Maltese are famous for their long, luxurious white coat that can grow to the floor. They are companion dogs that are closely related to the Bichon Frise, Bolognese, and Havanese. Maltese, like many of the other toy breeds, tend to believe they are the alpha and possess the typical small-dog syndrome, so they do require proper training from an early age.
This breed can get lively and playful and will certainly enjoy some quality, social time with their beloved family. They are highly intelligent, learn quickly, and are ideal for any indoor living environment.
8. Bichon Frise
|Size:||Height: Up to 12 inches
Weight: 7-12 pounds
The Bichon Frise is often mistaken for being of French origin, but they started in Spain and were used as a companion for sailors. The breed grew in popularity and was common among European nobility during the 13th and 14th centuries. The breed is closely related to the Maltese, Havanese, and Bolognese, though all considered separate breeds.
As the French word bichon suggests, they get their name from their curly white coat. They are another breed that sheds minimally and produces fewer allergens, making them a popular choice for those that suffer from dog allergies.
Happy, gentle, affectionate, and curious, the Bichon Frise is a charming toy breed that makes a great lap companion. They can bark quite a bit, can be difficult to housetrain, and sometimes suffer from separation anxiety. They do suffer from some genetic health conditions, especially skin-related conditions.
|Size:||Height: 6-9 inches
Weight: 6-14 pounds
The Pekingese breed has been around for centuries. They were companions to members of the Chinese Imperial Palace. The Pekingese has a distinct, short muzzle that is seen in other Chinese breeds like the Pug and Shih-Tzu with a long, thick double coat.
The breed is very loyal and devoted to their families but tends to be more aloof with strangers and will be on high alert if anyone unknown approaches. They have a stubborn, independent streak that can make them a bit more of a challenge for training, so it’s best to start young. They are brachycephalic and do suffer from some genetic health conditions.
The Pekingese thrive on human companionship and will want to always be with their people. They don’t have heavy exercise requirements and do great in most indoor living environments.
10. Toy Fox Terrier
|Size:||Height: 8-12 inches
Weight: 3-7 pounds
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting rats and small vermin|
The Toy Fox Terrier was developed using the Smooth Fox Terrier. This toy breed is highly active and is the epitome of what you think you’d get with a terrier and a toy breed. They are a loyal breed that is devoted and protective of their family. They will remain on alert and make great little watchdogs.
They are a highly intelligent breed that can thrive in agility training. They do require a firmer hand, as they can be very stubborn and feisty and will display that well-known “small dog syndrome.” As typical terriers, they do like to chase, and they tend to be quick and impulsive.
The Toy Fox Terrier is an overall healthy breed that stays very small. They make great companions to those that fit well with their personality type and can keep up with their playfulness.
|Size:||Height: 8-11 inches
Weight: 3-7 pounds
There is no mistaking the fluffy, thick, double coat of the precious Pomeranian. They are a true example of a toy breed and have all the spunk to go along with it. These dogs are typically friendly and outgoing and meet life with a certain level of perkiness you don’t see in all breeds.
They originate in Germany and are a form of Spitz-type dog that were developed to be small, lap-sized companions. They are a breed known for excessive barking, so they make alert little watchdogs. They are smart, energetic, and known for their feisty, bold personalities.
Pomeranians are very loyal to their owners and love nothing more than spending their days either on their person’s lap or right by their side. They can make great family pets but it’s best to be watchful around small children and larger pets.
12. Brussels Griffon
|Size:||Height: Up to 10 inches
Weight: 8-12 pounds
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting rats and mice|
The Brussels Griffon was developed in Belgium to keep rats and mice under control in stables. They are a cheerful and lively breed with lots of personalities. They are very affectionate and tend to be a bit needy and demanding of their owners.
They are a stubborn breed that has an independent streak, so they can be a bit challenging to train. They are very sensitive, so they require positive reinforcement and do not do well with any forms of harsh punishment.
They tend to be very wary of strangers and don’t always take well to other animals, so it’s best to implement training and proper socialization at a young age. For being small dogs, they do have exercise needs that need to be met. They do well in most indoor living environments if they get their daily activity needs to be met.
13. Chinese Crested
|Size:||Height: 9-13 inches
Weight: 5-12 pounds
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting vermin|
The Chinese Crested is undoubtedly one of the most unique and distinguishable dog breeds of all time. They were first used to hunt vermin on Chinese ships but quickly became popular and beloved companion dogs.
There are two different varieties of the breed, hairless and powderpuff, though the powderpuff is not nearly as common. They are popular among allergy sufferers since they produce much less dander than other breeds.
The breed is very cheerful and sweet-tempered and thrives in the company of its owners. They are affectionate, loving, and smart. They like to learn tricks and pick up easily with training. They are known for liking high places and like to perch on furniture or up on your shoulder.
14. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
|Size:||Height: 10-14 inches
Weight: 13-18 pounds
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel were companions to European noble families. They are a gentle, sweet-tempered breed and you can see it in their expression. They were bred as companions and do very well at their job. Not only are they great with children but also with other pets.
They are a highly intelligent breed that will thrive well doing agility training and obedience. Unlike most toy breeds, they do not bark a lot and are very docile overall.
Not only are they great for those that like activity, but they make great couch potatoes as long as their daily exercise needs are met. The popularity of this beloved toy breed has been growing, and for good reason. They make wonderful companions and fit well into most households.
15. Italian Greyhound
|Size:||Height: 12-15 inches
Weight: 8-10 pounds
|Breed Purpose:||Hunting small game, companionship|
The Italian Greyhound is believed to have originated over 2000 years ago during the reign of the Roman Empire. Not only were they used to hunt small game, but they were also companions that symbolized their owner’s wealth.
The breed is alert, playful, intelligent, and very affectionate. They have the same grace and agility as the Greyhound and can bolt impressively quickly during play or if a prey animal catches their attention.
The Italian Greyhound makes wonderful family pets and tends to do well with children and other pets. They are beautiful dogs that come in a variety of coat colors. They are a great choice for first-time pet owners if you have the time to devote to their needs.
As you can see, toy breeds are a versatile group full of differing looks and personality traits that come in a small package. These 15 different breeds made the list for a variety of reasons and it’s up to you to find out which dog breed suits you and your family best. If you are searching for a dog of small stature and full of personality, there’s no shortage of choices out there.
Featured Image Credit: Natalia Fedosova, Shutterstock