Toy dogs are extremely popular and they make excellent house pets!

Toy Dogs are good companions, and their small size makes them great for apartment living. Miniature dogs can make a wonderful pet for people with a more sedentary lifestyle; or those that are elderly or disabled. And they are a perfect pet for those that travel.

Miniature dogs provide many benefits over larger dogs. They can adapt to a smaller space and most need less exercise than the larger dog breeds. Toy dog breeds tend to shed less, eat and eliminate less, and are light weight making them easy to pick up and move around with.

Toy dog breeds are extremely popular companion dogs. Many small dog breeds were once the prize possessions of members of the ruling class, and some are a scaled down version of another breed. Bred as house pets, they have served as companions for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Though small in stature, small dog breeds are big in attitude and quite tough. Miniature dogs often have courage disproportionate to their size. When keeping toy Dog breeds, an owner will need to provide them with love but also with structure.

Chihuahua, Can Dance Salsa!

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One “rockin” little dog!

This cute little Chihuahua from, “We went to a restaurant that let dogs in. Here’s my dog dancing every time the waiters go by with food. He is a salsa dancer!”

Small Dog Breeds Background

Toy Dogs are small dog breeds that primarily serve as companion dogs. Bred as house pets and have served as companions for hundreds, even thousands of years. A lot of small dog breeds were once the prize possessions of nobility and members of the ruling class, often symbols of affluence and presented to one another to gain favor. Some were used as watchdogs while others were favored as lapdogs, and providing an additional health benefit by attracting pesky fleas that would otherwise afflict their owners.

Small dog breeds that are referred to as Toy dogs may be from very ancient lapdog lineages, or they can be scaled down version of another breed. For example the Toy Poodle and the Miniature Poodle are scaled down versions of the Standard Poodle. All breed registries have a Toy Dog Breeds group, though the dogs included vary from one to another.

The toy dogs are very small. They are usually under 15 inches and weighing less than 15 or 16 pounds, with some of the smallest weighing as little as 4 to 6 pounds. Toy dogs that are under 10″ may be called Miniature Dogs. The very smallest toy dogs are sometimes called Teacup, or even affectionately referred to as Pocket Dogs, though these two titles are not recognized by any of the breed registries. Some of those that may be referred to as a Teacup include the Teacup Chihuahua, Teacup Maltese, Teacup Pomeranians, and the Teacup poodles.

Small Dog Information

One of the main benefits for owning a toy dog is that they make wonderful and loving pets. Their small size makes them perfect for apartment living. Their happy and energetic demeanor makes them fun and loving companions. They are great as a family pet, and have been shown to be highly beneficial for people who live alone, are elderly, or are disabled.

Being intelligent and quite attractive, miniature are also favored for showing. There are many varieties and they differ in appearance, temperament, energy, trainability, maintenance, and even size. Each comes with its own personality and care requirements. It is important to learn about the individual breed you are attracted to and be certain that it will fit into your lifestyle and budget.

Size: Though all the toy dogs are small, they can vary between 4 to about 17 pounds. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the biggest of the toys. Some of very smallest toy dogs are the Teacup Chihuahua, Teacup Maltese, Teacup Pomeranians, and Teacup poodles.

Appearance: There is a vast difference in the appearance of these small dog breeds. Their body builds vary from long and lean to heavy and stocky. Their ears and tail can be upright and pointed or they can be long, with some having droopy ears.
Coat types can also be totally different. There are those with short smooth coats and others with long flowing mantles. The fur can be curly as on the Poodle or be straight as on the Shih Tzu.

The coat of each breed will have its individual care requirements, so maintenance costs for grooming can be higher for some toy dogs. Care must be taken with some of the smallest toy dogs outdoors, as they can be susceptible to cold weather. For cold climate areas the best breeds to keep are those with a good furry coat.

Temperament: The temperaments and tendencies of each dog, just like their other traits, varies with each breed. Some of the miniature dogs are full of energy and will like to play, while still others are more mellow and enjoy affection, making good lap dogs. Overall toy dogs do not require a lot of exercise and a walk or two a day will suffice. But some, like the Pekingese, have a lot of energy and stamina and will readily go for long walks.

Though small in stature, small dog breeds are big in attitude and quite tough. Miniature dogs often have courage disproportionate to their size. Some types are protective and cautious of strangers, while others will love just about everybody. There are those that are very tolerant of other people and animals while others such as the Chihuahua and the Pomeranian, may tend towards being jealous and temperamental.

Some of the small dog breeds make good watchdogs, barking profusely at unusual behaviors and occurrences. These toy dogs are naturally very alert and easily excitable. Some good examples are the Chihuahua, Toy Poodle, and the Shih Tzu.

Very young children and toddlers may be too rough for some breeds that may bite in self defense, and some small dogs may attempt to take on a dog many times their size. Some breeds are better suited for children or other pets than other breeds. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for example, is the biggest of the toy dogs, and can be ideal companions for children. But all toy dogs need to be well socialized when they are young.

Training: Depending on the breed, the trainability of some miniature dogs can be a bit of a challenge. n contrast to their small stature, they are often known to have a large attitude and can be quite willful and headstrong. Some breeds such as the Toy Poodle and the Toy Fox Terrier are more compliant and easier to train, but most tend to be more difficult. Toy dogs require an owner that is firm and consistent, yet patient and loving, to succeed in training and housebreaking.

Best Small Dogs

Toy dogs have become increasingly popular and can make very good pets. With the vast difference between them, picking a favorite is based on personal preference, lifestyle, and budget. Some of the most popular of these small breed dogs are:

  • Chihuahua
  • Shih Tzu
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Papillon
  • Poodle – both the Toy Poodle and the Miniature Poodle

There are a number of others that are also highly favored and make wonderful companions. Some of these are:

  • Havanese
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin)
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chinese Crested
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Japanese Chin
  • Pekingese
  • Silky Terrier
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Affenpinscher

Small Dog Care

Toy dogs are favored for their small size, reduced care requirements, and ease of mobility when traveling. Small dog breeds live longer than large breed dogs. They are readily accepted into public places and are spoiled and pampered much more than any other dog breed.

Miniature dogs have energetic happy personalities and can make wonderful, loving pets. Most do not require a large amount of living space nor do they need a lot of exercise. The daily activities of romping around an apartment, along with a walk or two, is usually all that is required. Many toy dogs require regular grooming, and some have coats that require special grooming care.

Keep in mind that these are very small animals. Some breeds are more fragile than others and have a greater risk of injury, though small animal breeds generally experience fewer health problems than larger breeds. Some toy dogs can be snappy if provoked. Not all small dog breeds get along with youngsters or other animals, though the majority will be fine with proper socialization.

As with all dog breeds, miniature dogs are prone to a various health problems and behavioral issues. But selecting a dog from a reputable breeder, providing adequate care, a balanced healthy diet, along with good socialization and training, many problems and issues can be avoided or minimized.

Featured Image Credit: Jairo Alzate, Unsplash