Toy Breeds: The Tiniest of The Tiny

When you think of Toy Breed dogs, what comes to mind? Chihuahuas? Yorkies? There’s a lot more of these tiny fellas than you are probably aware of and there’s probably one who would make an excellent pet for YOU.

Are you considering adding a small pooch to your family? There are a number of factors to consider when looking for the perfect companion. Do you have small children? Do you live in an apartment or do you live in a house? Do you want a lapdog or a dog who will alert you to intruders? And do you have the time and patience for the daily grooming that some of these breeds require, or do you prefer one that is less time consuming?

Which breeds come to mind first when you think of toy breeds? Typically, toy breeds are those dogs who stay under 25 pounds. There was a time when one heard only of Chihuahuas and Poodles, but nowadays there are a number of breeds that meet this criteria.

I have listed a few of the more common toy breeds below with a few comments of my own on a couple of breeds which I have first hand knowledge.

Yorkshire Terriers: Yorkies are typically quite energetic and loyal to their masters. They can be stubborn and are better suited to families with older children. This little dog is very entertaining and makes a great companion dog.  Contrary to popular belief, Toto, from the Wizard of Oz was not a Yorkie, rather he was a Cairn Terrier, which does look quite similar to the Yorkie.

“Awww…look at that smile!”

Yorkshire Terrier

Image via Wikipedia

Shih Tzu: The Shih Tzu is a sturdy and robust toy dog. He is very playful and the ones I have had contact with have been wonderful with children. They are a very pretty dog, but do require daily grooming. They also make a good companion to the elderly. Twenty years ago one never heard of the Shih Tzu. It is a relatively new breed here in the U.S.

“What a cute little fluffball this is!”

Shih Tzu Puppy

Image via Wikipedia

“Whoa! Nice hairdo!”

Adult Shih Tzu with show cut

Image via Wikipedia

Bichon Frise: The Bichon Frise` is another breed that is good for those with pet related allergies. There is virtually no shedding with these dogs. They do require daily grooming to keep them looking nice and they also make good family pets. This is another relatively new breed to the United States. I remember first hearing of this breed not more than twelve or fifteen years ago.

Adult Bichon Frise`

“What a little charmer!”

Bichon Frise` Puppy

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is typically quite gentle with an even temperament. They are energetic and playful, and make a good family pet. They come in a number of different colors and while they do require some grooming, it is not as extensive as some of the other toy breeds.

“Straight from royalty, this fellow is!”

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Image via Wikipedia

Papillon: Also known as the “butterfly dog”, the Papillon is both lively and affectionate.  This is a robust and attractive breed that will lavish its owners with love and attention. The Papillon is a very attractive looking dog. The Papillon is known for having a good amount of energy so will need some wide open spaces, on a regular basis.

“Can you see why they call me the ‘butterfly dog’?”

Image via Wikipedia


Miniature Pinschers: The Miniature Pinscher is spirited and lively.  This breed can be stubborn and doesn’t always do well with other dogs. As the owner of one of these spirited little dogs, I can vouch for this. They do best as an “only dog”.  The Miniature Pinscher offers excellent companionship and will alert their owners to intruders.

“I may be little, but I will take on just about anything that crosses my path!”

Minature Pinscher

Image via Wikipedia

Oh yes, the adorable little miniature pinscher. What they lack in size and stature, they definitely make up for in courage and bravery! These little guys will tackle much larger dogs (and cats) if one should cross their path. I have an elderly miniature pinscher of my own. She is 13 years old with not a tooth in her mouth. She has a hard time walking across wooden or linoleum floors, but let her see one of the cats up on a kitchen counter and she is right there in good form, ready to scold that cat with her barking until the cat retreats from the counter (or garbage can!)

This little lady isn’t afraid of anything. Last year, during a day of nice weather, Fawn was chewed on by dogs 6 times her size. She had several open wounds that needed to be tended to by the local veterinarian. I didn’t get to see the “attack”, but I have a feeling that Fawn may have brought some of it on herself. We affectionately refer to her as a “cranky old lady, in a cheap fur coat!”

Pomeranians: Pomeranians are one of the smallest of the toy breeds. While they are notoriously a somewhat “yappy” breed, they are also quite intelligent and eager to learn. They are loyal and  make great companion pets.

My daughter is still a great lover of this breed, however she learned, after giving birth to triplets, that this is not the kind of dog you want to have around the house if you have napping children.

“Just like a little sly fox.”


Image via Wikipedia

Chihuahuas: The tiny Chihuahua is a dog that is both devoted and charming . This breed is confident and is probably better suited to families with older children. They love attention and would also make a good lap dog for the elderly. Chihuahuas come in both long haired and short haired varieties; the short haired requires considerably less grooming. They are both bright and stubborn little dogs.

Similar to the Miniature Pinscher, these fellows think they are one of the big guys. I once had a Chihuahua who decided to take on a Great Dane. He quickly discovered that he was no match for the big guy, but he wasn’t about to back down.

“Oh baby, you are a sweet one.”

Chihuahua Puppy

Image via Wikipedia

Toy Poodles: The toy poodle is typically  intelligent and alert.  They make excellent companions and both love to give and recieve plenty of attention. These dogs can do well in families with children.

“Ready for show time!”

Toy Poodle with show cut

Image via Wikipedia

Another toy breed is the Pekingese. These originated in China and were actually carried in the sleeves of kimonos worn by members of royalty. Interestingly, these stubborn little dogs seem to think that they still belong to royalty. They have a confident demeanor about them and are quite the little watchdog.

I have a funny short tale about my Pekingese, Peke-a-Boo. He was pure white, looking like a little angel. One particular day, I had house cleaners working inside my house while I was away at work. Peke-a-Boo was of course inside the house, and I suppose he didn’t recognize these strangers who were on his territory. That evening I had a phone call from one of the workers. She told me that Peke-a-Boo had actually cornered her in one of the bathrooms that she had been cleaning! He stood guard at the door and would bark at her each time she tried to leave the room. She laughed as she told the story. What a sight that must have been!

In closing, while these tiny breeds of dogs are cute and look so sweet, not all of them have sweet temperaments to go along with their good looks. It’s best if you can observe for awhile, the one you are interested in bringing home. Also, it’s good to get a younger dog or puppy who hasn’t developed any bad habits yet. These little dogs are known to be stubborn and overly confident. It’s best to get off to a good start, so your home will truly be his forever home.

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User Comments
  1. cutedrishti8

    On October 10, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Great information..nice pics except the last one..

  2. Patti McDowell

    On October 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I can relate to this article about Toy Breed Dogs, as I was the proud owner of Roxy, my Pomeranian. The author is correct in her knowledge of this breed being a barker! Roxy loved to bark at anything and everything, but she was a great watch dog, and a wonderful companion! She loved to curl up on my lap at night, content and snug as could be. My daughter’s in-laws have 2 Bichon Frise, and they too are adorable. I think I might want to try for this breed as my next companion. I loved reading about these adorable little dogs, and the author’s own experiences with hers. Great story telling!!

  3. Wilda A Lahmann

    On October 11, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Thanks for the positive comments! You make my day!!

  4. Valerie Curtiss

    On November 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    How about Boston Terriers? Check out pictures of my Midge and Sprite in my photo section… I bred Boston’s for years and the tiny ones were my favorites, my Queenie, Winston, Midge and Sprite were all about 10 to 11 lbs and were the most fabulous dogs, with wonderful natures, but then again, we raised them like children and they didn’t know what a cage was. Beautiful article, very well written.

  5. Michael jackson lover

    On November 21, 2009 at 10:15 am

    i want to get a dog myself and i think that the cutest adult was the bichon fris

  6. Dana11

    On August 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Papillon’s don’t always need a lot of exercise. I have had my Papillon for two years and I own a Maltese too. The only exercise they get is playing together inside and she doesn’t have any mean behavior. There’s actually a website that says most little dogs will adapt to the energy level of your home.

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