The small size and charming facial expressions of Toy Dogs will delight anyone. Don’t let their small size fool you, however, many Toys are as tough as nails. If you haven’t yet experienced the barking of an angry Chihuahua, for example, be prepared to be amazed.

Toy Dogs will always be popular with city dwellers and people without much living space. They make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap buddies. Small breeds may be found in every Group, not just the Toy Group. For example, the Miniature Schnauzer is a small breed that is included in the Terrier Group.

Everyone should seriously consider getting a small breed, when appropriate, if for no other reason than to minimize some of the problems inherent in dogs such as shedding, creating messes, and cost of care. Training aside, it’s easier to control a ten-pound Affenpenscher tugging on its leash than a 100 pound Rottweiler.


The Affenpinscher is an entertaining family member that everyone will love.  Like many small dogs, it may be wary of very small children.  Affens do not like being squeezed or chased.  It was bred to be a ratter, so it might not be a good companion for rodent-type pets such as gerbils, hamsters, and mice.


Affenpinscher Club of America


Height: 9-11.5 inches; Weight: 7-10 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years; AKC rank: 148 of 197;
Country: Germany

Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a terrier-type dog and, like many terriers, was bred to control the rodent population in Brussels, Belgium. These little dogs have a big personality. They will likely attach to one person. They are good with children if treated properly. Their face resembles an Ewok.

American Brussels Griffon Association


Height: 7-10 inches; Weight: 8-10 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years; AKC rank: 98 of 197;
Country: Belgium

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is very affectionate and needs to be with people.  It would not be a good choice for people who are gone from home for long periods. 

They get along well with children and are not afraid of becoming friends with larger dogs.

American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Height: 12-13 inches; Weight:.13-18 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years; AKC rank: 18 of 197;
Country: England


The Chihuahua is a sassy but very loyal dog and loves attention. Without proper training, it will take over and try to be the boss. They may be small but they do not know it.

They are not good dogs for rough play due to their small size.

Chihuahua Club of America

Two Longhair Chihuahua dog

Height: 5-8 inches; Weight: 6 pounds
Lifespan: 14-16 years; AKC rank: 33 of 197;
Country: Mexico

Chinese Crested

There are two variations of the Chinese Crested dog breed, one has hair and the other does not. Both varieties are alert, playful, and devoted to their family.

The hairless, of course, does not shed and has not body order. The coated Crested is often called a “Powder Puff.”

American Chinese Crested Club


Height: 11-13 inches; Weight: 8-12 pounds;
Lifespan: 13-18 years; AKC rank: 79 of 197;
Country: China

English Toy Spaniel

If there is such a thing as a professional lapdog, the English Toy Spaniel is a contender for the most professional.

These small dogs may have originated in East Asia, but they became popular in Europe in the 1500s as favorites of several members of the House of Tudor and House of Stuart dynasties.

English Toy Spaniel Club of America

English Toy Spaniel

Height: 9-10 inches; Weight: 8-14 pounds;
Lifespan: 10-12 years; AKC rank: 135 of 197;
Country: England



The Havanese, the national dog of Cuba, is a bichon similar to the Maltese and the Bichon Friese. Two very famous writers, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway, owned Havanese.

After the Cuban Revolution, many Cuban refugees brought Havanese with them which extended the popularity of the breed worldwide.


Havanese Club of America 


Height: 8.5-11.5 inches; Weight: 7-13 pounds;
Lifespan: 14-16 years; AKC rank: 24 of 197;
Country: Cuba

Italian Greyhound

The Italian Greyhound is the smallest of the group of dogs referred to as sighthounds. It’s very much a lapdog although it is ready to chase any cat that decides to run.

If you want to read some good dog jokes, click here.

Italian Greyhound Club of America 


Height: 13-15 inches; Weight: 7-14 pounds
Lifespan: 14-15 years; AKC rank: 73 of 197;
Country: Italy

Japanese Chin

Also known as a Japanese Spaniel, the Japanese Chin has a rich history, originally bred for royal companionship, and are affectionate little entertainers at heart.

This naughty little dog belongs to the Toy Group and weighs a mere 6-15 lbs, making for the ideal lap dog.  They may not be a good choice if you have small children.

Japanese Chin Club of America 



Height: 8-11 inches; Weight: 7-11 pounds;
Lifespan: 10-12 years; AKC rank: 104 of 197;
Country: Japan


Despite its name, the Maltese most likely does not come from on the island of Malta. It is an ancient breed that was a favorite of the early Greeks and Romans. Aristotle mentions the Maltese as early as 370 BC.

They are affectionate lapdogs with a long silky white coat.

American Maltese Association


Height: 7-9 inches; Weight: under 7 pounds;
Lifespan: 12-15 years; AKC rank: 37 of 197;
Country: Central Mediterranean Region


Manchester Terrier (Toy)

The Toy Manchester Terrier was developed in the United States by selecting breeding the Manchester Terrier to a smaller size. The Kennel Club and the FCI do not recognize the Toy Manchester as a separate breed.

In the US, the Toy must weigh under 12 pounds or it will be considered a Standard Manchester Terrier.

American Manchester Terrier Club 


Height: 10-12 inches; Weight: under 12 pounds;
Lifespan: 15- 17 years; AKC rank: 133 of 197;
Country: United States

Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is not a reduced sized Doberman Pinscher or German Pinscher. They may have common ancestors, but they are now completely separate breeds.

The Miniature probably was bred to be a ratter (dog). The common nickname for the Miniature Pinscher is the “Min Pin.”

Miniature Pinscher Club of America

Miniature Pinscher

Height: 8-12.5 inches; Weight: 8-10 pounds;
Lifespan: 12-16years; AKC rank: 70 of 197;
Country: Germany


The Papillon owes its name to the French word for butterfly. It is easy to see how appropriate the name is when you look at its face framed with its ears.

These small, very intelligent dogs are easily trained. They are self-assured, happy, and friendly members of any family.

 Papillon Club of America


Height: 8-11 inches; Weight: 5-10 pounds;
Lifespan: 14-16 years; AKC rank: 54 of 197;
Country: France/Belgium


The flat nose and big eyes are characteristics of the Pekingese. These small dogs were favorite lap dogs and companions of Chinese royalty for centuries.

For a long time, they could only be owned by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace (Forbidden City). These little dogs were sometimes carried in the sleeves of their owners and acted as personal guard dogs.

Pekingese Club of America



Height: 6-9 inches; Weight: up to 14 pounds;
Lifespan: 12- 14 years; AKC rank: 92 of 197;
Country: China


The Pomeranian is the smallest of the spitz type dogs. Hard to believe, but this tiny dog is a descendant of sled dogs from Iceland and Finland.

They have a thick coat which comes in many different colors although red and orange are the most common.

American Pomeranian Club


Height: 6-7 inches; Weight: 3-7 pounds
Lifespan: 12-16 years; AKC rank: 23 of 197;
Country: Pomerania


The Toy Poodle is not a separate breed from the Miniature and Standard Poodles. Poodles under 10 inches tall are Toy Poodles. They are very intelligent (ranking only behind the Border Collie) and expect to be treated as an equal.

The admirable qualities of the Poodle make it a very popular breed to combine into designer dogs.

Poodle Club of America

Toy Poodle

Height: up to 10 inches; Weight: 4-6 pounds;
Lifespan: 10-18 years; AKC rank: 7 of 197;
Country: France, Germany


Pugs emigrated to Europe from China in the 1600s and became popular with royal families including the House of Stewart and the House of Orange.

These somewhat chunky little dogs are willing to give love and want love in return.

Pug Dog Club of America


Height: 10-13 inches; Weight: 14-18 pounds
Lifespan: 13-15 years; AKC rank: 28 of 197;
Country: China

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is another of the small Chinese dogs that have become such popular companion dog.

These dogs were so treasured in China that none were allowed to be sold or given away outside the country until the 1930s. Since then, the Shih Tzu has become one the most popular toy dogs.

American Shih Tzu Club

Shih Tzu

Height: 9-10.5 inches; Weight: 9-16 pounds;
Lifespan: 10-18 years; AKC rank: 20 of 197;
Country: China

Silky Terrier

Silky Terriers were developed in Australia by crossbreeding the Yorkshire Terrier and the Australian Terrier. The Silky Terrier was bred to be a companion dog but its Terrier background carried with it the instinct to react to rodents and snakes.

They are affectionate and loyal but, again maybe to the Terrier thing, can be stubborn.

Silky Terrier Club of America

Silky Terrier

Height: 9-10 inches; Weight: 10 pounds;
Lifespan: 13-15 years; AKC rank: 115 of 197;
Country: Australia


Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terriers descend from the Fox Terrier, Chihuahuas, and Italian Greyhounds but are considered a distinct breed. They retained many Terrier traits and began earning their livelihood as a ratter.

The Toy Fox Terrier is perhaps a bit more mellow than other Terriers due to its lineage.

 American Toy Fox Terrier Club

Toy Fox Terrier

Height: 8.5-11.5 inches; Weight: 3.5-7 pounds
Lifespan: 13-15 years; AKC rank: 111 of 197;
Country: United States

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is the most popular of the Toy Dog breeds in the United States. They have come a long way from chasing rats in Yorkshire coal mines to the pampered pets they are today.

Although it is small and dainty, beneath that silky hair beats the heart of a true Terrier.

Yorkshire Terrier Club of America

Yorkshire Terrier

Height: 7-8 inches; Weight: 7 pounds
Lifespan: 11-15 years; AKC rank: 10 of 197;
Country: Yorkshire, England