15 Adorably Tiny Toy Dog Breeds That Will Wriggle Their Way Into Your Heart
Whether you're looking for a running partner, a couch potato, or a champion competitor—little dogs can do it all while looking adorable to boot. While all dogs are tied for first place in our hearts, these toy dog breeds are great family additions for a variety of reasons.
Keep in mind that there are small dogs in virtually every AKC breed group, but petite pooches who represent the toy group have one thing in common. While many pups of smaller stature were bred with hunting or working as a foremost consideration, these tiny pups were primarily bred for companionship and make great pets for many different lifestyles.
Long-Living Toy Dog: Lhasa Apso
As a general rule, not-so-big dogs have longer lifespans than larger breeds. So no matter what toy breed you go with, finding a friend for the next 10-15 years shouldn't be a hard task. In fact, attentive owners will routinely report examples of toy breeds living for 18-20 years with few issues.
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Hairless Toy Dog: Chinese Crested
Sure, they look a little bit like a Pekingese who lost some hair. But they're tiny, agile, and clever—not to mention their deep desire to please their humans. The Chinese crested will still need regular baths to keep their skin free of dirt and collected oils, but that can be a lot less hassle than weekly brushing or monthly trips to the groomers.
Most Popular Toy Dog Breed: Yorkshire Terrier
One of the 10 most popular breeds in the U.S. regardless of size, the Yorkshire terrier is far and away the People's Choice among the toy breeds. Like all in this group, the Yorkie has long been a favored breed for aristocracy and nobility. But under that long, silky hair beats the heart of a working-class terrier. The Yorkie was a ratter and vermin chaser long before she was a royal lap dog, giving the breed a universal appeal for centuries.
Fanciest Toy Dog: Maltese
It was hard to choose just one pooch for this category, and one could still argue for the Pekingese or the Pomeranian. But to see a shock-white, long-coated, freshly brushed Maltese is to finally understand what luxury truly is. These little dogs are happy to run and play and get dirty with the best of them, but once you've had one regally sit on your lap and make you feel like a lavish celeb from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, you'll never want them to do anything else.
Smallest Toy Dog of Them All: Chihuahua
I mean, come on. It's a list of itty-bitty dogs, so you knew this one was coming, right? The gold standard for "tiny dog," the Chihuahua breed standard lists their size as simply "not more than 6 pounds." Blessed with personalities that far outstrip their diminutive size, Chihuahuas have developed a reputation for being dogs with, shall we say, prickly dispositions. But with patient training, these littlest of the little dogs can be the best friend you could ask for.
Most Adaptable Toy Dog Breed: Shih Tzu
Bred specifically to be companion dogs for Chinese royalty, the shih tzu is a dog that thrives on human contact. They do well in households with children of all ages (though no dog should ever be left unsupervised with a small child), and their laid back dispositions make them highly attuned to apartment and urban living. Their exercise needs are easy to meet in smaller spaces, and they don't have any serious aversions to heat or cold, making them nearly ideal companions, regardless of where you live!
Hypoallergenic Toy Dog Breed: Toy Poodle
Technically speaking, NO dog is really "hypoallergenic." Every dog (and cat for that matter)—even hairless ones like the Chinese crested—still create small amounts of the dander and allergens that cause people to experience reactions.
That being said, there are several breeds that can cut down on those allergens significantly and one of the most popular examples of that is the toy poodle. Doing everything full-sized poodles can, these intelligent little dogs love to please and couch surf with their people. And their thick, tight curls hang on to almost all of the loose hair and dander they produce, keeping them virtually shed-free. Occasional brushings will keep their coats looking great and can eliminate all that loose hair in a way that doesn't let it land all over your house.
Most Regal Toy Dog Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel doesn't have owners or fans—the breed has devotees. One of the 20 most popular breeds in the U.S., this little spaniel combines almost all of the things that people love about dogs into one, pint-size package. They're intelligent, very friendly dogs with long lifespans and gentle dispositions, but with all of the athleticism of a sporting dog. Their intelligent bearing and long, silky coats have made them a favorite of royalty for decades (as their namesake will attest).
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Most Athletic Toy Dog: Papillon
A companion dog through and through, the papillon was bred to tag along with their humans, no matter the activity. This has resulted in a little dog with an extremely keen mind, a hardy, compact body and a good amount of energy. Put all of that together, and you get a dog that takes to instruction quickly and can excel in agility, obedience, and flyball competitions, showing genuine excitement after learning a new trick or finishing a new course.
Fluffiest Toy Dog Breed: Pomeranian
There might not be a more Instagram-ready dog than the Pomeranian. With hair that can be teased and shaped into an endless array of styles, these soft, loving little dogs are just begging to be cuddled and photographed for your friends to coo over. Put a Pom in a room with even the most ardent small dog critic, and dare them not to touch one of these little puffballs of joy. It's just not possible!
Toy Dog With the Squishiest Face: Pug
There's the expression "a face only a mother could love," and then there's the pug, who has been blessed with a face everyone loves. With their trademark wrinkles, snub noses, bug eyes, and perma-grins, it's hard not to snuggle up to one of these little guys and tell them exactly how cute they are.
One of the most recognizable mugs in the entire dog world, this popular brachycephalic breed has been a favorite of Chinese emperors since the 1500s and a favorite of virtually everyone else for almost as long!
Best Toy Dog Personality: Affenpinscher
Affenpinscher is German for "monkey dog" and it's easy to see why this moniker applies here. These inquisitive, curious little dogs are eager explorers (national park jaunt, anyone?), intelligent companions, and often devious jokers. Despite typically standing at just 9-12 inches tall and 7 to 8 pounds, these tiny tots are full of personality.
Best Long-Haired Toy Dog Breed: Silky Terrier
With a name like "silky terrier," you know pretty much exactly what you're going to get. Looking very much like his cousin the Yorkie, this Australia-born sweet-natured beauty is slightly larger, coming in at just under a foot, and right around 10 lbs. Much rarer than the Yorkie, silkies share the Yorkie's terrier bloodlines and love to hunt, run, and compete.
Super Charming Toy Dog Breed: Havanese
As the national dog of Cuba, the Havanese was once known as the Blanquito de la Habana ("little white dog of Havana"). Another common nickname is the Havana Silk Dog—those soft, flowing locks are a dead giveaway as to why. Outgoing, playful, and endlessly pleasant, this toy dog never met a stanger and fits in to just about every family dynamic.
Most Elegant Toy Dog: Italian Greyhound
Not a medium-sized whippet or a larger greyhound, the Italian greyhound slips in and out of small spaces with ease—and speed! As sighthounds with legendary sprinting speeds of up to 25 mph, this means they'll dart after something in a flash if it catches their eye, so make sure to keep these gentle lovebugs on a fashionable leash when strolling through the park.
Still not sure which dog breed is for you? Check out the full list of toy dog breeds for more little dogs to love.