Toy Dogs include all the dogs in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Toy Dog Group. Some Toy Dog Breeds were developed from larger dog breeds through the process of miniaturization. These breeds would include the Italian Greyhound, Toy Spaniels and Toy Poodle. A few Toy breeds were developed to perform specific functions. The Tibetan spaniel was developed to turn prayer wheels. However most Toys were developed as companion dogs to be cute, cuddly and conveniently sized. Toys are not a recent development to satisfy our need for a conveniently sized pet. The ancient Chinese nobility kept “lion dogs” almost identical to the Pekingese and the Romans kept “lap dogs”. Throughout history these diminutive sized Toy Dogs have been favorites of royalty and wealthy people everywhere.

Toy dogs play a critical role in the lives of people that live alone and their presence can have beneficial effects on the wellness of the sick, the elderly and the housebound. Toys are popular companion dogs for people living in cities and adapt well to apartment life. Many Toy Dogs make great watchdogs and don’t need a lot of exercise beyond what they get running around and playing indoors. Toys make great traveling companions and are readily accepted just about everywhere. The following is a list of Toy Dog Breeds and those breeds that are: best with older children; non-shedding or low shedding; good watchdogs; and tolerant of other pets. Detailed information on temperament, exercise and grooming requirements, ease of training and health problems is contained in each breed article.

Toy Dog Breeds

Affenpinscher Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Chinese Crested Havanese
Japanese Chin Manchester Terrier
Papillon Pomeranian
Pug Silky Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier Brussels Griffon
Chihuahua English Toy Spaniel
Italian Greyhound Maltese
Miniature Pinscher Pekingese
Poodle (Toy) Shih Tzu
Toy Fox Terrier  

Child Tolerance

Young children and toddlers are too rough to co-exist with most Toy Dogs. Check out our Small Dog Breeds section for breeds that are more suitable for toddlers. A few of the sturdier Toys that do best with older children have been listed below.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Havanese
Pug English Toy Spaniel

Non Shedding Dogs

Some Toy Dogs are low shedders and are said to be hypoallergenic when properly groomed. People with allergies may do better with these dogs. Note the Pomeranian, Pekingese and Pug are fairly heavy shedders.

Chinese Crested Italian Greyhound
Poodle (Toy) Havanese


Many Toy Dogs make good watchdogs and will bark when a stranger approaches or something seems wrong or unusual. The breeds best suited to be watchdogs are listed below.

Chihuahua Miniature Pinscher
Pomeranian Silky Terrier
Maltese Papillon
Poodle (Toy) Yorkshire Terrier

Pet (including cats) Tolerance

The following Toy breeds are most tolerant of other pets including cats

Chinese Crested Japanese Chin
Pug Poodle (Toy)
Havanese Maltese
Shih Tzu