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20 Best Toy Dog Breeds in the World Fit Well in Your Lap (2024)

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Do you wonder what the best toy dog breeds for an apartment? A dog’s adaptability to a small living space, such as an apartment, mainly depends on their energy level and training routine.

best toy dog breedsThere are so many reasons to love small toy breed dogs. They are excellent at cuddling and fit well in your lap.

They are cheaper because they need less food and supplies, and they are easier to transport to the vet or wherever you want to take them – moreover, they usually won’t try to fight you when you pick them up to put them in a travel bag!

And although dog toy breeds all have their small size in common, they also have their strengths and challenges.

Keep in mind that each dog has its personality and that the characteristics listed are the common characteristics found in the breed. Some personality traits can also be adjusted with effective dog training methods.

In short, the best toy dogs are the perfect addition to a family, and they can be precisely what your family needs to cherish more hugs and teach the children about caring for someone else. They can make the most significant difference in your life, especially for children. Small dog breeds are generally defined as weighing less than 22 pounds and are shorter than 16 inches.

Here are some of the best small breed dogs that you can welcome to your home today.

20 Best Toy Dog Breeds In The World

Some of the small toy breed dogs are so adolescent in puppy time that you can hardly believe they are real! It’s hard to reject something like that.

As you go through this list of the most popular small dogs, you will see that one kind fits better with your lifestyle than the other.

And that is precisely what we hope this article will help you with. We want to help you find out about many of these best toy dog breeds so that you can select the best toy dog breeds for you and your circumstances.

1. Affenpinscher

Affenpinscher toy dog breeds

A quirky looking Affenpinscher may not be the favorite of some dog owners due to how rare these dogs are. This breed is actually one of the oldest living toy dogs and was called a little devil with a mustache in Central Europe.

Pros: Affenpinscher is a small toy dog with a great sense of humor and is known for being extremely entertaining. They are more tolerant of temperature extremes than some other toy breeds, but they should not live primarily outdoors anyway. The Affenpinscher is healthy and intelligent. It is a small breed not known for excessive barking.

Cons: These dogs can be difficult to train due to their independent nature. They are also known to be loners and can be perfect for lazy owners. They love to be with their parents and are loving, but they do not do well in large households, children, and other pets.

2. Chihuahua

Chihuahua toy dog breedsWho doesn’t know the Chihuahua? This little powerhouse is perhaps one of the most popular small dogs of all time!

And actually, the Chihuahua is currently number 30 of the 192 most popular breed dogs of the American Kennel Club (AKC)!

These dog toy breeds rarely weigh more than six or seven pounds but offer a healthy lifespan of 14 to 16 years: what music is for a dog lover’s ears!

Today the Chihuahua is known as a (wallet) in specific (celebrity) circles, but really, this is a dog whose personality is much larger than a portfolio could contain.

In Mexico, the Chihuahua is a national symbol and a treasure! Elsewhere in the world, the Chihuahua is also known as a loyal, loving, and beautiful family dog.

3. Toy Dachshund

Dachshund toy dog breedsThe Dachshund is one of the popular best toy dog breeds from Germany. I have had several Dachshunds in my life, and I love this smart, curious dog.

They are bold and brave despite their size. For this reason, and surprisingly for most future dog owners, dachshunds are excellent guard dogs. Their energy and dedication make them great for families with older children.

Dachshunds can be shy towards strangers and may not like young children. These small toy dogs are known as (weenie) or (wiener) dogs. They have a long back and have to live in a house where climbing stairs is unnecessary.

4. Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested toy dog breedsThe Chinese Crested is one of those unique dog toy breeds that, once seen, has never been forgotten.

Unusual for their spotted and usually hairless skin, broken only by wild tufts of hair on the forehead, ears, and lower heels, these small dogs weigh only 8 to 12 pounds. They are currently 77th of the 192 purebred dogs on the AKC list.

Many people don’t know that there is a Chinese Crested breed with hair: this breed is called the Powderpuff. The fur is lovely and silky.

The Chinese Crested (of both lines) is very playful and loving. They are smart and considerate and generally want to be with their people as much as possible. These puppies are great family dogs! Chinese crested can be 13 to 18 years old.

5. Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise toy dog breedsBichon Frize is not only considered to be one of the best toy breed dogs in the world, but it is one of the better choices for many reasons. For example, they are one of the best dogs for allergies, which is a rare trait. They were bred specifically for this purpose.

Bichon is intelligent and easy to train. They are a social and curious breed, which makes them great with children and other pets. This little dog has a great personality and is a great companion pet. The luxury jacket on the Bichon hardly sheds.

These fur babies suffer from separation anxiety and must be in a house where there is almost always someone. The Bichon also needs a regular care schedule: brushing and cutting around the eyes and mouth.

6. Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffon toy dog breedsGriffs come in four colors (red, black, black, and brown and black-reddish brown (called Belge)), two fur types (smooth and rough), and have an adorable beard! The breed prefers to be close to its owners. Griffs are socially friendly and easy to train and usually get along well with other pets and well-behaved children.

This is a cute breed that can be a little more articulated but makes up for its good qualities. If you want to see this fur baby in action, watch the movie As Good as It Gets. This breed is Jack Nicholson’s sidekick, and many of his real traits were exposed.

Although they are one of the popular best toy dog breeds you can adopt, the Brussels Griffon will do the best in a house where almost someone is always around. This is one of the more needy breeds, separation anxiety is a real problem with Brussels Griffon, so they do best when they are with someone all the time.

7. Havanese

Havanese toy dog breedsThe Havanese is unique on the dog toy breeds list because it is the only representative from Cuba! These spicy, lively, smart little dogs are cute, with their long soft coats and big brown eyes!

The Havanese can vary in size from 7 to 13 pounds. Fortunately, these dogs have a relatively long lifespan, with an average lifespan ranging from 13 to 18 years.

You want to know in advance about the Havanese dog that their beautiful, silky fur should be brushed daily.

You can opt for a short haircut to reduce this maintenance, but you still have to make sure you have time every day for at least a quick brush!

8. Bolognese

Bolognese toy dog breedsComical and curious, this intelligent, dedicated dog likes to spend time with its people, whether they go hiking, shopping, or playing with the children.

A member of the Bichon family of white, downy dogs – they are also called the Bichon Bolognese – they come from the Italian city of Bologna, from which they derive their name.

They excel in charming people to get their way and can be challenging to care for, so be careful and consistent.

They have long white coats that throw very little. This dog is calm and polite to everyone they meet. They are intelligent dogs that train efficiently. The Bolognese learns to be quiet inside and noisy outside: precisely as it should be.

These small dogs are one of the best toy dog breeds’ healthiest and are not susceptible to severe illnesses.

They can be shy, so if socialization is essential to you, you have to start at a young age. Although the Bolognese is small, they still have to take short walks every day to satisfy their personality. If you choose this breed, you better watch it now. It is a popular breed, often with long waiting lists for adoption everywhere you look.

9. Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhound toy dog breedsIf you’ve ever seen a skinny, limber, and graceful Greyhound running and wish you could come up close and personal with such a magnificent animal, then the Italian Greyhound might be your perfect choice from these small toy breed dogs!

The Italian Greyhound is mini: a beautiful little lap dog who also loves to race and run!

The Italian Greyhound is quite long among the Toy puppy breeds, is up to 15 centimeters high in adulthood, but weighs between 7 and 14 pounds like many adult small toy dogs.

These dogs can live to be 14 or 15 years old on average.

10. Toy Poodle

Poodle toy dog breedsThe poodle (both standard and toy) is considered by most experts to be one of the smartest and easiest dogs to train. For this reason alone, the Toy Poodle is one of the best small toy varieties that a future owner can use, but there are also disadvantages.

This variety comes in many sizes; fortunately, they all have the same characteristics and are all friendly with other pets, strangers, and children. The intelligence of the poodle makes them great dogs for all types of environments: houses with yards, households that need more alone, and even apartments.

Unfortunately, the toy poodle is a care-intensive dog breed. If you decide to leave the hair long, it should be brushed regularly. You can keep it close together if you have the experience to do it yourself or have the money to take your dog to the groomer.

11. Maltese

Maltese toy dog breedsThe Maltese even stands out among the white Toy dog breeds, with its pure, lush, breathtaking silky white fur!

These dogs can resemble a flying carpet for the uninitiated, sliding along with every appearance of having no legs under all that hair!

The Maltese call the small island country of Malta its home, although it has been around the world for many millennia at this point.

In almost all cases, these dogs weigh less than 7 pounds. But what they lack in size, they more than makeup for in presence and personality!

12. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier toy dog breedsThe Boston Terrier may have been bred as a fierce pit fighter, but you would never know today.

The little American gentleman, as he was called in the 19th century, is a lover, not a fighter. However, men are known to show their terrier origin with a little attitude when they feel that another dog has invaded their territory.

13. Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier toy dog breedsThe Silky Terrier is very similar to a Yorkshire terrier because they are closely related. However, you can see the difference in their jacket in the photo above. It is easy to notice what gives this toy dog breed its name.

Fortunately for some, these long-haired dogs can be cut for a shorter coat. Another plus is that they are very low shedders. Silkies are very loyal and affectionate with their owners. They have a lot of love to give. They are energetic but can play around the house with great pleasure. This makes them a perfect choice for city life.

Although it can be shortened, the Silky Terrier has a beautiful coat that needs to be brushed and cared for regularly to remain shiny and mat-free.

These small dogs still have a high prey urge and need a secure fence and harness. Unfortunately, Silkies usually don’t like being with other dogs and will only tolerate young children.

14. Papillon

Papillon toy dog breedsThe Papillon may be small, but it is a dominant athlete!

These dogs have everything: the body of a dog supermodel and the heart of an Olympian! The Papillon is currently in 53rd place among the 192 most popular breed dogs of the AKC. This little dog only weighs 5 to 10 pounds but can live 14 to 16 years old!

There are two lines for the Papillon dog breed: the Papillon has the characteristic upright (butterfly) ears, and the Phalene has ears that hang down. Both have delicately curved tails and silky long-haired coats.

However, neither the Papillon nor the Phalene needs much brushing and care because their fur is a single coat.

De Papillon is very smart and loves to run and play with people and other pets. These dogs can be great family dogs: they also love other pets, children, and adults!

15. Pekingese

Pekingese toy dog breedsLike many of these best toy dog breeds listed here, Pekingese love attention and don’t like to be left alone often. For whatever reason, this need is most applicable to small dogs and especially toy breeds.

The Pekingese is an excellent watchdog, brave, and daring. Pekingese are usually not destructive, so your shoes and remote controls must be safe. These little dogs are great for seniors and loners because they do well without many other house creatures. They eat very little and require little exercise, making them a perfect choice to live in an apartment.

Known as aloof and stubborn, these colorful babies aren’t great for starters. They do not do well with young children, other dogs, or cats. Dogs of this breed are known to be small (hunters) and must follow bark control training as quickly as possible.

16. Pomeranian

Pomeranian toy dog breedsThe downy Pomeranian is one of the smallest of all small dog breeds and weighs just 3 to 7 pounds as an adult.

However, the (Pom) as fans often call this dog, can turn 16!

The Pomeranian is in 22nd place in the AKC’s list of the 192 most popular small dogs. Like many teenagers with dogs, the Pomeranian does not seem aware of her size and certainly does not prevent her from taking charge of family life!

Because of their size and cleverness, these dogs are also known to escape artists, so make sure your garden is safe before you leave your Pom outside! It would help if you never left your Pom unattended because they are small enough to choose a passing hawk.

17. English Toy Spaniel

English Toy Spaniel toy dog breedsAlthough the English Toy Spaniel resembles the more popular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they are different varieties. Yet the English Toy Spaniel is a beautiful toy variety with a cheerful and affectionate personality.

The breed is an excellent family friend and plays well with children. Because of their small size, they are ideal for an apartment. The breed even has a hunting instinct and can be a great little hunting spaniel.

18. Toy Fox Terrier

Fox Terrier dog breedsAlthough still active enough to be entertaining, the toy fox terrier variant has a calmer character than the standard Fox Terrier. This breed comes from the background of one of the best-hunting dogs, so some traits are still present.

Here is another breed that is athletic and agile. The toy fox terrier loves to run and is the perfect dog for the sporty, outdoor family. These small fur packages still retain their desire and love for hunting. (Foxies) are sweet and always loyal to their owners.

Although this breed is perfect for an active single, they do not do well with other animals and even children. They are shy and can be aggressive towards strangers if they are not socialized in their puppy months. Proper dog training is a must for all Fox Terriers.

19. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier toy dog breedsThe diminutive Yorkshire Terrier is considered by many to be one of the best toy dogs: as proof, the (Yorkie,) as fans call this pooch, currently stands as the 9th most popular dog out of the 192 most popular purebred dogs of the AKC dog breeds!

The Yorkie only weighs 7 pounds but can live to be 15 years old.

The distinctive trademark of this dog is its long, luxurious mane: one that reminds many modern Yorkie owners that the illustrious history of this dog as a rattle must be a myth!

The Yorkie’s long fur is considered almost hypoallergenic as the fur of a dog: it looks more like human hair than dog hair.

However, this also means that the Yorkie’s fur needs the same level of care that you would give to your hair, which can be a significant obligation for some time-saving dog owners.

20. Pug

Pugtoy dog breedsPugs, a popular toy breed, is now one of the favorites of most owners. These clowns are eternal puppies that remain stupid and playful throughout their lives.

Pugs are one of the few toy breeds that are great for children. Others may tolerate them, but Pugs love children.

These small dogs require almost no grooming due to their short coats except for an occasional bath. They have an average energy level for a dog, so they are great for relaxed families.

On the other hand, Pugs are not resistant to extreme weather conditions and have to do most indoor exercises.

This need is due to their flat faces, which narrow their breathing. Surprisingly, Pugs throw a lot, even with such a short jacket. They can also make quite a bit of noise with their sniffing and sniffing (which may be very charming).

Health Problems With Toy Breeds

Even the healthiest, most challenging, and best toy breed dogs require special attention and care in some essential regions due to their tiny size.

This is sometimes due to the extensive inbreeding in tiny dogs, and tiny toy dog breeds also have the natural handicap that they are quite small and delicate.

But there are other problems too.

Collapsed Windpipe

Many toy dog breed owners should always pay attention, is the neck vulnerability of these dogs.

Tracheal collapse and damaged cartilage can occur quickly using only the wrong type of belt and collar system!

This is one reason why many vets recommend a halter and leash instead of a collar for small dogs.

Dental Problems

Toy dog breeds can also struggle with dental problems because the milk teeth often do not fall out as they should when the adult teeth grow in it.

This is a situation that your veterinarian can help you by manually removing the baby teeth to make room for the adult teeth.


Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is another common problem in dog breeds with toys.

Because these dogs are so small, they have to eat quite often (often 4 to 6 times a day). Day, even in adulthood) to maintain their blood sugar levels.

For this reason, it is always a good idea to give your little puppy some food supplement immediately when he starts showing signs of low blood sugar, such as listlessness, lack of coordination, shivers, seizures, or loss of consciousness.

Talk to your vet about what they recommend. You may be able to use something like sugar syrup for the supplement.

Body Temperature

Another potentially dangerous health problem with dog breeds toy is low body temperature.

Again, the dog’s small size causes the seriousness of the problems: these dogs can struggle to stay warm enough on their own, especially in colder climates.

If you see a toy dog wearing a small outfit, it certainly looks adorable. But often, that cute outfit has a much more functional purpose: keeping that little Toy dog warm!

Some people like to dress their pets, and others don’t. However, if you choose to provide a Toy dog breed, you may need to purchase some warm clothing for your puppy.


Finally, a dog breeds toy’s small size can create a ripe situation for a heartbreaking and ultimately preventable accident.

Stepping on a toy dog, tripping over it, or falling on a dog can be fatal for your little pet. Rough use or play, even if it would not be rough for a giant dog, can have the same deadly effect.

If you are aware of this kind of particular size-related health problem, you can decide whether you own one of the most beautiful Toy dog breeds on earth worth the potential health risks that you and your new puppy are running.

If you decide to continue, careful planning in advance, extensive research, and attentive preventive veterinary care can significantly minimize the known risks of caring for a toy dog!


That completes our list of 20 best toy dog breeds for adoption with their advantages and disadvantages. No dog is perfect, but most of the benefits of these best toy breeds are far higher than their drawbacks, and each of these dog mates will be a great pet.

Did I miss a small toy dog that should have been on this list? Let me know in the comments!

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.