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The Best Toy Dog Breeds That Make Wonderful Furry Companions (2024)

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best toy dog breedsToy dog breeds like the Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Pomeranian make wonderful companions with their adorable looks and lively personalities.

While their petite size is appealing, you’ll need to be aware of their unique care requirements.

They’re prone to certain health issues, so regular vet check-ups are essential.

With proper grooming, training, and socialization, these affectionate lap warmers thrive.

Their diminutive stature belies their big personalities – you’ll discover the delightful traits that make the best toy dog breeds such cherished furry friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Toy dog breeds like the Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Pomeranian are popular choices for their adorable looks and lively personalities.
  • Biewer Terriers, for example, are a rare breed that achieved recognition in the Toy Group of the American Kennel Club in 2021. They are known for their long, dense coats that often exhibit patches of white, brown, black, and gray.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are celebrated for their affectionate and loving nature, and are generally low-maintenance, requiring only routine brushing and infrequent baths to preserve their medium-length, silky coats.
  • Toy dog breeds are more vulnerable to injuries due to their small stature and fragile builds, and are prone to specific health concerns such as respiratory ailments, dental difficulties, and luxating patellas (dislocated kneecaps). Dental disease is particularly prevalent in toy breeds, and regular teeth brushing and professional cleanings are essential to prevent and manage dental disease.

Popular Toy Dog Breeds
Are you looking to add a furry companion to your family? Consider the popular toy dog breeds like the Affenpinscher, Biewer Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and Chihuahua. These breeds are known for their charming personalities, adaptability, and suitability for smaller living spaces.


The Affenpinscher is a popular toy dog breed known for its shaggy coat and big personality.

This breed is trainable, making it a great companion for those who want a small, affectionate dog.

Affenpinschers are also low-maintenance regarding grooming and exercise needs, making them suitable for apartment living.

However, they may be prone to health issues and require regular veterinary check-ups.

Biewer Terrier

The Biewer Terrier, a captivating and distinctive breed, is a popular choice for those seeking a diminutive, energetic, and affectionate companion. Originating in Germany, this breed is renowned for its long, dense coat that often exhibits patches of white, brown, black, and gray. The Biewer Terrier is a rare breed that achieved recognition in the Toy Group of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2021.

Health Considerations:

Biewer Terriers are generally healthy but may be prone to health issues, including dental disease. Regular veterinary care is paramount to safeguarding their well-being.

Care and Maintenance:

These dogs necessitate regular grooming to preserve their long, silky coat. Daily brushing is essential to prevent matting and tangles. Biewer Terriers also require moderate exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being, such as brief walks, playtime, or engaging games.

Temperament and Personality:

Biewer Terriers are renowned for their amicable, extroverted, and willful nature. They’re affectionate, playful, and intelligent, making them receptive to training and eager to please. These dogs are adaptable and thrive on routine and consistency, rendering them suitable for families and seniors.

Training and Exercise Needs:

Biewer Terriers are energetic and necessitate regular exercise to channel their energy constructively. Brief walks, playtime, and interactive games can help fulfill their exercise requirements. Positive reinforcement-based training methods are recommended to achieve optimal results.

Suitability for Apartment Living:

As a toy breed, the Biewer Terrier is well-suited for apartment living due to its diminutive size and lower exercise requirements.

Comparable Breeds:

Biewer Terriers share genetic traits with the Yorkshire Terrier, from which they were originally bred. Other toy breeds that may be suitable for those seeking a small companion include the Toy Fox Terrier, Bichon Frise, and Miniature Dachshund.

Brussels Griffon

Brussels Griffons, a popular toy dog breed, are known for their sturdy build, entertaining personalities, and almost-human-like features. They’re intelligent, sensitive, and require early socialization. As hypoallergenic dogs, they’re a great choice for those with allergies. Living in apartments is a breeze with their adaptable nature and low exercise needs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a popular toy dog breed celebrated for its affectionate and loving nature. These dogs are simple to groom and care for, rendering them ideal for apartment living or smaller abodes. They’re generally low-maintenance, necessitating only routine brushing and infrequent baths to preserve their medium-long, silky coat in fine condition. Cavaliers are also celebrated for their expressive eyes, long, silky ears, and soft, wavy coats, which amplify their captivating appearance.

To safeguard the health and well-being of your Cavalier, it’s indispensable to adhere to some health tips. These dogs are susceptible to certain health conditions, such as mitral valve disease (MVD) and syringomyelia (SM), so regular veterinary check-ups are fundamental. Additionally, suitable socialization and obedience training are indispensable to assist your Cavalier in maturing into a well-behaved and joyous companion.

In terms of grooming, Cavaliers necessitate regular brushing to eliminate dead hair and maintain a tangle-free coat. A weekly brushing routine is recommended, utilizing a boar bristle brush or a pin brush. Bathing should be performed monthly to preserve the coat healthy and fresh. Nail trimming is necessary every three to four weeks, and dental care is indispensable for overall health.

Cavaliers are also celebrated for their friendly and family-friendly temperament, rendering them exceptional companions for children and other pets. They’re generally low-shedding, although they do necessitate daily brushing to manage shedding.


Chihuahuas, the epitome of loyal and energetic dogs, bring joy with their quirky personalities.

  1. Chihuahua Training: Obedient dogs with a knack for physical stimulation.
  2. Chihuahua Grooming: Minimal, yet vigilant against dental disease.
  3. Chihuahua Health: Regular exercise keeps these tiny powerhouses thriving.

Health Considerations for Toy Dog Breeds

Health Considerations for Toy Dog Breeds
Due to their diminutive stature, toy dog breeds are more vulnerable to injuries sustained from falls, accidental trampling, or mishandling. They’re also predisposed to specific health concerns, including respiratory ailments, dental difficulties, and luxating patellas (dislocated kneecaps). Dental disease is particularly prevalent in toy breeds, rendering regular teeth brushing and professional cleanings essential.

Susceptibility to Injury

As a conscientious pet owner, it’s imperative to be cognizant of the heightened vulnerability to injury associated with owning a toy dog breed.

Given their diminutive stature and fragile builds, these dogs face an elevated risk of mishaps.

Exercise the utmost caution in handling them.

Take into account their intrepid, nimble, and spirited natures when implementing handling measures.

Prone to Health Conditions

Toy breeds are generally considered to be small, adorable, and easy to handle. However, they may have some health issues that owners should be aware of. Here are some health considerations for toy dog breeds:

  1. Susceptibility to injury: Due to their small stature, toy breeds are more susceptible to injury. They can easily get hurt during playtime or when they jump from high places.
  2. Dental hygiene: Toy breeds require regular dental care to prevent dental disease. Their small mouths can make it difficult to clean their teeth, so owners should be diligent about brushing and providing dental chews or toys.
  3. Genetic predispositions: Some toy breeds have specific genetic predispositions to certain health issues. For example, the Chihuahua is prone to heart problems, while the Yorkshire Terrier is susceptible to tracheal collapse.
  4. Exercise limitations: Toy breeds generally have lower exercise needs compared to larger breeds. However, they still need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent boredom.
  5. Veterinary care costs: Toy breeds may have lower veterinary costs than medium and large breed dogs, but they still require regular check-ups and vaccinations. Owners should budget for these expenses.
  6. Grooming: Toy breeds often require daily grooming to prevent matting and keep their coats clean. Some breeds, like the Maltese, may need more frequent grooming due to their long, silky fur.
  7. Mental stimulation: Toy breeds are intelligent and can become bored easily. Providing them with toys and games can help keep them mentally stimulated and prevent destructive behavior.
  8. Socialization and training: Toy breeds should be properly socialized and trained to prevent behavioral issues. Training classes can be beneficial for both the dog and the owner.
  9. Specific breed health concerns: Each toy breed has its own unique health concerns. For example, the Affenpinscher is prone to skin issues, while the Biewer Terrier can develop kidney problems. Owners should research their specific breed to understand potential health issues and how to prevent them.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is a common health issue for toy dog breeds. These small breeds are more prone to gum disease due to their facial structure and crowded teeth.

They have tiny mouths, but their teeth are relatively large. This leads to very crowded conditions that make it difficult to clean their teeth effectively.

The combination of small jawbones and crowded teeth makes it easier for tartar and plaque to accumulate. As a result, it increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Regular brushing, dental products, and professional cleanings under anesthesia are essential. These measures are necessary to prevent and manage dental disease in toy dog breeds.

Care and Maintenance for Toy Dog Breeds

Care and Maintenance for Toy Dog Breeds
Maintaining toy dog breeds demands regular grooming to preserve their coats’ health and prevent matting or tangles. Supplying sufficient exercise and mental stimulation through walks, playtime, and training sessions is vital to deter destructive behaviors and guarantee their overall well-being.

Regular Grooming

Regular grooming isn’t just about maintaining your toy dog’s stylish appearance; it’s a foundation of their well-being and contentment. Envision it as a pampering session that dispels melancholy and keeps their lively, floor-sweeping coats in impeccable condition.

  • Grooming Tools: Your array of weapons for conquering knots and preserving the glory of their mane.
  • Brushing Frequency: Consistent, as with a timepiece, to prevent tangles and guarantee that your sentinel’s coat is ready for action.
  • Coat Types: From delicate whispers to durable carpets, each demands a customized approach.
  • Special Care: Beyond the brush, addressing discoloration around the eyes and the specific requirements of energetic canines.
  • Tear Staining: A prevalent sight among toy breeds, necessitating gentle, regular care to maintain the clarity and allure of those expressive eyes.

Exercise and Stimulation

Regarding toy dog breeds, exercise and stimulation are critical for their overall well-being. These small breeds have distinct exercise needs compared to larger breeds, and understanding their requirements is vital to maintain their health and happiness.

Toy breeds, such as those mentioned in the article, generally need around 30 minutes of exercise daily. This can be achieved through a daily walk and occasional games of fetch. However, it’s important to avoid overexertion in these breeds, as they’re vulnerable to injuries such as sprained ankles and torn ligaments.

Mental stimulation is also essential for toy dog breeds. Enrichment toys, like treat dispenser toys, puzzle toys, snuffle mats, and interactive games, can help keep your furry friend mentally stimulated and avert problem behaviors. These toys engage your dog’s senses, challenge their problem-solving abilities, and keep them entertained for hours.

To establish a balanced routine for your toy dog, consider the following table:

Exercise Frequency Mental Stimulation Daily Routine Physical Activity Playtime
30 minutes per day Enrichment toys Walk and play Short bursts Interactive games

Socialization and Training

Socialization and Training for Toy Dog Breeds

Socialization and training are essential elements for raising a well-mannered and contented toy dog. These activities not only contribute to your furry companion’s development of good etiquette but also foster a strong connection between you and your pet. Here are some suggestions and approaches to guarantee your toy dog receives adequate socialization and training:

  1. Early socialization: Commence socializing your toy dog at the earliest possible opportunity. This involves introducing them to diverse environments, individuals, and other animals. This will aid in your dog’s confidence and adaptability in various circumstances.

  2. Positive reinforcement training: Employ positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, treats, and toys, to motivate desirable behavior in your toy dog. This approach is more effective and less stressful for your pet than methods based on punishment.

  3. Consistent training: Establish a regular schedule for training your toy dog. Consistency is vital in helping your pet comprehend what’s expected of them. This may entail regular potty breaks, feeding times, and training sessions.

  4. Puppy classes: Enroll your toy dog in puppy classes or obedience training. These classes offer a structured learning environment and opportunities for your pet to interact with other dogs and learn from experienced trainers.

  5. Housebreaking: Utilize positive reinforcement techniques to housebreak your toy dog. This may involve crate training, rewarding good behavior, and disregarding accidents.

  6. Behavioral concerns: Be cognizant of common behavioral challenges in toy breeds, such as separation anxiety, resource guarding, and lap guarding. Address these issues through positive reinforcement training and socialization.

  7. Professional help: If you’re experiencing difficulties with training or behavioral issues, contemplate seeking assistance from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Toy Dog Breeds With Unique Characteristics

Toy Dog Breeds With Unique Characteristics
Toy dog breeds like the Chinese Crested, Papillon, Pomeranian, and Toy Poodle offer unique characteristics that set them apart. The Chinese Crested’s hairless variety is a sight to behold with its distinctive look, while the Papillon charms with its butterfly-like ears and lively personality.

Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a distinctive and charming toy dog breed renowned for its hairless or powderpuff coat, playful nature, and wit. This breed is often characterized as high-spirited, lively, and agile, making them skilled climbers and jumpers. However, they come with certain health and care considerations.

Health-wise, Chinese Cresteds are susceptible to particular conditions, such as epilepsy, eye ailments like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and dry eye, luxating patella (loose knee joints), and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. They’re also prone to skin allergies, which may lead to bacterial skin infections (pyoderma), and their hairless skin requires regular cleaning and drying to prevent clogged hair follicles and blackheads. Sunburn is another concern for hairless Chinese Cresteds, so it’s vital to safeguard them from excessive sun exposure.

In terms of grooming, these dogs demand regular attention. For hairless Chinese Cresteds, skin care is paramount, including frequent bathing and moisturizing to maintain healthy skin. Powderpuff Chinese Cresteds require regular brushing and combing to prevent matting. Both varieties need their teeth brushed at least two to three times a week to eliminate tartar build-up and bacteria. Nails should be trimmed once or twice a month, and ears should be checked weekly for signs of infection.

Chinese Cresteds are also known for their intelligence and can be trained to perform various tricks to keep them mentally stimulated. They generally coexist well with other pets but may be cautious around strangers. However, they can be high-strung and timid in unfamiliar settings, so early and frequent socialization is imperative to foster a confident, stable temperament.

In terms of exercise and living conditions, Chinese Cresteds are well-suited for apartment living and require a daily walk and regular indoor play. They’re sensitive to cold, so a warm winter wardrobe is essential.


Papillon Characteristics:

  • Small size, typically weighing between 5-10 pounds
  • Erect, fringed butterfly-like ears
  • Single-coated, with long, silky hair that frames their face and ears
  • Expressive, alert, and vocal
  • Intelligent and quick learners
  • Affectionate and sociable, often enjoy cuddling with their owners
  • Alert and vocal, may bark to notify their human companions of visitors or unusual occurrences
  • Requires regular grooming to keep their coat clean and prevent matting

Papillon Exercise:

  • Need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day, divided into shorter sessions
  • High energy levels for a small breed
  • Excels in agility and obedience training
  • Enjoy play sessions that allow them to run, jump, and chase
  • Benefit from activities that challenge their minds, such as learning new tricks
  • Prone to injury if exercise is too rough or intense, so activities should be scaled to their size and physical capabilities

Papillon Grooming:

  • Long hair that doesn’t require as much grooming as one might think, as they don’t have an undercoat
  • Brushing out their fur every other week or so with a comb or soft slicker brush helps keep them looking fit
  • Bathing every couple of months, preferably in a sink or shallow water basin
  • Use quality shampoo and conditioner to maintain their illustrious shine
  • Dry with a handheld dryer on the medium to low setting, being careful not to hold them in one place for too long

Papillon Health:

  • Generally healthy breed, but prone to certain health conditions, such as dental disease
  • Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet are essential for maintaining their health

Papillon Care:

  • Requires early and consistent training to moderate their tendency to bark excessively
  • Suitable for apartment living and easy to manage for people who prefer smaller dogs
  • Make excellent family dogs due to their friendly and affectionate nature
  • Known for their intelligence and quick learning abilities, excel in various forms of training and canine sports
  • Adult Papillons usually stand between 8 and 11 inches tall at the shoulder, with a balanced appearance that contributes to their elegance and ability to perform as both a fun-loving companion and a competitive show dog


Pomeranians are a popular toy dog breed known for their fluffy coats, adorable appearance, and lively personalities.

They’re a great companion for those who enjoy grooming and training their pets.

Pomeranians are descended from larger Spitz-type dogs and were once used as herding dogs.

They’re prone to health issues such as dental disease and have unique temperaments that require proper training.

Incorporating a table into this section will provide a visual representation of their grooming needs, temperament traits, and training requirements.

Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle, a scaled-down version of the Standard Poodle, is a popular choice for those seeking a small, intelligent, and affectionate companion. With its profuse and curly coat, the Toy Poodle is often styled and requires regular grooming to maintain its appearance. Here are some key points to bear in mind regarding the history, grooming, personality, training, and health of the Toy Poodle:

  • History: Toy Poodles are one of the oldest breeds, with a history dating back centuries. They were bred down in size from Standard Poodles to be companion dogs. Today, they’re commonly used for therapy work, obedience, and agility.
  • Grooming: Toy Poodles need grooming every 6-8 weeks, as their coat tends not to shed. Regular brushing and professional grooming are essential to keep their coat looking neat and healthy.
  • Personality: Toy Poodles are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and affectionate nature. They’re often described as lively, sociable, and affectionate dogs that make wonderful companions.
  • Training: Toy Poodles are highly intelligent and trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and require mental stimulation to keep them happy and engaged.
  • Health: While generally healthy, Toy Poodles are susceptible to dental disease, obesity, and joint problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are essential for maintaining their overall health.

In terms of grooming, Toy Poodles require regular brushing to prevent matting and tangles in their coat. They may also need professional grooming to maintain their desired appearance. Additionally, Toy Poodles are prone to dental disease, so regular dental care is of utmost importance to prevent infections and maintain their oral health.

When it comes to training, Toy Poodles are highly intelligent and keen to satisfy their owners. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and require mental stimulation to keep them engaged. Basic obedience training and socialization are essential for a well-rounded Toy Poodle.

Miniature Breeds

Miniature Breeds
If you’re looking for a tiny companion, miniature breeds like the Japanese Chin, Miniature Dachshund, and Maltese are excellent choices. These petite pups typically weigh under 10 pounds but boast big personalities – the Japanese Chin is regal and cat-like, Miniature Dachshunds are adventurous and bold, while Maltese are gentle lap warmers with a reputation for being hypoallergenic.

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a rare and ancient toy breed with a rich history rooted in Japan and China. This breed is known for its elegant appearance, with a large, flat face, wide-set eyes, and long, silky coat. The Japanese Chin is a companion dog, thriving on human companionship and affection. They’re often described as being cat-like due to their climbing abilities and can adapt well to apartment living.

In Japan, the Japanese Chin was a popular member of imperial courts and was developed to have a distinctively regal appearance. The breed’s history is closely tied to Japanese culture, and it’s often associated with Japanese art, fashion, and cuisine. The Japanese Chin is a wash-and-go breed, requiring little more than a weekly brushing to maintain its elegant appearance.

The Japanese Chin is a sensitive and intelligent dog, albeit somewhat independent. They’re affectionate with those they know and love, but reserved with strangers or in new situations. These dogs are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods, so they shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods.

In terms of health, the Japanese Chin is susceptible to brachycephalic syndrome due to their flat face, which can cause snoring, noisy breathing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance. They’re also prone to dental disease and require regular dental care.

Care for the Japanese Chin includes regular grooming, moderate exercise, and socialization to prevent boredom and promote positive behavior. They also require positive training methods to encourage good behavior.

Miniature Dachshund

Miniature Dachshunds are a delightful and unique breed that require special care and attention. Here are three things to keep in mind when caring for your Miniature Dachshund:

  1. Grooming: Regular brushing and bathing will keep their long, smooth coats in top shape.
  2. Exercise: Daily walks and playtime are essential to keep them healthy and happy.
  3. Training: Consistent obedience training will help them become well-behaved and confident companions.


Venturing into the realm of Maltese, you’ll discover that their grooming resembles a spa experience, training sessions that transform into opportunities for connection, and a disposition that embodies lap dog indulgence. Their culinary inclinations favor the uncomplicated yet wholesome, while their exercise requirements are more akin to a leisurely stroll than an endurance test.

Lap Breeds

Lap Breeds
If you’re looking for a lovable lap dog, the Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier are excellent choices.

The Shih Tzu’s confident and playful nature, combined with its low-maintenance grooming requirements, makes it an ideal companion for apartment dwellers or those with limited living spaces.

The Yorkshire Terrier, known for its affectionate personality and silky coat, thrives on human companionship and forms strong bonds with its owners, making it a devoted and loyal lap dog.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu, a beloved lap breed, is known for its charming personality and unique appearance.

This breed requires daily grooming to maintain its luxurious coat, which can be a bit of a challenge.

Shih Tzus enjoy moderate exercise and mental stimulation, making them suitable for apartment living.

They’re trainable and can be a bit stubborn at times.

Shih Tzus are generally healthy but may be prone to certain health conditions.

They’re affectionate and get along well with children and other pets.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier, affectionately known as a Yorkie, is a popular lap breed that’s beloved for its playful and affectionate nature.

This toy dog breed is known for its small size, making them easy to handle and suitable for apartment living.

Yorkies require regular grooming to maintain their silky coat and are generally low-maintenance in terms of exercise and training.

However, they can be prone to health issues such as dental disease and may require more veterinary care than some other toy breeds.

Despite these considerations, Yorkies make wonderful companions for those seeking a loyal and spirited furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average lifespan of toy dog breeds?

With proper care and nutrition, toy dogs live 12-15 years on average. Factors like breeding, exercise, and healthcare shape lifespans. But these lovable, lap-sized companions often outlive larger pooches—giving you more years of devoted furry friendship!

How often do toy dog breeds need grooming?

Most toy breeds require weekly brushing and regular bathing to maintain their coats. You’ll need to groom high-maintenance coats like the Maltese or Shih Tzu daily. Their tiny frames mean even basic grooming tasks can be challenging for novice owners.

Are toy dog breeds suitable for families with children?

Visualize a toy pup’s wagging tail as your child laughs with glee. Many toy breeds, with proper training and socialization, make splendid family companions for households with kids. However, vigilant supervision is essential to prevent accidental injuries due to their small size.

What are the common health issues in toy dog breeds?

You’ll want to watch for respiratory issues, patellar luxation, dental disease, and hypoglycemia with toy pups. Their compact size makes them prone to injury too, so gentle handling is a must for these tiny charmers.

How much exercise do toy dog breeds require?

You’ll find toy breeds need moderate daily exercise – a brisk walk or two playtimes should do the trick! Their tiny size makes them ideal apartment pups, but don’t underestimate their energy. An active owner is a must for these lively little lovers.


Like priceless gems, the best toy dog breeds sparkle with unique personalities that enrich owners’ lives. Though petite, these canine companions demand dedicated care—regular vet visits, grooming, and specialized training address their needs. Investigating breed traits guarantees a compatible match, letting you reap the joys of having an affectionate, lively toy breed as your cherished furry friend.

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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.