Toy Dog Breeds That Are Great as Pets

19 Toy Dog Breeds That Are Great as Pets

Love toy breeds? Check out these tiny but mighty pups.

Tri-colored long-haired Chihuahua puppy stretching on a couch.

Capuski / Getty Images

Good things really can come in small packages. Case in point: these toy dog breeds, which in addition to being downright adorable make excellent companions.

Of course, all dogs are good dogs, but all dogs are also unique in terms of personality and temperament. If you’re looking at toy dog breeds, these are great ones to set your sights on, though make sure to visit with a pup before committing so that you can make sure you’re a perfect match.

With that in mind, here are 19 toy dog breeds that make excellent pets.

Toy Dog Breed Characteristics

There are a lot of benefits to going pocket-sized with your pup, including easier handling and less fur-pick-up. Toy dog breeds also tend to have lower veterinary costs than medium and large breed dogs, and fewer space and exercise needs, too—which is good news if you live in an apartment or smaller home.

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Light brown and white long-haired Chihuahua laying on floor.
 Elenasfotos / Getty Images

Chihuahuas are small dogs with huge personalities, and they’re as trainable as they are tiny. Chis tend to become super attached to their humans and don’t often tolerate being left alone for long periods of time, but it’s easy to forgive their clinginess when you realize just how fun they are to be around.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 6 to 9 inches

WEIGHT: 2 to 6 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short or long coats in a variety of solid or two-combination colors, including black, tan, fawn, cream, white, blue, silver, chocolate, and red.

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Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)

Yorkshire Terrier on wood floor next to bowl of food.
 Olena Ruban / Getty Images

Yorkies are one of the most popular toy dog breeds, thanks in no small part to their tendency to be both highly affectionate and always down to play. They aren’t always kid-friendly though, so keep that in mind if you have human little ones at home.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8 to 9 inches

WEIGHT: 5 to 7 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, straight, and silky coat in a variety of color combinations, including black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, and blue and tan.

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Pug smiling in front of white background.
 Olga Gimaeva / EyeEm / Getty Images

The Pug’s wrinkles, snorts, and curly tail are hard to resist, as are its sweet nature and fun-loving personality. What Pugs lack in trainability they more than make up for in friendliness, and they’re an excellent toy breed for families with children and other pets.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 10 to 13 inches

WEIGHT: 14 to 18 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Smooth and short coat in fawn or black, with a round head and smushed face.

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Maltese in blue collar looking up at camera and smiling.
  Ioannis Tsotras / Getty Images

If you know your way around a dog brush, then consider the Maltese—a toy dog with a long, silky coat that loves good grooming. Maltese are charming lap dogs with lots of smarts, and they enjoy a leisurely snooze as much as a walk around the block.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8 to 10 inches

WEIGHT: 4 to 7 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long and silky single-layer white coat without an undercoat.

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Portrait of Affenpinscher dog in grass.
 Yvonne Van der Horst / Getty Images

Affenpinschers are shaggy little pups that fit a big personality in their tiny frames. While they’re not very kid friendly, they are generally laid-back dogs who do well in apartments and love to play with their humans.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 9 to 11.5 inches

WEIGHT: 7 to 10 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Wiry and shaggy coat in black, gray, silver, red, or black and tan.

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Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin puppy in garden by yellow daisies.
 jhorrocks / Getty Images

The Japanese Chin, also known as the Japanese Spaniel, is a noble toy breed out of Asia. These affectionate pups are still a rather rare breed this side of the Pacific, but if you’re looking for a small dog with cat-like tendencies they may be worth seeking out.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8 to 11 inches

WEIGHT: 4 to 9 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, sleek, and smooth coat in a variety of color combinations, including black and white, lemon and white, sable and white, and black, white, and tan.

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Italian Greyhound

Light brown Italian Greyhound in collar and tag in front of unlit fireplace.
 stelo / Getty Images

Italian Greyhounds offer all of the great qualities of standard Greyhounds in a smaller package, including lightning-fast speed and high levels of affection toward their humans. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re also kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and always up for some playtime.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 13 to 15 inches

WEIGHT: 7 to 14 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short and smooth coat in gray, black, fawn, chocolate, tan, cream, red, sable, or a combination.

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Gray and white Havanese dog lying on leather couch.
 Scott Zdon / Getty Images

Havanese have a long history (they date all the way back to 1500’s Cuba!), which is a testament to their ability to endear themselves to humans. They’re smart, good-natured, and loving and can also be trained to make great therapy dogs.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8.5 to 11.5 inches

WEIGHT: 7 to 13 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Coat varies from silky straight to curly, with one or two colors that may include black, silver, white, cream, tan, fawn, gold, sable, or red.

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Miniature Pinscher (Min Pin)

Min Pin in thin red collar sitting outside in grass.
 Anna Maloverjan / EyeEm / Getty Images

Another small dog with big dog vibes, the Min Pin is known as the “King of Toys” for its intelligence—and its stubbornness. Min Pins are friendly and high-energy, though they have a tendency to bark that might not make them the best fit for apartment dwellers.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 10 to 12.5 inches

WEIGHT: 8 to 10 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short, solid coat that’s usually black with rust or red markings.

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Pekingese looking up at camera showing top teeth with some missing.
 Stefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography / Getty Images

Pekingese have a unique and dignified personality that’s been around since their days of favor among Chinese royals. They’re not snooty though, and the breed can be quite friendly and social (if a little intolerant of young children).

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 6 to 9 inches

WEIGHT: Up to 14 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, thick double coat, usually in variations of gold, red, or sable.

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Smiling Papillon dog lying down in the grass.
 RichLegg / Getty Images

Small, smart, and social, Papillons are one of the more active toy breeds and love exploring with their humans in tow. Interested in dog sports? The breed takes well to training, making it a popular competitor in agility and obedience.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8 to 11 inches

WEIGHT: 6 to 10 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Straight, long, single-layer coat in white with markings and a mask of color.

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Brussels Griffon (Griffs)

Black Brussels Griffon smiling up at camera.
 JPM / Getty Images

Griffs are smart and sturdy, with a reputation as one of the natural entertainers of the toy breed world. They’ve got a ton of personality and almost-human-like features, as well as a sensitive nature that occasionally leans toward self-importance—in the most adorable way possible, of course.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 7 to 10 inches

WEIGHT: 6 to 12 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Smooth or rough coat in red, black and tan, or solid black.

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Silky Terrier

Silky Terrier dog outside in grass.
 novales5 / Getty Images

Silky Terriers may just look like Yorkies, but this breed is all their own, exhibiting endearing traits like high affection and intelligence levels. And while they’re not always keen on being a lap dog, they do love to socialize and play.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 9 to 10 inches

WEIGHT: About 10 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, straight coat in blue and tan.

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Toy Poodle

Brown Toy Poodle sitting on park bench next to container of food.
 Bagata Photography / Getty Images

Like other types of Poodles, the Toy Poodle is confident and whip-smart, with lots of affection for the special human(s) in their life. They have low exercise needs but require a good amount of socialization, so plan on being available for plenty of one-on-one bonding time.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 9 to 11 inches

WEIGHT: 6 to 9 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Curly, dense coat in apricot, black, blue, brown, cafe au lait, cream, gray, or red.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Brown and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel chewing on tennis ball on top of rug.
 Westend61 / Getty Images

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are among the largest of the toy breeds, with a noble lineage that can be traced back to 17th-century England. They’re friendly, loving, and trainable, and usually get along with kids and other pets, all of which makes them a fantastic choice as a companion.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 12 to 13 inches

WEIGHT: 13 to 18 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, sleek and silky coat in four color variations: tricolor, Blenheim, ruby, and black and tan.

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Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu with mouth open on red leather chair.
 Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

Shih Tzus are high up on the list of popular toy breeds, and for good reason. The breed is confident, playful, and super lovable, though expect lots of snorting and snoring out of that smushy face.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8 to 11 inches

WEIGHT: 9 to 16 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long double coat in nearly any color.

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Chinese Crested

Chinese Crested dog laying in front of floral pillows in the sun.
 MICHAEL LOFENFELD Photography / Getty Images

If you want a dog who will stand out, the Chinese Crested is a good way to go. Generally hairless with the occasional tuft of fur, the breed is as original in personality as they are in appearance and is loving and playful, to boot.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 11 to 13 inches

WEIGHT: 8 to 12 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Mostly hairless with soft and silky hair on the head, feet, and tail.

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Happy Pomeranian on colorful wood deck.
 Mica Ringo / Getty Images

Poms might be a bit bossy, but with the right human by their side, they can be quite loving pups. The breed displays high degrees of loyalty, with guard-dog qualities that are a bonus if you live alone.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 6 to 7 inches

WEIGHT: 3 to 7 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Long, double coat that comes in many colors.

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Toy Fox Terrier

Toy Fox Terrier outside in front of tall grass.
 Sergey Ryumin / Getty Images

Another little dog with a big personality, Toy Fox Terriers have many standard Terrier traits—including intelligence, energy, and a fondness for human interaction. Plan on plenty of walks, and don’t forget to mix in some extra playtime, too.

Breed Overview

HEIGHT: 8.5 to 11.5 inches

WEIGHT: 4 to 7 pounds

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Smooth and shiny single coat in two- or tri-color combinations.

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