Toy Dog Breeds: The Top Ten Dogs Of This Group

By Mike Mathews

The Toy Group includes most of the very small and miniature lap dogs and apartment-sized companion dog breeds. Toy dogs play a critical role in the lives of people that live alone and their presence can have beneficial effects on the health 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 Toys distrust strangers and 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. Toy dog breeds are always difficult to housebreak but usually adapt well to apartment life.

If your Toy isn't completely house trained after 3 months then you should seek professional help.  Toddlers and small children are too rough for toy dogs that may bite in self-defense. The top 10 most popular Toy breeds in the US according to the American Kennel Club 2005 registrations are discussed below and their registration rank is included in brackets. The inclusion of the Toy Poodle as #2 is incorrect as its rank is a composite total of all 3 Poodle varieties - Toy, Miniature and Standard. It probably belongs somewhere in the top ten but not in the #2 position.

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkie (#3) almost overtook the Golden Retriever as the second most popular dog in the US in 2005. This rugged toy dog is very popular because it has all the admirable attributes of larger dogs but in miniature. The typical Yorkie plays hard and has limitless energy. With persistence a Yorkie can be obedience trained. Some are bright and learn quickly, while others are more obstinate and opinionated. Yorkies get along well with other pets but they can be very possessive of their food and toys. The Yorkshire makes a better pet for older and calmer children. The Yorkshire will bark at strangers, often in a high pitched voice.  Early socialization is required so that the dog doesn't become too shrill and to ensure barking is controlled.

Poodle (Toy)

All the wonderful things that you can say about a Standard Poodle don't all apply to the Toy or Miniature versions. Toy Poodles (#8) are less than 11 inches at shoulder height but the same American Kennel Club standards apply across all sizes. Toys are generally more sensitive than the Standard and are also more active, louder and less confident. Early socialization and training to curb excessive barking and leg lifting is required. Even though these dogs are very small, they still enjoy lots of playtime and long walks. Toy Poodles will do fine with older considerate children.

Shih Tzu

The exotic looking Shih Tzu (#9) is one of the sturdiest and most robust of the toy dog breeds. Shih Tzus are intelligent, playful, affectionate, friendly, self confident and outgoing. Shih Tzus make great apartment dogs and companion dogs for the elderly. These charming and personable dogs are devoted to their owners and their families. They make great traveling companions and rarely show any aggressive behavior toward strangers or strange animals. The breed gets along extremely well with older, considerate children.


The Chihuahua (#11) is the smallest of the toy dog breeds. Chihuahuas are intelligent, charming and loving dogs who are devoted to their owners. This breed needs close contact with its family and make great companions. Chihuahuas can have delusions of grandeur and self-confidence and will challenge much larger dogs. Chihuahuas are good with older children if raised with them. Chihuahuas are intelligent and can be trained fairly easily. Some Chihuahuas can be overly insecure and are prone to excessive barking and early socialization and training while a puppy is recommended. (read more)
Toy Dog Breeds
The Toy Group includes most of the very small and miniature lap dogs and apartment-sized companion dog breeds.
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