You have decided that a small dog is the best pet for you or your family situation. Are you afraid that you'll get a “yapper”? It's true that some of them love barking, but among these 20 best toy dog breeds, just a few are known as such and I'll point those out.
I've heard a lot of people say that toy breeds are all dainty, prissy little dogs that yap and bark loud all the time. Many of my friends also said how stubborn these small dogs are and how difficult they are to train. Some future dog owners assume that all toy dog breeds need to be pampered, and they do whatever they want, whenever they want.
While some of the best toy dog breeds are a bit high maintenance, they aren't all that way. Certain small dogs are actually some of the most quiet dogs you can adopt.
I have the “pros and cons” listed for all of these best toy dog breeds, but remember what is a “con” to one person may be a “pro” to another. By the end of this list, you will know what's the best toy breed specifically for you and your personal situation.
Keep in mind that each dog has its own personality, and the traits listed are the average traits found in the breed. Some personality traits can also be adjusted with effective dog training methods. When choosing the best breed for you, consider your own assets with the known traits of these best toy dog breeds to find the right fur-baby for your family.
20 Best Toy Dog Breeds In the World
The Dachshund is a popular breed originally from Germany. I have owned several Dachshunds in my life and truly love this smart, inquisitive dog.
Pros – They are bold and brave despite their size. For this reason, and surprisingly to most future dog owners, Dachshunds make excellent watch dogs and vermin catchers. Their energy and devotion make them great for houses with older children.
Cons – Dachshunds can be shy around strangers and may not like young children. These little dogs are the ones known as “weenie” or “wiener” dogs. They have long backs and should live in a home where stair climbing is not a necessity.
These little dogs are known for having bows in their hair. They are luxurious looking white dogs, and are some of the most popular dogs for women.
Pros – Maltese are one of the most popular best toy dog breeds and they are also great watch dogs. They are known to be gentle and attentive, making them a perfect choice for the person who wants to treat their dog like a child. The Maltese does not need a lot of exercise outdoors, making them an ideal dog for apartment living.
Cons – Maltese are sensitive dogs who need to be trained with encouragement, not spanking or fussing. They are high energy and need lots of playtime and toys. Although they make great watch dogs due to their barking, the excessive noise can become a bother for many dog owners, so keep that in mind if you do live in an apartment.
The Silky Terrier looks quite a lot like a Yorkshire terrier, because they are closely related. However, you can see the difference in their coat in the photo above. It's easy to notice where this toy dog breed gets its name, too.
Pros – Fortunately for some, these long-haired dogs can be clipped 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 be satisfied with playing around the house. This makes them a very good choice for city living.
Cons – Even though it can be shortened, the Silky Terrier has a beautiful coat that needs regular brushing and grooming to stay shiny and mat-free. These little dogs still have a high prey drive and need a secure fence and harness. Unfortunately, Silkies usually do not like being around other dogs, and will only tolerate young children.
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This is a cute breed that can be a little mouthy, but makes up for it in his good traits. If you want to see this fur-baby in action, just watch the movie As Good as It Gets. This is the breed that is Jack Nicholson’s sidekick, and a lot of his real traits were exposed.
Pros – Brussels Griffon are a smart dog breed that's easy to train, which instantly makes them a great choice for most looking for the best toy dogs. Moreover, it gets along well with kids and other dogs, and is perfect for families. They are a clever, happy breed.
Cons – While they are one of the best toy dog breeds you can adopt, the Brussels Griffon will do best in a home where there is almost always someone around. This is one of the needier breeds out there, separation anxiety is a real issue with Brussels Griffon, thus they do best when they're with someone all the time.
Like a lot of these best toy dog breeds listed here, the Pekingese loves attention and does not like being left alone very often. For whatever reason, this neediness is most applicable to small dogs and in particular toy breeds.
Pros – The Pekingese is a great watchdog, courageous and bold. Pekingese are usually not destructive, so your shoes and remotes should be safe. These little dogs are great for seniors and loners as they do well without a lot of other beings in the house. They eat very little, and require very little exercise, making them a perfect choice for apartment living.
Cons – Known for being aloof and stubborn, these little fur-babies are not great for first time owners. They do not do well with young children, other dogs, or cats. Dogs of this breed are known for being little “yappers” and will need bark control training ASAP.
6. Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise is considered not only one of the best toy dog breeds on the planet, but it's one of the better choices for many reasons. For example, they are one of the best dogs for allergy suffers, which is a rare trait. In fact, they were bred specifically for this purpose.
Pros – Bichon’s are intelligent and easy to train. They are a sociable and curious breed, which makes them great with children and other pets. This little dog has a big personality and makes a great companion pet. The luxurious coat on the Bichon almost doesn't shed.
Cons – These fur-babies do suffer from separation anxiety quite a lot, and need to be in a home where someone is almost always around. The Bichon needs regular grooming schedule as well – all over brushing and clipping around the eyes and mouth.
The Papillon is instantly recognizable because of its butterfly ears. The pros outweigh the cons with this dog, making them not only one of the best toy dogs on the planet, but also one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, according to statistics.
Pros – These intelligent dogs are easy to train, which means they are perfect for first-time and inexperienced dog owners. They have tons of personality and energy, almost all of the time. The Papillon is a very healthy and sturdy dog. As one of the most friendly breeds, they are usually great with kids, other pets, and everyone they meet on the street.
Cons – One of their pros can be a serious con to some dog owners. Papillon's need for company makes them very friendly, but it also makes these pups not like being left alone for very long, and they always crave attention and love from their owners.
The Poodle (both Standard and Toy) is considered by most experts to be the one of the brightest and easiest dogs to train. For this reason alone, the Toy Poodle is one of the best small toy breeds a future owner can adopt, but there are cons as well.
Pros – This breed comes in many sizes; fortunately, they all share similar traits and are all friendly with other pets, strangers, and kids. The intelligence of the poodle makes them great dogs for all types of environments – houses with yards, households that require them to have more alone time, and even apartments.
Cons – Unfortunately, the toy poodle is a grooming intensive dog breed. If you decide to leave the hair long, it will require frequent brushing. You can keep it trimmed close if you have the experience to do it yourself or the money to bring your dog to the groomer.
This small dog packs a big punch, and is one of the most famous dogs on social media. Made popular by The Boo, another very adorable Pomeranian with over 17 million followers on Facebook, many dog owners have rushed to adopt these toy dogs themselves.
Pros – Pomeranians are alert and curious about the world around them and will not hesitate to let you know when something isn’t right. For this reason, Pomeranians make good watch dogs. This tiny animal becomes very attached to its owner and is very loyal.
Cons – Like many of these best toy dog breeds on the list, Pomeranians may suffer from separation anxiety and may be hard to housetrain. It is recommended that you train using the crate method. These dogs usually need to be trained to control excessive barking, too.
This breed came about in Cuba to be a lap dog and a performer, and is still one of the more popular dogs to adopt there. Once you get to know their spunky personalities, you'll understand why the Havanese were effective at entertaining people.
Pros – One of the most popular best toy dog breeds, the Havanese is gentle and friendly. Although they have average intelligence, they aim to please. This makes them easy to train. Havanese love to be the center of attention, making them great for kids and large families. If you don’t have a lot of time to clean, then this no-shed dog is great for you.
Cons – When it comes to drawbacks, they are an active breed with lots of energy, so they will need tons of playtime and exercise with their owners. Their coats need to be brushed a couple times a week for maintenance, even though they aren't shedding a lot at all.
A popular toy breed, Pugs are now one of the favorites of most first time owners. These clowns are perpetual puppies, keeping the silliness and playfulness their entire lives.
Pros – Pugs are another one of the few toy breeds that are great with kids. Others may tolerate them, but Pugs really love children. These little sized pooches require almost no grooming due to their short coats except an occasional bath. They have average energy levels for a dog, so they are great for laid back households.
Cons – On the con side, Pugs are not tolerant to weather extremes and should get most of their exercise indoors. This need is due to their flat faces, which constricts their breathing. Surprisingly, Pugs actually shed a lot, even with such a short coat. They can also make quite a bit of noise with their snorting and sniffling (which might just be very charming).
A quirky looking Affenpinscher may not be the favorite for some dog owners because of how rare these dogs are. This breed is actually one of the oldest best toy dogs alive.
Pros – Affenpinscher is a little dog with a great sense of humor and are known to be extremely entertaining. They are more tolerant of temperature extremes than some other toy breeds, but they still shouldn’t live primarily outdoors. The Affenpinscher is healthy and intelligent. They are one small breed that is also not known for excessive barking.
Cons – These dogs can be hard to train due to their independent nature. They are also known as loners, and may be perfect for lazy owners. They love being around their parents and are affectionate, but they do not do well in large households, kids, and other pets.
13. Toy Fox Terrier
Although still active enough to be entertaining, the toy variety of the fox terrier has a calmer personality than the standard Fox Terrier. This breed is coming from the background of being one of the best hunting dogs, so some of the traits still remain.
Pros – Here is another breed that is athletic and agile. The Fox Terrier loves to run and is the perfect dog for the athletic, outdoorsy family. These little fur packages still retain their desire and love of hunting. “Foxies” are loveable and always loyal to their owners.
Cons – While 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 around strangers if not socialized in their puppy months. Proper dog training is a must with all Fox Terriers.
The Italian Greyhound is a very athletic dog. These are not the best dogs for lazy pet owners, as they love to run and play all the time, meaning they have a lot of energy.
Pros – These dogs are great for owners who often take them outdoors and keep them active. But when it's time to sleep, they are a snuggly lap dog looking for blankets and affection. The Italian Greyhound is a quiet, polite dog making them one of the best toy dog breeds for apartments. This pup also needs very little maintenance and grooming.
Cons – If you do have a yard, it is recommended you have a six-foot fence or some type of other dog containment equipment, as pooches in this breed are superb jumpers and one of the most well-known escape artist dogs. It is also recommended that you brush their teeth regularly. The Italian Greyhound is very prone to gum and dental diseases.
What many dog lovers don't know is that the Yorkshire Terrier is another hunting dog, although today they became more of a trophy pet for those that love to lug them around in their doggy carriers. But this breed was originally bred to catch rats in England.
Pros – The Yorkie is still a spunky, brave, and confident dog. They make great watchdogs because of their bark. Yorkshire Terriers are very loving and adaptable. They can live in almost any situation, such as the city, the country, apartments, no yards, etc., as long as they aren't left primarily outdoors. They also live longer with proper healthy diet.
Cons – Yorkies are an active breed that needs lots of play and exercise. These pint size scrappers may need training to curb their constant yapping. Most Yorkshire Terriers do not like small children, other dogs, or strangers. They do best in a home where there are only their older masters, and they are the only king-dog in the castle.
This very rare and easy to house-train breed is the Royal Dog of Madagascar. Most of the popular show dogs from this breed are white, but you can find them in other colors. In fact, the history states that the original dogs were many different colors. The most popular color (white) were actually created by breeding with the Bichon Frise.
Pros – No matter the true ancestry, Coton De Tulear are intelligent and healthy dogs. They are adaptable and can live in almost any situation. The Coton De Tulear is great with kids and other animals, including cats. These entertaining dogs come with tricks already learned, such as walking on their hind legs and spot-on jumping, believe it or not.
Cons – The Coton is shy and must be socialized at an early age to avoid aggressiveness. Like many other best toy dog breeds, they do not do well when left alone and are prone to separation anxiety and serious destructive behaviors if by themselves for too long.
The “Min-Pin” is active and loves to walk around and play in a yard. They are a great fit for athletic owners and active children who will constantly stimulate and play with this dog. Their bigger cousins, Doberman Pinchers, are know as some of the best police dog breeds.
Pros – This breed makes a great watch dog for people hard of hearing. They are attractive, sleek dogs that are easy to groom and don’t require much maintenance.
Cons – Unlike most of the other best toy dog breeds on this list, the Miniature Pincher retains a strong prey drive and will chase other animals, which makes them a dangerous dog in certain cases. Make sure you have this breed on a secure harness or leash when out on walks. While they are great with kids, they don’t like other animals, including cats.
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Japanese Chin is the poster dog for lap dogs and one of the cutest dogs. They have an adorable, inquisitive expression that many owners fall for. People agree with the traditional Japanese view that this breed are an ascended being and higher than other dogs.
Pros – They are one of the best toy dog breeds because they are loving and sensitive. Many owners say they act more like cats than dogs. The Japanese Chin is an obedient breed that loves to please. These fur-balls are a perfect companion for adults, kids, and other animals. They don’t need a lot of exercise, but they do love to play.
Cons – They are affectionate, social dogs and need an owner that will spoil them rotten. As most other best toy dogs, attention is a must for the Japanese Chin. And like cats, these dogs are climbers, and without proper training, will get on furniture and tables.
This breed is descended from the Bichon Frise, and have a lot of the same common traits. In particular, they are also one of the best dogs allergy sufferers, just like Bichons.
Pros – They have long white coats that shed very little. This dog is calm and polite to everyone they meet. They are intelligent dogs that train easily. The Bolognese learns to be quiet inside and rambunctious outside – just how it should be. These little dogs are one of the healthiest of the best toy dog breeds and are not prone to any major diseases.
Cons – They can be shy, so if socialization is important to you, make sure to start at an early age. Although the Bolognese is small, they still need to be taken on short daily walks to satisfy their personality. If you decide on this breed, you better start looking now. It is a popular breed, often with long waiting lists for adoption everywhere you look.
20. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Finally, the dog with the longest name, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are easily one of the best toy dog breeds we have. These dogs are a favorite of the royal family in England, and take places on many other “best” lists of dogs.
Pros – CKCP are a sturdy breed and are one of the few best toy dog breeds that can still go hiking and even hunting with their owners. The Cavalier King Charles is said to be naturally obedient and easy to train. They are also a very healthy toy breed.
Cons – These little pups are a friend to everyone they meet; therefore, they don’t make very good watchdogs. When raised with a cat, they usually get along fine, but their strong prey instinct does make it hard for them to be a friend of the felines.
Did we miss anyone?
That rounds up our list of 20 best toy dog breeds for adopting, with their pros and cons. No dog is perfect, but most of the advantages of these toy dogs are much bigger than their disadvantages, and every one of these canine companions will make a great pet.
Have I missed a toy dog that should've been on this list? Let me know in the comments!
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