19 Toy Dog Breeds That Are Great as Pets

Love toy breeds? Check out these tiny but mighty pups

Toy pug dog sitting in white chair next to large houseplant

The Spruce / Kristie Lee

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.

What is a toy dog breed?

The phrase "toy" refers to a very small dog, often weighing less than 15 pounds. They have been selectively bred to be small through several generations and can range in type, appearance, and temperament.

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.

  • 01 of 19

    1. Chihuahua

    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.

  • 02 of 19

    2. Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie)

    Yorkshire terrier dog laying on bed with white bed cover

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    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.

  • 03 of 19

    3. Pug

    Pug dog laying on light gray couch

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    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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    4. Maltese

    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 a 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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  • 05 of 19

    5. Affenpinscher

    Affenpinscher dog with black fur laying on light green seat

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    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.

  • 06 of 19

    6. 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.

  • 07 of 19

    7. 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.

  • 08 of 19

    8. Havanese

    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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  • 09 of 19

    9. 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.

  • 10 of 19

    10. Pekingese

    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.

  • 11 of 19

    11. Papillon

    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.

  • 12 of 19

    12. 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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  • 13 of 19

    13. 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.

  • 14 of 19

    14. 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 a apricot, black, blue, brown, cafe au lait, cream, gray, or red.

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    15. 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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    16. 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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  • 17 of 19

    17. 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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    18. Pomeranian

    Pomeranian dog with long tan and white fur laying on white-covered bed

    The Spruce / Kristie Lee

    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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    19. 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.