If your dream is to have a furry companion that is puppy-size forever, it can be a reality! You just need to get a toy dog.


If you desire a toy dog, you should educate yourself on the breed group and ensure a toy dog will fit your lifestyle. Well, this post will guide you about everything you need to know about toy dogs. 


Let’s get started!

General characteristics of toy breeds 

Toy dogs are small dogs that weigh 15 pounds or less when they are fully grown. As their name suggests, toy dogs are all mini in size, but what they lack in stature, they make up for with their massive personalities. Toy dogs are tiny bundles of fur and love, ready to curl up on your lap. 


Toy dogs are practical and highly portable dogs. They are easier to care for, manage, and satisfy than other dogs. Toy dogs are fragile, so too much exercise, bad weather, injury, or anxiety can easily put them over the edge. 


Toy dogs enjoy a close association with those they live with. They’re mostly curious about everything that is going on. Toy dogs may be small but they’ve a strong mind of their own and the determination to go with it, especially when it comes to you. 


Safety and comfort are very important to them. Much of their potential “misbehavior” will arise out of their simply feeling uncomfortable. Given their small size and emotional nature, they can easily become overwhelmed by the world around them and overreact to those events.


Kim Brophey in “Meet Your Dog” recommends educating yourself about toy dogs and seek professional help if your dog:  (pp. 134)


  • Suffers from separation anxiety
  • Experiences soiling/difficulty in house training
  • Has perception of “stranger danger” at home and in public 
  • Is barking excessively
  • Has difficulty with small children
  • Show handling and grooming intolerance 
  • Is overprotective of his person, also known as lap guarding
  • Exhibit reactivity and dramatic behavior toward other dogs

Toy dog breeds 

There is as much variety in toy dogs as there are in large ones. Below are the dogs within the AKC toy group.


  • Affenpinscher
  • Biewer Terrier
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chihuahua
  • Chinese Crested
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Havanese
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Japanese Chin
  • Maltese
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Papillon
  • Pekingese
  • Pomeranian
  • Pug
  • Russian Toy
  • Shih Tzu
  • Silky Terrier
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Toy Poodle 
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Temperament of toy breeds 

Toy dogs thrive on human companionship and can make great apartment pets. Keep in mind that every toy breed will have its own personality that may not fit these generalizations. Toy dogs usually share the following temperament:


  • Sensitive: Intuitive, sensitive, and emotionally delicate, toy dogs are designed for attending to and comforting their person. When touched unknowingly, these little ones can give you a dirty look. They cannot easily handle inconsistent routines or noisy and chaotic households.
  • Playful and Engaging: Toy dogs are fun-loving, playful, and curious with family and friends. They enjoy spending time and playing with their human companions. Their playful antics often help them get the adoration they crave. You can never get bored with a toy dog.
  • Affectionate: Toy dogs are loving and affectionate to the entire family. They desire your attention and affection but offer unconditional love to their person. Toy dogs enjoy cuddling up next to their owner.
  • Wary: Toy dogs often bark loudly despite their small size. They may be prone to alarm barking and defensiveness in new conditions.
  • Codependent: Toy dogs are clingy and demand attention. These charming little dogs love attention and can’t tolerate being alone. It is not a good idea to leave a toy dog all by themselves as you go for a walk or to work. When left alone, these little ones tend to be anxious, bored, and lonely and could become problematic. 


Early socialization and training are important in directing their energy in a positive way.

How to take care of toy breeds 

Kim Brophey in “Meet Your Dog” explains that your toy dog’s idea of a perfect world is one of safety, comfort, love, familiarity, 

and fun with you. (pp. 139)


Toy dogs may be small, but they’re still a dog who needs you to consider their emotional, mental, and physical needs every day. Care does not end at making your toy dog sleep in your bedroom. It extends to feeding him proper food, grooming, training, exercise, and taking him for check-ups to a vet.

Feeding your toy dog 

If you want your toy dog to be in a good physical condition and full of energy, it is essential to feed him properly. Toy toy’s diet should be appropriate for your toy dog’s age, gender, and activity level.


To support their energy level, their diet should meet their nutritional requirements. Do not overfeed your toy breed even if they act like they are starving.

Training needs of toy breed

Toy breeds are usually fun loving and playful. They must be trained right from puppy food. 


The most suitable time to start training your toy pup is 8-12 weeks. Here are some of the training that you need to do with your puppy:


  • Leash training
  • Crate training
  • Housetraining and potty training
  • Basic commands and obedience training 


If the training experience is pleasant, your furry friend will love it. Being sensitive dogs, harsh treatment and punishments will make them anxious.


Try to socialize your toy breed as much as possible. Make sure your puppy gets to encounter all kinds of people, animals, and objects in different places. 


Introducing new places and meeting new people will help your puppy stay well mannered into adulthood. Socialization can stimulate their mind with new people, new dogs, and new sights, smells, and sounds. 

Exercise requirements of toy breed

Toy dogs need regular exercise, whether structured or unstructured. This will contribute to their happiness and overall well-being. 


You can meet your toy breed’s exercise requirements by walking and other physical activities like playing fetch, frisbee toss, and nose and scent games. Physical and mental stimulation through exercise and training will help channel your dog’s energy in a constructive way.

Vet checkup 

Vet check ups give you a chance to track your toy dog’s growth. You can discuss any questions about your toy dog’s health with your vet. 


Vet annual examinations are a key part of preventive care. During your toy breed’s annual physical exam, your vet will inspect your toy dog from head to tail.

Parting shot at toy breeds

Toy breeds can make good pets if they match your lifestyle. It is important to understand that as a dog parent you are responsible for the care and well-being of your little furry pal.