19 Popular Toy Dog Breeds You Need To Know About

Toy dogs are characterized by their diminutive size, energetic personalities, and alertness. Toy breeds have been bred to be excellent companions; their charismatic expressions complement their love for attention. Despite their small stature (or, perhaps, because of it), Toys can be bold and, coupled with their generally alert nature, can make excellent watchdogs.

Toys are popular in smaller homes, like apartments, and for owners with busy lifestyles. Compared with larger breeds, Toys generally have fewer inherent problems such as shedding, creating messes, and cost of care – as such, they also make great pets for novice dog owners.

The Toy breeds, as they are known today, have a checkered past. Some Toys have origins as the lapdogs of European royalty.

Others were bred as miniature versions of established breeds, such as the miniature pinscher, toy poodle, and English toy terrier. Still others, like the Chinese Crested, used their small stature as an advantage in ratting.

Even from within the Toy group, dogs show great diversity in sizes: ranging from under 6 pounds for the smallst Chihuahua to 20 pounds for the stockiest of pugs.

One concern for Toys is they tend to be frailer than other breeds. As such, owners should be cautious of interactions between young children and Toy breeds to ensure safety. Despite this, Toys are generally sociable and mingle well with unfamiliar guests.

They are loyal and intelligent, making them a valuable member of the home.




Affenpinscher

Photo by: Dean Jarvey

Originating from Germany, Affenpinscher translates to “Monkey-Terrier”: possibly for its countenance’s passing resemblance to a simian, and just as likely for its fun-loving, even mischievous, personality. The French name for Affenpinscher is “mustached little devil”, suggesting its playful nature.

Appearance

Affenpinschers average 9 to 11 inches at the shoulders and weigh roughly 7 to 9 pounds with a wiry, medium-length coat. Coloration can be black, black and tan, gray, silver, beige, or red. They have round heads complemented by thick eyebrows and mustache, said to resemble monkeys.

Personality

These Toys are characterized by a confident, almost comical, demeanor. They are alert and typically possess a very inquisitive nature. They are loyal and affectionate. Despite its size, Affenpinschers can be fearless towards any aggressor.

History

As one of the most ancient of the toy dogs, the Affenpinscher is believed to be a major influence to the development of many small, rough-coat breeds throughout Central Europe, including the Brussels Griffon and the Miniature Schnauzer. During the seventeenth century, small terriers were employed as ratters for farms and shops. Eventually bred down to size, these terriers became companions and continued to control vermin in the home.

Care

Affenpinschers require minimal brushing (once every few weeks) and a clipping every few months. Due to their short muzzles, hot and humid weather can present problems. They should avoid hot/cold extremes. Their exercise needs can be met with a daily indoor play session or occasional short walk.

Health

The breed has no major health concerns, but minor concerns include patellar luxation and Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome. Suggested medical tests are knee and cardiac. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.

Brussels Griffon

A very intelligent creature with an almost human-like “pout” expression, the Brussels Griffon is the result of sophisticated breeding during the mid-to-late-1800s. Brussels Griffon are sturdy dogs with relatively long life spans: they make excellent house dogs and devoted, lifelong companions.

Appearance

Brussels Griffons have two distinct types of coats – the bewhiskered rough and the smooth-coated Brabançon (more information below). The Griffon stands between 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulders, and generally weights between 8 to 12 pounds. Coat colors can range from red, black, black and tan, or reddish-brown and black.

Personality

The Griffon carries itself with an air of self-importance, as if it recognizes its own (considerable) intelligence. Brussels Griffons are fairly easy to train due to this intelligence and the innate desire to please. They can be unusually sensitive and should socialize with people often. They can be very expressive and some have described them as having almost human-like expressions.

History

Named for the Belgian city of its origin, the Brussels Griffon emerged in the mid-to-late 1800s as a result of a chain of successful breeding. It began with small terrier-types used as rat catchers for stables known as griffons d’ecurie (or “wire-coated stable dogs”), which were systematically bred with the Victorian favorite Pugs to produce the distinct, smooth-coated Griffon, designated Brabançon after the Belgian national anthem, “La Brabançonne”.

Further breeding with the black-and-tan King Charles and the Ruby English Toy Spaniel refined the breed and gave it a wide range of vivid coats.

Care

Brussels Griffons can suffice with regular brushing and occasional baths. They have a strong need to be around owners and, without proper training, can be moody and petulant. It needs plenty of exercise, both mental and physical. It enjoys robust indoor games and short walks on the leash. The Brussels Griffon does poorly as an outdoor dog. The Griffon’s rough coat should be combed two or three times a week.

Health

The breed has no major health concerns, but minor concerns include patellar luxation, distichiasis, and heatstroke. Average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Distichiasis: a condition where abnormal eyelash growth near or under the eyelid irritates the eyes.
  • Heatstroke (hypothermia): an inability of the body to keep internal temperatures within a safe range

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavaliers are of disputed origin, but similar spaniels are featured in paintings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with the children of court families. Cavaliers are a perfect example of a luxurious toy dog: the common man could not afford to raise a dog that did not work.

Appearance

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are known for their sweet, almost melting expressions. Cavaliers average about 12 to 13 inches at the shoulders and generally weigh between 10 to 18 pounds. They have a medium-length, silky coat that can be black and tan, black and white, chestnut, or reddish-brown.

Personality

Cavaliers are gentle, playful creatures. They make wonderful companions, and happily greet family members, other dogs, pets, and strangers. They are quiet but sociable, and are typically non-aggressive. Cavaliers fare best when surrounded by people; leaving them isolated for long-periods of time can be taxing.

History

Small spaniel-types have existed for centuries, evident in artwork from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is so named due to its status as a great favorite of Charles I of Britain, a tradition carried by Charles II. However, Cavaliers fell out of style during the reign of William and Mary (where the favored dog was the Pug). The breed commonly seen today was revived by the American Roswell Elridge; Elridge came to England in the early 1920s seeking a pair of spaniels like the old type he had seen in paintings. Failing to find such specimens, Elridge offered a large monetary prize for the best efforts in breeding creatures closely resembling the “Old Type”. This revitalized interest in the Toy Spaniel, eventually leading to the creation of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Care

Cavaliers require only occasional brushing, but may be done frequently to reduce hair in the home. The fine hairs behind the Cavaliers’ ears should be paid extra attention. They can be trained for agility or even hunting. They need a moderate amount of exercise a day, usually in the form of walks or romp.

Health

The breed has two major health concerns: mitral valve insufficiency and canine hip dysplasia. Minor concerns include patellar luxation and entropion. Average lifespan is 12 years. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels should get regular medical check-ups for cardiac, hip, knee, and eye.

Conditions Summary

  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency: a form of heart failure, leading to high blood pressure and fluid in the lungs.
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia: a condition where the hip and thigh bone joint gradually becomes disconnected, leading to other symptoms
  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.

Chihuahua

While the origins of this dog are steeped in mystery, the Chihuahua has quickly risen in popularity. It is the smallest breed of dog recognized within the Toy breeds, but holds a large personality and is highly intelligent. Chihuahuas are graceful, alert, and swift-moving with a saucy expression. Chihuahuas have ranked consistently in the top ten for popularity and leads the Toy Group in championships attained each year according to the American Kennel Club™.

Appearance

Chihuahuas stand 6 to 10 inches tall at the shoulders and generally weigh about 2 to 8 pounds. Due to ancient breeding, Chihuahuas come in short and long coat varieties in coloration ranging from solid to spotted black, white, red, cream, chocolate, or tan. Chihuahuas maintain a bold expression, showing their somewhat aggressive nature.

Personality

Chihuahuas are known to attach to one family member. In doing so, it acts as companion, shadow, and guardian: despite its small size, Chihuahuas are quick to bark at strangers and other dogs. Chihuahuas can grow jealous if you pay attention to someone else or another pet. A Chihuahua is happiest when close to and pampered by you. One note of caution is that Chihuahuas can be aggressive towards a child if the child plays roughly. They can be notoriously difficult to housebreak.

History

The origin of Chihuahuas is a mystery. One popular theory suggests that it was native to China, brought to the New World by Spanish traders. There, it was crossed with native dogs to produce the modern Chihuahua. Another popular theory is that the breed originated entirely from Central and South America as a descendant of the native Techichi. In either case, modern Chihuahua are quite different from their early ancestors. Due to the influence of American Breeders, today’s Chihuahuas are some of the smallest, most alert, and intelligent of Toy.

Care

Shorthair Chihuahuas require minimal grooming, while those with long coats will require semi-frequent brushing every week. Their energetic personalities can benefit from some time spent in the outdoors, including short walks. However, the Chihuahua dislikes the cold and should stay indoors or wear pet clothing during the colder months. Chihuahuas have a soft spot in the center of the head (called a molera) that should be protected.

Health

Chihuahuas do not have any major concerns, but it is recommended that their cardiac and knees are tested for pulmonic stenosis, hydrocephalus, patellar luxation, KCS, and hypoglycemia. The Chihuahua’s average lifespan is 14 to 18 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Pulmonic Stenosis: a congenital heart condition that can lead to heart failure.
  • Hydrocephalus: a condition where excess fluid is found in or around the brain.
  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS): inadequate tear production that can lead to more serious eye infections.
  • Hypoglycemia: a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too low.

Chinese Crested

Photo by: Sasha Sashein

The Chinese Crested comes in two distinct varieties: as a double-soft straight-coated variety known as the Powderpuff, and as the Hairless Chinese Crested with soft, silky hair only on its head, tail, and feet. Both variations can arise within the same litter. They are intelligent and calm; they make excellent family dogs.

Appearance

Besides the Chinese Crested’s distinctive variations, they are also known for their graceful, elegant movements. They appear fine-boned, are generally 11 to 13 inches tall at the shoulders, and weigh between 5 to 12 pounds. The hair can be any solid color, mixed, or spotted. In the Hairless, the skin can range from pink flesh to black, or mottled. They need an occasional brushing and trimming.

Personality

The Chinese Crested is a happy, alert creature. They can be loyal, loving companions. As one of the more sensitive breeds, the Chinese Crested needs constant attention. It is generally quiet, and does not serve well as a watchdog. However, it is suspicious of strangers and may alert you. They generally fare well with other dogs and children; children should be taught to be gentle with the Hairless’ bare skin.

History

While there is no definitive answer to the Chinese Crested’s origin, it is believed to have evolved from African hairless dogs which were reduced in size by the Chinese. These dogs were believed to have been used by Chinese mariners for centuries to hunt vermin and their disease-carrying fleas.

Care

The Chinese Crested maintains a clean, tidy appearance naturally. They require only occasional brushing and trimming. The Hairless Chinese Crested needs additional skincare to maintain health and reduce the risk of sunburn. They should be protected from hot and cold weather. Their exercise requirements can be met through active indoor play or the occasional walk outside as long as it has been suitably protected from the elements.

READ  What Is The Best Dog Food: Greatest Nutrition For Your Dog

Health

The Chinese Crested is a notably healthy breed with relatively few health concerns. Occasionally, the breed may suffer from Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome. The hairless varieties are susceptible to sunburn, wool allergy, and tooth loss. They have an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.

English Toy Spaniel

Photo by: Mary Baker

A gentle, quiet breed popularized in northern Europe; it is believed that the English Toy Spaniel’s characteristically short nose is evidence of its origin from Spain and subsequent journey to Japan. An excellent companion, the English Toy Spaniel combines several traits that make it an ideal addition to your family.

Appearance

The English Toy Spaniel is a compact, stocky toy dog with a short nose and dome-shaped head. They stand 9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 8 to 14 pounds on average. Its medium-length coat can be straight or wavy in red, red and white, black and tan, or white with black and tan. They require only occasional grooming.

Personality

Sweet and affectionate, the English Toy Spaniel is a playful breed. It is willing to please and intelligent, but may prove a bit too willful at times. They are patient with children, but their gentle nature needs to be respected and children should be taught to treat the English Toy Spaniel kindly. Due to their quiet and sometimes timid demeanor, this spaniel is not well-suited as a watchdog.

History

It is believed that this toy spaniel had its origin in Japan and Spain before its arrival in England, although the sequencing is disputed. One story suggests that the spaniel was a gift from the Emperor of Japan to King James I, as Japanese royal gifts always included dogs. Regardless of the early history of the English Toy Spaniel, it seems that modern specimens draw their origins from various small spaniels throughout England.

Care

The English Toy Spaniel is a fairly inactive breed and its exercise needs can be met with minimal indoor play and the occasional walk. It does not take well to hot weather and is very much an indoor dog. Its long coat needs to be brushed weekly to prevent mats and tangles, with extra attention paid to the fine hairs behind the ears.

Health

A major health concern of the breed is patellar luxation, and knee tests are suggested. Minor concerns include early tooth loss and a “lazy tongue”, wherein the tongue never fully retracts into the mouth. Due to their short muzzles, English Toy Spaniels do not handle hot, humid environments very well. Their average lifespan is 10 to 12 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.

Havanese

Photo by: Hemlit 🙂

Also known as the Havana silk dog, the Havanese is the national dog of Cuba and its only native breed. It has evolved over the centuries in its tropical island home, creating a unique coat that protects against heat while remaining soft and light. They belong to the Bichon (“fleecy dog” in French) family of dogs.

Appearance

Its characteristic coat is double: soft and light throughout without the coarseness normally associated with double coats. The coat can be a number of colors, including black, brown, white, gold, gray, or a mixture of colors. The Havanese needs to be brushed occasionally and clipped every few months. Its tail tends to arc forward over the back and resting on the side. It stands about 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulders and weights between 7 to 13 pounds.

Personality

Havanese are notably brave, almost never displaying cowardice. They can make capable watchdogs. Coupled with their curious nature, the Havanese serve as reliable alarms. They love attention, and can become a bit vocal to acquire it. They are well-mannered with other pets, children, and owners alike and prefer gentle coercion.

History

The Havanese, like others from the Bichon family of dogs, originated from the Mediterranean in ancient times. Spanish traders strengthened their trade ties to Cuba by gifting these dogs to Cuban women. Despite being popular in the families of the elite, the dogs eventually served primarily in entertainment only, featured extensively in circuses. At one point, the Havanese was threatened with extinction. Luckily, their popularity rose once more in the early 1960s and became recognized in the toy group by the American Kennel Club™ as of 1999.

Care

Although energetic, the Havanese can meet its exercise needs with a short walk or indoor play. They require frequent brushing to prevent tangling: two to four sessions a week should be appropriate. Shedding is minimal, but periodic baths are recommended. They are eager to learn and intelligent; they do well in obedience training and agility.

Health

Havanese may develop behavior problems if not socialized properly, especially if left alone for extended periods of time. They do not have any major health concerns, but patellar luxation is a potential problem. There have also been reported cases of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in the breed as well as cataract, so it is suggested that their knees and eyes be tested.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.

Italian Greyhound

Also known as Piccolo Levriero Italiano, the Italian Greyhound is an active yet peaceful companion. It is exceptionally elegant and graceful, embodying many of the same qualities of full-sized greyhounds that permit them to run at high speeds. Besides a reputation as racing dogs, they also make excellent pets.

Appearance

Italian Greyhounds stand about 13 to 15 inches at the shoulders and weigh roughly 7 to 14 pounds. They have a high-stepping gait and straight tail. The tucked-in abdomen and arched back typical of greyhounds demonstrate their athletic nature. Even the ears, which fold back along the head, suggest its aerodynamic build. Italian Greyhounds have short, smooth coats that require only occasional brushing and can be black, blue, fawn, red, gray, white, or a mix.

Personality

Italian Greyhounds are generally gentle and submissive, but also playful and prone to bursts of energy. They are very dependant on owners, and should not be left alone for long. Despite their athletic nature, they do not need a lot of exercise: a daily walk should suffice. Make sure your greyhound is on a leash when you do so, however! They are known to chase any small animal that moves. They are shy, and can be intimidated by strangers. However, they can be trained to be effective watchdogs: they have a habit of barking at unfamiliar sights and sounds.

History

Italian greyhounds are an ancient breed and are seen depicted in the art and architecture of several Mediterranean countries, some dating back two millennia ago. Their popularity spread throughout southern Europe, finding special favor with Italian courtiers. Their numbers dwindled after World War II, but saw a resurgence in America in the late 1800s as high quality imports from Europe. Today, Italian Greyhounds enjoy something of a second renaissance and are gradually rising in popularity.

Care

Italian Greyhounds enjoy playing outside but cannot stand the cold. Their exercise requirements can be met through regular walks or active outdoor games. They enjoy sprinting in enclosed areas. The short-hair coat of the Italian Greyhounds require minimal brushing to remove dead hairs. Their teeth should be regularly brushed.

Health

Peridontal disease can be a major concern for this breed. Additionally, minor health issues in the breed include epilepsy, patellar luxation, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). As such, it is suggested that their knees and eyes be tested. Their frail legs and tails are susceptible to fractures. They share the sighthound’s sensitivity to anesthesia and barbiturates.

Conditions Summary

  • Epilepsy: a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type.
  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Peridontal Disease: excessive tartar buildup in the gums that separates the gums from the teeth.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.




Japanese Chin

Photo by: audrey_sel

A loving and sensitive dog, the Japanese Chin is actually of ancient Chinese origin, despite its name. A devoted companion, the Chin loves the comfort of its owner and is willing to please. Also known as the Japanese Spaniel, they have a bright, inquisitive expression that is characteristic of Oriental breeds.

Appearance

Bred for the singular function of aristocratic companionship, the Japanese Chin has a light, high-stepping gait with feathered tail and a thick ruff that covers the neck and chest. They have short, broad faces and fine-boned limbs. Japanese Chins stand 8 to 11 inches at the shoulders, and weigh roughly 4 to 7 pounds. Their long, thick coat is silky and straight; their coloration can be black and white, or red and white.

Personality

Japanese Chins can be sensitive dogs, and need to be disciplined gently. They can be friendly to children, other pets, and even strangers. They have proven to be playful and gentle friends to children that handle them gently. Some have described the breed as catlike – they have even been known to climb.

History

It is likely that the Japanese Chin shares a close history with the Pekingese. Like the Pekingese, the Chin was relegated to the courts of the Chinese elite. Its arrival in Japan is disputed; some theorize that Zen Buddhists brought the breed near 520 A.D., others believe a Korean prince may have taken some to Japan in 720 A.D. Still others believe a Chinese emperor gifted a pair of Chins to a Japanese emperor around a millennium ago. The modern Japanese Chin may have been crossed with English Toy Spaniels to further reduce their size. The Chin maintains a modest popularity in America, but enjoys its greatest popularity in Japan.

Care

Japanese Chin can have their exercise needs met with short walks, romps, or games. They are not well suited to living outside, like most short-nosed breeds, and perform poorly in excessively hot or cold weather. Their long, silky coats need to be combed at least twice a week to prevent tangles. They are a very docile and intelligent breed; they do well in obedience classes.

Health

Japanese Chins have relatively few major health concerns, although they can suffer from patellar luxation, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and entropion. Less often, Japanese Chin may be susceptible to epilepsy. It is suggested that their knees and eyes be tested for the above conditions. The average lifespan of the Japanese Chin is 12 to 14 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS): inadequate tear production that can lead to more serious eye infections.
  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.

Maltese

The Maltese has the distinction of being the oldest of European toy breeds. Among the oldest of all breeds, the Maltese (also known as Bichon Maltaise) is a handsome dog that has been depicted in paintings throughout antiquity. An excellent lap dog, the gentle Maltese has long filled its role as companion admirably.

Appearance

The Maltese has a mantle of long, silky hair that can be white or light ivory. Its ears and tail are long and similarly covered in hair. They require occasional brushing and a clipping every few months. They have a compact, square body and generally move with a jaunty, smooth gait. Although fine-boned, this breed is remarkably sturdy. The Maltese stands between 8 to 10 inches at the shoulders and weigh 4 to 7 pounds.

Personality

Maltese possess a playful, cheerful demeanor and are amongst the gentlest of all small dogs. They behave well around children, although children should be taught to treat the Maltese gently. Despite its size, it is bold and feisty and may challenge larger dogs. It is cautious of strangers, and some may bark a lot: qualities that may prove useful as a watchdog.

History

Once known as “Ye ancient dogge of Malta”, the Maltese has warmed the laps of the elite for more than twenty-eight centuries. Many classical authors discussed the beauty, intelligence, and lovable qualities of Maltese dogs. The Greeks even erected tombs to their Maltese. For centuries, the Maltese has been the household pet of the elite; as such, this may account for the breeds refinement and cleanliness. History can attest to their health and spirit, despite their diminutive stature.

Care

Maltese require relatively little exercise and can be satisfied with short walks, romps, and games. Despite the long coat, the Maltese is not an outdoor dog and fares poorly in extreme weather. They need frequent brushing; it is recommended they be brushed every day or at least every other day. Their long coat may be clipped in order to reduce the need for grooming; however, this does eliminate one of the breed’s defining characteristics. Besides standard obedience training, the Maltese does not require any additional training and makes for an excellent house pet.

READ  5 Things You Didn't Know About Dog Care

Health

The Maltese enjoy relatively few major health concerns. Amongst the minor issues the breed encounters are patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, hydrocephalus, distichiasis, and entropion. Due to these health issues, it is recommended that Maltese have their knees and eyes tested. The average lifespan of a Maltese is 12 to 14 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar, can lead to lack of energy or may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
  • Hydrocephalus: a condition where excess fluid is found in or around the brain.
  • Distichiasis: a condition where abnormal eyelash growth near or under the eyelid irritates the eyes.
  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.

Manchester Terrier

The Toy Manchester Terrier is a lively, intelligent breed that is eager to learn. Like its Standard variation (which weighs more than 12 lbs), the Toy Manchester descends from black and tan terriers originally bred for their rat-killing prowess. They are known for their agility and compact build.

Appearance

They stand 10 to 12 inches at the shoulders and weigh 6 to 12 pounds (larger Manchester Terriers are considered Standard). They possess a short, smooth coat in black and tan. Their tails taper, and they have long, wedge-shaped heads. Their compact, muscular bodies expresses their rat-catcher heritage – showcasing the breed’s power and agility.

Personality

Extremely loyal, the Manchester Terrier is watchful and devoted to its owner. Some have commented that their characteristics may resemble cats: particularly an aloof attitude towards strangers, tidiness, and independence. Its terrier heritage makes it inherently scrappy, but they are friendly to other breeds. They can be patient with children they are accustomed to. Toy Manchester Terriers make alert watchdogs and will bark at strangers.

History

Named for the Manchester district of England, the Toy Manchester Terrier was originally bred for its rat-killing prowess and originates from the Black and Tan Terrier, the oldest known terrier breed. Modern Manchester Terriers retain this skill and can efficiently control rodents in the home. Besides size, Standard and Toy Manchester Terriers also differ in ear type; both varieties can have erect ears, but only the Standard can have button ears.

Care

While it enjoys the occasional romp outside, the Toy Manchester Terrier is very much an indoor breed and hates the cold. It should be provided with warm bedding. Its short coat requires minimal brushing: occasional brushings to remove dead hairs will suffice.

The breed is intelligent and suitably easy to train; however, if not obedience trained, they can become stubborn and rebellious. They should not be left to their own devices – the breed can degenerate into destructive behavior without suitable mental stimulation.

Health

A relatively healthy breed, the Toy Manchester Terrier lacks the knee disorders common of toy breeds. However, minor health concerns include lens luxation, Legg-Calvé-Perthes Syndrome, and Von Willebrand’s Disease. As such, their eyes and DNA should be tested. The average expected lifespan of the breed is 14 to 16 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Lens Luxation: a condition where the lens within the eye becomes dislocated or displaced.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.
  • Von Willebrand Disease: common canine hereditary bleeding disorder.

Miniature Pinscher

Nicknamed the “Minpin”, the Miniature Pinscher is a distinctly German breed developed several centuries ago as an efficient barnyard ratter. While resembling a miniature Doberman Pinscher, the Miniature Pinscher is actually the older of the two and descended from Dachshund/Italian Greyhound-crosses.

Appearance

The Miniature Pinscher possesses a lean, compact, and proportional build. It stands 10 to 12 inches tall at the shoulders, and generally weighs between 8 to 12 pounds. They have a short, smooth coat that can be red or a combination of colors: black and red, black and tan, brown and red, brown and tan, or blue with tan or red, or fawn with tan or red. Their coat nearly always looks neat and clean. They move with a fearless, hackney-like gait.

Personality

Energetic and adventurous, the Miniature Pinscher also retains many terrier-like traits, including independence and stubbornness. With proper training and socialization, the Minpin can become a loyal and protective housedog. They may be scrappy with other dogs and chase after small animals. They can also be unfriendly towards strangers without proper training, but this instinct makes them suitable watchdogs. Their abundance of energy necessitates several play sessions a day.

History

Known as the “King of the Toys”, the Miniature Pinscher reportedly draws its heritage from Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, and the shorthaired German Pinscher. While Miniature Pinschers have existed for centuries in their native Germany and Scandinavian countries, development of the breed abroad began in 1895 with Germany’s Pinscher Klub. While progress was handicapped during World War I, the little dog’s popularity has increased steadily and, in 1929, the Miniature Pinscher Club of America was formed.

Care

The “Minpin” needs lots of activity. Due to its small size, their exercise needs can be satisfied either indoors or outdoors. They need several play sessions every day and ideally with a walk outside: however, they do not do well in the cold and should be suitably protected from the environment during walks. This is an ideal indoor dog and should not be left outdoors. Their short coat requires minimal care and only an occasional brushing to remove dead hairs.

Health

Major health concerns in the breed are minimal, although they may develop patellar luxation and Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. There have also been reported cases of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which, while uncommon, can be a serious issue. As such, it is recommended that Miniature Pinschers have their knees and eyes tested. The average lifespan for the “Minpin” is 12 to 14 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.

Papillon

Sometimes known as “Butterfly Dogs” due to their fringed ears’ resemblance to butterfly’s wings, early Papillons enjoyed life in the courts of European royalty. A friendly companion, the Papillon is lively and one of the most obedient of toy breeds.

Appearance

Papillons are praised for their beautiful ears which can naturally be erect or drooping. They have a fine-boned structure which contributes to their light, dainty action. They stand 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulders and weight around 8 to 10 pounds. They have a silky, medium-length coat that always contains white mixed with black, lemon, red, tan, brown, sable, or silver. They are heavy shedders, so frequent brushing will help to reduce hair in the home.

Personality

Properly trained and socialized Papillons can be loving companions to owners, children, and other pets. This breed is known as one of the most loyal and responsive of Toys. Today, they are ranked amongst the top breeds in obedience competitions. While some Papillon may be timid, others are known to be possessive and bossy despite their small size.

History

Papillons were known in the 16th and 17th centuries as Dwarf Spaniels and often depicted in the company of French and Spanish noblewomen. These dogs originally had only drooping ears. It is through some unknown factor that Papillons developed erect ear variations, creating the resemblance to butterflies and giving rise to the name Papillon: the French word for “butterfly”.

Care

The breed’s natural intelligence demands proper mental stimulation in the form of challenging games, indoors and out. Papillons are alert and eager to learn – they are easy to train and love the company of people. They also enjoy daily walks, although they cannot live outdoors and should be protected from the elements. While generally easy to care for, special attention should be paid to their silky coats because they are prone to becoming matted and tangled. Ideally, a Papillon should be brushed 10 to 15 minutes several times a week.

Health

A relatively healthy breed, Papillons may encounter minor health concerns in the form of patellar luxation and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). It is recommended that they have their knees and eyes checked to ensure health. The expected lifespan of the Papillon is 12 to 15 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.

Pekingese

Sometimes affectionately called the Peke, and also known as “lion dog”, the Pekingese make good-natured, affectionate pets. Their legacy in Chinese royalty has nurtured their confidence and intelligence, as well as its lion-like image.

Appearance

The Pekingese have a compact, pear-shaped body with heavy forequarters and light hindquarters. They stand 6 to 9 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh between 7 to 14 pounds, a weight that is surprising for the Pekingese’s size. It has a lion-like image, implying courage and dignity, due to a coat around the shoulders forming a mane. They have a double coat consisting of a coarse, straight outer coat with a thick, soft undercoat. Pekingese can be of any color – including black, tan, cream, gray, red, white, or fawn – and often have a black mask. They should be brushed often to reduce hair in the home.

Personality

Similar to a lion, Pekingese can be proud, confident dogs. Likewise, they can be stubborn. If properly trained, they can be devoted, affectionate family dogs. They are playful with familiar people and animals but, due to their flat faces, rough play should be discouraged as their eyes can be prone to injury. They make functional watchdogs and will bark at strangers.

History

Certain forms of Buddhism claim that the lion is the exalted symbol of Buddha. It was this belief that led owners to breed Foo dogs, which resembled lions somewhat, to accentuate those features. Breeding practices eventually became the domain of royalty and, at the height of their favor, Pekingese were pampered by personal servants as if they were royalty themselves. The breed was brought to Britain in the 1860s and, due to their unique features, created fervor amongst dog fanciers. Despite this, their numbers rose slowly and were reserved for the wealthy. Today, the breed has become readily available and, perhaps, has suffered from over-popularity.

Care

Pekingese enjoy short, leisurely walks and romps outside during cool days. They do poorly in hot weather and can easily die of heat prostration. As such, during hot days, it is advised that Pekingese be kept inside with air conditioning. They should always sleep inside and are an ideal apartment dog. The coat needs to be combed at least weekly to prevent matting. The over-nose wrinkle of the Pekingese requires cleaning to prevent infection, as does the hair around the anus. Some have reported that the Pekingese has a tendency to snore.

Health

Pekingese have several health concerns that, while minor, can be debilitating. Pekingese have been reported with stenotic nares, KCS, and patellar luxation: they should have their knees and eyes tested regularly. Of special note is the breed’s sensitivity to anesthesia, susceptibility to corneal abrasions, and that Pekingese puppies must often be delivered via Caesarian. The average expected lifespan of the Pekingese is 13 to 15 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Stenotic Nares: a congenital disorder where malformed nostrils restrict the dog’s air intake.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS): inadequate tear production that can lead to more serious eye infections.

Pomeranian

The Pomeranian is named after the province of Pomerania (present day Germany and Poland). They are descended from 30 pound sheep herder dogs. Popular today for its diminutive size and fluff, the Pomeranian has been bred to approximately a sixth of the size of its ancestors. It is the smallest member of the Spitz family of dogs (characterized by hardy sled hounds).

Appearance

Like most Spitz-family dogs, the Pomeranian has a double coat. It has a soft, thick undercoat and a similarly thick, straight outer coat: perfect insulation for cold climates. This coat can be solid or two-tone, and common coloration include cream, orange, sable, black, brown and blue, or white with colored markings. The should be brushed frequently. They stand 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulders and generally weigh between 3 to 7 pounds. They have a cobby, rounded body and a plumed tail which rests squarely on the back.

Personality

Bouncy, playful and curious, the Pomeranian is a pleasure to watch. It is a friendly, intelligent dog that loves to please. The breed may also be a bit too bold and attack considerably larger dogs. Pomeranians need a lot of attention and require firm discipline. They may do well with older, more considerate, children.

READ  Small Dog Breeds: The Reason Why Everyone Loves Them

History

Pomeranians draw their ancestry from the Spitz dogs of Lapland and Iceland. They became widely popular in 1888 when Queen Victoria fell in love with a Pomeranian in Florence, Italy, and brought the specimen back to England. Pomeranians were then bred smaller and more colorful with an emphasis the coat that has led to its popular “puffball” appearance.

Care

An active but small breed, the Pomeranian can meet most of its exercise needs through indoor play or short walks. The breed is curious and requires adequate mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior. Despite its warm coat, the Pomeranian is not suited for outdoor living and is very much a lap dog. Its double coat needs brushing about twice a week and more frequently when shedding.

Health

The Pomeranian suffers from the same weakness of the knees, or patellar luxation, as most toy breeds. Other health concerns for the breed include hypoglycemia, progressive retinal atrophy, and entropion. Suggested tests to ensure a healthy dog are for knees, eyes, and cardiac. The expected lifespan of a Pomeranian is between 12 to 16 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar, can lead to lack of energy or may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.
  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.

Poodle

Photo by: brett jordan

Despite a reputation as the pampered pet of the rich and the famous, the poodle has its roots as a water dog. Acting as retrievers for waterfowl hunters, water dogs were bred for their eagerness to and proficiency in swimming. Poodles are not beauties without brains: they possess exceptional intelligence and are very obedient.

Appearance

A Poodle is a square-bodied dog with an elegant appearance. They move with a springy, effortless stride. Toy Poodles stand roughly 10 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 7 to 9 pounds. They have a long, soft, curly coat; the common coloration is solid white, black, apricot, or gray. The traditional Poodle clip, while fashionable, is meant to leave hair on the joints and chest to protect and insulate the Poodle. Their hair is hypoallergenic, and may help to reduce allergic reactions.

Personality

Toy Poodles need a lot of attention, and can be sensitive. However, they are devoted to their families, and tend to get along with others. They are lively and can be friendly to children and strangers. They may be more docile while indoors, so spend some time outside with your Toy Poodle. They are known to be easy to train, and are eager to please. They generally love the water – a carry over from their water dog heritage.

History

Although the breed is often associated with France, the breed likely has its origins with curly-haired breeds from central Asia. These, along with several rough-coated water dogs, produced the ancestors to the modern Poodle in Germany. The name “Poodle” comes from the German “pfudel”, or “puddle”. It is indicative of the breeds function as water-hunting companions. The Poodle’s role expanded to entertainer, and eventually became favored by France; it eventually became France’s national dog. The Toy Poodle was popularized in performances and circuses.

Care

Toy Poodles need lots of attention from owners, as well as both mental and physical exercise: these needs can be met with regular indoor games and short walks. They enjoy romping outside, but should never be made to live outside. When poodles shed, the hair becomes trapped by the outer layers of hair. As such, they require frequent brushing to reduce matting. Their coat should be clipped at least four times a year with the face and feet clipped monthly. Although many poodles are groomed professionally, owners can learn to do so themselves.

Health

The Toy Poodle has significant health concerns in the form of progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation, epilepsy, and Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome. They are notably susceptible to conditions afflicting the eyes, knees, and hip; it is suggested that Toy Poodles be tested regularly to preserve healthiness. The average expected lifespan of these dogs is 12 to 14 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.
  • Epilepsy: a brain disorder involving repeated, spontaneous seizures of any type.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes Syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.

Pug

Photo by: Jaime González

The Pug abides by the phrase “multum in parvo” (“a lot in a little“). As one of the oldest breeds, the Pug has been known by many names in many different cultures, including “Mops“ in German and the Dutch or Chinese Pug in England. While the origin of the name “Pug” is disputed, it may be derived from the Latin pugnus, meaning fist, in reference to the Pug’s head having a passing resemblance to a clenched fist.

Appearance

Pugs are small, stocky dogs. They stand 12 to 14 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 14 to 18 pounds – a weight derived mostly from dense muscle. They have a short, glossy coat that is commonly fawn, black, apricot, or silver. Pugs have dark, expressive eyes set in a heavily wrinkled face and velvety, black ears.

Personality

Highly intelligent, Pugs can also grow stubborn. They are, however, generally loving creatures with a need to please their owners. They are pleasant and loyal companions; they can also be alert watchdogs. They are sometimes comical in behavior, and tend to get along well with children and other dogs. They prefer the indoors, and even a small apartment can be suitable.

History

An ancient breed, the Pug has been a favorite of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet for several centuries. It is a somewhat unique member of the Toy group – within the group, Pugs are perhaps the only breed to descend from mastiffs and retains many mastiff-like traits. The distinctive wrinkles of the Pugs were praised by the Chinese, especially the “prince mark” (the vertical forehead wrinkle that resembled the Chinese character for “prince”). Pugs became extremely popular in England following their introduction during Victorian times.

Care

The Pug is an active breed and needs daily exercise in the form of lively games or regular walks. Like all short-nosed breeds, the Pug suffers in hot, humid weather and should not be kept outdoors. It needs minimal grooming due to its short coat but its facial wrinkles should be cleaned and dried daily to prevent skin infections. Pugs are known to wheeze and sneeze. Their diet should be watched closely to prevent obesity.

Health

Pugs have several health concerns including stenotic nares, patellar luxation, Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, and entropion. They do not tolerate heat and are sensitive to anesthesia as well. Additionally, pugs are prone to corneal abrasions. It is advised that their eyes be tested regularly. Pugs live 12 to 15 years on average.

Conditions Summary

  • Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.
  • Stenotic Nares: a congenital disorder where malformed nostrils restrict the dog’s air intake.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes Syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.
  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.

Shih Tzu

Photo by: Russ Sanderlin

The Shih Tzu (or “Lion Dog” in Chinese) is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and an esteemed breed for its association with Buddhism. Their most distinctive feature is their long, luxurious double coat. They were bred with the sole purpose of companion and house pet.

Appearance

Shih Tzus have a proud, almost arrogant, carriage with head held high and tail curved over the back. They stand 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulders and generally weigh between 9 to 16 pounds. They have a warm, wide-eyed expression that peeks through their long, silky outer coats. Their coats can be solid, two-colored, or even tri-colored, and commonly contain white, blue, black, brindle, gold, or red.

Personality

As ideal companions, Shih Tzu are generally outgoing and affectionate pets. Younger, rough children may incite the Shih Tzu, but otherwise it is a loving, caring dog. They are bold but sweet, and love to roam and romp. They can make excellent watchdogs; they are alert and bark at strangers. They are otherwise not noisy, and tend to be quiet indoors.

History

The Shih Tzu most likely originated from Tibet in the early 17th century and were treated as holy dogs. Shih Tzu were favorites of the royal family during the Ming Dynasty; the British discovered the breed during an invasion of the Imperial Palace. The breed expanded to Europe in the early 1900s, surviving a major setback due to the Communist Revolution in China. The breed thrived elsewhere and today is one of the most popular breeds.

Care

The Shih Tzu needs daily exercise in the form of vigorous indoor games, short frolics outside, or walks outside on the leash. It fares poorly in hot, humid weather and should not be left to live outside. Its silky coat needs to be brushed or combed every other day; puppies should be taught to accept grooming at an early age. It is recommended that they receive basic obedience training to become a pleasant member of the family.

Health

Shih Tzus do not have any major health concerns, but can develop entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, KCS, and are prone to otitis externa. Eye tests are suggested to keep the Shih Tzu healthy. The average lifespan of the Shih Tzu is between 11 to 14 years.

Conditions Summary

  • Entropion: the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing pain and possible infections and permanent damage.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: a degeneration of the canine retina which can lead to blindness.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS): inadequate tear production that can lead to more serious eye infections.
  • Otitis Externa: is an inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal.

Yorkshire Terrier

Named for the city of Yorkshire in England, the Yorkshire Terrier (or “Yorkie”) has a luxurious coat and petite body by design. Surprisingly, the Yorkshire was bred for function: Yorkshire Terriers are excellent ratters and were used extensively in mines and as hunting dogs for badger and fox burrows. Today, they enjoy status as one of the most popular toy breeds.

Appearance

Yorkshire Terriers have compact bodies and long, silky hair; also, they practically do not shed. Their coats can be black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, or blue and tan. They move confidently, often with head held high. They stand roughly 8 to 9 inches tall at the shoulders and generally weigh 4 to 7 pounds.

Personality

As Terriers, Yorkshires are brave to a fault. They can be aggressive to strange dogs and small animals. They may bark a lot, although this behavior can be trained to cease on command. They do, however, make superior watchdogs with their protective nature, keen ears, and relentless barking. Yorkshires can be playful and are generally tolerant of children, as long as their territory is respected. They are intelligent and fairly easy to train.

History

Systematically bred by the working-class, the Yorkshire Terrier seems to claim a number of terrier breeds as ancestors. The result was a small dog with great rat-killing prowess. Yorkshire Terriers were used extensively in areas like mine shafts and clothing mills to control the rodent population. While initially disdained by the wealthy, their unmistakable beauty led them to be popular house pets. Modern Yorkshire Terriers are a result of further reduction to the breed throughout the 1900s.

Care

“Yorkies” are active indoors but should receive regular interaction in the form of games. They appreciate short, leashed walks through safe areas and love to explore. However, the Yorkshire Terrier is not an outdoor dog. The long, silky coat needs to brushed every day or so. They are still terriers at heart and should not be left unsupervised with other small pets like hamsters and rabbits. They are intelligent and take well to obedience training.

Health

Yorkshire Terriers have several major health concerns in the form of portal caval shunt, Tracheal Collapse, and Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome. They may also suffer from patellar luxation as do many toy breeds. Yorkshire Terriers should receive knee and eye tests along with liver ultrasounds to identify possible portal caval shunt in Yorkshire Terrier puppies.

Conditions Summary

  • Portal Caval Shunt: a condition that occurs at or near the time of birthing where blood is shunted around the liver instead of through it, creating an inability for the puppy to filter toxic metabolic waste.
  • Tracheal Collapse: a condition common in toy breeds where coughing produces a sound like a goose honking. May be caused by trancheal trauma.
  • Legg–Calvé–Perthes Syndrome: a degenerative disease of the hip joint.

Patellar Luxation: a condition where the knee cap moves out of position momentarily, can lead to lameness.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *