Top 15 Miniature & Toy Dog Breeds

Top 15 Miniature & Toy Dog Breeds

If you want a dog that stays tiny forever, take a look at a miniature or toy dog breed. These specifically created dog breeds remain puppy-size and often weigh no more than 7kg when fully grown. 

Although these pups are small, they have big personalities. Miniature dog breeds are perfect for apartment living and there’s a breed to suit all lifestyles with some of these tiny dogs enjoying high-energy sports while others prefer to nap the day away on the sofa. Let’s take a look at the top 15 miniature and toy dog breeds.

1. Toy Poodle

  • Size: 24-28cm

  • Weight: 3-6kg

  • Character: Intelligent, confident, agile

  • Colour: Cream, Black, Brown, White, Apricot

  • Life Expectancy: 14-15 years

Of all the toy dog breeds the Toy Poodle is the most versatile, these dogs are friendly, intelligent, and love to be the centre of attention. The smallest of the poodle breeds, toy poodles are confident, devoted, and have big personalities. These dogs are entertainers and are eager to please their owners, making them easy to train.

2. Miniature Schnauzer 

  • Size: 30-36cm

  • Weight: 5-9kg

  • Character: Playful, affectionate, obedient

  • Colour: Black, White, Black and Silver

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Miniature Schnauzers are friendly, healthy, and obedient dogs. These little dogs get along with everyone and will follow you wherever you go. Miniature Schnauzers are the smallest of the Schnauzer breeds, despite their small size they make excellent watchdogs as they are vocal around strangers.

3. Pug 

  • Size: 25-35cm

  • Weight: 6-8kg

  • Character: Playful, loyal, social

  • Colour: Apricot, Silver, Black, Fawn

  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Pugs are one of the most popular small dog breeds in the UK, these compact dogs have big personalities and lots of confidence. Pugs are affectionate, mischievous, and very friendly. This breed is ideal for first-time owners as they are highly adaptable, playful, and good with children.

4. Papillon 

  • Size: 20-28cm

  • Weight: 3-4kg

  • Character: Affectionate, outgoing, alert

  • Colour: White and Black, White and Red, White and Lemon, White Black and Tan

  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years

If you’re looking for an energetic small dog, the Papillon is a good choice. Papillons are not lap dogs, they are very athletic and do particularly well in canine sports. Papillon is French for butterfly which is inspired by the breed’s large ears that fan out like the wings of a butterfly. These dogs are confident, alert and thrive on being with their family.

5. Chihuahua 

  • Size: 12-20cm

  • Weight: Up to 3kg

  • Character: Graceful, charming, mischievous 

  • Colour: Black, Black and Tan, Cream, Chocolate, Fawn, Red, Fawn and White

  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

The Chihuahua is a loyal, energetic, and devoted breed. These tiny dogs have huge personalities and they can be feisty so training and socialisation are important. Chihuahuas are outgoing and make good lap dogs. 

6. Yorkshire Terrier 

  • Size: 25-28cm

  • Weight: 6-9kg

  • Character: Alert, energetic, smart

  • Colour: Black and Tan, Blue and Tan, Blue and Gold, Black and Gold

  • Life Expectancy: 13-16 years

Yorkshire Terriers are dainty dogs that are perfect for first-time owners. Yorkies are extremely popular as they are adaptable, easy to train, and affectionate. These dogs are fantastic watch dogs as they are alert and tenacious.

7. Affenpinscher 

  • Size: 23-30cm

  • Weight: 2-6cm

  • Character: Loving, adaptable, fearless

  • Colour: Beige, Black, Red, Black and Tan, Black and Silver

  • Life Expectancy: 11-14 years

The Affenpinscher breed is known for being mischievous, funny, and confident. This is a dog that will keep you entertained all day long. Affenpinschers are courageous so can get themselves into trouble by taking on dogs that are too big. This breed has a unique primate-like face and they are often nicknamed ‘monkey dogs.’

8. Maltese

  • Size: 20-25cm

  • Weight: 1-3kg

  • Character: Sweet, friendly, independent 

  • Colour: White

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Maltese are sweet-natured dogs that make wonderful companions. This breed gets along with everyone but they hate to be left alone and often suffer from separation anxiety. Maltese dogs are charming, athletic, and have playful personalities. These pups are easily recognised thanks to their flowing white coats. 

9. Havanese

  • Size: 23-28cm

  • Weight: 4-7kg

  • Character: Playful, affectionate, loyal

  • Colour: Black, Chocolate, Cream, Gold, Sable, Particolour, Tricolour, White, Black and Tan

  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 years

The only dog breed native to Cuba, Havanese are vivacious dogs that suit family life well. These dogs get along with everyone, they are good-natured and affectionate. Havanese are extroverts, they love clowning around and enjoy playtime too. These dogs need to be groomed daily to keep their coat in good condition.

10. Pomeranian 

  • Size: 13-28cm

  • Weight: 1-3kg

  • Character: Inquisitive, playful, confident 

  • Colour: Black, Chocolate, Blue Merle, Cream, Sable, Tri-Colour, Red, White, Black and Tan, Blue and Tan

  • Life Expectancy: 12-16 years

Pomeranians are incredibly playful and inquisitive. Despite being small, these pups can be bossy and even make good guard dogs. Pomeranians are alert, curious, and sassy too. They have the demeanour and attitude of a dog much larger than they actually are. The beautiful double coat of the Pomeranian requires regular upkeep.

11. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

  • Size: 30-33cm

  • Weight: 4-8kg

  • Character: Reliable, affectionate, social

  • Colour: Black and White, Black and Tan, Ruby, Blenheim 

  • Life Expectancy: 10-16 years

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are one of the oldest toy breeds, they are known to be laid-back dogs that can adapt well to most lifestyles. These spaniels are considered perfect lap dogs as they are loyal, sweet-natured, and love to cuddle. Cavaliers are eager to please and don’t have demanding personalities making them great for first-time owners.

12. Griffon Bruxellois 

  • Size: 18-20cm

  • Weight: 3-4kg

  • Character: Alert, loyal, curious

  • Colour: Black, Beige, Red, Black and Tan

  • Life Expectancy: 9-15 years

The Griffon Bruxellois has a big personality and a sensitive nature. These dogs are mischievous, fun-loving, and enjoyable to be around. Griffons are best suited to families where someone is with them all the time as they get lonely quickly. Griffs are people-orientated and form a strong bond with one person.

13. Shih Tzu 

  • Size: 20-28cm

  • Weight: 4-7kg

  • Character: People-orientated, social, energetic

  • Colour: Black, Brindle, Gold, Liver, Red, Silver, Black and White, Brindle and White, Liver and White, Red and White, Silver and White

  • Life Expectancy: 10-16 years

Shih Tzus are charming dogs that love to sit in your lap and watch the world go by. These little dogs are lively, confident, and extremely people-oriented. Shih Tzus are easy to train, loyal, and will keep you entertained.

14. Japanese Chin 

  • Size: 18-28cm

  • Weight: 1-3kg

  • Character: Loving, charming, intelligent 

  • Colour: Black and White, Red and White, White and Black, Sable and White

  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

The Japanese Chin is often described as being cat-like as they exhibit some feline traits like lazing on windowsills and using their paws to wash their faces. These dainty dogs get along with everyone, they love to entertain, and they are incredibly fast learners. 

15. Bichon Frise 

  • Size: 23-28cm

  • Weight: 3-5kg

  • Character: Curious, playful, affectionate

  • Colour: White

  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

The Bichon Frise is an extremely popular small dog breed, worldwide. They have loveable, fun-loving personalities and are always eager to please their owners. Bichon Frise dogs are also highly trainable and have incredibly social natures. 

Are Toy Breeds Healthy?

Toy breeds have a much longer lifespan than large dog breeds but they also have a number of common health problems that owners and potential owners need to be aware of. Due to inbreeding and their tiny size, these dogs are more prone to certain illnesses as well as injury. 

The most common issues with tiny dogs include: 

  • Collapsed Trachea - a harness and lead is often recommended for small dogs as the wrong type of lead can cause neck damage. This is because smaller dogs are more fragile and delicate so tracheal collapse and cartilage damage are a higher risk. 

  • Dental Problems - In some toy dogs their baby teeth don’t fall out as they should which can mean a veterinarian has to manually extract the teeth to ensure the adult teeth have room to grow. 

  • Hypoglycemia - smaller dogs need to eat more often to help maintain their blood sugar levels. Small, frequent meals are best for these tiny dogs. 

  • Increased immune and genetic sensitivity - toy breeds often have more reactions to chemicals, drugs, and vaccinations compared to larger dogs. They may also experience more food sensitivities and allergies. 

Some toy breeds have specific issues to be aware of, for example, the Cavalier has a small skull that can cause syringomyelia (a disease that the parent dogs should be tested for before breeding) and some small breeds such as pugs have short snouts that can cause breathing issues and make them more susceptible to heatstroke. 

Do Toy Breeds Live Longer?

Yes, toy breeds live longer than larger dogs. Small dogs often live into their teens while bigger dog breeds have much shorter life spans. 

Find A Toy Breed Puppy 

If you love toy dog breeds, use Puppies to find a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder. Responsible breeding and health testing are essential to ensure these small dogs are given the best start in life and don’t experience preventable hereditary diseases.

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