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10 Most Popular Toy Breed Dogs (2022 Update)

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Bichon Frise

Toy dog breeds might be small in size, but you’d be surprised how many of them have huge personalities. A toy dog is any very small breed, typically under 15 pounds, and often includes spaniels, terriers, and pinschers that have been bred down in size. They were once treasured by the aristocracy, while some were once only allowed to be owned by royalty.1

While many people love these dogs for their small size and affectionate temperaments, not all of them are meant to be lap dogs. With that said, some toy breeds are far more popular than others.

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The 10 Most Popular Toy Breed Dogs:

1. Toy Poodle

brown toy poodle at home
Image Credit: NDAB Creativity, Shutterstock
Height: 10 inches maximum
Weight: 4 – 6 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

Toy poodles stand under 10 inches tall and weigh about 5 pounds. Poodles, in general, are known for their intelligence, and the toy version is no different. They have smooth, curly fur and compassionate temperaments. What makes them one of the most popular toy breeds is their gentleness towards children and friendliness towards other pets. They are also ideal for allergy sufferers because they are hypoallergenic.

2. Maltese

Maltese dog playing in the grass
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock
Height: 7 – 9 inches
Weight: Under 7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

Maltese dogs are known for their show-stopping, long coats. These dogs are charming, playful pets and typically weigh under 7 pounds. Their small size is ideal for apartment living. The Maltese is also hardy and adaptable. They make fearless watchdogs and are suitable for anyone looking for a low-shedding pet. However, they do require more grooming than some of the other popular toy breeds.

3. Chihuahua

chihuahua sitting on a tree log outdoor
Image Credit: liggraphy, Pixabay
Height: 5 – 8 inches
Weight: Under 6 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

When it comes to Chihuahuas, you either love them, or you hate them. These are some of the smallest of all toy breeds, and believe it or not, they’ve been around for a long time. The first records date back to before the 1500s. They are a bit yappy and can be protective, but with the proper socialization and training, you shouldn’t have any major behavioral issues to deal with.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog standing on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock
Height: 12 – 13 inches
Weight: 13 – 18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is on the larger side of the spectrum for toy breeds. These dogs have combined the best of two worlds because they have the gentleness of most toy breeds with the athleticism of a spaniel. They draw you in with their sweet, gentle faces and richly colored fur. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are perfect for families with children, although they would prefer a nice yard to run around in.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on the pavement
Image Credit: Josep Monter Martinez, Pixabay
Height: 7 – 8 inches
Weight: Under 7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 11 – 15 years

One of the first things that stands out when looking at a Yorkshire Terrier is their long, glossy coats. These dogs were the official lapdogs of Victorian ladies only after being bred as ratters to work in mines and mills. They are snuggly and lovable but aren’t afraid to get aggressive while protecting your home from mice, moles, rats, and other unwelcome critters.

6. Shih Tzu

shih tzu puppy sitting on a couch
Image Credit: Pattarit S, Shutterstock
Height: 9 – 10.5 inches
Weight: 9 – 16 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

You might see these toy dogs sporting some adorable hairstyles after their monthly grooming appointment. The Shih Tzu has a surprisingly sturdy build under all that hair. These dogs were the royal lap warmers of emperors for hundreds of years before they became more popular in the 1930s. They require a lot of brushing to keep their coats looking clean and well-kept. Shih Tzus are playful, intelligent, and little troublemakers at times!

7. Pug

pug in a harness
Image Credit: maniablack18, Pixabay
Height: 10 – 13 inches
Weight: 14 – 18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 13 – 15 years

The modern-day pug doesn’t look quite like it did thousands of years ago. This ancient breed can be traced back almost 2,000 years when the emperors of China had a preference for flat-faced dogs. They are one of the largest of all toy breeds. People admire them for their curly tails, squished faces, and joyful temperaments. One thing you should know is that they can’t get enough attention from their owners, so they might not be the right choice for you if you’re not prepared for a dog that’s a bit clingy.

8. Havanese

havanese lying on grass
Image Credit: Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock
Height: 8.5 – 11.5 inches
Weight: 7 – 13 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

If you couldn’t tell by the name, the Havanese dog is native to Cuba. These are cheerful little dogs with vivacious and social personalities. They were once the native lapdogs of Cuba’s aristocrats, which makes sense once you see how desperate they are for their owner’s attention. This might be the toy breed for you if you want an intelligent companion. They are highly adaptable and can learn new tricks in a short amount of time.

9. Bichon Frise

bichon frise
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock
Height: 9.5 – 11.5 inches
Weight: 12 – 18 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14 – 15 years

The Bichon Frise is a little dog with a big personality. These dogs descend from ancient breeds originating from the Canary Islands. They were popular with sailors at the time, but soon warmed the hearts of pet lovers around the world. These little pooches hardly shed, making them perfect for anyone with allergies.

10. Pomeranian

pomeranian smiling while walking
Image Credit: Purplehorse, Pixabay
Height: 6 – 7 inches
Weight: 3 – 7 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 years

As one of the smallest of the toy breeds, you’d expect the Pomeranian to have a personality to match—that isn’t the case. Pomeranians are lively, inquisitive, and bold dogs that aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves. They have adorable, foxy faces and straight, fluffy fur that makes them look like a pom-pom. With most weighing under 6 pounds, these dogs are suitable for nearly any type of home and environment.

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Toy breeds are sought after for many reasons. Not only do they not take up a lot of space, but they are adorable, bursting with personality, and somehow even braver than many larger breeds. Any of the dogs on this list make an ideal candidate for your future companion. Still, you might want to keep in mind that their tiny legs can’t keep up on long runs and hikes with more active owners.

While there are more toy dogs out there than what made this list, these are some of the most popular ones that people keep coming back to. All of them make loyal companions who are constantly eager to please. At the end of the day, all they want is a warm place to snuggle up next to you!

Featured Image Credit: Kellymmiller73, Shutterstock

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