Toy breeds or toy dogs, so named because of their small size even as mature animals, have become increasingly popular over the last two hundred years. A great amount of this popularity is due to the increasing number of dog owners that live in cities and in houses with small yards or apartments. While larger breeds offer their own pros to ownership, the small size of the toys, combined with their big dog personalities, really makes them a good choice for many owners.
Toy breeds are also less costly to maintain over a year. Of course vet bills for unexpected emergencies and medical expenses can still range in the thousands of dollars, overall the daily expenses of owning a toy dog are much less significant. Generally most toy breeds will have yearly expenses of about $300 for food, approximately $700 for routine vet care, flea and parasite treatment, heartworm medication and basic grooming requirements. For dogs that need more frequent professional grooming add on another $600 per year if they are going to be at the groomers once a month. A large or giant breed dog can easily double these numbers, especially with regards to food.
Within the toy group of dogs there are several that are in the top 10 all round dogs in popularity. These include the Toy Poodle, the Yorkshire Terrier, the Pug and the Shih Tzu. There are, however several other very popular toy breeds that might not make it to the top 10 of all breeds but are definitely ranked within the top 50 dog breeds throughout the United States. As with any breed, some countries will have different rankings, however generally these pint sized dogs are going to be well to the front of the pack.
Considered the top toy dog, the Yorkshire Terrier is by far the most popular breed in this category and is usually in the top five in overall popularity in all dog breeds. They have a long, silky and straight coat that is blue colored over the body and the tail and tan colored all over the rest of the body and head. The coat will grow to reach floor level and needs daily grooming to stay mat and tangle free. These small sized dogs don't weigh over 7 pounds but are very feisty and can be dog aggressive if not properly socialized.
The Yorkie is a dominant temperament dog and requires consistent, firm training and routine socialization. They can become very possessive of their food and toys if not trained to tolerate sharing. While they are a good match with older children and adults they aren't recommended for homes with small children.
Besides having a really unique breed name, the Shih Tzu is also a wonderful companion dog. They do have a long coat that requires constant care to stay in top shape. The coat can be a variety of colors but is long, often covering the feet and giving the dog the appearance of floating when it moves. The highly carried curled tail seems to balance out the body of this sturdy yet small sized canine.
The Shih Tzu is an intelligent dog that is easy to train and very capable of learning a wide range of commands. They are very attuned to their owners and bond closely with the family. Some can be somewhat possessive but with proper socialization and routine training this is not typically a trait of the breed.
Recently the Pug, both in purebred lines as well as hybrid crosses, has come into its own as a great companion toy sized dog. These dogs have a very short muzzle and may be prone to respiratory problems. Generally the Pug is a very friendly, non-aggressive type of toy dog that gets along well with children of all ages, other animals and even other dogs. Pugs are often very friendly and highly social, easy to train and very affectionate.
The Pug is one of the ancient breeds of dogs and notations and records of the breed go back as far as 400 BC. Originally raised by Buddhist monks, the Pug is related to the Pekingese through distant bloodlines.
The spunky little Chihuahua is very popular in some areas of the United States, most commonly in the southern half of the country. While they cannot tolerate the cold at all, they can make good toy sized dogs even in northern climates when paper or litter box trained so going outside is not an issue.
The Chihuahua actually comes in two coat types, smooth and short and longer and wirier. Both types require minimum grooming and are generally easy to work with. The Chihuahua is very similar to a terrier in personality and behavior and they can be rather dominant and somewhat prone to barking if not obedience trained and well socialized.
Elegant, refined and aristocratic while still affectionate, playful and loving, the Toy Poodle has long been a favorite toy companion dog. The coat is low to non-shedding and these small sized dogs are often suitable for people with moderate to mild pet allergies. Highly intelligent the Toy Poodle is easy to teach but may be challenging to housetrain as puppies.
The Toy Poodle, when trained and socialized, is a wonderful dog to be around. Just like any other breed if they are spoiled and pampered they can be demanding, aggressive and rather yappy. Most Toy Poodles do very well with gentle children, other dogs and even cats and other house pets. While they are active they adjust well to small living spaces and require little in the way of time outside other than routine walks. If given the chance these dogs will enjoy a romp outdoors and also may be very fond of water.
The Chinese Crested is sometimes called the Chinese Hairless, however there are actually a hairless and a fully coated variety. The Chinese Crested with hair is known as a Powder Puff and can be of any color variation including parti and tri-colors. The coat is very silky and moderately long and requires routine grooming. Both types occur in the same litter, making for a very interesting surprise.
The hairless variety has spots on the skin and has a crest of hair on the head as well as on the tail and feet. These dogs are highly affectionate and crave human interaction and attention. A true lapdog they are not recommended for homes where they will be alone for long periods but they do well with children, other dogs and even cats. Both varieties are sensitive to the cold and any type of damp conditions and the hairless variety is prone to sunburn and dry skin problems.