Toy dogs, lapdogs and other tiny canines are incredibly popular as pets, as they can be comfortably housed in smaller apartments and homes and are of course, undeniably cute! “Toy” dogs is the name given to dogs of breeds that are at the smallest end of the scale, with toy dogs generally weighing up to a maximum of 20lb. Many toy dogs are smaller than the average cat!
If you are prepared to do your homework about how to care for a toy dog in general and your breed of choice in particular, a toy dog or diminutive canine can be a great choice of pet for many people. If you are keen to become the owner of one of the smallest dog breeds commonly kept within the UK and are hoping to narrow down your search, read on to find out more about ten of the smallest popular dog breeds within the UK.
It would be incredibly hard if not impossible to definitively rank the popular small dog breeds in exact size order! Significant variations within breeds and individual litters of dogs can lead to a range of acceptable sizes being produced even within the same litter, and when one of the core requirements of the name “toy dog” means a weight of under just 20lb on average, the margin for overlap across breeds is significant!
So, here are ten of the smallest popular dog breeds within the UK, in no particular order!
The Chihuahua is normally considered over all to be the smallest dog breed in the world, and is light, delicate and very petite! These dogs are popular “handbag dogs” and can easily be ported around in underarm dog carriers. The Chihuahua is often smaller than the average sized cat, but certainly has an all-dog temperament! They bond strongly with their owners and are very loyal, although they can be distrustful of outsiders. The Chihuahua is a good pick for adult owners and those able to devote a lot of time to their dog, and this breed may not be suitable for families with younger children.
The Pomeranian is a very fluffy, longhaired dog that often appears bulkier than it is due to its impressive coat! They are laid back, friendly and good with children, but can be prone to excitability and a lot of barking to get attention!
The Papillon is a small dog that is historically related to the Spaniel, and shares many of its traits with other dogs of the Spaniel breed group, including a love of play and exercise and often, an affinity with water. It gets its name due to its butterfly-like fringed ears. This dog is alert, lively, and likes to keep busy!
The Bichon Frise is a small, woolly-looking dog with a coat similar to that of the Poodle, which does not shed much hair and so, may make it a good choice for people who are prone to suffering from dog allergies. They require regular brushing and grooming, and trips to the grooming salon on occasion too! They are lively, outgoing dogs that are very friendly and love people.
The Pug is a highly distinctive breed of small dog that has a signature short curly tail and squashed up, brachycephalic face! Pugs are intelligent, inquisitive and often entertaining. They can be prone to obesity if not correctly fed and exercised, and some dogs of this breed are particularly prone to a range of health problems that have come about due to the breed standards and desirable traits historically associated with the breed.
The commonly mis-spelled Shih Tzu is an appealing, cute-looking little dog with a big personality! They are very friendly and sociable, and get along well with other dogs and children. Like all small dogs, the Shih Tzu must be properly trained and controlled, as they have a propensity to segue themselves into the dominant role within the household if given free rein to do what they like!
The Yorkshire Terrier is a small, friendly if somewhat noisy dog from the terrier grouping, and can range in size from the tiny teacup Yorkie at as little as 4-7lb, up to the standard Yorkie sizing of up to around 18lb for larger specimens. The Yorkie is alert, active and can be prone to hunting behaviour due to the historical usage of the breed, and require an enthusiastic and energetic owner to give them plenty of play, attention and exercise.
The Toy Poodle is the smallest of the four Poodle sizing categories, and all dogs of the Poodle type will share the signature distinctive Poodle coat that is often groomed into particular shapes and patterns, and does not shed much fur compared to most other dog breeds. They are lively, intelligent, and often take well to canine sports such as agility and heelwork, despite their diminutive size!
The French Bulldog is a small relative of both the English and American Bulldog, and has a distinctive squashed-up face and pointed ears! They are intelligent, soulful dogs that bond strongly with their families and can be very empathic towards their main caregivers. They are usually lively and keen to play, but can suffer particularly from the effects of overheating during hotter weather when exercised vigorously.
The Pekingese dog has a breed history going back for over 2,000 years, and has not changed dramatically in appearance in all that time! They are a small, compact dog with prominent eyes and a flattened facial appearance. They are popular lap dogs, and generally fairly sedentary, although they do of course need to receive sufficient exercise and entertainment!
While toy dogs may be around the size of cats and can appear to be a good pick for people who are looking for a baby rather than a pet, it is vital to remember that even the smallest of dogs are still all canine, and treat them accordingly. This means they should be cared for, trained and fed properly and appropriately for their size, activity level and temperament, and not simply be fed on treats and table scraps and parade about as a fashion accessory to look cute! Read more about the care and welfare of toy dogs in this article.