Chihuahua - Toy breed

Toy dogs

The toy group of dogs is one of the seven groups used by the Kennel Club to categorise dog breeds.

Many of these dogs have been bred as companions while others were intended for vermin control and will need a job to keep them busy.

The breeds in this group of dogs will always be small and often like to be lap dogs.

The key things to remember about this group is that these dogs can make great pets but tend to be high maintenance in their own way, whether that’s because they need lots of grooming or because they have a reputation for being pernickety eaters!

One thing goes for all of these dogs – even though they’re little, they still need to lead an active life and should be treated as dogs, not handbag accessories.

Popular toy breeds

  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel: A happy and devoted companion who loves walks and sitting next to you by the fire. Health issues include syringomyelia, an extremely serious condition whereby the spinal cord develops fluid-filled pockets near the brain as a result of the back half of the cavalier’s skull being too small. This can cause dogs acute pain and can lead to paralysis.
  • Pug: While the pug is a good-natured, sociable dog who likes to be part of the family, it should be noted that flatter-faced dogs (brachycephalic breeds) such as pugs and French bulldogs have many health issues which range from breathing
    Cavalier King Charles spaniel
    problems to neurological issues
  • Yorkshire terrier: A hardy dog with a strong hunting instinct who likes playing games. Needs lots of exercise and regular grooming.
  • Chinese crested: These dogs are affectionate and can make great companions but they are high maintenance and suffer with skin problems due to their highly unusual skin (ie lack of a fur coat!)
  • Chihuahua: The smallest breed of dog recognised by the Kennel Club. A highly intelligent and easily trained companion. Needs a family that will make sure they get lots of exercise and training and are prepared for health issues such as potential breathing problems and syringomyelia.
— Page last updated 26/05/2023