Choosing companions from small and toy dog breeds

Dog lovers who are worried that they simply don’t have the space to accommodate a larger dog are sure to find a place in their hearts for the smaller breeds that are becoming increasingly popular.

Toy dog breeds (also known as miniature dogs) are perfectly suited for smaller living spaces and are also great for anyone who’s starting to worry that they wouldn’t be able to handle a big dog.

Discover more about the friendly and fun toy dog breeds and see if you can work out which could be your perfect companion.

The big benefits offered by little dogs

If you think a dog could be the perfect companion but you’re not sure you’d be up to the challenge, a toy dog could be just the answer. Typically, toy dogs need less exercise, less space and can be much easier to handle than their larger counterparts. This can make them an especially good choice when you’re getting older and you’ll be able to enjoy many of the same benefits you would with a bigger breed. For more great facts about small dogs, have a read of this article from Animal Planet.

Toy dogs are also well suited to those who enjoy frequent visits from young grandchildren, thanks to their small size.   No dog should be trusted with children, as both are unpredictable and often dont know when to give a dog space, all dogs have teeth and accidents can happen in an instant. be sure you choose a breed that is typically good with strangers and tends to have a friendly disposition. There has been a big rise in interest in miniature dogs in recent years and you’re likely to be able to find plenty of new friends to choose from direct from breeders and dog shelters.    The Kennel Club has some very useful advice for buying or adopting a new dog, perfect if you need a little bit of help finding your new best friend.

Choosing between toy dog breeds

Every dog may be different, but you’ll find that each breed of dogs has a certain set of characteristics that can give you a rough idea of what to expect. For example, Toy Fox Terriers and Italian Greyhounds are very affectionate while Pugs and Shih Tzus tend to need the least amount of exercise.

Find out more about the kind of behaviour that is associated with some of the most popular breeds of small dogs at New Dog Survival Guide, where you’ll find an in-depth look at different types of toy dogs. Dog Breed Info is another good resource for anyone thinking about a toy dog, as it has an exhaustive photo gallery of some of the most popular breeds.

Don’t forget that small dogs may have very different needs to their larger friends and that this is especially true when it comes to nutrition. Have a look at Pet MD to learn about the best diet for a toy dog and how it may differ from what you’re used to. For some more general advice for looking after your toy dog, be sure to read up on this dog healthcare guide from the team at Pet Place.


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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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Kate Pilgrim
14th Apr 2014
Thanks for voting!
Please remember that small dogs generally live longer. Don't get one unless you are young enough to be around for the dog's whole life or have an agreed home for it when you are unable to care for it. Your family may not want to inherit a dog! Also, please be aware that many toy breeds, particularly Italian Greyhounds and chihuahuas are far too fragile boned for small children to play with safely.
elaine beffow
18th Feb 2014
Thanks for voting!
I have a yorkie..shitzue..and a lassa apso..all brilliant them to bits...nice little dogs
Welfare First
21st Jan 2014
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Please dont advise people to purchase dogs from pet shops where they are sold without parents present and often originate from puppy farms. Puppies should only be purchaced from breeders where mum is living with them preferably in a home enviorment, or rescue centres, who can assess suitablity and offer continued advice and support.
Blanket statements like small dogs being easier to handle than their larger counterparts and they are safer around kids are very dangerous.
No dog should be trusted with children, kids are unpredictable and often dont know when to give a dog space, all dogs have teeth and accidents can happen in an instant.
Please do some reserch before writing about subjects you know little about.

Joyce your pup was home with you at 4 weeks old! They still have lots to learn from their littermates and mum at that age. Most breeders would suggest no sooner than 8 weeks.
21st Jan 2014
Thanks for voting!
Thank you for your very valid comments ... we shall make some amendments to this feature to take into account what you have said.
23rd Dec 2013
Thanks for voting!
I have just treated myself to a shitzu puppy and she is delightful, only had her 2 months, she is 3months old already house trained and an absolute delight, she doesn,t require very long walks and I am so,glad that i got her. Love her to bits great company especially if you are a
One and I am in my 70s. Strongly recommend a small breed ie a shitzu or a bichon frise or a lasha aphso. But I love my shitzu she has a lovely personality.

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