The diminutive size and winsome expressions of toy dogs illustrate the main function of this group: to embody sheer delight.
Affenpinschers have a fun-loving, sometimes mischievous, personality. Their intelligence, appearance and attitude make them a good house pet, but children should always be taught how to properly handle the dog.
Friendly and easy to train, the cavalier is a trustworthy companion for children and thrives as part of a family. The coat requires weekly brushing but no trimming. The breed is adaptable in its need for exercise and is happy with sleeping on the couch and taking long walks.
Chihuahuas are alert dogs with terrierlike qualities. They are good with families if the children are gentle and patient. Because of their small size, they require little exercise and are good city dogs, but can be sensitive to cold temperatures. Smooth-coated Chihuahuas need very little grooming due to their short hair. Long coats need occasional brushing but still require minimal grooming.
A fine-boned, elegant toy dog that craves human companionship, the crested comes in two varieties. The hairless has soft, silky hair on its head (crest), tail (plume), and feet (socks). It is believed that Chinese mariners sailed with this breed -- thought to have evolved from African hairless dogs -- on board.
Havanese dogs are trainable and intelligent and possess a naturally affectionate temperament, which makes the breed an ideal family pet. Although a toy dog, they remain energetic and require some form of daily exercise. The breed's nonshedding coat makes it suitable for allergy sufferers, but regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat in top condition.
Even though the Maltese are very small, they tend to be brave and fearless. They are one of the most gentle of all little dogs, but are also full of energy and very playful, making them great family dogs. Maltese should be brushed daily, and groomed often to prevent mats from forming in their long, white coat.
The miniature pinscher can really spice up a person's life. This dog is small, but he doesn't know it! He's quick and active, with a lively curiosity. They are good family companions and look out for their family, bravely challenging intruders with their bold, insistent bark.
Pomeranians are very intelligent dogs that love to please. Because of their outgoing temperaments, they can be very good family dogs with the right training. Due to their small size, they don't require much exercise, but they are an energetic breed that needs lots of attention from their people. They possess a thick double coat that needs to be brushed on a regular basis.
Pugs' reason for living is to be near their people and to please them, and their sturdiness makes them a family favorite. They are comfortable in small apartments because they need minimal exercise, but the breed can adapt easily to all situations. The pug sheds, but its short coat requires little grooming.
Cherished by Chinese royals as prized house pets for more than a thousand years, shih tzus are believed to have descended from crossing the Lhasa apso or Tibetan mountain dog with Pekingese. The shih tzu was the house pet for most of the Ming Dynasty and was discovered by soldiers in England during World War II.