Toy Dog Adoption

Toy dog adoption might be right for you if you're not into big dog food bills, big messes, big walks in bad weather, and the beg expense that goes along with big dog beds and big dog toys.

I love my big, almost 80 pound Newfie/Lab, but she's lots of work. She makes big messes; I could vacuum every day. When she gets dirty, she does it big, so giving her a bath is a big job.

Big dogs have big minds of their own. If they don't want to do something, they may just sit down and not do it. When I first adopted my dog, Sydney, she did that! We'd be on a walk and if I started to head home before she was ready, she'd just sit herself down in the middle of the street! And if she suddenly wanted to be somewhere else, it was a big job stopping her.

Is toy dog adoption right for you?

Some of the advantages to toy dog adoption:

  • Toy breed dogs are better suited for apartment living or if you live in the city.
  • Toy breed dogs are easier if you want a dog that's easy to exercise.
  • If you don't own your home, landlords are more likely to allow toy breed dogs.
  • When you travel, hotels are more likely to allow small dogs - your friends might prefer you visit with a toy sized dog too!
  • Toy breed dogs are better suited if you have children old enough to understand how to be careful with a toy sized dog
  • It's easier to clean up toy breed dog messes than big dog messes
  • If you want a dog for companionship rather than protection
  • If you don't have the strength to handle a medium or big dog
  • If you don't have a vehicle big enough for a medium or big dog
  • and of course, everything you buy for a toy breed dog is going to cost less - their food, their toys, their beds, their crates, and on and on!

Toy Dog Adoption - Understanding a Toy Dog's Personality

If you're thinking about toy dog adoption because of the ease of care, you need to keep something in mind. Although small, these little guys and girls need to be treated like DOGS! Do you have the impression that tiny dogs are yappy ankle biters that mail carriers hate? While certain big dogs have a bad reputation for being vicious, toy breeds often are thought of as spoiled and ill mannered.

When I was in sixth grade we moved out of state and had to stay with friends until we moved into our own home. Our friends had a Pomeranian. One day I started to sit next to him on the couch and he growled at me. I'll never forget the owner telling me that I better find another place to sit! Wow! That memory has stuck with me my whole life.

Pomeranians only weigh 3 to 7 pounds! Imagine having to find a different place to sit because this tiny dog was already there. Because he growled, no less. Ridiculous!

If you're not familiar with the breed, take a look at some Pomeranian photos from the Puppy Dog Web site.

I'm wondering what the owners would have done if their German Shepherd had growled at me. I don't think they would have tolerated it. (I hope!) Therein lies the problem with toy sized dogs and toy dog adoption - people tend to allow behavior from tiny dogs that they'd never allow from a large or medium sized dog.

So if you're considering toy dog adoption please remember that dogs don't know how big or little they are - they are just a dog. When a little dog greets us by jumping up on us, it's not as bothersome as it would be if a big dog did it. So we allow it. When a small dog growls, their owner may think it's cute, thinking because he's little, it's not a big deal. If a big dog growls, we know this behavior must be stopped.

If a big dog tried to get up on our lap, it might be a problem. If a tiny dog jumps up on our lap, we may think it's cute - that the dog is doing it out of great love for us. Has a dog ever grabbed your arm to get you to pet him? When an 80 pound dog grabs your arm with his paw, it can be annoying and even hurt. When a toy dog grabs your arm with his tiny paw, once again, we see it as cute - the dog loves us.

Any time a dog, big or small, forces us to do something, it puts them in charge. With a big dog, we stop a disturbing behavior early on, before the dog gets big or becomes too much to handle, but with a toy breed dog, we let things go, therefore allowing him to be in charge, allowing him to be the leader, the "Alpha dog."

Remember, if considering toy dog adoption, you must always maintain the alpha position within the "pack". You, the human, need to be "top dog" - the one in charge of your dog, no matter what his size. This ensures a well mannered dog.

Toy Breed Dogs

Let's take a look at some of the smallest of small breed dogs to see if toy dog adoption is a good fit for you.

The following characteristics are the standard for the breed as defined by the American Kennel Club and the the Dog Breed Info Center. The images shown are taken from the American Kennel Club's website. To put the toy breed's size in perspective, two breeds familiar to most dog lovers, the Labrador Retriever's height at the shoulder is 21 to 24 inches, and a Great Dane stands 28 to 32 inches.

Dog Breed Info

Toy Fox Terrier

They range from 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 3 to 6 pounds. Also known as an American Toy Terrier or Ameritoy, the Toy Fox Terrier is a result of a cross between the Fox Terrier with a variety of toy breeds, giving it the traits from both the Terrier and the Toy groups.

Life expectancy is 14 to 15 years. His small stature and short coat make him easy to groom. This tiny dog is not able to tolerate the cold well.

Toy Fox Terrier

Characteristics of the Toy Fox Terrier:

  • Outgoing and friendly
  • Playful and energetic
  • Alert nature, makes him an exceptional watchdog
  • Intelligent, courageous, with a take-charge attitude

More Toy Fox Terrier photos


This tiny breed stands 6 to 9 inches tall and weighs only 2 to 6 pounds! The Chihuahua is a good companion dog. Because of its tiny size, the Chihuahua gains weight easily. He is much more susceptible to toxins such as chocolate than a large dog. Keep that box of chocolate way up high out of his reach. A small dog can become very sick and even die from ingesting small amounts.

This breed does not tolerate cold weather and is prone to catching colds. Although easy to exercise by simply playing with him in a small home or apartment, the Chihuahua still needs regular walks. This not only provides exercise, but mental stimulation and better socialization as well. Their life expectancy is 15 years!


Characteristics of the Chihuahua:

  • Strong-willed
  • Cheerful
  • Brave
  • Intelligent and learns quickly

Do not let this tiny dog be in charge! Because of the dog’s small size, owners of this breed tend to baby their dogs. The dog becomes aggressive and displays jealousy and suspicion toward strangers, which in turn leads to snapping and biting.

More Chihuahua photos


This tiny dog is 8 to 11 inches tall and weighs 7 to 9 pounds. Sometimes known as the butterfly dog, because its ears look like butterfly wings, this is one tiny breed that loves the outdoors. They have a good disposition as long as they are taught manners from an early age, and if properly trained, is one of the toy breeds that is good with children. They are clean and odorless. Now that's a plus with any size dog! This tiny dog is one of the oldest breeds, dating back nearly 700 years.


Characteristics of the Papillon:

  • Happy, playful and friendly
  • Alert
  • Affectionate
  • Intelligent and gentle

More Papillon photos


A hardy dog, the Maltese stands 8 to 10 inches and weighs 4 to 6 pounds. This dog gets along well with non-canine pets - a plus for us animal lovers who also own cats! These little dogs have two distinct looks. As a show dog they will have a long, flat, silky white coat.

Some people choose to keep their hair short in a puppy cut. They don't shed much so make a good choice for people with allergies. This dog does well living in an apartment as long as he gets lots of walks. Prone to sunburns, they also don't do well in damp or hot weather.

As with all the toy breed dogs, do not pamper them as this teaches poor and aggressive behavior.


Characteristics of the Maltese:

  • Spirited, lively and playful
  • Gentle and loving
  • Highly intelligent
  • Brave and without fear

More Maltese photos

As you can see, toy dog breeds come in a variety of shapes and personalities. Toy dog adoption may be the route for you as long as you remember to treat these tiny dogs like dogs. If properly trained, they make great companions, and the more you know about them and the correct way to raise them, the better pet they will make. And they may even get rid of their yappy dog reputation!

Return from Toy Dog Adoption to Choose the Right Breed
Return from Toy Dog Adoption to Adopt the Right Dog Homepage