Puppies seem to grow like weeds; blink and they’re fully trained adult dogs lapping up the compliments. However, a variety of canine breeds don’t grow much larger than they were as puppies. These small, miniature and toy breeds may get mistaken for wee sprouts when they’re well into adulthood.
True Toy Varieties
True toy varieties like the toy poodle, toy fox terrier, English toy spaniel and toy Manchester terrier are bred to be slimmed down versions of their standard breed varieties. Toy varieties are much smaller than any other variety of the same breed. The poodle, for example, is bred in three distinct sizes: standard (over 15 inches tall), miniature (over 10 but under 15 inches) and toy (10 inches or under). Toy poodles are exceptionally smart, fluffy and apartment friendly. The toy Manchester terrier, despite his terrier nature, is quite gentle and reserved. He has a smooth, glossy black and tan coat, and weighs less than 12 pounds.
Miniature breeds are, as their name suggests, smaller versions of larger lookalike breeds. The miniature schnauzer, miniature pinscher and Italian greyhound all resemble their respective, massive cousins -- the schnauzer, doberman pinscher and greyhound -- but without the need for a large living space. At less than 10 pounds, the miniature pinscher, min pin to enthusiasts, is an inquisitive motion machine. If you’re looking for a more steadfast guard dog, consider the miniature schnauzer. His naturally protective nature and diminutive size make him a popular choice for city apartment dwellers.
Consider a small terrier when looking for a tiny tot. The silky terrier, Yorkshire terrier, Australian terrier, Russell and Parson Russell terriers, cairn terrier, Norwich terrier and Norfolk terrier are all pint-sized terriers under 15 pounds. Terriers are feisty, energetic, somewhat headstrong dogs who will benefit from ample exercise and training. Certain terrier breeds, such as the Yorkie and silky, require frequent grooming to keep their long, flowing locks in tip-top shape.
Other Small Breeds
Many small breeds aren't true toy varieties and don't fit into the miniature or terrier category, but are tiny members of the AKC's toy group; there is, however, one exception, the dachshund -- a member of the hound group. The AKC toy group includes the charming brachycephalic (or squishy-faced) pug, the bouncing Chihuahua, the gentle Maltese, Japanese chin, Havanese, the loving Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Pekingese, the powderpuff and hairless Chinese crested, papillon, Pomeranian, the silky shih tzu, Brussels griffon and affenpinscher. All under 20 pounds, and all adorable, these small breeds are sure to fill your heart and pint-sized apartment with joy.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.