AKC Toy Group Class

The American Kennel Club categorizes their 190 breeds into 8 different groups. As part of our ongoing breed series (Getting to Know Your…), we wanted to take a global look at these classifications and what characteristics separate the dogs into these different groups.The AKC breed groups are:

  • Herding Group
  • Sporting Group
  • Toy Group
  • Working Group
  • Hound Group
  • Non-Working Group
  • Terrier Group
  • Miscellaneous Group

Today, we look at the Toy group.The Toy Group is comprised of 21 different breeds and includes dogs we may not be too familiar with like the Affenpinscher or the Chinese Crested to the very familiar Toy Poodle and Shih Tzu. The common characteristic of the Toy Group is of course their size. They may be miniaturized version of full size Terriers, Spaniels or Pinschers or just bred to sit quietly in your lap.

Contrary to their small size, the group is known for their big personalities. You would think given their size, they would be quiet and diminutive, but they can be quite loud and bossy. Most of them are family loving and fun-loving dogs who want nothing more than to sit on your lap, or be  carried in your bag so that they can be with you.

Many of the Toy Group such as the Havanese and the Affenpinscher are quite athletic and excel at agility. If they have the right background and training other competitive activities such as nose work, obedience or even therapy work are all great outlets for these adorable dogs.These little guys can be a training challenge if they are treated like babies rather than dogs. It’s a common fault of Toy dog owners to succumb to their cute expressive faces.  However, without diligence, they can be more difficult to discipline, but discipline them you must, or you’ll end up with a tiny little dictator in your home.

They can also become fearful and display fear-aggression if they are overprotected, so as a Toy dog owner, it’s important to remember they are dogs first. It might be funny to see a little Chihuahua yap, yap, yapping at your visitors, but they won’t hesitate to take action if they feel frightened enough. Socialization at an early age is critical and not just for dogs in the Toy Group, but for all dogs.

Toy dogs make great apartment pets since they don’t require much space or a lot of exercise. There’s also less muss and mess from shedding and they are obviously easier to handle – just pick them up!

While the Toy Group designation is reserved for registered purebred dogs, there is a growing demand for toy mixes and you will see Maltipoos (Maltese/Poodle), Peekapoos(Pekingese/Poodle) or Chugs (Chihuahua/Pug) grabbing people’s hearts. It’s unlikely that any will eventually make it to AKC Breed standards, but they are cute and exceptional toy dog options. Be sure to check their background and buy from a reputable breeder, not over the internet.

Good Luck!Complete list of Toy Group:

  1. Affenpinscher
  2. Brussels Griffon
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  4. Chihuahua
  5. Chinese Crested
  6. English Toy Spaniel
  7. Havanese
  8. Italian Greyhound
  9. Japanese Chin
  10. Maltese
  11. Manchester Terrier
  12. Miniature Pinscher
  13. Papillon
  14. Pekingese
  15. Pomeranian
  16. Poodle (Toy)
  17. Pug
  18. Shih Tzu
  19. Silky Terrier
  20. Toy Fox Terrier
  21. Yorkshire Terrier



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