Many dogs we now consider family members have working dog pasts, herding, fetching and carrying loads. Historically small dogs had it easier, mainly serving to provide companionship and entertainment to their human friends. There's a great variety of dogs under 10 pounds that excel at that job today.
Small dogs are considered "toy" or "small" if they weigh no more than 20 pounds. They're a popular choice among apartment dwellers who want canine friendship in a small space. There is a good variety of toy dogs out there, and if you want an extra small dog, maxing the scale at 10 pounds, there are some nice choices.
Poms and Paps
Resembling a little puffball, the Pomeranian is a very small fellow, weighing between three and seven pounds. He's well-suited for apartment living because he doesn't require a lot of exercise, is clean and easily trained. His double coat needs regular brushing. Papillons also require regular brushing, but aren't as fluffy as Pomeranians. Known for his large butterfly ears, he is a dainty and fine-boned gentleman, hitting the scales between four and nine pounds. The papillon is easygoing, playful and responsive, a good choice for a family with children.
Yorkies and Maltese
One of the most popular of all breeds, the Yorkshire terrier is a little fellow, maxing out at around seven pounds. This guy travels well and doesn't require a lot of exercise, but he does need people time. Yorkies are busy, bold and barky, but they're also adaptable. If you choose to share your space with a Yorkie, you'll need to brush his long coat regularly. The Maltese is similar in size and grooming requirements, but is a quieter alternative to the Yorkshire terrier. He likes being with people, so some can suffer separation anxiety, but he's also brave, energetic, playful and gentle -- in short, a great option for a family dog.
Chihuahuas and Poodles
Despite his tiny size of two to six pounds, the Chihuahua makes an excellent watch dog. Very loyal and affectionate to his owners, he can be quite impatient with strangers and children, resulting in lots of barking and occasional nipping. The toy poodle, between four and eight pounds, is also prone to barking. This fellow is intelligent and eager to please, making him easy to train. His playful disposition makes him popular with families; his curly, low shed coat is a good choice for the home with allergy issues.
The miniature pinscher is a terrier, not a small Doberman. A smart dynamo, he's curious and devoted to his family. This little scrapper acts much larger than his eight or ten pounds when he encounters larger dogs. If you're keen on terriers, the toy fox terrier is tiny -- topping out at around seven pounds -- but outgoing, energetic and playful. He doesn't warm to strangers easily and prefers the company of his family but his curious, intelligent natures make him an appealing dog.
The Affenpinscher, around nine pounds, is mischievous, intelligent and fun-loving. The Brussels griffon weighs around ten pounds and is spunky and confident, maintaining an affectionate nature. If you think a toy is right for your family, consider your lifestyle before making your final choice. The presence and age of children will influence your choice.