The Best-Ranked Toy Breeds as Family Pets

Some toy breeds are particularly suitable to family life.
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When considering adding a companion dog to your family, it's important to consider whether the breed is fairly sturdy, patient and gentle with children. Though the toy breeds are generally small in stature and therefore more fragile, certain toy dogs are considered suitable companions for families with gentle children. Be sure to consult reputable breeders and experienced owners to see if the breed you like would be a good fit for your home.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

This Cavalier King Charles Spaniel likely will be patient and playful, the perfect companion for children.

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The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has long been a favorite in America because of it's beautiful flowing coat and big, expressive eyes. This breed stands 12 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 13 and 18 pounds, making them a portable yet sturdy companion for families. The Cavalier is fun-loving and sweet-natured, easy-going and willing to learn.


Though Havanese coats grow long, they can be groomed to have shorter fur.

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The Havanese is a good option for families with allergies, since the breed's coat is nonshedding and allergy friendly. The Havanese comes in an array of colors, stands 8 1/2 to 11 1/2 inches, and weighs between 10 and 20 pounds. They generally love children and enjoy the activity of family life.


The Maltese is an affectionate, playful companion who comes in one color only -- white.

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A petite dog with flowing white hair and dark-pigmented eyes, the Maltese also possesses a sense of fun and an appreciation for busy family life. This breed is fine-boned and generally weighs 4 to 6 pounds, so should be supervised around small children, who might not be careful of the Maltese's fragility.


Pugs make happy, lively family pets.

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The charming, tenacious pug has a muscular, sturdy frame and unforgettable face. These dogs love playtime and most enjoy the company of children. Pugs weigh between 14 and 18 pounds and while their brachycephalic nose structure prohibits them from strenuous play in extreme heat, they are always up for indoor playtime.

Shih Tzu

Shih tzus are happiest in the company of their human pack.

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Another long-haired beauty, the shih tzu has a regal appearance but a clownish demeanor. This breed is small, 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and 9 to 16 pounds, but confident and easy going with children. They don't need a great deal of exercise, but they do enjoy regular playtimes.

Yorkshire Terrier

Though it may appear demure and placid, the Yorkshire terrier is a plucky little dynamo with a big personality.

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As a family pet, the Yorkshire terrier's active and bright personality shines. They are gregarious lap dogs who enjoy the company of their family and happily will accompany them on trips and outings. Weighing between 4 and 7 pounds, these dogs are delicate, but have a confident and charming personality.