What is a Toy Breed Dog?

toy breed group dogs

When talking about our beloved Yorkshire Terriers, there are certain terms that cause a lot of confusion. Calling them “toys” or saying they are toy breed dogs is perfect example of that. Here’s a quick explanation of what the term toy breeds actually means and where it comes from:

When you go to a dog show there can be up to 200 different breeds of dogs there. Of course, it would be impossible for that many dogs to be in the ring at one time and for one judge to evaluate them all. To make dog shows run more smoothly for both the exhibitors and the judges, the breeds are broken down into groups based on their original purpose.

The groups are:

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

Yorkshire Terriers are in the Toy Group.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), there are 22 dog breeds in the toy group. They range in size from the Chihuahua which is the smallest, to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which can weigh up to 18 lbs.

Aside from Yorkie’s, some of the other breeds in the Toy Group are: Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Pug, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Biewer, and Pekingese. You can find the full list of toy breed dogs here.

When someone refers to a Yorkshire Terrier as a “toy dog” what they are stating is the group that Yorkies are shown in. Contrary to what some breeders will tell you, a toy Yorkie is not a different breed. The word “toy” does not mean that a Yorkie will be a certain size as compared to other Yorkies because all Yorkshire Terriers are toy breed dogs.

I hope that clears things up.


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